I attended a four-hour class today to learn all about the intricacies and nuances of being a SkyWarn Net Control Operator. Hurricane season is heating up, and it never hurts to be ready. There’s always a shortage of NCOs, especially when it’s an extended event, as a hurricane and its aftereffects may be.
Otherwise, I’ve been on the air. The bands are not stellar, but they’re adequate. I’ve been hunting and working POTA activators, and most of them are really down in the noise. It takes real effort to pull them out of the hash. I’ve got 198 parks worked and 156 confirmed now.
It was just too darned hot outside this weekend to venture out, so I caught up on some reading and chased parks for POTA Weekend.
Not a bad haul for on and off work. I even worked the Goddard Space Flight Center Club (WA3NAN) on Saturday for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. There was a RTTY contest that I would have liked to participate in, but just didn’t have the energy. The heat index today was 115 (Air temp 99). A good weekend to hibernate indoors!
I worked seven more parks yesterday afternoon, and I can safely say that it was not “a walk in the park” (Get it? Hah!!). The higher noise levels, combined with the weak signals made for difficult copy. The QSB was ferocious as well … signals disappeared into the noise and then reappeared. Very tiring on the ears! I really admire the activators venturing out into the conditions we’ve been experiencing lately.
The weather has been oppressive. Heat indices have been over 100 too many days, and the pattern will probably continue at least into August. That, coupled with high humidity (over 80% some days), makes for miserable days. This morning when I left for work at 5:30 am, the temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit and nearly 60% humidity.
I’m certainly ready for the new sunspot cycle. It’s reported that the first numbered sunspot of the new cycle has appeared (and persisted), so change is on the way. The bummer is that it’s going to take a few years until things are significantly better. Oh, well … it is what it is.
I was just checking my stats in the POTA program. I have had 139 145 confirmations with activators in various parks, 125 of them with unique parks. Some have been worked more than once for various reasons … the activators benefit from the contact to reach their qualifying number, different bands, different modes … all contribute to the “points” total for awards , if you will. None have been to the Western reaches of our country, due to propagation patterns … all were to the Eastern states or to the Midwest. Some have been to our Northern neighbors in the Canadian provinces, which are also included in the program. Some never seem to get confirmed … maybe busted calls or for some reason the activator never submits the logs? Maybe a bear ate the logs … or the activator 🙂 .
I guess I’m what you’d call a casual participant … I get on when I can … I check the spots or tune around the usual frequencies. I catch ’em as I can. Lots of the activations happen when I’m at work, so I miss out on them. Evenings and weekends though … then I’m on the hunt!
Well, I got a clean sweep of all 13 Colonies during the special event. I didn’t get the bonus stations (K2Z and GB13COL), but the pileups were so chaotic I gave up on them by Friday. I did get WM3PEN on both CW and SSB. I’m not blaming the Op at K2Z … the AHs calling him just ignored normal protocols and rules of basic courtesy. I’ll send my log in with my $5.00 for the great-looking certificate … I’m a sucker for wallpaper (although I keep most of my “wallpaper” in a binder with transparent document holders nowadays).
On the other hand, I did work a couple of POTA stations on Sunday (K0BAK and KE8BKP). Forty meters seems to be my “go to” band, but during the day, it’s so noisy it’s almost unusable at my QTH … lots of QRN! Looking forward to the winter months when it’s relatively quiet.