Well, Dorian has come and gone, with not a lot of effect here at my QTH. There was some tidal flooding and a bit of wind and rain, but frankly, we had thunderstorms a couple of weeks ago that were worse. I think the highest gusts we had from the tropical storm were forty-some miles per hour. It could have been a LOT worse … a few miles East or West makes a lot of difference in severity.
The Virginia beach Hamfest was the day after Dorian. It’s been shrinking for years now (as have most hamfests), but lots of people evidently cancelled out due to the storm. Pretty sparse vendor-wise when I got there, but the attendees I saw were spending … our club was doing a good business moving donated items from various hams estates. I only stayed about 45 minutes, and I saw everything there was to see.
I did receive my nanoVNA in the mail, but I haven’t had a chance to fiddle with it yet. More on that later …
Band conditions, especially on forty meters, have been pretty good lately. The band is still pretty noisy, though. Hopefully it’ll quiet down a bit as Fall and Winter approach. It’ll make it easier to hear some of the weaker Parks on the Air operations.
More and more POTA operators seem to be running higher power. Back when the bands were much better, QRP was the norm. Now, many seem to be running 50 to 100 watts … some even more! My observation is that the CW QRP stations are still pretty easy to pull out of the hash. Not a lot of power, but it’s all packed into that narrower bandwidth. I just wish that more ops would opt for CW … lots more efficient!
This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, a three-day weekend. I decided to take an extra day … Tuesday. Hey maybe I could have a great ham radio weekend?
Not to be! We had a BIG geomagnetic storm and conditions were crap! Even today … Tuesday … they’re still not great. There were lots of spots for POTA activations, but I only managed to work one. Dave, K4CAE, was heard, but he obviously couldn’t hear ME! He was about a 3×2 with me.
Dorian continues its march towards the Virginia coast. The forecast is for high winds and lots of rain, but nothing like they experienced in the Bahamas, thank God! I expect the area will experience some tidal flooding (the lower areas always do). The last I saw, they’re talking about 50 knot winds, with all the associated problems … beach erosion, tidal flooding, trees and limbs down, power outages, stuff blown around, etc.
We’ll see. Things can change pretty quickly … for better or for worse. It’s forecast to be off the coast here Thursday night/Friday. Saturday is the Virginia Beach Hamfest … maybe. Tomorrow night is the radio club meeting, so maybe we’ll get some news then.
I actually got to sit down in the shack and operate for HOURS this evening … without any interruptions (except a spaghetti dinner … YUM!). It was a real potpourri of contacts. I worked a little bit of everything … SSB, CW, FT4, FT8, POTA, WWFF … even a new country on 17 meters FT4 – Bahamas! Twenty-four contacts for the evening … Bang! Bang! Bang! … interspersed with a couple of more leisurely contacts. Not ragchews, by any means, but definitely real conversations. 😀
The days are getting shorter. I noticed this morning that the sun had not risen when I went out to drive to work. It was cool, too … about 69 F. Thankfully, the heat wave has been broken for at least a while.
On a more somber note … we buried one of our long-time Radio Club members this week … W. E. “Jimmy” Taylor, W1WE. He hadn’t been active for quite a while, since moving to a nursing home and then hospice care. He was 88 years old and a WW2 veteran. RIP, Jimmy.
It was just too darned hot outside this weekend to venture out, so I caught up on some reading and chased parks for POTA Weekend.
Not a bad haul for on and off work. I even worked the Goddard Space Flight Center Club (WA3NAN) on Saturday for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. There was a RTTY contest that I would have liked to participate in, but just didn’t have the energy. The heat index today was 115 (Air temp 99). A good weekend to hibernate indoors!
I worked seven more parks yesterday afternoon, and I can safely say that it was not “a walk in the park” (Get it? Hah!!). The higher noise levels, combined with the weak signals made for difficult copy. The QSB was ferocious as well … signals disappeared into the noise and then reappeared. Very tiring on the ears! I really admire the activators venturing out into the conditions we’ve been experiencing lately.
The weather has been oppressive. Heat indices have been over 100 too many days, and the pattern will probably continue at least into August. That, coupled with high humidity (over 80% some days), makes for miserable days. This morning when I left for work at 5:30 am, the temperature was 81 degrees Fahrenheit and nearly 60% humidity.
I’m certainly ready for the new sunspot cycle. It’s reported that the first numbered sunspot of the new cycle has appeared (and persisted), so change is on the way. The bummer is that it’s going to take a few years until things are significantly better. Oh, well … it is what it is.