Parks, Islands, and Old Timers

Tomorrow is one of two QCWA chapter meetings that I normally attend during the year. Chapter 119 meets in Virginia Beach most months on Friday, when I am at work. Twice a year, they hold it on the Peninsula where I live, and it’s on Saturday … April and October. Those I can make!

Stu, WA4JUO and his team will treat us to an interesting presentation on the QCWA Expedition to Tangier Island.

Tangier Island

I’m still chugging along with my Parks on the Air (POTA) contacts. I have 198 unique parks confirmed now. the first 100 or so seemed to add up fast … the second 100 have been considerably slower. Some of that is attributable to band conditions. I have heard lots that were just too far down in the mud to copy.

I’ve actually worked more than 200, but the requirement is 200 confirmed! Everything depends on the activator turning in his log and the administrator for that call area getting the data into the database. Some are fast … some are slower. Hey, it’s a hobby … I haven’t seen a paycheck yet. Us hunters just work ’em and wait!

73 de Dick N4BC

Back at It …

Been slackin’ a bit, lately. Lots of non-ham activities. Teaching classes, honey-dos … lots of mini-things. Ham radio has been shoved to the background for a bit.

I noted that my progress in unique parks worked has been static at 189 for a while, but I did work a couple yesterday afternoon … one in Wisconsin and one in Michigan.

Lots of noise, though. I tried to hear a couple of others, but they were just too weak and under the noise floor on 40 meters. To add to that, there was some sort of periodic pulse interference and the usual Broadcast Interference that pops up in the afternoon.

The station in Wisconsin was down in the noise when I started listening to him, but over the course of time, his signal increased to a 59. If I recall correctly, he was on 20 meters. That pulse noise was there intermittently also.

This coming Sunday, I’m helping the club provide communications for a combined Marathon/50K/Relay at the Mariner’s Museum Noland Trail. I’ve got to be at the race venue at 5:45 am … no sleeping in at all on Sunday!

73 de Dick N4BC


To say that propagation has been poor lately would be an understatement. I tuned around and checked out some POTA spots after work yesterday, and nothing heard at all. I thought about checking to make sure my antenna was still up 😀 .

There was quite a bit of activity down on 40 Meter CW. Two events … the SKCC Sprint and the CW ops Mini-CWT Test were going on and there were some nice signals there. It’s frustrating when you see nine or ten spots listed for parks and you hear crickets … . If it’s as bad on the other end, I know it’s equally frustrating.

So, we all wait and hope. Please Mr. Sun, perk up!

73 de Dick N4BC

Up and Down

I was doing my usual thing yesterday afternoon after work, looking for POTA activators, just tuning around and checking the spots from the parks website. I worked a few, and then just left the tuning on the last one I checked, where I could just barely make out a signal … no copy though.

I went on to do some paperwork, just listening to the subdued noise from the receiver. After about ten minutes, the signal caught my attention … I could actually make out a few words here and there. Another ten minutes, and the signal had improved to the point where I could copy.

I gave him a quick call … he answered me … 5 by 7s were exchanged … good QSO in the log! Ten or fifteen minutes later, he was gone again … hidden by the vagaries of QSB 🙁 .

So … the moral of this story? Sometimes, patience is indicated, Grasshopper … (my apologies to the old TV show, Kung Fu). Take your time and listen … take time to let things develop.

73 de Dick N4BC


Well, Dorian has come and gone, with not a lot of effect here at my QTH. There was some tidal flooding and a bit of wind and rain, but frankly, we had thunderstorms a couple of weeks ago that were worse. I think the highest gusts we had from the tropical storm were forty-some miles per hour. It could have been a LOT worse … a few miles East or West makes a lot of difference in severity.

The Virginia beach Hamfest was the day after Dorian. It’s been shrinking for years now (as have most hamfests), but lots of people evidently cancelled out due to the storm. Pretty sparse vendor-wise when I got there, but the attendees I saw were spending … our club was doing a good business moving donated items from various hams estates. I only stayed about 45 minutes, and I saw everything there was to see.

I did receive my nanoVNA in the mail, but I haven’t had a chance to fiddle with it yet. More on that later …

Band conditions, especially on forty meters, have been pretty good lately. The band is still pretty noisy, though. Hopefully it’ll quiet down a bit as Fall and Winter approach. It’ll make it easier to hear some of the weaker Parks on the Air operations.

More and more POTA operators seem to be running higher power. Back when the bands were much better, QRP was the norm. Now, many seem to be running 50 to 100 watts … some even more! My observation is that the CW QRP stations are still pretty easy to pull out of the hash. Not a lot of power, but it’s all packed into that narrower bandwidth. I just wish that more ops would opt for CW … lots more efficient!

73 de Dick N4BC