FT8 Roundup

This weekend I dabbled in the FT8 Roundup. I was on the air when I had some free time, and made a total of 70 QSOs … not even a big effort, but it was interesting.

When the contest first started, there was lots of confusion, especially about operating frequencies. The normal frequencies were not used … special ranges of frequencies were specified. Also, there were several settings that had to be changed in the software itself, and that confused some. The instructions were well-written, and I had no problems at all.

Contest action!

To do things right, it was necessary to go into the files and create backups and then delete specific files. I was leery of that, but I followed the instructions to the letter … no problems were noted when restoring everything afterwards. I even worked another ten stations afterwards to make sure everything was copacetic (HA! Look that one up!).

SO … everything is back to normal, all the contacts are uploaded to LOTW, ClubLog, eQSL, and QRZ, and I’m already seeing some confirmations, minutes after the contest.

Have you been a ham long enough to remember contests back in the “Dark Ages”? Submitting a log then was a real trial … dupe sheets, deciphering handscribbled logs, counting multipliers, computing scores on your fingers and toes, snail mail submission … like I said, the “Dark Ages”. Soooooo much easier now!

Of course, my mouse quit working during all of this. “Must be the battery,” says I. I replace the battery … still bad. Look all over the house for a spare mouse. Finally, a light went on … I tried another AA battery … success! The first replacement was no good. I need to turn in my Technician badge!

Hope you had a good ham weekend. I had thought about pulling out my manual tuner and making some contacts in the 160-meter contest, but I was busy enough with what I was doing. There’re never enough hours in the weekend, are there?

The next few weeks leading up to the holidays are going to be hectic … banquets, dinners, parties, concerts … all sorts of things to keep me busy. But, I’ll still do radio when I have a chance!

73 and Happy Holidays de Dick N4BC

I fired up the rig when I got home from work yesterday, and found a few takers on the bands.

All of these were quickies (as are all FT8 contacts) … less than an hour for all sixteen. I was rushed, as I had to get myself ready and head out to my weekly Scout meeting and then choir practice … grabbing dinner on the way (Whopper combo). Not the healthiest dinner, but fast.

After choir practice, I had to rush home for the weekly Tidewater DMR net (TG 31515). I joined only 7 minutes late at 9:07. Participation was good, with quite a few new check-ins, and lots of spirited conversation. Next week (being Thanksgiving Day) we’ll not meet.

I can see this holiday season is stacking up to be hectic. Lots of events coming up … concerts, banquets, family events … you know what I mean. By the time the new year is here, you’re just glad for a break!

The combined PARC/SPARK Holiday Dinner is coming up on Tuesday, December 4th at the County Grill in York County on Route 17. The food is always good there, and the company will be too!

I see the ARRL November Sweepstakes is this weekend. This is the SSB one, and I am just not into SSB so I’ll pass. Furthermore, I’ve always thought the exchange was too involved and complex, so I’ve just never participated in the Sweepstakes events. If it’s your thing, more power to ya’. Just not my cup of tea.

73 de Dick N4BC

Holy Cow! Another Win!!

You may remember, not too long ago I mentioned that I had won the Icom HamNation weekly “swag” contest. Well, they take all the weekly winners and draw for a monthly Grand Prize. I WON THIS MONTH!!! The Grand Prize is an Icom ID-51A Plus 2 D-Star transceiver. Thank you, Icom!

I’m just starting to get a reasonable understanding of DMR, and now I’ve got to learn about D-Star, too! Well, they say the way to stay young and keep your wits is to challenge and exercise your brain. Thank you again, Icom!! You’re obviously thinking about my mental health!

Last night was our monthly club meeting, and Charlie, WB4PVT, did a presentation on connectors … PL-259 vs Type N. Even an old-timer like me learned a few new things. I also picked up my ticket from Rob, KE4JDY, for the Virginia Beach Hamfest in early September. There’s a forum on implementing a mesh network that looks interesting.

You know, I find that I’m becoming less interested in the equipment for sale at the hamfests and more interested in the forums. There’s a lot of good knowledge presented. And, it sometimes leads you in new directions … that’s how I got interested in amateur DMR.

I haven’t done a lot of operating this week. Lots of reasons (excuses?) … Thunderstorms, other commitments, and just pure, unadulterated laziness. Hopefully this weekend will bring some relief from my static state.

73 de Dick N4BC

 

NAQP CW Contest This Weekend

The CW North American QSO Party is coming up this weekend. I hope to get into it, at least for part of the time. The way things have been going lately, though, nothing is sure. I think I enjoy the CW contests the most of all. I’ve been doing so much keyboard digital operating lately, it’s nice to get back to the original digital mode for a change. Not to mention that the bands seem to miraculously spring to life during the bigger contests.

It’s been raining and storming for the past few days, so even though I’ve been hiding indoors out of the damp, the lightning and thunder have kept me “radio silent.” Tomorrow night is our monthly club meeting, so I’ll have a chance for some “eyeball” QSOs.

73 de Dick N4BC

Thirteen Colonies

Well, I wasn’t even chasing the special event stations and ended up working seven of the colonies in one evening … NC, MA, PA, NY, SC, NH, and NJ. So … no clean sweep for me, but it was sort of fun watching them accumulate. Most of them were FT8, but some were CW and some were SSB. I see that for five dollars and a bit of paperwork I can get a nice certificate for participating. Maybe I will (and maybe I won’t). I do want all to thank the guys that organized this event, though. Well done! I think I actually did at least hear all of the former colonies.

I did binge watch a bunch of ham radio related YouTube videos over the weekend. It’s amazing … anything you want to find out about has probably had a video made about it. Lots of interesting and informative videos. Whether you’re looking for technical info, reviews, opinions, or operating hints, somebody has taken the time to make a video about it. I found and subscribed to several new channels that interested me. If you’re not into YouTube, it’s a great resource!

I went to a retirement party for my son’s father-in-law Saturday evening, and we were outside in the back yard gathered around the firepit. It was decidedly chilly! This is July! It felt like spring or autumn. Crazy weather!

73 de Dick N4BC