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 …
I fired up on 40 meters when I got home from work yesterday, and worked quite a few FT8 QSOs:
Mostly US stations, but a few Europeans mixed in as well. Things had quieted down when I got back home later after choir practice and Scouts, and I decided to call it a night. Even in these days of lower activity, you CAN make QSOs. You just have to turn on the rig.
I spent a bit of time on 80 meters last night … most contacts were North America. Forty meters was pretty sparse. Just not good conditions. As a matter of fact, later, I actually was wondering if my antenna had fallen down again, signals dropped so much.
So, to catch up with a task I hadn’t gotten around to yet, I decided to enter frequencies into memory for the 60 meter (5 MHz) band on the new IC-7300. I have never operated on this band before, so moving between the five “channels” revealed not too much activity last night. I did hear one CW station, and they were pretty strong; I also heard a couple of FT8 signals on one channel as well.
The CW station was right on the center frequency of the channel. Neither digital station was. The rules state that digital signals must be zero-beat with the center frequency of the channel; they also state that only one station can transmit on a channel at one time. Either the operators were in error, or I need to read some more. I didn’t do any transmitting on that band, other than to send a couple of test signals (VVV de N4BC). I’ll try more later.
Most of the snow and ice is gone now … supposed to get up to 62 today and 71 tomorrow. Saturday, the temperatures drop again, and Sunday they’re in the 30s again. I’m ready though … got a new pair of hunting boots from Amazon yesterday. Probably won’t snow again all winter!
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!
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!
Last night was sort of a bust on 30 meter CW. I tuned up on that band and lo and behold … only ONE station was heard. PY2ZEA, Ville, was booming in at a solid 599. Nobody else … anywhere on the band. we had a quick QSO. I could tell he wasn’t copying me as well as I copied him. He had to ask me to repeat my callsign several times. He gave me a 599, though. Maybe there was some QRM/QRN. The other bands were noisy and I didn’t hear anything interesting, so I shut down the rig and moved to YouTube and watched some Ham Radio oriented videos.
Seven to ten inches of snow predicted tonight, and 40 MPH winds … temperatures well below freezing. Not looking forward to tomorrow. If work is cancelled, though, I’ll try again.