Neat trick

2-inch speaker mod

I saw this somewhere (can’t remember where) and said to myself, “That can’t work very well.” Today I was in Lowes and picked up a 2-inch elbow to give it a try. Place it right above the speaker. Hey, it makes a big difference, especially on CW. It redirects the speaker audio towards the front. Well worth the $1.88 (+ tax) I paid for it.

73 de Dick N4BC

Propagation blues

You know times are bad when 20 Meters doesn’t have a single CW signal  audible during a major contest weekend. I just tuned up there and couldn’t hear ANYTHING! NADA! Forty and eighty are really active … lots of contest activity.

I haven’t done any contesting this weekend. I just worked about 15 stations on FT8 with the new rig, and I did make a couple of QSOs to check out how it handles on CW. As far as SSB, I haven’t even taken the mic out of the box yet!

The IC-7300 is a SWEET rig to operate, but I’m still stumbling a bit with the  controls. It’ll get better with familiarity.

73 de Dick N4BC

I did it!

I knew I shouldn’t have opened that email from HRO … I just knew it! But, of course, I did. That was the beginning of the end. There was that beautiful picture of an Icom IC-7300 staring at me … and at less than a thousand bucks. I deleted the email. but it didn’t work. It just ate at me and ate at me. I watched YouTube video after YouTube video, and they all weakened my resolve to be strong.

Finally, I gave in. I ordered the radio online and then drove up to the HRO at Woodbridge, VA the next day to pick it up.  I got home and unboxed it and admired it. I had to clean up the shack a bit to fit it on the table … so long old faithful FT-450D. I think you’re due to be sold to a deserving ham.

My New Rig

I’ve only begun delving into the features of this radio, but I’m impressed so far. The amount of control you have over those features is great. I think this is going to be a great companion!

73 de N4BC Dick


A Few Contacts, but …

I did a bit of FT8 yesterday evening. I managed one contact on 80M and three on 15M. The other bands were sounding good, but I just couldn’t seem to connect. Not a real dense map either … nothing showing anywhere except North America, and one reception report in Venezuela.

I did have an equipment problem surface, though. My USB hub kept dropping out or resetting. Wiggling the USB-A connector at the laptop duplicated the problem. Over time, with connecting and disconnecting, the plug has gotten worn and is loose. At least, I hope it’s the plug and not the laptop socket that’s worn. I looked for a replacement cord, but the hub end is a USB-B connector … like you find on most printers … sort of a square plug, rather than a rectangular one. Ah well, Amazon Basics … should be here Friday. Love Amazon Prime! The old one is still usable … I just have to make sure I don’t wiggle the cord, though.

I’m looking forward to the loooong Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully, conditions will improve a bit. I’ve been reading a bit about Olivia and want to give that a try. Maybe I’ll also have a chance to do some antenna experimenting, too. We’ll see.

Right now, I need to find a plumber. The kitchen sink decided to plug up on Thanksgiving eve, when the kitchen is a beehive of activity. Figures …

Have a great holiday if you’re celebrating it!

73 de Dick N4BC
November Four Big Cheese


There it is again …

I had that problem pop up again where my output power in WSJT-X dropped to 5 watts and I couldn’t increase it. I fiddled and fiddled with settings and turned knobs and fiddled some more to no avail. Still good power out with FLDIGI and on CW, etc. So, that seemed to be a good time to have dinner. I returned from dinner and lo and behold, everything was back to normal. Windows 10 had just finished its big Fall update earlier in the day, so maybe that had something to do with it? Still an unknown …

I made a few FT-8 contacts on 80 meters, and a few more on 40 and 30, but 20, which is usually pretty good, just wasn’t cooperating with me last night. I tried calling CQ on JT-9 on several bands without any luck. Although I like the speed of FT-8, I like the sensitivity of JT-9 better. It can really pull the signals out of the mud.

Saturday I’m going to the QCWA Chapter 119 luncheon. Twice a year, it’s on my side of Hampton Roads (Newport News vs Virginia Beach). It’s the only time I get to see some of these guys. I’m not sure what the program is about, but it’s usually pretty interesting.

There’s a real chill in the air, now. Fall is officially and truly here. The past couple of mornings, it’s been in the 40’s when I leave for work at 5:30 AM. Used the heat in the house for the first time this season just the other night. Yep … Winter is coming!

73 de Dick N4BC