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

Memorial Day Weekend

What a wonderful weekend! The weather was nice, there was lots of activity on the bands (CQ WW WPX CW Contest), and Monday was my 25th wedding anniversary. I didn’t work the CW contest, though … I DID spend a considerable amount of time chasing POTA activations, though.

Saturday and Sunday I made a total of 30 contacts with parks, using different modes and different bands … SSB, CW, and even one FT8! Fourteen of those contacts were with Sean, KX9X … he was on a marathon run to activate as many Connecticut parks as possible. The man’s a machine, cranking out the QSOs. I have worked 83 unique parks so far, in 20 different states, and really enjoy the hunt!

Monday, I took the day off from radio. I thought about rearranging the shack, but decided to just laze around. The XYL cooked up a feast of BBQ chicken (with her secret vinegar-based BBQ sauce), green beans, fried squash, potato casserole, and pickled beets (all the veggies were fresh, from a local produce stand). I spent that afternoon reading and watching YouTube videos. Just a relaxing, laid back day. It needed to be, after a meal like that!

Unfortunately, today is back to work! Since I was off Friday through Monday, there was a bit waiting for me. It’s about 9 now (I come to work at 6), and I’ve just about got my head above water again 😀 !!

73 de Dick N4BC

QRN

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

Catch-Up

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