What’s Up? (Redux)

Hasn’t been a lot happening, lately. I’ve been busy with non-hobby items, like WORK :-D.

I DID work Burkina Faso, XT2AW, on 60-meter FT8. I was just tuning around, seeing what was going on, and saw his CQ. I jumped on him, and the rest is history!

I’ve been adding to my Parks on the Air totals … I’m up to 50 parks worked now, and I spent some time this past week tuning up some antennas for my first activation in the near future.

73 de Dick N4BC

What’s Up?

I didn’t dive into the CQ WW WPX SSB this weekend, but I hadn’t planned to either. HOWEVER … I did pursue contacts for Parks on the Air.

I was rather surprised by how many POTA activators were doing their thing during a major contest weekend, but there were lots. I managed to work around ten parks. Some of them were booming in, some were weak, some were down in the noise and really depended on catching them when the QSB brought them up to the workable level. Of course, some were spotted that I couldn’t even tell were there.

POTA Silver Certificate

I’ve had very little luck on any band other than 40 meters. Sometimes it goes long, but most of the time it’s the eastern half of the US that I”m hearing. Most of my contacts have been SSB, but only a few were CW. That’s because most of the activators seem to prefer SSB.

I ordered an American Morse Equipment Porta Paddle II and base last week, and USPS tracking says it’s out for delivery. Great … I’ll have an evening project today. I’ve been looking for a portable key and I think this will fit the bill! I’ll let you know later.

The temperature was up in the 70’s this weekend and just beautiful outside. Today (Monday) and tomorrow, the high is supposed to be near 50. Warming up again on Wednesday! C’mon Spring!!!

73 de Dick N4BC

Chasin’ Parks

Saturday I got up early and tried some 20 meter FT8 … man, I couldn’t BUY a QSO. There were lots of stations calling CQ, and some neat ones, too … Africans and Indonesians … and at decent signal strength, too. No dice! I gave up and read a book!

I’ve had a pretty good Sunday afternoon chasing Parks on the Air contacts … today I contacted eight ten parks, some CW and some SSB. Four of the parks were with Sean, KX9X, who was running around Connecticut and activating State Parks. Others were in Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Texas. Most were not easy contacts … the QSB and noise has been BRUTAL today, with signals dropping from 59 (599) down to unreadable … or should I say undetectable! BUT … it’s been fun and challenging!

I should have been outside today. It was a beautiful day here today, with temperatures in the high 60’s F, and sunny. I really need to get a head start on yard work this spring. Tomorrow it’s back to work … the GRIND … and no time to play radio during the day. It’s that time of year where the temperatures can be up in the 70’s one day and down in the 40’s the next. And POLLEN! I woke up this morning and couldn’t open my eyes. Hate allergies!

73 de Dick N4BC

Virginia QSO Party

This weekend is the 2019 Virginia QSO Party, and I plan to participate. I usually get into it pretty well, but the past couple of years propagation has been so bad I didn’t even bother. Hopefully the propagation gods will smile on 40 and 80 meters this weekend.

I never get into it well enough to win a BIG prize, like a plaque, but EVERYBODY gets a certificate if they send in a log. So, everybody is a winner!

Sample 2019 VQP Certificate

On another note, I just qualified for my first Parks on the Air certificate. This is the lowest level for Hunters. It requires contact with 10 POTA entities.

POTA Bronze Certificate

Hey … I’m turning into a REAL certificate hunter! I’m not doing it for the glory, though. 😀 I’m doing it for the challenge. Pulling some of these guys out of the QRM and QRN IS a real challenge. Band conditions are up and down from minute to minute. FUN, FUN, FUN!!

It’s a beautiful day here today … temperature is around 70 F … sunny … just a great springlike day. Too bad I’m stuck at work. Supposed to get cooler and rain tomorrow. BUT … I guess we’re lucky compared to the Midwest, which is getting nasty weather again.

Oh well … can’t do anything about death, taxes and the weather! Take care guys … have a nice weekend!

73 de Dick N4BC

Something new ?

You’ve probably seen more and more SSB contacts popping up in my log in my QRZ bio lately. This IS unusual, because I usually don’t operate that mode unless it’s a BIG contest, or a rare entity.

Well, I’ve sort of been bitten by a bug … the Parks on the Air (POTA) bug. I’ve been chasing activators in the various parks … even going so far as to check for spots. I can’t explain it, other than to say it’s fun and it’s different. AND … most of the activations are SSB.

The most prolific activator I’ve come across on the bands is Dave, K4CAE. Man, this guy is really into activating parks. I’ve worked him several times. Not far behind him is Jim, KC4JNW. Both are good operators, and I’m looking forward to more contacts with both and with others.

I’m going to try activating a few, too. Lots of eligible parks near me. It would not be any trouble to activate from my truck … just a stop on the way home from work. Next week, maybe.

Try something new! When you find your interest lagging, do something different. There are so many ways to enjoy ham radio, that you will never run out of things to try!

73 de Dick N4BC