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

Mixed Blessings …

I flipped on the radio when I got home from work yesterday afternoon, and had to check and see if the antenna  was connected (as a matter of fact, it wasn’t … I had disconnected it the night before during some violent thunderstorms). So, I reconnected it … didn’t make a lot of difference … reception still sucked! Switch to OFF!

Later in the evening, I returned to the rig and was pleasantly surprised to hear something besides QRN. Eighty through 12 meters were showing SOME signs of life … especially on FT8. I worked about a half dozen contacts on most of those bands (primarily eighty meters). There was quite a bit of CW activity on 40, and I would have liked to sample that, but alas, I was needed elsewhere.

Charlie, WB4PVT, posted a video on the local email group about how “TUBS” are made. Every week, he posts a video of interest to hams. A couple of weeks before, he had posted one on how vacuum tubes are made, but had made a typo in the title … TUBS instead of TUBES. I kidded him about it the next time I saw him. He got me back by posting one last week about how tubs … BATHTUBS … are made. Got me!

Field day is fast approaching. Hopefully I’ll have time to participate with the club. Actually, we have several clubs combining for the event, as we do every year. The club I’m a member of just cant’t muster enough bodies to put together a team, so we make it a group effort and have a great time!

It was a good evening, after all.

73 de Dick N4BC
(from the bottom of the cycle … which ain’t so bad anyway!)

A Full Day

It was a good evening on the bands. I had FT-8 contacts on 80 through 10 meters … even picked up two new countries. Sixty meters was busy, and I had a Jamaican CW QSO on 40 meters.

In my guise as a public safety radio professional, I spent the day listening to a sales/technical representative from JPS Interoperability Solutions tell us all about their products. They offer ways to tie together disparate communications equipment (UHF, VHF, landline, cellular, , HF, trunked, analog, digital, video …). You name it, they can make it talk together. I’ve used their equipment over the years, and they build good stuff! I even have a JPS NRF-7 here in the shack, which was an early product for the Amateur market. It’s an audio dsp unit, and still holds its own, even after many years.

I bought a copy of Stu, KB1HQS’s new book, Portable Operating for Amateur Radio, and hope to get a chance to read it this weekend. I’ve followed his blog online for a while, and enjoy reading what he has to share. It’s $9.95 for the Kindle edition on Amazon ($19.95 for the softcover). I prefer the Kindle editions. Not only do you get them pretty much instantly, but they’re a considerable savings over the physical book. You don’t need a Kindle to read them. You can download a free app for your computer or phone.

Have a great weekend, and GET ON THE AIR!

73 de Dick N4BC


Ya know, I note that as of today, I have had over 33 thousand visits to this website since the start of the year, and that’s either scary or wonderful. I don’t know if they’re looking for something specific or if they’re randomly searching. That makes me humble and wanting to do better. Guess I’ll have to up my game.

73 de Dick N4BC

Planning a road trip

I had a call from Charlie, WB4PVT, last night about our trip to Richmond, VA on Saturday morning to FROSTFEST. He’s going to pick me up about 0630 and we’ll have a bit of breakfast before we set out for the approximate one-hour drive to the hamfest.

FROSTFEST is a big hamfest, but even they don’t rate an appearance by the big three (Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood). The only major manufacturer there is Elecraft. Quite a few second-tier dealers there … Quicksilver, Hamworld, etc. All of the tables were sold out this year, so the individual sales will be there. I’ll bet I see the same guys with the same stuff again this year that I did last year, though!!

It should be a nice trip. I’m not planning any purchases this time, but you never know.  Maybe some BNCs and PL-259s. There are some interesting looking Forums, so maybe I’ll learn something. I always see at least a few people that I only see about once a year, so that’s always a pleasant surprise when it happens.

73 de Dick N4BC