K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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Monday, December 31, 2012 9:19 PM - Well, here it is the end of another year, and just about time to start off a new one. Of course it's all an arbitrary numbers game, and there's no real change at all in a couple hours tonight. There's really not even anything astronomical anymore that happens tonight to signal a change. But it's customary to do so, and I wish all of you a Happy New Year anyway.

I had two great 30+ minute rag chews so far in SKN. That's important in a way besides being enjoyable too. When you get letters for our January NAQCC Challenge, if it's a rag chew QSO, you get to use each letter in a call sign three times instead of the customary two. At least for the first ten rag chews, that is.

It's s(^wing again, but this is a moisture starved storm, and tracking further south. At least that's how it seems right now. So we shouldn't get but a dusting from this one. However, the Canadian icebox door opens after it passes, and we may have our first single digit temperatures of the season later this week. -30-

Sunday, December 30, 2012 11:41 PM - Mike made it here through the snow and we had a great 8 hour or so visit. Among some other things, we took care of some NAQCC prizes, had a sub at Subway, and fixed up a paddle connector for his KX3 similar to the one I made for myself and described here in the diary recently. Mike took a couple pictures of his unit to show here in the diary, so here we go:

pix_diary_20121230_002 (23K)

pix_diary_20121230_001 (51K)

Top shows the connector itself with the plug that goes into the KX3 at right and the 1/8" stereo phone jack to connect the paddle(s). Bottom is the unit hooked up to his KX3 and his Begali paddle. -30-

Saturday, December 29, 2012 8:08 PM - About 4 more inches of the $#@% stuff today. I've decided to set my counter to count the number of these miserable days left until the wonderful season of spring and green returns.

It's just so depressing, it's hard to even write anything here in the diary.

Hopefully Mike KC2EGL will be able to make it down here for a visit tomorrow. The roads at least should be good enough for travel, although everything else looks to remain an ugly white for quite some time as it looks like the invasion of cold air from Canada is here to stay for the foreseeable future - UGH. -30-

Friday, December 28, 2012 9:13 PM - I used up the last of my garden tomatoes this morning in a bacon and tomato sandwich. I don't think I'm going to start my tomatoes for next year so early this time. They just seem to kind of languish in January and part of February before they really take off and grow. So this year I think I'll plant my Siberian seeds around the first part of February and see how they do.

I'd like to share one special Christmas message I got and maybe a couple others as well. First this from Ron K5DUZ which I enjoyed very much:


May your winter be short,
the snow stay away
May your steps stay lively,
and you enjoy every day!
May your garden grow high,
its produce be the best
May the big fish in the river,
satisfy your quest
May memories of your friend Joe,
stay in your heart
May your CW stay crisp,
and always stand apart
May your QRP streak,
continue unbroken
May we always be friends,
tho we've never spoken
Merry Christmas, John!
Ron, K5DUZ
Very nice Ron, thank you very much. Right now I'm especially rooting for the first two lines. HI

Ron also included a very touching story of the creation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It's too long to put here in the diary, but here is a link to a copy of the story on the Internet: http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/christmaslore/a/rudolph_the_red_nosed_reindeer.htm

From Carl, N5XE, "Hey John, Just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013. Take care and 73 from Oklahoma... Carl, N5XE"

And from Paul N0NBD, "Hello John , I also enjoyed your farewell to arms post. I was glad to see the Mayan sculpture ran out of stone or chisels as it were hi. We have a little of the white stuff with some ice first but most of it is gone. Have a Merry Christmas and keep up the writing. I come by every day to see what my friend John has been up to..... de Paul N0NBD"

Thanks not only to the above, but to all others who wished me a Merry Christmas. -30-

Thursday, December 27, 2012 10:07 PM - I just finished up the NAQCC December End of the World challenge making my 20th QSO since the world "ended" on the 21st for well over the required 41 QSOs for the whole month. I was on quite a bit today trying to finish it off. It was a good day since that white stuff makes going out an unacceptable alternative to staying indoors. I do miss my outside walking though.

Another thing I did today was modify my KX3 paddle connector described about a week or 10 days ago here in the diary. That connector was very hard to take in and out of the KX3 which didn't really matter, but I like things to work the way they should. I remembered I had some other old computer cables around and I looked at them to see if they would work. They would and they would stick out a little further that the first one I made. So I went through the same process and wound up with that shown in the picture below. Since the clamp that held the wires in place was more secure, I didn't need the hmbw clamp to hold it all together like the first one. Anyway compare the new and old picture for a better idea of what I've done.

pix_diary_20121227_001 (41K)

Other than that, not much else to talk about in this entry. -30-

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 8:25 PM - Just a few minutes now till our NAQCC mW sprint starts. I'm not really in a contest mood this evening, so if I'm late, I'm late.

A very depressing day today following a great Christmas day yesterday. We got about 6 inches of that *^%^$$# s*^w today. The ONLY even remotely good thing was that it didn't include any freezing rain with it as originally predicted. That's about all I even feel like typing right now. -30-

Tuesday, December 25, 2012 11:21 PM - Sorry my picture from last night's entry didn't get uploaded properly, but anyway I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas today. I certainly did.

However I don't really have the time to talk much about it because it's late and I still have a few things to do before bed time. So I'll just give a quick summary and maybe elaborate a bit tomorrow.

First, I had a great dinner and gift exchange at the Bowsers next door. It's always nice to fellowship with them like an extended family, especially when a lot of the clan are there. Only Eric KB3BFQ, his wife and two kids were missing because one of the kids was sick. It was a real delight watching the other two young kids (11 and 6) opening and being delighted by all their presents.

Second it was over to the house on the other side of mine - Nancy and Bruce's. They gave me a nice dinner to have later in the day since I had just eaten one big meal. They also gave me a beautiful Poinsetta and sort of a challenge to keep it alive as long as they did with theirs last year which lived and bloomed well into July. Me not being good with Poinsettas or Cactii, mine will probably not make it past a couple months, but we'll see.

Third, for the 4th year in a row, Mike KC2EGL made his annual Christmas evening visit. We took our usual tour of the Christmas lights around town and did a little ham radio work.

Finally thanks to those of you who wished me a Merry Christmas.

I'll try to have more in tomorrow's entry, but tomorrow is going to be a busy day also. -30-

Monday, December 24, 2012 9:05 PM -

pix_diary_20121224_001 (76K)

A thousand words entry! -30-

Sunday, December 23, 2012 8:48 PM - This was a nice weather day today. A bit chilly, but beautiful sunny skies all day. Most of the little bit of s*%w that fell melted away. What a beautiful sight it is to see white change to green.

I thought of something walking home from one of my walks today. Actually I've thought of it before many times, but just thought I'd share it this time. Why is it that during most of the first part of December we say something like, "If I don't see you again before Christmas, I hope you'll have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year." Does that mean if I do see you again I hope you don't have a MC and HNY? Or is it because we feel uncomfortable wishing someone a MC and HNY so early in December that we have to qualify the statement? If I catch myself saying it, I often add an aftethought, "Even if I do see you, I still wish you a MC and HNY." Or maybe it's just one of the many peculiarities of our English language which has so many of them in abundance. I don't know.

My QSO for this evening was yet another NAQCC member - Chris KU4A. Our NAQCC members are certainly populating the ham bands, and that's what we like to see and hear. I was doing some figuring for my NAQCC Friendship Club award update today, and I found I've worked 1,040 different members since January 1, 2005. Of 16,463 QSOs since then, 5,758 have been with NAQCC members. That's 35% - very impressive considering I don't get on the air specifically looking for members, except perhaps in our NAQCC sprints.

I've got 8 QSOs now for the second half of our December NAQCC challenge which means I need 12 more to go before the month ends. Chris also mentioned he was working on the challenge and thanked me for adding a QSO to his total as well.

Weather reading time now, so I'll close. -30-

Saturday, December 22, 2012 9:04 PM - I got one more comment on the EOTW entry. Goran SM0PMJ emailed, "Dear John, I really enjoyed your 'Last call to the world' in Diary December 20th. How glad we are the world did not end so you can continue giving us your diary issues. Merry Xmas es Happy New Year! 72 de SM0PMJ Goeran NAQCC #1020, QRPARCI #12041, FISTS #10899."

The bands seemed a little better and a little more active today, but still poor compared to what they used to be on weekends years ago. I worked another EU station S50R to get another letter for the NAQCC EU Challenge. I also worked fellow NAQCC member VE1BA on 20. Then added 3 QSOs this evening - KK5IB, N2ESE, and NT8P, all NAQCC members. That brings my second half total for the December NAQCC End of the World challenge to 6 QSOs with 14 more to go before the end of the month to master the challenge. Should be easy.

A really nasty day today with that UGLY white stuff on the ground, and windy and cold to boot. Other than going out for the mail and over to Nancy's, I stayed indoors all day. At least we only got about 0.5 inches of the stuff, so that was somewhat of a blessing. Sure will be nice when we make it through the torture and see the green growth return in a little over a couple months. -30-

Friday, December 21, 2012 9:04 PM - My little December Fool's joke last night brought only one comment. From Chuck W8LQ, "Cripes, John....you had me going!!!! I thought I was gonna lose a good friend!!! How could I ever fill the time of evening just before I check the Astronomy Picture of the Day??? (Or maybe there won't be a great star shot !) I'll get you for this, you rascal!!! 12 inches of heavy, wet S*#W is coming your way!!! As always....Vy 73...............Chuck W8LQ."

Well, If Chuck is right, we still need about 11.8 inches. Just a trace on the ground so far, but even that is very depressing.

The bands seem to be getting emptier and emptier as we approach Christmas. I guess everyone is doing all that last minute pre-Christmas stuff, and ignoring ham radio. At one point this afternoon, I didn't hear a single signal on any band from 30 through 10 meters. A little later though, I did work Harry KA3NZR for my 11th 30 meters QSO this month, still far short of the 30 I need for my NAQCC 30-30 Magnum award. Don't know if I'll make it or not.

This evening I worked Bob W3BBO, one of the not all that many hams that I know in person a little more than a brief acquaintance at a hamfest or something like that. In fact a few years ago, Bob was here in my house for a short visit.

Well, I wonder what the next big money-making scheme will be now that the end-of-the-world promotion is over. I read that Mexico drew some 50 million tourists this year in conjunction with the EOTW as folks discovered the Mayan culture and wanted to see it first hand. -30-

Thursday, December 20, 2012 7:55 PM - What shall I talk about for this, my last ever diary entry? I could say how much fun it has been writing a daily entry every day since May 17, 2006. It's been a great way to keep track of what I've been doing and when. However more importantly, it has provided me with a great deal of email fellowship with you, my diary readers. I appreciate each and every diary feedback I've received over those 6 1/2 years or so.

I've gotten the impression (hopefully accurate) that you've enjoyed reading about many various topics here besides just ham radio. I wanted to show that ham radio operators don't have just one-track minds, but diversify their interests into many other subjects. I think I demonstrated that by talking here about things like music, weather, sports, fishing, walking, movies, computers - just to name a few. I can't even remember all the things I talked about over the years.

When I've not been feeling well, and mentioned it here, you would send comments to help me feel better, and I especially appreciate that among all the other comments. You know (spoken like a true athlete being interviewed - why do they do that?), I honestly can't recall ever receiving a negative comment about the diary. You may have disagreed in a friendly way with some of the things I said here, but never in a nasty way.

As I write this closing entry, my mind wanders back to Joe, my great friend who passed away just over a year ago. New readers may not know that Joe was my heighbors dog - a long haired chihuahua mixed with another unknown breed. I would say that when I talked about Joe, that would generate more comments than just about any other topic. Several of you sent condolences when he passed away. I'll always remember the date - December 7, 2011 - another day that will live in infamy for me and Joe's owners. Joe and I had a special rapport of some kind that I can't explain, but it existed. It's even more plain now that the neighbors have another dog. I like Roscoe, but it's just not the same as it was with Joe.

I suppose I could go on and on here, but I think I'll just wrap it up with a final good-bye and thanks to all of you for your friendship via the diary over the years.

Oh, that is if the world really does end tomorrow. If not, I'll be back here again tommorow evening with another entry - starting a long post-EOTW string of entries, I hope. -30-

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 8:59 PM - Thanks to Geo and Chuck for telling me my site was posted on e-ham.net which probably accounted for the increase in visitors the past couple days. Hopefully those visitors (you) found the site interesting enough to come back now and then.

Once again Gary N2ESE found my CQ to be my streak QSO this evening, but it didn't take as long tonight - just a few minutes on 80 meters. This afternoon I worked only my third EU station this month when I got HA8MD on 20 meters. It's going to be a long strecth to master the Dec/Jan NAQCC EU challenge. Also to get my 30 30M QSOs this month for the third month in a row. I only have 10 right now. Things are slow all around on the ham bands, it seems.

A couple days ago I posted this on the Elecraft reflector:
"I think the K2 has a very nice feature that allows hooking up any number and type of keys - paddles, straight keys, bugs - so that one can switch among them at any time without going through any menu settings. This is made possible by a simple circuit using just two diodes shown in the K2 Owner's manual (Revision G, May 29, 2007) on page 99. As far as I know, there is no similar feature in the KX3, and as a 100% CW operator who enjoys switching among different keys while on the air - even during a QSO - I think there should be. As a relatively new (very pleased) owner of a KX3, I'd like to know if I'm just overlooking something, and if not, I'd like to see that feature added. I would imagine it could be something done through a firmware revision. Or as an alternative, is there a plug available to plug in an external paddle to the jack designed for the "built in" KX3 paddle, so a paddle could be hooked up there, and a straight key and bug hooked to the main key jack on the side of the rig. Thanks for any forthcoming help with this...."

I got a couple helpful replies, but today I came up with my own solution after learning there really was no similar feature in the KX3.

I looked at the mounting "jack" for the KXPD3 paddle wondering if I had anything in my junk box that I could use to connect my Begali and Bencher paddles. It consists of 4 pins in a square 2X2 configuration. An old Computemp connector had a row of three sockets with the right spacing, but a 1X3 into a 2X2 just won't go. However in ransacking my junk box, I did come up with this from an old computer or something else:

pix_diary_20121219_001 (77K)

Four of the seven holes as shown in the red rectangle matched perfectly the 2X2 spacing on the KX3 "jack". So I took the little plug off the cable by removing the plastic clamp holding it on. Then using a knife and a hacksaw I cut away the three projections and the section holding the three extra unneeded sockets. I also stripped away four of the eight wires from the cable since I wanted to use it to make the connection to my keys. Once I had the plug down to a fairly neat square that almost went in the KX3 "jack", some careful filing made it small enough to neatly fit. A perfect match. I reconnected the cable, cut the cable clamp down to size and put it on to hold the wires. However with the little clamps now gone, I knew it wasn't going to stay on without some help. So with a spacer, a couple washers, a 4-40 bolt and a little piece of aluminum that fit over the plug to keep it in place and together, it looked like this:

pix_diary_20121219_002 (116K)

Now to figure out which wire was for dits, dahs, and ground. With my VOM, I determined it to be like this looking at the connector with the KX3 in the position shown above and pins identified as such:

Pin 1 (upper left) - 1K or something like that to ground - not sure what this pin is for. Doesn't seem to be needed in my setup.

Pin 2 (upper right) - zero ohms to ground so this had to be ground.

Pin 3 (lower left) - 11K to ground.

Pin 4 (lower right) - 11K to ground.

So I figured since 3 and 4 were equal resistances to ground, one was the dits, the other dahs. Figuring dits are normally on the left side of a paddle, I guessed (correctly) 3 was dits and 4 dahs. With a clip lead, I confirmed this was correct.

Next I fastened a 1/8 stereo jack to the 3 wires at the end of the cable, plugged in a Y splitter and connected my Begali and Bencher paddles, and I was in business with the paddles. Let's take a look at a couple final pictures, then get on to setting up the straight key and bug.

pix_diary_20121219_003 (118K)

This picture above shows the little plug I "made" and how it is held in place a little more clearly.

pix_diary_20121219_004 (110K)

This picture shows the end of the cable, the stereo jack, and the Y splitter that runs under the shelf on which the KX3 is mounted.

Now it was just a matter of connecting the output from the little box that connected the straight key and bug together to the 1/8" stereo jack on the side of the KX3, and setting the menu for that jack to "Hand Key". Now as I could with the K2, I can switch from one key to another by just moving my hand to the desired key - no fooling with a menu setting.

Whew, writing that was almost as time consuming as actually doing it. HI. So now I'm off to update my streak table and propagation info on the site, then listen to the TL show or maybe watch A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alistair Sim. -30-

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 9:15 PM - It's interesting how you can start out looking up one thing on the Internet and wind up finding something entirely different. I won't describe the trail, but I wound up at this site: http://qrzcq.com/. It's somewhat of a clone of QRZ.com, but you don't have to sign-in every time you want to use their lookup. It seems to be run by a group of German hams. At least I got welcome messages from two German hams when I completed their FREE registration. Having only found it but several minutes ago, I don't really know all about it, but they do seem to have a wealth of features from the looks of the sidebar menus, etc.

It took quite a while to get my streak QSO this evening. I started out tuning 30 meters, but didn't hear a thing there. Then I went to 40 and called CQ for quite a while on a couple different frequencies with no luck. So I went to 80 and after about 10 minutes of CQs there, my friend Gary N2ESE answered my CQ. That's our 131st QSO plus a few more with his previous call. Then after all the difficulty of getting the first QSO, as soon as Gary and I finished, WR9H called me.

Oh, one other thing. I've had a big surge in web site visitors the past couple days. I guess someone posted the site somewhere prominent. Anyone know where, if so? -30-

Monday, December 17, 2012 1:43 PM - An afternoon entry today. I did finish all the sprint log cross-checking last night. One of the quicker efforts as there weren't all that many errors. Well at least not the kind that take a lot of head-scratching and swearing to try to figure out.

So today I have some extra time on my hands. I decided to update and re-arrange my 'Station Pictures' page which you can see via the link in the left column of this page. That was quite out of date with the lack of time I have to devote to keeping such things up to date.

I also took a picture of the new Computemp sensor shelter I built over the past couple days. As you see it is just a short piece of 4 inch PVC pipe with an old plastic butter tub serving as a 'hat' to keep out the rain. Then a piece of screen over the bottom hopefully serving to keep the birds and bees, etc. from trying to use it as a home.

pix_diary_20121217_001 (119K)


Sunday, December 16, 2012 7:51 PM - I'm just about to get started on the log cross-checking from last week's NAQCC sprint. I'm going to shoot at getting it finished this evening if I can. So just a couple comments in the diary tonight.

I ran into 5T0JL again on 30M, but just as I found him, he said it was time for him to quit. So I guess I'll have to wait for another day. I looked him up on QRZ and found he's 84 years old and has operated from a few other countries in his ham career.

I worked KK4WX for my streak QSO. This afternoon I also worked KD6SX in a strange way which I'll tell you about now.

The past couple days, I've been upgrading my shelter for my Computemp temperature sensor, and I finished it early this morning. Pictures to follow (maybe) in an upcoming entry. I wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be affected by my ham radio signals as it had been in the past when I previously had it closer to my antennas. I thought I'd just start on 10 meters and call a couple CQs on each band down through 80. I figured the bands were so dead I wouldn't bother anyone nor get any answers so I could get done quickly. However to my surprise my 2nd CQ on 15 meters yielded an answer from KD6SX in CA. He was extremely weak and I had trouble getting his call at first, but when I got him all tuned in with the KX3, he barely moved the S Meter, but I got about 90-95 percent copy. A tribute to the KX3 receiving ability. The moral is: Call CQ - you never know who may be listening just waiting for someone to send their CQ. -30-

Saturday, December 15, 2012 9:21 PM - I guess the highlight today was working the South Shetland Islands for the first time in about 10 years. I easily got RI1ANF on 30 meters. I would have sooner gotten 5T0JL on 30 though as Mauritania would have been an overall new country. He was turning contacts over very slowly and I just didn't have the patience to wait. I did wait through a few QSOs, calling in between each one, but no luck so I gave up.

That first paragraph tells you that 30 was in good shape this evening, the best it has been for some time now. Hope it will continue that way. I'd like to get 30 QSOs on 30 this month for the third month in a row and get my second NAQCC 30-30 Magnum Award. It doesn't look too good though unless I really get busy. I've only got about 5 or 6 so far this month. -30-

Friday, December 14, 2012 7:59 PM - Yet another nice mid-December day. The longer we put off the nasty winter weather, the better. You can be sure it will come though, but the later, the shorter it will be.

I took a couple of long walks today to enjoy the weather. I also did some outside work on the shelter for my Computemp temperature sensor.

My streak QSO came on 40 meters tonight after several unanswered CQs on 80 meters. Dan KF8R answered me after a couple minutes on 40. He was hard to copy at first, then I switched my receive antenna to my 10 meters dipole. That reduced his signal, but gave a better S/N ratio and solid copy. That's good to remember. If you have multiple antennas as I do, try switching on receive if you have trouble copying someone. It doesn't always work, but most times one antenna will give better results than the other.

Now I've got to go and update my poll. So check back later after you read this and cast your vote there. -30-

Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:05 PM - Another bright sunny day today. I wouldn't mind winter if every day were like today, even though it wasn't all that warm with temps in the 40s for a high and 20s for a low.

I've been watching off and on for some Geminid meteors. Just looking out my kitchen window so not seeing much of the sky. I have seen three so far though. One last night about 0 magnitude and two tonight about magnitude 1 and magnitude 3. With the crystal clear nights last night and tonight, if it wasn't so cold, and I had watched outside, I probably would have seen a lot more.

The bands continue pretty poor during the day and not a lot better at night. It took quite a few CQs this evening before I got an answer from Tom KA2KGP. -30-

Wednesday, 12/12/12 8:58 PM - Just had to present the date that way. Unless you're maybe 15 or under, this is the last time you'll see a triple same digits date - barring some fantastic medical advance. This is the last one until January 1, 2101.

I spent a good deal of the day processing logs in the first stage of cross-checking. I believe we are at 130 logs right now less than 24 hours after the NAQCC sprint last evening. That has to be the quickest we'ver ever reached that number and sets us up well to break our record of 137 logs with still almost 4 full days remaining till submission deadline.

Conditions were really great last night - well on 80 meters anyway. As I said, I got 52 QSOs on 80 - virtually all from calling CQ. Could have done better with some more S&P as a lot of other members are discovering the joy of just sitting and calling CQ. But I love to do it too. HI

Had a nice solid rag chew with KA9FCZ on 40 meters this evening for my streak QSO. Too bad 40 couldn't have been that good last night with 80 also being as good as it was. Might have teased the 70 QSO mark then like a couple folks did with their vastly superior (to mine) antennas. Still it was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to the next one now. -30-

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 10:50 PM - I just finished up submitting my log for tonight's NAQCC sprint and it's getting kinda late, so I'm just going to use my sprint soapbox for my entry now. Maybe tomorrow I'll have more to say about the sprint. Here's the soapbox:

A good sprint tonight despite some problems. I decided at the last minute to change my computer keyboard because the way it is set up, I must hunt and peck when entering data into GenLog, and I am a touch typist, not a H&P typist. Anyway to make a long soapbox a little shorter, the letters on the old keyboard were getting hard to read, so I replaced it. That took longer than I thought. I had entered a dummy QSO into GenLog, so it would save my log. Then when I restarted the computer, I deleted the dummy QSO, but GenLog still counted it in my total. Also I never got to update the GenLog data file. Shame on me, after telling you that's one thing you must do. So I had to enter the new members from 6312 on up manually, and then fix the log afterwards to change them from 1 point QSOs to 2 points. See, that's something we all need to do if not using the very latest GenLog file. Then along the way a couple times, I got messed up in my data entry somehow. With all that, it should have been a disaster, but I wound up with 53 QSOs which is very close to my personal record of 57 and 22 multipliers. And 52 of the 53 were on 80 meters. 40 just wasn't working here. Or at least not at the start nor when I checked it again around 0300Z. Anyway that's enough blabbing from me, except to say thank you much for all the QSOs - it was fun despite all the hassles. -30-

Monday, December 10, 2012 8:38 PM - After yesterday's fun times, today was calm and quiet. The only noteworthy happenning was Tom WY3H and I getting together to finish up the NAQCC article for CQ magazine's March issue. We've got it mostly written now, and are at the point where we let it 'ripen' for a couple days, then come back and do the final fine tuning, plus create a little sidebar and decide on a couple pictures for the article.

It rained most of the day off and on. I did get in one outside walk to downtown, but the rest of my walking was indoors. The next three or so days are supposed to be nice if a bit chilly so I should get out more often.

Tomorrow night is our NAQCC sprint so I'll be doing the last minute preparation for that later tonight and tomorrow. I hope conditions are good. They were pretty good tonight with 40 being pretty quiet compared to the past few nights and having some good signals on it. Likewise 80 was about the same as 40 but with just a little more noise. -30-

Sunday, December 09, 2012 6:02 PM - Mike was here today, and you know what that means - fun and craziness with some useful work and eating in-between. We had a good time in the 10 meters contest with our tag-team operation. What? You say.

Oh, perhaps a picture (worth a 1,000 words) would explain it better:

pix_diary_20121209_001 (98K)

You see, when I finish working a station, I get up out of the chair and tag Mike who then takes my place and works the same station.

Or vice-versa as shown next:

pix_diary_20121209_002 (101K)

Note as it got later and a little darker, my hair was tousled and I shed the sweatshirt after all the frantic activity.

Actually 35 stations were worked, and of those, 33 were worked by both of us. Two others faded out before we could complete the double contact. Our multiplier total was 11 each today.

It was amazing how consistent propagation was from 1600 to 2245Z when it did finally change. All that time, stations were coming in pretty good from the western USA and Canada, and most of the contacts were from CA, AZ, and WA with OR, ID, UT, NV, and BC thrown in. We also worked one station each from LA, Mexico, and Argentina. Not a lot of activity with my simple QRP setup, but a LOT of fun. As I predicted in the previous couple entries, this year it was a contest mainly for those with QRO and/or big antenna farms.

I just asked Mike if he had any comments to add and he said..... you guessed it, "We'll be going to dinner in about an hour."

ADDENDUM: We went back to 10 and like the past couple evenings it was in short skip from 2330-0000Z and we added some more QSOs and mults. My total is 46 QSOs and I think 17 mults. Mike had 43 and 16, I believe. He also wanted to add a comment about our operation and our 'tag team'. He wonders when the men in the white coats are coming to take us away like in the song by Napoleon XIV many years ago. -30-

Saturday, December 08, 2012 8:57 PM - Well, I checked 10 meters 3 times during the day and didn't hear a thing. However there was an opening after dark with strong signals from MN, MO, WI, and ON. I didn't try to work anyone though. All the bands sounded pretty good this evening. I worked KA1HXW in GA on 30 and N2EI on 40.

It was a nice day today. The rain held off so I got in some good walks this afternoon and a couple this evening to look at the Christmas lights. I'm just under 11 miles for the day.

Other than that, just an ordinary day. -30-

Friday, December 07, 2012 7:54 PM - How about that? I actually made one QSO in the 10M contest this evening. I heard 3 stations - one had a pileup, one was way down at the noise level which is very weak since my 10M noise level is very low most of the time, and I worked the 3rd one - N0HJZ in MN. Took about 4 reps of my call for him to get it, but we made it. So at least I won't be shut out. HI And things should be better in daylight than in the darkness this evening.

Tom WY3H and I spent a couple hours working on our NAQCC feature story for the March 2013 issue of CQ Magazine. We're going to try to finish it on Monday.

After Tom got back home, we tried a QSO on 30 meters as I wanted to see just how my old TS-570D rig which he has borrowed for a while sounds on the air. We made contact, and it really does sound great even after being some 12+ years old now and not having been used for about 4 or 5 years. Tom is really delighted with it.

This was the first of 3 or 4 rainy days in a row now, so not much walking outside. I did make a trip to the grocery store and post office, but that was about it. However I got my exercise by walking here inside the house. Seven miles worth, most of which was inside. It will be a good weekend for the contest if propagation cooperates, and for a visit from Mike on Sunday for some NAQCC and KX3 work. At least it's rain and not s$%w. -30-

Thursday, December 06, 2012 8:35 PM - It doesn't look any better today for the upcoming 10 meters contest. The solar flux is still under 100 and by the time Saturday comes, the face of the Sun except for perhaps the very edges looks to be totally devoid of any decent sized sunspot groups. As I said it looks like mostly a contest for the big contest stations. Looking back to early December 2011 when the 10 meters contest was quite hot, the SF was above 150 the first 6 days, above 143 the first 9 days, and then for the contest on the 10th and 11th it was 140 and 134. The A index was 9 or less the first 11 days of the month. Or for a more revealing look, here is a table showing 2011 vs. 2012:

SF A Index for:
Date   2011     2012
12/1   155 7    102 4
12/2   157 3     98 7
12/3   160 8     97 4
12/4   164 4     96 3
12/5   158 2     96 2
12/6   151 1     97 1
12/7   149 1
12/8   145 2
12/9   144 3
12/10  140 9
12/11  134 6

So even if the sun should show increased activity the next couple days, it won't make much difference. Last year there was high solar activity for at least 9 straight days before the contest. Actually a couple months before the contest which really activated the ionosphere for good high bands propagation come contest time. This year not only is the activity low, but it has been decreasing since the 1st. Actually for just about one month now.

However, having said that, I'm sure it will be possible to make SOME contacts with QRP and simple antennas, but by no means as many as last year. I made 72 contacts in just a few hours of very casual activity then, and could have made many more had I put in a bigger effort.

Even the lower bands have been pretty poor the past several days, and when I get on for my streak QSO in the 0000Z hour, there is very little activity to be found and among the few stations that are on, very few are all that strong. Tonight I did get a pretty quick answer to my CQ though. W1SFR answered me after 10-15 minutes of trying. -30-

Wednesday, December 05, 2012 8:54 PM - Cold weather returned today. A high of only 48, and that was at midnight. I don't think it got out of the high 30s or low 40s during the day. And it was quite breezy on top of that. Still I'm almost at 10 miles for the day. I went down to Family Dollar to take advantage of 10% off for seniors day, and also went for a couple other walks.

The bands were really lousy today, although I did get an answer to my first CQ on 30 meters at one point in late afternoon. This evening though, my CQs went unanswered for about 40 meters on a combination of 30, 40, and 80 meters. Finally I answered a CQ by KB3ENU to get my streak QSO. -30-

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 10:15 PM - If the Sun doesn't 'kick it up a notch' in the next few days, it doesn't look too good for the 10 meters contest this weekend. The current visible light picture of the Sun only shows 2 sunspot groups of any size and they are past the meridian rotating off the face of the Sun. The current SF is less than 100 and that doesn't bode well for 10 meters except for the big contest stations. Certainly not for us minimal QRP stations. I don't expect anything even remotely close to the great 10 meters contests of the last sunspot maximum. Now having said all that, I certainly hope I am wrong.

40 meters has certainly been poor the past several evenings now, and all my streak QSOs so far this month have been on 80 meters as it is becoming good now as it always does this time of year. Tonite it was a nice rag chew with Chris WU1E on 80 meters.

I've been doing some SW BC and AM BC listening with the KX3 and I find it does a great job in that regard also just as it does with ham radio CW.

Looks like this is the last warm day for a while, and it was warm, touching 70 degrees briefly this afternoon. I had another 10+ miles on the pedometer today for something like 5 of the last 6 days. It is really great to walk on warm winter days and forget about the cold and other bad things. Makes it more realistic that great weather will come again one day. That helps to make it through winter a little easier. And there are 'only' 86 days left till spring now. Can't wait. Just wish I wouldn't be a little older the next time it does come. HI. -30-

Monday, December 03, 2012 9:02 PM - Just a couple things took up most of my day today. First of all Tom WY3H came over, and we wrote a couple articles for this weekend's NAQCC newsletter. I also let Tom borrow my TS-570D while he gets his FT-718 fixed.

While Tom was here, Nancy called and asked if I wanted to go shopping. I had to pass then, but she still hadn't left by the time Tom and I finished, so I went over and told her I could go now. So we spent a couple hours shopping and I got stocked up on a lot of food items that were on sale here and there.

Also in the morning I got a call from Rite-Aid saying that our NAQCC picture QSLs from the Requin operation were ready. So after I helped Nancy take her groceries in and put mine away, I went and picked up the cards. After I ate, I filled them all out and went and mailed them. By that time it was almost evening.

Next I did some more work on the newsletter, got my streak QSO from VP5/W5CW on 40 meters, made another rag chew QSO with Terry K8EHE which took me up until an hour ago. A final walk for the day brought me to the time I'm writing this diary entry. A pretty busy full day. -30-

Sunday, December 02, 2012 8:36 PM - I got a real chance this evening to see just how good the APF (Audio Peaking Filter) in the KX3 is. It permitted me to have a fairly solid 19 minute QSO on 80 meters with Dave AC0AF in MN. We were both running QRP, and my furnace noise came on in mid-QSO. However I only missed a couple of letters or so on each of Dave's transmissions once I turned on the APF after his barely 339 answer to my CQ.

I did my Christmas trimming today since it was for the most part a rainy day although even so, my pedometer reads 10.78 miles from 2 or 3 good walks including one just a bit ago when I walked around town checking out the Christmas lights. There's not a lot up yet though. But anyway here are a few pictures of my trim:

pix_diary_20121202_001 (160K)

pix_diary_20121202_002 (83K)

pix_diary_20121202_003 (72K)

pix_diary_20121202_004 (75K)

pix_diary_20121202_005 (85K)

They pretty much don't need any captions, just a couple notes. The small tree in the first and second pictures was given to me last year by Nancy (and Joe). It's almost a year now since Joe passed away. You can see his picture next to the small tree in the second picture, and a second picture of Joe sitting on my lap to the left in that same picture. If you look closely at the picture nearest the tree, you may see it has slipped down in its frame. I wonder if that is something new related to the picture turning for the first 2 or 3 months after Joe died and then stopping suddenly. I just noticed it today. Still very strange and inexplicable.

The angel choir in the 3rd picture are the angels we made in cub scouting around 60 years ago now. Where does the time go? -30-

Saturday, December 01, 2012 8:41 PM - Well, here we are with one day of (meteorological) winter almost gone with 89 more to go. It will be so nice to have more light in the evenings, and for those of you living around 40 degrees north latitude, the turnaround day is December 8. That will be the day of the earliest sunset, and from then on until June, the Sun will set a little later each day. It won't be all that noticeable at first as the time is measured in just a few to several seconds per day at the start of the turnaround.

Tomorrow is the day I'll trim my Christmas tree, I think. I have the lights around my front door already and in fact they are lit up right now. First I'll put the traditional manger scene on my window with stencils and spray snow. Next up I'll put the lights on the tree during the day, and then the rest of the ornaments in the evening. I find that daylight is best for putting the lights on the tree, but the subdued light of evening seems to make the other ornaments show up better. At least that's the way it is for me.

I never did get back to 160 meters again, and probably won't. I was going to use it this evening for my streak QSO if I couldn't get a regular QSO elsewhere. Well, it took just one CQ on 80 for my friend Tom KA2KGP to answer me. Then I worked K5ZRK on 30 meters, and back to 80 again for KB3ENU. Other than 40, the bands seemed good this evening. I heard D3AA in Angola on 30 meters, but he was very weak and had a lot of other stations interested in working him, so I only tried a couple times before giving up. Had I not worked him for Angola a few months ago, I would have tried longer, but then it was a new overall QRP country, and tonight would only be a new QRP band country.

Just about time to get my nightly weather readings, but first a word about November. It turned out to be 0.9 degrees below normal, and I had to go back all the way to January 2011 to find the last time a month was below normal. That's quite a run - let's see....21 straight months with above normal average temperatures. I'd like to see us repeat that streak again starting with this month. -30-

Friday, November 30, 2012 8:41 PM - It's those two busiest days of the month - the last and first. I've been working hard today to try to get as much of the work done as possible. I've got all my banking ready to go for the trip to the bank in the morning. I've taken care of archiving another 15 days of my diary. I've got the totals for the streak table updated. And a lot of other things as well.

I dabbled in the 160 meters contest to get my streak QSO and it wasn't easy. It seemed up until W1NN, everyone I was calling had at least a mini-pile up as everyone is trying to work everyone else right now. After a lot of the regular QSOs get done and it settles down a bit, maybe I'll have better luck. Or with the comparatively high sunspot numbers, maybe not. I do much better on 160 during a sunspot minimum. Perhaps I'll list some statistics to show that in a future diary entry.

Another thing I played with today was the KX3 Utility program. I updated the firmware in my KX3 and also looked over the Utility program. It has some nice features in it. Besides the firmware update feature, it also allows you to set the CW memories via the program, just to mention one feature. -30-

Thursday, November 29, 2012 8:27 PM - This was a day that I got a lot of little things accomplished that I am not going to list here with the exception of mentioning a couple. I added the Requin pictures to the story of our Requin operation that Mike and I put together last night for the upcoming December 8 NAQCC newsletter. I'm prejudiced, but I think it is a very good article.

The weather was nice today with a high of 50 under a good deal of sunshine, so that meant walking a lot. Let's see what's on my pedometer for today (so far). 101 minutes of good fast aerobic walking - 11,579 steps worth. Overall 9.75 miles from 18,734 steps. That's the most I've had in a little while now, and the next few days promise more of the same good weather, so those figures may be repeated.

My QSO tonight came rather quickly when Gary N2ESE answered my 40 meters CQ. Although conditions were not the best, we got caught up on our Thanksgiving activities and our respective weather, etc.

Right now I'm doing my clothes washing, and the washer just quit and 'told me' it's time to transfer the clothes to the dryer now, so I'll close here and do that. -30-

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:46 PM - Mike KC2EGL was here this evening, and at a few minutes before midnight let me just give a brief summary of what we did. First of course it was a sub from Subway - priorities, you know. Then we installed a battery charger in Mike's KX3, and after that we both worked C6AKQ on 40 with my KX3. We designed our picture QSLs for our Requin operation and ordered them from Rite-Aid. Then wrote a story about our operation for the December NAQCC newsletter. Those are the highlights. Tune in at 11 for the full stor..... oh no, that's what they do on TV newscasts isn't it. Anyway I've got to stop now and get this posted before today becomes yesterday and tomorrow becomes today. -30-

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:55 PM - Today was pretty much a getting caught up on records day. I checked my log for new counties worked the past year or so. Only found about a dozen. I also got caught up on the data for those 321 QSOs I made in the CQWW DX test. Plus other things like that.

I decided to be a bit different on the air today. I cranked the KX3 down to 900 mW and worked C6AUM easily on 15 meters. Then I had a nice half hour rag chew with AA1C. Never told him I was running 900 mW, and was a good 579 all the way up until the last couple minutes when the band started to change.

My streak QSO (at 5W) came quickly this evening on 30 meters when Bob KA3P in Ocala, FL answered my CQ after a couple minutes.

Mike is stopping by tomorrow evening. We've got 3 or 4 projects in mind after we have a sub from Subway. We're going to design a picture QSL for our Requin operation. Also install a battery charger in his KX3. Write up an article for the December NAQCC newsletter about our Requin operation. Also probably a couple other things as well. We won't be bored. HI -30-

Monday, November 26, 2012 9:56 PM - For my entry tonight I simply refer you to my story of the CQWW DX contest which I just took about an hour and half to write. -30-

Sunday, November 25, 2012 7:25 PM - I bet this is the most time / most QSOs in a contest for several years. I made 321 QSOs - far short of a record though, and haven't totalled my time nor countries yet. I will write a contest report for this one and add it to my other contest reports on the web site. Right now I'm kind of beat and that's all I'm going to write for now. I'll let you know here in the diary when I get the report written and posted. -30-

Saturday, November 24, 2012 7:06 PM - Just taking a break from the CQWW DX contest as this time of night is usually not very productive for me. I thought I'd take stock of what I have so far, and in looking over things, this is what I've found.

I have 164 QSOs in 63 countries plus Kosovo. To some, Kosovo is a country and to others it is not. Unfortunately it's not as far as the ARRL is concerned, and not as far as the UN is concerned. Country or not, I'm glad to have worked Z60WW in the contest.

I've added another one-day WAC to how ever many I've had before. KH7X and JA5FDJ accounted for the last 2 continents worked late this afternoon.

Outside of Kosovo which doesn't count, I haven't even heard any countries that would be new for me. I broke quite a few fair-sized pileups to get some of my contacts. Many that I thought would take a while to get came easily. I got D4C on just a couple calls on 15 and 20. TF2CW had a really big pileup, yet it only took 1 or 2 calls to get him. An interesting QSO came with LX7I. I was sitting there listening to him work a couple other stations after I had called him when suddenly without me calling again, he came back to me with a report. I guess he queues up stations there as he is working other stations.

I failed to mention another goal last night when I listed a couple goals for the contest. I also wanted to finish my KX3 WAC which of course, I did. And I'd like to finish my KX3 DXCC as well. I don't think I'm there yet, but I may be around 80-90 or so. I'll figure that later on.

Now some more web site updating, then I'll get back to the contest later and also the next contest QSO then will be my streak QSO for the 25th. -30-

Friday, November 23, 2012 8:13 PM - Although conditions seem pretty poor for the CQWW DX Test, I did manage 13 QSOs in the first hour, all on 40 meters. I only heard JA3YBK and PZ5T on 20 meters, and couldn't get through their pile-ups. I found working EU on 40 to be pretty easy and about half my QSOs are from EU with the rest from the Caribbean and Central America. I'll take some time off now, and try again later this evening. There are two things I'd like to accomplish in the contest - work Asia on 40 to complete my 40M WAC and work KL7 on 80M to complete my 80M WAS. Both will be tough tasks. It would also be nice to work some or all of the 4 zones I need in SE Asia to complete my WAZ, but that's the most unlikely of the three things, I would guess.

It certainly is nice working the contest with the KX3. For no real specific reason(s), but it just seems more relaxing than with other rigs I've used.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow with hopes that conditions will be good on the higher bands. It doesn't look all that good in the propagation predictions though, although they, like weather forecasts aren't always right. -30-

Thursday, November 22, 2012 10:28 PM - I had a lot to be thankful today. First it was very rewarding to help Tom WY3H deliver meals to veterans. I'm thankful I got the chance to help out some very deserving people. Second I'm thankful for the great fellowship and wonderful meal at my neighbors, the Bowsers. Third I'm thankful for the same reason at my neighbors, the Livengoods (Nancy, Bruce, etc.)

I'm also thankful for the great day I had yesterday at the USS Requin in Pittsburgh with Mike. There are many more little things that I won't go into here. I'll just close by saying I hope you all had as wonderful a Thanksgiving. -30-

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:35 PM - Did you ever have one of those days you wish could go on and on forever. I'm sure you have, and it was pretty much that kind of day for me today. As we've been telling you for some time now, this was the day that Mike KC2EGL and I went to Pittsburgh to operate from the moored submarine USS Requin.

