This time of year …

Christmas is nearly upon us, and I am so far behind the power curve that I will never pull out of my descent! This is a particularly hectic time of year, and there are never enough days to fit all the activities into. Parties, shopping, church … all demand their slice of time. I’m off all Christmas week, so maybe I can play catch up on some of the things I slacked on.

I haven’t been on the air for a while (because, see above). This morning I flipped on the rig and worked some FT4/FT8. One of the FT8 QSOs was on 20 meters with VE1GPY, who was activating a Canadian park. That’s only my second FT8 POTA contact. I also worked ol’ reliable N4CD on 20 meter CW for another park contact this morning. Most of my QSOs this morning were on forty and sixty meters.

Yesterday, there was a huge pileup on I-64 near here. Fog and freezing temperatures caused a 70-car junkpile. I lived in Southern California for years, near the coast, and I know you can’t drive the posted speed limit in the fog. The problem is, stupid drivers behind you don’t follow that rule and have a tendency to run over you. At least we didn’t have to worry about fog freezing on the bridges in San Diego County!

73 de Dick N4BC

Back at It …

Been slackin’ a bit, lately. Lots of non-ham activities. Teaching classes, honey-dos … lots of mini-things. Ham radio has been shoved to the background for a bit.

I noted that my progress in unique parks worked has been static at 189 for a while, but I did work a couple yesterday afternoon … one in Wisconsin and one in Michigan.

Lots of noise, though. I tried to hear a couple of others, but they were just too weak and under the noise floor on 40 meters. To add to that, there was some sort of periodic pulse interference and the usual Broadcast Interference that pops up in the afternoon.

The station in Wisconsin was down in the noise when I started listening to him, but over the course of time, his signal increased to a 59. If I recall correctly, he was on 20 meters. That pulse noise was there intermittently also.

This coming Sunday, I’m helping the club provide communications for a combined Marathon/50K/Relay at the Mariner’s Museum Noland Trail. I’ve got to be at the race venue at 5:45 am … no sleeping in at all on Sunday!

73 de Dick N4BC

Catchup

It’s been a week or two since I last posted. Life got a bit chaotic. A very dear friend was killed in a tragic industrial accident, and ham radio and blogging had to take a back seat.

There’s not actually much to report about. I’ve only been on the air a couple of times during this period, and those were mostly FT4/8 contacts. I don’t think the bands have been too stellar this past week.

I did spend a bit of money on radio things. I bought a yellow reflective vest for when I assist with public service events. I know … I know. Stereotypical self-important ham prepper, right? Actually, it does help with visibility if someone needs to locate you quickly during the event.

I also ordered a new toy. It’s supposed to be here around the 9th of September. I’ve read several blog posts and seen several YouTube videos about this low-cost vector network analyzer that piqued my interest. Less than fifty bucks on eBay.

NanoVNA

It covers 50 KHz to 900 MHz … does Smith Chart and antenna analyzer functions … and more. It’s about the size of a credit card, but maybe 5/8-inch thick. I’m going to enjoy playing with it, I think.

I just signed up for my next public service event. It’s a marathon, a 50K, and a marathon/50K relay run simultaneously. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? It’ll be a bit cooler then … October 13th. The race is so long, we’ll be covering it in two shifts.

Well, that’s about all I have to report. Catch ya’ later!

73 de Dick N4BC

So True …

Saw a great quote today that I’m sorry to say really applies to me!

Speaking about antennas …” The one that works best is installed, in the air, and connected — always better than the one in the carton in the garage.

I’ve had an MFJ Cobweb antenna for several years now … still in the box. I always have an excuse for not getting it assembled and in the air … too hot … too cold … too busy … etc. I promise to get it up “real soon now”, but later, OK? It’s too hot right now 😀 .

73 de Dick N4BC

:)

Shellfish and Volts

Yesterday was only partially about radios. I pulled the trigger on a Bioenno BLF-1212W/A, 12V 12AH LiFePo4 battery and charger. My old SLA 12V 7AH battery was not cutting it any more, so I have upgraded to the new chemistry. By all reports, it should be a quantum jump for my portable operations. It’ll even allow me to use my FT-450D when I need more than 5 Watts.

I ordered from my favorite ham store, Ham Radio Outlet in Woodbridge, VA. Always great service from them. I had shipping confirmation from them within hours, and being so close, the order should be on my porch today or tomorrow. The USPS tracking leaves a lot to be desired … I sometimes receive an order before the USPS says it’s been picked up 🙂 .

The wife and daughter and I went out to the Surf Rider restaurant in Poquoson, VA for a belated Anniversary dinner last night. Our wedding anniversary was Monday, but Monday being a holiday (Memorial Day), the restaurant was closed. I had a plateful of juicy, perfectly fried Chesapeake Bay oysters. I seem to be stuck in a rut … I almost always order oysters here. Love ’em!

It’s been HOT here … 94 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday and 57% humidity, with 97 degrees being called for today. Uncomfortable, but certainly nothing compared to those folks in the Midwest, with tornadoes and flooding. Terrible!

73 de Dick N4BC