I received a nice box via FedEX yesterday. Earlier this month, I won a weekly random drawing in the Icom HamNation Weekly Swag contest. The box contained an Icom ball cap, Icom T-shirt, bumper sticker, map, chapstick with the Icom logo, an Icom neck lanyard, a nice Icom Luggage/Equipment tag, a pen, a couple of fake tattoos, lots of equipment brochures, and probably some other things that have slipped out of my feeble mind. Nothing of great value or consequence, but really appreciated and enjoyed! Thank you, Icom! The swag all goes well with and compliments my IC-7300!
The procedure is simple … watch HamNation (on YouTube), and then fill out your info and answer a few survey questions (see the link in the first paragraph). You have a chance to win a weekly prize or a Grand Prize monthly. Nothing ventured … nothing gained, right?
I worked a bunch of stations on 17, 60, and 80 meters yesterday evening. I was hearing good signals on all the hf bands except 10 meters. Truthfully, you can make FT8 contacts just about anytime on SOME band.
73 de Dick N4BC
Good vibrations … to quote the Beach Boys … RF vibrations, that is. Last night, I heard stations on just about all HF bands, some quite strong. I worked over a dozen FT8 stations on 40 and 60 meters. The higher frequencies, not so much luck. Although they were solid reception, I just couldn’t connect. Even 80 meters was reasonably devoid of QRN.
I got my RTTY setup working. I was using the wrong mode on the IC-7300. I was set to RTTY and should have been in USB-D since I was using AFSK. At least, it seems to work now. I couldn’t find any RTTY stations on the air yesterday evening to do a final test. But … listening on another receiver, I can hear the diddle and mark/space tones when doing a test transmission.
73 de Dick N4BC
I worked two new countries this evening, both on FT8 … Oman on 40 meters and the Falkland Islands on 30 meters. Yes, Virginia, there is life left in the ham bands.
I also went ahead and updated the firmware on my IC-7300 with no problems noted. I don’t know why so many people have difficulties with this … if you follow the manual step-by-step, it’s hard to mess it up. DO remember, however, to save your configuration before upgrading, unless you want to go menu diving and setting up your whole operating environment again.
I downloaded MMTTY and integrated it with N1MM+ in preparation for the RTTY contest tomorrow. I haven’t tested it live on the air yet, but it should work fine. Tomorrow will tell!
Wow … three posts today! Maybe I should have saved up and dribbled it out more slowly. Oh well, I hadn’t posted for a while so I guess this makes up for it.
73 de Dick N4BC
I see the sunspot number is still at zero … where it’s been for the last three weeks. Those scientists much smarter than me say it’ll be there for at least the NEXT three weeks, too. Ah, well … even with secret rites in the dark of night, I don’t think we can make any difference. We just have to wait for old Mother Nature to crank up the next solar cycle.
BUT … as I noted last weekend … even with the numbers as abysmal as they are, there’re always QSOs to be had. Contest weekends, especially, seem to light up the ionosphere.
Our DMR net (TG 31515, Tidewater VA) yesterday evening was a bit sparse … only four of us checked in. It’s pretty much the doldrums of summer now. People are on vacation, outside doing family things … you know the drill. This weekend we’re looking forward to scattered thunderstorms and rain. A typical summer weekend. At least it’s been cooler the past few days.
Not much ham stuff going on this weekend that I’m interested in. The North American QSO Party for RTTY is happening. I haven’t participated in that in forever, so I might dabble a bit there. I’ve got to get me a thicker cushion for my shack chair, though. The IARU CW contest last weekend was murder on my butt!
Well, enough blather! Have a great weekend and do some radio!
73 de Dick N4BC
I had a fun time Saturday morning in the IARU HF contest. I made 141 CW contacts … all search & pounce. I had a higher score this year than last year, so I did improve. I had a birthday party to attend Saturday afternoon and evening and then church on Sunday morning, so my radio time was limited to Saturday morning only.
Propagation was good. I had contacts on all bands, 80 through 10 meters. There were lots of good, strong signals. Eighty and forty were noisy, as is normal this time of year, but there were always contacts available.
I have to say that the IC-7300 was a pleasure to use. The bandscope and filters were so useful. That and N1MM+ made the contest fun! I used my 100 watts, homebrew vertical and tuner and was pleased with the results. I do wonder, though, what I could have done with a “decent” antenna? I remember the old days of paper logs, dupe sheets, and manual keying so well. No comparison nowadays.
I would encourage you to participate in contest operation, especially if you’re new to the hobby and haven’t tried it already. It can be a bit intimidating, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s a good way to work new countries/prefixes/counties or whatever. Maybe it’s not for you … that’s OK too, but you’ll never know unless you try it.
73 and Good Luck de Dick N4BC