We started off with a big breakfast at Valley Dairy, then headed off to the big city. We started very early to avoid any possible big traffic tie-ups. A couple times Tom WY3H and I went to Pittsburgh for some ham event, we did run into large traffic problems. This time though, because Mike and I did start early, it was smooth sailing (well, driving) all the way to the Carnegie Science Center parking lot.

We were almost an hour early, so we walked around to kill some time. Actually looking for a restroom. Turns out they are a scarce commodity that early in the morning. However we did find one at a Mercy Behavioral Clinic (no comments now). We walked around some more, and took some pictures of the submarine like this one:

pix_diary_20121121_001 (63K)

We had run into Art WA3BKD who is the caretaker of the sub while we were walking around, and he told us to come back around 9:45 which we did. Then came a very exciting, informational part of our day. Art said if we didn't mind some climbing, we could go up into the sail of the sub and look around. He wasn't kidding when he said climbing. We had to go up 3 sets of vertical ladders like this one:

pix_diary_20121121_002 (86K)

It was worth it just to have the experience of being in a place that few outside of navy personnel have been. There was also a nice view of the city and the antennas on the sub. Then we went back down to the navigation room which is where the periscopes, among other equipment are located. In retrospect I was thinking I should have tried sliding down the ladder handrails like the navy men do in the movies and in actuality as well. But NO, I'm glad I didn't try that. HI. We took a look through the periscopes and learned first-hand just how they worked. Here's a picture of them with Art in the foreground.

pix_diary_20121121_003 (70K)

That concluded our special tour of areas of the sub not normally available to visitors, and we headed to the radio room. As planned and announced in two emailings to our NAQCC members, we were to operate 20 and 40 meters, one band at a time. We thought of 30, but the Requin only has antennas for 20 and 40. We also announced for the first hour or so, we would operate the Requin equipment, then change to our KX-3 rigs for the rest of the day.

Well, we got off to a very slow crawl because of some equipment glitches, and couldn't make any QSOs for the first hour. Then Art returned and helped set things right with the Requin gear, and we were rolling from then on. Just to cut this a bit short, we made a total of 39 QSOs, and found that making QSOs with our KX-3 at 5 watts was pretty much as easy as making them with the 70-75 watts from the Requin gear.

Art had been thinking of purchasing a KX-3 himself, and after seeing ours in action, he's now virtually certain he will be doing so.

Although we were happy with the 39 QSOs, we think we could have made a lot more and we do apologize to those who did want to work us, but didn't make it in our logs. Beside the loss of the first hour mentioned above, the rest of the time presented other problems.

The radio room is open to the public, and in order for the Requin to have continuing permission from the Carnegie Science Center to keep it open, those who operate are encouraged to interact with visitors as much as possible explaining Morse code to them as a learning experience. Also we had to operate most of the time with a speaker instead of headphones which made it difficult to copy and send at times when the visitors became noisy. Also the multimedia room was right next door and we had to deal with the loud submarine sound effects emanating from there all too frequently. In other words, although we had a great time operating there, it wasn't all that easy. I told Mike it must be a lot like having to operate under actual battle conditions in many ways.

We are going to make up picture QSLs to send out to all whom we worked. Each person we worked will get a picture N3AQC card of Mike and me operating, a picture NY3EC card of the submarine, and a K3WWP or KC2EGL card. So if you worked us, you can count it as three QSOs instead of just one.

We'll have even more comments and more pictures in the December NAQCC newsletter, but that's it for now here in the diary. It's been a long day even if it was so extremely enjoyable. -30-

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:00 PM - Good evening everyone. John asked me to write his diary entry for today. This is Mike KC2EGL. Most of you know that I have had the honor of writing John's diary entry in the past.

I arrived at John's QTH around 22:30Z after a very busy day at work. We started our evening with dinner from Papa John's Pizza. Like that is a shock to those who know both of us.

Tonight we finalized our schedule for operating at the USS Requin tomorrow. We went through our checklist to make sure we have everthing we will need for our adventure aboard SS-481. We will be operating on 40M and 20M starting at 15:30Z tomorrow. We will operate the first hour or so using the ICOM on board. We will switch over to our KX-3's for the rest of the day.

We followed our planning session with some side by side testing of our KX-3's. We always come up with something that we would like to check out with both rig's each time we visit. John also made his streak QSO for November 21. Afterwards we made 3 QSO's each with stations preparing for this weeks CQ WWDX Contest.

On the non radio side we watched a video from the 1955 24 Hours of LeMans race which had the most tragic accident in motor sport history. One driver and over eighty spectators lost their lives due to the accident.

Other than that it was a rather quiet evening for us. Thank you John for allowing me to fill in for you tonight.

de Mike, KC2EGL -30-

Monday, November 19, 2012 9:05 PM - I'm expecting a phone call from Mike KC2EGL to discuss our Requin operation on Wednesday, so this will be a brief entry again.

I had something rare happen today. I'm not sure how rare, but I got tail-ended by a DX station EA2LU after finishing a QSO with NO2D. Not only that, but EA2LU was also running QRP. I intend to sometime check to see if that ever happened before.

I'm having much better luck on 20 meters now, and I'm not sure why. I don't know if it's the new KX-3, the new 20 meters attic dipole, or just psychological. Maybe a combination of all 3. I never had much confidence in my 20 meters work before, and lack of self-confidence is a hindrance. Or maybe the KX-3 does perform better on 20, but I don't think even if it does, there would be enough difference. The antenna may work better now with the choke balun on it giving me a better radiation pattern. I would guess it's 1. Confidence - 2. Antenna - 3. Rig. Anyway it's fun now getting on 20 and having success there. -30-

Sunday, November 18, 2012 8:27 PM - I'm going to make this another short entry because I want to try to finish up the NAQCC sprint cross-checking of logs this evening.

It was a good day today. Eric KB3BFQ came up to see his parents next door, and we got to visit for about an hour or longer. As regular diary readers know, Eric was the one who suggested my streak and got me started on it all those many years ago. He and I have been friends now for somewhere around 22-23 years, and it's always good to visit with him. He hasn't been active in ham radio for a while because of the time involved in his job and also with his wife and two children. He said today that with the NHL hockey season on hold, he might have to get back into ham radio. Hockey is perhaps his number one hobby or interest.

Well, back now to the log checking. -30-

Saturday, November 17, 2012 8:19 PM - 40 meters became a quick-change artist again this evening. Had a nice 2X599 QSO going with K8MP/M near Cincy then he dropped within a minute from s9 out of sight (hearing?) into the noise level and never came back up again.

I did have a nice solid half hour rag chew with AA1C late in the afternoon on 30 meters. Then earlier than that XE1GXG answered my CQ on 20 meters for a 2XQRP QSO. I think Mexico may be a new KX3 country, but I haven't checked yet.

Otherwise yet another nice weather day, and it looks like the pattern will continue until the day after Thanksgiving, then we'll get a little taste of winter. But that's only an outlook and things are as likely not to happen that way as they are to happen. -30-

Friday, November 16, 2012 5:27 PM - A different day today as far as my activities go and a nice surprise mixed in also.

First of all, one of my fishing buddies, Bill hurt his back a couple days ago, and I helped him out with some things today. I won't bother you with the details, but while I was there, he got a couple phone calls from the water company which he or I hung up on immediately thinking it was an advertisement to change water service or something like thatl. However a few minutes later another call came, and it was one of his relatives or friends calling to say he just heard on TV that the water company was urging residents to not use the water for anything. Apparently the water company calls were about that, and we should have listened. Anyway again without all the details, it turns out some routine testing of the water supply turned up a PH value that was above safety standards. So the water company turned off service till the problem was fixed which as far as I know is not yet although I do seem to have water pressure back somewhat. I'm still not going to drink any till I know it's OK.

Enough of that - let's get to the surprise. I got this in the mail today:

pix_diary_20121116_001 (77K)

That's something I will treasure above a lot of other certificates since it epitomizes what I try to do with this web site and with the NAQCC as well. Thanks very much to my friend from JA land, Kenji. We've had a lot of communication between us starting around the time this web site got started, if I remember correctly.

With all that happened today, I never did get a chance to check the ham bands. I suppose they were in great shape with DX everywhere. Those are the days I usually miss out on anyway. I think I might just check now after I get this posted. -30-

Thursday, November 15, 2012 7:47 PM - A good sprint last night despite some poor conditions. Actually poor on 20 and 40, but 80 was great. It's interesting looking at the results and soapbox comments that 40 seemed to be great in parts of the country, most notably below the Mason-Dixon line, but very poor above that line. I had fun using my KX-3 in the sprint, and it helped me make the best of things with 43 QSOs in 20 sections. No complaints there.

Today I decided to try the KX-3 with my gel cell I bought for the KX-1. It worked well for about an hour and a half, then I noticed some 'flickering' of the power out graph on the display although the voltage only dropped from about 12.1 to 11.6. I'll do some more studies on that another day.

I collected a couple more Elecraft serial numbers today towards the Elecraft CC award. For a while there after I got the K2 about a year ago, Elecraft rigs seemed to become scarce in my QSOs, but since I got the KX-3, it seems just the opposite and at least one QSO in three seems to be with someone using one of the Elecraft rigs. Still a long way to go to get my 100 serial numbers though.

I have yet to check to see if I worked any new KX-3 states in our sprint last night. With logging 19 states plus ON, there should be one or two, I would think. I'll check right after I finish and post this. -30-

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 6:10 PM - I've got a busy evening coming up starting with our computer club meeting in about 20 minutes. Then I'll have to leave the meeting early to get home in time for our NAQCC sprint. So I'm going to get this diary entry out of the way early.

Conditions on the bands still not very good considering the high current SF numbers. If the ionosphere would settle down, we could have good conditions like we had just about 4 weeks ago. I don't know what that means for our sprint tonight, but I hope conditions are good. 30 and 40 did sound good today if that means anything.

I finally got around to putting the beautiful K2 knob made by our NAQCC master woodworker Gregg WB8LZG on my K2, and just took a picture of it to show how nice it looks. We have many of them available. You can win one in various ways in our NAQCC activities. Then below is a picture of my current shack setup with the KX3. You can see part of GenLog on the computer screen waiting for tonight's sprint.

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I also have updated my poll. This one deals with Elecraft rigs. Check it out on the main page of the web site and cast your vote. -30-

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:12 PM - I spent quite a bit of time on the air today, mostly just trying out the new 20 meters antenna. It seemed to be working very well all day. The SWR remained at 1.0:1 across the band all day. I added a couple new KX3 states to my total, working W0XI in KS and K7PKG (88 years old) in AZ. Besides those two on 20M, I also added WD9DWE in IN for my streak QSO this evening which now makes 33 states on the KX3. I see from the propagation numbers which I will be putting into my propagation table after I finish this diary entry that there was some storminess in the ionosphere today which probably explains why I wasn't hearing hardly anything in the way of DX despite the SF getting up in the 140s again.

I didn't do a lot of walking today although I did have to go downtown to get some ink for my printer to print up a couple NAQCC certificates, and then later go back down to the post office to mail them.

Not really much else worth talking about today. -30-

Monday, November 12, 2012 9:21 PM - A 'normal' day when Mike and I get together. That means 'enjoyable', 'productive', 'satisfying', and very filling (food-wise).

I can't even begin to remember ALL the things we did, but here are some of them. I guess the main project (besides eating) was re-doing my 20 meters antenna and feedline. I wanted to try putting a choke balun on it to see if that would improve its performance. Although I could always work DX on 20 easily, it seemed I had problems working USA stations like in our NAQCC sprints. Since we were working on it anyway, I decided to just replace the whole thing, so we went to Radio Shack to get some new wire, and I used the coax from one of my portable antennas which was still quite new. When we measured the length of the old antenna, it turned out to be somewhat short of what a 20 meters dipole should be. We made the new one longer than it should be, knowing we could then trim it back to the proper working length. We started out at 1.5:1 to 1.6:1 and trimmed until we were down to 1.0:1 to 1.1:1 across the CW portion of 20. However after I went back up to the attic to clean up, I noticed the ends of the dipole were curled up a little and straightened them out. That took us back up to 1.4:1. So back up to the attic where I folded about 3 inches of the end of the antenna back on itself. That brought us back down to 1.2:1. I went back up and folded back another inch and now we were back to 1.1:1 to 1.0:1 across the whole CW portion. I was very pleased with that, but we wanted to try it out. We both worked NP2KW easily. Then Mike tuned across an Alaskan station, and I thought he still needed KL7 for his WAS, but he didn't, but was still eager to work KL7 again. So we waited out the rather long rag chew QSO in which the Alaskan was engaged. When he finally finished, Mike called him and worked him easily. I didn't really need another KL7, so I didn't try, but I was delighted with the performance of the new antenna. Of course an hour or so test does not a completely successful antenna make, yet it was encouraging. We also heard, but didn't try to work, a lot of other stations on 20 which seemed to me to be more busy than I've heard it at that time of day, which was now early evening, for quite a while now.

We also fixed up a CW reader/sender that Mike is going to sell. It was a simple fix after we found the problem which was a broken wire inside the speaker. I had a replacement speaker in my junk box. We went out and bought some rubber cement to hold the replacement to the chassis, and it now works just fine.

We also did some planning for our Requin operation coming on the 21st, checked some prize info for the NAQCC, and spent quite a bit of time talking about and watching videos of another of our shared interests - Formula 1 Grand Prix racing.

That's a pretty good, if incomplete, summary of our day together.

We also both worked HT9H on 17 meters back to back. And for my streak QSO this evening, I worked K8JPM, and yes, although it didn't dawn on me at the time, the M in the call meant my NAQCC November challenge was now complete, and after I close this, I'm sending off my report to Hap K7HAP. -30-

Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:25 PM - Today was a very warm November day. The high temp on my remote unit shows it was 74 sometime today. That has to be near a record for the day. I took advantage to go fishing, but the fish were oblivious to the nice weather and I didn't get a single bite or even a nibble and gave up after an hour. I came home and took a couple walks and some cleanup work in my yard.

On one of the walks I made a small donation to the AMVETS to help them out. I also flew my flag today to honor our vets. I'll fly it again tomorrow if the weather is not too bad. We're supposed to get some rain.

My QSO came quickly tonight when Merlin KD0V answered my 30 meters CQ precisely at 0000Z. Then I had two other quick answers to later CQs, both from QRP stations (as was Merlin for that matter). 40 and 30 both seemed pretty good. In fact late this afternoon or maybe early evening I heard signals from such varied places as VK, JA, CU, etc. I recently worked CU2JT so didn't call him. The JAs were all working some Caribbean station, so no chance to call them. I did call VK6AU after he ended a QSO, but never heard him again. I guess he went QRT.

Now I need to get some things done before bedtime since Mike KC2EGL is coming down for a visit tomorrow. We'll have another busy fun day together doing this and that, and eating. HI. -30-

Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:05 PM - Tomorrow (11th) is the traditional day for celebrating Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Canada). Then the anti-traditionalists who thought a 3 day weekend was more important than the event that a holiday was celebrating will have their Monday off so they can get that 3 day weekend.

Although I believe holidays should be celebrated traditionally, whatever you think, I hope you will do something either Sunday or Monday to honor our veterans. Anyone who thinks enough of our country to enter the armed forces to protect it should be first on the list of those receiving benefits from the government and thanks and honors from the general public. If you have a Veterans Day parade in your area, be sure to attend and applaud the veterans. Thank them personally if you get the chance to do so.

It won't be tomorrow or Monday, but on Thanksgiving I'll again be helping Tom to deliver Thanksgiving turkey meals to many of the veterans in our area. It's not the reason I do it, but it does give me a warm feeling to help out our veterans in that small way. It's a chance to give back just a little for all they've given us over the years.

We also should comfort those who recently lost family members in a botched up overseas operation, as well as all those who have lost family members anywhere and anytime in service to our country.

Mike KC2EGL will be coming for a visit on Monday since he has the day off. We'll be doing our usual variety of ham radio related things as well as having our usual good meal(s) along the way. The main purpose though will be to do some thinking about and planning for our November 21 operation on the USS Requin.

I had some fun on the bands (40 meters) this evening in the OK/OM contest. I made 6 contacts so far. It's always nice to work anywhere in EU on 40 meters with my very minimal QRP setup here. The contacts ranged from very easy to those needing some repeats of info from me. Then as usual, there were some stations who never heard me calling at all or couldn't get past K3?, K3W?, WP?, etc. I may try for some more stations later this evening after I get my web site work done, and get my NAQCC info caught up. -30-

Friday, November 09, 2012 10:25 PM - Three things took up most of my time today. This morning I finished up and posted our latest NAQCC Newsletter. Then my neighbor Denny asked if I wanted to go out to his deer stand and help him do a little work on it. He couldn't go till he took grandson Gavin to the school bus at Noon, so I ate my lunch (brunch?), and then we went out to the woods. I was wishing I had taken my camera with me as I could have gotten a lot of nice pictures, but I never thought of it till we were out there. I'm not a hunter so it was different for me to get out in the woods for a change of routine. It took about 3 hours to get out there, do the work and come home.

After a brief supper (snack?), I helped Ange rake up a LOT of leaves from his garden. That took up another couple hours. Then I talked with Denny and Pam, and played with Gavin for a while till it got pretty dark. Hate those dark evenings.

I never did get any time to get on the air during the day today. I did get two QSOs this evening to extend the streak another day. I think one was a new KX3 state (MO), although I haven't checked yet to be sure. I also worked a couple other Elecraft rigs and collected a couple more serial numbers working toward the Elecraft CC award. Still looking for that last M to finish the NAQCC Thanksgiving challenge. Maybe I'll get a chance to get on during the day tomorrow and look for it. -30-

Thursday, November 08, 2012 8:43 PM - It was a nice weather day today with bright sunshine all day, although still a bit on the cold side with a high of... let's see on my remote unit... 52 degrees. Well, I guess that isn't really too bad for November.

Again I fooled around on the bands quite a bit in between finalizing the NAQCC newsletter for posting tomorrow morning and going out for a couple walks in the bright sunshine. Counting last night's streak QSOs and tonight's as well, I made 8 QSOs and narrowed my November NAQCC challenge needs to just one station with an M in the call. I answered a couple of such stations today, but one never came back to me nor anyone else for that matter, and some K1 station beat me out for the other one. So I'll try again tomorrow.

I did get one new KX3 country along the way when I worked C6AXY on 17 meters. Oh, and I think one new state. Let me check. Yes, KC1DI was my first KX3 ME QSO to bring the states total to 29. C6AXY brought me to 46 countries.

Oh, I almost forgot I promised some pictures of my antenna update of a couple days ago, so let me get them cropped and resized and posted.

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Above shows it going out the window at my shack position (L) and making a turn upwards at the bottom corner of the other window in my shack room (R).

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There it is coming in my attic window.

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This shows the outside traverse between windows then up to the attic. Not the coax going to my 10 meters dipole, but the silver-white wire indicated roughly by the red line. -30-

Wednesday, November 07, 2012 8:09 PM - Not a lot to talk about again today. I got on the air quite a bit to kill time and wound up with 9 QSOs. I knocked off some more letters for the November challenge and am now down to needing 4 Ms to finish it off.

My streak QSO took a few minutes to get this evening, but after that time, WB3AAI/4 answered my CQ. Lou and I have worked several times before. He is from PA, but now wintering for 6 months in FL. -30-

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 9:02 PM - Looks like the Solar Flux is starting to creep upward again. Today's number is 99 up from the low to mid 90s the past few days. Let's hope it peaks like it did last month and opens up the high bands again. They are open now, but I mean REALLY open. I worked the Canary Islands on 17M this afternoon. This evening I found my friend in town calling CQ on 30M and worked him (Tom WY3H) to give each other our QSO for the day. Tom is shooting for a one month NAQCC QSO-A-DAY award, and of course you know about my ongoing QSO-A-DAY streak which is just about at the 2/3 way to 10,000 days as of today (6,670 days).

Other than that not much news except we actually had a sunny day today. It was virtually cloudless all day except a few clouds early this morning and some slight high thin clouds late this afternoon. When I went outside to get my 9PM weather readings, Jupiter was shining brightly in the ENE along with Capella, Aldebaran, and the Pleiades. It was good to see them again, and especially to see the sun again today. -30-

Monday, November 05, 2012 8:26 PM - I did a little bit of antenna work today. When a new roof was put on the other half of my house over the weekend, the roofers also replaced the flashing on the porch roof on my side as well as the other side. In the process, they covered up a portion of my random wire on its way to the attic from my shack room. I didn't really notice it until I got on 30M and saw my SWR was very high. It re-tuned nicely, but I had been wanting to replace that section of the antenna anyway, so I did, and it works just the same now. That's the section that never showed up well on my antenna pictures. I think now it will, so I'll have to take some pictures of it, then you can see all of the 21 twists and bends in the random wire. HI.

I got a new KX3 state today - VA. I also made 4 other QSOs including my streak QSO tonight with AB4KJ, who by the way, joined our NAQCC shortly after our QSO. I didn't hear much in the way of DX today, but I was just talking to Tom WY3H who worked 9A204MF, so there was DX to be had, but not for me.

Just about time to get my weather readings now, then I think I'll watch some more of the Formula 1 1988 review show. All 3 of Ayrton Senna's championship years in review are on YouTube. This one is about 7 1/2 hours long so I watch it is shifts. As you know, I (along with many others) consider Senna to be THE best Formula 1 driver ever and I always enjoyed following his career. It's still very sad to think his life was snuffed out so early, and we'll never know just how far he could have gone in Formula 1. I'm sure that if his career had been mishap free, he'd be at the top in F1 wins now ahead of Shumacher and Prost. But of course that's only speculation. It is nice to be able to watch his championship runs again though. -30-

Sunday, November 04, 2012 8:02 PM - We are really in a weather rut here. We had some little sunshine this morning and things looked a bit promising, but we quickly went back to overcast and chilly again. Just a 3 degree temperature range so far today from 38-41.

Brion VE3FUJ agrees about the dark evenings, "Hi John: I fully agree with you on darkness, not my favorite daytime color either, And what I dislike also is getting up while its still dark. so the evening darkness will help a little towards morning lightness, at least for a while. Hi Hi"

I've never cared one way or the other about what it is like in the morning. I'm never fully enough awake at that time of day. HI. But it sure was depressing this evening to see it getting dark between 5:30 and 6:00 PM.

I thought so. When I worked VA2BBW this afternoon, I had the feeling I hadn't yet worked Canada with the KX3 and I was right. So that's 44 countries and 27 states for my KX3 totals with the new country of Canada added to the DX totals. My streak QSO came pretty quickly this evening when I worked J79WE on 30M at 0007Z. Had I not gotten him, I was just going to get a SS QSO. -30-

Saturday, November 03, 2012 9:04 PM - Kind of a nondescript day today. For about the umteenth straight day now, it's been overcast with the temperature trading pretty much in the 35-45 degree range. At least today we only had a trace of precipitation, and we actually saw the sun. I had forgotten what it looked like. The outlook for this coming week is pretty good though. I don't see any mention of precipitation and it might even make it up to 50 by the end of the week. However we will have somewhat colder nights also with most of the lows being in the upper 20s.

Ange and I buried his remaining fig trees this afternoon. It was nice not dealing with the 3 big ones any longer nor the two big ones at his house. They are all gone now, and are the worry of someone else who is transplanting them at his house several miles from here. Still it took about 3 hours to bury the remaining little ones. Let's see, I think there are 8 or 9 of them now.

As far as ham radio, I added a new KX3 country today from an easy QSO with John YV5IUA on 30M. For my streak QSO I decided I'd just get a quick SS QSO, and did so from K3WA. Otherwise I have no desire to get in the SS this year. I'm waiting for the CQWW DX contest eagerly though. That's only 3 weeks away now.

Of course this is the night we begin the long drawn-out early evening darkness by turning the clocks back one hour unless you're reading this in an area that doesn't observe daylight savings time or observes it on a different schedule. I really hate those dark evenings, and console myself each year by keeping in mind that here around 40 degrees north latitude the earliest sunset and darkest evening is around December 7, then we gain a tiny bit more early evening light each day from then on till summer. -30-

Friday, November 02, 2012 9:07 PM - For the third day in a row now, I've had a more than usual interesting QSO. All QSOs are interesting one way or other, but some stand out for some reason. A couple days ago it was working the Russian on two separate bands within a few minutes with no planning, it just happened. Then yesterday it was working the submarine Requin. More about that in a bit.

Today I was fooling around with my 20 meters antenna, and happened across SQ5JUP Piotr. I worked him with a little difficulty, then found this email on my computer a little while later, "Hi John, We just had a QSO(20m 16:33 UTC 02.11.2012), there was a strong QSB from your side. But I am writing to you because ... you will not believe!!!
K3WWP and your website I have read from beginning to the end ... based on your WWW page I start to learn (Maj 2009) CW. All tips was so perfect for me ... and it works, I know how to use CW!!! Now almost all my QSOs are in CW mode.
Reading your WWW I was wondering if there will be a chance to have a QSO with you .... and Today it happeden !!! Almost broke my key when I received correctly your call sign!!! Sorry to just send a report and name but it was like a thunder when I get your Callsign.
Thanks for all you did for my CW!!!
73 de SQ5JUP, Piotr"

Now that's something very special to me, because that is what my web site is all about and what my purpose in ham radio is all about. I just wish conditions had been better and Piotr and I could have chatted a bit, but it was the same this end. After our first exchange, I had a blast of QRN (my furnace?) that almost wiped out Piotr completely.

As far as the Requin, I just talked to Art WA3BKD who is in charge of radio operations on the sub. He said that as of now, Mike KC2EGL and I could come down to operate from the Requin on the day before Thanksgiving, and pretty much have the whole day there if we wished. Things could change between now and then though. I'll keep you up to date here in the diary and via our NAQCC email list. I mentioned my KX3 and Art said he is very strongly considering getting one himself, and I think my answers to a couple of his questions about it convinced him even further.

My streak QSO came easily tonight for a change from the past few days. WS8K Tim answered my CQ after only a couple minutes. I also worked my friend Merlin KD0V after that.

I set up my chart for our NAQCC November Thanksgiving alphabet challenge this evening and find I only need 22 more letters to complete it. That shouldn't take long, especially with my getting more time on the air since I got the KX3.

Gee, I almost forgot this. Not only was Poland a new KX3 country (#42), but hey, I worked NEBRASKA today, that state that has become so very hard for me to work of late. I was shocked when K0JL gave his QTH as Omaha, NE. Now I have to wonder what state will be the difficult one for a KX3 WAS. Oh, NE was #27 now. -30-

Thursday, November 01, 2012 9:07 PM - For the first time in ages, I may have to wait till the morning to get my streak QSO. Conditions this evening are just not good or else everyone is doing something else besides getting on the ham bands. Of course, I'm sure a lot of folks in the northeast are busy cleaning up after Sandy. However that doesn't explain the lack of activity in other parts of the country. I made several QSOs this afternoon, but none after 0000Z this evening. I added a couple of KX3 states when I worked MS and CA, but didn't work (or hear any to speak of) DX though. Just looking at the numbers, I see the Solar Flux below 100 for the first time in quite a while and a rather high A index of 17, so that to some extent explains conditions. Oh well, I'm sure I can get someone in the morning or afternoon.

It was yet another rainy chilly day so really not much else to talk about. No fishing, not much walking, no garden left to work in, nor much else but ham radio today. -30-

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:31 PM - I think I'll use this entry to get caught up on some diary comments.

Quite a while ago, I mentioned the day that Mike KC2EGL and I spent at a Pirate ball game. Tony KD4BAO recently discovered that entry which led to some interesting info about Willie "Pops" Stargell as follows:

"I discovered your website while "cruising the Internet superhighway", and I "clicked" through a few of your web pages. It is a very well plan site, and it had some interesting topics and daily diary updates. The most interesting part was the slide show of PNC Park Baseball Game.
You had a great picture of the Willie Stargell [statue] and you, and it shows me the size of that item. Willie passed away in New Hanover Medical Center, Wilmington, NC. There is a street named after him in Wilmington, NC. I believe that he passed away the same day that the new baseball stadium was opening. His second wife is still living in the Wilmington area.
Anyways, great website. 73 de Tony, kd4bao"

Yes, Willie did pass away the day the first ever regular season game was played at the Pirate's new stadium, PNC Park.

Tony also sent along the obituary of Stargell. It's in .pdf form hard to reproduce here in the diary, but here is a link I found to it - http://old.post-gazette.com/obituaries/20010410stargell2.asp. It's very long, but very interesting about a very interesting ball player and human being. Thanks Tony.

Tony also shared some other information about himself. It seems we have other common interests like fishing, AM BC DXing, and meteorology. He also asked some questions about my antennas which I answered by referring him to the antennas page here on the web site.

Alex N8UCN sent a very long email, and I'd like to share some excerpts from it.

Referring to my KX3, he says, "Hello John, I laughed out loud a few weeks ago as I read your entry stating you caved in and "pulled the trigger on the KX3". I can see you had a hard time waiting for the new toy to arrive. I see it was even worse when you got a whiff that it was in the mail. Pure torture until you friend arrived. And absolute euphoria in those first hours of operation!!!!
I can't say I blame you, I got to see it a little bit when it was unveiled at Hamvention. It was VERY difficult to even get close to the the Elecraft booth to ask a few question about my KX1. With a review in this months CQ magazine, and all the other buzz that I've seen on the net, I think that the booth is going to be harder still to get to in 2013.
I'm very happy to see this companies start as they courted Beta testers at the 2000 (I think) ARCI "Four Days In May" conference that is held every year in conjunction to Hamvention each and every year. It's nice to see a American company prosper in this day and age.
I currently live in a community next door to Miamisburg, Ohio once home to the R.L.Drake company. Now just a shade of it's former self. Gone are most of the old names of Hammerlund, Hallicrafters, etc."

Yes it is sad to see those great names from ham radio's past slipping away now. It's great we have the "boat anchor" collectors to at least keep the rigs alive though.

Alex also mentions the great feeling that goes along with saying and thinking, "I built that". I definitely feel more of a kinship with my KX3 because of that. I don't have the same feeling with my Kenwood or other Elecraft rigs since I didn't build them. It's true even though there really isn't all that much building involved in the KX3.

Frank K2PQ emails, "Hello John, For various reasons I have been away from radio for about 5 years. Several circumstances made me decide to retire early this summer at the age of 59. I now have time for my favorite past times. Radio, Fly Fishing, Fly tying. Was delighted to see you still have your column at FISTS and your web site is still fantastic. Really have enjoyed it on this dreary day.
You were one of the first stations I worked if not the first when I got a QRP rig and was portable on vacation. Was glad to see my call still at NAQCC. Love the "spot" feature....... I am antenna poor at this time. Hope to see you on the air when I get some "copper !!!" in the air. Frank ... K2PQ"

I appreciate those nice comments and hope you get back on the air very soon.

It's been a while since I heard from Geo N1EAV, and he emailed, "Hi John Thought I would drop a note to you seeing that it has been awhile. First of all congratulations on your new radio. I got a chance to play with one of those at our ARRL convention. Found it to be quite a radio for such a small package. I have one on my wish list , but with the limited amount of time I have to operate, it would be a waste of money for me right now. Will stick with my Yaesu Ft- 817 for the time being....But who knows, Christmas is coming...hihi.
Glad to hear that you made it thru Sandy ok. The storm did quite a bit of damage here in Massachusetts, depending on where you live in the state. I'm located about 25 miles NW of Boston. Parts of our town are still without power. We were lucky as we only lost ours for about an hour on Monday. Still, a lot of trees are down from the high winds, but nothing like some of the towns closer to the city and along the coast. The next town over, Concord, is the same way. The estate I take care of over there is a mess. We have lots of debris down on the ground, and I'm figuring about a week before we will be cleaned up. I have four old maples and pines that will have to come down because of the damage. Have to say , I was expecting a lot worse so can't complain too much. One good thing is that the wind brought down most of the rest of the leaves so that should put us ahead of the game in the long run. You never know when it will snow, and I like the place clean by the the time that happens.
Well I have to close for now. My yl and her daughter are on the way home and then it will be time for pumpkin carving, and then the little gobblins will be knocking at the door.....Hopefully I'll leave them some of this candy I've been munching on.... 73 and Happy Halloween geo , n1eav"

If I run across Santa, I'll tell him about you wanting a KX3. That would make just about the best present any ham could get (for any occasion).

What would Halloween be without a pumpkin. Here's Geo's:

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And I think this from Paul N0NBD gets me caught up on diary comments for now, "Hello John, as I watched the storm moving inland I saw a loop on wx channel that showed the eye over what I thought was Kittanning. I enjoyed you reporting the barometer readings... Glad you came through ok de Paul N0NBD

Just a couple comments on my day now. It was another dreary cold day with the temperature staying in a narrow range of 35-45 degrees as it seemingly has done now for about 5 or so straight days. Of course that makes getting on the air a good way to pass time on such a day. I added a dozen or so more QSOs on the new KX3, and with each QSO, I get a little more used to it and grow to like it a little more as well. I added one new country in HT9H this morning, and had a somewhat unusual DX experience. I worked RZ3BW on 15M - nothing unusual. He was pretty much the only strong DX signal I was hearing besides HT9H, so I decided to explore 12 and 10 to see if they had anything to offer. The only strong signal on those two bands was on 10M and it was..... yes, RZ3BW so I worked him on two bands within 6 minutes.

My KX3 totals are now 41 countries and 24 states. Still need AS and OC for WAC. I was thinking it would be nice to get DXCC before the CQWW test later this month, but I don't think that will happen unless conditions pick up again like they were around the 20th and 21st this month. We'll see.

I had the feeling I had quite a few 30M QSOs this month so I counted this afternoon and I had 31 which means I get a NAQCC 30-30 certificate for making 30 QSOs on 30M in a calendar month. -30-

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:13 PM - Sandy's visit to Kittanning proved to be an interesting if basically uneventful one. She (he?), along with a stalled cold front gave us a total of exactly 3 inches of rain over the past 4 days, only a few drops of which found its way into my basement. We did get some very strong winds centered around midnight last night, probably gusting to 50-55 MPH, yet a walk around town this morning showed hardly any signs of it. About the only thing suggesting any kind of wind was a LOT of leaves down plus some small twigs. Also some bark off a very old tree in the park. That was it in the part of town I covered. Nary a flicker of our lights so no interruption of power here in Kittanning anyway. So we were very fortunate here.

Actually I think what gave us a break from Sandy was the fact the center of the remnant extratropical storm passed pretty much right over Kittanning sometime late this afternoon or early evening. That meant we were close to the calm center of the storm for quite a while today and only had calm to very slight winds and not a lot of additional rain today.

It was a chilly damp day though and a good day for some play with the KX3. Counting a couple of streak QSOs this evening after 0000Z, I made 11 QSOs including a couple new KX3 countries in ZP6CW on 12M and CU2JT on 30M. Perhaps a couple new KX3 states also. I haven't checked them yet. I think that's 40 KX3 countries now. I'm going to finish this entry, then do some updating of my KX3 stats. I think the ZP on 12 may be an overall new band country for me also, but I'm not sure yet.

Oh, I want to thank all of you who sent emails of concern today. Also just about everyone I worked today asked how I made out with Sandy. I appreciate all of that.

One final note. I saw on my remote reading barometer today a pressure of 28.86 inches. While I haven't by any means kept pressure records over the years like I have with temperature and precipitation, that is by far the lowest pressure I've seen here. I think something like 29.12 or so was the previous lowest many years ago. And it could have been even lower today since I don't have a barograph or any memories for the pressure like with temp and precip. It's just what I happen to see at the time.

And we all lived happily ever after. Unfortunately not everyone can say that and our prayers go out to all of those who didn't fare as well with Sandy. One ham I worked today in NJ was without power and could be for some time. At least he has battery power for his KX3 so he can enjoy ham radio while awaiting the return of power. -30-

Monday, October 29, 2012 7:07 PM - Just a quick entry to say we're watching out for Sandy here. Should we get any power outages, I won't be able to post any diary entries, check email, etc. till power is restored. However I should be able to keep the streak going with my KX-1 or KX3 and my gel cell battery.

I hope to have another entry tomorrow, but you never can tell. It's getting very windy here right now as I type, so I'll close and get this uploaded. -30-

Sunday, October 28, 2012 9:49 PM - Another day of getting caught up on things today and doing some thinking about Sandy, so not much to talk about.

I still got in some more KX3 playing now and then. After missing DX yesterday, I worked IK3VUT on 15 meters plus a handful of USA stations on various bands. -30-

Saturday, October 27, 2012 9:49 PM - Today was kind of a catching up day after spending the past several days playing with the KX3. I'm not going to say more than that as I'm sure you don't want to hear a list of little chores that I did.

I also did some more playing with the KX3 as well. No DX today, but some good rag chew type QSOs with several folks including some friends I haven't worked for a while.

I also tried out some of the menu functions I hadn't played with before. A feature that the K2 also had, but I never used are the two buttons that can be programmed with whatever menu functions are used often so they can be accessed quickly without going through all the menu choices to find them. I set one up to switch from keyer to straight key as the KX3 doesn't seem to have auto detect like the K2 does. I have an idea how to almost achieve that though, although I think I will have to use the personal function button to make the final switch. I won't have to plug and unplug keys though so that will help. Still some things left to personalize to make the KX3 even more convenient to use than it already is.

One other thing worth mentioning about today is that this is the day that Ange's fig trees departed. He got rid of the three big ones in the garden near here and two more at his home. Here's a picture I took of the last one being taken out by a couple of Ange's friends. That will save a lot of work in the garden for both Ange and for me in the coming years. He is replacing the trees, but with dwarf ones that will be (hopefully) much easier to maintain.

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Friday, October 26, 2012 9:28 PM - Today was a sad day. I cleaned out all the vegetables from my garden anticipating a very cold week coming up. However my rose plants seem to think it is still June as you see from these pictures taken this afternoon.

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My ham radio goal today was to finish my NAQCC October challenge. So I got on not long after I got up this morning, and in less than an hour I made my goal. Several stations gave no signs of hearing my mW sigs at all. In fact some didn't even hear me when I increased to 5 watts. I had a hard time working OE3DXA with 5 watts, but Austria would be a new KX3 country so I persevered and did make the QSO. Before that though, I got one of the three mW QSOs I needed when a single call to PA3FQA on 17M with 900mW netted an easy QSO. That took me down to needing two. After the OE3DXA struggle, a single call to YL2TQ netted a short solid 'rag chew' QSO. By that I mean going a little beyond RST and OP which is the norm for a lot of DX QSOs. Of course many don't even go beyond 599 73. I didn't have any more luck with DX, so I went to 40 and my first mW CQ there netted a 15 minute QSO with WA3SCM to complete the challenge. To top it off, Latvia was my 69th overall mW country worked. Now I'm going to update my mW band-countries totals. I'm sure I've worked a few new ones in the challenge. -30-

Thursday, October 25, 2012 9:27 PM - Most of my playing with the KX3 today involved making mW QSOs for our NAQCC October challenge. I've got 17 of the 20 needed to master the challenge now, so it should be a cinch to finish up. Today I worked RA7A 10M, HB9BQR 15M, K4LJA (LA) 20M, K9IA (FL) 20M. and W1PXA (CT) all with 900 mW.

My streak QSOs this evening were a trio - WA1YNJ, EA8ZS, and FG/F5UTN, all on 30M.

The ergonomics of the KX3 continue to amaze and please me. As I get more and more used to it, the more I appreciate how easy and enjoyable it makes ham radio operating.

I did a little more fishing today in our mid-80s weather, but didn't catch anything. They just aren't biting like they did in September and early October. A friend of mine said the same thing was happening at his QTH a few miles up the river. Still this year is a lot further from the bottom years than the last two years were. I think I counted 7 or 8 years where my fish total was lower than this year's.

It looks like I'll be taking out the remnants of my garden tomorrow as it is supposed to turn quite cold this weekend and continue all through next week. There is even s*o* in the outlook. -30-

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 9:56 PM - Again not a lot of time to play with the KX3, but I did manage 12 more QSOs to bring its total to 80 now. It also has 33 countries worked, adding UA1, PJ2, CN, KL7 today. NL7G was worked with 900 mW, only my second ever mW QSO with KL7. I also had 6 other mW QSOs today. A couple worth noting - I beat a pile-up to get VP5/WA2VYA on just one call, and had a nice short chat with Stan OK2BGN. Of course it was mainly propagation that made the VP5 QSO. If you are on the favored path to a DX station, it is not hard to break a pile-up, but you have to know exactly where to place your call also if it is a split operation as this one was. Now I only need 8 more mW QSOs to master our NAQCC October challenge.

What kept me off the air today a lot were some walks enjoying this "Indian Summer" weather plus some more shopping. Today is senior discount day at Family Dollar so I make my list and buy everything I need there on Wednesdays to get the discount. Then Denny and I went fishing for a couple hours this afternoon. Between us we only got a couple bites, but one bite on my line netted a 19 inch sucker. Those things plus the usual everyday little tasks all added up to give me only about an hour and a half total time on the air.

Now I've got to finish my web site updates and get today's QSOs into my Access log and my web site log. So the day is still not over, task-wise. When it is though, then I'll close out by watching some more Formula 1 racing and/or listening to the Terry Lee show. -30-

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 10:38 PM - I didn't get a lot of time to play with my new toy today, but I did manage to add two more countries to its total of 26 - Luxembourg and Northern Ireland. I also had a few more DX QSOs mostly on 15 and 12. 12 was particularly hot for the brief time I was on there in the 1800Z hour. I also had a nice rag chew on 30 while running just 900 mW here. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have more time to play.

Today I did some banking and shoppping. I helped my neighbor install a porch light. I cleaned out my bean plants and some pepper plants along with cutting my grass. I went fishing (one bluegill), and took a few walks. Temperatures in the mid 70s made it hard to stay indoors even with my new toy.

I am finding more and more to like about it as I try out as many of the bells and whistles as I have time for. Today I practiced recording and sending CW messages. As with everything else, that went slick as a whistle. It's really an amazing rig with so much packed into so little space. If the trend continues, the peripherals will vastly outsize the rig itself although you still will need a fairly good sized readout I would think. -30-

Monday, October 22, 2012 9:40 PM - OK, first of all, the KX3 is not a magic lamp that suddenly improved things just by its presence in my shack. However I have made 60 QSOs with it in just over 48 hours now and they were from 26 different countries. Why? Simply because it's a new toy, and I spent a lot of time playing with it. Also coincidentally conditions the past two days harkened back to the last sunspot peak in 2000/2001. They've just been fabulous, and the old adage that you can work DXCC on 10 meters with a bent coathanger and 1 watt of power has not been far from the truth these two days.

I also mastered the NAQCC Oct/Nov EU Challenge in those two days very easily. I still have to work on our October mW challenge though as I've been using 5 watts for all but a couple QSOs so far. Now that I have mastered the EU challenge, I may just turn the power down to 900 mW for a while.

I'm learning more and more about the KX3 as I use it, and things like RIT and SPLIT operation are now just about second nature. It seems like every rig I've used addresses those two features a little differently and it takes time to get used to the difference. I think, although it seemed a little awkward at first, the KX3 handles those things best of all the rigs I've used.

