How’s it going?

Things are going pretty well since my computer died, with a few exceptions. The replacement computer is great, and I’m back to multi-mode operating and logging. I’m experiencing difficulties with loading a new LOTW certificate, and waiting for direction fom the LOTW staff. I’ve also had issues with the new Windows 11 security enhancements and getting some software to work, but have pretty much resolved those issues. I still cannot get the latest version of Com0Com ( to work, but the previous version ( works just fine.

The bands have been “interesting” lately 🙂 . FT4 and FT8 continue to be the most productive modes, with some nice openings on the higher bands. CW is still my preferred mode of operation, but when conditions are “iffy”, digital is definitely the most prolific mode. Last night 80 meters, 60 meters, and 40 meters were the producers. Gotta go where the contacts are 😀 .

73 de Dick N4BC

The 7 Beeps of Death

I got home from work yesterday evening, sat down at my desk, and pressed the button to power up my Dell Latitude computer.

Nothing happened, until I heard …

The Dreaded 7 Beeps of Death!

This is the indication of a motherboard or processor failure, and was not welcome. Admittedly, the laptop in question is six, going on seven years old, so it had lived a good life, but … it’s always sad to lose an old friend. 🙁

It was not upgradable to Windows 11, so it’s days were numbered eventually, but it did advance my replacement schedule by a year or so. I just wanted a more controlled move to the new laptop.

Now, I have a formidable task ahead of me … reloading and configuring all of the software onto the new laptop. I could restore a backup image, but there’s an advantage to a clean install, and getting rid of all the clutter. Still, it’s a tedious job.

I ordered the new laptop last night from Dell, it’s being shipped today and arrives tomorrow. Then the fun begins …

73 de Dick N4BC

What’s New?

I haven’t posted for a while, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything.

I’ve been chasing Parks on the Air (as usual), and having some success with the improved solar conditions, but my main emphasis since the 1st of the month has been the 13 Colonies Special Event. So far, I have ten of the original 13 in my log, and still trying to break the pileups on the last three. There are three bonus stations, and I have WM3PEN in the books, but not the overseas two. I’ve worked them where I found them … 80M, 40M, and 20M … and on several modes … CW, FT4, and FT8. Surprisingly, none on SSB so far. The phone pileups are chaotic.

Six meters has been having some nice openings, too. All up and down the East coast from here … the farthest contacts have been into Canada, Cuba, and Bermuda. The majority of those contacts have been on FT8.

Our VHF repeater (W4MT) has been up and running for several weeks now, after having some problems passing audio (knock on wood 🙂 ). We never identified the cause, but the problems were coincident with HVAC problems … the drain on the wall unit was plugged and the condensation was running out onto the floor inside instead of outside. Everything was still cool. We unclogged the drain line, and I wonder if the high humidity had something to do with the issues we were having?

It looks like Tropical Storm Elsa will be just a rain event here in coastal Virginia. We’ve still got our eye on its progress, but hopefully it’ll just be wet! We’ll surely see some coastal flooding, but we get that with any big rain event.

73 de Dick N4BC

One thing after another!

It’s been a typical 2020 weekend so far … wife had to have an epidural for pinched nerves that have been troubling her for months … the remnants of tropical storm Laura are just about upon us, with predictions of lots of rain, flooding, and even the possibility of tornadoes … the A/C started making funny noises last night, and then quit altogether … hope that’s it for the rest of the weekend!

But, looking on the bright side … the wife says the shot helped a lot, and she’s in a much better mood now … no pain. I sent a request for service to the home warranty company at 11 am, an A/C tech called at noon to say he was on the way, he arrived at 12:30 pm, and had the repair completed and function fully restored by 1 pm … IMPRESSIVE!! That was the first time I have used the warranty. And to top that off, the rain from the storm started just as he was replacing the last screw in the case! How about that!

Radiowise, not a lot happening at the moment. I continue with FT4/8 when I get a few free minutes, but these other things have kept me busy. POTA contacts are down … propagation has not smiled on me.

OH! We did get the repeater antennas up on the tower. Just waiting for a chance to install the UHF and VHF repeaters. Soon!

73 de Dick N4BC

Storms and Parks

Wow … in less than an hour this morning, lots of parks to work if you’re interested in Parks on the Air.

After a couple of days of a power outage, I just turned on the radio this morning to see what the bands were like. Nothing spectacular, but certainly fruitful.

About a block from my QTH is a beautiful wooded street … the trees formed a green canopy over the pavement … great for scenery, but not when coupled with the high winds and heavy rain of a tropical storm. The falling branches took out most of the power lines, thus my lack of power at the house. I could have gotten up on battery power, but it was HOT as well, with no air conditioning.

We had our first radio club meeting in person (other than virtual), since March, last night. Attendance was pretty sparse, but that was to be expected. Non-essential meetings are not a priority right now. Also, missing was the social get together for a meal beforehand. Next month, we’re planning a hybrid meeting, with both physical and virtual attendance provided for.

Well, I’ll close this for now and see what else I can find on the bands, and then see about finding some lunch. Most of the food in the fridge was a casualty of the power outage … got to look into a new generator soon.

73 de Dick N4BC