Digital Stuff

Let’s try this again … I was just putting the finishing touches on this and I don’t know what I did, but everything vanished … and I couldn’t find any of the drafts. So it’s back to the beginning …

I was looking back through my logbook and noticed that the last time I worked PSK-31 was six years ago! I’ve been cranking out FT, JT, SSB, CW, and even some contest RTTY, and neglecting bunches of those other modes.

So I decided to remedy this oversight. I spent the day updating software (FLDIGI), going through the menus and updating entries, rewriting macros, reading the new documentation, and watching YouTube videos. I must say, FLDIGI has had some nice updates in the past few years, but basically, it’s pretty much the same to operate. I saw Olivia, Throb, PSK, Domino, and several other modes I couldn’t ID. I wish everyone would use Reed-Solomon ID on their signals.

I spent a while this evening “reading the mail”… just observing how other operators are doing things nowadays. Pretty much the same … one old guy was cataloging his aches and pains and medical issues, but there were some interesting conversations, too. It’s going to take some getting used to … actually conversing with people again! LOL!

I’ve also ordered a new solid-state drive (SSD) to upgrade my laptop. It’s not as fast as it used to be, but I figure that a SSD will boost the speed considerably … especially on boot and on disk-intensive programs. Hey, it’s cheaper than a new laptop. I picked up a 1 TB WD Blue SSD for $120. Amazon is a bit slower shipping nowadays with the COVID-19 issues, but everything is supposed to be here by May 3rd. Then I’ll clone the HDD and swap the SSD with it.

We had some pretty scary thunderstorms come through earlier in the evening. Thunder, lightning, wind, and rain.

That’s all from the quarantine hut for this evening. Catch you later!

73 de Dick N4BC

Another Digital Mode

I tuned across an Olivia QSO in progress last night on forty meters, and spent a while “reading the mail.” Just a couple of guys having a nice, pleasant, unhurried ragchew. The band was a bit unstable … up and down … but mostly strong signals. I must have monitored for almost twenty minutes or so.

When the band DID dip, though, it sometimes went so far down that the Olivia signal disappeared from the waterfall … not even a faint trace showed at times. But guess what? The letters on the display just kept on printing. Good solid copy even with no detectable signal on the waterfall. I was impressed. I’m gonna have to try this mode more often. It DOES seem to be gaining in popularity, and I’m all for trying new things.

73 de Dick N4BC

Post Field Day

I had real intentions of spending the weekend immersed in Field Day, but it was not to be. I was on call and of course, I never get called out … until this weekend. I spent most of Saturday escorting an HVAC tech at one of our radio sites. The A/C decided to pack up and die. By the time I got back home, I was just out of the mood. I think I worked a total of ten QSOs over the weekend, and that was from home, not from the club site. I did work N4BP on three bands. His was the strongest signal on all three when I heard him. I did have a few extended, non-contest style QSOs, and really enjoyed them … more so than the “1D VA TU” style.

I got a nice surprise in the mail this afternoon. The Sterling Park Amateur Radio Club mailed me a certificate for my participation in the Virginia QSO Party earlier this year. It says I was the “High Newport News Phone” entry. I suspect that was because I was the only Newport News city phone entry πŸ™‚ . Hey, you take what you can get, right?

I figured I’d work a few on CW this evening, but conditions are not great. Noise levels are OK, but not a lot of signals on 40. Maybe it’s burnout after the Field Day weekend. I do hear a few, though, so maybe I’ll call a couple before bedtime.

73 es CUL
Dick K4FTW


Even though it’s been a while since I posted, I have done a bit of hamming. This morning, I tuned around and found 9A3OS on 15M CW. He was literally the only CW station I heard on that band … and he was 599. Where was everyone else? Obviously listening — not transmitting.

I’m going to participate in the CQ WW WPX CW contest this weekend. Hopefully, I’ll pick up a few new ones. It’ll be hit or miss, though … it’s our wedding anniversary, and the XYL has plans! I’ll try to fit in some operating when she’s not executing her plans!!

I recently bought and assembled a K1EL WinKeyer USB and really am pleased with it. I’ve got it interfaced to the computer, so I’ll be using it in conjunction with N1MM software to give it a good workout during the contest. The only problem I had with it was no output onΒ  KEY 1, but KEY 2 worked fine. An exam with a magnifying glass quickly found an unsoldered pin on U3. Oops, my bad! A bit of solder fixed that just fine.

Well, I’ve got to run and take care of a honey-do … I took some time off from work this week to make a long Memorial Day weekend. I have to use a few days before the end of June. If you’re contesting this weekend … good luck! See you when I can!

Update to my update πŸ™‚ 5/28 …

I did get on for a while during the contest and worked 104 stations. I picked up a few new countries, so it was worth it. I did my duty a couple of days as grillmaster, making burnt offerings on my new Weber grill. It’s been so long since I grilled anything outside, that I had forgotten how much flavor charcoal and a few hickory chips can add to a plain old hamburger!

I spent a couple of hours trying to get my WeedWhacker running. It worked fine last summer before I put it away, but now it doesn’t want to start. I’ve got some weeds out by the fence that have stalks that could almost support an antenna!

‘Til next time …

73 de Dick K4FTW

Club Meeting

I’ve missed talking to others face to face about radio. Having been absent from the hobby for a while, I’ve not had much opportunity to meet others, so last night i went to a local club meeting. I used to be a member but dropped out some time ago. There were some familiar faces … albeit a bit older … and fewer than we used to have, but still really great folks (as are MOST hams). It was nice catching up and renewing acquaintances. Definitely need some young folks though πŸ™‚ .

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