Still kickin’

I’m still here, but not real active lately. I continue to chase Parks on the Air activations, and I dabble a bit in FT8/FT4/PSK/Olivia, but I have been lazy lately.

My POTA totals keep going up, though …

I’ve worked several more than that, so I’m over 375 for sure, and approaching contacts with 400 unique parks.

I haven’t done any portable ops lately, either. The weather has been the pits! Although we dodged most of the snow, we’ve had more than our share of cold rain and wind. It was pleasant this morning, with the temperatures in the 50s, but this afternoon we had heavy rains and cold winds again. The ground squishes and yields water when you step on it.

I was scheduled to receive my second COVID-19 shot on Wednesday, but they’re backed up due to a shortage of vaccine, so I’ve been told to sit tight and wait for them to notify me when and where to go to get the second one. I think the weather nationwide has affected supply channels, and, of course, demand is high.

I hear that Icom is going to release a firmware update for the IC-7300 (and their other SDR radios, as well). I’m looking forward to getting that installed.

Well, that’s my update … stay safe!

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


I received the SDRPlay RSP1A yesterday evening, and spent the evening getting familiar with the SDRuno software. It’s pretty complex, but allows you to interact with nearly any parameter in the receiver. So powerful!

My first hurdle to overcome was finding a USB 2.0 A-B cable. I was sure I had one in my magic tub of tangled cables, but I couldn’t find it there. I ended up “borrowing” the cable from my CW keyer. I checked Best Buy and they wanted anywhere from thirty-five to two hundred dollars for one! Must have been solid gold (including the insulation)! Amazon had one with ferrite beads for around eight dollars and it was one day delivery! Guess which one I bought?

Anyhow, using the “borrowed” cable and referring to websites and to YouTube, I got everything up and running just fine. I was listening to everything from AM broadcast to 70 centimeters. Lots of neat stuff.

It was a timely arrival, too. I had gotten on the air after work and tried to work some POTA stations and some FT4/FT8, but no luck with either. The parks stations were all down in the mud and few and far between. I think the nasty weather kept a lot of them at home. The FT stations … not sure what was going on there. I could copy them well, but they just weren’t answering. The time offset was good … I was within about 0.1 second on most of them. Just one of those things, I guess. It gave me more time to play with my new toy!

73 de Dick N4BC