Mike wanted me to use this picture with his commentary last evening, but I forgot, so here it is now:

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He captioned it something like, "Here's John like a kid at Christmas with his new toy."

Well, here's one of my kid friends enjoying playing with the new toy also:

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As you see the KX3 there, it's just in a temporary position. Today I fixed up a little block and bracket system to hold it in place permanently alongside the K2 on my rig shelf. Here are a couple pictures of that in case you might have a new KX3 also in a similar situation:

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Note the two angled braces mounted to the front side of the shelf that are padded for the KX3 to lean on.

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And here's a block in back of the KX3 to keep it from sliding backwards when the buttons are pressed and to provide a raised surface for the feet to rest on. So far it works pretty good but I may want to adjust it so the KX3 stands a bit more upright at a little better angle to read everything on the front panel. -30-

Sunday, October 21, 2012 9:14 PM - I have a guest diaryist (well column = columnist, so...) for the first part of tonight's diary entry - Mike KC2EGL.

"The Construction Of A KX-3. The Sequel.

Good evening everyone. Tonight I will be assisting John with this diary entry which is brought to you by the letters K and X, and the number 3

As most of you know John ordered a Elecraft KX-3. And most of you know it arrived yesterday morning. Somehow John was able to keep from constructing his radio after he finished his inventory of all the parts. I have no clue how he kept himself busy until I arrived around 5:30PM.

After I arrived we began our evening with the most important task. Yes you guessed it, we had our dinner. John picked up a couple of Subway sub's for us. We quickly downed our meal and got to the main task at hand for the evening. As we did with my KX-3 we methodically went through the process step by step. No cheating by getting ahead of the process. We had similar issues with John's radio as we did with mine. We benefited from the experience we gained with my KX-3. This helped us with the amount of time saved and the process of installing the components. We finished in just over 3 hours compared to my radio which took us 5 hours. There were a few missing parts in my kit that we had to subsitute with parts that John had in storage. As with my KX-3 it was a very enjoyable experience. And as with my KX-3 John's radio expeirenced first RF with a in-house QSO. Only difference is this time it was KX-3 to KX-3.

Very shortly after completion of John's rig we put it through its paces. We found plenty of DX on 40M with the Worked All Germany contest. We both logged a few stations from Germany before calling it a night. This morning we got up around 7:30AM EDT and went to breakfast. After we returned we went back to breaking in John's KX-3. We found four more German stations in the W.A.G. contest which ended at 1500Z. Minutes later we found a special event station from Finland followed by Moldova, Scotland, Cuba, Lithuania, Belgium, England, Sweden, The Netherlands, Hungary, Czech Republic, Iceland (my first TF QSO ever),Dominica, St Kitts & Nevis, Cayman Islands, England again (same op different band), K9LJN in the Illinois QSO party, and then another of those really long distance QSO's (all of 20 feet) between our KX-3's on 160M.

All in all it was a outstanding radio day. Plenty of fun building what both John and I consider the best radio either of us has ever owned and operated. And between the two of us we have operated many different kinds of radio's both civilian and military (I was a HF Teletype Operator for six years while serving in the United States Army). If you are looking for a new radio I strongly suggest the investment in a KX-3. You will be surprised with all the bells and whistles that are included. You will not be disappointed.


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Above are our KX-3s side by side. What Mike says about the KX-3 being the best rig I ever operated is true. The K2 is a very close second, but the KX-3 wins out because of it's much more detailed display, and the ease of accessibility to its very many useful bells and whistles.

It may be overwhelming to someone who uses it as their first ever rig or someone who has been a ham a long time and hasn't really kept up with the state of the art rigs. However with a little study and time using it, the KX-3 will quickly become a good friend to any ham operator.

Enough of the PR for the rig, and neither Mike nor I have any interest in Elecraft other than being two very delighted users of their equipment.

It was a real joy for me when Mike said immediately after I told him I had decided to get the KX-3 that he wanted to be involved in the build. I was going to ask him anyway. Not only because we enjoy working together, but because I knew he would be a help as a second brain and pair of eyes for the project. So I didn't mind waiting the 5 or 6 hours between my inventory and his arrival to participate in the building.

He pretty much described the sequence of events, so let me add my comments on the performance of the rig after it was built.

In the just about exactly 24 hours of the rigs existence, I have made 32 QSOs with it on all bands except 60 and 6 meters. The high bands were in the best shape I have heard them in quite some time now. What a happy coincidence. The QSOs came from 15 countries and 5 states. So only 85 countries and 45 states to go for KX-3 DXCC and WAS. HI.

I could go on and on raving about the rig, but I won't since I want to close this entry and get back to using it some more.

I will close by saying again a big THANK YOU to Mike for all the help and for making this a very enjoyable weekend. -30-

Saturday, October 20, 2012 3:07 PM - My KX3 arrived just about as scheduled in the latest countdown update - 10 AM this morning. The inventory has been completed and I am now awaiting Mike's arrival after he gets off work around 4:30 PM. He wanted to be in on the construction just as I was in on his. That's good because two heads and 4 eyes are helpful in spotting and correcting any mis-steps in construction. So that's it for today's diary entry. More tomorrow on the KX3 construction which should take about 3 hours or so since this is the second one Mike and I have built. It probably could be done faster, but haste makes waste, so we'll take our time. -30-

Friday, October 19, 2012 9:09 PM - No update on the USPS tracking of my KX3, but it still says expected delivery October 20. So we'll see when tomorrow comes, I guess.

I did a little clean up in the shack today in anticipation of the new arrival tomorrow. Other than that, not much out of the ordinary to talk about.

Contrary to the past few evenings when my streak QSO came quickly, tonight it took about 15 minutes of CQs before anyone (W1SFR) answered. Other than that I didn't check the bands much except to notice a little more RTTY activity than usual. Must be some kind of RTTY contest I guess.

Well, I guess I'll watch some Formula 1 Grand Prix racing to pass some time before going to bed and trying to hurry tomorrow to get here quicker. HI. -30-

Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:51 PM - ADDENDUM: (The USPS tracker agrees with Mike!! Note the bigGER change in the countdown above.) I received notice from Elecraft that my KX3 was shipped today. Mike KC2EGL, a postal employee, thinks with Priority Mail it should arrive Saturday, but I'm not quite that optimistic so I figure Monday or Tuesday at the very latest. WOW! I can't wait. But I'll have to, won't I. HI.

My QSO came almost immediately tonite. I was just set to send QRL? when someone (KC2EQA) started calling CQ just off frequency but close enough to hear him. I called him and we had a nice chat. Since that was so quick, I thought I'd try some mW CQs to see if I could get at least one more mW QSO for our NAQCC challenge. I called about 8 minutes or so, then got an answer from W1AAF up in ME. Strangely I got a better report on mW (569) than on 5 watts earlier (559).

Incidentally if you're a NAQCC member, we now have a spotter form where you can post your operating schedule to let other members know where to find you. I'm waiting a couple days to announce it on our NAQCC mail list just to see if anyone will find it by accident or perhaps from reading this.

Can't think of much else to say. My mind is dominated right now by anticipatory thoughts about the KX3. -30-

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 9:27 PM - No new developments with the KX3 today. I had hoped to be getting an email from Elecraft telling me it would be shipping soon, but that didn't happen. Also the web site info as to processing orders hasn't changed. At least I do know that, as I said yesterday, my check has cleared my bank. When I got my monthly statement on Friday, it hadn't cleared and that got me concerned since they should have received it by about October 5. Either there was a delay in transferring the money or they don't cash checks until it is just before shipping time. I hope it's the latter.

The weather was beautiful again today, and I have walked for over 12.5 miles. I also did some work in Ange's garden and my own garden. In a way I hate to see the garden season come to an end, but then that means less work to do, especially helping Ange. At least we didn't have to water his garden much this year as the rain just fell in a very nice pattern with no overly wet nor overly dry periods. Actually my one rose bush doesn't believe it's the end of the garden season.

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The picture was taken on October 14. That's the oldest of all my rose bushes, and the best it's looked this year. It's been around for as long as I can remember so it's got to be nearly as old as I am. Well, I'm pretty sure it is at least 50+ years old as I believe it was there when both my dad and mom were still living, and he died in 1964.

As one of my two streak QSOs this evening I worked Carl N5XE who has been mentioned here in the diary and the guestbook. That was only our 3rd ever QSO, having worked before in 1999 and 2010. -30-

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 9:41 PM - Some good news on the KX3 today. The web site says they were processing orders from September 30, and that announcement was on the web site first thing this morning. So possibly today or tomorrow my order will fall in the processing queue. No email announcement from them yet so looks like it wasn't today. However my check cleared the bank this morning, so that's another good sign. I'm almost certain I'll have it well before my predicted date above if all goes well and there are no snags along the way.

Another good walking day today with just over 11.5 miles on the pedometer. A little cooler than yesterday, but still very nice. Tomorrow should be even nicer with a high in the upper 60s under mostly sunny skies.

Three easy QSOs this evening to add another day to the streak. N2EY answered my 40M CQ after just a couple minutes. Then I decided to try 80 meters since it was so good in our sprint last week. It was pretty good tonight although not a lot of activity. I had two solid QSOs there with VE3FIT and KG3W. -30-

Monday, October 15, 2012 10:05 PM - I finally got some DX this month, and finally got a mW QSO. Both courtesy of Rey CO6RD on 30M this evening for my streak QSO. He was booming in on 30 with few takers, so I cranked the K2 down to 900 mW and worked him. Had to repeat my call a few times before he got it, but he's a great op, so he didn't give up till he did get it right. So although I probably won't have time to get the required number of mW QSOs for our NAQCC challenge, at least getting the one will give me a Participation Point.

Other than that, not a lot of news today. It was a pretty good day weatherwise although not as warm as yesterday. I've got 7.32 miles on the pedometer from my walking today which is just about an average day. I'm thinking of going fishing on Wednesday when it's supposed to be sunny and in the mid to upper 60s. Maybe my friend Bill will want to go out to Crooked Creek that day.

I finished up the NAQCC sprint log cross-checking a little while ago. We had 204 participants show up in the cross-checking program. That's only the second or third time we've cracked the 200 barrier although we have come close several times also as our sprints continue to grow in popularity.

Now I've got to upload this diary file and the propagation and main pages, then I'm going to watch the remainder of the 1984 European Formula 1 Grand Prix. Oh, maybe first I'll check to see where the KX3 orders stand. -30-

Sunday, October 14, 2012 10:42 PM - I guess today can be described with just a few simple statements. The weather was beautiful and I have 12.61 miles on my pedometer with 19849 of the 24214 steps involved being aerobic walking.

When I wasn't walking, I was doing wrap-up work on our NAQCC anniversary week and our NAQCC sprint. With a few operators still to report, we're just a few QSOs short of our N#A record of 881 from last year. We should go over 900 this year when all reports are in. We came close to a record number of sprint logs also, but fell just short - 132 vs. our record of 137.

Then late this afternoon I put in about 40 mins in the closing hour of the PA QSO Party and got 27 QSOs for a total of 30 using K3WWP to go with my 102 as N3A yesterday.

Just a little bit ago NAQCC president Tom WY3H and I hashed over some new features we will be debuting in the next few weeks in conjunction with our 8th anniversary celebration. Can't tell you about them now till they are formally announced. -30-

Saturday, October 13, 2012 9:52 PM - Our NAQCC anniversary week has come to an end, and in a way I'm glad and in another way I'm sad. It means a lot of extra work and time spent has ended for the most part and I'm glad of that. But I really enjoyed operating N3A and wish I could continue to do that for a while longer.

I had fun with N3A in the PA QSO Party today. I made 102 QSOs divided between 40M (70) and 80M (32). All but 3 came from my CQ. I wanted to get 100 with my CQ, but as time was drawing to a close I definitely wanted to get 100 QSOs so I answered a couple of others' CQs to reach 100, then got two more with my CQs for 99.

So now that it's all over but some reports to compile, I'm going to start taking it easy right now and close this entry then watch some Formula 1 auto racing and check some BB playoff and college football scores. -30-

Friday, October 12, 2012 9:25 PM - I hope you all had a good Columbus Day, and at least thought about this great man at some point today. With the current trend of wanting to destroy the reputation of many of our traditional heroes, Christopher has come into his share of hero-bashing. Of course it has long been stated that he didn't really 'discover' America, and that is perhaps semantically true. The Indians were here a long time ago, and the Vikings came here around 1000 AD also. However the late Ed King of the radio program Party Line stated it best when he said something to the effect that when Columbus discovered America it stayed discovered and was the start of the rise of America as a great and important part of the civilized world.

I made another bunch of N3A QSOs today despite continuing less than ideal conditions. I'm sad that our week is coming to an end. I'm going to try to put N3A in the PA QSO Party for several hours tomorrow before our week long special event calls expire at 2400Z Saturday.

I haven't said much about it, but my neighbor Nancy and Bruce have another dog. Well actually as I understand it, they are taking care of the dog for Bruce's son who is out in the state of Indiana right now. The dog's name is Roscoe. He's a cross between a poodle and a pit bull if you can imagine that. He's about 5 months old now, and is a very friendly, VERY active dog. He and I get along well, but there's not that real rapport between he and I that I felt existed between Joe and I. Anyway today was the day for his first major visit to the vets, and I offered to ride along to help since we didn't really know how he would behave in a car. Turned out he was pretty good most of the time, but did get restless now and then. It was interesting to see how he would behave among other dogs. Joe always barked at other dogs, but Roscoe just watched them quietly. So Roscoe now has his shots and a good checkup behind him now.

I did a little research on my KX3 order today and I see they have just shipped orders from September 23rd. My order was placed October 2nd, so I figure the shipping date may be here a little sooner than expected. I'll have to check again Monday to see what date orders ship then to get a better estimate. Of course if the days track, that is they ship one days worth of orders in one day, then mine should ship around October 22nd. I've already gone through the assembly manual a couple times while waiting so that plus helping Mike build his should give me an advantage in assembling it when it gets here. I've also got the envelopes labeled for sorting the small bolts, washers, and nuts. That was a big help when we built Mike's KX3. -30-

Thursday, October 11, 2012 8:42 PM - I did another short stint using N3A today and added 6 more QSOs to our total. I never did get back on again last night, but I might tonight since nothing else worthwhile is going on. I will post my time on the scheduler if I do. Oh wait a minute, this is Thursday - the night I wash my clothes for the week, so it will be a little later if I do get on.

Speaking of the scheduler, I fixed it up today to convert from our N#A operation to general use so any NAQCC member can "spot" themselves on the NAQCC web site for others to look for them on the air. That will debut shortly after our anniversary week wraps up.

Late this afternoon, I helped Ange clean up his garden. We took out all the tomato plants, stakes, etc. The pepper plants still all have to be pulled, the beans picked and the plants taken down, and the fig trees taken care of. -30-

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:37 PM - I had a good hour using N3A this afternoon making 9 more QSOs for our NAQCC Anniversary Special Event calls. I think our near real-time scheduler is helping us get more QSOs this year. I might try another half hour or so a little later this evening. I'll post it on the scheduler if I do. I got home a short while ago from our computer club meeting and made a QSO with Tom WY3H who is trying out a new MantiZ FX-2 30/40 meters QRP rig. It sounds really good.

As I said in my soapbox/diary entry last night, it was an interesting sprint. I was going to talk about it here, but actually I guess I said most of it all last night. I could add that there did seem to be a black hole effect with many areas reporting poor reception on 20 and 40, while other areas said 40 was very good. Most of the good 40 meters reports came from the southern part of the country. Then those who did go to 80 meters reported good conditions there, but a lot never made the journey down to that band. It will be interesting when I total up the QSOs on the three different bands after the cross-checking is done. I'll report that here. -30-

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 11:23 PM - I'm tired so I think I'll just copy my NAQCC sprint soapbox comments here for my diary entry tonight.

"When exactly was it that 40 became 20 and 80 became 40? Here 40M acted just like 20 does for me. Long skip and few QSOs. Just 8 in the first 45 minutes. So I gave up on 40 and headed to 80 and found it just like 40 has been the past several months. Loaded with stations of whom 36 answered my CQs. Thanks to Geoff and Scotty who answered with their N#A calls. I never did one bit of S&P. All 44 QSOs came from my CQs. I just love sitting there calling CQ not knowing who I am going to work next. I do that a lot in regular operating also. It adds to the mysterious aura that surrounds this wonderful hobby. It was great to work NAQCC President Tom WY3H in a sprint again. He\'s missed quite a few of them in a row for various reasons. Also nice to work a several new members and some I haven\'t worked for a while. I hope everyone enjoyed the sprint as much as I did (well the last hour and 15 minutes anyway - HI). I\'ll be running N3A a few times during the rest of anniversary week. Hope to work you then also." -30-

Monday, October 08, 2012 8:12 PM - Today went a bit smoother than yesterday. However it was very cold for our NAQCC Anniversary Parkpedition and just as we did 3 years ago in 2009, we had to cut our operation short by about an hour and a half. So if you tried to get us and missed us, we apologize. However we did get on a couple more times when we got back to my house and made some QSOs from here. All in all, I think we totalled 34 QSOs. Now after I write this and do a couple other things, I'm going to get my own streak QSO and then put N3A on the air for another hour from 0100-0200Z. And if I'm going to meet that schedule, I've got to close here and get ready. -30-

Sunday, October 07, 2012 10:40 PM - Well, Mike KC2EGL is here and he said I should tell you the full story, so whew!!!, here goes.

Mike came down to stay overnight so we could get set up early tomorrow for our Parkpedition to activate N3A for our NAQCC anniversary week. We talked for a while, then headed out for a meal at Wendy's (you knew something like that would be in the story, didn't you? - And by the way I consumed my whole Frosty through a straw - I'd been wondering if I could still do that). When we got home, Mike brought his things in from the car which he hadn't done earlier since it was raining. However, after he brought the things in, he got a strange look on his face and said he had to go out to the car and check on something. When he came back in, he told me to look at his things and asked what was missing. I noticed right away, his portable power supply. He said yes, and said he'd be back in an hour and a half, meaning he was going back to Brookville to get it since we couldn't operate tomorrow without it.

Here a brief sidetracking. We had made a schedule to operate N3A from here from 9 to 10 PM, but it was now 8:30, and to make a long sidetrack short, we missed that sked, and as I type this, Mike is now upstairs operating N3A.

Back on track, as soon as Mike said he was going to Brookville, I asked if I could ride along. That was my late dad's star mail route, and I hadn't been on those roads but maybe once or twice since he passed away in 1964. I definitely wanted to go for a time machine ride and see the old mail route again. So we took off.

It literally was a trip back in time for me as I saw and remarkably remembered in great detail many things and places I hadn't really seen since perhaps 1960 or so. From New Bethlehem to Brookville was a part of the route that had been eliminated from the mail route which then took a different route from NB to Clarion. So I hadn't really seen those places for about 52 years.

Many of the old post office buildings from then have been since changed. I would point out the old place and Mike showed me the new buildings. Just thinking now, of Distant, New Bethlehem, Fairmont City, Hawthorne, Summerville, and Brookville, all but Fairmont City have been changed. Possibly Hawthorne was the same - I couldn't remember that one exactly.

There were also many landmarks along the way. One in particular was Broscius Garage in Shannondale. My dad would often stop there for a short break on his route to visit with "Curly" Broscius and his family who lived next to the garage. However that is all gone now, and Mike said the building is some kind of antique shop now. I couldn't quite read the sign as we passed.

There was also a very high railroad trestle that until Mike mentioned it, I had forgotten about. As soon as he said it though, a vivid picture of the trestle came into my mind and I knew exactly where it had been. It has long since been torn down.

After we reached Brookville, and Mike got the power supply, we headed back here to Kittanning and updated our N3A schedule, and I am going to close now and get back to my shack. I've heard Mike working at least 3 different stations while I'm typing away.

The first station I worked as N3A was Dale K4EQ out in Iowa, and he also gave me my K3WWP streak QSO for the day. Earlier in the day I had worked 3 other stations as N3A, so our anniversary celebration seems to be going well. Maybe Mike or I can work YOU tomorrow from the Kittanning Community Park sometime between 1500 and 1900Z. See the NAQCC web site for a more detailed schedule when we get it fixed up early in the morning. -30-

Saturday, October 06, 2012 9:25 PM - Based on my guess that my mail order arrived at Elecraft on Friday, and on the Elecraft web site, the shipping delay for the KX3 is now about 30 days, I've come up with the above approximate countdown to the arrival of my new toy. I can't wait.

The band conditions still haven't picked up yet this month. I really haven't even tried to make a mW QSO for our October NAQCC challenge nor worked any EU stations for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge. I sure hope conditions pick up for our anniversary celebration which started a couple hours ago, and for our Tuesday evening sprint.

No fishing today as it was a bit on the windy cold side. We're supposed to have a chance of frost Monday morning, so I helped Ange pick all his tomatoes and peppers this afternoon. I'm leaving mine alone as if I feel frost is sure to happen, I can cover my few plants easily. Ange's garden is too large to do that. -30-

Friday, October 05, 2012 9:28 PM - After last night's fishing success, I thought I'd try for a repeat tonight, and for the first 5 minutes it looked like instant replay with 3 bluegills caught. However someone then turned off the biting lamp and as so often happens with bluegills, they all just lost interest in eating and I didn't catch anything else nor even get any really good bites. Anyway that puts me at 110 river fish for the year which is moving me up the ladder compared to other years. I'm now ahead of 8 other years at this point of the year with a good shot at moving up a couple more positions if the current conditions continue.

As far as ham radio goes, I haven't been on the air much this month yet with only one QSO on each of the first 5 days of the month - just enough to keep the streak going. I've either been enjoying the nice fall weather walking or fishing, or working on all the little details for our NAQCC anniversary celebration next week. Plus other things here and there as well like helping a friend stain his deck just to mention one thing. Then for relaxing, I've been watching a lot of old Formula 1 races on the Internet (YouTube mostly). -30-

Thursday, October 04, 2012 8:39 PM - I had one of my best fishing trips ever this evening (quantity-wise in the river) with 15 bluegills/crappies and one 13" walleye. 16 fish has to be near the top of my most fish caught in one trip, and 15 of them came in 47 minutes - 14 of them on the same tiny piece of nightcrawler. For a while it was taking me longer to log them than to catch them. It was almost too easy - must be something like working DX with a KW and 6 element beam on a tall tower. No challenge to it, but even so, I enjoyed it since it doesn't happen every day by any means. I remember one day several years ago I caught 23 drums after a heavy rain in a storm sewer outlet in the river, and there may be a couple other days where I topped 16 fish in the river. I qualify it with 'river' because I've caught up to 30+ fish when doing some lake fishing and topped 16 at our local Crooked Creek state park as well. Plus probably when I was a youngster, I topped that fishing with my dad at Toby Creek.

It was also fairly easy getting my streak QSO this evening working Jim VE3KQN after not all that many CQs. By the way, Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my Canadian friends. I had almost forgot till Jim mentioned he was at his camp for Thanksgiving weekend. -30-

Wednesday, October 03, 2012 7:01 PM - Just got home from fishing, and thought I'd write my diary entry early then I can goof off the rest of the evening. What did I catch, you ask. This is the year of the bluegill, so I caught two bluegills to bring my river total number of fish this year to 91 which is the second best I've done now in the past 5 years. Add 19 more from Crooked Creek and it's 110 for the year. Yesterday I neglected to mention I caught 3 bluegills including a nice 7.5 inch one.

I have the perfect topic for updating the countdown above after our NAQCC anniversary arrives. I'll count down the tentative number of days till my KX3 arrives. I'm already getting anxious. It's such a delight to do CW/QRP with a really good rig. I've never been much of a believer that QRP means tiny little rigs with few controls that you need fingers the size of a 3 year old to operate. Of course, if that's the way you like to do it, I have no quarrel with that. I'm just telling you my style here. If I am considered to be successful with QRP, that is one of the reasons, since I certainly don't have the big antenna farms that some do. The rig makes a big difference, and I think the KX3 will upgrade my "success" a little further. -30-

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 9:25 PM - Well, I did it. I mailed in my order for the KX3 today. If the 30 day shipping delay isn't shortened, that means I should have my new toy around the early part of November, and will have it in plenty of time for the CQWW DX contest near the end of the month and the ARRL 160M and 10M contests in December. It should make operating in those contests still easier than with the K2 because of the added bells and whistles on the KX3.

The bands are still pretty poor after the minor geomagnetic storminess on Monday, but at least I got a quick answer to my CQs for my streak QSO this evening from W1WYN. With conditions as they are, I haven't even thought much about getting my mW QSOs for the NAQCC October challenge nor starting on the Oct/Nov NAQCC EU Chapter challenge. There will be plenty of time for both when conditions settle down again. -30-

Monday, October 01, 2012 9:53 PM - My streak got off to a rough start to October. Oh I know via UTC this is already the second of the month, but talking about local time and date it's still Monday evening, and I called CQ for a full 50+ minutes with no answers at all until Dale K4EQ finally answered me at 0056Z. Dale is a NAQCC member and we had a nice chat about the club until deep QSB put an end to the QSO after about 15 minutes.

Fishing was rough also starting off October. I sat at the river for an hour doing nothing but watching tiny minnows go after my worm which was meant for bluegills, crappies, or rock bass who never did show up. They just seemed to vanish the past few days now. Did they swim south for the not too far in the future winter?

I got a new pedometer a few days ago, and it's got a neat feature in that it somewhat separates aerobic walking from just regular walking. Let me see how the manual defines its idea of what constitutes aerobic walking.

1. Walking more than 60 steps per minute.
2. Continuously walking for more than 10 minutes.
Taking a rest for less than 1 minute during continuous walking for more than 10 minutes is considered as continuous walking.

So today so far I have 19,441 steps of which 11,423 are considered aerobic steps. It also gives the total minutes of aerobic walking which today is 100 minutes. So that means 114 steps per minute - almost double the definition of aerobic steps.

Should you be interested, it's an Omron GOsmart Pocket Pedometer Model HJ-112. You can find it on the Internet by doing a Bing search for Omron HJ-112, I'm sure. -30-

Sunday, September 30, 2012 9:17 PM - Well, that was a very busy day, but I think I got just about all of my end-of-month, first-of-month things taken care of except for a trip to the bank in the morning and putting my September weather data in the computer later tonight. Of course I'll probably find a couple things left over that I forgot about. I usually do. HI.

I'm just about certain now I'll be ordering the KX3 sometime this week. And I'm pretty sure I'll be selling my TS-570 and the KX-1 when I get the KX3 up and running.

The bands were decent again today, although most of the DX I was hearing wasn't all that strong. I did hear DX on all bands through 10 meters. I also heard a couple of RTTY signals on 6 meters, but not a single CW station. It took a bit of time to get my streak QSO this evening, but finally W8OZM answered my 40 meters CQ after some 10 minutes or so. -30-

Saturday, September 29, 2012 9:52 PM - I didn't have a lot of time to check the bands today. When I listened a little bit this morning, they were mediocre at best. I was hearing DX on all the high bands, but nothing really strong. Likewise this evening, although 10 and 12 were pretty much empty then. The real star was 30 meters. I got my streak QSO from W7LXN in Arizona right after 0000Z, which is pretty early for working that far west for me on 30. Just after that QSO I heard OE5MSM booming in, and worked him easily. In fact we had a nice solid 22WPM 9 minute rag chew. Probably the best rag chew with a DX station in quite some time now. After I emailed Mike KC2EGL to tell him about OE5MSM - we often exchange DX spots - I went back to my rig and has another solid, but not as long QSO with UR0VQ. Then I closed out with WD0BC answering my CQ for a 2X QRP QSO. All of the above on 30 meters.

Other than that, nothing really out of the ordinary today. It was a nice day and I topped the 10 mile mark in my walking. I also got caught up on a bunch of emails. Now after I finish this, I'm going back to watch the rest of the 1981 Canadian Grand Prix F1 race. -30-

Friday, September 28, 2012 9:19 PM - Two things pretty much filled up my day today. First I helped Ange prune back one of his pear trees for the winter. That took almost 5 hours. Then after a little rest, I finished building my new antenna switcher I mentioned yesterday. Really that was about it for today.

When testing out the antenna switcher, I worked what may be a new prefix - CU9AC. Then this evening a quick QSO with N4KS was my streak QSO, although I'll probably check the bands for DX tomorrow since I missed getting on today for the most part. The SF, A & K indices all still look pretty good, so barring an overnight change, DX may be good again tomorrow. Plus it's a Saturday which may mean a little more activity. -30-

Thursday, September 27, 2012 9:36 PM - I seem to be in a building mood lately. A couple days ago I built a little device that lets me use the built in keyer in the K2 along with my external keys with no switching, menu changing or anything. Before I could use any of my external keys, but not the built in keyer.

Now I'm re-designing my antenna switching setup. Ever since I got the K2, I haven't needed any external tuner to tune any of my antennas, but I just left it there since it was combined with the switcher. Now I'm building a separate switcher which won't contain the external tuner and thus will be about half the size. I'm thinking about writing up an article about both projects for our upcoming NAQCC newsletter, so I won't say more about either here.

As I tune the higher bands looking for the few and far-between signals, I'm thinking that when I get my KX-3 (plan to order it next week), I might get the panadapter for it. That would save some time in finding signals on the big wide bands like 15 and 10. I still remain opposed to using such devices as well as using spotting (I never will use that), since I believe more enjoyment can be derived just getting on a band and looking around not knowing what to expect. However as I am pressed more and more for time with all the NAQCC work plus all my other interests, a panadapter would save time. I'd still be tuning the bands, but scanning more rapidly past the unoccupied areas looking for the blips on the panadapter. I'd never use something like the skimmer which identifies the blips though.

Well, I'm doing my washing now, so I'm going to close here and watch some auto racing till it's time to get the clothes from the washer to the dryer. -30-

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 8:13 PM - Mike is stopping by for a little visit after a meeting here in town so I'll sneak in a quick entry before he gets here.

The bands WERE good today as I said they would be. I made QSOs on 7 bands today, all but 80 and 160. I made DX QSOs on 5 bands from 20 through 10 meters. Nothing rare worked, but it was fun and brought back memories of 2000/2001 although there was more activity back then, I believe. Let's see, on 10 it was SM6CKU, on 12 SP9MZH and S57DX, on 15 EW8A, on 17 9A203SM, on 20 LZ1PM and LZ2VU. Don't forget to check again tomorrow to see if these conditions continue for another day. I will. -30-

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 10:14 PM - The past couple of days two of my ham friends have told me that there have been good openings on 12 and 10, but I've been too busy wrapping up our NAQCC sprint and working on our NAQCC upcoming anniversary celebration to check things out for myself. That is until late this afternoon when I found out they were right. I heard a lot of DX on all bands from 20 up through 10. I didn't work much because I had worked most of the stations I was hearing before, and as I've said many times, I don't like to keep working the same DX over and over again unless it is on a new band. One station I did work though was PA4N on 20 meters, and we had a short chat about my QRP. It was a solid copy QSO. Then a little later I was hearing a very strong (S9+) station on 10 meters. He was kind of running his call letters together and I had trouble figuring out the prefix, but I worked him anyway thinking it was some sort of special event station with a W60INP call. However as I listened a few more times to him sending his call, it dawned on me it was JH0INP for my first Japan in some time now, and I believe it was the strongest JA signal I've ever heard here and not one bit of the normal flutter I hear on most JA stations. Although I had to wait through a few stations beating me out, when I got Hiro, he copied me solidly. The bottom line: If you're into DXing, make time to check the high bands tomorrow. I know I will as I've got the anniversary celebration pretty well in hand now and the sprint cross-checking is done. I'd like to get some new countries on 12 meters if I can, as my totals there are not as good as the other high bands. Actually I'd like to get some new states on 12 even more as it's by far my worst band for states with only 25 worked and confirmed. That's a full 17 states behind 160 and 17 with 42 states on those bands.

Other than the DXing and NAQCC work, I helped Denny install a ceiling fan. That's kind of a ritual with us. I've helped him do that at 4 or so different houses of his or his children over the years. I also cut the grass in my back yard which was getting pretty high with the cool wet weather this month. Of course I got in my walks for a total of let's see... 6.9 miles just a few steps under my average. Now I'm going to finish updating my streak table and the propagation page, then finish watching the 1983 British Formula 1 Grand Prix. I found a place on YouTube that has what looks like a couple hundred Formula 1 races from the past 30 years or so. It's nice to see names like Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda, Nigel Mansell, and of course Ayrton Senna among many other familiar names racing again. I've always said had Ayrton Senna not been killed in a crash, he would hold all the Formula 1 records today, Michael Schumacher notwithstanding. In one poll of 217 F1 heroes, Senna was voted the greatest followed by Schumacher. See http://f1greatestdrivers.autosport.com/?driver=1. I'm going to look at the site more thoroughly to see who the other top 40 drivers are. Juan Manuel Fangio is 3rd, Alain Prost is 4th, and you'll have to check yourself to see the others. There are some great names there. Well, off to the races now. -30-

Monday, September 24, 2012 9:40 PM - Another day spent doing a lot of work on our upcoming NAQCC 8th anniversary week which is now less than two weeks away. I got out an informational email to our 38 ops who are signed up to operate our batch of ten N#A calls that week, among a lot of fine tuning of other things.

It was a chilly day today with a high of just 63 and it's 47 right now. More like October than September. Still I managed a couple of good walks today along with a little shopping.

The bands were interesting this evening. I had an answer to my 30 meters CQ from S52RL who then promptly disappeared in some QRM. On 20 meters, I heard one of the very few Armenian stations I've ever heard, but he was way too weak to work, unfortunately. I also called a couple of other DX stations, a UA0 and an LY5 come to mind as I type. Neither one hear me. Finally I did work SP6EIY easily on 30 meters. Earlier I had worked W9ZI for my first QSO of the day. I also had a nice chat with K3CHP in Delaware this afternoon on 40 meters. -30-

Sunday, September 23, 2012 10:16 PM - I'm way too brain-weary to do a diary entry after working on our NAQCC Anniversary Event and our NAQCC Sprint log checking for most of the day. Now I'm just going to relax and watch a video of the ALMS Long Beach race. -30-

Saturday, September 22, 2012 8:57 PM - A very nice afternoon on the first day of fall. A friend and I went fishing at nearby Crooked Creek lake. The fish didn't know we were coming though, and we got very few bites the whole afternoon. I did manage to catch 3 little bluegills but my friend was shut out. Still it was nice to be out in the lovely weather. There won't be a whole lot of days that nice now that fall is here with that nastiest of all seasons to follow.

Other than that I did some preliminary log checking from our NAQCC sprint and some other computer work. We just had a squall line or cold front come through with some very strong winds that blew my porch chairs around, but there wasn't much rain with it. The temperature took a sudden 10 or so degrees drop in a few minutes though, and it's now 53 as I close here and go out and check my other weather readings. -30-

Friday, September 21, 2012 10:05 PM - A busy day doing nothing. Well, I mean getting caught up on a lot of those piddling chores that must be done, but are about as exciting to do and talk about as the proverbial 'watching grass grow'. So don't worry, I won't bore you talking about that.

However there isn't too much else to talk about. I didn't go fishing today. I did get in 3 good walks among the chores for about 11+ miles. It was actually a nice day as it warmed up again after a couple chilly days and nights. I harvested some tomatoes, peppers, and beans from my garden. The 14 tomatoes I got today brought my yearly total to 161 which is about 25 below normal at this point. That's good, because then I don't have to overload the neighbors or just watch too many go bad. I think next year, I'll plant even fewer plants.

My QSO came quickly this evening as I worked a station sending with a bug about 35 WPM or so and distributing a lot of extra dots along the way. He never identified himself, so I worked him anyway, then listened for a while to see just who I worked. Turned out it was YV5/AC4LN. At least that's what I constructed from his sending, although to be honest he did get better the longer I listened. Then since that was so easy, I thought I'd get an extra QSO and WA4EZY answered my 40 meters CQ. Oh, the YV5 was on 30 meters. And also this afternoon when 30 was 'dead', I called CQ there and had a great QSO with NK2G. Another case of a band not really being dead, just inactive till someone (me) called CQ. -30-

Thursday, September 20, 2012 11:02 PM - I've been so busy this evening working on sprint logs and with our new sprint results page editor Corey that I almost forgot about the diary, so this will be another short entry.

I got shut out twice fishing today to make it three times in a row now. All I have been doing is feeding the minnows. Well actually not even that because they go after my little pieces of worm but are not big enough to get it off the hook. I don't know where the rock bass, crappies, and bluegills went off to the past couple days.

My QSO came a little slowly tonight, but eventually I got an answer from John W9LHG who ironically also built a KX3 lately.

Speaking of the KX3, I have decided to read the on-line operating manual thoroughly. I want to find out if I really want to get one, and I am noting the advantages I would get over the K2. There are many good points, but I think one of the best is the dual receive mode where you can listen, for example, to the DX station in one ear and the pile-up in the other ear. That would make figuring out pile-ups a whole lot easier than having to switch back and forth. Also I like the visual zero-beat indicator. I'm pretty good at zero-beating aurally but visually is even better. Then I like the idea of being able to switch out bands that are not used, for example I never use 60 meters and it is a nuisance to have to cross it going from 40 to 80 or vice-versa. You can also shut down unwanted modes, I believe. Then there is just the vast amount of data displayed on the read-out vs. the sparse data readout on the K2 (and KX-1). So I've pretty much talked myself into getting one just from what I've mentioned and there are other things I didn't list here also. -30-

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:54 PM - Just finished a very enjoyable two hours in our NAQCC sprint. Conditions on 40 were superb. 80 is coming around nicely too as fall approaches, but not very many folks went to that band as I only made 11 QSOs there for a total of 47 on 40 and 80. 20 as usual for me was a waste. That band just does not work for me in our sprints although I can easily work a ton of DX there.

Other than that, not much to report today. It was our coolest day here since back in spring as far as I can recall without checking my records. Our low was 46 (although it's 47 now and by midnight we could go below 46) and the high just 67 with a chilly breeze blowing a good deal of the time. I went fishing in the evening but didn't stay long as I was only feeding the minnows and it was very chilly at the river.

Now I think I'll relax and watch some more of the Virginia ALMS race while I take a peek at the sprint scores as they come in. -30-

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:09 PM - My first day over 10 miles walking in a while now. We had some heavy rain in the morning, but after that it was good for walking.

I also helped Denny with some work on the house this afternoon.

Other than that, nothing much out of the ordinary again. My QSO came quickly again this evening as Gary N2ESE answered my 40 meters CQ after just a couple minutes.

Now to close out the day, I think I'll watch some more of the ALMS race at VIR which I started watching this afternoon. Watching things on the Internet is great. You don't get a lot of things live on WatchESPN, but it's nice to watch what you want, when you want, and how you want from their vast assortment of events taped in the past few days. -30-

Monday, September 17, 2012 9:28 PM - After the fun and excitement of the weekend, today was kind of a quiet non-evenful day. I did quite a bit of walking as the weather was just about right for that sort of thing. Not too hot, nor too chilly. Also not overly sunny as the clouds increased most of the day ahead of a large rainy area heading this way from the Gulf.

I went fishing this evening and caught 6 bluegills. That raises my total for the year to 99, but if you include only the river fish, it's now 83. The other 16 came from Crooked Creek.

As it has lately, my streak QSO came quickly again this evening as K4DAL answered my CQ after just a few minutes. The bands seemed pretty good this evening. I hope they stay that way for our NAQCC sprint Wednesday evening. -30-

Sunday, September 16, 2012 9:42 PM - My, it's been a busy past 28 hours or so. But I had a lot of fun and learned a lot which made it all worthwhile.

Of course the biggest thing was building and the using Mike's new KX3. It really surpasses all I've heard about it after seeing it in action in person. Of course, Mike and I will have a complete report on the project in the Next NAQCC newsletter due out on October 6. So I'm not going to go into detail here about it.

After it was built and preliminarily tested late last night, it was too late to do much else. So when we got up this morning, we did the complete alignment of the roofing filters and other aspects of the rig. Then after a brief visit from Don K3RLL on his way to Pittsburgh and breakfast at Ponderosa, we headed to community park to test not only the KX3, but our antennas as well in preparation for our NAQCC operation of N3A on Columbus Day during our NAQCC anniversary week. We were very happy, after some trimming to size of our similar 110 foot end fed random wires, with their performance on the bands. Again as we did the other day, we didn't work many stations, as that was not our goal. We wanted to just do mainly antenna experimenting, which we did, learning a lot in the process including that a Pomona connector can go bad.

After we came home, we did a little antenna repair and modification from what we learned on the hill, then had some dinner at Subway. After that we hooked up and tested the KX3 in my shack where it again performed well with my antennas.

After using the KX3 and marvelling at the great way it works, and the great features it has, I've pretty much decided there is a KX3 in my future. I haven't given myself any big Christmas presents the past few years, so maybe this year......

Oh and except for a few speed bumps along the way, the KX3 is very easy to assemble if you follow the manual. Actually the speed bumps were mostly from a couple missing parts which slowed us up to the point where it took about 6.5 hours from unpacking the shipping box to completed rig. I think if all the parts were there, and learing from the experience of building this one, a second one would probably take maybe 4 hours or a little less. Maybe I'll find out later......

Enough said about the project. You'll have to wait to read about it and see the pictures we took along the way in the upcoming NAQCC newsletter.

I got my streak QSO this evening with the KX3 working Chas K2GTC from NYC on 40 meters. -30-

Sunday, September 16, 2012 1:43 AM - Yes, it's really 1:43 AM, and Mike KC2EGL and I just finished assembling his KX3, and he had first RF with it. You know when they fire up a telescope for the first time it's called first light, so...... Anyway we worked each other inside my house dummy load to dummy load. More testing in the morning and more info here in the diary tomorrow evening. If you're up this late reading this, Mike says go to bed, you night owls. -30-

Friday, September 14, 2012 9:34 PM - Nothing much out of the ordinary today to write about. Today was like the calm before the storm - or more accurately the quiet before the excitement. Mike's KX3 arrived in the mail today so tomorrow evening after he gets off work, we'll be putting it together, then trying it out on Sunday from the Community Park and also from my home. Now that's something to be looking forward to. We'll have a complete report on the assembly and testing in the October NAQCC newsletter. Of course I'll sneak in some comments and maybe a picture here in the diary too.

The streak QSOs have been coming pretty easily the past several days now. I think the bands are starting to pick up a bit with some reduced summer QRN and a little more evening activity as the Sun sets earlier and earlier each day.

