What’s New?

I haven’t posted for a while, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing anything.

I’ve been chasing Parks on the Air (as usual), and having some success with the improved solar conditions, but my main emphasis since the 1st of the month has been the 13 Colonies Special Event. So far, I have ten of the original 13 in my log, and still trying to break the pileups on the last three. There are three bonus stations, and I have WM3PEN in the books, but not the overseas two. I’ve worked them where I found them … 80M, 40M, and 20M … and on several modes … CW, FT4, and FT8. Surprisingly, none on SSB so far. The phone pileups are chaotic.

Six meters has been having some nice openings, too. All up and down the East coast from here … the farthest contacts have been into Canada, Cuba, and Bermuda. The majority of those contacts have been on FT8.

Our VHF repeater (W4MT) has been up and running for several weeks now, after having some problems passing audio (knock on wood 🙂 ). We never identified the cause, but the problems were coincident with HVAC problems … the drain on the wall unit was plugged and the condensation was running out onto the floor inside instead of outside. Everything was still cool. We unclogged the drain line, and I wonder if the high humidity had something to do with the issues we were having?

It looks like Tropical Storm Elsa will be just a rain event here in coastal Virginia. We’ve still got our eye on its progress, but hopefully it’ll just be wet! We’ll surely see some coastal flooding, but we get that with any big rain event.

73 de Dick N4BC

Spring has Sprung …

The days are longer than the nights, propagation is trending better, the trees and flowers are in bloom, and the temperatures are beginning to feel spring-like … Spring must surely be here!

The first blossoms on my Dogwood tree

It’s time to break out the portable gear and give it a good going over and cleaning. I anticipate being more successful in getting out into nature to operate this year … last year was a TOTAL failure due to the pandemic.

73 de Dick N4BC

Still kickin’

I’m still here, but not real active lately. I continue to chase Parks on the Air activations, and I dabble a bit in FT8/FT4/PSK/Olivia, but I have been lazy lately.

My POTA totals keep going up, though …

I’ve worked several more than that, so I’m over 375 for sure, and approaching contacts with 400 unique parks.

I haven’t done any portable ops lately, either. The weather has been the pits! Although we dodged most of the snow, we’ve had more than our share of cold rain and wind. It was pleasant this morning, with the temperatures in the 50s, but this afternoon we had heavy rains and cold winds again. The ground squishes and yields water when you step on it.

I was scheduled to receive my second COVID-19 shot on Wednesday, but they’re backed up due to a shortage of vaccine, so I’ve been told to sit tight and wait for them to notify me when and where to go to get the second one. I think the weather nationwide has affected supply channels, and, of course, demand is high.

I hear that Icom is going to release a firmware update for the IC-7300 (and their other SDR radios, as well). I’m looking forward to getting that installed.

Well, that’s my update … stay safe!

73 de Dick N4BC

Red Sun …

I noticed that the rising sun in the east was an unnatural deep reddish-orange color this morning. The weatherman says that it’s due to the smoke being blown eastward from the west coast wildfires. WOW! Three thousand miles away … small world!

Not much luck this morning on the radio. The bands have been pretty uncooperative the past few days, and this morning was no exception. The Europeans were coming in, but way down in signal strength. Time to read a book or something 😀 !

73 de Dick N4BC

It’s Aliiiiiiive!!!!!

Interesting evening … just when you’re sure that JT9 is dead and gone … killed by the FT-modes … you work a bunch of them!

Last night I saw K9ZIE spotted on a 40 meter JT9 POTA activation, so I popped on down and worked him easily. There was actually quite a bit of JT9 activity there, so I worked a few more successfully. Maybe I just haven’t been noticing, but I thought that JT9 was pretty rare nowadays … Guess not!

It’s been a pretty good week for POTA contacts. I’ve put about ten new parks in the log since Monday. Propagation has been pretty good … even a couple of Canadian parks.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we’re putting our two repeater antennas on a 300-foot tower. We’ve had thunderstorms most afternoons this summer. Hopefully all goes well … out repeaters have been looking for a new home for far too long.

73 de Dick N4BC