Recap …

I got on for a while late yesterday afternoon, using WSJT-X 2.0 rc5, and had some luck. It wasn’t a lot of luck … just some luck.

You can see, there is more 77-bit messaging showing up on the bands, but it’s still pretty slim pickings. I’m hoping the BIG flip-over will come when version 2 is finally released in its finished form on the 10th of December.

Eighty meter Propagation from N4BC 11/27/2018

Eighty meters propagation was  really good last night. the low bands are the place to be to work stations, but there are still some real gems to be found on the higher frequency bands. I even heard some strong CW signals up on ten meters yesterday evening.

Oh, I got a confirmation from 5T2AI, Ahmed in Mauritania, yesterday. Worked him last week. This LOTW stuff works fine (and fast)! Shame on you if you’re still a denier :-)!!

73 de Dick N4BC

I fired up the rig when I got home from work yesterday, and found a few takers on the bands.

All of these were quickies (as are all FT8 contacts) … less than an hour for all sixteen. I was rushed, as I had to get myself ready and head out to my weekly Scout meeting and then choir practice … grabbing dinner on the way (Whopper combo). Not the healthiest dinner, but fast.

After choir practice, I had to rush home for the weekly Tidewater DMR net (TG 31515). I joined only 7 minutes late at 9:07. Participation was good, with quite a few new check-ins, and lots of spirited conversation. Next week (being Thanksgiving Day) we’ll not meet.

I can see this holiday season is stacking up to be hectic. Lots of events coming up … concerts, banquets, family events … you know what I mean. By the time the new year is here, you’re just glad for a break!

The combined PARC/SPARK Holiday Dinner is coming up on Tuesday, December 4th at the County Grill in York County on Route 17. The food is always good there, and the company will be too!

I see the ARRL November Sweepstakes is this weekend. This is the SSB one, and I am just not into SSB so I’ll pass. Furthermore, I’ve always thought the exchange was too involved and complex, so I’ve just never participated in the Sweepstakes events. If it’s your thing, more power to ya’. Just not my cup of tea.

73 de Dick N4BC

D-Star On Scene

The new Icom ID-51A PLUS 2 that I won in Icom’s monthly drawing arrived late yesterday, and I’ve been exploring the intricacies of programming¬† it. I still haven’t totally conquered the software. I do have it working reliably with my hotspot … Raspberry Pi / MMDVM / Pi-Star. There was lots of reading and watching YouTube! I am experiencing some short momentary dropouts that I’ve got to track down. I’m not sure where the problem lies … there are so many variables in the chain.

The radio itself is so chock full of features, it’s gonna take a while to get familiar with all the menus and where things are located. It took a trip to the manual to figure out how to change the power level to “super low” to conserve battery and not overload the hotspot.

I’ve been sitting here “reading the mail” on REF001C while I’m composing and editing this post. Lots of interesting things going on there. Right now I’m listening to a couple of guys talking about Chevy Camaros. One’s in Texas and one’s in Florida. They’re both pretty knowledgeable about classic cars.

This is pretty solid communications, and I love it! No QRM … no QRN … no straining to hear. It’s either there or not there. Great for laid back chats, especially during these lean times.

73 de Dick N4BC

The Changing Face Of How We Operate

I was reading through posts in one of the on-line forums (sorry, I can’t remember the¬† poster), and he made a comment that made me stop and say to myself, “That’s so true.” The gist of his post was that with the advent of spectrum displays in more state-of-the-art SDR radios (such as FLEX, IC-7300, et cetera) we have changed the way we search for stations to work. With the older radios, we tune around, listening for other stations to work. Unless you happen across a station while he is putting out a signal, he doesn’t exist as far as you’re concerned. He could have stopped transmitting just a second before you reached his frequency, and you wouldn’t know he had been there. But, with a spectrum display, you’re looking at a broad swath of the band and seeing ALL the activity … ALL the stations. One of those “light bulb over the head moments” for me. ‘Ain’t technology grand?’

73 de Dick N4BC

Good Vibrations …

Good vibrations … to quote the Beach Boys … RF vibrations, that is. Last night, I heard stations on just about all HF bands, some quite strong. I worked over a dozen FT8 stations on 40 and 60 meters. The higher frequencies, not so much luck. Although they were solid reception, I just couldn’t connect. Even 80 meters was reasonably devoid of QRN.

I got my RTTY setup working. I was using the wrong mode on the IC-7300. I was set to RTTY and should have been in USB-D since I was using AFSK. At least, it seems to work now. I couldn’t find any RTTY stations on the air yesterday evening to do a final test. But … listening on another receiver, I can hear the diddle and mark/space tones when doing a test transmission.

73 de Dick N4BC