Ange and I had a talk about the changing times of sunset, and I pointed out that the fastest rate of change comes at the spring and fall equinoxes, and the slowest rate of change is at the summer and winter solstices or more accurately near those times because of other factors such as the shape of the Earth's orbit and so on. That's because if you consider the position of sunset and the consequent sunset times to be a sine wave, the derivative of a sine wave is a cosine wave, and the rate of change is thus maximum for a sine wave when it is zero because that is when the cosine is at its maximum and vice versa. That's somewhat of a crude explanation but those familiar with trigonometry and calculus will know what I'm trying to say, and they could probably say it better. Or you can find a wealth of info on sunset and sunrise phenomenon via the Bing search engine at www.bing.com. -30-

Thursday, September 13, 2012 7:42 PM - I finished the NAQCC September challenge last evening after getting home from the computer club meeting. Two rag chews brought my total to the required 10 for the challenge.

Today I did some of my favorite things - helping folks out. I helped Denny fix his garage roof and also fill in some depressions in the yard. He is really getting the other half of my house and yard in great shape. It looks so nice to see all the houses along our street looking great again after the other half of my house was really let go since the Bowsers left about 7 years ago.

Then I helped Nancy with a little work on her porch, and later Ange with watering the garden.

I also got a chance to visit with Gavin a little while before and after school. That's always enjoyable.

Right now I'm awaiting the change of day so I can get my streak QSO.

Otherwise today I put the finishing touches on the NAQCC newsletter to be posted late tomorrow morning.

It's looking like (cross your fingers) Mike's KX3 kit should arrive either Friday or Saturday as it was shipped priority mail early yesterday. If it does make it by Saturday, we'll be putting it together Saturday evening and(?) Sunday. More about that as the situation develops. -30-

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:42 PM - Guess I'll write today's entry at about the half-way point of a very busy day.

It started off this morning doing some shopping. Our Family Dollar store gives a 10 percent discount to senior citizens every Wednesday so I buy everything I need there on Wednesdays. I also bought some items on sale at another grocery store. I combined those shopping trips with a couple walks.

I worked on our NAQCC newsletter finishing up an article about my new Altoids paddle. Then my other web site updates took up some more time. In between, I helped Nancy trim her holly bushes in the front yard.

Coming back from shopping one time, Ange was in the garden, so after I stowed the groceries, I helped him for a while picking some peppers and doing a bit of watering. Saying that reminds me that after I finish typing this, I've got to check my garden to see if it needs water.

Later this afternoon, Nancy is taking me out to Ponderosa as (unnecessary, but she insists) payment for helping her with so many different things. While we're up there, I'll take a quick stop at Radio Shack for some wire to make a better version of my latest portable antenna which is now about 5 separate pieces spliced together with which I found out works well enough to make the better version.

Then when I get home, it's off to the library for our computer club meeting. Whew, I'm tired just writing about the day. HI.

And I'll close with a little diary feedback from Paul, N0NBD, "Hello John Good story abt the carp and bobber. My son and his business partner fish the river for drum using red felt on a hook. I have not tried it but they say it works. Good luck fishing"

Well, I didn't manage to squeeze in a fishing trip today, but maybe tomorrow. -30-

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:16 PM - See the 3rd paragraph of my September 3 entry. That will save me some typing tonight since almost exactly the same thing happened except I saw the carp when he came at my bobber. Actually looked like he swallowed the bobber, but I couldn't be sure. Whatever - hook or bobber - I played him correctly tonight, but as expected, either he let go of the bobber or the hook came out. The hook was not bent at all and the worm was still on it, so maybe he was holding the bobber. It was one of those orange and yellow ones and small so it may have looked like a doughball to the carp?

Well, after complaining about no one rag chewing lately, I now have 8 of the 10 required for the NAQCC September challenge after getting 6 in my last 9 QSOs over the past 5 days. So maybe tomorrow I can get the remaining two if I run into some talkers.

Oh, I did get a bluegill tonight to make my total 77 fish for the year.

Other than the above I took a couple walks today, and did some shopping. Oh, and I also fished this afternoon, but got shut out then. -30-

Monday, September 10, 2012 7:27 PM - Thought I'd write this a bit early this evening as I sit here waiting for the date to change to the 11th so I can go get my daily streak QSO.

This morning I helped Tom WY3H with some work on a couple of his rigs. While he was here we also renewed our domain name (naqcc.info) for the NAQCC for 2 more years.

The first rig we worked on was an LNR MantiZ FX-2, a neat little rig that works 30 and 40 meters. However we didn't have any success with it, and Tom is going to call LNR about the problem.

The next rig was Tom's Century 21, and we had more success with it. It needed the Offset function calibrated which we did. Then we took the rig to my shack where Tom worked W6K, one of the special event stations for the Route 66 celebration.

I tried the NAQCC EU Sprint for a little while this afternoon, but didn't hear any activity in the sprint. Not surprising because even the high power EU stations on 20 were quite weak, so 2XQRP propagation between EU and PA was not good enough to make any QSOs. Perhaps those USA stations with beams and/or living nearer the Atlantic coast may have been able to work stations in the sprint, but it wasn't possible here.

I thought I might go fishing this evening, but my neighbor Denny asked me to help with some work, and it is always better to help someone than satisfy one's own desires, so I helped him. I will probably go fishing tomorrow instead. -30-

Sunday, September 09, 2012 10:54 PM - As you see from the time stamp, it's nearly 11PM and I have a ton of things to do yet before heading off to bed. It's been one of those days that need a couple of volumes here in the diary if I had the time to write that much which I don't, so I'll pretty much just summarize.

Mike KC2EGL arrived just before 8AM, and we headed of to the BCARA (Butler County ARA) hamfest in Butler, PA. This is always a nice little intimate hamfest kind of like a big friendly family gathering. We made a tour of all the vendors and didn't really find any items that interested us enough to buy. Oh there were a lot of nice pieces of vintage equipment there that would make vintage gear collectors salivate and quickly draw out their wallets. However neither Mike nor I are collectors, although we both really admire the older gear, and appreciate the contribution to ham radio that it has made over the years. I especially have always liked the Heathkit SB series of equipment, and there was some of that there in almost mint condition.

We did meet several NAQCC members there. I hate to list them for fear of leaving someone out, but I'll try anyway and apologize in advance if I do miss someone. We met Bob WC3O who is a great advocate of CW operation, Bruce AA3LX who usually has some items of interest for sale or donation to the NAQCC for prizes, but this year he's having some back problems and didn't get the chance to get his items together. Scotty KG3W was there - he's always interesting to talk with. A couple other members I remember were Jim W3IU and John K3HPS. We took a group picture of some of those I mentioned and it will be in the NAQCC WPA Chapter section of the September 15th newsletter.

We also met a local ham who is interested in CW, QRP, and QRPp - Ray WA3PRR - who will be joining the NAQCC shortly.

When the hamfest started to wind down, we came home, and planned to go up to the Community Park to do some antenna testing, but just then a shower decided to show up. So instead of heading out there, we did some work here. Mike got a rubber insert for his case that he uses to carry his portable gear, and he cut out openings for his soon to be arriving KX3, his paddle, antennas, connectors, and a couple other items. When the shower ended, we packed up our stations and headed to the park.

Up there our purpose was to just test antennas and not really to make QSOs. First up was my newly made 110 ft end-fed random wire. It loaded nearly perfectly on 40, 30, and 20 meters, and the signals I was hearing were as strong as, or stronger than any I have heard before up there. I decided to try for a QSO and called WF1S who turned out to be down in GA just north of the FL border. He gave me a 599 report on my 2.5 watts from the KX-1 and in a later exchange he said I was consistently from S7 to S9 for our whole QSO. That really pleased me since on our last Parkpedition with my 26 ft wire, I never got better than an S6 report from anyone on 20 meters. Happy with that, next Mike and I set up his NorCal doublet (I think that's what it's called) that has a 28 ft feedline feeding two elements in an inverted Vee fashion. The whole antenna is made from speaker wire which is split for 22 ft for making the elements and the other 28 feet not split serves as the feed line. Mike made one contact with it and got an S7 report.

About that time we were interrupted by a party who CLAIMED they had a reservation to use the pavillion we were at. We don't know if that was true or not, but we vacated and moved to another pavillion which actually was on a higher hill and was a better location although the trees were not as friendly positioned for our antennas up there. We set up anyway, and next tested Mike's 26 ft end-fed wire patterned after mine. Although the copy was rough, he worked a French station with that antenna.

Next we made up a 100' end fed wire like my 110' one by splitting a 100 ft roll of speaker wire. Actually we were in the process of finishing that when we were 'evicted' and finished it before we came to this second pavillion. We strung up that wire and again the results were very good. Signals were great from some exotic DX locations like Jordan, Kuwait, and Angola. However we couldn't work those stations because of the competition and didn't work any more common DX stations we were hearing. Finally I did work NC7H out in Caldwell, ID. I only got a 559 signal, but I was copied solidly as Henry repeated a lot of the info I sent to him.

Finally after about 3-4 hours of antenna testing we tore down our stations and headed off to Wendy's for an evening meal of burgers, fries, and pop. Next back home to do some fine-tuning to the antennas we had been testing up on the hill. We made some connections more permanent, repaired one broken wire, and rigged up a couple of reels on which to store our antennas hopefully in a way that won't get them tangled and twisted.

And that summarizes pretty well our 14+ hours of ham radio fun today. After that I had to get my daily QSO which I thought would be rough as it was later than my usual time for getting it. However NAQCC member WB4UHC answered my CQ after just a few minutes. We had a nice rag chew (#4 toward the NAQCC September challenge) and I also got another Elecraft serial number from him toward the Elecraft CC award. -30-

Saturday, September 08, 2012 9:49 PM - It rained for the most part of the morning and early afternoon, then stopped, so I went to the river. I saw a couple carp, but they weren't in a biting mood. I did catch a couple bluegills though.

I worked a nice EU special event station TM34CDXC (34th convention of the Clipperton DX Club) this afternoon, then early this evening I got my 3rd rag chew of the month toward the NAQCC September challenge. My streak QSO for the 9th came later when I worked YU5RA easily on 30 meters.

I fooled around a bit with the KX-1 today. I checked it working into my random wire here at home and it loaded nicely on 40, 30, and 20. So I spliced together some junk box wire into a similar 110 foot length to take to the park the next time to see how that works.

Today is an anniversary day for my web site. It was 16 years ago today that I started the web site on GeoCities. Then it was merely a site to tell how the CW County Hunters net was started by me and WA8EOH. Shortly after that it evolved into what it is today - a site that promotes the joy of CW and QRP operation on the ham bands. Those of you with a sharp eye will have noted that the banner at the top of this page now reflects that I'm in the 17th year of my web site which is still updated each and every day in one way or another. -30-

Friday, September 07, 2012 10:52 PM - Today was one of those normal days when there is really not much to talk about here in the diary, yet they are nice and peaceful quiet days. We did have a brief heavy shower late this afternoon, and you regular diary readers already know what that means. Right, I went down to the storm sewer outlet in the river to search for Carp. My usual outlet had a convention of Carp. It took them a little while to find the peanut butter bread, but finally one grabbed it and headed downriver right into some big weed beds. It would have been a real struggle to land him because the way our borough neglects keeping the river bank in good shape, it is pretty much impossible to walk along the edge of the river for any distance. I didn't have to worry about that as my line broke. So one carp lost. About 10 or so minutes later another one took off with the peanut butter bread. Despite being about 26 inches long, he didn't put up all that much of a fight and I got him to shore in a few minutes, took out the hook and let him go without measuring him, so the 26 inches is just an estimate, but a pretty good one.

Later this evening, the bands didn't sound all that good. I tried working OK1CF on 30 with no luck, then went to 40 and called CQ for a couple minutes till W4OEQ answered and added yet another day to my streak.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a very rainy day, so if the showers fall just right, maybe I'll go 'carping' again. Then on Sunday it's the second Butler hamfest of the year. Mike and I will be going along with a new CW/QRP ham in the area, and perhaps Tom WY3H. -30-

Thursday, September 06, 2012 9:16 PM - Don and I had a good time on our Parkpedition today. I didn't do all that well which got me to thinking I need a better antenna for portable work. I only made 8 QSOs in the two hours and called MANY unanswered CQs. I feel I should have not gone for more than a few minutes without a QSO, but I had one stretch of 45 minutes with NO QSOs. Now the areas of the country I did work were somewhat impressive for 2-3 watts and my little 26 ft ef sloping wire and 20 ft counterpoise, but still there should have been more, and the next time I will try a different antenna. I worked OR, TX, FL, KY, ME, FL, VE2, OK. All on 20 meters where I stayed the whole two hours. Don had much greater success on 40 meters. I don't think we tried 30 meters at all.

I did almost as well fishing tonight. 7 fish vs. 8 QSOs. But the fish only took 90 minutes and there were no long spells without any biting. So now I've surpassed my total fish for last year. I've got 73 (in the river) this year vs. 68 all last year. That makes this year (at this point) 15th best of 21 years, and not far behind a few other years. I figure if fishing continues as good as it is now for the next two months, this year should turn out pretty good despite a very slow start for the first few months.

Well, I'm late getting my weather readings, so I better get to that now. -30-

Wednesday, September 05, 2012 9:23 PM - A very nice day (weatherwise) which meant fishing. I went twice for a total of over 3 hours and caught 5 fish altogether. Not a lot, but a lot of fun anyway.

I did some more CQing on a 'dead' band this afternoon and as usually happens, the band naturally wasn't really dead, just not active. Someone has to start calling CQ, so I was the one. It only took a couple minutes before TJ K9TJL answered me on 30 meters. See TJ, you did make the diary even though you weren't my first QSO of the day. TJ asked me about my carp fishing. Well I haven't gotten any more since those two yesterday that I mentioned.

Tomorrow Don K3RLL and I (weather permitting) are going to do a N3AQC Parkpedition from 1330 to 1530Z. I sent out an announcement on our NAQCC email list, but I don't know if it went or not since I didn't get my copies of the message here. -30-

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 8:53 PM - I got some satisfaction today for not landing that carp(?) last night. We had a nice brief shower this morning just hard enough to produce a nice outflow from the storm sewers in town. Knowing that, I headed to the river with my peanut butter bread and my new bait casting pole expecting the carp to be exploring the outlets. I wasn't disappointed. There were quite a few in the one sewer outlet. I've noticed that a rain after a dry spell is best as that seems to wash a lot more stuff in from the streets that gathered during the dry spell. I guess there was too much for a while though, as I didn't get any hits at all for some twenty minutes, then they started to bite, but not hard enough to hook. Finally though after about a half hour, the runaway freight train effect was there and I had a battle on my hands. I was fishing off a dock near the sewer outlet as that gave me closer access to the water without having to go down a steep incline to get to the water. Mr. (Mrs.?) carp took me along the dock for awhile, trying to go under the dock for safety. It took perhaps 8-10 minutes to tire out the carp to where I could get it along the dock. However the dock was just a little bit too high to pull the carp up to measure it. I pulled out the hook and let it go. I estimated the size at 27 inches which is pretty accurate since I know my carp from having caught so many over the years. With the good fight he put up, I knew even before I saw him he must be around 26 inches, the size of the best fighting carp. Then when I did see him, I knew he was just a bit bigger than that. End of round one.

Round two came about 45 minutes later, and was pretty much a carbon copy of round one. Another good fight from an estimated 27 inch carp.

It was overall a warm humid day today so I didn't do a lot of walking. I did some harvesting and weeding in my garden. I can't believe how prolific my bush beans are this year. From just 8 plants I've gotten several hundred beans. I wish I had counted them. My tomatoes are a bit slow this year, but are really starting to produce now. I'm getting enough to supply me, Nancy, and the Bowsers from my, let me count in my head, 8 plants. My peppers have largely come so far from one very prolific plant, but my 10 or so others are starting to produce more now. The beans that Ron K5DUZ sent are really coming nicely also and producing like crazy. All in all its been a great production year for my garden. Even outstripping Ange's garden, especially beans and peppers. However with his vast number of pepper plants, his overall harvest will far exceed mine, but hey you can only eat so many anyway. I think one reason for my garden's succes was feeding it each watering with a small amount of Miracle Gro added to the watering can. Also I rotated my crops a bit which should have helped also.

I worked more stations this non-contest evening than I did last night with two contests going on. Only got Art WB4MNK last night, but tonight in less than a half hour I had 3 QSOs - N1TAB, KD2OY, and K4WY. I also had two others this afternoon - KA3SJK and WA2CEO. I stretched the WA2CEO QSO into a rag chew for our NAQCC September rag chew challenge. I wanted to make the others rag chews also, but each one came up short for one reason or another - changed conditions, the xyl calling the other ham, or just the other ham having not much to say, and it is hard to stretch out a QSO when you are doing all the talking. HI. -30-

Monday, September 03, 2012 9:32 PM - Let's work backwards through my day today. ...gnineve sihT -- NO NO, that's not what I meant. Geee!

This evening I thought it would be a snap to get my streak QSO as soon as I came home from fishing since this is the evening of the MI QRP Labor Day Sprint. Not so! The only station I heard in the sprint in about a half hour of listening and calling CQ was John K4BAI, and strangely, he never heard me calling him at all other than sending a G? one time. Finally I did work Art WB4MNK in the Spartan Sprint to extend the streak another day.

As far as fishing, I caught 3 bluegills and had two others on but they threw the hook. I also had what was probably a carp grab the tiny bit of worm on the tiny hook I was using for the bluegills. At least he took off like a runaway freight train which is a carp trademark. I kind of gave up on him, figuring the tiny hook would never hold, so I tried to turn him a little harder than I should have before he took all the line off my reel. That broke the line, leaving a carp (?) swimming around with a little hook attached to a bobber. I wish I had played him more carefully, but.....

This afternoon, I watched some more old TV shows that I enjoyed in my younger days. My, the Internet certainly can be a great time machine by doing some Bing searches. I found some old Benny Hill shows, and some old Mr. Wizard's World shows. Also on WatchESPN, I watched most of the Hamilton-Toronto CFL game, and the Baltimore ALMS race.

Still earlier today in an interesting email exchange with Don K3RLL, I learned a little about the digital mode PSK31. I learned that despite it being touted as such a GREAT digital mode, according to Don, it has a very low top speed of around 13 WPM. That started me to think about doing a study on digital modes comparing them to CW, with its great speed range of less than one WPM for some specialized communication work up to a maximum around 2,400 WPM for meteor scatter work. I'm not going to say more about that now, nor say why not.

Then this morning, it was a garden watering session with Ange, as we (rightfully so, it turned out) did not believe the weather forecast calling for rain from the remnants of Isaac. There wasn't a single small drop of rain in my rain gauge when I took my 9PM readings.

And that concludes the sdrawkcab tour of my day. -30-

Sunday, September 02, 2012 9:03 PM - Not a lot to talk about today. I went for 3 good walks, went fishing this evening (3 bluegills, 1 sucker), and did the usual things - eating, sleeping, etc.

My QSO came quickly this evening thanks to the TN QSO Party. I had forgotten about it being on. Had I remembered, I might have put in some time with it as it's always a good contest, and I have a good path to TN on 80, 40, and 20. Oh well... -30-

Saturday, September 01, 2012 10:13 PM - For my entry tonight, a couple of pictures, then I'm off to upload my August log to LotW and eQSL.

First my Elecraft WAS Award which arrived today in the mail.

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And that's my attempt to propagate a couple of new snake plants. The one I have now is quite old and in not so good a shape. So as I did once before, I'm going to start a new generation if everything goes well. And yes, you green thumbs out there, the leaf cuttings are planted right side up even though the picture and its perspective may give the opposite impression.

A last note. I made a 20 minute rag chew (actually 30 minutes) with K4LO today to get my participation point in the NAQCC September challenge. Now I need 9 more to master the challenge and add a certificate to the participation point. -30-

Friday, August 31, 2012 10:30 PM - It's that busy end-of-the-month / first-of-the-month time again, so only a brief entry tonight.

I did a little more modification work on my Altoids paddle today. I mounted a couple runners on the Plexiglas sheet to raise the levers about 3/8 of an inch. That seemed to make it much more comfortable to use as it put the levers at the same height as my previous homebrew paddle.

Otherwise I played a little baseball and catch with Gavin for a while this evening before going fishing. I added 4 more bluegills to my yearly total.

My streak QSO came from Dima RV9CX as Asiatic Russia was good on 20 meters this evening. I probably could have worked a few more from there if I'd had the time.

OK, back to the EOM/FOM tasks now. -30-

Thursday, August 30, 2012 9:21 PM - An interesting fun day today. It started off that Bill and I were going to go fishing after lunch. However that fell through when Bill had some problems with his lawnmower in the midst of cutting his grass, so the fishing trip fell through.

Maybe that was a good thing as it gave me a chance to do some Internet exploring this afternoon. I looked up some of the old PBS shows that I used to watch. Some of my favorites were Hodgepodge Lodge, Zoom, and Joy of Painting. I found some full episodes of those shows to watch, along with some good background info on them. I was always totally impressed with Bob Ross on Joy of Painting. He made it look so effortless that it seemed anyone could be a good painter. However when you stop and think about it, it was just that he had a very special talent for painting, teaching painting, and presentation to go along with it. There are several other PBS shows that I am going to research in the coming weeks also. All of them are either kids' shows or how-to shows. Other than those types of shows, I'm not all that fond of PBS.

There is one show that I just can't think of. Maybe you can help me with a title. It was a show about a (sailing?) vessel that had a bunch of kids helping out as crew members. As I recall it didn't last too long, maybe a season or two. It was more or less a serial with one episode leading into the next.

Then for the first time in a good long while, I did some evening fishing. Turned out to be a good trip with 6 bluegills and a 13 inch catfish. I could watch the bluegills from where I was sitting on the amphitheater which is about 6 feet above the water and could look right down and watch them attacking (or ignoring) my bait. It seems as soon as one would show an interest in the bait, several others would all of a sudden show an interest also, and the battle was one to see who could get it. Conversely if no one showed any interest, then they all would just ignore the bait. Really fascinating to watch. There were some bigger fish (looked mostly like bass, and a catfish) swimming around also. They totally ignored my bait, and didn't even seem interested in chasing the smaller fish. They just swam around doing whatever it was they were doing (or not doing as the case may be).

I also put some finishing(?) touches on my Altoids paddle. Added a jack to connect it to the cable to my keyer, and mounted it on a base as you see here. Where the weight is sitting now will be the place my SLA battery will go when I operate portable.

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I like the feel of it very much although not quite as much as the previous paddle I built. So I may have to do a little more fine tuning.

Thursday night so time to get my clothes in the wash, then I'll come back and update my streak table and propagation table. -30-

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:17 PM - I finished the prototype of my new paddle today. It still needs some fine tuning and a cable added as you can see from this picture.

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Of course you recognize the Altoids tin if you're at all familiar with QRP gear building. My neighbor Bruce enjoys Altoids and gave me that tin a few months ago. It took that long to figure out what to build into it. I didn't really need any of the things that are usually built into Altoids tins. However with my recent portable work and planning on doing some backpacking to our community park, I thought I could use a lighter paddle than the one I built recently. I took a look at the previous paddle and 'stole' some ideas from it like using my favorite project wood for the levers and relay conacts for the keying contacts.

The tin turned out to have some problems. Mainly its thinness which caused the 6-32 bolts I used for lever pivots to flex the thin metal as I activated the levers. It was also hard to drill without the bit breaking through and leaving a jagged edge around the hole that had to be scraped or filed off. For some of the holes I could use a piece of wood as backing while drilling to prevent that, but because of the shape of the tin, it was hard to do that for some of the holes.

I solved the lever pivot problem by putting a strip of heavier metal across the bottom of the tin where the pivots were attached as shown here. That stabilized them nicely.

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To check it out I just connected clip leads to my other keyer until I get a permanent cable installed. It is too light to remain steady on the desk when in use, so I'll have to correct that, probably tomorrow. As is it worked very nicely when I held it down. In fact holding it in my left hand while using it also worked nicely. My first QSO with it was with Jean OP4F on 17 meters. Then later for my streak QSO, I worked HT9H again, this time on 20 meters.

My other streak, the fishing one, came to an end today. I didn't get a single bite in about an hour and a half at the river. In fact I didn't even see any fish swimming around. However on a walk this evening, I saw a lot of bluegills. So maybe tomorrow I'll try some evening fishing. I haven't fished at all in the evenings this year yet. -30-

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 8:40 PM - Well, our fishing trip yesterday wasn't too successful although it was nice just to get out to Crooked Creek Park. I got two bluegills and a little bass. Bill got shut out.

Last night Mike was chasing some DX from his home, and emailed me he got OD5ARMY on 20 and later HT9H on 30. I needed Lebanon on 20 so I went after him and got him, then got HT9H also since I need the HT9 prefix verified. So thanks Mike for the spots. That probably brings my DX via spots to 4 or 5 now in all the time I've been DXing. Regular diary readers know how I feel about spots. Although I guess Mike telling me about some DX or vice versa isn't really hard-core spotting that some folks seem addicted to.

I went fishing by myself to the river today, and caught 3 bluegills in about a 9 minute span. I just sat there the other hour and 35 minutes or so. Actually they were biting quite a bit of that time, but not hard enough to hook. Anyway that extends my catch streak to 10 trips in a row now, I believe.

My other streak - the ham radio one - took only a few minutes to get extended another day this evening. My friend Terry W9UX answered my 30 meters CQ with his brand new KX-3 (at QRP of course). We exchanged Elecraft S/Ns for the Elecraft Award. I'm still waiting for my Elecraft WAS award from Larry W2LJ, and you know I got the Elecraft DXCC Award not long after getting my K2. Collecting S/Ns seems a bit harder. It's funny - I was telling Terry since I got my K2, I don't seem to work as many Elecraft rigs as I did before I got it - and he said he noticed the exact same thing there. Also a lot of folks don't know about the award and have forgotten their S/N or don't have it handy when I work them.

I'm working on another homebrew paddle, and I moved ahead a little bit today. I'll not say more about it now, but will have some pictures and description when I get it built and in operation. -30-

Monday, August 27, 2012 11:13 AM - Some diary feedback, as I attempt to get most of my daily work done, so I can go fishing with my friend Bill later today.

Geo N1EAV emails, "Hi John, Just thought I would drop a line to say hey. Finally settled in with the yl and her daughter , so we are all getting used to having each other around all the time. Oh, and I can't forget Artie. He's with me at work every day still, and at home. He love's to play with all of us, but I think he has a special bond with his daddy....hihi Haven't set up my station yet. Trying to figure out where I might be able to run an antenna outside. I set up a receiver for now, with an indoor antenna that works pretty well. So when I have the time, which isn't much, I do a little swling. Probably what you did with your R71 when you were at the station back in the day. Other than that, busy at work as usual. Gave up on the Red Sox before the season even started this year. Very dysfunctional team. I have to say, I'm kinda rooting for the Pirates in the NL. Nice to see them 12 or so games over 500 this time of the year. Maybe they'll keep it up and get to the playoffs and do some damage. Boy those fans have been suffering since the days of the Willie Stargell teams ended. Glad to hear you got your old neighbors back....Sounds like you are surrounded by good people now. It really stinks when you are living so close to people you really don't get along with. Can be quite uncomfortable. Okay John, gotta go and take the pup for a walk. Type at you soon. geo, n1eav"

Very interesting George. Artie sounds like Joe and his bond with his 'daddy' Bruce. Bruce always claimed Joe bonded equally with me and him, but although it may have been close, 'daddy' was still first the way I saw it. We still miss Joe a lot. Nancy's grandson from Indiana (state) brought a puppy (Roscoe) with him when he came either for a visit or to move back here to PA. Roscoe is cute and pretty friendly, but far from a Joe. It's up in the air whether Roscoe will stay here or go back to Indiana if the grandson decides to go back. Sounds kind of like a soap opera plot, so stay tuned to see what happens.

As for the Pirates, I think they woke up a couple weeks ago and realized what they were doing. Now they're back to their old ways again, and are even out of running at the moment for the second wild card spot since the Cardinals passed them up. Still a month+ to go though, so they could get back on track although I wouldn't bet on it even if I did bet on such things. -30-

Sunday, August 26, 2012 10:24 PM - Well now, that was a very busy, very fun day. Mike, Don, and I started the day off going down to the Skyview hamfest as I've mentioned in the last couple entries. While there, we met some NAQCC members - WC3O and KI3R among others. We all bought a few items from the flea market. I got a nice 24 hour digital clock to replace the one in my shack that was showing its age. I also bought a nice multimeter for a couple bucks to replace an old one that like the clock was showing its age. A relay for the nice contacts to use on a future paddle building project I have in mind. A 12V 1A power cube. I think that was it for me.

After we got home, the three of us talked ham radio for a while till Don had to head home. Then Mike and I went to Wendy's for a burger, fries, and a pop, after which we did some antenna work, and went up to Community park to check out an antenna. Up there we worked a couple stations in the KS QSO party. We finished up the antenna work, then played on the computer for a while. Next up to my shack to chase some DX. Mike worked 4 or 5 DX stations including maybe his first Macedonia and Hawaii. I worked the Hawaiin for my streak QSO and also a Hungary and Italy station. DX was pretty good on 20 and 17 well into the evening. A pizza from Papa John's, some more computer work, and Mike just left a few minutes ago. A great day. -30-

Saturday, August 25, 2012 8:40 PM - Not a whole lot going on today out of the ordinary. After a cool first part of August, it warmed up again to the upper 80s and low 90s the past couple days. I took a couple walks today, but no fishing.

Tomorrow NAQCC WPA Chapter members Don K3RLL, Mike KC2EGL, and I are making a visit to the Skyview hamfest near New Kensington, PA. It's always nice to visit there and we often run into other NAQCC members like Bob WC3O, Frank KB3AAG, Scotty KG3W, and others.

My streak QSOs this evening came from 2 KS QSO Party contacts and a rag chew with Mike N1MX who was interested in knowing more about Kittanning. -30-

Friday, August 24, 2012 8:50 PM - I forgot to mention that my replacement SLA battery charger arrived yesterday, so all is in good shape now. Credit to Battery Mart for correcting their mistake promptly with no expense at all to me. I charged up the battery today and it worked fine.

Today was a shopping day. Nancy took me up to our mall and I got some clothes, groceries, and a few other things. One thing I got was a backpack so I can pack up the KX-1, battery, antenna, etc. and have a Parkpedition without having someone to drive me up there. The whole kit weighs in at about 6 pounds so I should be able to handle that even though there is an uphill road to walk for quite a distance.

After trying unsuccessfully for a couple of DX QSOs on 20 for my streak QSO, I wound up on 40 meters and got a quick answer to my CQs from George W2BPI.

Not much else to report today. I did quite a bit of walking - a lot of it in our Wal-Mart which is in the process of being converted to a Super Wal-Mart. Wish I'd have noticed how far I walked in there on my pedometer, but I didn't think of it. I bet I did near a mile. My overall total today is just over 9 miles. -30-

Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:29 PM - Mike KC2EGL stopped by for a visit today. We went down to the Pittsburgh Mills and had a great meal at Appleby's. Then did a little shopping before returning home. We made plans for going to the Skyview hamfest on Sunday which is near New Kensington. Don K3RLL will also be going. If you are looking for something to do Sunday and are in that area, why not stop by and spend an hour or two. The folks at skyview always provide great hospitality and there are a lot of items to be had at the flea market there. It runs from 8AM to 1PM. Do a Bing Internet search for 'Skyview hamfest' for more info.

Other than that, helping Ange water the garden and fine tuning my .php pages took up most of the rest of the day along with a couple walks. -30-

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:58 PM - Another beautiful summer day, so another fishing trip, and another fish caught to make it 8 successful trips in a row now.

It took a long time to get my QSO this evening, but I know why. I was calling CQ on 40 but never changed my antenna from 20. After I discovered that and corrected it, I got an answer in about 3 or 4 more minutes.

I've pretty much got my .php programming working the way I want it to now. I'm not going to say just what it is now, other than to say it has something to do with the NAQCC.

Other than that, the day consisted of a couple long walks and helping Denny finish up work on his garage door. It's nice to be able to get into some good projects like that again. I enjoy working and hate sitting around doing nothing. Fortunately I don't have much time for doing nothing. HI. -30-

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:49 PM - Sometimes I absolutely hate .php programming. I just spent an hour trying to figure out what was wrong with my .php page, and finally discovered I left out one lousy little quotation mark. Enough said about that. I'm just going to write a brief entry, update my propagation page and streak table, then relax for an hour and watch some Bob Vila TV shows.

My streak QSO came pretty easy when I heard WB9GAA calling CQ and answered him. Then worked K2GTC in NYC via my own CQ a little later.

I extended another streak today when I went fishing and caught two little bass. That's 7 straight trips that I've caught something now. My friend Bill went along and he wound up catching a turtle.

Then this evening it was helping Denny fix up his garage door. The other half of my house is getting more attention now than it has for a few years now that the Bowsers are back in it again. -30-

Monday, August 20, 2012 10:37 PM - Here's the latest on my SLA battery charger. I called Battery Mart, and they were very courteous and helpful. They are sending the correct charger and a return mailing label for the wrong one, all at no cost to me. I'm pleased, and will be more pleased when the correct charger arrives. I'll let you know when that happens.

Otherwise, I'm pretty brain-weary after just completing the cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs, so I'm going to keep this entry short.

I picked up our picture QSLs for our Parkpeditions at Rite-Aide early this morning and sent out my share of them. Don and Mike will get theirs a little later.

After brunch I went fishing and added three more to my yearly total of catches. A small bass, medium size bluegill and a 24 inch carp who gave me a good battle through the weed beds in the river before I finally persuaded him onto the shore.

Later on I helped Denny put a new igniter on his grill and played with Gavin for a bit.

A couple walks interspersed among the above, and then on to my streak QSO which turned out to be K5LG. Next finishing up the cross-checking to bring me here to the diary entry. That's all, folks. -30-

Sunday, August 19, 2012 9:55 PM - Mike KC2EGL stopped by for an impromptu visit late this afternoon, and we spent about 4 or 5 hours together. We did some work on Mike's portable antennas and masts. Also the SLA battery that Mike ordered for me arrived and he brought it with him. When we opened up the package, we found that Battery Mart sent the wrong charger for it. The battery was 12V, and the charger was for a 6V battery. So I'll have to call them tomorrow and try to get that straightened out. Keep that in mind if you are thinking of ordering anything from Battery Mart. I'll let you know in tomorrow's entry if they come up with a satisfactory solution to the wrong item.

Mike and I checked out the battery on the KX-1 and at least the battery was fully charged so I'll be able to use it until Battery Mart sends a replacement charger. Hopefully they will be like the company I dealt with about my remote weather unit a few months ago. They sent a replacement the very next day after I contacted them with no charge to me at all.

Of course Mike and I went out for food as usual. This time to Ponderosa, and I am sitting here very stuffed right now. I shouldn't have eaten so much, but it was so good.... -30-

Saturday, August 18, 2012 8:27 PM - Today is worthy of a book-length entry, but don't worry, I'll just give you the Readers Digest version. HI.

I'll start with the latest and work backwards through the day. I just finished up the NAQCC EU Challenge a few minutes ago when I worked OM3SX to give me the final O for MAHLON LOOMIS 26071826. That let me place OM2VL whom I worked earlier today as the second M, and place OK6DJ whom I had been holding a couple days as the final 6. Whew, that was quite a juggling act with only one letter/number being allowed per call.

Earlier today Eric KB3BFQ, son of my new (old) neighbors, the Bowsers came up from Pittsburgh to visit them and see the new (old) house. I hadn't seen him in about 3 years or so, and it was great to spend over an hour together hashing over old times. He's currently not active in ham radio mainly because of living in a crowded noisy (QRN) neighborhood near Pittsburgh. Plus raising two delightful kids and working a full job takes a lot of time. I also saw his wife Kristin for the first time in several years. The kids are a real joy. I had seen Perry who is six now about 3 years ago, but today was the first time to see Jocelyn who is 3 now. After they visited along with Eric for a while, they went over to Grandma's, and I showed Eric my new K2 and KX-1 rigs and my homebrew paddle. We also looked at some pictures of our Parkpeditions. Several years ago when Eric still lived next door, he took his QRP+ rig out portable while Denny and I fished. We recalled that and one of the stations he worked then was a ham who was in his 90s, maybe near 100 whose call was KC4MBO. Then Eric, Kristin, and the kids had to leave to go somewhere for lunch.

I didn't know if they were coming back or not so I went fishing for about an hour, and once again wasn't shut out. It was only a small bass, but that's the 5th straight trip now that I've caught something.

When I got home, I put something in the microwave and took out some garbage. When I came back up on the porch, Jocelyn and Perry were out on their porch by themselves and I could tell they were eager to talk, so I spent about 15 minutes with them. They came over on my porch, and after a while Eric came out wondering why it got quiet on their porch. So we all visited a while longer before they had to leave again. When the kids and I were talking, it kind of took me back about 20 years when Eric and his two sisters were young and they'd all get to talking at once and I had to try to follow two (3) conversations at once. Kids are just such a delight, and I think the Bowser kids kind of made up for me never having children of my own.

Well, I guess I've bent your ears (eyes?) long enough for tonight. I've got to finish my web site updates, and get my mid-evening snack (a bit late) now. -30-

Friday, August 17, 2012 8:45 PM - A fishing day today, among other things. I went down after a rain shower around 1 PM to the same sewer outlet I mentioned a couple days ago. It was just full of Carp. I think the most I've seen at one time in a good long while now. After they played with my bait for several frustrating minutes without really taking it, one took off and gave me a good several minutes battle. He was about 24 inches long. However his thrashing around in the water spooked off the rest of the carp, and they didn't come back except for 1 or 2 some time later. I didn't catch any more though. I did catch a carpsucker - rather big at 22 inches - and a 6.5 inch bluegill. So I'm now up to 31 fish this year in the river plus 13 more in Crooked Creek for a total of 44. The 31 is ahead of my totals at this point the last two years as well as 1993 and 2000, but far behind my best of 212 by August 17, 2004. My average at this point is 74 so I'm well below average, but with things picking up and having more time to fish with a lot of the NAQCC work being done by helpful volunteers now, I could show a good increase the rest of the year. Plus I know where the Carp come after a rain now and where the bluegills lurk a lot of the time.

I almost got another letter tonight for the NAQCC EU Challenge. However after the station I called sent WWW? a K2 station with nothing like WWW in his call jumped on top of me. And the station I tried to work, to his discredit didn't stick with me, but went with the K2 instead. I hate when that happens, and I really admire stations who do stick with the original caller until they get him or at least as long as possible till perhaps the band changes or something else makes the contact completely impossible.

This evening's streak QSO, on the other hand, was very easy. I worked FG8NY, who although not running QRP this evening, recently joined the NAQCC. That was on 17 meters.

And I guess that covers the day except for one email I'd like to mention. Bob K2YGM (not the villian above, BTW) suggested I add something about portable operation and portable antennas to my web site. I thought that was a good idea and I'm going to do it since Don and Mike have now convinced me that portable operations are fun. I'll announce here in the diary when I get the info on the web site. It probably won't be for a while now. -30-

Thursday, August 16, 2012 8:45 PM - The first hour of our Parkpedition was very good for me, but then everyone seemed to disappear. I was on 40 and then 30. Don took 20 and that band was the star as he kept busy nearly the whole 2 hours. We made 21 QSOs between us. My new antenna I talked about last night in the diary worked well on all 3 bands. However I couldn't work any DX on 20 after our 2 hour period was over. But then none of the DX was all that strong.

I made up our picture QSLs and ordered them so if you worked us, you should get one in a week or two at the most.

My streak QSO this evening was with one of the stations I worked this afternoon from the park - Gary KA2KDJ. Also this evening I got two more letters/numbers for the NAQCC EU Challenge - OK6DJ which I can use for either the O or the 6, and IS0GQX for the zero. Now I need either a 6 or O and an M to finish it off. Maybe tomorrow or Saturday, I'll make it. -30-

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 9:26 PM - This was an all around fun day today. A good sprint last night started things off. Good conditions, especially on 20M where I usually am lacking. I made 13 QSOs on 20 in the sprint for probably my best total ever on that band. Funny how I can work DX so easily on 20, but always have trouble there in our sprints. We're already over 100 logs and it still is not 24 hours since the end of the sprint. Perhaps we'll have a shot at our record of 137.

A nice day so I did some more work edging my sidewalk. Just a couple short segments to go now. It rained yesterday so no garden watering chores today.

Since it was nice I went fishing and hit a small jackpot with 8 fish caught. 6 bluegills, a bass, and a sucker. That was a lot of fun and it equated with our sprint last night. The fish, like the QSOs came in bunches with some waiting with no action at all in between.

Don K3RLL and I may do a Parkpedition tomorrow. It's still up in the air because of work being done on Don's house. If it becomes definite, it will be announced on our NAQCC email list. Anyway I set up in my back yard a close copy of what I'll be using at the park if we go. It worked well as I got FG5FR on 30 meters and EA8/EI6DX on 20 meters with the KX-1 and a 26' ef wire with a 16' counterpoise.

This afternoon before going fishing, just for fun I called CQ on 20 meters and got a rather quick response from NW9A in MI, then a tail-end call from WD4NVH in AL. Surprising because as I said, except for working DX, I don't seem to do all that well on 20 otherwise. Maybe I just lack confidence and give up too easily there.

This evening a nice rag chew with Greg AA8V was my streak QSO. Greg answered my very first CQ. And that sums up the day, I believe. -30-

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 7:32 PM - I guess I'll get this written before our NAQCC sprint this evening about an hour from now.

I thought maybe I worked something new when I contacted UI8U on 20 meters a little while ago. I was hoping maybe for Tajikistan or something like that. However turns out it was just another zone 18 Asiatic Russian. However I love working Asiatic Russia anyway, and it was a new prefix to boot. So thanks to Alex for digging out my signal. The Russians are good at that, be they European or Asiatic. I did get another number for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge though when I worked HA8UT. Now I need M, O, 6, and 0 to complete the challenge.

I also caught a carp today. How about that? I should have had two but the first one threw the hook after about a ten minute battle. Never did get him close enough to shore to even see him. However the one I caught measured 29 inches and had the fight of a 26 incher which as you know I believe are the best fighters of all. The one that got away felt identical to the one I caught. So it was probably a big one also. In the process I think I found which sewer outlet the carp prefer now, and am looking forward to the next rain now. The only problem is it is a very difficult place to land a big fish with about a six foot drop down to the water's edge that is quite steep. I'm getting too old to be playing mountain goat, but I wasn't going to let the one today get away, so I struggled down to measure and release him. -30-

Monday, August 13, 2012 10:05 PM - Well, I actually caught something fishing today. Just a small bass, but better than the all too frequent shutouts this year.

