One thing after another!

It’s been a typical 2020 weekend so far … wife had to have an epidural for pinched nerves that have been troubling her for months … the remnants of tropical storm Laura are just about upon us, with predictions of lots of rain, flooding, and even the possibility of tornadoes … the A/C started making funny noises last night, and then quit altogether … hope that’s it for the rest of the weekend!

But, looking on the bright side … the wife says the shot helped a lot, and she’s in a much better mood now … no pain. I sent a request for service to the home warranty company at 11 am, an A/C tech called at noon to say he was on the way, he arrived at 12:30 pm, and had the repair completed and function fully restored by 1 pm … IMPRESSIVE!! That was the first time I have used the warranty. And to top that off, the rain from the storm started just as he was replacing the last screw in the case! How about that!

Radiowise, not a lot happening at the moment. I continue with FT4/8 when I get a few free minutes, but these other things have kept me busy. POTA contacts are down … propagation has not smiled on me.

OH! We did get the repeater antennas up on the tower. Just waiting for a chance to install the UHF and VHF repeaters. Soon!

73 de Dick N4BC

Storms and Parks

Wow … in less than an hour this morning, lots of parks to work if you’re interested in Parks on the Air.

After a couple of days of a power outage, I just turned on the radio this morning to see what the bands were like. Nothing spectacular, but certainly fruitful.

About a block from my QTH is a beautiful wooded street … the trees formed a green canopy over the pavement … great for scenery, but not when coupled with the high winds and heavy rain of a tropical storm. The falling branches took out most of the power lines, thus my lack of power at the house. I could have gotten up on battery power, but it was HOT as well, with no air conditioning.

We had our first radio club meeting in person (other than virtual), since March, last night. Attendance was pretty sparse, but that was to be expected. Non-essential meetings are not a priority right now. Also, missing was the social get together for a meal beforehand. Next month, we’re planning a hybrid meeting, with both physical and virtual attendance provided for.

Well, I’ll close this for now and see what else I can find on the bands, and then see about finding some lunch. Most of the food in the fridge was a casualty of the power outage … got to look into a new generator soon.

73 de Dick N4BC

Plodding Along

Not a lot has changed in the past couple of weeks, radio-wise. I’m still working lots of digital modes (including CW) and enjoying it. FT4 activity seems to be increasing … probably since the FT8 segments are so crowded. PSK and Olivia activity is still sporadic, but I did notice some nice signals on 20 meters around lunchtime today … strong and lots of them!

One of my coworkers just became a ham last week. He attended an outdoor testing session, to comply with the social distancing recommendations. He passed the Technician and General class licenses, and was formally granted KO4DBF after about a week’s time or so.

Our club held its first virtual club meeting last night, using Zoom. Last week I attended our QCWA chapter meeting via Zoom as well. Looks like Zoom is the preferred method of social interaction now. At work, we’re using Microsoft Teams, but I like the Zoom interface better.

As a matter of fact, I’ve got two Zoom meetings later this evening. First, our Scout Troop, and then after that, our church Choir. We’ve been doing virtual meetings for Scouts for several weeks now and it seems to be working well. The choir meeting is more of a social thing rather than musical … just to keep in touch while in-person services are suspended. Our virtual church services are on FaceBook live.

73 de Dick N4BC

Interesting Times

The old Chinese proverb supposedly says, “May you live in interesting times.” True dat! I’ve been self-isolating at home and working from home for about three weeks now, and still hanging in there. The Governor has extended the stay-at-home order for another two weeks, so it looks like I’ll be here a bit longer.

I had lots of projects that I wanted to do, but it seems that I just can’t get started on anything. I don’t know if it’s because of a bit of depression … or just plain old laziness.

I did decide to change my logging program though. There was nothing wrong with the old one, but I finally (after years of use) decided that it was just overly complex for my needs. I decided to go with something simpler … N3FJP’s Amateur Contact Log. I’ve installed it and have been using it for a few days now and am well pleased. I’m trying it during a 45-day trial period, but I’m pretty sure I’ll end up purchasing it.

I worked 30 stations yesterday evening and this morning (FT modes) … mostly on 40, 30, or 20 meters, and mostly US stations. Signal strengths were good, and although crowded, there was room to squeeze into an empty spot.

Our Club, the Peninsula Amateur Radio Club, has decided to have a meeting next month. With the social distancing in force, we’ve decided to do it as a net on one of the local repeaters. The problem is identifying a repeater that everyone can hit reliably. Our club repeater is still down. Our plans to get it on a new tower and on the air have been put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.

73 de Dick N4BC

Strange Times

It’s eerie at work this week. Normally, we have a steady flow of customers in and out of the shop, all having some sort of communications difficulty. This week, I think I can count the number of visitors on the fingers of one hand … the Coronavirus is definitely affecting business. Traffic is noticeably lighter when I head home after work, and it’s odd seeing all the empty restaurant parking lots.

I’d much rather be at home, isolating myself. My wife and daughter are both at home this week, due to their workplaces being closed. I’m in the at-risk group … chronic illnesses, over 66, etc. But since I’m working in the public-safety field, I’m considered “essential personnel.”

FT-modes have been pretty busy this week. I’ve worked a lot of Europeans. I’ve seen quite a few Asian stations, but haven’t managed to work any. I check the spotting page for POTA frequently, and see lots of posts, but when I go to the indicated frequency … nada! Forty and twenty meters are not being cooperative for CW and SSB.

Today is the first day of Spring, and the temperatures are supposed to climb into the mid-seventies, but it’s still gray and dreary-looking outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the eighties … maybe Spring is actually here?

73 de Dick N4BC