Just a little update …

More snow expected tonight … only 1 or 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) this time. But … you never know. Schools were delayed two hours this morning due to freezing fog and low visibility.

Not much to report for last weekend … had too many non-radio projects, and most of my hamming was watching YouTube videos from ham contributors.

73 de Dick N4BC

Silent Key

I just learned this morning that a dear friend, Al Rhodes (KJ4TDG, ex-WN2SOU, ex-WB2ZCP) passed away on Saturday. Al was a past Vice President of Chapter 119, QCWA, in Tidewater Virginia, and I had also worked with him on several job-related projects. Al worked for Federal Engineering as a Project Manager and Senior Consultant, and had worked with me on our Motorola trunked radio system upgrade from analog to digital for the City of Newport News, Virginia. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, he currently made his home in Virginia Beach, VA.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to good friends, but unfortunately, we have to and then carry on … but not forgetting …

73 de Dick N4BC

New Territory

I spent a bit of time on 80 meters last night … most contacts were North America. Forty meters was pretty sparse. Just not good conditions. As a matter of fact, later, I actually was wondering if my antenna had fallen down again, signals dropped so much.

So, to catch up with a task I hadn’t gotten around to yet, I decided to enter frequencies into memory for the 60 meter (5 MHz) band on the new IC-7300. I have never operated on this band before, so moving between the five “channels” revealed not too much activity last night. I did hear one CW station, and they were pretty strong; I also heard a couple of FT8 signals on one channel as well.

The CW station was right on the center frequency of the channel. Neither digital station was. The rules state that digital signals must be zero-beat with the center frequency of the channel; they also state that only one station can transmit on a channel at one time. Either the operators were in error, or I need to read some more. I didn’t do any transmitting on that band, other than to send a couple of test signals (VVV de N4BC). I’ll try more later.

Most of the snow and ice is gone now … supposed to get up to 62 today and 71 tomorrow. Saturday, the temperatures drop again, and Sunday they’re in the 30s again. I’m ready though … got a new pair of hunting boots from Amazon yesterday. Probably won’t snow again all winter!

73 de Dick N4BC

Post-Holiday Season

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I was off from the Thursday before Christmas until the day after New Year’s Day … didn’t do much operating, though. Too much other stuff happening.

I did work some FT8, though, at least on a couple of days. Conditions variable … some days good, some days bad. At least I kept my hand in.

We’re expecting our first significant snowfall, starting Wednesday afternoon … three to five inches, they say. That’s a SWAG, though. They’re seldom right. If it’s bad enough, they’ll let us work from home or cancel work … two inches will shut thing down here in the South. If I’m at home, I’ll try to fire up on CW.

So, best wishes for the New year, and I hope all of your resolutions come true!

73 de Dick N4BC

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