Other than that I finished the August NAQCC (USA) Challenge today getting the final I from IK1QHB. I also got some more letters/numbers for the August/September NAQCC (EU) Challenge and now have 15 of the 20 required to master the challenge. EU was really good on 20 meters late afternoon and early this evening, but only from certain areas. DL was booming in and LZ916SS was strong every time I tuned past him. Italy was also strong. Most other EU areas were somewhat weak to very weak. There were a couple large pileups on the band, but I couldn't find who they were chasing. -30-

Sunday, August 12, 2012 9:23 PM - Gee, what did I do today? I guess not a lot worth remembering. I did go fishing, but could have caught as many fish by staying home. Also enjoyed the relatively cool weather with a couple good walks. Oh, and trimmed the grass from the edge of part of my sidewalk. To be finished another cool morning. I also got on the bands a couple times looking for those last letters for our NAQCC August challenge. Didn't have any luck though till this evening. I was wrong in yesterday's entry. It was an I and an L I needed. Well, I worked LY2FN this evening to get the L and now I need just the I to finish off. My very next QSO after LY2FN was K8FN so FN is the suffix of choice this evening. Oh, and I took apart an old rechargable flashlight to see what kind of storage they used. It is one of those that you crank to recharge it. Seems the storage media is a 3.6 V Lithium Ion battery. So I should be able to replace the one that no longer holds the charge with a new one and be back in business.

A final note. Mike and I saw one Perseid meteor apiece around 12:30 AM through some thin clouds that obscured about a third of the sky or so. That pretty much sums up my day, and now to finish my streak table and propagation table on the web site and find something to keep me occupied till midnight or so. -30-

Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:30 PM - From my guest diary entry writer Mike: It was a fun evening working EU in the WAE contest, but it looks like Mother Nature is ruining our star gazing and meteor shower watching for the night.

Mike is right - we did have our usual good times topped off by working the WAE contest. Actually I had fun watching Mike work the contest. I only made a couple of contacts to get my streak QSO or to work what may be a new prefix.

Outside of the contest we also had fun chasing DX on 17 meters. I was mainly looking for letters to finish off the NAQCC August challenge. I did pretty well and I'm now down to just a couple more letters to go. I think it's 1 A and 1 L if I remember correctly. I caught a nice special Olympic call sign on 17 when I worked 2O12L not long before Mike arrived. That's a letter O in the second position in the midst of the 2 and the 12 making it a prefix belonging to the United Kingdom - I guess England without looking it up yet.

Of course we also had a great pizza from Papa John's. They have a very nice on-line ordering system if you haven't tried it yet or don't have a Papa John's in your area. -30-

Friday, August 10, 2012 9:31 PM - Mike and I had a great day today as usual. We did a lot of things, and I'll try to mention as much as I can recall. First of all our Parkpedition was fun. We got a break in the weather for the most part although we could hear static from the storms in the area. We only took one rig which limited our total air time, and we also did some antenna testing and work which further limited our air time. However we did learn things about our antennas we can put to use in future Parkpeditions. I took a whole bunch of pictures of our operation and the park in general, and I'll try to sort through them in the coming days and post some here in the diary. Also I need to pick out a couple for our picture QSL for the operation. Don usually does that, but he wasn't with us today, so it'll be my job this time.

When we tore down and came home we went to eat at Wendy's and after that picked up a few items at Radio Shack for some antenna work. I got some wire to make my one antenna more permanent. I had been using some old junk box wire that had splices in it. One of them came apart at the park, so it was time to get some new wire. I also got some banana plugs for the ends of the antenna and counterpoise to make connecting it to the Pomona connector going into the KX-1 easier.

We also did some fine tuning of Mike's Begali paddles which worked out well. Also back here at home we did some more antenna testing. We just couldn't find a good match for Mike's vertical on 80 meters though. As we were working on it, a rain came up and as we were tearing down, Mike noticed one section of the vertical wasn't screwed in completely tightly. We didn't get a chance again to try it out with it tightened though. Another frustration was trying to replace the paddle handles on one of Mike's Begali paddles. First we didn't seem to have the correct 1.5 mm Allen wrench, and even after getting one at Radio Shack and finding one hidden in the plastic bag with the replacement handles, we couldn't budge the Allen screws holding the levers to the pivots so we could remove the levers and replace the handles. We never did solve that either.

Next we looked around on the Internet for a gel cell battery and charger, but never did find one that was suitable to what I wanted. They were either too expensive, too bulky, didn't have a charger, etc. I'm going to look some more when I have time then Mike will order for me since I don't have any credit cards at all, and most companies only do business with cards, it seems.

Our next step was to try out Mike's newly adjusted paddle. After we did that, we got on the air for an hour or so and worked some DX. Before 0000Z we worked some EU stations warming up for the WAE contest. Then at 0000Z we got in the contest for a while. Nothing serious, just working stations in countries Mike needed, or working a couple of the same stations we worked before the contest, or I worked a couple of contesting friends and some countries I always like to work like the Baltic countries or Montenegro. I also heart Marti OH2BH, one of the World's top contesters who recently put over 1 million QSOs into the LotW. I'd worked him before, but I though Mike might like to work him, so he did. In our jumping back and forth into the operating seat, we got mixed up on a couple of the exchange numbers. One time we forgot what number OH0R gave to Mike and were waiting for the next QSO he made to see what Mike's number had been. Of course he wasn't working anyone then, so I said, "Well I guess I can work him and see what number I get." So I did easily work him and we found out.

After our DXing session, Mike headed home for the night but is returning tomorrow for some more DXing in the afternoon and evening, then hopefully some stargazing and meteor watching tomorrow night if the weathe cooperates. -30-

Thursday, August 09, 2012 8:54 PM - Spent today getting caught up on some things. Almost finished with the NAQCC newsletter for posting tomorrow morning. Also did some minor 'touch-up' work on my and the NAQCC web sites. A couple of walks thrown in, a bit of shopping, etc.

This evening I got 4 QSOs pretty easily including stations that gave me several letters for the NAQCC August challenge. I'm down to needing a few As, Is, Ls now. I think 15 letters all told among those 3. I worked WD5CNC, ES3AX, W7L, and YT9M. Nice to see DX back on 30 (ES3AX) and 20 (YT9M). Some big pileup chasing something on 20, but I couldn't hear who the chasee was.

The weather may have something to do with whether we do our Parkpedition tomorrow or no. We're supposed to get a lot of rain, so that may cancel it. Or I suggested to Don and Mike we could just do a Homepedition from my home shack here. We'll see what happens. -30-

Wednesday, August 08, 2012 9:35 PM - In contrast to the past couple days, not a lot happened today. About the only thing out of the ordinary was our monthly computer club meeting this evening. Other than that, I took 3 good walks today and wound up just shy of 10 miles. It was a beautiful day. A bit warm at 92 degrees, but the humidity wasn't that high, although it did increase as the day wore on with some rain approaching.

My QSO came quickly this evening as W8PC running a KW and 2 element beam at 70 feet answered my CQ on 40 meters. -30-

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 10:05 PM - I guess I could write a book about today, but don't worry, I'll try not to.

I probably can't remember all I did today anyway. It started off with me getting some computer work done as it usually does. I did that while waiting for Ange to call about watering his garden. After he called and said he'd be there in a few minutes, I played a little basketball with Haley and Gavin. When he came, we took about an hour to do the watering as it usually takes.

After that it was helping Denny to lay some carpet in the upstairs hallway. After some measuring and cutting we got it laid around a break in the middle for some lunch. Before lunch though we had to hook up Pam's stove and get it working, then she made some grilled cheese sandwiches for us all, then Haley made an extra one for herself and for me.

I had picked a tomato for Haley and Pam hadn't given it to her yet, and when I saw it on the shelf, I mentioned it and Haley was delighted. She likes to eat tomatoes just like apples. I told her to come with me if she really liked tomatoes. We went over in my garden and told her to pick out one of my tomato plants. She wasn't sure what I was up to, so I told her to pick one and all the rest of the tomatoes it produces would be hers. Being polite, she wanted to pick the smallest one, but I steered her toward a bigger one. She thanked me for it.

After some more work on the carpet, they all went to a movie, and I decided I'd check in with my other neighbors, Bruce and Nancy. While over there, I also watched a movie, "Silent Predators". That had to be the first time I watched a full movie at one sitting in a few years now. My attention span isn't usually that long any more.

Next up was my mid-afternoon meal (for lack of a better name as I usually eat around 2:30-3:00 for whatever reason.) After that a little fooling around in my shack.

Next up was some more carpet work. This time I helped Denny lay carpet on his stairs. That took quite a while, and it was interrupted by a call for a favor from Bruce. He wanted me to drive him down to a service station to pick up his brother's truck. Having not driven at all for a couple years now, and the fact his car is a big Cadillac kind of scared me off at first, but then I agreed to do it. I was glad I did as it gave me confidence in my driving ability again, and it was a real joy to drive a Cadillac for the first time ever.

Back then to finish the carpet work, then over home to get my streak QSO as it was now about 9 PM. I hoped it would be a quick one, as there was one more thing I was awaiting. Bruce's son Josh was coming from Indiana and bringing a puppy with him. Just as I finished my QSO with W9PP, Josh drove up and I went out to see him and the puppy, whose name is Roscoe. I visited with them all for a while, then came back over here to type this up and to get caught up on some emails, etc. from today. Whew! -30-

Monday, August 06, 2012 7:36 PM - This was one of those really great days. Of course any day's greatness or lack thereof depends to a large part on the weather. Today it was ideal with a high in the mid-80s and low humidity. Just a few cumulus and cirrus clouds to add a bit of texture to a crystal clear blue sky. Of course with weather like that I had to go fishing. For a change the fish were actually biting. The catch was nothing to write home about, but it was better than the shutouts of the last few trips. I caught two bluegills and hooked a small minnow along the way.

I also got a chance to play with my young friends Haley and Gavin next door as gramma Bowser was watching them for the day while she and 'pappy' continued to get all moved in the house. We played some basketball for a while, and Haley and I continued to get re-acquainted again.

This evening was a little rougher. Took a while to get my QSO, but finally got an answer from VE3/W8FIB. Otherwise all the bands sounded pretty inactive. A contrast to last night when I got 4 QSOs bang bang in about 50 minutes.

Mike KC2EGL is coming down on Friday, so that will also be a great day, I'm sure. I hope the weather is like today. We've got a Parkpedition tentatively scheduled that day. We'll have an announcement on the NAQCC mail list. If it's clear, we'll also have a stargazing session that night. -30-

Sunday, August 05, 2012 11:59 PM - I had a long telephone call this evening, then had our NAQCC QRS Nets Manager quit suddenly and had to find a replacement which I did. However all of that left no time for a diary report other than this short little bit. -30-

Saturday, August 04, 2012 9:32 PM - I promised some pictures and I'm going to do it, then I'll talk about today's NAQP.

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If you look at the above pictures and compare them to the ones here in the diary several days ago you'll notice two big changes. The springs are now straight and attached to a wooden slider to adjust the tension, and the contacts at the far ends of the levers are entirely different. More about the paddles in a bit, but first some garden pictures I promised.

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In the upper left are my yellow roses, upper right my climbing beans, lower left 3 of my Early Girl tomatoes, and lower right my bush beans.

Everything seems to be producing very well this year. I've picked some 40 tomatoes, maybe 150 bush beans, and a couple dozen climbing beans, not to mention about a dozen peppers that weren't in the pictures.

I decided after the Bowsers got moved in early today, I'd play in the NAQP. I've got just under 150 QSOs in about 4 1/2 hours of playing. Not even close to the 50 per hour I've gotten in the January NAQPs, but not too bad. If you project forward to 10 hours which I won't reach now, that would have been around 325-330 QSOs which would have been my best August NAQP. Actually my transmitter must have eaten some extra Wheaties today and thought it was a KW instead of QRP 5 watts. I was working virtually every station I heard, no matter how weak they were. Very strange conditions. To make it even more strange, some of the stronger stations didn't seem to be hearing me at all or if I did get them, they needed repeats.

I used my new paddle for all the contacts and I really love its feel and response. I think I'm going to stick with it for a while as my main shack paddle in addition to using it for our Parkpeditions.

I don't know if I'll get back in the contest or not now, but it would be nice to try to make it to 200 QSOs at least, and that shouldn't be all that hard to do. -30-

Friday, August 03, 2012 9:24 PM - It took a while this evening, but when AF4PD answered my CQ that completed 18 years of the streak - making one or more QRP/CQ/simple wire antenna QSOs each and every day beginning on August 5, 1994.

I did a little more work on my homebrew paddle today. I 'neated' it up a little, and also made the spring tension adjustable. Still works like a charm. Here's a bit of what Don said about it after trying it out at our Parkpedition yesterday, "I am really impressed with the excellent feel and actuation of your homebrew paddle, John. Who would have guessed that such an effective paddle could be constructed using the materials available."

I'll have a picture of the latest version tomorrow in the diary, and also some pictures of my garden. I've also written up a Word document about the building of my paddle and depending on its size, I may put it on the web site. It's not a blow by blow construction article with parts lists, etc., but just my thoughts on how you can analyze your junk box, and figure out how to build something from what you have in there.

Tomorrow's the big day for my neighbors as they do the 'meat' of moving in next door. I helped them the past few days with a lot of small things. Tomorrow will be the furniture moving day. Most of that stuff will be the heavy things which I won't be able to help with, but they say they have a small crew of helpers to take care of everything. It will just be so great to have good neighbors in the other half of my house again. The last three sets of neighbors weren't all that good. I don't want to say a lot about them other than to say they had some good points, but a lot of bad ones also - period.

The NAQP is tomorrow as you know if you've been following the countdown. I don't know how much effort I'll be able to put into it with it being moving day, but they say they want to finish the moving in the morning, so if the mood is there, I may try for a big effort. We'll see. I've never done as well in the summer NAQP as the winter one where I've crossed the 500 QSO barrier a few times with over a 50 per hour QSO rate. My best summer total was 281 QSOs with 126 mults while the winter best was 514 QSOs with 162 mults. I really like the NAQPs because (I've said this before a few times - forgive the repeating) of the similarity to the old ARRL CD Parties which if you don't remember, were for those staff members, and communications department members such as OOs, OBSs, SMs, and a flock of others all the way up to the heads of the ARRL. I got an OBS appointment just so I could participate in the CD parties more than any other reason. The exchange in the NAQPs is Name and State. In the CD parties it was appointment (ORS, OBS, etc.) and either state or ARRL section. I can't remember for sure now. Let me see if I can find out. OK, I see in the 'testinfo' field in my Microsoft Access log ARRL section and Appointment, so it was sections, not states. Wow, writing this brings back great memories. I can't stop without mentioning two of the outstanding contesters of those days. Vic W4KFC always had, along with the next station I'll mention, THE strongest signal in most every contest. Nowadays with the 'professional' contest stations sprouting up everywhere, there is no such thing as THE strongest signal - there are a whole bunch of VERY strong signals in every contest. Back then you could tune in a contest and pretty much be sure those two very strong signals belonged to W4KFC and Larry W9IOP. And in those days of mostly tube rigs, Vic's signal had a distinctive sound to it. I can't really explain it, but if you contested in those days, I think you'll know what I mean. Incidentally W4KFC is now held by Kenneth Clark who is a son of Vic. W9IOP is held by the Larry LeKashman Memorial Operators Club in FL. And in doing some memory refreshing I ran across another of the BIG contest stations of those days in Len W3GRF whom I had forgotten about. Len's signal was right up there also. There's a reference to a recording of the fist of W4KFC on the PVRC web site, but I can't seem to find it. Now I'm lost in a wealth of memories on the Internet about those early days in the 50s and 60s so I'll close this and perhaps just continue my journey in the time machine for a while before going to bed. -30-

Thursday, August 02, 2012 11:02 PM - Don K3RLL and I had a great time on our Parkpedition today. We made 20 QSOs between us. All we worked will get a picture QSL. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of our 3rd op this time as we did the last time out. This time it was a camera-shy squirrel who showed up to visit, but scampered up a telephone pole before we could get his/her picture. Just in time for a sneak peek, here is the card we'll be using designed by Don and agreed to by me, but only if the next time he features himself instead of me. That's his rig in the upper right, and mine in the upper left.

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Other than that, I watched some of the Olympics over at Nancy's this evening so it's once again pretty late and I'm doing my regular Thursday evening clothes washing as I type, so I'm going to end and tend to that now. -30-

Wednesday, August 01, 2012 10:19 PM - I got all of the month changeover stuff done in quick order last night and today. I think I may be getting a little more efficient at doing it finally. HI.

This was a Carmel evening here. I worked KD2AEF in Carmel, NY followed a few minutes later by W9PB in Carmel, IN. I also worked KD2AEF last evening as well.

I'm getting started on our August NAQCC challenge which is one of our alphabetical challenges featuring cat breeds. Tom WY3H really made it kind of hard this month. There are 13 breeds listed with a total of 118 letters. That's by far the most letters we've ever had in an alpahbetical challenge, and it is going to be a real stretch to get all the names. It's too bad we can't count contest and sprint QSOs. That would help. Also there are NO Ks or Ws in the names - the two most worked letters in ham radio calls. I guess Tom wanted to put the word CHALLENGE back in our NAQCC challenges this month. -30-

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 8:59 PM - Well it's that end-of-the-month, first-of-the-month time again when there is even more to do than usual, so I'm going to see how much I can get done before bed time tonight. Thus I'm cutting this entry short. -30-

Monday, July 30, 2012 9:39 PM - Not much to do today and it was a bit hot for fishing, so I decided to fool around with my KX-1 and some wire for antennas. By accident, I found a 62-63 foot length of wire in my junk box and decided to see if it would tune with the KX-1. I used it as sort of an end-fed inv V and lo and behold it tuned to 1.1:1 on all 4 KX-1 bands. So I'll give it a test at our next Parkpedition and see what happens with it there.

Other than that not much to write about. I took a couple nice walks even though it was pretty hot. I helped the Bowsers move a few boxes of stuff into their house next door. I did my usual computer work. That's about it. -30-

Sunday, July 29, 2012 8:56 PM - Another fishless fishing trip today. I guess all the fish are on vacation. At least the decent sized ones that are catchable. I did have bites today, and had one tiny fish on briefly, but that was it. Still it was a very beautiful day, so I didn't mind too much. It's always better to get bites and not be able to catch them than it is to get no bites at all which was pretty much the story the last three trips before today.

I also had a couple good long walks today. I'm just shy of 9 miles on the pedometer for the day which is probably the highest total I've had in a while now.

The pile-ups for CY9M are getting very awesome. I really lucked out when I worked them yesterday afternoon. The pile-ups are now approaching 5-10 kHz in size.

My QSO came from NAQCC member NV4T who answered my CQ after about 10 minutes or so on 40 meters.

The paddle is behaving perfectly now with the new contacts. I'm looking forward to taking it on a Parkpedition sometime this week with Don K3RLL. It will be another last minute decision when we go because of the weather and other obligations. We will announce it on the NAQCC mail list as far in advance as possible though. -30-

Saturday, July 28, 2012 8:25 PM - I went fishing twice today and got nary a bite. The first time I saw a big carp and some other fish in one of my fishing holes, but turned out they weren't hungry or were gone by the time I got home and returned with my pole. Then later after a rain, I thought I'd check the storm sewer outlet to see if any carp had gathered there, but didn't see any, and never got any kind of hit at all. It seems the past couple years now, the carp just don't seem to haunt the sewer outlets after a rain like they used to always do before that.

I had a little better luck on the bands. Today I was calling CQ on 30 meters and when tuning with my RIT I heard CY9M starting to call CQ and listening UP, so I zeroed in on him and set up a split to call him up 1, and after a couple times not hearing me, then coming back to me as K3WW, I sent my call a couple more times, and he got it right. So I got a somewhat rare country on 30 quite easily without the competition that I heard chasing him now this evening. It wasn't a new band country, but still nice to work.

My streak QSO this evening came from VX2I in the IOTA contest. That may be a new prefix. I'll have to check. -30-

Friday, July 27, 2012 11:50 PM - Just came over home from watching the Olympic opening ceremony with Nancy and Bruce, and it's almost midnight so I'm going to make this a brief entry.

I snuck in a quick QSO during one of the commercial breaks by working HA3FTA on 20 meters. Took just a single call and a rapid change of RST and Op and my streak goes on another day.

I put those relay contacts on my homebrew paddle early this morning and tried it out off and on several times today, and didn't notice any problems. So I think it is in real good shape now. Hope I don't jinx it by saying that. -30-

Thursday, July 26, 2012 9:29 PM - Still fiddling with my homebrew paddle. It acts up a little bit now and then and misses a dot or a dash. I think I need better contacts on it. So I just now tore apart an old relay, and tomorrow I'm going to try the contacts from that relay on the paddle to see if that works better.

Tonight's streak QSO took a while to come along, but finally VE3OU answered my CQ. Ernie is an old friend. We had our first QSO back in December 1965 and worked a couple dozen times since then, but tonight was only our second QSO since 2003, so it was nice to be in touch again.

Today was a stormy day. We had a somewhat severe storm this afternoon with some very strong wind gusts and some heavy rain. Fortunately it didn't last long and as far as I know, there was no damage to speak of around town. -30-

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:22 PM - A nice warm day with low humidity today. I took advantage and went fishing, but the fish were not at all hungry. I could see them swimming right around my bait and not showing the least bit of interest in it.

If you look at my 'streak' table on my main page, you'll see something unusual. I actually got a QSO on 20M via my CQ. That doesn't happen very often. 20 is a good band for DX here, but not so good for domestic QSOs for whatever reason. N7MOB from near Seattle was the guilty party who answered my CQ.

Well, only a couple days now till the opening ceremony of the Olympics. I'm looking forward to that. I'll probably be watching it with Nancy and Bruce next door.

If you were one of the ones who worked me in our Parkpedition last Saturday, I just finished making out the picture QSLs and will get them in the mail tomorrow to all 10 folks whom I worked. Don got his cards in the mail also. -30-

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 2:36 PM - I thought I'd just do an early entry today and update the progress on my homebrew paddle. As you can see here, the connection to the keyer has been made permanent now, and I've added a Plexiglas shelf to protect the workings of the paddle.

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Turns out after I added the shelf I had one of those 'Aha' moments.

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The shelf makes a great place to set the KX-1 and the KX-1 in turn helps to weigh down the paddle to keep it from moving around. -30-

Monday, July 23, 2012 9:35 PM - A nice summer day today. Good to be outdoors. I took a couple of nice walks and also weeded my garden

I also did the cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs. We wound up with 108 logs this month. The cross-checking went pretty smoothly and didn't take all that long.

Other than that not much out of the ordinary to talk about. I did a little more work on my homebrew paddle and just a few minutes ago finished up by looking for and finding a cable in my junk box to go from the paddle to the keyer. I installed that, and now it is basically finished and awaiting me to improve its looks and perhaps do a little fine tuning of this and that. However it works very well as is right now.

This afternoon while I was fooling around with it on the air, I worked my first English Olympic special prefix call in GO4RCG. Took but a single call to get him on 17 meters. This evening my streak QSO came pretty quickly when AC0MP answered my 30 meters CQ. -30-

Sunday, July 22, 2012 11:06 PM - One of those very busy days today. I'll just comment on my main project after a brief comment on other things. I cut the grass in my back yard today since it was cool this morning. That's the first time I've cut it using my mower since early this year because of my back problems and then Ange cut it for me a few times since then. I also used the weed eater around the edge so the yard looks really nice again now. The next cool morning I've got to do some weeding around the garden now.

Mike KC2EGL dropped by for an impromptu visit this evening and we had a pizza. I showed him my project which I'll get to in a moment and then we listened to the bands for a while and made some plans for our next regular get together. I got my streak QSO while Mike was here. It took a little while tonight as it has on a few nights recently, but finally AE1D answered my 40 meters QSO.

Now my big project today. When Don and I did our Parkpedition yesterday, he showed me his little portable paddle and I got to thinking I need something like that rather than lugging around the heavy somewhat fragile Bencher paddle. When he told me what it cost (35 bucks), I thought to myself no way - I can probably build something for nothing using parts in my junk box. So off and on today I worked on that. I like to do projects off and on like that since I don't just rush ahead and get things not the way I would like them. I find by working in stages, and taking time off between stages to do something else while still keeping the project in mind, I can think of a better way to attack the next stage. Anyway here is the prototype I came up with. It works just fine and I made one short rag chew QSO with it without making a single sending mistake at around 22 WPM or so. As you'll see from the picture below, it doesn't look as good as it could, so now that I know it works, I can move on and make a better looking version sometime. I also have to add a connector to it as I just jumpered it in for the trial tonight. Well that's it for this entry. I'm tired and am going to close now so here's the picture.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012 9:24 PM - A good day today. Don K3RLL and I went on a Parkpedition this morning putting NAQCC club call N3AQC on the air. Oh, and we also had a 3rd op there with us:

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She showed up just as we arrived, and did her best to distract us as much as possible until she finally settled down:

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All in all it was one of our more successful outings probably due to our helper. When I started, I got an answer to my second CQ, and then for the next hour I had a string of contacts with by far the biggest gap being just 5 minutes when I changed from 30 to 20 meters. After the hour though things slowed down and I only made 2 more QSOs about 20 minutes later. I'm not going to say a lot more about our outing here as we will have a report in the NAQCC August newsletter due out August 11. I'll just add that Don had similar success.

After we tore down at the park, we took care of our first priority by going to Ponderosa for our buffet meal. It seemed extra special good today. Maybe they put out a little more effort on the weekends. I don't think I've been there before except on weekdays.

Back home again and we worked on my K2 for a while. We were thinking that there may have been a bad solder connection in the ATU since it should be able to tune anything to an SWR of 1.1:1 or better and it wasn't doing that at our last Parkpedition. We didn't really find anything although the tuning here at home seemed to be a bit different that before we worked on it. Hard to tell, but it still works the same so at least we didn't hurt anything.

After we listened around for a while, Don had to head back to New Bethlehem.

When we were at the park, my KX-1 wouldn't tune on 40, so I fooled around with it at home, and found it tuned just fine on 40 here, so something must be wrong with the portable antenna although it worked great on 30 and 20. Something to look into later.

This evening I had an interesting QSO. After calling many unanswered CQs on 30, I got an answer from a weak station who turned out to be NP4KT in Puerto Rico who was running just 3 watts. We had a 6 or 7 minute QSO. -30-

Friday, July 20, 2012 8:51 PM - It was a cloudy cool day today for a change. Let's see..the high on my remote weather station was just 73 which has the be the first sub-80 high in I don't know how long offhand. It's now 68 degrees. It was so nice that I went fishing for the first time since July 2. I didn't catch anything because I had the wrong bait. I didn't have any worms or minnows, and only used peanut butter bread. I could see fish chasing the minnows and several fish jumping. It would have been nice to have been able to float some worms or minnows, but... I guess I'll have to buy some worms at Wal-Mart the next time I get a ride up to the mall.

Tomorrow it looks like Don K3RLL and I will be doing a Parkpedition, but we don't have any definite times or band plans as I write this. If you're a NAQCC member, we'll try to post a last-minute announcement tomorrow morning on our NAQCC mail list.

My QSO came quick this evening. One CQ and Bill K4VSV answered me. That was on 30 meters. Both 30 and 40 sounded pretty good when I listened in the 0000Z hour. No strong DX, but some good level USA signals on both bands. -30-

Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:18 PM - Again not much to report today. The bands continue very iffy. If you're at the right place at the right time, they're not too bad. Otherwise they are in pretty poor shape. Or are they? I still blame a lot of the 'poor' bands on a lack of occupancy. Twice this evening I called CQ on a 'dead' 30 meter band and wound up with QSOs both times after not too long a wait. I hate to keep harping on that theme, but I will continue to do so until it sinks in. If you hear a 'dead' band, don't just quit, but try some CQs. Most times you'll get some results, I'm sure. -30-

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 10:52 PM - Some very poor conditions for our sprint this evening. I'll let my sprint soapbox comments serve as my entry tonight as nothing else out of the ordinary happened today. Here goes.

"My lowest score (1,056) since the November 2010 sprint. My fewest multipliers (11) since January 2010. I think those two statements tell you what kind of conditions I had here tonight. I didn't mind the storm static. That's to be expected here in summer. I didn't mind the poor propagation conditions. That happens the days following a massive CME striking the Earth. I didn't mind the normal everyday QSB and QRM. But why the heck did I have to have some bad local man-made QRN on top of all that? I thought maybe the denoisers in my K2 DSP filters got turned off somehow, and then I couldn't remember how to check that and couldn't find the manual till around 0200Z. Turns out they were turned on anyway. All in all, I'm proud of what I did against all that adversity. They say adversity builds character. I must be quite a character now after those two hours. HI HI. Oh and perhaps this says something about propagation. It seemed to be localized to certain areas for me. Nearly half my 24 QSOs came from VA (6) and IN (5). Near the end NY and NJ provided 5 straight QSOs. Very strange. And in states adjacent to those 4, I only had 1 QSO each from KY, NC, and MD. Anyone explain that kind of quirky propagation." -30-

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:57 PM - A quiet HOT day today. A high of 99 or 100. 99 on my remote unit. I'll check the main unit just after finishing this diary entry. It most of the times is 1 degree warmer so the odds are good we had a 100 degree day again. The humidity was down around 40 percent though, so it wasn't all that bad.

Other than some garden work, I didn't do much today except sit in front of the fan at the computer getting caught up on a lot of things.

My QSO came very quickly this evening. I found WD4LZC calling CQ just a minute or so after I turned on the rig and worked him. -30-

Monday, July 16, 2012 9:31 PM - Once again the bands were 'poor' tonight amid dire warnings of all kind of horrible propagation conditions. However, not believing them, I simply got on and listened a bit. Indeed 20 and 30 sounded 'dead', so figuring everyone believed the predictions and weren't getting on, I thought I'd go to 40 meters and call CQ. Well it took but a few minutes to get a nice solid QSO with K2GTC in the Big Apple. I wish everyone would pay less attention to propagation predictions and just get on the bands themselves and give them a try.

Most everyone next door was working today, so not much going on. However 5 year old Gavin and his dad came to do some work, and I wound up having a good time with Gavin while dad worked. We played some Frisbee, just sat and talked, showed him my half of the house, and so forth. He's one of those kids you say is 5 going on 20. Really a sharp young lad. -30-

Sunday, July 15, 2012 8:39 PM - Ditto yesterday's entry except that the Bowsers' house is getting toward the final stages of clean up now and there wasn't quite as much work going on today. It was mostly painting with which I didn't get involved. I helped mainly with fixing up some porch and stair railings.

Ham radio wise, it looks like the CME did its dirty work today. Most all bands were pretty dead in late afternoon when I checked for a while. Then at 0000Z this evening, except for a couple very weak sigs on 20, one HD special call station on 30 (something like HD810QRC if I remember right), there was nothing else above 40 to be found. On 40 W9ZN had about the most fluttery signal I ever heard on the bands. I bet there's a nice auroral display now where it's clear and dark. However despite conditions, my streak goes on and it shows that no matter what, CW will propagate to somewhere even at low power levels. KE4NYH in TN answered my CQ after a few minutes on 40, and he was running only 1 watt. We had a solid 14 minute QSO with our total of 6 watts power. Yes indeed, CW and QRP do work, and work well all the time. -30-

Saturday, July 14, 2012 8:54 PM - Pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday. I spent most of it helping the Bowsers again. Haley wasn't there until late in the day and I didn't see much of her, but the rest of the gang was hard at work. There has been a huge transformation in the house in the past 4 days now.

Instead of ruining the bands, the CME today seems to have turned them on. Although I only made one QSO in the IARU championships for my streak, 20 was alive with stations, and there were a lot on 15 also, and even a few on 10. After I made my streak QSO, I checked the WARC bands for some July NAQCC challenge QSOs and worked EA8TL and KC0GT on 17, and KC4KNN to bring my total to 17 WARC band QSOs for the month so far. -30-

Friday, July 13, 2012 6:17 PM - This was a very good Friday the 13th. Again I spent a great deal of time helping the Bowsers get their house ready to move into. I would much sooner be working like that than sitting around doing nothing. I don't know how couch potatoes can stand their life style. It's so much more enjoyable doing mental or physical labor, preferably both. Of course it was nice spending time with Haley and Gavin too. I never married so never had the pleasure of raising kids myself, so it's nice when I get the chance to spend some quality time with kids.

Again I didn't get a chance to check the bands today. It doesn't look very good for this weekend's IARU contest. We're supposed to be impacted by a CME strong enough that some brilliant auroral displays are predicted. The last prediction I saw was for it to hit around 0330Z tonight and continue its effects for at least a day or so. I'll have to get my streak QSO as soon after 0000Z as I can, then I'll be good if worse comes to worst until 2300Z Sunday evening.

I posted our first monthly NAQCC Newsletter early today (previously we issued the newsletter twice a month, in case you didn't know), and it was jam-packed with a lot of good information. I was pleased that several members submitted Member News items for this issue.

Oh, I almost forgot. Our string of 90 or greater days has ended. We only reached 87 today. -30-

Thursday, July 12, 2012 11:44 PM - I'm just about plumb out of time for an entry this evening. Maybe that's good because it's been such a great day, I probably would go on talking about it to the point of boredom.

Instead of doing that, I'll just summarize briefly. First I never did get to check the bands during the day, but they did sound pretty good this evening. I worked I2AZ easily and heard some other DX stations on 20 meters. I also had a lengthy rag chew with AB2EW on 30.

The reason that I didn't get on the bands was that I was helping the Bowsers get the other half of my house in shape to be moving in. I don't own that half, and the previous 3 renters had really done a job on it. There was and is a lot of clean-up work to be done. The highlight of the day though was seeing my friend Haley again. She and I had a lot of great times together when they lived there previously up until 7 years ago. Haley was there from birth in 2001 until they moved away. I hadn't seen much of her at all since then and not at all the past 3 or 4 years. Now she's 11, and it was really great getting re-acquainted again today.

As I said I could go on for a long time, but I've got to cut this short now, finish my web site update, take my washing out of the dryer, do a couple other little things, then get to bed to rest up for another good busy day tomorrow. -30-

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 10:13 PM - Expect very good conditions the next couple days. Why? Because Don K3RLL and I decided to postpone our Parkpedition, first from tomorrow to Friday, then from Friday to next week or the week after because of the very poor conditons the past few days (plus a couple of other reasons as well). So knowing the way things go, propagation will probably be great tomorrow and Friday. Actually in fact, it seemed to pick up already this evening. I heard many more signals tonight than last night when it took me 1 hour and 5 minutes to finally get my streak QSO. This evening it only took a few minutes. Oh well, that's life.

We've now had 14 straight days of 90 degrees or greater high temperatures. Actually if I had enough land to have a Weather Bureau standard exposure for my shelter, a couple of those days would be high 80s instead of 90 or more. However on my small tiny town lot, there just isn't enough grassy area to meet WB standards. But I'm not an official observer anyway, I just do it for my own enjoyment, so it really doesn't matter. At least the records are consistent over the years with only one major change in exposure back in 2002 when a nearby building was torn down. And that didn't really cause any noticable change in the readings except on very sunny days the greater exposure to a nearby concrete slab does cause some additional rise in temperature.

Well, I watched the last half of the Indy Car Toronto race today, and as you already knew if you're a racing fan and followed it live, Ryan Hunter-Ray won his third race in a row and took over the points lead. Right now I'm going to close this, finish a bit of other web site and database work and watch a Woodwright Shop episode.

Don't forget to check the bands the next couple days to see if my predictions come true or not. -30-

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 6:53 PM - Now that my NAQCC workload has finally eased quite a bit thanks to several volunteer helpers, I'm finally getting around to doing some updating on my own web site here. A lot of things are shamefully outdated, but when you don't have the time to keep up with them, that is what happens. My antennas page in the homebrew section is a prime example. I went through it today, and saw that it still referenced my TS-570D as my main rig, and that was some 4 years ago now. So that is the first page to have gone through the updating process. As I continue, I know there will be a lot more.

It was yet another day when the temperature touched the 90 degree mark making 13 in a row now. Once again the humidity was low though, so it was comfortable. Right now it's 84 with 38% humidity.

I did some work on my portable antenna in preparation for our Parkpedition which may be this Thursday if Don gets the work on his house finished by then. If not, then either Friday or next week some time.

I also helped Ange water his garden and then watered mine.

Oh, and work on this weekend's NAQCC newsletter was also fitted in somewhere today. Gee, I didn't realize I did so much today, and there are probably other little things I forgot to mention also.

Right now I'm going to get a mid-evening snack, then perhaps go for a walk, after which it will be time for my streak QSO. Hopefully the bands will be more active than when I checked late this afternoon.

And finally I forgot to mention I watched the first part of the Indy Car race in Toronto. I'll probably finish watching the rest later tonight or tomorrow. -30-

Monday, July 09, 2012 9:28 PM - The bands were pretty terrible late this afternoon, but I did manage to work AO4ZK for a new prefix. In fact the only other AO prefix I have is AO8. That should be Spain according to the callsign block allocation. AO8 was the Canary Islands just like EA8 is the Canary Islands, EA6 the Balearic Islands and EA9 Ceuta and Melilla. The other EA #s are Spain itself.

It was a pretty nice day, weather-wise. We did touch 90 degrees briefly, but the humidity was down to 32 percent, so the 90 felt rather nice compared to the previous several days. I think we have set a record for the number of consecutive 90 degree days. There have been 12 in a row now. The last 3 days of June and all 9 days in July so far. I don't think we have even come close to that, even in the hot summers of 1980, 1988, and 2011, although I'd have to check to be sure.

It was so nice I got in a couple of long walks for the first time in a few days now. I'm just under 7 miles on the pedometer today so far. I also helped Nancy trim the bushes in front of her house which turned into a bigger job than either of us thought, as they had really grown thick and strong. Also my upcoming new old neighbor Denny stopped by for a while this afternoon. Also Nancy and I sat on my front porch for a while around sunset. So it was a good and full day. Now I guess I'll close by watching some Internet TV and the Terry Lee radio show. -30-

Sunday, July 08, 2012 9:15 PM - I don't feel much like typing and don't have much to say anyway, so how about some garden pictures of my daylillies, pole beans and a tomato plant, and bush beans instead?

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Saturday, July 07, 2012 9:23 PM - Four times today I called CQ on what seemed to be a virtually dead band and got an answer within a couple minutes. That was all on 30 meters, and it lends a lot of credence to the statement I often make that goes something like this. Bands are very seldom completely dead - it's just that folks think they are. They tune across and hear nothing or (ughh!) check the Internet to see how band condition and activity are. Conditions are often great and just waiting for someone to start calling CQ to get the attention of those tuning across the band. Get the message? I hope so.

On of the great pleasures in life is going back in time and finding something you thought was lost forever. I've mentioned that before in finding the Smokey and His Sister song, "Creator of Rain", and finding episodes of old TV shows like "The Woodwright Shop", Bob Vila's "Home Again", and so forth. It really is like stepping into a time machine and going back in time. I've got a couple more things to add to a very long list that I'll talk about a bit now.

When Windows 95 came out, a demo music video came out with it to show off its multimedia capabilities. I really liked the song, and I carried it along when I upgraded to Windows 98. Then over the years it kind of got shoved back out of the way both physically and in my memory. I hadn't even thought about it until a month ago when something triggered a memory - you know how that works, I'm sure, - but I could not think of the title to save me, and I never really knew who the artist was so I had no way to look it up in a Bing search. Well today I was checking the MLB site as I do regularly to see how the Pirates are doing, plus check on a couple other teams I like, like the Yankees. To get on to a side track for a moment - you know the Mayan calendar makers say this is the year the world will end, and there will be strange happenings. Well, it can't get too much stranger than the Pirates being in first place at the All-Star break and being not too far from having the best record of all teams. Maybe the Mayans have something. OK, back on track. One of the headlines on the MLB site had the term 'good times, bad times' in it. A loud gong rang and a bright light flashed, and I thought THAT'S the title of that song. I looked up Good Times Bad Times Music on Bing and I found the song in the original Windows 95 video. The artist is Edie Brickell. I don't really know why you might be, but if you are curious, do a Bing Videos search for 'good times bad times music' and look for the Edie Brickell version, not the Led Zeppelin one.

Another time machine happening goes like this. I think I've talked about Eric Bowser KB3BFQ who is the one who suggested my streak those many years ago. He and his parents used to live next door. He moved away I guess in the late 1990s, and his parents moved away around 2004 or so. I really hated to see them go as they were very good neighbors as well as very good friends. Since then, there have been three different families live in the other side of my house, and I don't like to say this, but they were far short of the Bowsers as friends and neighbors. A couple of times the Bowsers explored moving back in, but something always prevented it. A few months ago though, the owner of the house asked me if I could help him find some good tenants. Before I could do anything though, bang - he rented the house to a young couple. I won't go into details but they only stayed a couple months, and the house was empty again. About the same time Denny Bowser came to see me and asked about the house. He said their current house was being sold and they were looking for a place. To shorten this lengthening story, I told the owner about them and set up a meeting and now the Bowsers have rented the house and will move in shortly, and I'll have great neighbors once again on that side to go along with Nancy and Bruce in the house on the other side of me. So I guess you can go back again and I guess things do happen in cycles.

Another hot day today, but the last really hot one for a while as a bit of Canadian air slipped south this afternoon. Before it came, we peaked at 103 degrees though. Tomorrow it will be what seems a cool 86 degrees.

Now I had another thing I wanted to talk about, but I've forgotten now. I got to take notes. HI. -30-

Friday, July 06, 2012 9:28 PM - Too hot to even write much tonight. We hit the century mark today for a few minutes this afternoon, and spent a lot of time at 96 and above well into the early evening. Now it's a bit better at 84 degrees, but as the temperature drops, the humidity goes up, so things kind of balance out and it's still uncomfortable. I used to love it as hot and humid as it could get, but the past couple years I guess my age is catching up to me, and I'm liking it less and less, and now looking forward to the somewhat cooler weather coming after another upper 90's day tomorrow.

I didn't do much today after watering my garden and helping Ange water his early this morning. I mostly sat in front of the computer with a fan blowing on me trying to keep cool.

Now I just came down from the shack, got my temperature, and am writing this. I worked two stations this evening, one a first time QSO I believe (KI4XH) and an old friend some 20 or so miles from here (W3ANX). Both QSOs were around 24 WPM, a nice change from my usual 18-20 WPM speed I use for rag chew type QSOs. -30-

Thursday, July 05, 2012 7:50 PM - Mike arrived early - around 9 AM, and we spent the day together till about 5 PM when he had to move on. We started out getting caught up on some NAQCC prizes, then off to the Post Office to mail off four of the prizes and a package I had to mail also. Next it was off to Butler and Dick's Sporting Goods store where Mike purchased some new shoes. You know Mike is a mailman and does a lot of walking - even a lot more than I do.

While in the Butler mall, we got some wire from Radio Shack to make up a couple portable antennas. (See the basic design here) We modified it somewhat but used the fundamental measurements in the article. Of course we had to eat - and stopped at the Ponderosa for their lunch buffet. After that, it was back home again.

Here we cut the wire for the antenna and put it together. It was too hot to go out and try it out, so we went up to my shack to check on the bands for a while. There was very little activity. I heard NP2CB and asked if he wanted to work the US Virgin Islands. He did, but it turned out NP2CB was in Florida, not the VI. While he was tuning the bands, I was thinking that we could set up the antenna in my attic with the feedline coming down the steps where we could take the KX-1 and hook it up. We did that, were pleased that the SWR was good on 30 (1.1:1) and 20 (1:1), but not so good on 40 (3.6:1). We thought maybe that was because of the way we had to set up the antenna, and we will have to wait to get it set up properly outside sometime.

