Folks … the bands have been really noisy at my QTH lately. Lots of spring storms with their associated lightning crashes have really made listening a lot more difficult. The QSB hasn’t been much better either.

As you know if you follow this blog, I’ve been bitten by the Parks on the Air (POTA) bug, and have really been pursuing activations of parks. I have nearly 60 confirmed now. A lot of these are, by their very nature, QRP operations with inefficient, compromise antenna systems. That, coupled with noise and generally poor propagation, has made things rough. It’s frustrating hearing other hunters working these activators, and I can’t even tell they’re there.

The temperatures have been up and down … typical spring weather here, but the trend is upwards. It does seem to rain and storm most weekends, so it’s hard to get outside and do portable ops. I’m afraid this more pleasant weather will soon end, with summer raising its ugly head with temperatures in the 90s and 100s with high humidity … unfortunately also typical for this area.

Whatever … not much I can do about it! I’ll just work through it until later in the year when I can complain about it being too cold. That’s the nature of the human beast … never satisfied 🙂 .

73 de Dick N4BC

A Day Off …

I took a day off from work today. I’ve built up 455 hours of vacation time, and I can only carry over 400 to the next fiscal year, which begins August 1st, so I’ll be burning a few hours now and then. It wouldn’t disappear, though … they just move the excess into my sick leave account.

I slept in, and then got up and took lunch to my wife at work and spent some time with her. I returned home and turned on the rig. Nasty sounds! We had an electrical storm while I was with the wife, and there’re still more thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon and evening. The bands were so bad, I even went out and checked my antenna.

I disconnected the feedline and radials at the base and carried the UnUn into the shack, where I disassembled and checked it. It looks OK inside, so I buffed up the outside connections and reconnected everything. The bands are still crappy, but I have a lot more confidence in it not being antenna connections now.

There’s nothing spectacular going on radio-wise in my shack. I’m still pursuing POTA Activators, and still regularly working FT8 contacts. Same ol’ same ol’.

73 de Dick N4BC

What’s Up? (Redux)

Hasn’t been a lot happening, lately. I’ve been busy with non-hobby items, like WORK :-D.

I DID work Burkina Faso, XT2AW, on 60-meter FT8. I was just tuning around, seeing what was going on, and saw his CQ. I jumped on him, and the rest is history!

I’ve been adding to my Parks on the Air totals … I’m up to 50 parks worked now, and I spent some time this past week tuning up some antennas for my first activation in the near future.

73 de Dick N4BC


No, not the red goop in a bottle. Just a hodgepodge of little items …

It looks like g3nrw.net is down. Wade’s website is a great collection of IC-7300 information (and other rigs, too). Hopefully it’s just a temporary hiccup. I’ll leave it in the links and see what happens.

I missed out on the Virginia QSO Party last weekend. The conditions were terrible. Every time I turned on the rig and listened … nothing but noise. Sol was not cooperating. Nor were the Honey-dos … Saturday a new washer and dryer showed up, so we needed to get the old units out and the new units into the utility room. First, we had to get the JUNK out of the way so we could get the APPLIANCES swapped! How do we accumulate so much STUFF?

It’s been raining all last night and today here on the coast in Virginia. It’s just gray and dreary outside … actually quite depressing looking out the window.

NWS Wakefield, VA 3/21/2019 0600Z

I’ve worked a couple more POTA stations since I last posted here. It’s now officially Springtime, so maybe the weather will smile on us soon so I can get out and do some activations. Fingers crossed!

So that’s about all I have for now … not really a worthwhile post, but it does bring things pretty much up to the present. Hopefully, my ham activity will have increased by the next posting.

73 de Dick N4BC

Zzzzzzzzz …

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.

17 Meter FT8

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.

73 de Dick N4BC