Red Sun …

I noticed that the rising sun in the east was unnaturally a deep reddish-orange this morning. The weatherman says that it’s due to the smoke being blown eastward from the west coast wildfires. WOW! Three thousand miles away … small world!

Not much luck this morning on the radio. The bands have been pretty uncooperative the past few days, and this morning was no exception. The Europeans were coming in, but way down in signal strength. Time to read a book or something 😀 !

73 de Dick N4BC

Fickleness

The propagation gods giveth and the propagation gods taketh away … . Saturday was a good day for radio for me. I had over twenty POTA contacts and too many digital contacts to count. Then came Sunday!

There were plenty of spots for POTA activators, but I could not hear any of them well enough to make a solid contact. My noise levels were up and signal strengths were down. I was even having difficulties making digital contacts. The bandscope was pretty much flat for most of the day. Bummer!

Well, tomorrow is another day!

73 de Dick N4BC

Thoughts on the Hobby

I worked a few FT8 contacts this morning … around 6 AM … and decided to check out their bios on QRZ.com. Most had more than the stock entry of name, address, and FCC info.

One thing I noticed about most of them is that their station pictures all showed computers … most with multiple monitors. That really emphasized to me just how much the hobby has changed (and benefitted) from technology.

My computer basically controls most aspects of my operating. Logging, equipment control, instant information … all are under computer control. With the touch of a key, I can pull up your QRZ page and get a pretty good idea of who you are and how you operate.

BUT … more importantly … I can still operate without all that stuff, if necessary. I can fling a wire up into a tree and be working stations on battery power with a moment’s notice.

The technology has advanced the hobby immensely, but the roots are still there. The naysayers preach that we are irrelevant in today’s world. BUT, as has so often been demonstrated, all those sophisticated systems have many points of failure, and WE have been the only means of communication.

Sure, we’re not needed as often as we were in the past, but when all else fails, we’re still here.

73 de Dick N4BC

Parks, Islands, and Old Timers

Tomorrow is one of two QCWA chapter meetings that I normally attend during the year. Chapter 119 meets in Virginia Beach most months on Friday, when I am at work. Twice a year, they hold it on the Peninsula where I live, and it’s on Saturday … April and October. Those I can make!

Stu, WA4JUO and his team will treat us to an interesting presentation on the QCWA Expedition to Tangier Island.

Tangier Island

I’m still chugging along with my Parks on the Air (POTA) contacts. I have 198 unique parks confirmed now. the first 100 or so seemed to add up fast … the second 100 have been considerably slower. Some of that is attributable to band conditions. I have heard lots that were just too far down in the mud to copy.

I’ve actually worked more than 200, but the requirement is 200 confirmed! Everything depends on the activator turning in his log and the administrator for that call area getting the data into the database. Some are fast … some are slower. Hey, it’s a hobby … I haven’t seen a paycheck yet. Us hunters just work ’em and wait!

73 de Dick N4BC

Up and Down

I was doing my usual thing yesterday afternoon after work, looking for POTA activators, just tuning around and checking the spots from the parks website. I worked a few, and then just left the tuning on the last one I checked, where I could just barely make out a signal … no copy though.

I went on to do some paperwork, just listening to the subdued noise from the receiver. After about ten minutes, the signal caught my attention … I could actually make out a few words here and there. Another ten minutes, and the signal had improved to the point where I could copy.

I gave him a quick call … he answered me … 5 by 7s were exchanged … good QSO in the log! Ten or fifteen minutes later, he was gone again … hidden by the vagaries of QSB 🙁 .

So … the moral of this story? Sometimes, patience is indicated, Grasshopper … (my apologies to the old TV show, Kung Fu). Take your time and listen … take time to let things develop.

73 de Dick N4BC