Saturday, August 13th, I was up bright and early to help support the Boys & Girls Club Smart Smiles 5K race at the Mariners Museum Park in Newport News, VA. I reported to the Coordinator and then went to my assigned position. I was on a shaded road, enjoying the 70-some degree weather and gentle breeze, which was so welcome after too many “feels like 100+” days!
Our purpose was to provide safety coverage for any runners that experienced difficulties, and also to keep the race coordinator informed about race progress.
Luckily, there were no incidents, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was a pretty laid-back “race”. There were families with children, old folks, young folks, serious runners, walkers … just about any demographic you could imagine.
For the most part, our primary repeater worked well, but I had occasional problems with the Net Control station dropping into the noise. The backup repeater was much more solid, so I had my backup portable tuned to that.
All in all, it was a beautiful day for a race, and a great way to spend a morning in the park!
I haven’t posted for a while, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything.
I’ve been chasing Parks on the Air (as usual), and having some success with the improved solar conditions, but my main emphasis since the 1st of the month has been the 13 Colonies Special Event. So far, I have ten of the original 13 in my log, and still trying to break the pileups on the last three. There are three bonus stations, and I have WM3PEN in the books, but not the overseas two. I’ve worked them where I found them … 80M, 40M, and 20M … and on several modes … CW, FT4, and FT8. Surprisingly, none on SSB so far. The phone pileups are chaotic.
Six meters has been having some nice openings, too. All up and down the East coast from here … the farthest contacts have been into Canada, Cuba, and Bermuda. The majority of those contacts have been on FT8.
Our VHF repeater (W4MT) has been up and running for several weeks now, after having some problems passing audio (knock on wood 🙂 ). We never identified the cause, but the problems were coincident with HVAC problems … the drain on the wall unit was plugged and the condensation was running out onto the floor inside instead of outside. Everything was still cool. We unclogged the drain line, and I wonder if the high humidity had something to do with the issues we were having?
It looks like Tropical Storm Elsa will be just a rain event here in coastal Virginia. We’ve still got our eye on its progress, but hopefully it’ll just be wet! We’ll surely see some coastal flooding, but we get that with any big rain event.
I spent all day Saturday in front of my computer for my first virtual hamfest! DX Engineering sponsored their first DXE Virtual Hamfest and DX Academy.
The first half of the day was a variety of talks on various subjects by hams that were very knowledgeable in their subject matter. The second half was dedicaed to honing your DXing skills. Covered were everything from getting started in amateur satellites to low band antennas for DXing. There were two $1000 gift certificates given away … not to me, unfortunately.
I watched all of the talks, but my primary interest was one by K8ZT on Youth in Amateur Radio. He had lots of great info on getting youngsters interested in ham radio. W0GJ also had a presentation on the VP6R DXpedition to Pitcairn Island … what a beautiful island!
Hats off to TIm Duffy, K3LR, for organizing this and gathering a great group of experts. He noted that the entire day’s events were recorded and will show up on YouTube shortly. It’s worth a view.
This weekend is the Virginia QSO Party. I participate most years, but have missed the past couple of years, due to various unplanned life interruptions. This year though, it looks like a go!
With the admonition to limit personal interactions and to stay at home as much as possible to help contain COVID-19, I seem to have been made a captive audience. Even if I wanted to get out and do something, most businesses are closed, have reduced operating hours, or are out of basic necessities.
So, if you’re in the same boat this weekend, join me in the VQP. I usually do a search and pounce operation, SSB and/or CW.
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.