FT8 Roundup

This weekend I dabbled in the FT8 Roundup. I was on the air when I had some free time, and made a total of 70 QSOs … not even a big effort, but it was interesting.

When the contest first started, there was lots of confusion, especially about operating frequencies. The normal frequencies were not used … special ranges of frequencies were specified. Also, there were several settings that had to be changed in the software itself, and that confused some. The instructions were well-written, and I had no problems at all.

Contest action!

To do things right, it was necessary to go into the files and create backups and then delete specific files. I was leery of that, but I followed the instructions to the letter … no problems were noted when restoring everything afterwards. I even worked another ten stations afterwards to make sure everything was copacetic (HA! Look that one up!).

SO … everything is back to normal, all the contacts are uploaded to LOTW, ClubLog, eQSL, and QRZ, and I’m already seeing some confirmations, minutes after the contest.

Have you been a ham long enough to remember contests back in the “Dark Ages”? Submitting a log then was a real trial … dupe sheets, deciphering handscribbled logs, counting multipliers, computing scores on your fingers and toes, snail mail submission … like I said, the “Dark Ages”. Soooooo much easier now!

Of course, my mouse quit working during all of this. “Must be the battery,” says I. I replace the battery … still bad. Look all over the house for a spare mouse. Finally, a light went on … I tried another AA battery … success! The first replacement was no good. I need to turn in my Technician badge!

Hope you had a good ham weekend. I had thought about pulling out my manual tuner and making some contacts in the 160-meter contest, but I was busy enough with what I was doing. There’re never enough hours in the weekend, are there?

The next few weeks leading up to the holidays are going to be hectic … banquets, dinners, parties, concerts … all sorts of things to keep me busy. But, I’ll still do radio when I have a chance!

73 and Happy Holidays 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

A Quickie …

It’s been a while since I last posted, and quite frankly, I haven’t been on the air at all … life has gotten in the way. Problems with nursing homes, a death in the family, and a persistent cough and cold have conspired to make me silent, but I’m coming out of it now.

Tonight is the club meeting. Tom, WE4TOM is doing a presentation on DMR, so that’s of interest. I’m looking forward to it.

BAM! The holidays are upon us. I had to run into WallyWorld to grab some new windshield wipers for the truck and it’s CHRISTMAS in there! I STILL say Christmas sales shouldn’t start until after Thanksgiving at the earliest!

Actually, that was the first time I’ve been in WalMart in ages. Nine times out of ten, my go-to shopping spot is Amazon. “You can buy almost anything at Amazon!”

73 de Dick N4BC

Florence, redux

Well, Florence has come and has gone, even though we’re still experiencing rain and thunderstorms from the system . There wasn’t much impact here, where I live. The forecasts were dire and uncertain, but at my QTH we ended up with not much rain and not much wind. In some lower-lying parts of the area, there was flooding and trees down. Lots of businesses were closed … MacDonalds and Wendys were the two I noticed … in anticipation of much more severe weather that really never came to pass. My daughter, who is practice teaching in the Chesapeake school system, had an unscheduled week off when they decided to close the schools as a precautionary measure.

However, a glance to our south … and not that far south … shows what it could have been like. The Carolinas were, and still are, devastated. Destruction, chaos, roads impassible or just gone … those people need our prayers and our aid. It will be a long time before things get back to normal there.

There have been some comments about how we went through all this expensive preparation for nothing. My answer is look to out south … to what could have been. Predicting the weather is not an exact science and it’s better to be ready than to be caught unprepared. We were as ready as we could be, and that’s OK with me.

73 de Dick N4BC

Thirteen Colonies

Well, I wasn’t even chasing the special event stations and ended up working seven of the colonies in one evening … NC, MA, PA, NY, SC, NH, and NJ. So … no clean sweep for me, but it was sort of fun watching them accumulate. Most of them were FT8, but some were CW and some were SSB. I see that for five dollars and a bit of paperwork I can get a nice certificate for participating. Maybe I will (and maybe I won’t). I do want all to thank the guys that organized this event, though. Well done! I think I actually did at least hear all of the former colonies.

I did binge watch a bunch of ham radio related YouTube videos over the weekend. It’s amazing … anything you want to find out about has probably had a video made about it. Lots of interesting and informative videos. Whether you’re looking for technical info, reviews, opinions, or operating hints, somebody has taken the time to make a video about it. I found and subscribed to several new channels that interested me. If you’re not into YouTube, it’s a great resource!

I went to a retirement party for my son’s father-in-law Saturday evening, and we were outside in the back yard gathered around the firepit. It was decidedly chilly! This is July! It felt like spring or autumn. Crazy weather!

73 de Dick N4BC