After that, a bit more listening to the almost dead bands, then down to the computer where we watched the first quarter of the Edmonton-Toronto CFL game played last weekend. Mike had to leave so we didn't get to watch the whole game. I may watch the rest of it myself sometime.

Right now after typing for 10 minutes, it's 8 PM or 0000Z and time to head to the shack for my streak QSO. -30-

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 11:26 PM - Hope you all had a great Fourth and honored our country in some way today. It's late here after getting home from a fireworks display, so I'll keep this short.

As soon as I got home, I got my weather readings for the day. It was 95 for the 4th straight day of 94 or higher maximums now. Then I went to the rig for my streak QSO which took all of about 20 seconds to find and work KH7Y on 18.073. So those two tasks are taken care of. Now a bit of relaxation, then off to bed. Mike KC2EGL is coming for a visit tomorrow morning early. I'll let you know what we wound up getting into in tomorrow's diary entry. -30-

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 4:17 PM - That surge in the solar flux didn't seem to do much to the bands today. I listened for a while around noon local time and heard very little at all. About the only activity of note was some kind of a pileup on 17 meters chasing something. None of the pile members were at all strong. Maybe it will take another day to really fire up the ionosphere since the burst came on so suddenly. Or maybe no one was aware of what was going on. That's probably the more likely.

I promised a couple of Geo N1EAV's cat/dog pictures so here you go.

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Strange how supposedly natural enemies can live in harmony while people who are supposed to be friends with everyone can not. -30-

Monday, July 02, 2012 9:21 PM - This turned out to be a busy day with taking care of my first of the month finances leading off followed by helping Ange water his garden. Then I got caught up on logging my LotW and eQSL veries in my master log. Just as I wound up with that, a friend called and asked if I wanted to go fishing. After a moment's hesitation because of the heat, I said sure. We headed up the river road to lock #8, and spent quite a while with no action whatsoever, then I started getting some bites and caught a 14 inch sucker. Then just as we were leaving and I was reeling in my line, it felt like I was dragging in a branch or stone or something. Turned out to be a turtle which can act just like a dead weight. Home again for supper, some more computer work, a little rest. Time for my streak QSO which turned out to be yet another Israel station 4Z5MU on 17 meters. I was thinking I must have made more Israel QSOs this year than all previous years put together. Let me check on that. Well not really. I have 6 this year, but 10 total in previous years. I also worked HK1MW on 30. He answered my CQ, of all things. That brings us to my typing this and saying 73 for tonight. Well, not really, I want to share this from Geo N1EAV first.

"Hi John Here's a few dog/cat pictures you might like. Have been very busy on this end with work and getting ready to move. My landlord passed away last year and the estate has sold the building I'm in, so we have till July 31 to vacate. Moving in with the yl, so am putting most of my stuff in storage. For now my rig is put away, but hopefully will be able to get it set up soon. Downloaded that add on from Abine and have already made the bronze medal. Never realized how many sites are checkin you out when you go there. Google seems to be the top offender. Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hey. Stay cool. geo,n1eav."

Yep those folks at Google do everything short of crawling into bed with you. That's why I avoid anything related to them. Geo's definition of 'a few' differs from mine. He must have sent a couple dozen dog/cat pictures. I'll see if I can pick out a couple and share them here tomorrow. They are all marvelous. Thanks Geo.

ADDENDUM - WOW, I just went to fix my propagation page, and the SF today was 166!!! The bands didn't really sound like it this evening, but it may be worthwhile to check 15, 12, and 10 tomorrow. -30-

Sunday, July 01, 2012 9:29 PM - I'm watching another of my favorite sports - Canadian Football. I think it so much more entertaining than NFL football. Calgary is dominating Montreal well into the 4th quarter as I'm writing this. I haven't watched too much CFL football lately, but with my work with the NAQCC reduced thanks to several helpers, I may watch some more and get familiar with the teams and players again. Of course Anthony Calvillo is the Montreal QB, and all who follow the CFL know all about him and his many records. But Calgary has a QB named Tate. I'm not familiar with him at the moment, but I'm impressed with the way he is playing.

I also actually watched a few innings of baseball today - the Marlins and Phillies. All of this I mention on the Internet, of course, since you know I don't have television. With my new computer and a very fast DSL connection, what I'm watching looks a lot like HD television.

I also checked the bands a couple times today, but they were very unimpressive to say the least. I did manage a couple QSOs in the RAC test including SN2012PZPN for another 2012 station. I thought they were through in June, but I guess not. I'll have to look that up later.

This evening, the bands weren't much better, but I did work a couple stations on 30 meters for my streak. Also for our NAQCC WARC bands challenge.

Well, I'm going back to watch the final few minutes of the CFL game now. Someone just kicked a field goal, but I'm not sure as I couldn't hear the announcers all that well with my fan running here to keep me cool. -30-

Saturday, June 30, 2012 9:23 PM - Whew, that was a busy, but very enjoyable day. Thanks Mike. I can't even remember all the things we did today, but I'll try to list some.

We got caught up on NAQCC prizes business including posting a new picture of the latest prizes donated by our wonderful ham/woodworker Gregg WB8LZG. He sent along something different this time. Some 'finger rests' to go under the knob of a straight key. A very nice addition to our prizes arsenal. If you'd like a shot at winning one of our many NAQCC prizes, basically all you have to do is to join the club and take part in our club activities.

We also worked on a couple of new antenna supports for Mike's antennas, both for his home and for portable operation.

Then we worked on my K2 for a while running some diagnostics on the ATU unit. We found what may be the trouble I had in tuning my 30 meters antenna at the park the other day. One of the procedures is supposed to make the SWR change slightly each time an additional inductor or capacitor is switched in. Of the sixteen total components, the third inductor didn't seem to make any change. All the relays were switching, but that third relay and associated inductor will have to be checked further. I'll do that on Don's next visit as he has been inside a few K2s, while neither Mike nor I have been. After listening to all the bands from 30 through 6 meters and hearing but one signal (on 10 meters), we shut down the rig and came back downstairs where it was a bit cooler.

Mike had gotten one of the 'Great Lessons' (I think that's what they were called) DVDs about astronomy, and we watched a few of the lessons - very thorough and interesting. We also watched an episode of the Woodwright Shop after that, and then.....

Of course it was Pizza Time! We ordered a pizza on-line from the new Papa John's shop in Kittanning. The delivery man showed up very quickly, and we enjoyed it very much.

Next to close out the day about 90 minutes of chasing DX and taking turns working stations in the Canada Day contest. And that takes us to this point in my day. -30-

Friday, June 29, 2012 9:33 PM - It seems like I either have too little to talk about in the diary or rarely I have too much. This is one of the too much nights. Hope I can remember all I planned to say.

DX was back this evening on 20 meters. I heard a lot of EU signals including a bunch of the 2012 EFC stations of which I worked 4 out of about 7 heard. I also worked 4O7VB from still somewhat rare Montenegro.

I didn't do too well in our NAQCC regular June poker challenge. I just didn't work enough USA stations this month to make enough poker hands to master the challenge. Let's see.....I had 229 QSOs this month. Of those, 19 were in our NAQCC mW sprint so didn't count toward the challenge. Likewise 51 were in FD - no good. 45 in our regular NAQCC sprint - no good. 92 were DX - no good. That left only 22 regular USA QSO eligible for the poker challenge. Figuring the hands gave me only 7 of the 20 points needed to master the challenge.

However that didn't really matter since I mastered the NAQCC FD challenge more than doubling the required 20 states with 44 worked. AND best of all, I think is that I was the first ever to master a NAQCC EU Chapter challenge early this month.

Switching gears now. I found a GREAT browser add-on yesterday that eliminates a great deal of the tracking done by Google and the other Internet snoops. It's called Do Not Track Plus, is available from Abine.com, and in about 36 hours of casual Internet browsing, it has already blocked 704 attempts to track my browsing. That is what I call a really wonderful useful browser add-on. A lot of browser add-ons are to put it bluntly crap that just slows down a browser. I prefer to have a virtually naked Internet Explorer as my browser, but this Do Not Track Plus will be one add-on I will keep and use.

Weather-wise, we set an all time high record in my 50 years plus of record keeping today when we hit 99 degrees breaking the old June record of 98 set a few times and tied again just yesterday. Fortunately it wasn't too bad because the humidity was fairly low in the 35-45 percent range.

And more about the weather. We had a line of thunderstorms go through this evening that produced some awesome lightning and thunder, but just a few drops of rain. Not really worth talking about except that as I was sitting here at the computer, Nancy called me to take a look at the beautiful sunset. Turns out the timing of sunset and the passage of the back end of the storms coincided to produce one of the most beautiful sunsets we've had in a while now. I got some pictures of it, and let's see if I can get one good representative one to post here......

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Pretty nice, eh?

Finally (I think) - Mike KC2EGL is coming to visit tomorrow. We don't have anything big planned, but I can assure you the day will be interesting and enjoyable as it always is when Mike drops by. Oh, and the same way when Don K3RLL drops by, and when all three get together - look out. HI. Don and I had a really great time at Community Park yesterday, and as I think I said, we'll be doing it again in a couple weeks. -30-

Thursday, June 28, 2012 10:01 PM - Don and I had another good time today operating from Kittanning's Community Park. We perhaps didn't operate quite as long as our previous time up there, but we got a few more QSOs - 14 vs. 11. As always, some problems cropped up. For some reason, my K2 tuner won't tune right on 30 meters up there, but it will tune perfectly down here at home on 30 meters. Don thinks there may be a cold solder joint on one of the coils in the tuner - a coil that may be needed to match the portable antenna, but not needed for my end fed long wire here. Something to look into.

I also had a bad connection to the 6 meters transverter. So what, you say. We weren't planning to operate on 6 meters. Yes, but for some reason, the DSP audio filters won't work if the transverter isn't completely hooked up. Something else to look into. Anyway kind of jury rigging the connection worked and I was able to use the filters. My, what a difference they make. If you've never used a K2, you really have to listen to it to believe it no matter what I say here. When the connection went bad, I could hardly hear anything but noise. I never knew the park had that QRN until the filters went. When I got them going again, the noise virtually disappeared. Anyway, I soldered the bad connection when I got home, so that shouldn't be a problem again.

We're going to go to the park again in a couple weeks, and Don set a goal for us to use as lightweight a setup as possible instead of taking all the stuff we normally take. So no K2 then - I'll have to use my KX-1. Also get a much lighter antenna mast and antenna itself. We should be able to get the weight down to something we could easily backpack. If we do that, then perhaps I can make a couple trips by myself up there since I won't need a car to get there. Something to think about and look forward to this summer.

As usual we'll have pictures in the NAQCC newsletter along with more info about the Parkpedition. Speaking of pictures, I used one of the pictures we took today to update the main picture on my home page to 2012. Take a look. -30-

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 9:32 PM - I often wonder about the bands. There are so many times they sound so good, but there is very little activity. I wonder if the Internet is to blame. Folks check spots on the Internet, they look at all kind of Internet sources to see what is on the bands when they should be getting on the bands instead. Get on and listen for stations. If you don't hear any, call CQ. Hams have done that for around 100 years now, and it works. No one needs the Internet to tell them what is on the bands. Man, that really disturbs me. Sometimes I wish the Internet had never come to be. Well, not really, because it is a wonderful thing - WHEN USED CORRECTLY.

I'll give you one example of a good use in my case. For years, I always enjoyed watching the How-To shows on PBS Saturday afternoons. They were about the only TV I watched, except for occasional sporting events (March Madness, etc.). Other than those shows I don't miss TV at all since I gave it up several years ago now. And now I'm finding some of the favorite shows I used to watch are available on the Internet. And watching on the Internet means I don't have to watch at a particular time or day of week even. While watching, I can pause the shows if I get a phone call, get hungry, get company, etc. and then pick them up again and finish watching from the spot where I paused. Now that is a GREAT feature of the Internet. In particular, I thought I'd do a Bing search for The Woodwright Shop, one of the how-to shows I used to watch every Saturday. Well, the show has an Internet site and all the episodes (full length) are availabe from 2006 to the present. So now I can enjoy watching the woodworking skill (and antics) of Roy Underhill again when I want to watch them.

I sent out an announcement of our Parkpedition schedule tomorrow on our NAQCC mail list. But if you're not a NAQCC member, or are one who hasn't updated your email address with us, here is how Don and I will be operating:

Thursday, June 28, 2012
1600-1630Z - 7040 and 10116 +/- QRM
1630-1700Z - 7040 and 14060 +/- QRM
1700-1730Z - 10116 and 14060 +/- QRM
1730-1800Z - Whichever two bands have been most productive so far.

Note particulary the +/- QRM and tune up and down a few kHz if we're not right on frequency. The HF bands are not channelized like the VHF and UHF bands and most all times a HF frequency is given for anything, the +/- QRM, etc. is implied if not directly stated.

Hope we can work you, and send you a picture QSL card to commemorate the QSO. -30-

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 7:26 PM - Well, at least Paul N0NBD asked about the trivia question I mentioned last entry. So for his sake, I'll repeat the question and give the answer. Who was the singing star who entered 14 races in NASCAR's highest racing division (Grand National, Winston Cup, etc.)? Marty Robbins.

As I mentioned, I worked Nebraska in FD with 900 mW to complete my NAQCC QRPp WAS. I had worked NE before, but it was prior to the starting date for the award of January 1, 2004. So you see NE has been quite rare of late. Here's the certificate processed by and printed by our new NAQCC Awards Manager John KK1X.
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It was another near perfect day today, perhaps with just a tad of haze in the sky today compared to yesterday. Good enough to go fishing, and the fish agreed today and let me catch 4 of them - 1 bluegill, 1 bass, and 2 rock bass. The last rock bass was near my record size of 9 inches. He measured in at 8.5 inches. Tomorrow should be another good day for fishing. Hope the fish agree again.

Thursday Don K3RLL and I, and maybe Mike KC2EGL will be going on another Parkpedition. I'll try to have details in tomorrow's diary entry and we'll also post it to the NAQCC mail list to try to stir up a little more activity than we had the last time. -30-

Monday, June 25, 2012 9:04 PM - A very nice weather day today. The kind I'd order for every day if we could do that. Perfectly clear air - you could see forever. No haze or anything else to obscure anything. Beautiful puffy cumulus clouds. Temperature in the upper 70's. A nice breeze blowing. What more could you ask for? I just had to head to the river, so I did. I got some bites on red worms, but not good enough to catch anything. Still with the weather, catching something is not a top priority.

I also took a couple nice walks today, and checked the bands this afternoon as well. That was a waste of time as conditions were very poor with almost nothing heard. It was pretty much the same this evening and I had to head down to 40 meters to get my streak QSO (WA1UQO in VA). That solar flux in the 80's has really done in DX at least temporarily. There are more active regions on the sun coming, so things should pick up again in a couple days. See the STEREO full Sun pictures on my propagation page to see what I mean.

Gee, there was so little activity on my last trivia question, I don't think I ever gave the answer, and I guess no one really cared anyway, so I don't think I will post the answer. If anyone wants to know, email me. -30-

Sunday, June 24, 2012 8:42 PM - Not long after I posted the diary entry last night, I went back to FD and I did find and work a Nebraska station with 900 mW. It was NI0DX and it was an easy QSO. So I now have completed both the Elecraft and NAQCC QRPp WAS awards and applied for both certificates today as well. I wound up with 51 QSOs from 44 states in FD. The 7 extra QSOs included two from ND as I wasn't positive my call sign was copied correctly the first time. Also a QSO with Mike KC2EGL as we try to work each other every FD. Then I couldn't resist working VC390IC for a special prefix. It got very difficult to find new states near the end, and I gave up a little early realizing that 44 was pretty good, and I wasn't going to get the last 6 anyway. At least I didn't get 49 like I did in a SS once. To come that close and not make it is much worse than still needing 6.

I got my streak QSO as quick as possible tonight. Just as soon as it turned to 0000Z, I worked OX/DL3GCS on 20 meters easily even though I only got a 529 RST from him.

I'm finding that farming out NAQCC work and otherwise cutting down on club work is more or less helping to restore my interest in getting on the ham bands. It's nice to know that I can have the time and there is not some NAQCC chore waiting for me to finish off. I'm also finding I have more time for other things now. I hope to be doing some needed upgrading to my web site here in the coming months as my free time increases more and more.

One other thing I'm finding time to do is to watch some more sports. I mentioned I'm getting interested in Indy Car racing again. The past couple days I've been watching the Indianapolis 500 re-broadcast. I'm now just past the 100 lap half-way mark, and sometime I'll pick it up there, but I think I need to do it in the next day or two as it looks like ESPN3 only caches broadcasts for 30 days. -30-

Saturday, June 23, 2012 9:33 PM - I find that FD is not one of my favorite operating activities. Most of the time, my QRP signal gets lost because the portable setup receiving antenna must be poor or mismatched, or there is a lot of background noise from people milling around at the site, or maybe the club puts more emphasis on phone than CW and assigns someone not overly familiar with CW to operate the CW station. Anyway as soon as I worked 20 states in 1 hour and 32 minutes for our NAQCC FD challenge, I gave up a bit disgusted. However after a couple hours break, the disgust wore off, and I was back at it again. I added 20 more states for a total of 40 states in 44 QSOs. I never found a Nebraska station that I could work though. I heard one doing S&P, but that was it. I need NE for an Elecraft WAS, and if I work NE with mW, that will complete our NAQCC mW WAS. So I may go back and search again later tonight or tomorrow.

One of the states I did work was Alaska. I heard all 50 states at one time or other. As with NE, most were doing S&P, so I couldn't call them. I also worked UA2FL in the MM contest on 20 meters.

Earlier in the day I got ambitious and finally got around to trimming my bush in the front yard. It was really getting rather scraggly. Now it is in much better shape. The weather wasn't too hot and it wasn't humid so I barely broke a sweat doing it. I think the two big bags of needles and branches could probably make a new bush. HI. -30-

Friday, June 22, 2012 9:13 PM - I listened for a while this afternoon in the NAQCC EU Sprint, but conditions weren't good enough to hear any QRP sigs from EU. It's too bad conditions weren't the same as they were the first part of June - then I might have been able not only to hear signals, but perhaps even make a few QSOs.

By way of contrast, conditions this evening weren't too bad. I got RV9CX with a single call and we had a good but brief exchange of info beyond RST. Then I finally worked another 2012 prefix station - SN2012WA. In the first part of the month, they were easy to come by, but not lately.

Earlier today, I helped Nancy give the interior of her car a good cleaning. Then this evening I had a nice visit with her grandkids. It's always a joy to talk with kids, especially before they turn into teenagers. HI.

No wonder conditions weren't good today. The SF is down to 88. That's the lowest since, let me see.... looks like August 14 last year when it was 88, preceded in the days before by 83, 83, 84, and 90. Wow, that's not all that far short of being a full year. Hope that doesn't signify the coming to an end of cycle 24. -30-

Thursday, June 21, 2012 9:06 PM - I was sitting at the rig while calling CQ thinking that it has been a long time since I heard any American Morse on the bands. I remember at one time there used to be quite a bit of it around 3544 or 3545. I even used it a little bit with some ham friends who also used it. I guess maybe that is of another era now. Have any of you heard any lately or remember hearing it in the past?

I watched another Indy Car race today. The one at Belle Isle, Michigan. I sure was glad that on Internet TV, you can easily skip ahead, pause, etc. That race, if you don't know, was held up around 2 hours at the half-way point for track repairs as the tires were so good, and the downforce of the cars so great that they actually were ripping out some asphalt patching, and after one car ran over the patching and wrecked, they red-flagged the race to repair the track. Still it was an interesting race, and I'm getting more familiar with the drivers again. The Indy 500 is still available on ESPN3, and I may watch that over the next couple days. I see some of the upcoming races are on NBC though, and not on ABC, so I don't think ESPN3 will get the rights to replay them. We'll see. -30-

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 11:25 PM - I'm running way behind tonight with the NAQCC mW sprint and some other things. I'll just say that conditions were not good for the sprint here. I had to struggle to make 19 QSOs, still that was the best I've done in one of our June mW sprints.

It was a hot humid day today with a high of 96, so I didn't get in much walking. I did go shopping with Nancy though for my once-a-month or so trip up to the malls for the things I can't walk and get here in downtown Kittanning.

I took a couple hours out today and watched a rebroadcast of the Milwaukee Indy Car race on ESPN3 on the Internet. That's the first Indy Car race I've watched in a long time, and I found it quite interesting. I think other Indy Car races are also rebroadcast on ESPN3, so perhaps that will become a new interest here.

Right now, I'm in the middle of watching Bob Vila's Home Again, and as soon as I update my QSO of the day table and propagation page, I'll be going back to finish watching that. It's nice that you can pause and resume your TV viewing on the Internet. -30-

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 9:18 PM - I thought after last night that conditions were coming back again, but tonight they seemed to take a backwards step or two. No EU signals above about S5, and the 3 or 4 that I called gave no sign whatsover of hearing me despite no one else calling them. Oh well, DX will be back again sooner or later. The first half of June was sure a lot of fun, at least.

I was surprised when updating my prefixes worked and verified today that I worked around 70-80 new prefixes in the last month or so. I thought at first my counting system in Access was wrong, but then in looking back, I did work a lot of new ones in the WPX contest and also with all the DX the first half of June. They do add up quickly. -30-

Monday, June 18, 2012 9:52 PM - As I said to Nancy when I went over to see her and Bruce a little while ago - "Where do these days go? Seems like I just got up and now it's almost bed time again." I think somebody speeded up the flow of time.

I actually got up a little early today, and spent about the first 3 hours finalizing the log cross-checking for our NAQCC sprint, and did all the other associated work like updating our Participation award, etc. Then some shopping, walking, eating, paying some bills, eating again, more walking, computer work, and there it was - 7 PM already. Then a friend of mine called who was having some health problems and asked if I'd help him with some shopping, which I, of course, did. Then he drove us out to Dairy Queen for some ice cream treats. First time I've been at a DQ in many, many years. They sure have a big selection of food now compared to the last time I was there. He got a snickers blizzard and I got a chocolate milk shake.

Then it was on the air for my streak QSO which came easily from DF1IAQ. After two days of no EU QSOs, and one day without any DX at all, I'm back on track. Maybe I'll see if I can finish out June with some EU contacts each day.

Now I've got to listen to the TL show. Terry said he might honor my request to do a tribute to Smokey of Smokey and his Sister who passed away one year ago today. -30-

Sunday, June 17, 2012 9:08 PM - Well, I won't be working EU every day this month. Didn't contact any EU stations on the 17th. You know what - it would have been nice to do so, but failing to do so is not going to alter my life in any way. I do have a chance to get a DX QSO every day this month still, since I did work Mexico on the 17th.

Much more fun was had today going fishing with Tom WY3H. We went to nearby Crooked Creek Lake and fished for about 3 hours early this morning. We each came up with 13 fish. Even had we caught nothing though, just getting away from everything would have been more than worth it. What a wonderful time not having to think about NAQCC work, house work, gardening, or anything but fishing and talking with Tom.

The bands continue to be very poor this evening. I only heard OM2VL on 20 and I6COJ on 30 in the way of DX. OM2VL was finishing out the AA contest, so I couldn't work him. I6COJ heard me but could never get my call. For my streak I had to go to 30 and work KF4CLO who faded out after our first exchange. He went from 599 to nil in about 5 minutes. -30-

Saturday, June 16, 2012 9:54 PM - Not much to talk about tonight. The bands were kind of strange. When I got on at 0000Z for my streak QSO, they sounded pretty good, but slowly faded away in about 10 minutes. Didn't hear a single Asian station in the AA test, although I heard several west coast USA stations working them. I heard one station working JA7FTR whom I worked last night, but couldn't even hear a trace of JA7FTR. I haven't worked a EU station yet to continue my EU streak of at least one EU QSO each day in June. Maybe conditions will be better at midnight. I did hear some weak EU stations, but they were all in the AA contest.

At least I did work a DX station - XE1/VE7BDI so I have a DX QSO each day this month anyway.

I did quite a bit of yard and garden work today to check out my back, and it seems to be working fine again. I cleaned grass from the sidewalks, watered the garden, weeded part of the garden, and put in some tomato stakes.

Now I'm off to get a snack and listen to the TL show.

Wow, now I see what happened to the bands as I prepare my propagation page. Take a look. -30-

Friday, June 15, 2012 5:55 PM - Now here on the 11 o'clock news, we have those pic......... Ooops - anyway here are the pictures from our Parkpedition yesterday.

First here is the QSL card we will be sending to those we worked.
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Here's my antenna, then Don's.
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Kind of hard to see the antennas, but they are there. Mine atop the white mast sloping down to ground. Don's is red/orange wire a bit easier to see.

Here's a wider view of my antenna with Don's car and our operating 'shack'.
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Finally a view of the play area of the park and the beautiful cirrus and cumulus clouds we had for our morning and afternoon up there.
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Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Today was another day just as beautiful with more cumulus than cirrus clouds. Nice day for fishing, and I actually caught another fish - a small 5.5 inch rock bass. -30-

Thursday, June 14, 2012 6:36 PM - I'm going to write this while waiting to go to our Flag Day Ceremony here in Kittanning.

Don and I had a great time on our Parkpedition today. Pictures on the 11 new...... Oh no, that's something else, but I will have some pictures here in the diary and also in our next NAQCC newsletter.

Not a lot of activity on 20 and 30 meters, but 40 was pretty good. We only made 13 QSOs between us, but we appreciate each and every one of them. I also learned some things about the K2 and how it behaves on battery. It gets a bit weird when the internal battery gets low. I did manage just about 2 hours of operation with it before that happened though.

I was having trouble with my antenna on 30 meters not loading properly, and after we tore down, Don and I compared antennas. His worked good on 30 meters on my rig. So he suggested we compare lengths. When Mike and I built our versions of Don's antenna, we went by formula while Don had built his by cut and trial. Turns out my segment lengths were a few inches different than Don's, so we adjusted mine. I'll find out if that helped when Don and I do another Parkpedition on June 28.

EU is really good as I write this. I worked LZ1515PSB on 17 and ZB2FK on 15. There are also many other strong EU signals on both those bands. Hope it's the same when I get home later. Time to go now. -30-

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:14 PM - Yet another great day in June 2012. The weather was absolutely perfect. The kind I'd order for every day of the year if it worked that way. Not a cloud in the sky (well I did see a couple tiny cirrus clouds off toward the south), and a high temperature of 78 with around 50% humidity. How could I not do a lot of walking and fishing. I even actually caught a fish, an 11 inch smallmouth bass. That's the first fish since April now because of my back problems, club work, and other things.

Then we had a good computer club meeting this evening. The details wouldn't really mean anything to those not familiar with the club, so I won't go into them here.

After the meeting a QSO with 4Z5IW was my streak QSO, but I'll still have to get a EU QSO to continue that streak. Perhaps I can do that using my call at our NAQCC Parkpedition tomorrow that I've talked about. That will be another great day with that activity filling up a good part of it. -30-

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:03 PM - I think for my diary entry, I'll just repeat my soapbox for tonight's NAQCC sprint since I got kind of wordy there and it says pretty much what I'd say here if I wrote it all again. HI

Well,that was an enjoyable relaxed effort tonight. It's so nice to know that once the sprint is over, I don't get stressed out processing scores. Thank you Dean, very much for making my life easier. I started out with the intention of doing a 40 meters only sprint tonight, and that worked well for 1 hour and 46 minutes. I sat on 7041.4 and just called CQ the whole time and got 39 responses. However, then the well seemed to run dry so I went to 80 meters for the last 14 minutes and added 5 more QSOs. Now after pressing 'Submit Log' below here, I can continue to relax with some Internet TV (Bob Vila's Home Again) and radio (Terry Lee & Music For Young Lovers on MCN) and a late snack till Dean sends me the results page for uploading. Ah, this is the life. HI HI Oh, and just after the sprint I had a very nice rag chew with Karl OE5FBL on 20 meters which means I've worked EU each of the first 13 days of June now. 73 and thanks to all of you for finding and answering my CQs. I love to just sit there and be the object of S&P operating instead of doing the S&P myself as I must do in most other contests because of my minimal QRP setup. -30-

Monday, June 11, 2012 9:27 PM - Fun on the bands this evening. Didn't work any EU (or AS) stations, but did get the other 4 continents easily from XE2AI, 7X4AN, AH6V, and CE2/VE7SV. I'll have to try for EU (and maybe AS) later tonight or tomorrow to keep my EU streak alive and perhaps to get a same day WAC again.

I did quite a bit of walking today - just under 10 miles. Also helped Ange in his garden and did some work in my back yard / garden also. Now I'm ready to take it easy for a while and watch some Bob Vila's Home Again and listen to the TL show before going to bed around midnight. Oh, all that after I call Tom WY3H. -30-

Sunday, June 10, 2012 8:41 PM - Not a lot to talk about this evening. I spent a good part of the day on NAQCC business - transitioning our awards manager job, and some more work on our new challenge manager setup. A lot of work right now, but in the long run I think this all is going to give me more free time to enjoy the many other aspects of life. I've already been getting more on-air time although I'm finding out I haven't been missing too much by not getting on during the day. Lately all the action seems to be in the evening until well after midnight. I worked 6 EU stations after local midnight last night.

Tonight in the 00Z hour about the only workable station I could find for my streak QSO was DA0CA on 17M whom I worked easily. However I will be exploring the bands again later this evening looking for more DX. Since my on air time has increased, I've really gotten into working DX again. Of my 469 QSOs since May 1st, 396 have been DX. If you eliminate our NAQCC sprint QSOs, that's 396 out of 430 or 92.1% DX QSOs since the 1st of May. Eliminating the CQWPX DX QSOs makes it 105 of 139 or 75.6% DX QSOs. That pretty much harkens back to the days of the last sunspot maximum when I had similar or better numbers. Bottom line - if you enjoy DXing, NOW is the time to get to it. -30-

Saturday, June 09, 2012 9:14 PM - This was one of those nice warm summer days with low humidity - 90 degrees and ~40%. So I did a lot of walking. Let's see what the pedometer says - 8.04 miles. I thought it would be more than that.

Other than walking and getting our new NAQCC Awards Manager set up, I dabbled in the WWSA contest a bit. I have 6 QSO's in it plus ZP6CW on 12M - a new band country - #101 on 12 meters. Strangely I still need ZP on 20 meters, and I heard one tonight, but couldn't work him. He just wasn't hearing anyone all that well, let alone me.

My streak QSO(s) this evening were all from the WWSA contest - EA4DRV, UY5BA, LY2J continuing my EU streak also to 10 days now. -30-

Friday, June 08, 2012 8:44 PM - DX continues to be good and I still haven't missed a day working EU this month. I added a nice prefix in 9A203ST this afternoon, then for my streak QSO(s) this evening it was DF1IAQ, OK1CF, SN2012PO, and OX3XR.

Of course some of the increase in DX of late is my increased on the air time, since I'm forcing myself to cut back on NAQCC work as I mentioned in the NAQCC newsletter released today. I've realized I can't be a slave to the NAQCC the rest of my life no matter how much I love the club.

I also worked a bit on my little KX-1 rig today. I got a new battery for it - actually 2 6V lantern batteries in series and tried it out. Don K3RLL and I are going on a portable outing sometime this coming week, and I'm getting ready for that. When we decide all the details, I'll announce them here in the diary if you would like to try working us. In addition to the KX-1, I'm also taking the K2 with me. I checked out its batteries yesterday. In fact I worked my new country Angola while I was testing it. I'll use the K2 until the batteries run out, if they do. Then I'll go to the KX-1. -30-

Thursday, June 07, 2012 6:59 PM - Yet another really good day today. That's 5 in a row now. Just worked D3AA in Angola on 20 meters for a new overall QRP country. I worked CR6IK a long time ago but that was with some 50-60 watts output. Back then QRP was 100 watts or less input, so that was QRP at the standard of the day, but this is my first Angola at 5 watts. He wasn't hearing me at all for several minutes, but I kept calling and when he did at last hear me, it was an easy QSO. So never give up if it's something you really want. That's country (or entity) # 214 overall with my minimal QRP setup now.

It was also a good day because Nancy had another birthday - this time for her twin grandchildren who are 10 today. They invited me over for some ice cream cake.

Now in another hour or so, I'll see if I can extend my streak another day as well as extending my EU QSO streak another day as well. I'm really enjoying DXing of late. I'm getting more time to be on the air as I cut back on NAQCC work by farming out some jobs to other members, and cutting back on some other things. -30-

Wednesday, June 06, 2012 9:32 PM - Still a little in awe of seeing the Venus transit last night. Unless some very keen sighted ancient with just the right amount of fog for a filter saw one, there have been only 7 observed since the first one in 1639. That's a pretty darn rare event. Had I been able to see the one in 2004, I would have seen two of them, but I think I mentioned that one was fogged and clouded out here.

I've managed to extend my EU DX streak to 7 days now, every day in June. Wonder if I'll make it the full month? I got GQ3XTT this afternoon and SP3GXH this evening for days 6 and 7. I also worked an Asiatic Russian this evening - UA9FGJ. Thanks to Val for sticking with me till he got my call right. On the other hand, the SP3 and GQ3 QSOs were easy ones.

My back is finally to the point where I can use it pretty much normally. I helped Ange with his garden a bit today, and did some weeding in mine. It sure is great to be able to do things like that again. I think tomorrow I'll get in some fishing. I haven't caught anything since early April now. -30-

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 9:35 PM - As Mike said, it's kind of like when you were a kid waiting for the rain to stop so you could go out to play. What are we talking about? The agonizingly slow movement of the clouds hoping they would dissipate enough to see the transit of Venus. For about an hour and a half from 6 PM to 7:30 PM, there was a nice, but small clear area in the northern part of the sky that would periodically increase and decrease in size. However it did not change its position at all, and hope was fading that we would see the transit. Mike had his astronomical binoculars in his car and I suggested he get them and put the sun filters on them just to be ready in case we did get enough of a break in the clouds. Not long after 7:30 the area of the sky in which the sun was located started to get brighter as the clouds thinned out. Still it was not enough to even pick out the solar disk. Eventually it got brighter and brighter till I noticed it was bright enough to cast Mike's shadow on the front porch. He looked and was able to pick out the sun's disk at last, but still with clouds in front of it blocking the view of Venus. Time was drawing closer and closer to sunset when at last he spotted the black disk of Venus on the face of the Sun. After watching for a minute or so he handed the binoculars to me, and I saw what I had been anticipating for many years.

Actually I became interested in astronomy before I was 10 years old, and had thought ever since then how neat it would be to observe a transit of Venus. Finally June 8, 2004 came along and I was all set up with a projection system hooked up to my telescope. However that event was fogged and/or clouded out. I knew then I had only one more shot at seeing a transit - June 5, 2012 since after that, the next one wouldn't be until the year 2117.

Well when I looked through Mike's binoculars and saw the circular black dot of Venus on the sun's disk, I was totally in awe. It closely resembled the appearance of Jupiter's moons' shadows on the face of Jupiter. But while those are commonplace happening virtually every day or two, I was watching something that, barring a major medical advance, no one living today would ever see again from the planet Earth.

We weren't blessed with many minutes of clear skies, but we both savored the sight as long as possible till a cloud deck moved in again and closed the curtain on the spectacle. WOW! -30-

Monday, June 04, 2012 9:25 PM - A second very good day in a row here. I finished the NAQCC EU JUNE Challenge when I worked F/ON6JUN to get the last 4 Ns. All the words were made using EU QSOs. Now I guess I can get back to work on our regular NAQCC June poker challenge.

Another good thing was getting invited to a turkey dinner birthday party at Nancy's. She had a cake for her son and grandson and me also as we all three celebrated birthdays at different days in May.

After finishing the EU challenge, I haven't worked any more DX. I tried, but the stations just weren't hearing me this evening like they have been the last several days. Of my 35 QSOs this month, 31 have been DX so far. I think I'll try later tonight again and maybe shoot for working some DX each day this month. -30-

Sunday, June 03, 2012 10:03 PM - A busy and enjoyable day today. Mike KC2EGL picked up Don K3RLL in New Bethlehem, then picked me up here and we headed off to the Butler hamfest where we met up with Tom WY3H to form the NAQCC WPA Chapter contingent, and set up our NAQCC table there. We met a lot of NAQCC members, and signed up 4 new members along the way. Nothing really spectacular happened, but it was a nice long period of good fellowship which is always enjoyable. We were there from about 8:30 till 2:00, then broke down our table and headed back here where Mike and Don visited for a couple more enjoyable hours.

First Don and I talked about music, in particular the TL show and the Magic Communications Network I've mentioned here in the diary before. Don is also a fan of the same kind of music, and he'll be listening to TL a lot also, I think. Then the three of us went up to my shack to look for some DX on the bands, but there wasn't a lot there at that time of day. All three of us did work Frantz FG5FR on 12 meters which turned out to be Mike's first ever 12 meter QSO. We heard a few more stations but most were weak. One caused some brief excitement when a WB station ran the W and B together while sending and that made it sound like a JS for Japan. But the next time he sent it, he sent the W and B correctly.

After what seemed all too short a time, Mike and Don took off and headed back up north. I got caught up on some email and other computer work, then went off to look for some more DX and get my streak QSO. DX was quite poor and I wound up getting WB8E on 30 meters in the 00Z hour. However I went back in the 01Z hour and DX was much better. I was looking for the needed letters to finish the NAQCC June EU challenge, but none of the EU stations I was hearing had an L or N in their calls, so I didn't bother working any. I did work UN7CW on 20 though simply because I enjoy working that somewhat exotic area of the world. Of course Kazakhstan is in Asia so I couldn't use the N. Well, I could because the rules say any station in the world does count, but I set my goal of only using EU stations, and I'm going to stick with it since I only need 9 more letters now.

And now my enjoyable day is coming near an end as is this diary entry. -30-

Saturday, June 02, 2012 9:10 AM - This may be a two part entry today. I want to get caught up on a backlog of emails and some are diary feedback which I am going to do now. Then I may add to the diary later depending on what happens today.

I asked Carl N5XE for some info about his WPX results, and here are some excerpts from a very long and interesting email.

"John, .....On the CQWPX contest, the breakdown for N5XE is as follows:
USA QSO's - 99
DX QSO's - 236
As you can see, you worked more DX than I did, with your 291 QSO's. Like you, I counted KH6 and KL7 as "DX". I figure that if you had of worked W/VE prefixes, you would have well over 400 QSO's in this year's WPX.

I should also point out that my antenna farm is as follows:
10/15/20 meters - 3 element triband yagi at 45 feet.
40/80 meters - 80-M horizontal loop

My physical location in the south-central U.S. normally makes the Caribbean and South America somewhat easy, with Europe and Asia a little more difficult, but this year, Europe was booming in. Looking at my QSO's, the following were by continent:
AF = 9
AS = 7
EU = 166
NA = 131
OC = 16
SA = 22

Number of contacts by band:
10M = 17
15M = 226
20M = 74
40M = 32
80M = 2
As you can tell, my main band was 15-M. Anyway, I had lots of fun in the contest as always, and felt happy with my QRP effort this year."

That's pretty much what I figured I could have done, had I worked W/VE stations - 400 QSOs. Maybe even more had I used 40 and 80 meters. Also I may have missed out on any possible 10 meters openings in the morning hours of Saturday and Sunday.

I'm impressed with Carl's 16 OC QSOs, but then OC is easier to work from that part of the country, I guess. Or perhaps he got those in the very early morning hours when I was still sleeping.

It's always interesting to see detailed reports like Carl's, so I can compare my efforts with those reports. Thanks again Carl.

The tomato pictures I promised
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And that's it. Maybe more later today. -30-

Friday, June 01, 2012 9:33 PM - While looking up info on the stations I worked in the CQWPX contest, I found this about the SF0530COH station I worked, "SF 05 30 Change Of Heart. This is a special callsign to commemorate the organ donor that made my heart transplant possible (which took place on the 30th of May 2009) and the callsign is limited to only be used during two weeks before and two weeks after the annual day of my transplantation."

From Mike KC2EGL, "Had a blast as usual working DX, as well as our second favorite activity - eating."

Of course that means Mike was (is) here, and we did work a lot of DX on 20,17,and 15 meters. Mike made 10 QSOs and I worked the following: EG7FAS and EG0FAS (Spanish Armed forces day), EM2012R (EU Football Championships), YO3FRI (Romanian YL), OK1HFP/P, HB9CVQ, SD1S, SN2012WA. If those special event call signs keep getting longer, I'll have to make that column on my paper logs wider. HI.

Now I've got to go and get those QSOs in my computer log and do some other things before bed time. -30-

Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:40 PM - Paul N0NBD got the latest trivia answer, but confessed he looked it up on the Internet.

A lot of DX on the bands this evening. Some nice special event calls. I worked II2POPE, EO2012JQ, EN2012EFC, and regular call EA8FC. I heard all continents except OC, but only worked EU and AF. Still it was nice to see the DX back after a couple of down days following the WPX contest.

I ate my first Siberian tomato today. It ripened about 5-6 days ago, and I picked and ate it right off the plant today. Pictures follow maybe tomorrow although it will be a busy day for me so it may be a couple days hence. -30-

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 1:23 PM - Some diary feedback and annoucing the trivia answer. Then a new trivia question.

Carl N5XE emailed, "Hi John, I also worked the CQWPX contest and had a great time. I had 351 QSO's and a total of 265 multipliers. I used QRP for this contest. Last year, I scored #1 in the QRP category for the "5" call area, but conditions were awful last year. I am curious to see how well I did this year with better band conditions. 15-meters was my band of choice. There was some 10-M activity during the day, mostly South Americans. I gave 40 a try late into the night, but noise on that band was terrible, so moved back up to 20-M. I am anxious to read your "contest story" about this year's WPX. Take care and all the best for now. Have a great memorial day, and - as I know you will - remember those who gave all so we could enjoy this great country and all its freedoms. 73 de Carl, N5XE Sulphur, OK."

Carl, I wonder how many, if any, of your WPX QSOs an multipliers were with W/VE. If you let me know, that may give me an idea how many more QSOs I might have gotten if I had worked W/VE stations. As diary and story readers know, my 291 QSOs were all DX, not a single W/VE unless KH6LC be considerd a W.

Here are the lyrics to the Bobby Vee song "Where Is She?" which is the answer to my trivia question. Since I couldn't find the lyrics on the Internet, these are what I'm hearing.

Where is she, that neighborhood devil who used to run wild? Where is she, did she move away? No, she just grew up, she's seventeen today. Where is she, that cute funny face, whose one big ambition was to play second base? What happened, am I seeing right, she's turned into a princess overnight. I still remember when she proposed to me. It seems like only yesterday I said, "Grow up, and then we'll see." Where is she, that kid from next door? Seems nobody sees her hang around any more. Where is she, with her pixie charm? Why she's all grown up and right here in my arms.

