The Aftermath …

It’s always interesting to get on the bands on the Monday after a big contest, and last evening was no different. The FT8 crowd was there … 80, 60, & 40 were full of FT8 signals … 20 and above were dead here. CW was a far second place …

BUT, the interesting thing …

I could not find a single RTTY signal, anywhere. Just the evening before, it was wall-to-wall RTTY with the ARRL RTTY Roundup going on. I don’t know if they were all burned out or if they only fired up that mode during contests. I suspect some of both!

I dove in and worked a bunch of North American FT8 QSOs, with some Caribbean islands thrown in for good measure. I also worked a few CW contacts as well. Had some enjoyable chats there. I try to pick the best-sounding fists. I’m getting too old to try and parse poorly sent, poorly spaced CW. Running words and letters together is NOT GOOD!

Sorry for my mini-rant there … have a good week and get on the air! Enjoy!!

73 de Dick N4BC


Not technically … we’re talking about 15 watts, not 5 watts, but we’re also talking about abound four billion miles away, too. The New Horizons Ultima Thule flyby just happened, and pictures and data are now being sent back to Earth. It was launched around 13 years ago. We live in wonderful times!

Even more amazing was that Voyager 1 was still communicating with the Earth in 2012 after thirty-some years in space and a at distance of more than 10 billion miles away. Awesome!

73 de Dick N4BC

Crankin’ ’em out again

I had a good evening on sixty meters FT8. It’s been raining all day, so I camped out in the shack and got some operating time in. I worked England, The Netherlands, Spain, Bulgaria, Canada, and, of course, the good ol’ U S of A. Signals were good. FT8 is primarily found on 5357.0. There’s lots of activity, and sometimes you find real gems there.

60 Meters 12/29/2018

That’s not bad for what I’m using as an antenna. I’ve got a 31-foot piece of wire wire-tied to a fiberglass mast with a 4:1 UNUN, fed by 50 watts through a LDG tuner and 100-feet of RG-8X. I’ve got one radial on the ground of indeterminate length. Definitely non-resonant and non-directional. BUT … it works! If you can’t have an elaborate, expensive antenna … just get some wire into the air. ANY antenna is better than NO antenna!

73 de Dick N4BC


I received a wonderful email this past weekend from the great nephew of the previous holder of my callsign. He had read my Bio on QRZ and wrote to let me know a bit of the history of his great uncle Leach Lonzo Lea Jr, now a Silent Key. I had done some cursory research on the internet, but that only yielded superficial facts … his name, his former address … stuff like that.

” My uncle was Leach Lonzo Lea Jr. He obtained his license after serving in WWII, he told me he had to travel to Atlanta GA and sit in front of FCC examiners to take his test. Uncle Jr. used his GI Bill and went to the University of Tennessee and received his degree in Electronics. He then spent a career with the Tennessee Valley Authority as a  two way radio technician. One of his hobbies, in the 1950’s, was radio control airplanes. He built the radio equipment as he liked to build everything. Remember I mentioned the Heathkit equipment? Anyway, I wanted to share a little about the life of the man that had your call sign prior to you. “ This is an excerpt from the email from his great nephew, Derek Lea N3WKM.

Derek points out in his email that it was his great uncle that really kindled his lifelong interest in radio and electronics. I think we all have an “Uncle Jr.” somewhere in our past. This is not a hobby where most of us just woke up one day and decided to be a ham. Somewhere … somebody or something planted the spark that piqued your curiosity. This hobby of ham radio is all about mentoring … or Elmering, if you prefer. It’s about passing on knowledge and helping each other, and that’s what keeps it great!

Thanks to Derek, I now have a much better sense of the history of my callsign. I’ll continue to try to honor that legacy by staying active and trying to be a “good” ham.

73 & 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