My thoughts on Ham Radio … and everything else, too!
I fired up the rig when I got home from work yesterday, and found a few takers on the bands.
All of these were quickies (as are all FT8 contacts) … less than an hour for all sixteen. I was rushed, as I had to get myself ready and head out to my weekly Scout meeting and then choir practice … grabbing dinner on the way (Whopper combo). Not the healthiest dinner, but fast.
After choir practice, I had to rush home for the weekly Tidewater DMR net (TG 31515). I joined only 7 minutes late at 9:07. Participation was good, with quite a few new check-ins, and lots of spirited conversation. Next week (being Thanksgiving Day) we’ll not meet.
I can see this holiday season is stacking up to be hectic. Lots of events coming up … concerts, banquets, family events … you know what I mean. By the time the new year is here, you’re just glad for a break!
The combined PARC/SPARK Holiday Dinner is coming up on Tuesday, December 4th at the County Grill in York County on Route 17. The food is always good there, and the company will be too!
I see the ARRL November Sweepstakes is this weekend. This is the SSB one, and I am just not into SSB so I’ll pass. Furthermore, I’ve always thought the exchange was too involved and complex, so I’ve just never participated in the Sweepstakes events. If it’s your thing, more power to ya’. Just not my cup of tea.
Ya’ know … if you haven’t tried this newer band yet, you’re missing out. It’s not a heavily used band, but there are people there. I’ve only done FT8 on 5.357 MHz (Channel 3, I think), but I’ve bagged a few new ones there. My LDG tuner tunes my vertical just fine. I have no idea what kind of efficiency, but I’ve worked all over the world with around 50 watts.
It’s an odd band. It’s shared with government and military, and they’ve got priority use … it’s channelized … the max power is 100 watts. Really an odd duck, but it is what it is. We just have to work with what the FCC allows us. Oh, and not all countries have given the amateurs the same channels, so that complicates things even more. Hey … just work ’em when you hear ’em. Try it … you’ll like it!
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!
We had our regularly scheduled Tidewater DMR net last night, and had a handful of participants … maybe around a half dozen or so. Though small, it was a lively group. We discussed Tom’s (WE4TOM) presentation at the club meeting on DMR 101 … “DMR for the novice … by the novice”! Tom presented some good information, but the gem of the presentation was the demonstration that he and Howard (WZ4K) carried out.
You know, you can descend into PowerPoint Hell but a hands-on demo is worth a thousand slides. Actually “fondling” the radios and listening to the voice quality really appeal to a ham’s baser instincts. You can hear for yourself what it sounds like … you can see for yourself how a hotspot works. Hands on … good stuff! They’re talking about taking it on the road to spread the DMR gospel!
It’s been a while since I last posted, and quite frankly, I haven’t been on the air at all … life has gotten in the way. Problems with nursing homes, a death in the family, and a persistent cough and cold have conspired to make me silent, but I’m coming out of it now.
Tonight is the club meeting. Tom, WE4TOM is doing a presentation on DMR, so that’s of interest. I’m looking forward to it.
BAM! The holidays are upon us. I had to run into WallyWorld to grab some new windshield wipers for the truck and it’s CHRISTMAS in there! I STILL say Christmas sales shouldn’t start until after Thanksgiving at the earliest!
Actually, that was the first time I’ve been in WalMart in ages. Nine times out of ten, my go-to shopping spot is Amazon. “You can buy almost anything at Amazon!”