Cute song, isn't it? It's from 1964 and only made it to #120 on the Billboard Pop Chart. If you want to hear it, about the only place is on Terry Lee's Music for Young Lovers on the Magic Communications Network on the Internet. A Bing search should help you find the show if you're interested. He has a lot of other great music from the 50s and 60s as well. A lot of it that never gained national recognition.

Since that question was apparently way too hard, here's one a lot of folks should know. What singer drove in 14 races in NASCAR's often renamed top division (Grand National, Winston Cup, etc.)? I'd bet I get several correct answers to that one. It should be easy to find out with a Bing search, so let me know if you knew or had to do a search to find it. -30-

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:03 PM - Thanks for the nice comments on the CQ WPX story. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I had fun writing it and re-living the action. It's also nice to have it there to refer back to when I feel like it. I occasionally re-read some of my old contest stories and experience the thrill again.

I commented about it being unusual to work Japan around Noon here. I looked at my 182 JA QSOs just now, and I do only have those 3 QSOs between 1500 and 1659Z plus one each AT 1500 and 1659. This should be in the report, and I may transfer it there, but here are my JA QSOs by hour (UTC):
00 - 22
01 - 3
10 - 4
11 - 7
12 - 5
14 - 2
15 - 3
16 - 2
17 - 2
18 - 1
20 - 2
21 - 22
22 - 54
23 - 53

As I said in the report, most JA QSOs come around the sunrise and sunset hours. Now I see that most all come in the sunset hours with a tiny peak at the sunrise hours.

I love statistics, and it's nice to be working enough DX again to apply statistics to it. Only one DX QSO this evening though - P40H on 20M with a single call amid a pile-up.

It was another hot day today and all the hot days in a row culminated in two very heavy showers/TS today totalling 2.23 inches of rain. Now the next few days should be cool ones. Supposed to be around 70 for the Butler hamfest on Sunday the 3rd. That should be nice. We'll have a NAQCC table set up again.

Well, I've got to make a phone call now, so I'll close here. -30-

Monday, May 28, 2012 12:40 PM - I've got my CQ WPX contest story written and posted. I wrote part late last night and the rest this morning around going to watch our Memorial Day parade. I hope you all will do something today to honor our servicemen, living and dead who have given so much to keep America the #1 nation in the World by keeping us safe from without and within, especially from the radical terrorists and radical governments now so plentiful around the World today.

The contest story is in the usual place on my web site. I hope you'll read it and comment. That's my entry for today. -30-

Sunday, May 27, 2012 8:28 PM - I'm going to spend my writing energy tonight in writing a contest story about the CQ WPX contest this weekend while it is fresh in my mind. I had a ball making 291 QSOs, all of them DX. I didn't bother working any W/VE stations even though I could have done so. I did kind of listen for any possible overall new USA prefixes, but didn't hear any. Wait a minute. All this will be in the story. I'll let you know when it is posted. -30-

Saturday, May 26, 2012 3:40 PM - Conditions were fabulous last evening in the WPX. I think it was my fastest start ever in a big DX type contest with 33 QSOs the first hour. I also made a WAC easily. My log is in my computer in the shack. Let's see if I can remember the WAC - V31UB, HD2A, DM6V, EE8X, 4Z4IW, KH6LC. I think those calls are correct. I'm least sure of the Israeli, but I did work Israel for Asia, also a couple Asiatic Russians, I believe.

This morning and afternoon, on the other hand, were rather poor, so I'm getting caught up on some things now in hopes that the superb conditions of last evening will repeat tonight.

I'm getting more trivia feedback. Of course I practically gave away the singer's name - Bobby Vee. However no one has come even close to the song. Let me post the feedback here, then I'll give one final clue.

Paul N0NBD - "Bobby Vee and the Strangers de Paul."

Bob N2SU - "John: You're close but one song off. Bobby Vee's "Suzie Baby" was his first chart record, peaking at #77 in September 1959. "What Do You Want" was the follow-up, peaking at #93 (just two weeks in the Hot 100) in April 1960. Bobby's discovery in 1959 is one of the more interesting subplots to "The day the music died". Not familiar with the song you're looking for. 73/Bob N2SU"

Thanks Bob, I didn't have time to check the Billboard charts to verify my statement. Glad you did. I did look today, and it's interesting to see that he only had one song make the #1 spot. "Take Good Care of My Baby" was the one.

John N9RLO - "Hi John, The artist's name is Bobby Vee. One of the first of many "Bobbys" to come in the early 60's. I've been driving myself nuts trying to think of which song your referring to by singing the lyrics to every song I remember that he had a hit with. I listened to top 40 radio alot while growing up in the 50's and 60's. Some very well written songs came out of that era. Run To Him, Take Good Care Of My Baby and Rubber Ball are some of my favorites. BTW did you know we almost lost Dion that night also, but for the fact that he thought the planefare was too expensive. If I can think of the name of that song, I'll let you know. I always enjoy reading your diary. 73, John"

Yes, I did know that, but had forgotten it till you mentioned it.

The song in my trivia question was a side A song. It wasn't an obscure B-side song. However it was not very successful, chart-wise. It's even hard to find a version of it on the Internet despite so many of the early rock music songs that show up now on YouTube, etc. A not-too-thorough search hasn't even turned up the lyrics anywhere on the Internet. They probably are there somewhere, but I can't devote all that much time to looking for them. The song does survive today in one way though. It is often played on Terry Lee's Music for Young Lovers on the Magic Communications Network, along with many other great songs from the 50s and 60s that were not all that popular back then. Anyone remember Smokey and His Sister's song "Creator of Rain", for example? I talked about that one several months ago here in the diary. -30-

Friday, May 25, 2012 10:58 AM - It was nice having Mike visit last night, as always. Thanks to him for giving me a break in writing a diary entry also. But now it's back to work, and I want to get this written early and get all my obligations out of the way since I just finished up writing and posting our latest NAQCC newsletter. Now I want to take the rest of the day off, and perhaps go fishing, walking, or some (ugh) housecleaning. Things that I don't get to do enough of due to my obligations to the NAQCC.

Perhaps we should move on in our trivia question since what Paul says here seems to be typical of all who are interested in the question. "Wow, I guess I am stumped. Google nor Bing can seem to find any answer for me. So I will ride along and wait for the answer. de Paul N0NBD"

Let's explain the reference to 'the day the music died'. I would guess everyone has at least a little familiarity with the event that phrase refers to. It was February 3, 1959 when three young rock stars - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and 'The Big Bopper' J.P. Richardson were killed along with their 21 year old pilot in a plane crash in Iowa. As my story here goes on, perhaps the events become a little less familiar to those not too deeply involved in the early days of 'rock and roll'.

The trio of performers were on the way to a concert engagement in Moorhead, Minnesota. When word came to the concert organizers, they scrambled to find 'replacements' for the three artists. Replacements? Not really, since you couldn't replace the amount of talent that was killed in that plane crash. But they did not want to cancel the concert, and they did find some local high school talent in a group that called themselves The Shadows. Associated with that group from nearby Fargo, ND was a 15 year old named Robert Thomas Velline. Velline and the group did an admirable job filling in and it was the starting point to a long-lasting singing career by Velline, who is the singer referred to in my trivia question. However that was not the name by which he became famous. His career included 38 Hot 100 chart hits, 10 of which hit the Top 20. As soon as I list some of those songs here, you will know to whom I refer. His first single was "Suzie Baby" somewhat of a reference and tribute to Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue". Next up was a cover of Adam Faith's "What Do You Want?" which I believe was his first charted song. Now comes the giveaway - "Devil or Angel" then the real first biggie, "Rubber Ball". In 1961 "Take Good Care of My Baby" was I believe his first #1 hit. I think my favorite song of his was "Come Back When You Grow Up Girl".

Final clue - my favorite song has similarities to the song of his in the trivia question.

Of course, you now know the answer to who the Artist was. But can you figure out the song now? We'll see. -30-

Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:28 PM - Tonight I don't feel like writing a diary entry, so I've invited someone to do it for me.

Good evening from Kittanning Pa. John asked me to write tonight's entry for his diary. I have been out of work for the past 5 weeks due to a tear in one of the mucsles of my right rotator cuff. I am itching to get back to work. One good thing about this injury is that I get to spend lots of time here with John and with my beautiful fiance. My day started out on the lazy side. I watched todays stage of the Giro D' Italia bike race (tour of italy, one of the 3 grand tour's) and attempted to work some DX from home. I did log a station from Colombia. Later in the afternoon I dropped John a note asking if he would like some company. Of course he accepted. We worked some DX (John logged 3 QSO's - HA6OA, OM90ZSE, V26E, and I logged 7 QSO's - HA6OA, OM90ZSE, V26E, V44KAI, IK2DAD, CO8LY, 4Z5MU) and then had a snack. Like we were NOT going to have a bite to eat. Eating is a given when ever we visit. We also took a look-see to the hevean's and spotted Venus just before she set and the Moon which is in the second day of a crescent stage. We also browsed a great astronomy web page that John found last week.

Other than that it was a ordinary run of the mill day.

Mike, KC2EGL NAQCC 1263 -30-

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 9:21 AM - Paul N0NBD guessed Don McLean as the artist in my trivia question. Although Don is associated with 'the day the music died' because of 'American Pie', that's not the answer.

Another busy day today, but I probably will add more to the diary later this evening. Just want to keep caught up with my emails and get them cleaned out right now, so I posted Paul's info so I wouldn't lose it or forget it.

I'm back at 9:53 PM. More from Paul N0NBD since this morning, "Hello John, Toodles and I are home from a 6 day whirlwind tour of Washington DC and NYC. I had fixed my phone to check your diary but had very little time to check. I read Geo's comments and agree with him, following your writings gives me an idea of your life and doings. I also like your "old school" way of doing things. I also consider John a long distance friend and would like to meet for a cup o joe someday. I will have to do more thinking on the latest clue. Have a good one de Paul N0NBD"

It's nice to know my way of doing things is appreciated in this day and age.

How about another clue. The trivia singer literally started his singing career on 'the day the music died'. That should give away his identity to anyone who has any appreciation of the history of rock music. The song title may still be a bit elusive though.

Conditions good locally to the SE area of EU and the Eastern Mediterranean area this evening on 20 meters. I worked LZ2012KM, SV8/LZ1GC, and 4Z5IW in the 00Z hour. -30-

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 9:31 PM - We had a pretty good thunderstorm this afternoon so I shut down the computer and got on the air. Nice to not have a big antenna farm in thunderstorms. DX was pretty good and I worked MI0VKO on 17 and 9A4KW on 20 in the 20Z hour. Contrarywise this evening the DX wasn't all that good with just about all DX from everywhere rather weak in the 00Z hour. I did manage to work HC2AC on 17 meters, but that was it.

I often say ham antennas aren't rocket science and if you get a hunk of wire up in the air and hook it to your rig with a decent match, you'll work the stations. Well, I kind of proved that again tonight. After my DXing (what there was of it) on 20 meters, I went to 30, called CQ, got answered on my first or second call by KB8V in NC, had a great 20 minute solid rag chew with him, then discovered I never did change antennas from my 20 meters dipole. I don't know what kind of match I was getting, but probably not too close to 1:1, yet it worked, and worked well.

I've got to finish this now and finish my other web site updates, then get to work on the final cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs. Whew! It never stops. -30-

Monday, May 21, 2012 10:06 PM - I did something this evening I haven't done for a while. I worked some DX with mW power. I've been so used to just leaving the K2 set at 5 watts, I hadn't even been thinking about mW power. However the thought did occur to me tonight, and after working RW6FS, EA3KE, and OK1DX with 5 watts, I decided to try EA1DR on 17M with 900 mW. I got him easily after repeating my call once. He copied me solidly and commented on my 900 mW. Both OK1DX and EA1DR came right back to me with my name as I had worked both before. Some 12 years ago for OK1DX. Although I'm pretty sure they don't actually remember me and are using computers in the shack, I always enjoy being answered by name by the DX stations.

I had another 10+ miles walking day today. That's 7 days in a row now. It was ideal walking weather today after being a bit on the warm side yesterday. A high of 80 under partly cloudy skies with a nice breeze blowing. -30-

Sunday, May 20, 2012 9:21 PM - I think this from Geo N1EAV says volumes in response to my wondering why so many folks follow my diary. He emailed, "Hi John, In regards to your diary entry yesterday, I thought I'd put my two cents in as to why I keep up with your diary every day. I remember reading your columns in the Fists newsletter and one day decided to check out your website. Was quite impressed with what you had accomplished. I liked the way the site was laid out and the information it contained. I can't remember what year it was, maybe 2006 or 2007. I remember reading your diary entries from time to time. Then one day I decided to ask you about the 30 at the end of each entry. You answered it in the diary and from there I haven't missed a beat. Just something I do everyday like checking the email. Doesn't take a whole lot of time out of my day. I haven't gotten to know you personally, but I feel like I have gotten to know you a little bit over the years through email exchanges and your writings in the diary. I have an idea what makes you tick, your likes and dislikes etc. You're not much different than any of us who are just human beings. I like the fact that you are old school and live by the values that your parents taught you. I don't find you much different than the few friends I have here in my area. I feel that if I lived near your qth, I'd probably be stopping by with my dog from time to time to say hello. So, when I read your diary, I'm not just reading your diary, I'm checking up on my ham friend from Kittanning to see what he's up to and if all is going well, etc..... That's my thoughts on why I read k3wwp's musings everyday. Enjoy, and a Happy Birthday to you later on this week John. 73, geo n1eav"

Thanks Geo, and as I emailed him, I also have enjoyed getting to know him better through the diary and his regular comments on it. Keep 'em coming Geo, and the rest of you as well. Although it still somewhat mystifies me to see the interest in me and the diary, I certainly enjoy hearing your comments on the many varied topics I present here.

I guess no one is going to get the answer to the last trivia question about the song that contains the line, "whose one big ambition was to play second base". Perhaps a clue is due. It does not refer to anyone who ever did play second base or in fact any baseball or any sport at all. That is unless the writer of the song was referring to someone he knew rather than the fictional character it seems to refer to. It's by a male singer who got his start singing on the 'day the music died'. That should narrow it down tremendously. Let's hear from you.

We had a hot day today. We hit 90 degrees and although not oppressive, it was a little on the humid side also.

My QSOs this evening consisted of a rag chew (KW9R), a special event station (K7M), a new band country (CP4BT on 20M), and a quick QSO with HA4FF who was well over S9 on 20M. -30-

Saturday, May 19, 2012 9:59 PM - I've gotten a few emails today about this and that, and I haven't had time to answer them. Some also have diary feedback involved. I hope to get them answered and posted here in the diary tomorrow. Today was just too nice a day and my back was at about 99.99% so I had a lot of energy and did a lot of walking and other work around the house, and not a lot of time spent at the computer.

So for this entry I'll talk a bit about the DX I've been working lately. With the exception of our NAQCC sprint, I've only had 2 USA QSOs in the past 6 days and 13 DX QSOs on 30, 20, and 17 meters. Signals have been VERY strong in the 00 and 01Z hours on those 3 bands. I've worked all continents except Oceania. Nothing really new except for a PA2 prefix, but it sure is fun to be working the DX again. Perhaps I'll even make an effort to see what the bands are like in the morning or afternoon during the next several days. The 00 and 01Z hours have shown nothing at all on 15, 12, or 10 meters except one very weak XE station on 12 meters this evening. But maybe they are better during the day. -30-

Friday, May 18, 2012 11:36 AM - Some diary feedback today.

From Brion VE3FUJ, "Hi John, I also check in with your Dairy every day and enjoy most of your entries. I'm not a sports fan. If you satisfied every one every time, I'm sure it would be a dull world. Brion"

Yes, as long as they don't complain about not being satisfied, that's perfectly OK with me.

From Paul N0NBD, "Hello again John, I also checked the poll box as often as you offered. I make it here most days. I have wondered if you thought I was weird for following so closely. My wife and I are flying out tonight for a seven day sight seeing tour. I have my android phone set so I can check ur diary and a couple others while on tour...... Will be riding along de Paul N0NBD"

It never ceases to amaze me why people do follow my doings since I'm just a normal every day human being. But then I can't figure out why people watch those so called 'reality' shows on TV either. I've never watched any nor have any desire to do so. I use TV to learn things. I enjoy shows like "This Old House", "Home Again", fishing shows, shows about astronomy and the space program - things like that. Some sports shows (March Madness especially, and some soccer matches, and recently bowling shows again) also, although most sports have gone downhill in the past 20 or so years. -30-

Thursday, May 17, 2012 4:25 PM - OK boys and girls, it's show and tell time. First a picture, then a description.

pix_diary_20120517_01 (60K)

It's obvious that this is a card file box, and that it has a divider for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Each of the sections is for the first letter of the SUFFIX of a call. Thus W2AA goes in the A section while K3WWP would go in the W section.

So far so good for level 1, but it needs further narrowing down to be of any use at all. So we put 26 index cards in the A section, 26 in B, 26 in C all the way through 26 in the Z section. That gives us 676 cards in all. Each of the 26 cards in a section corresponds to the SECOND letter of the SUFFIX of a call. Thus as shown in the picture of the Q card in the A section, W8AQ goes on this card as well as VE3AQN. One on each line of the card the first time they are worked. The cards are the 3x5 inch ones which may or may not be clear from the picture.

I'll let you figure out where K3WWP would go, as well as W2SH.

Each line of info for a station contains his call, name, QTH and date worked as shown.

With such a system and somewhat nimble fingers, it is possible to be able to reply to a previously worked ham with a GM JOHN, HI PETE, and so forth. That is if he answers your CQ with the usual K3WWP DE VE3AQN VE3AQN AR at something less than breakneck speed. If you can send with your right hand and still manipulate the cards with your left, that gives you a few more seconds to search while you send VE3AQN DE K3WWP TNX CALL.... and now you have his name JIM to insert. Of course if he answers you as some do with K3WWP K3WWP K3WWP DE W2XXX AR you may not have enough time to play cards. That's a stupid way to answer a CQ anyway as I know my call and he doesn't need to repeat it 3 times. I don't know his call and he should send it 2 or 3 times as in K3WWP DE W2XXX W2XXX AR.

That takes care of keeping track of your contacts without a computer. It's almost as fast as a computer depending on how well you handle the cards.

I'm hoping you guessed or know that K3WWP would go on the W card in the W section. W2SH goes on the H card in the S section.

Nowadays you need an extra card in each section with a blank on it to cover the proliferation of 2X1 calls or SE 1X1 calls. NY4A would go on the 'blank' card in the A section for example since there is no second letter in his suffix.

I still hope to find the original cards I used here. I suspect I may have thrown them out although that goes against my 'save it, you might use it again someday' mentality. I'm sure I must have at least kept a couple of the cards as a remembrance of those days.

Duping calls in contests before computers was another challenge. That can be the topic of a future diary entry. -30-

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 11:07 PM - I did not find my index cards for 'show and tell' about my early days of keeping track of QSOs. However I did some thinking and tried to recreate the system. I'll have some pictures in tomorrow's entry.

Right now I've just come off of a bit of a tiring sprint. Some things went wrong, and I am tired now. So I'm just going to end this prematurely and say tune in tomorrow for more. -30-

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 7:09 PM - Some feedback will take care of my diary entry for today.

First long-time visitor Chuck W8LQ says, "John..... I checked "Once a week or more" in your poll, but FWIW I'm here nightly, just before I check the Astronomy Picture of the Day. I'll bet there are many "regulars" that get their K3WWP fix almost every day. I get my daily CW booster shot right after you and APOD!! I'm sure your efforts are quite time consuming. With your varied interests it's surprising you have kept up for so long. We fans would feel lost without our Kittaning Komrade!!! Thanks for never calling your diary a "Blog"!! What a horrid word! Vy 73..... Chuck W8LQ"

And good friend and NAQCC member Dick K1IEE says, "Hi John Just want to pass a few comments about your web site. I check it Dailey. Your comments are extremely helpful and provides some comfort sharing things like sending QSL cards, the call sign system, operating techniques, band conditions and much more. I still do a paper log and look forward to reading how you kept track of QSO's made without a computer log. Making duplicate QSO"s and not knowing it really bothers me at times. Going digital is a big step for me and someday with some help I'll do it. So thanks for all that you write about it is very helpful. 73 K1IEE Dick"

Unfortunately I still haven't found the info I'm looking for, but since Dick and perhaps others who don't use computers will benefit from it, so I will continue my efforts to find it, and if I don't, I'll try to reconstruct it from memory, at least.

Paul N0NBD also had this to say about my latest trivia question, "Hello John, I did not cheat and look at Bing or Google and did not know the answer so I sent no response..... Hope all is well in PA. The weather has been great this spring so far. I have been doing some fishing and hooked a few nice ones. have a good one de Paul N0NBD"

I hope to get back to fishing again soon as soon as my back is back to 100% again. A lot of back's in that short sentence. -30-

Monday, May 14, 2012 7:15 PM - I didn't get a chance to look for the material I mentioned in yesterday's diary entry, so that will again be put off.

Back in the mid 1990s when I started this web site, it was one of the very few web sites relating to ham radio, and the number of visitors per day increased rapidly to the point where the average was just over 150 per day. There were seasonal variations as Internet activity waxed and waned with the weather, but that 150 average was pretty stable for several years. When Alltel changed to Windstream with a resultant change of URLs, the number of visitors dropped by some 33% or more to just under 100 per day. Ever since then except for occasional peaks, the 150 mark was not reached again. Currently the number is hovering just above 100 and seemingly slowly dropping off. That has caused me to think of making some changes in the web site, and I'm starting a short series of polls to help me decide what to do. I've just posted the first of those polls in the usual spot on the main page of the web site. I hope you'll take the tiny bit of time it takes to vote so you can help me with my decisions regarding the web site. Thanks. -30-

Sunday, May 13, 2012 10:56 PM - At the moment I am sitting here with Mike KC2EGL watching the first ever episode of Hogan's Heroes on DVD. We just finished a session chasing DX which was not as successful as our previous ones. I didn't work any DX, and Mike worked LY2J on 20 meters. My streak QSO was with K4RNV on 30 meters. Of course before that we had a pizza.

I did have what I thought was a new idea for the diary tonight. I was going to show how I kept track of who I worked when before computers came along, but I forgot where I had put the info I needed for 'show and tell'. Maybe tomorrow I can find it and put it in tomorrow's diary entry. -30-

Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:21 PM - Not even a guess to my trivia question. Mike took a look at it and he had no idea. He and I had a great time last night taking advantage of the superb clear sky to get in about 3 hours of stargazing. We looked at as many of the Messier objects as I could think of with the exception of the overabundance of galaxies in the Virgo and Coma Berenices galaxy clusters. Also about a dozen NGC objects that I could remember. Then of course the three visible planets, Venus, Mars, and Saturn. As many times as we've seen Saturn, it still brough expressions of delight to look at it again. Venus in its thick crescent phase was awe-inspiring also. Mars was also nice, if less spectacular. Then we examined several double stars including Castor, Gamma Leonis, and my favorite of all - blue and yellow Albireo.

Mike stayed overnight since our observing session lasted till well after midnight. Then this morning we spent a few more hours together mostly looking at astronomical things on the computer. The Voyager planetarium program I have features some great tours or 'settings' as they call them. They show events in the sky in the far distant past as well as in the future. There are too many to describe here, but I'll mention a couple of my favorites. One shows the sky back in 400,000+ BC when we had two bright pole stars - Aldebaran and Capella. Others show the times when one planet occulted another or when two planets were extremely close together as happened with Venus and Jupiter which were so close in 2 BC they looked like one object and many think that could have been the 'Christmas Star'. They also show spacecraft trajectories, comets, and as I said, just too much to list here. Voyager is a free program which is a somewhat limited version of their paid program (which I have) which costs somewhere around $100.00.

After we had something to eat at Wendy's and Mike headed home, I did some walking to enjoy another very beautiful day.

This evening I got an easy QSO from HP1/IZ6BRN on 20 meters, and hung around a while longer to also work KB6NU in MI on 30 meters. -30-

Friday, May 11, 2012 6:25 PM - Since Mike and I plan to do some stargazing later tonight, I think I'll get my diary entry done early.

I haven't presented a trivia question lately, so here goes. From what song by what artist is the following phrase: "whose one big ambition was to play second base". I'm sure you can find it by doing a Bing search on the Internet, but I'd like to know if anyone really knows the answer without doing any research. So let me know how you got the answer if you do.

Today was one of those days you'd like to bottle and have it available all 365 days of a year. Perfect blue skies with a few summertime cumulous clouds, just a light breeze, a temperature of 72-74 degrees, very low humidity - ideal! 9.5 miles on the pedometer so far tells the story. I got some nice pictures of the late blooming flowers and blossoming trees around town today. This is usually the time when a lot of flowers bloom and trees blossom, but with the very warm month of March and normal month of April, a lot of that has already taken place. -30-

Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:13 PM - I spent a lot of time writing today - our NAQCC newsletter - my QRP column for the next FISTS Keynote - answering a lot of emails - so I'm not going to write much here in the diary tonight.

My QSO this evening for the streak was with my friend Woody WD9F who answered my 40 meters QSO after a few minutes of calling.

It looks like if it is clear tomorrow night, Mike KC2EGL and I might do some stargazing which we haven't done for a while. -30-

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 9:39 PM - Just got home from a good computer club meeting and got a quick streak QSO from PR7AR on 20 meters. The bands seemed really good again in the 0100Z hour. The usual big pileups on 20 and 30. I guess from 706T and maybe the PY0F station. I didn't bother trying to see who it was since I could never have the patience to try to break that big a pileup. -30-

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 9:04 PM - A rainy day today with almost an inch and a half of rain totalling almost 2 inches since yesterday. I guess we really need it though, so no complaints. It did raise the river and made it muddy so I probably won't be fishing for a few days. Maybe I can get on the air during the day and finish the May NAQCC challenge by working a station from the W5, W6, and W7 call areas. I worked a W7 this evening, but he was in MA, not the W7 call area by any means. I also worked a bit more DX with a QSO from XE2MVY on 20 meters. Sounded like two separate huge pileups taking up most of 30 meters this evening - 7O6 and PY0F??? Just a guess as I didn't listen to see who the chasees were. Sure were a lot of chasers though. -30-

Monday, May 07, 2012 10:48 PM - Another fun day with Mike KC2EGL. He showed up late this afternoon for a scheduled visit. First of all we got all caught up on the NAQCC prizes. So if you've won something in any of our NAQCC events, you should be receiving your prize shortly. After that we went over to see my neighbor Nancy for a little while. Then one of our favorite activities - eating. We ordered two pizzas, one pepperoni and one sausage. After that we talked about and planned out a Messier Split Marathon. Since because of various reasons, it has been and is going to be, hard to do a full marathon in March, we've been thinking about doing it in two separate sessions a few months apart. That way we should be able to observe all 110 Messier objects well before midnight by splitting them up that way. We ran a simulation on the Microsoft World Wide Telescope and found it is very feasible to do it that way using a day in June and one in November. So we may just give it a try in the real world providing we can find clear nights when Mike doesn't have to work the next day.

Then we decided to give a go at working some DX on 20 meters as we did a couple nights ago. That turned out to be a lot of fun. We both worked the same 5 stations. I worked 4 of them first and Mike worked them right after me. The fifth he did first, then me. Here's the list:
E71A - Bosnia - 30 meters.
RP67R - Russia - 20 meters - our 3rd RP67 station worked.
OK4RQ - Czech Republic - 20 - Pavel.
RA9KY - Asiatic Russia - 20 - Nick.
R2KW- Kaliningrad - 20.

Mike enjoyed it a lot also. We both had a little trouble with the R2KW station getting our calls right, but he finally got mine. Then when it was Mike's turn to try, It took quite a while for him to get Mike's call right, but he finally got his also.

We also heard a Kazahkstan station. Mike hadn't worked Kazahkstan before so I gave him first shot, but the station just disappeared or signed off. There was also an Austrian station, and Mike wanted to work him. We waited for several minutes for the Austrian to finish his QSO, but then when he did, he said he was signing off for the night. So a couple of disappointments, but still a lot of fun. If you're around your shack in the 0100Z hour, be sure to check 20 meters. It has really been hot lately in that hour and maybe other times as well. -30-

Sunday, May 06, 2012 9:24 PM - My back was a little stiff again today so I didn't do a lot out of the ordinary computer work, walking, eating, etc.

I did want to mention that I received my NAQCC tee shirt yesterday, and they look really nice. If you are reading this and are a NAQCC member, I urge you to check out the NAQCC web site via the link above and take a look at the shirts pictured there. Then I hope you'll seriously consider purchasing one to wear anytime you get together with other hams to show your pride in the NAQCC and perhaps to recruit some new members for the club.

I worked someone this evening in the NEQP. I thought it ended earlier today, but I could be wrong. However he was the only station I heard calling CQ NEQP, so I don't know. Anyway, I later worked WB8AJR whom I will list as my streak QSO of the day. I listened a while on 20, and it was good again this evening, just like last night. I didn't really hear anything I needed though, so I passed on working what I was hearing to let others have their shot at working the stations. I heard one of the RP67 stations again. I'm guessing the 67 stands for 67 years since the end of World War II, but I haven't really had time to check for sure. I may do that after I post this entry, as I need to know just where in Russia they are located anyway. You used to be able to tell simply from the structure of the call sign just where in Russia the station is located, but just like the USA who ruined that system years ago, Russia has now done so as well. As Bob Dylan sang, "The Times They Are A'Changin'".

Mike is dropping by again tomorrow for a visit. We're going to get caught up on the NAQCC prizes, and who knows what else. Last night we wound up in an interesting discussion of the history of baseball teams, etc. So anything is possible tomorrow. It's nice to have a friend with whom you share so many varied interests. -30-

Saturday, May 05, 2012 11:43 PM - Mike KC2EGL dropped in for an impromptu visit this evening and we just closed out about a 4 1/2 hour visit. As you see from the time stamp on this entry, it is now quite late, so I'm not going to write a lengthy entry. We did have fun working some DX on 20 meters as it was in great shape till quite late. I worked RP67W and IQ0PG, and Mike also worked both of those. I also worked R0AA, 5B/RN3QO, RP67MC and K1GGI. I also had a nice rag chew type QSO with Leif SMDBU. That was a lot of fun. Now I've got to move on. More tomorrow. -30-

Friday, May 04, 2012 9:33 PM - My streak QSO this evening was with Liechtenstein - HB0/DL2SBY whom I worked easily on 20 meters while everyone else in the world was chasing 7O6T either on 20 or on 30. I can't recall the last time I've worked Liechtenstein as it is not all that common a country. I'm going to check and see just how many times I've worked it and when. Back in a minute.... OK, it's so easy with my Microsoft Access log, it didn't even take a minute.

I've had 19 QSOs with Liechtenstein including the latest one tonight. Every one was from a portable operation. I've never worked a native Liechtenstein ham. The first of the QSOs was back on June 22, 1994 when I worked HB0/DL8HWA on 30 meters. The last QSO before tonight was way back on November 3, 2001 when I worked HB0/HA6NL on 10 meters (remember 10 meters? HI). Only 4 of the 19 QSOs took place in a contest. -30-

Thursday, May 03, 2012 9:38 PM - I picked up another call area for the NAQCC May challenge tonight. NB1N was # 7, with W5, W6, and W7 yet to go. I don't work those areas too often in the 0000Z hour so I may have to juggle my schedule to complete the challenge. One member already completed the challenge. He lives in MN which means it is much easier since that is closer to the center of the country where both coasts and the rest of the USA are more easily worked, especially on 40 meters which seems to be the most popular CW band recently.

I also worked W0EA who was using a K3 and I got his serial number for the Elecraft CC award. He was going to switch to his K1 and give me that number also, but the band changed on us before we could make it. Anyway in my slow climb to the award, I'm at 17 numbers now.

Let's see, what else happened today. I went for some nice walks in our beautiful June type weather. It hit 90 degrees for the first time this year after almost making it back in March when we reached 88 degrees. It sure felt good. I also planted out my two tomato plants, the one with the inch plus tomato on it, and the one that looks like a dwarf tomato plant without even any buds on it yet. The two pepper plants went out also. One is about 10 inches tall, and the other which started much later in the same pot is about 4 inches tall. Hopefully tomorrow, I'm going to plant some bean seeds including some given to me by Ron K5DUZ which are Speckled Butter Beans, a type of Lima Bean according to Ron.

Right now, my washer just quit, and I've got to put the clothes in the dryer. Then I'll be back to close out this entry if I think of anything to add. I'm back and can't think of anything I haven't covered. -30-

Wednesday, May 02, 2012 10:20 AM - Here's an early morning follow-up on the March/April story. It did happen in Pittsburgh as well. That's the third time in 142 years of record that March was warmer than April there - 1907, 1946, and now 2012. The difference there was even slightly greater: March mean-51.5, April mean-50.4 for a 1.2 degree difference. That must really confuse the heck out of Algore and the global warming cult members. -30-

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 9:21 PM - Here's the lowdown on the March vs. April temperature competition. It boiled down to a close race with March taking the warmness prize by a nose. That's the first time ever in my 54 years of readings here. As I said a couple days ago it happened twice in 142 years of records at Pittsburgh. If it also happened there this year, it would be 3 times. I'll have to check the Pgh records later.

Anyway here it stacked up as follows:
March: Min-38.7, Max-64.8, Mean-51.7
April: Min-37.5, Max-64.3, Mean-50.9

So March was warmer as follows:
Min +1.2
Max +0.5
Mean +0.8

An early spring to remember, for sure. Meanwhile May started off the month today just about normal or slightly above. With a high of 78, it was a great day to be outdoors, and I took advantage with some walking (7.6 miles on the pedometer right now), a little work in the yard, and just sitting on the porch for awhile. That last is something I don't do very often as I'm not too fond of just sitting and doing nothing.

I'm expecting a call from Tom WY3H shortly, so I'll close this for now. -30-

Monday, April 30, 2012 9:18 PM - 30 meters this evening was like feeding time at the zoo after the animals hadn't been fed for a week. Everybody and his brother, sister, mother, father, cousins, etc. were chasing what I think I heard as 7O6T which I believe is Yemen? Without the 15+ kHz wide pileup, I think 7O6T was strong enough here for me to work, but against that pile-up? No way!

Instead I started on the NAQCC May challenge by working K9EEI for the 9th call area and K0TC for the 10th call area. Only 8 more to go now to master the challenge.

Also K0TC was using a K3 and I got his serial number to add to the list building (slowly) toward 100 S/Ns for the Elecraft CC award.

Other than that not much out of the ordinary today. I walked some 7.5 miles today and may go for another mile inside the house before I put the pedometer to bed for the night. I also got a good head start on all my end of month - first of month processing. Except for actually going to the bank in the morning and doing it, all the financial stuff is taken care of. I'll be entering April's weather records into the computer before long, and so forth.

Right now though I just remembered I need to call Tom WY3H to check to see if has gotten our NAQCC table reserved for the Butler hamfest in June. -30-

Sunday, April 29, 2012 9:08 PM - A pretty nice day today. Almost made it to 70 under mostly sunny skies. A good day for walking, and I did. Just under 10 miles on the pedometer as I type this. A very dry day too. I saw a humidity reading of 16% on the weather station I got a few weeks ago which I believe is the lowest I have seen in that time. The high humidity for the day though was 86% which occured during the night, probably toward dawn.

My QSO came pretty easy tonight when W3CUV in Erie, PA answered my CQ after just a few minutes, and Neal and I talked for 32 minutes. That's another rag chew QSO towards the Elecraft Rag Chew Award. I haven't been keeping track for a while now. I'll have to go back through my log and get that updated. It still amazes me how few Elecraft rigs I seem to work now since I started using my K2 here. It may take a long time to get the 100 Elecraft rig serial numbers for that award. And I still need Nebraska for the Elecraft WAS award.

I had a good time tonight when I got back from one of my walks. My new next-door neighbor (no, Nancy didn't move - this is on the other side) was outside with his 3 year old daughter who was riding her little tricycle. I hadn't really had much of a chance to talk with him, and we had a 'rag chew' for about a half hour while little Chloe was riding her trike. She's a real little doll, and seems very smart. -30-

Saturday, April 28, 2012 9:02 PM - I decided to get a quick QSO in the FL QSO Party for my streak QSO this evening, and I worked N4S on 40 meters. It was nice not to have to go looking for an O this evening for a change.

It was a chilly day again today with a low of 31 and a high of 47. More like March than April as we continue our reversal of months here. It will be interesting in a couple of days when the average for April can be computed to see if indeed April was colder than March. If it does turn out that way, it will be a very rare happening, although not unprecedented. It has never happened in my 53 years of records here starting in 1959. However in looking through the Pittsburgh historical records I find two years where March was warmer than April - 1907 March 46.2 April 43.8 and 1946 March 51.2 April 50.0. The Pittsburgh stats go back to 1871, some 141 years.

A couple of folks have asked about my back, so I'll report briefly here although I don't really like to talk about such things. I'm coming along pretty good and almost back to normal. A little stiff when getting up in the mornings, and improving all day till it is quite good late in the evening. Still it's quite discouraging to not be my usual active 100% always busy doing this or that. -30-

Friday, April 27, 2012 9:08 PM - As the title of the beautiful old Etta James song says - At Last. Yes, AT LAST I got my O to finish the NAQCC April Challenge. I heard K9OZ K on 40 and hoped that was the end of a CQ, so I waited a few seconds, and it was a CQ which he repeated, I answered and got a QSO with someone with an O in their call. So it wasn't quite as exciting a finish as last month when I had to get something like 3 letters on the very last day of the month.

Today was a pretty good day, weatherwise and for my back as well. At times today, I felt close to 100% again, but still not there consistently yet. I did take 3 medium length walks outside today which I think helped. Let's see, I have 7.5 miles on the pedometer and a good deal of that was outside, not just walking around the house.

Oh, before I worked K9OZ, my QSO for the day was with NAQCC member John N8QY who answered my CQ. That may have been the first time we worked outside one of our NAQCC sprints.

I also finished up and put on-line our latest issue of the NAQCC newsletter today. There's a very interesting article by G0EML about the history and evolution of keys. Although I've read a lot of key history info over the years, I found a couple new things in there I had not known. You're welcome to take a look at the newsletter, and if you're not a NAQCC member, this would be the ideal time to join. Go to http://naqcc.info/ and look in the Newsletter section. Oh, by the way, we just crossed the 6,000 member mark yesterday when KK4IAJ signed on. So if you join, you can help us get started on the way to 7,000 members. Mention you heard about it from K3WWP and we'll give you a half-price membership. HONEST! Regular membership is FREE, so we won't even lose anything in the deal. HI.


Thursday, April 26, 2012 9:40 PM - I got on the air sometime early this afternoon and tuned around the bands looking for that elusive O. Would you believe not only did I not find an O, but I didn't hear a single station anywhere on 40 through 12 meters - not one! What is happening?

There was more activity this evening, but why is it when I find a station with an O in the call, they always are in a never-ending long QSO. I never hear one calling CQ, and never get an answer from one. My QSO this evening came from Art K4TP, a ham for 65 years. I wonder if that's an original call. I didn't think to ask him. It's not his only call though, as he said he lived near here in PA over half a century ago.

Many years ago I was always in awe when I worked a 1X2 call as I knew it was a real veteran operator I was working. Then the FCC decided to mess up the licensing system, and now a call sign means absolutely nothing. You don't get any idea whether you're working an old-timer, or someone who just was licensed last year. You can't even get an idea of where the ham is from his call as you once could. Oh well, that's what they call progress, I guess. SIGH! -30-

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 9:09 PM - My back is getting back to normal now, and I took a couple medium length walks today.

Still looking for the O to finish the April NAQCC challenge. I'm just going to have to make time during the day to look for some DX with an O in their call. Not having much luck finding anyone in the evening. I did get my streak QSO fairly quickly this evening when Ed KK4BMB answered my CQ. When I heard the first part of the call, I thought maybe it was NAQCC member KK4BOB, but not so. -30-

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:59 PM - Not much to write about today. Except for going to vote in the PA primary election, I mostly just did computer work today.

My streak QSO took a bit of time to get this evening, but finally Doc NV4T answered my CQ, then as soon as we finished, Alan WB6THE called me. Sort of a BOGO deal, I guess. HI. -30-

Monday, April 23, 2012 9:23 PM - Let's start this entry with a picture of the big snow storm we had today. It was really something.

pix_diary_20120423_01 (66K)

What's that? You don't see any snow? Funny, neither do I, yet the National Weather Service, AccuWeather, Intellicast, etc. all say there should be anywhere from 5 to 9 or more inches on the ground. Very strange indeed. I guess they all figure predicting a big snow and having it not happen is better than predicting no snow and getting dumped on.

Enough jabbing and kidding around. It was just one of those cases where the track of the storm is everything. We happened to lie on the Western edge of it, and in just the right position where we were in a little warmer sector so we got rain instead of snow. About .80 inches of rain which had we been in the cold regime, could indeed have produced 8 or 9 inches of very wet snow. So for a few degrees, all the weather forecasts were wrong - THANK GOODNESS.

At least you can see my recently painted thermometer shelter in the picture along with one of the recently painted posts. And the recently cleaned sundial although it doesn't show all that well in the picture.

Mike KC2EGL dropped by for a short visit today and we took care of a couple of NAQCC prizes and had a meal at Wendy's.

It took all of one CQ to get my QSO this evening when Rick KC4KNN answered me. Then after looking around for an O and not finding one, I decided to try a CQ again, and Ken WA8REI answered me for a short chat. -30-

Sunday, April 22, 2012 9:08 PM - That final O to complete the NAQCC April challenge continues to be elusive. I heard a friend of mine on 30 this evening who has an O in his call, but he was engaged in an interminable rag chew, and was still going when I had to QRT about an hour later. I also heard one other station with an O, but I worked him earlier in the month and used his letters already. In between searching and waiting for an O I made two QSOs for the streak - Daryll VE3LFN and Marty KW1C.

It looks like we're getting Winter here finally - some 4 months late. A Nor'easter is supposed to bring 5 to 8 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. But at this time of year it won't last more than a day or two at most as I said in yesterday's entry and repeat here tonight. I guess that's our payback for the very very warm snow-free winter from November through March.

The back is a little better today, and hopefully will be just a memory by Tuesday or so. -30-

Saturday, April 21, 2012 9:26 PM - This was not one of my better days. I had muscle spasms in my back. That's something I seem to get once every year or two since I had my back problems in the mid 90's. Anyway it was a miserable weather day also, so I didn't miss much by just hanging around indoors and resting and exercising.

It looks like winter might finally get here the next couple days with some forecasts predicting as much as six inches of snow mostly Sunday night and Monday morning due to a nor'easter storm. Anyway at this time of year, even if we get that much which is unlikely, it will all be gone in a couple days for sure.

