Silent Key

I just learned this morning that a dear friend, Al Rhodes (KJ4TDG, ex-WN2SOU, ex-WB2ZCP) passed away on Saturday. Al was a past Vice President of Chapter 119, QCWA, in Tidewater Virginia, and I had also worked with him on several job-related projects. Al worked for Federal Engineering as a Project Manager and Senior Consultant, and had worked with me on our Motorola trunked radio system upgrade from analog to digital for the City of Newport News, Virginia. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, he currently made his home in Virginia Beach, VA.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to good friends, but unfortunately, we have to and then carry on … but not forgetting …

73 de Dick N4BC

The Blizzard of 2018

Definitely not a day for portable operations, and even now, days after the storm, the secondary roads and streets are hazardous. I did get a four-day weekend, though, due to work being closed. I was on call, but didn’t get called out. We ended up with about eight inches and drifts a bit higher. Really nice snow, though … powdery. It would’ve been good for skiing or snowboarding if we had any hills or mountains here in coastal Virginia. I have a friend that was at Massanutten Ski Resort in the western part of the state, and he said they had no snow, other than man-made. This was strictly a coastal storm … a Nor’easter with snow!

My street during the snowstorm

Eighty and forty meters have been active here in the evenings, but the higher bands have been non-productive. I’m really enjoying the Icom IC-7300. As I get more and more familiar with its usage, it makes operating so much easier.

It’s a new year now … 2018 … and I’ve just mailed off my dues for another year to QCWA Chapter 119. I really wish I could make the meetings, but as a worker bee, I can’t get away for lunch meetings … too far away.

Frostfest 2018 in Richmond, VA is coming up the first Saturday in February. It’s always a good show with lots of goodies for sale. I really can’t think of anything I need, but I’m sure I will come home with something.

I’m trying a new WordPress Theme on the website. Looks odd to me, but maybe that’s just because it’s different … hopefully I’ll learn to love it!

73 de Dick N4BC

Post-Holiday Season

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I was off from the Thursday before Christmas until the day after New Year’s Day … didn’t do much operating, though. Too much other stuff happening.

I did work some FT8, though, at least on a couple of days. Conditions variable … some days good, some days bad. At least I kept my hand in.

We’re expecting our first significant snowfall, starting Wednesday afternoon … three to five inches, they say. That’s a SWAG, though. They’re seldom right. If it’s bad enough, they’ll let us work from home or cancel work … two inches will shut thing down here in the South. If I’m at home, I’ll try to fire up on CW.

So, best wishes for the New year, and I hope all of your resolutions come true!

73 de Dick N4BC

On again!

Well, I’ve been somewhat of a slacker … my last sustained activity was in February. I just had an accumulation of things that couldn’t be put off any longer that took precedence. I’m still not out of the woods, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I have managed to get some JT activity the past couple of days. Yesterday, in particular, seemed to be pretty good propagation during the early afternoon, but I didn’t have the time to get much operating done. Ah, well … I can only hope!

The weather is decidedly more cooperative lately, so maybe I’ll have a chance to get the cobweb antenna up, and do some portable operations from the truck as well. I checked out my FT-817ND and the associated mobile and portable goodies the other evening, and I think I’m OK there.

I got a couple of QSL cards this week, too! That’s an unusual occurrence for me nowadays. Back in the “good old days,” it was NOT unusual to get a few cards every week. Of course, when I was rare DX, I used to get LOTS of cards every week. Times change.

Well, I’m about finished my lunch break at work, so let me get back to work. See you later …

73 de Dick N4BC

Frostfest 2017

I made the annual trip to Richmond for Frostfest, leaving at about 7 am for a drive of a little over an hour. The crowd seemed to be a bit bigger this year, and the vendors seemed to be doing a lively business. The video below was taken about noon … the crowds had thinned a bit, and people were also grabbing lunch.

I saw a few old friends … Rob, Al, Dan, Darrell, Will, Charlie (I’m terrible about callsigns). We talked about a variety of stuff … none of any great importance in the overall scheme of things. Still, it was great to see them and catch up.

I attended a couple of forums, both very interesting. the first was on DMR radio and I learned a lot from that. The second was a Winlink forum. It was interesting, but I don’t think I will ever get into it. It’s primarily used for ARES/RACES, and I don’t participate due my status as “critical personnel” during an emergency because of my job in public safety communications.

I hung around until the bitter end so I wouldn’t miss the grand prize drawing ($1000 to be spent at the Hamfest). There were several other unclaimed prizes drawn then, too. As usual, it was a bust … no goodies for me.

I DID have a great day, but my back and feet are a bit tired. All I bought was about $40 worth of powerpoles and coax connectors. Then again, that’s all I planned to buy, unless I saw a deal I couldn’t refuse.

73, everybody de Dick N4BC