Been lazy the past week or so … just couldn’t get up the energy to work the contest this past weekend. As usual, I hear there was some interesting propagation … openings on 10 and 15 meters. Isn’t it interesting how that only happens on contest weekends? 😀
I got on a while after work this evening (2030Z – 2100Z) and there was some decent propagation on 17 meters. I worked a bunch of stations in the western USA primarily … that’s all I had any luck hearing, anyway.
I caught up on some cable-making this past weekend. I made up some new coax sections, and also made up a few power cables with powerpoles on them. I’m just sort of getting things collected in anticipation of some warmer weather in the not too distant future (fingers crossed!!). I want to get out and do some Parks on the Air activations. I literally live a few blocks from part of K-4567, Captain john Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail, and within twenty or thirty minutes of several other parks.
Last night was a good night on the lower bands … 80, 60, 40 meters. I had 22 QSOs, mostly on 80 meters, and mostly FT8. There were two CW QSOs mixed in there. I worked VP9/AA1AC in Bermuda on 40 meters and VP2MKG in Montserrat on 80 meters. Both had moderate pileups going, working split, and I got them on the first call. The VP2 was a new country for me with my N4BC callsign. I think I’m up to 95 confirmed with that newer callsign.
The low bands seem to be the place to be during the solar minimum. I was decoding stations all over the world … Asia, the Americas, Europe … they’re out there! I don’t have a superstation, either. I’m running 100 watts to a 31-foot homebrew vertical. Not a model of efficiency. My tuner is working overtime! But it works!!
I guess the moral of this story is … put a signal out there. Get some wire in the sky. You won’t catch any fish unless you get a line in the water. Good fishing!!!!
I got up late today, it being a holiday, and flipped on the rig. I tuned around 40 meters, and heard a couple of Parks on the Air (POTA) stations, and gave K3USI (portable on Howland Island, NY) a call, and he came right back to me with a 59. He was a good 59 as well. I also heard W4BKR, who was working from the Plumtree Island NWR and booming in at 59 plus a bunch (I could almost throw a rock and hit him from my shack). Both were handling pileups well and knocking them off one by one. Good ops! BTW, those were both SSB contacts, and I had to find my mic before I could call them 😀 .
From there, I moved to see what was on the FT8 segments, and didn’t find much of interest, so I called CQ and landed Thomas, AE4TH, who lives in the Fox Hill section of Hampton, my neighboring city … probably not ten miles as the crow flies! Howdy, neighbor!!
Just planning a lazy day off. The XYL is going to cook up some ribs and cabbage and sweet potatoes later for dinner, and I’m looking forward to that. I will probably turn the rig on later and see what’s going on. I’ve also got a new in-line meter for my portable ops to keep track of my battery voltage, and I need to rig up some wires and powerpoles for the input/output.
Coming up next weekend is the North American RTTY QSO Party. I’m hoping to participate for some of that, but once again, I have conflicts that weekend … we’ll see what happens. Life just gets in the way of ham radio 🙂 .
If you’re off today, have fun … if you’re working today, my sympathies. Sometimes working for local government has its advantages.
I had planned to jump into the NAQP this past weekend … I really did! But … for some reason I just couldn’t seem to get up the gumption to press the rig’s ON button. I had a severe case of the blahs this last weekend. I spent most of the day Saturday reading and watching a couple of movies, and took a nap! No apologies … it felt good to veg out a bit. Outside it was rainy and at times a wintry mix … just a nasty day to leave the house.
My wife’s birthday was earlier in the week, and our son took us all out to dinner on Sunday evening at a popular smokehouse in the area. I decided to splurge and order prime rib … that was a mistake! That was one of the toughest slabs of meat I’ve come across in quite a while. It tasted great, but I had a sore jaw from all the chewing. Oh well, it was a nice family get-together. Too few of those nowadays.
Last night was a bit lackluster for FT8. I made a few stateside contacts, but things were pretty sparse. I did try to catch the 9L1 in Sierra Leone on CW, but he had quite a pileup going and I was not a lottery winner! Good operator at the key, though … he was owning that pileup!
It’s always interesting to get on the bands on the Monday after a big contest, and last evening was no different. The FT8 crowd was there … 80, 60, & 40 were full of FT8 signals … 20 and above were dead here. CW was a far second place …
BUT, the interesting thing …
I could not find a single RTTY signal, anywhere. Just the evening before, it was wall-to-wall RTTY with the ARRL RTTY Roundup going on. I don’t know if they were all burned out or if they only fired up that mode during contests. I suspect some of both!
I dove in and worked a bunch of North American FT8 QSOs, with some Caribbean islands thrown in for good measure. I also worked a few CW contacts as well. Had some enjoyable chats there. I try to pick the best-sounding fists. I’m getting too old to try and parse poorly sent, poorly spaced CW. Running words and letters together is NOT GOOD!
Sorry for my mini-rant there … have a good week and get on the air! Enjoy!!