Methodical

If nothing else, I’m methodical. If I’m going to buy something … pretty much anything … I’ll spend some time researching and reading reviews. It just makes sense … I want the best I can get for what I have to spend … value for money. This applies to appliances as well as radio equipment.

Recently, I’ve been trying to decide whether to buy a new washer or repair the old one. I think I’ve just about convinced myself to spring for the new one. The dryer is another story … it’s over 25 years old and still going strong. All I’ve ever done to it is replace a fuse about ten years back. Good investment!

I just got notification last night that the Icom ID-51 Plus 2 DStar radio that I won has shipped. It should be here next Wednesday. I’ve spent way too many hours researching DStar programming and operation, but I want to hit the ground running when it does show up. Same principle as above …try to know what you’re doing before you act.

Let me tell you, there’s a LOT of information out there on the WWW. Most is helpful, some is downright UNhelpful, and some is just … I don’t know … wrong is the best way to describe it. You really have to sort through everything to mine the nuggets of information that are useful. I DO think I’ve gained a lot  more understanding of DStar than I started with, which was pretty much zilch! I now feel like I can get on the air without making a fool of myself … that’s the goal, isn’t it.

73 de Dick N4BC

A Bit of Nostalgia

Good Morning, everyone!

I was just looking at my QSO confirmation rates … not too bad, actually. With the advent of electronic QSLing, the percentages are really pretty high, I think.

I track QSLing on two sites, primarily … Logbook Of TheWorld and QRZ. I also upload to EQsl and ClubLog, but seldom visit. I do that mostly for others. On LOTW my confirmation rate is a bit over 66% and on QRZ.com, it’s a whopping 76%.

Obviously, for the “biggie” awards (ARRL and CQ), the LOTW logbook is the major one, but just look at those percentages. I don’t have any numbers, but I guarantee you that I never approached that before electronic QSLing … maybe when I was rare DX, but not as a lowly US ham. 

Looking back on it, as a DX station with US managers, I was pretty isolated from the confirmation part of the hobby. I really didn’t care about that aspect of hamming. I just had a blast operating. Without the burden of LOTS of cards arriving in my mailbox, I was continually on the air when I was free. That being said, I still got a LOT of QSLs sent directly to my overseas mailbox … mostly foreign hams and HUGE stacks of bureau cards. I remember getting an entire mailbag of VQ9 (Seychelles) cards one time from the Russian Bureau at Box 99, Moscow (I was the VQ9 bureau). They got answered, but it took time.

Nowadays, it’s a lot cheaper. Essentially free. Back in the “good ole days”, all QSLs went either via the bureau or direct. With the cost of postage now, it’s just not a viable method for most hams.

Times change and we just have to change to keep up. I think LOTW was a great idea, and I’ve never had any problem, either setting up an account or using it, but I DO miss all the paper QSLs. Sigh … times change for sure.

73 de Dick N4BC

Holy Cow! Another Win!!

You may remember, not too long ago I mentioned that I had won the Icom HamNation weekly “swag” contest. Well, they take all the weekly winners and draw for a monthly Grand Prize. I WON THIS MONTH!!! The Grand Prize is an Icom ID-51A Plus 2 D-Star transceiver. Thank you, Icom!

I’m just starting to get a reasonable understanding of DMR, and now I’ve got to learn about D-Star, too! Well, they say the way to stay young and keep your wits is to challenge and exercise your brain. Thank you again, Icom!! You’re obviously thinking about my mental health!

Last night was our monthly club meeting, and Charlie, WB4PVT, did a presentation on connectors … PL-259 vs Type N. Even an old-timer like me learned a few new things. I also picked up my ticket from Rob, KE4JDY, for the Virginia Beach Hamfest in early September. There’s a forum on implementing a mesh network that looks interesting.

You know, I find that I’m becoming less interested in the equipment for sale at the hamfests and more interested in the forums. There’s a lot of good knowledge presented. And, it sometimes leads you in new directions … that’s how I got interested in amateur DMR.

I haven’t done a lot of operating this week. Lots of reasons (excuses?) … Thunderstorms, other commitments, and just pure, unadulterated laziness. Hopefully this weekend will bring some relief from my static state.

73 de Dick N4BC

 

The Changing Face Of How We Operate

I was reading through posts in one of the on-line forums (sorry, I can’t remember the  poster), and he made a comment that made me stop and say to myself, “That’s so true.” The gist of his post was that with the advent of spectrum displays in more state-of-the-art SDR radios (such as FLEX, IC-7300, et cetera) we have changed the way we search for stations to work. With the older radios, we tune around, listening for other stations to work. Unless you happen across a station while he is putting out a signal, he doesn’t exist as far as you’re concerned. He could have stopped transmitting just a second before you reached his frequency, and you wouldn’t know he had been there. But, with a spectrum display, you’re looking at a broad swath of the band and seeing ALL the activity … ALL the stations. One of those “light bulb over the head moments” for me. ‘Ain’t technology grand?’

73 de Dick N4BC

Unbelievable!

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