Red Sun …

I noticed that the rising sun in the east was an unnatural deep reddish-orange color this morning. The weatherman says that it’s due to the smoke being blown eastward from the west coast wildfires. WOW! Three thousand miles away … small world!

Not much luck this morning on the radio. The bands have been pretty uncooperative the past few days, and this morning was no exception. The Europeans were coming in, but way down in signal strength. Time to read a book or something 😀 !

73 de Dick N4BC

It’s Aliiiiiiive!!!!!

Interesting evening … just when you’re sure that JT9 is dead and gone … killed by the FT-modes … you work a bunch of them!

Last night I saw K9ZIE spotted on a 40 meter JT9 POTA activation, so I popped on down and worked him easily. There was actually quite a bit of JT9 activity there, so I worked a few more successfully. Maybe I just haven’t been noticing, but I thought that JT9 was pretty rare nowadays … Guess not!

It’s been a pretty good week for POTA contacts. I’ve put about ten new parks in the log since Monday. Propagation has been pretty good … even a couple of Canadian parks.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we’re putting our two repeater antennas on a 300-foot tower. We’ve had thunderstorms most afternoons this summer. Hopefully all goes well … out repeaters have been looking for a new home for far too long.

73 de Dick N4BC

Storms and Parks

Wow … in less than an hour this morning, lots of parks to work if you’re interested in Parks on the Air.

After a couple of days of a power outage, I just turned on the radio this morning to see what the bands were like. Nothing spectacular, but certainly fruitful.

About a block from my QTH is a beautiful wooded street … the trees formed a green canopy over the pavement … great for scenery, but not when coupled with the high winds and heavy rain of a tropical storm. The falling branches took out most of the power lines, thus my lack of power at the house. I could have gotten up on battery power, but it was HOT as well, with no air conditioning.

We had our first radio club meeting in person (other than virtual), since March, last night. Attendance was pretty sparse, but that was to be expected. Non-essential meetings are not a priority right now. Also, missing was the social get together for a meal beforehand. Next month, we’re planning a hybrid meeting, with both physical and virtual attendance provided for.

Well, I’ll close this for now and see what else I can find on the bands, and then see about finding some lunch. Most of the food in the fridge was a casualty of the power outage … got to look into a new generator soon.

73 de Dick N4BC

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

Strange Times

It’s eerie at work this week. Normally, we have a steady flow of customers in and out of the shop, all having some sort of communications difficulty. This week, I think I can count the number of visitors on the fingers of one hand … the Coronavirus is definitely affecting business. Traffic is noticeably lighter when I head home after work, and it’s odd seeing all the empty restaurant parking lots.

I’d much rather be at home, isolating myself. My wife and daughter are both at home this week, due to their workplaces being closed. I’m in the at-risk group … chronic illnesses, over 66, etc. But since I’m working in the public-safety field, I’m considered “essential personnel.”

FT-modes have been pretty busy this week. I’ve worked a lot of Europeans. I’ve seen quite a few Asian stations, but haven’t managed to work any. I check the spotting page for POTA frequently, and see lots of posts, but when I go to the indicated frequency … nada! Forty and twenty meters are not being cooperative for CW and SSB.

Today is the first day of Spring, and the temperatures are supposed to climb into the mid-seventies, but it’s still gray and dreary-looking outside. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the eighties … maybe Spring is actually here?

73 de Dick N4BC