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
I’ll have to admit … I haven’t been very active lately. Not sure really why … band conditions, dreary weather, just didn’t feel like it … whatever. I was off work today and fired up the radio to mediocre propagation and not much going on. I did manage to snag a KL7 station on 20 meters FT4.
I’ve had a big change in my life, too. My hearing has been declining for years. I’ve really been having difficulty in understanding speech, and decided to finally do something about it. A trip to Costco, and now I’m the proud owner and user of hearing aids.
What a difference! I’m still acclimatizing to them, but the improvement is spectacular. I’m hearing things that I haven’t heard for years. I never realized how noisy my shack was! Clicks, squeals, fans … all audible now, but not that hard to ignore. I need to find over-the-ear headphones that can accommodate my RIC hearing aids. They need to cover the part behind the ears.
73 de Dick N4BC
Not the red condiment … just a few notes about what I’ve been up to.
I just did a quick calculation of confirmations. Confirmations are running at 80.3% on QRZ and at 71.2% on on LOTW. I must admit, I NEVER saw rates that high, even when I was at a DX location years ago. Electronic confirmation has revolutionized QSLing. As a practical matter, I really don’t care as much as I did when I first started out fifty-three years ago. I still really appreciate the occasional physical card in the mail … very few and far between nowadays.
I haven’t been active much lately. I’ve had other things to compete for my time. One BIG life-changing thing I’ve done is get my first hearing aids. Truthfully, after the first week, I could kick myself for not doing this years ago. Meetings had become a real ordeal. I could hear fine, but understanding what was said was the problem. My problem is high-frequency loss … moderately severe. That’s where all the speech intelligibility lies. Too many years working around aircraft and in a shipyard, back before hearing protection was a big thing. It’s been a real eye-opener … or should I say ear-opener? 😀 😀
I’ll try to work a bit harder to get back into the radio groove and catch you all later.
73 de Dick N4BC
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
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