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

Alas …

Well, I had good intentions for the weekend … I planned to put in a good (for me) effort in the CQ WW CW contest, and I failed completely. I DID turn on the radio a couple of times and listened, but just couldn’t muster up the energy to jump into the (crowded) pool. I don’t even know why. Laziness, I guess … and lack of enthusiasm. Maybe it was turkey-induced stupor?

I did notice that I still had issues with Win4Icom/N1MM+/WinKeyerUSB operation that I thought I had solved. Back to the drawing board on that. 

It was just a really laid-back weekend … four and a half days. I did watch a couple of movies on Netflix and read a couple of books. So it wasn’t a total waste of a long weekend.

73 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

Aftermath

Michael has come and gone now, and it was nowhere as bad as it could have been here at my QTH in Tidewater, VA. There were tornadoes and heavy rains all around us … to the South, West, and North … but most of the really nasty stuff was to the North of us. At the house, it was mostly high winds, rain, overturned trash cans, and lots of silver maple branches in the front yard. Many people are without power, but my power never failed. I did lose internet for about a half hour. When I look at the videos of the storm hitting the Florida panhandle, it’s sobering to see what Mother Nature can dish out.

Of course, the internet dropout was in the middle of the weekly Tidewater DMR Net on TG 31515, so my hotspot became a nice paperweight with a pretty blinky red led. Before I lost my link, we had nine check-ins, and several regulars were absent, no doubt because of the storm. So, better luck next week!

After the Net went away for me, I went ahead and got the DXLab Suite working with Win4Icom. Simple, really … just set up the virtual ports to interface with DXCommander and all worked well. I’m using two monitors and if I don’t judiciously manage what applications I’ve got open, I find I’m running out of room on the monitor desktops. You have to be creative in closing or minimizing and resizing windows on the monitors to keep things from piling up on top of each other.

Today, things are getting back to normal. Michael is heading out to sea, and I’m at work, looking forward to the weekend (as I always do!). We still have generators running at our tower sites that are without power. My daughter, who is doing her practice teaching for her teaching certification/licence, has the day off, since schools are closed today (again!) due to trees down, minor flooding, and power outages.

73 de Dick N4BC