Well, it’s the start of a new year, and back to work for me. The break was welcome, but going back is always hard. After getting accustomed to rising at 9 am, 5 am is rough to get used to again!
New Year’s Day, there were too many POTA activations to count, but I could only copy a handful. I managed to work four on forty meters. Admittedly, I didn’t sit at the radio all day … just spotty monitoring.
That total only includes one of the four parks I worked on the 1st. Slowly but surely, I’m working my way through the second hundred.
I see that there have been several sunspots attributed to the new solar cycle, so things are definitely looking up. I’m tired of checking the propagation charts and seeing ZERO sunspots!
The end of the year, that is. It’s been a mixed year for me … both high and low points, radio-wise. There seems to have been a steady decline in propagation conditions. But … in spite of that … I’ve made a LOT of contacts. The total count of QSOs would be a LOT smaller if not for digital modes … primarily FT4 and FT8.
I have noticed a real decline in the number of Parks on the Air QSOs as the year has progressed. I see numerous activations spotted, and can’t even tell that there is a station there. Single sideband contacts have decreased. However … I’ve had more CW POTA contacts.
Hopefully, your year has gone well. If not, well … 2020 is just around the corner … a new start. Wishing everyone the best for a great upcoming year!
Christmas is nearly upon us, and I am so far behind the power curve that I will never pull out of my descent! This is a particularly hectic time of year, and there are never enough days to fit all the activities into. Parties, shopping, church … all demand their slice of time. I’m off all Christmas week, so maybe I can play catch up on some of the things I slacked on.
I haven’t been on the air for a while (because, see above). This morning I flipped on the rig and worked some FT4/FT8. One of the FT8 QSOs was on 20 meters with VE1GPY, who was activating a Canadian park. That’s only my second FT8 POTA contact. I also worked ol’ reliable N4CD on 20 meter CW for another park contact this morning. Most of my QSOs this morning were on forty and sixty meters.
Yesterday, there was a huge pileup on I-64 near here. Fog and freezing temperatures caused a 70-car junkpile. I lived in Southern California for years, near the coast, and I know you can’t drive the posted speed limit in the fog. The problem is, stupid drivers behind you don’t follow that rule and have a tendency to run over you. At least we didn’t have to worry about fog freezing on the bridges in San Diego County!
I received the SDRPlay RSP1A yesterday evening, and spent the evening getting familiar with the SDRuno software. It’s pretty complex, but allows you to interact with nearly any parameter in the receiver. So powerful!
My first hurdle to overcome was finding a USB 2.0 A-B cable. I was sure I had one in my magic tub of tangled cables, but I couldn’t find it there. I ended up “borrowing” the cable from my CW keyer. I checked Best Buy and they wanted anywhere from thirty-five to two hundred dollars for one! Must have been solid gold (including the insulation)! Amazon had one with ferrite beads for around eight dollars and it was one day delivery! Guess which one I bought?
Anyhow, using the “borrowed” cable and referring to websites and to YouTube, I got everything up and running just fine. I was listening to everything from AM broadcast to 70 centimeters. Lots of neat stuff.
It was a timely arrival, too. I had gotten on the air after work and tried to work some POTA stations and some FT4/FT8, but no luck with either. The parks stations were all down in the mud and few and far between. I think the nasty weather kept a lot of them at home. The FT stations … not sure what was going on there. I could copy them well, but they just weren’t answering. The time offset was good … I was within about 0.1 second on most of them. Just one of those things, I guess. It gave me more time to play with my new toy!
It took a while. I finally got 200 unique parks confirmed and have the paper to prove it 😀 .
Actually, I had a bonus one as well … 201 confirmed. I started chasing parks on the 18th of February 2019. I don’t do it seriously, and only intermittently, but they add up. This is a pretty popular program with lots of participants.
The most prolific activator is KB3WAV, Kerri. She has activated 402 parks, 240 of them unique, and made 16,086 contacts as of this date.
On the hunters side, W8ZST, Mike, is the leader. He has worked 2,615 unique parks and has 5,849 contacts so far.
Lots of commitment there, folks. You can see that some people really get into POTA (https://parksontheair.com/). It’s fun … it’s challenging … try it!