What a wonderful weekend! The weather was nice, there was lots of activity on the bands (CQ WW WPX CW Contest), and Monday was my 25th wedding anniversary. I didn’t work the CW contest, though … I DID spend a considerable amount of time chasing POTA activations, though.
Saturday and Sunday I made a total of 30 contacts with parks, using different modes and different bands … SSB, CW, and even one FT8! Fourteen of those contacts were with Sean, KX9X … he was on a marathon run to activate as many Connecticut parks as possible. The man’s a machine, cranking out the QSOs. I have worked 83 unique parks so far, in 20 different states, and really enjoy the hunt!
Monday, I took the day off from radio. I thought about rearranging the shack, but decided to just laze around. The XYL cooked up a feast of BBQ chicken (with her secret vinegar-based BBQ sauce), green beans, fried squash, potato casserole, and pickled beets (all the veggies were fresh, from a local produce stand). I spent that afternoon reading and watching YouTube videos. Just a relaxing, laid back day. It needed to be, after a meal like that!
Unfortunately, today is back to work! Since I was off Friday through Monday, there was a bit waiting for me. It’s about 9 now (I come to work at 6), and I’ve just about got my head above water again 😀 !!
I took a day off from work today. I’ve built up 455 hours of vacation time, and I can only carry over 400 to the next fiscal year, which begins August 1st, so I’ll be burning a few hours now and then. It wouldn’t disappear, though … they just move the excess into my sick leave account.
I slept in, and then got up and took lunch to my wife at work and spent some time with her. I returned home and turned on the rig. Nasty sounds! We had an electrical storm while I was with the wife, and there’re still more thunderstorms forecast for this afternoon and evening. The bands were so bad, I even went out and checked my antenna.
I disconnected the feedline and radials at the base and carried the UnUn into the shack, where I disassembled and checked it. It looks OK inside, so I buffed up the outside connections and reconnected everything. The bands are still crappy, but I have a lot more confidence in it not being antenna connections now.
There’s nothing spectacular going on radio-wise in my shack. I’m still pursuing POTA Activators, and still regularly working FT8 contacts. Same ol’ same ol’.
It was a pretty good Friday at work, actually. We had out Shop Holiday Party and the boss paid for everybody’s lunch. It was a a buffet restaurant, and I subsequently fell into a food coma! Honestly, I always eat too much when it’s laid out like that. Anyway, we were given the afternoon off afterwards, so I went home and immediately took a nap to sleep off the food overdose!
Later on, I woke up and flipped on the rig and checked out the bands. Not very exciting … quite noisy and weak signals. I tuned around 30 meters and found FY5FY in French Guiana, Didier, calling CQ. One call to him and he was in the log. He was literally the only CW signal I was hearing on that band.
I dropped down to 60 meters and saw some FT8 activity, so I called CQ, and had QSOs with California, Florida, and Poland … the Polish station was really marginal, but finally in the log.
There was good activity on 80 meters CW and FT8, but I didn’t have good luck there. My vertical loads perfectly through my tuner on 80, but it’s really short (31 feet), and not an efficient radiator. With good conditions, it works well enough, but in these current conditions, it’s hit or miss sometimes.
So that’s my Friday. I’ve got a busy weekend with several holiday concerts to attend, and Sunday afternoon, a friend and I are replacing the driver’s side window on my truck. It was frozen shut one morning and I cranked it a bit too forcefully. Lesson learned! It’s forecast to be cold and rainy all weekend, so maybe I’ll get on sometime.
I confess … I had a very lazy weekend. I just piddled around the house and got nothing accomplished. Monday morning, I did fire up the station and do some FT8, though. Conditions were pretty good. Eighty meters was great, and 40/30/20 were good, too.
I logged forty-four contacts on those bands in an hour or so … mostly from the Americas. I was calling CQ and responding to those calling me back, running 40 Watts to my vertical. I guess if I had searched and pounced, I could have had more DX, but I enjoy working them all.
I’ve been pretty slack about operating from my truck in the parking lot at lunchtime, and want to get back into that. This evening, I plan to check out the portable equipment and put it back into action. I really need to get away from my desk at lunchtime. If I don’t, I find myself doing work when I should be taking a break. Ya’ know, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Work breaks make you more efficient!
I worked with the Win4Icom software last night a little more … or maybe I should say with the WSJT-X 2.0 software. I couldn’t figure out why the color coding for the callsigns had disappeared since the other evening (different colors for new DXCC, new grid square, new call, and so forth). It turns out that I did it! when I was getting the program set up the other night to integrate with Win4Icom, I did a reset, which set everything back to default, and the default was for minimal colors. Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy!
My next project with Win4Icom is getting N1MM+ integrated. It should be fairly straightforward unless I get hit with the stupid again :-D.
I’m presenting the program at our club meeting next month, and have been thinking about what I’m going to talk about. Maybe DXLab Suite … or, I could do a presentation on portable operation. I just haven’t decided yet. I’ll nail it down in the next few days, and then start working on a PowerPoint. I’m just not sure what would interest such a diverse group of hams. I want to pick something that will keep the attention of most of them.
The remnants of Michael are approaching and should really start to affect us this evening. It’s been cloudy with showers all day, but nothing intense. Choir practice has been cancelled, so I don’t have to go out and can batten down the hatches and stay at home. Right now, we’re under a tornado watch, a flash flood watch , and a wind advisory and severe thunderstorm watch. I’m on call tonight but I don’t expect to be called in; the wind and rain are expected to be a lot less severe than they could have been.