Field Day

I spent the morning on Saturday at our club Field Day site. I had a good time renewing friendships with folks I only see once a year at this event.

PARC/SPARK Field Day 2019

Pretty much everything had been set up on Friday evening, and groups were just putting the finishing touches on things. I sort of felt like a fifth wheel … sitting there schmoozing with the rest of the old timers. And what’s with all the yellow vests?

I knew I wasn’t going to get a chance to operate due to other commitments. I had to leave before actual operations got under way. I had my grandkid’s birthday party to be at that evening and then Sunday morning I had to see my Scout Troop off to summer camp for a week. Also, I don’t do 2am shifts anymore … I need my beauty sleep!

I guess Field Day has sort of lost its attraction for me. Everything is so organized and regimented … it just doesn’t seem as much FUN as it used to. Parks on the Air operations seem more like what Field Day used to be … set things up quickly in the middle of nowhere and get on the air.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If it’s YOUR thing, go right ahead. I realize that for some people, it’s the only chance they have to operate HF with decent rigs and antennas. Others really enjoy the competition. For them, it’s fun!

Anyway, to make a long story short, I had a great time at my granddaughter’s birthday party. Lots of excitement with all the kids running around and a good chance to catch up with less-often seen family members. Lots of action, since it was a pool party. A good time was had by all!

73 de Dick N4BC

The Pits …

I just read somewhere that we have been weeks without a sunspot. Boy, can you tell! Although there are openings … good openings … the overall propagation has been pretty dismal here. The summer storms haven’t helped. Lots of static crashes and noise, especially on the lower bands.

Well, there’s nothing WE can do, other than turn on the radio and see what’s going on. If you just sit back and bitch about “the bands”, you’re definitely NOT going to work anyone. You’ve got to put in the time to reap the rewards.

I got my first physical QSL card in a long time last week in the mail. It’s a notable occasion when I DO get one. It took me quite a while to figure out settings (again) to print a label for my card. I always forget to write them down. I send so few cards that I print my own on a color laser printer as needed.

Last week, I took the SkyWarn Advanced Spotter class online. Very interesting … I learned quite a bit. It was well worth the time I put into it. Lots of good information on thunderstorm formation, tornadoes, radar interpretation, and a good review of basic information. The next course that I want to take is the net control operator class.

Speaking of weather … we’ve had some pretty strong thunderstorms here in the evenings recently. Temperatures in the upper 90’s Fahrenheit during the days … high dew points … frontal activity … yeah, we’ve had thunderstorms 🙂 . Summertime is always active here.

73 de Dick N4BC

Workin’ for It

Afternoons and evenings, the noise on 40 meters has been terrible here at the ole’ homestead. Lots of hash and static crashes from weather-related phenomena. Of course, this is prime park-hunting time. It’s frustrating to hear stations working the activators and not hear those activators. You can tell they’re there … you can occasionally hear them rise above the noise for a moment … and then they dive back down into the noise. I could probably fake my way through a contest-style QSO … signal report, QTH, and 73 … but that’s almost like cheating if I’m not sure what they’re saying … if I have to guess.

CW’s a bit better. In the past couple of days, I’ve worked NK8O and WB8ERJ, and they had great, readable signals … hey, CW is like SSB with an amp! Digital and CW are certainly the way to go when conditions suck!

Even when you can copy with lots of difficulty … the old ears ain’t what they used to be … the noise and crashes are really fatiguing. You can’t keep it up for long. In the afternoons, after work, I like to listen and monitor the spots while working on other stuff at my desk … it gets irritating fast. It’s summertime!

Late evenings and nighttime are better, but unless they’re camping, most of the POTA guys have packed up and gone home. Parks being what they are, they close at sundown unless you’re registered and camping … nature of the beast.

73 de Dick N4BC

Longevity

On a whim, I just looked back to the start of this blog. I can’t believe the statistics. My first post here was on March 23rd 2013 … that was 53 pages and 263 posts ago. And even before that, I had other blogs and websites with previously held callsigns.

It’s not like I had anything earth-shattering to share … just a random narrative of (mainly) what was going on in my “ham life”. But, it’s fun to look back and see what’s changed, as well as what’s stayed the same. I sort of look at it like a journal. It’s nice that people stop by and seem interested in what I’m thinking, but it’s mainly for me … for whatever reasons … it’s fun!

73 de Dick N4BC