FrostFest 2020

Saturday, I attended FrostFest, which was held at the Richmond (VA) International Raceway. The 60 some-odd mile drive was quite foggy that morning, but nothing dangerous. I arrived later than usual. I normally get there around 8:30 in the morning, but just couldn’t seem to get moving this year. I arrived around 9:30 and did a quick spin around all the booths.

FrostFest 2020

There was lots of good stuff there. Lots of junk, too, but some really nice examples of older technology. It was like a trip down nostalgia lane. Lots of the stuff, I had either owned or worked on. Charlie (WB4PVT) was there, trying to sell accumulated estate merchandise. Many other familiar faces were seen, too.

I attended a couple of great Forums. There were two featured speakers this year, both by video link. Rich Moseson, W2VU, the Editor of CQ magazine, talked about the history of CQ magazine, which is celebrating its 75th year in 2020, Dr. Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW, the Space Weather Woman (find her on YouTube), gave a great talk on sunspots, solar cycles, and space weather, all put into terms that her audience could grasp. For me, this was the highlight of the event. Well done!

Rich Moseson
Dr. Tamitha Skov

This year, the license testing was free, and it looked to me like the testing room was packed. Hopefully, they all did well!

All in all, it was a great event this year. Every year, it gets better. I’m already looking forward to next year!

73 de Dick N4BC

Happy New Year!!!

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!

73 de Dick N4BC

The End Approaches …

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!

73 de Dick N4BC

Random Thoughts

It’s a beautiful day outside … sunshine, but a little chilly (41 deg F) and breezy. The prior couple of days have been wet and cold. The folks north of us have been “blessed” with a major winter storm. I don’t envy them!

Tonight is our annual Radio club Holiday Banquet. This year it’s a potluck with the clubs (PARC and SPARK) supplying the fried chicken and all us attendees bringing a side dish or dessert. Last year’s party was mass confusion due to a mix up about the restaurant reservations. This year it was decided to have a self-catered meal.

I was off work all last week. As usual I had a list of things to accomplish and never got around to any of the items. There were lots of POTA activations, but most were not even copyable at my QTH. I could hear hunters giving them reports, but for me … NADA! I did work a few, and my unique park count is now up to 216.

I’ve been concentrating on the FT4/8 modes and had reasonable success with contacts there. JS8 has upgraded to version 2.0 with some new features, so I’ve been looking at that mode a bit harder. Then too, I’ve been playing with my new RSP-1A SDR receiver. It’s fascinating tuning through the shortwave bands and listening to what’s there.

I’ve also been working on a few FEMA certifications. They’re not only applicable for my job, but also for ham radio stuff like SKYWARN and ARES. I had completed most of them years ago, but couldn’t confirm it, so I’ve been working my way through the training and tests again.

73 de Dick N4BC