I just got a quick QSO in the MIQP for my streak QSO. Never did look around for the O that I need to complete the NAQCC April challenge. Maybe tomorrow if my back feels better and the weather is as lousy as predicted. -30-

Friday, April 20, 2012 9:13 PM - Another fairly busy day today. I did some more painting in the back yard. Went fishing, but didn't get nary a nibble. Helped Ange resurrect the very last fig tree - one at one of his friend's house. Did some walking. Did a little sanding on my sundial that I built a few years ago preparing to re-finish it a bit.

Took a bit of time off to get on the air this afternoon to hunt for letters for the April NAQCC challenge. Worked CO6RD which gave me 2 Os and 2 Rs leaving me needing 4 letters for completion. Then this evening for my streak QSO I worked HA9RT which finished off the Hs and Rs leaving me needing 1 O for completion. Hopefully I can find an OK ON CO etc. station tomorrow sometime. I don't want to go down to the wire like I did last month.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating for those who haven't heard it. I find it helps a lot if you are having QRN problems to switch to another antenna for copying. Antennas have vastly different signal to noise ratios. I often can barely pull out a station on 40 meters using my attic random wire, but switching to my 10 meters dipole will pop the signal right out in the clear for easy copy. Give it a try, but don't forget to switch back to the correct antenna for transmitting. That often doesn't really make much of a difference though. I've worked some good DX using the 'wrong' antenna after forgetting to switch antennas when changing bands. -30-

Thursday, April 19, 2012 11:01 PM - I had one of those stem to stern busy days today, and I was going to go into a little detail about it here, but then I got involved in two long phone calls and here it is 11PM already and I'm just starting my washing so....

A brief summary of today. I painted my thermometer shelter this morning. Went fishing after I finished that and caught a 23 inch carpsucker which is #5 for the year - the earliest I've reached the 5 fish mark. Came home and fixed supper, then got my lawnmower from the neighbor who had borrowed it a few days ago and cut the grass in my back yard. Did a few other little chores until it was time to get my streak QSO(s) - got two KC2ZBZ and W4OGZ. The latter took me down to just needing 8 letters to finish the April NAQCC challenge. That brings me to the two phone calls and ends this diary entry.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4:03 PM - After a couple of glitches along the way, I received my Elecraft DX Chaser Award today.

pix_diary_20120418_01 (125K)

I'm surprised that my award is only # 16 after the Elecraft rigs have been available for so long now. Either Elecraft owners aren't that interested in awards or perhaps they don't know about the several awards Elecraft issues for accomplishments using their products. Working 100 countries with my K2 at 5 watts only took a couple of months with 93 of the countries coming in the November CQWW DX contest.

I'm doing the diary entry early today since I mainly wanted to show off the Elecraft award. HI Otherwise I went for a couple walks and a shopping trip with Nancy so far today. I needed some ink for my printer, and she needed to take some things to a rummage sale so we helped each other out there. It's great when you have neighbors that you can help and who can also help you.

Now I think I'm going off for another walk. It's a nice although bit cool day today. Finally the wind has dies down somewhat. I thought it never would for awhile. It's not calm, but much better than it has been. -30-

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 9:33 PM - Tonight I'll present a little email exchange between Gust ON6KE and me.

ON6KE - "Morning John, I have a question; you're long enough in ham radio, just as I am. (Since 1974) In the old days before the internet it was turning the dial over and over again in search of the DX. I'm still very much into chasing DX, absolutely love it. I've LOST quite a lot of DX because of the internet hordes appearing within seconds after a spot, but on the other hand also worked really NICE DX because of the spots. My question to you is how you run into your DX, do you get alarms or monitor the clusters or do you still turn the dial in search of? Or do you do use the DX clusters and in the mean time on and on keep turning the dial? How often do you run into for you worthwhile or new DX that isn't spotted yet? In other words, is turning the dial paying off for you? 73, GUD DX."

K3WWP - "Hi Gust, Good question. I may discuss it in my diary sometime. I have 15,011 DX QSOs worked since I started my streak back in August of 1994. Of those, ONE QSO came from a spot - V51AS. A friend and I were talking on the phone and he mentioned V51AS was on such and such a frequency - 30 meters I think, and we were both just curious to know if I could work him. I did. The other 15,010 came from sitting down at the rig and tuning the bands. I believe working DX from spots is like going fishing into a very small overstocked pond - or - going hunting at a game preserve where the poor animals are paraded past to shoot. There is NO challenge in those two things, just like there is no challenge in using all the assistance including spots involved in working DX today. It's just an example of society in general where no one wants to work to earn anything. They want it all handed to them on a silver plate. Not me. If it is worth having, it is worth working for. That is just my opinion and the way I do it here."

ON6KE - "Thank you for your swift reply John. I can't agree more with you and I must admit that I should be paying more attention to finding the DX myself. I'm now even more than before impressed with what you achieved, 200+ countries 36 zones all QRP with low profile antennas without the clusters, I'm nothing less than in awe for you did. 73, good DX."

I thought that stated my feelings about the current state of ham radio in regard to DXing as well as the current state of society in general. I have always believed, and will always believe that anything worth having is worth working for - whether it be working a new DX entity, catching a 30 inch carp, getting enough money to buy a new computer, raising vegetables in my garden to make a tasty salad...... You get the picture. I've never taken a handout or gotten anything that I didn't earn in one way or another. I'm proud of that. -30-

Monday, April 16, 2012 9:13 PM - Another day today like yesterday. I played around with my weather station a while today, and while I was looking up some info on the Internet I ran into the following web site which explains that a good portion of the 1100 or so official weather stations around the USA are not up to current exposure standards, and are reading temperatures higher than they should. So I'm not alone here with my un-official station. It also shoots a big gaping hole in the "Global Warming" theory espoused by Algore and his liberal cronies. Here's the article. Looks like there are some other very interesting articles there as well that are right on target. I'm going back and read some when I have time.

Now I better get started on cross-checking our record-tying number of logs (135) and record number of QSOs (2,542) from last week's NAQCC sprint. Hope there aren't too many errors, or it's going to take a long time. -30-

Sunday, April 15, 2012 8:54 PM - This was one of those days when I got a lot of little things done, but I don't think any of them are really worth writing about in the diary.

It was another one of those days we had back in March and will have a lot more of in the upcoming months. On my little weather station sitting next to me here, I see the high was 85. I'm still experimenting to find a good spot to put the wireless sensor to get the most accurate readings. It's now on the outer part of the front porch which seems pretty good till the evening when the Sun heats up the front yard, etc. Then the readings seem a bit high compared to my other thermometers. There really is no place on my property that adheres to Weather Bureau standards for instrument exposure, so I have to compromise. I'll continue to experiment.

This evening, I had a fairly quick QSO, albeit it not a long one. Glen N8WE answered my CQ with his 500 mW and was pretty rough copy, but we did make a good QSO and the streak goes on.

We had a bit of trouble with log submissions for our NAQCC sprint, so I extended the submission deadline by 24 hours which means no cross-checking of logs till tomorrow evening. If we get one more log tomorrow (and I think we will from VE2ZAZ who already said he'd re-send his tomorrow), that will tie our record of 135 logs. Obviously if we get two or more, that will break our record as the popularity of our NAQCC sprints continues to grow. Have you participated in a sprint yet? If not, the next one is the evening of May 16. -30-

Saturday, April 14, 2012 9:02 PM - I enjoyed the computer exposition this morning. I didn't really learn a lot, but it was nice to do something different for a change. We attended 3 different 25 minute sessions. One on eBooks, another on computer safety, and third which was most interesting on GPS and geocaching. The last was interesting because I had only once briefly played with a GPS unit a few years ago. This time I got to use a GPS unit again and learn about setting one up and actually using it for a small demo on geocaching.

Other than that it was kind of a dreary overcast day with a shower now and then. I mostly just 'played' with my computer and ate. I fixed myself a nice salmon loaf for supper which also served me as a mid-evening snack.

As I said, because of the computer exposition, I didn't get to help in the fig tree resurrection this time around. I did take a couple pictures of the resurrection for Ange to keep as this is the end for the three big fig trees. This fall they will either be pulled out or not buried so they can quietly come to end of their productive years and be replaced by 3 smaller ones for the future. That will make working with them much easier for the next few years till they too, get big.

A quick GA QSO Party contact was my streak QSO this evening. I worked special event call K4L, which as he told me was manned by my friend Jim, K4QO. I was a bit taken aback when a SE call answered me by name, until he said who he was.

Now I've got to go and come up with a new (or re-run) poll. My those months go by fast. -30-

Friday, April 13, 2012 10:00 PM - Friday the 13th didn't prove any more unlucky that any other day. In fact I actually caught a fish when I went fishing this afternoon. That's 4 for the year so far which actually ties the most fish caught as of April 13th for me.

I got in a lot of walking today as it actually warmed up and the wind actually was just about calm. I see 11.15 miles on my pedometer. Ange and I uncovered the three big fig trees in the main garden this afternoon. So they are ready to be resurrected tomorrow morning. I won't be there to help as I'm going to a small local computer exposition with a friend.

My QSO came pretty quickly (with Mike AA4N) this evening, but didn't last too long as QSB cut it short. -30-

Thursday, April 12, 2012 9:39 PM - I got a little scare this evening when I tuned to 30M on the K2. All I heard was silence. All other bands I checked were OK. After some time looking around I noticed that 30M was set to Antenna 2, while the other bands were on Antenna 1. Apparently I must have accidentally bumped the Ant 1/2 button. There's nothing connected to Antenna 2, so that explained it, and everything is OK now with 30M back on Antenna 1.

I did a couple things today I haven't done in a while. First I worked with the fig trees. Ange and I resurrected two of them today, and plan to do the rest within the next week or so. Second I played some soccer with Nancy's granddaughter and a little later with her grandson also. So I got a good workout today. Then later I sat out on the porch swing with Bruce for quite a while. It wasn't the same as when Joe was there sitting between us and sharing his attention with both of us. Then a little later still, Nancy called for me to come over and have some home-made lasagna. Well, like Garfield, even though I had just eaten some spaghetti and meatballs a couple hours earlier, I didn't turn down the lasagna.

After that 'variegated' day, my QSOs came easily tonight. I heard my friend Paul N8XMS calling CQ and chatted with him a bit. Then called CQ myself and was answered by Pat KC8JNL. -30-

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:16 PM - We had a good computer club meeting this evening. My demonstration on 'Spring Cleaning Your Computer' was well received. I think some members who've been lax in cleaning their computer will now be doing so.

When I got home, I got my weather readings, then decided I'd try to get my daily streak QSO, and if not, do it in the morning. Well it only took a few CQs till Bob K8CT answered.

We've gotten 107 logs for our last night's NAQCC sprint already. Possibly this will be the month we break our record of 135 if they continue coming in like that.

Looks like the Sun is taking a nap again. The SF has been below 100 for several days now without any significant activity on the Sun to warrant any quick changes. -30-

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:46 PM - Just finished our NAQCC Sprint. I finally broke the 50 QSO mark again. It's been a while now. If my 20 meters setup was better here, I might have broken 60. QSOs come slowly on that band despite the fact I do well in DX contests there. Took me 35 minutes to get 8 QSOs, but I wanted to get some mults I knew I couldn't get on 40 and 80, so I stuck it out. A total of 52 QSOs in 22 mults pleased me. I'm also pleased not to be frantically posting scores now and I thank Dean NW2K again for taking over that job.

Another cold windy day today. I sure will be glad when this wind stops. I don't think my wind chimes have stopped chiming for a week or so now. With the temps only in the 40s and 50s, that wind makes it seem more like February than April.

Tomorrow evening is our computer club meeting, and I'll be giving a demo on 'spring cleaning' your computer. That includes physically cleaning it, and also cleaning out old programs and files. I'm looking forward to that. I'm sure a lot of our members have never cleaned their computers as they have admitted that, and I hope what we discuss tomorrow evening will help them out. -30-

Monday, April 09, 2012 9:33 PM - I haven't talked about my tomatoes lately, and I figure it is about time someone asks me about them, so I'll try to anticipate the questions. My one plant is about a foot high, and I think it has two flowers that have been successfully pollinated with my Q-tip. At least they don't open out during the daytime and that usually means a small tomato has started to develop. My second tomato is just lazying along. It looks like some kind of dwarf tomato although it is a Siberian just like the other one. It's only about 3 inches high and doesn't have any obvious buds on it. My pepper plant is about 6 inches high and a second seed sprouted very late in the same pot and is about an inch high.

It look like my rose plants were nipped by Jack Frost a bit after going into full leaf at the end of our very warm March. Now in April, we have been down around the frost level a few nights so far, and I think a lot of vegetation is going to pay for sprouting, leafing, flowering too soon.

I actually got on the air during the day today for a bit. I didn't hear anything on the higher bands, but did get a short QSO on 40 with Tom KA2KGP before I QRT. This evening it took a little while to get my QSO, but I wound up with two of them - Jer W9PB whom I worked 4 times before and Ron KD8CVS and I had our first QSO ever. Tomorrow evening is our monthly NAQCC sprint, so I shouldn't have any problems getting my QSO then. -30-

Sunday, April 08, 2012 9:35 PM - I hope those of you who celbrate Easter had a good one today. I had a quiet one here after celebrating mine yesterday. It was yet another chilly windy day, and it was cold to walk, but I did take three good walks.

Other than that, there's really nothing much to talk about. I got my QSOs quickly this evening when Woody WD9F answered me, and after that QSO, I answered Zeke W8EEO's CQ for a second QSO. As a bonus besides the good QSOs that netted me some more letters for the April NAQCC challenge. Also I got a K3 serial number from Woody for the Elecraft CC award. -30-

Saturday, April 07, 2012 10:27 PM - I had a nice early Easter dinner today with Nancy and her son and grandkids. After that we played Monopoly for a while.

My QSOs came easily tonight. My CQs were answered in order by Ben KA8LLE, Bill WB8SJE, and Vic K9UIY, all of whom I have worked before. In fact Vic and I go back to 1964, and this was our 54th QSO. Many of those were back in the 60s in the CW County Hunters Net.

Other than that, not a whole lot happened today. I did take a couple of walks, but again it was chilly and breezy. Even though the high was in the low 60s, with the wind chill it felt more like the mid 40s or colder. So no fishing. I did walk the measured mile on our Rails to Trails to check out my pace and the pedometer. For the one mile, it registered 1.01 miles, so I'd say everything is pretty accurate.

Let me see if there is any diary feedback to get caught up on.

Glenn K3SWZ emailed, "Hi John, Congrads on 49 years! My 50th year is Tuesday, 17 April 2012..... I was in the 10th grade... I tested with another guy from school. Ed, who became KN3SWJ and is now KE3D in TX and still at it also... After 50 years, ham radio is still FUN.... I don't know what I would have done with my life, had it not been for ham radio.. It impacted so many important parts of my life..... Let's go for another 50! 73 de Glenn, K3SWZ New Cumberland, PA"

Boy, that would be nice to have another 50 years of ham radio to look forward to. That is, as long as CW is still around. Otherwise it would mean nothing to me even if it were possible to still be around then. -30-

Friday, April 06, 2012 10:00 PM - I'm getting to the point where I can't remember where I said something since I have three ways of disseminating info regularly. 1. In personal email exchanges. 2. In the NAQCC newsletter or the NAQCC web site. 3. Here in the diary. So keep that in mind if I do repeat something here in the diary that I just posted a couple days ago or so. I say that because I do remember saying the following in one of those three places.

It's beginning to look like April might turn out colder on average than March. So far it's been a pretty normal April which means since March averaged higher than the April normal, that just could happen. It will be fascinating to find out. The long range outlook for April shows the normal trend continuing with no big warm-up or cool-down coming.

I think we're finally getting the NAQCC QRS Nets situation back to normal. We've replaced the two NCS jobs now, and looks like we have a new net manager as well. That's been a lot of work for me this week, and I hope it is winding down now.

It was a little too chilly and windy to go fishing today, but I did a lot of walking. Let's see... my pedometer shows 11.91 miles right now. Most of the past several days now I've been over 10 miles except that one day I spent shopping with Nancy.

It took a while to get my QSO this evening. I called CQ on one frequency on 40 meters for quite a while with no answer, then changed frequencies and got an answer on my first call there. Kind of like fishing when you try one spot for quite a while without a single bite, then move and get a hit on the first cast. The QSO was with Tom VE3PVI who was also QRP. We had a short but solid rag-chew type QSO and his call also gave me 4 more letters toward our April NAQCC challenge. -30-

Thursday, April 05, 2012 9:18 PM - I'm a couple days late with this, but here's a scan of my Novice ticket that I received 49 years ago on April 3. Actually it's dated April 3, but I probably didn't receive it until April 8 which is when my first ever QSO is entered in my log with the friend who took the Novice test with me, Larry KN3WWW. QSOs were hard to come by for this fresh young Novice. I see only 5 QSOs including that one during April 1963. Of course that was my senior year in high school and April and May were my last two months of high school so I did have other matters to take care of at that time. May however was better with 42 QSOs, all but 6 in the second half of the month. From there on, it got better and better. It looks like I had 439 QSOs as a Novice before I upgraded to General in mid-September of 1963. I found some other documents while getting out my Novice license and I may scan them sometime also. Tonight though I'm doing my washing, finishing watching the Baylor game I started last night, and putting the finishing touches on the NAQCC newsletter for posting tomorrow. So to close now, here's the Novice license:

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012 9:56 PM - I'm sitting here just starting to watch a replay of the Baylor - Notre Dame women's championship game from last night, and almost forgetting my web site updates. Of course you know by now that Baylor won to become the first college basketball team (women's or men's) to go 40-0 for a season when they beat ND last night. Then I only got to see the final 5 minutes or so of the game, so tonight and tomorrow (to finish) I plan to watch the whole game and enjoy watching Brittney Griner play, and also watch the Baylor point guard Odyssey Sims as well. During the telecast last night, they referred to her as Kim the second or something like that referring to Kim MulKey, the Baylor coach, whom I believe is the best point guard I've ever watched when she played for Louisiana Tech in the early 80s.

So to get back to that, I'm going to type quickly here and not really say all that much. Today was spent on mainly 4 things. First I went on a long shopping trip with Nancy after her son Bruce left for Indiana. I also intermittently worked on re-setting our NAQCC QRS Nets after one of our NCSs had to resign suddenly. I just finished that off not too long ago. Third was going out to dinner as Nancy treated me for helping her with shopping and also for generally helping her and Bruce with various things. Fourth was breaking in a new pair of shoes I got on the shopping trip with a couple of pretty long walks. Those things pretty much filled up my day, and led me to this point where I am now going to fix my streak table and propagation page and go back to the game. -30-

Tuesday, April 03, 2012 9:16 PM - The great weather continued today, so I went fishing for the 12th time this year already. I've never gotten in that many trips this early before. I actually caught something today also. On my very last try before packing it in and going home, I thought I'd try to hook whatever had been nibbling and whether or not I hooked him, that was it. Well, I did hook and land an 18 inch carpsucker to avert the shutout and make it 3 fish for the year. Actually that's the second highest total behind 4 fish for this date several years ago.

Oh, I still haven't changed the countdown, I see. I will get to it. As soon as I finish this entry and update my streak table and propagation chart, I'm going to check in on the women's basketball championship game.

It took a little while to get my QSO tonight, then I wound up with two of them - Norm K1NAJ and Frank AB1QP which not only extended the streak but gave me a bunch of letters for the April NAQCC challenge.

Oh, I almost forgot. Today is the 49th anniversary of my ham ticket (KN3WWP). I was going to dig up the license, scan it and show it here. Maybe I'll do that in tomorrow's entry. -30-

Monday, April 02, 2012 5:31 PM - I'm cleaning out my email box here and I found some things I wanted to share in the diary, but I didn't do so in the beautiful month of March. Too many distractions with all the wonderful weather, basketball, etc.

Geo N1EAV sent a couple of dog (Joe) related items:

"Hi John, In regards to your posting of the dog poem here's one back at you.....
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.' .......unknown
These quotes, poems etc. always bring a tear to my eye because our dog Artie is so faithful. He really is more of a friend than a pet. He's one of us. I dread the day I have to put him down. He is only 2 now so hopefully that day is a long way off....."

"Glad you enjoyed the emails John.
I know Joe meant a lot to you all and he is missed. Sounds like he had a pretty good life. Maybe someday another little guy will come into your lives down there. It was not really planned when we got Artie. My girlfriend, her daughter and I were at a local mall one Sunday, and decided to go look at the puppies in the pet store. We had tossed around the idea of getting a dog once in awhile but not really seriously. We both have our own apartments, etc, so logistically, how would it all work, and many other questions. Then we saw this little white dog and he just kind of stole our hearts. He was so sweet and mellow compared to the other puppies in there.....but still a puppy. Well Jen and her daughter started on me and before I knew what happened I was carrying out our new little friend.
There were times in the first few weeks I regretted it, because I had never owned a dog.....It was like, 'what did I get myself into." After that initial awkwardness, it all just kind of worked out and he has really become a part of the family. He comes to work with me everyday and is really a joy to have around. Plus he chases off the hundreds of geese that decide we have the best grass in town to eat...hihi.
It's funny, but I think humans can really learn alot from dogs. They are happy with such simple things. People get so wrapped up in so many negative things they miss the gift. A dog is happy just taking a walk , going for a ride in the car, a paper towel roll to play with, or just hanging out with you doing nothing. It's amazing. They don't judge, they are trustworthy and loyal and love you unconditionally. All they want is to be with you, no matter what. And ya know, they really ask for nothing in return.....Man's best friend.
Enough of my rambling for now....I hope you all get another one sometime. I know he or she wouldn't be Joe, but I know for sure the dog would benefit from being yours.
Enjoy the day. geo,n1eav"

Geo also sent some other dog emails which I'm not going to share here, but I certainly did appreciate them.

Geo later sent this link featuring a novel adaptation of the old Tex Ritter / Wink Martindale, etc. Deck of Cards song - check it out here.

And that gets me caught up and leaves later this evening free to watch the game. Then I'll have to change the countdown above. I could count down to the women's final of Baylor/Notre Dame, but that's just till tomorrow evening. I'll think of something. I think it's still too early to count down to Field Day as was suggested. -30-

Sunday, April 01, 2012 9:29 PM - The weather continues to amaze. March turned out to be 13.2 degrees above normal. Any monthly departure of 8, 9, 10 degrees either way is very extreme and very rare, and here we had a 13+ degree difference. The average maximum did even better at 15+ degrees above normal. In fact, the March average was about 1 degree above our April normal temperature.

I'm just looking at my records to see some other outstanding departures. Heres a list:

Mar 1960 Min -10.2
Mar 1960 Max -10.9
Mar 1960 Mean -10.6
Oct 1963 Min -1.1
Oct 1963 Max +10.5
Jan 1977 Min -14.6
Jan 1977 Max -13.0
Jan 1977 Mean - 13.8
Feb 1978 Min -10.9
Feb 1979 Min -10.3
Feb 1979 Max -10.0
Feb 1979 Mean -10.2
Nov 1989 Min -14.2
Nov 1989 Max -13.8
Nov 1989 Mean -14.0
Jan 2006 Max +11.6
Jan 2006 Mean +10.1
Mar 2012 Min +11.5
Mar 2012 Max +15.0
Mar 2012 Mean +13.2

Twenty months out of some 630 months that had departures from normal of 10 degrees or more + or - from normal. Of those only 6 were on the positive side, three of those this March. Note October 1963 when the minimum was actually below normal while the maximum was 10.5 above normal. That was the month we had about 1/4 inch total precipication and the skies were mostly clear the whole month with the daytime heating raising the maximum and nighttime cooling lowering the minimum. The mean daily temperature range was 35.9 degrees that month with several days having a range of up to 51 degrees. A coat in the mornings and swimsuit in the afternoons that month. One other note is March 1960. The departure that month should be even greater as I did not have my thermometer shelter built then and the thermometer was exposed more than it should have been.

Back to ham radio. I got 4 QSOs this evening which will get my NAQCC April challenge off to a good start. This month we make names of birds to master the challenge. I'm off now to make up my chart for tracking the challenge. One call I worked was CT8/DL1CW which could give a maximum of 12 letters. I also worked KG4PRK and VE3TMH for a maximum of l0 letters each, and WN9U for 6 letters. That's a possible total of 38 letters, but of course it's unlikely I'll need that many of them. -30-

Saturday, March 31, 2012 9:39 PM - I was just updating my streak totals as of the end of March. I see I reached a couple of interesting marks during the month. I crossed the 55,000 QSO mark and now have 55,007. I also passed the 15,000 DX QSO mark and have 15,010.

I managed to get the final letters I needed to complete the NAQCC March challenge as I worked S55N and N5PHT to get the Ss and T I needed. Now I've got to get my sheet set up for the April bird challenge. My QSO this evening was K2VV in the MO QSO Party so I can't use any of those letters as we don't allow contest QSOs in our challenges.

Today was on the chilly side with temps in the mid 50s which actually is just about normal for this time of year, but feels cold after what we've had the rest of the winter and early spring. I'm curious to see how far above normal March was. I'll know that later when I put the figures in my computer. I don't know if I'll do that tonight or tomorrow. Right now I watching the Ohio State / Kansas basketball game. So far late in the first half, it's all Ohio State with around an 11 point lead. Kentucky is awaiting the winner for a Monday night match up. They just said something about this being one of the very few time that 2 #2 seeds have met in a semi-final game. I'll have to look into that. -30-

Friday, March 30, 2012 9:17 PM - The big news today is that after 9 fruitless trips to the river (except for a carpsucker on an old pole), today I finally caught a fish with my new Christmas Gift rod and reel. And wouldn't you know it - it was a carp, and a 26 inch one. What better way to christen a new rod and reel than catching my favorite fish with it. Just like casting, reeling in the fish took a bit of getting used to and adjusting the drag, etc. However just like casting after I got used to it and really love it now, I think I'm going to really like the way it handles fish, especially big ones like today. I just need to catch a couple more now to fine tune things and I'll be set for a lot of enjoyable fishing with it. The carp today acted kind of strange. Instead of going like a freight train towards the other side of the river, he came back toward the amphitheater where I was fishing and just kind of hung himself up there. I thought maybe he got tangled up in something down near the bottom of the deep water there, and I was going to lose him. At that point I wasn't sure what kind of fish it was. I thought maybe even a big turtle. Finally though he started swimming away and I could see what it was. He then co-operated and swam with a little persuasion from me where I could scramble down to the water's edge and land him. That made my day!

Good thing too, because nothing much else out of the ordinary happened today. I did get two more letters this evening for the NAQCC March challenge when Gary N2ESE answered my CQ. Now I'm down to needing one T and two Ss. If I'm in the mood, I'll get on during the day tomorrow and see if I can get them. If I don't, well it's not going to change my life in any way.

Right now, I'm waiting to see if the rain is going to stop, and if it does, I may go out and try to get some nightcrawlers.

It still seems very strange doing all this fishing in March, seeing the flowers in bloom, many of the trees past the blossom stage and nicely 'greened' out. Almost like I slept for a month and woke up near the end of April or the beginning of May. A highly unusual winter and early spring to be sure. -30-

Thursday, March 29, 2012 9:06 PM - I decided to hunt a bit this evening for the last few letters I need for our NAQCC March challenge. I got on about 2320Z and looked around for a while till I found NO9T calling CQ on 40 and worked him for two of the three T's I needed, leaving 4 S's and 1 T to go now. If I can find somebody like K9SST or W4STS, I'll have it made with just one more station worked. I did hear Gary N2ESE in a loooong QSO with someone, and gave up waiting after a while. I think after I get the NAQCC newsletter finished and posted, I may look around the bands during the day.

We've slipped back into typical March weather here - mild one day, cold the next. Yesterday mid-70s, today mid 40s. The poor vegetation doesn't know what to think. In looking around today I realized that vegetation-wise, it looks a lot more like early May, than late March. I certainly hope we don't have any really cold snaps in April to harm the plants that came out early. My tulips are just about to put out 5 beautiful flowers in the next couple days or so. My daylillies of course don't have anything near flowers yet, but the plants are well on their way with full green foliage. The rosebushes are full of leaves.

Inside my two tomato plants and one pepper plant are doing well. I potted up the smaller tomato plant this evening. The buds on the bigger tomato plant are getting a bit bigger each day. -30-

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 8:36 PM - There sure hasn't been much exciting to write about ham radio lately. It looks like the sun is about half asleep again. Looking at the table on my propagation page, I see after a pretty active December and January, the solar flux has been mostly below 110 since then, even dipping below 100 a few days. However there was a pretty active period the first half of March with a peak SF of 149 on March 10. So with the sun's rotation period of roughly 28 days (it varies with latitude), if the sunspots that caused that activity survive and show up on the Earth side of the sun, the first part of April may bring better conditions.

I still don't know if I'll complete my March NAQCC challenge or not. No new letters today from my streak QSO - K4JEE. I think that will be only the second one I haven't completed if I don't make it. Oh well, it's not all that important. If it were, I'd be sitting there at the rig 24/7 till I completed it.

After an overnight low of 40 and a brief hailstorm late this morning, the weather turned very nice and I went to the river again. The results were the same as usual of late though. A few bites, but none good enough to hook anything. Still at 75 degrees, it's nice to just be sitting at the river in March. In fact right now as I type it is still 63 degrees which is well above the normal high for the date. -30-

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:07 PM - My QSO came quickly this evening when my friend Woody WD9F answered my CQ after a few minutes. Time is running out for me completing our NAQCC March challenge now. I still need 4 Ss and 3 Ts to finish it off. I had hoped they would just come along naturally while getting my daily streak QSOs, but I may have to sit down at the rig and do some searching of the bands sometime before the month ends.

I watched the replay of the Baylor-Tennessee women's basketball tournament game this morning on ESPN3. Baylor has a very impressive player in Brittney Griner. She stands 6' 8" tall and has a "wingspan" of 74" and standing flat footed, she can reach up to 9' 2". She almost had a triple double in the game lacking one block of making it. I wish now I'd followed the women's game more closely recently to have watched her play some more. This is her junior year, so I will be watching some Baylor games next season for sure. They also have an impressive point/shooting guard in Odyssey Sims. You know if she plays for Kim MulKey she would have to be a good point guard, but she can also score points. I think she had something like 25 points in the game including several 3-pointers.

It was sad in a way watching the game though, as I just learned during the game that the great Tennessee coach Pat Summitt is suffering from dementia and early Alzheimers. Although she was on the bench for the game, most of the coaching was done by her assistant Holly Warlick.

Well, I've got to close this now as I need to call and talk with Tom WY3H about some NAQCC business. -30-

Monday, March 26, 2012 9:08 PM - It was a busy day finishing up the cross checking of logs. We had a new record number of QSOs to check - 2,301 from 126 logs. Many of them needed extensive correcting before even being entered into the cross-checking program. So I'm a bit on the tired site tonight.

I went for a walk around Noon today and I don't recall being as cold as I'd been all winter. The temperature stayed in the low 40s today and with a wind that was blowing probably 15 MPH with gusts to 30 MPH, the wind chill must have been down in the low 20s or even the teens. Right now it's 37 degrees and I still hear my wind chimes chiming away so it must still be quite windy out there, although a few minutes ago when I got my temperature readings, it didn't seem too windy. However the return to winter will be short as it is supposed to go up into the 60s again the next couple days.

I'm just looking over at my tomato plants, and I definitely do see a few buds on the biggest plant, so despite the very late and slow start, I still could possibly have a ripe tomato in May again this year. My pepper plant is really taking off also after its slow start.

I forgot to mention last night that Mike KC2EGL showed up for an impromptu visit yesterday afternoon. We mostly just watched the basketball tournament and reminisced about tournaments of past years. Oh, and that reminds me, I mentioned the Baylor ladies team a few entries ago and wondered how they were doing under their coach Kim MulKey. I found out they are still alive in the tournament and in fact are playing Tennessee right now in the Elite Eight. Think I'll see if I can get a score. Looks like they beat Tennessee 77-58 to advance to the Final Four in Denver next weekend. Yes, that is a final score to make their record 37-0 so far this year. I think they have replays of the women's games on ESPN3 on the Internet. Maybe I'll see if I can watch that game. -30-

Sunday, March 25, 2012 11:22 PM - This will be very brief. I just finished the first stage of cross-checking our sprint logs. There are 2,294 QSOs in the checker and a huge number of errors which are making it a real task, so I'm quitting till tomorrow. I'm going to watch a Bob Vila Home Again episode, listen to some TL music and go to bed.

A very intriguing Final Four this year with 4 of the top notch college basketball programs making it. Only 1 of them was a top seed though - Kentucky who is joined by Kansas, Ohio State, and Louisville. Kentucky plays Louisville and Kansas plays Ohio State. From the parts of the four games I watched, I belive Kansas was most impressive. They handled another class program in North Carolina easily this afternoon/evening. A week and a day from this time we'll know which of the four emerges as champion. -30-

Saturday, March 24, 2012 8:20 PM - Well now, that was unusual. I called CQ on 30 to try to get my streak QSO this evening, and Frantz FG5FR answered me after just a couple calls. That's probably the first time any FG station has answered one of my CQs. I've worked Frantz so many times before I usually don't even answer his CQs any more to not perhaps deprive someone else of the opportunity to work him. I'm going to have to check and see how many countries I've gotten via my CQs. If I have a SQL query set up in my Access log, I'll be back in a few seconds to tell you. If not, I might take the few extra seconds it takes to write a query anyway. OK, I had to write a query - it's 52 countries via my CQ. Now let me check to see if FG is new or not. Nope, actually Frantz answered one of my CQs before - back on March 26, 2006. Oh well, it's still always exciting when a DX station answers my QRP CQ.

Something even more unusual happened the day before yesterday. I was going to mention it, but I forgot then. I was sitting here in my computer 'corner', and was startled by a noise to my left. A picture on the wall just fell off the wall of its own accord. I'm sure glad I don't scare easily, or I might not be here to write about it. I just turned as soon as I heard the noise and saw it fall. It was a very old frame, and it looks like the little screw eye holding the wire that it was hanging from just worked its way loose and came out. So I went and bought a new frame for it and re-hung it. One thing I did though was to remove the bigger picture that was hanging on the wall right behind me and hung it elsewhere. HI

And as long as we are talking strange things, about two months ago perhaps, I told you about the picture of Joe sitting on my entertainment center would slowly turn almost 90 degrees, and continued to do so each time I would re-set it. Well about a week or 10 days ago, it just stopped turning, and hasn't moved a single millimeter since then. I don't know if the moving or the stopping is more strange now. Should I be playing the Twilight Zone theme in the background as I write this entry?

I bought myself a new toy today when I went shopping with Nancy up to Wal-Mart and a couple other stores. It's a wireless weather gadget something like my Computemp which is a wired unit. It gives the current outdoor and indoor temperature, a weather forecast, the phase of the moon, barometric pressure, and day and time. It also gives the high and low temperature for the day. Right now I just have the remote sensor upstairs in the back room trying it out. Eventually I may install it outside a window or perhaps in my thermometer shelter in the back yard if the range is good enough and it should be since it is specced at 165 feet, and my distance is less than half that. Right now it's 73 in here, 69 in the back room, the moon is a waxing crescent, the barometric pressure is 29.98 inches. The forecast feature takes a few days to get set up according to the manual. It will be interesting to see how that feature works. Just something to fool with that I couldn't resist when I saw it in the store. HI. Oh, it also sets the time automatically the first time it is powered up. It doesn't say how, but it must be like these watches that use the time signals from one of the WWV stations. I don't think it checks at regular intervals after the initial setup though. It doesn't say exactly in the manual, but the language leads me to believe it is only a one time set-up. They have a web site which I'll have to check. Maybe there is more info there. -30-

Friday, March 23, 2012 9:05 PM - Just when you thought it couldn't get any hotter in March..... Our all-time high record for March of 85 degrees lasted not quite one day. We topped out at 86 early in the afternoon today, cooled off a bit, then re-surged to a high of 88 degrees. Absolutely fantastic. That's two months of the last 9 months we've set all time monthly high records here following our 107 degree reading back in July. Here's a picture of the record. Note the right end of the black index in the top tube sitting on 88. The right end of the lower black index is at 48 which was the low this morning.

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A large proportion of our trees are in blossom, and a lot of the spring flowers are fully open. I took a long walk around town today and took 45 pictures of various things that normally don't show up until later in the year. I generally take such blossom and flower pictures each spring. I'm going to examine pictures from previous years to see the dates they were taken and see how far ahead we are this year.

Here's a picture of my tomato plants and pepper plant taken today.

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Although you can't really see them, there are a couple of tomato buds on the big tomato plant. The pepper plant is on the right, and if you look closely you'll see a second tiny plant in the pot that just sprouted a couple days ago.

I called CQ on 30 tonight for a change and got a quick answer from KA3P who used to live not too far from here in PA, but now lives in Ocala, FL. The temperature there was just the same as here today - 88 degrees. Not unusual for there though.

Bruce and Nancy took me out to Ponderosa for the fish buffet this evening. I love just about all kinds of seafood except for oysters (unless they are breaded), so I really enjoyed that.

Otherwise today it was just a matter of enjoying the weather however I could. Now I've got to check some basketball scores. -30-

Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:21 PM - Two days ago we tied it, today we broke it. A high of 85 degrees is the warmest ever in March in all the time I've been keeping records since 1959. That pales a bit in comparison to Michigan where my friend Ken WA8REI said it was 88 degrees yesterday near Saginaw. It was too hot for him to sleep in his motor home last night. And in one of our soapbox comments from the NAQCC Sprint, I read it was 80 degrees in Maine for the first time ever. I just hope we are not going to have to pay for this wonderful summer in March weather later in the year.

Two quick DX QSOs on 30 and another QSO with Ken WA8REI continued my streak another day.

It sure was wonderful to not be tied to the computer processing sprint scores. Thanks once more to Dean NW2K for taking over that job.

Oh I remembered what I wanted to talk about in last night's entry. I downloaded and installed Microsoft's World Wide Telescope software. I had it before on my old computer, but that computer really didn't have the capability to run the processor and graphics intensive program. On this new computer it is just absolutely a delight to use. It runs as smooth as silk and it really is like having a telescope that you can take anywhere on Earth and view the skies. It has many many guided tours of the skies, and more are being added all the time. If you have any interest in astronomy, and have a state of the art computer, I'd highly recommend the program. You will enjoy it, I know. -30-

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 11:34 PM - I figured I'd have some free time after the sprint tonight, but the best laid plans of mice and men...... Just after I submitted my log to our new scorekeeper Dean NW2K, I had a call from my second cousin up in Punxsutawney. She and I work on genealogy together, and she came up with some interesting info today, and we talked about that for nearly an hour. Now here it is closing in on midnight and I still have a few other things to get done. At least I don't have to worry about the sprint scores except to watch for the page from Dean so I can upload it to the web site.

I had a decent sprint tonight but it could have been better. 44 QSOs in 21 SPCs. I enjoyed having my CQs on 40 answered by PJ4/K4BAI and PJ2/AC8AP within a few minutes of each other.

It was another nice day with a high of 81. I went fishing, of course, but again came up empty despite getting quite a few bites. I don't know what was biting, but I couldn't hook them. I guess I'll try again tomorrow.

Seems I had something else I wanted to talk about in the diary, but that phone call seems to have driven it out of my mind for now. Oh well, maybe I'll remember it tomorrow. If not, it probably wasn't important or interesting anyway. -30-

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 8:51 PM - It's the same old broken record, but it's great - yet another summer day in March today. In fact 84 degrees may have tied the all-time high for March in my records since 1959. I'm going to go and look now. Be right back. Yes that ties 84 degree readings in 1977 and 1986. Wow. We might end up having yet another month with the temperature averaging 6 or so degrees above normal. It is supposed to cool down a bit this weekend, but maybe not enough to bring the average down that much.

I went fishing again, but again no fish. I've gone 6 times so far this year with only one fish to show for it. However it is so nice to sit out the warm weather, it doesn't really matter if I catch anything or not.

Tonight brought 3 QSOs including a DX QSO on 20 when I worked HR5/F2JD.

My plug of batteryBob a week or so ago brought a needed battery to a friend of mine. Here's an excerpt from an email from Don K3RLL, "Good morning John, You wrote about your positive experiences with BatteryBob and I just wanted to thank you for that lead. Friday, after reading our club newsletter with your comments, I ordered the replacement battery for my cordless phone that I was unable to locate elsewhere for any reasonable cost. When the replacement battery costs more than the phone, it's time to look elsewhere; isn't it? Anyhow, by Monday, the new replacement rechargeable battery was sitting in my mailbox. That is, as you wrote, really superb service. It's now installed and working well. Thanks again for that lead."

Well, now out to get my weather readings and get that 84 officially logged here. I just glanced at it before so maybe a closer look will show 85 for an all time March record, but I'm pretty sure it was right on 84 when I looked. -30-

Monday, March 19, 2012 9:18 PM - Carl N5XE just sent me this email. I haven't checked out the site he mentioned yet. "Hi John, I stumbled across this website about Novice stories, and thought you might be interested. http://www.novicehistory.org/ Take care and 73, Carl, N5XE"

This was yet one more 'summer in March' day here. I took advantage with over 10 miles of walking. I also helped Nancy clean up her back yard. Also I was just outside doing not much of anything just to enjoy the weather. A second shirtless day. Can't recall that ever happening in March before. Actually in winter for those who believe in the astronomical winter which ends sometime tomorrow, I believe.

I worked my old friend of some 45+ years tonight - Ken WA8REI. You may recall I wrote in the diary a few years ago about us making and keeping a schedule on the 40th anniversary of our first QSO. 8/25/1966 - 8/25/2006. It's always good to keep in touch with old friends like that.

I'm going through tournament withdrawal today. No games to follow until Thursday now unless I get really desperate and see if there are any NIT or Women's NCAA games on today or tomorrow. I don't follow those thournaments usually. I used to follow the Women's years ago when little Immaculata College was one of the top teams before the NCAA got involved. I just checked Wikipedia, and coincidentally this is the 40th anniversay of their first championship in 1972. They also won in 73 and 74 under their great coach Cathy Rush. The championship then was under the auspices of the AIAW. I also learned from the Wikipedia article that there was a movie featuring their championship released in 2011 called "The Mighty Macs" which is their team nickname. they are now Immaculata University since 2002.

Later I followed Louisiana Tech because of their point guard - Kim MulKey who was maybe the best point guard I've ever seen, man or woman. She was a real joy to watch. And like Monte Towe whom I mentioned yesterday, she did a lot of coaching after her playing days. Like I did when Immaculata College popped into my mind, I'm going to Wikipedia to see if I can get more info on Kim. Louisiana Tech with her as point guard won the AIAW in 1981 and the inaugural Women's NCAA in 1982. Kim, after coaching with LA Tech from 1985-2000, has been Baylor head coach since then with a record of 332-79. Gee, I'm learning a lot. Baylor won the NCAA championship in 2005, and I see this season's team went 34-0. I'll have to check to see how they are doing in the tournament this year.

I've got some more basketball memories for the next couple of 'gameless' days. -30-

Sunday, March 18, 2012 9:50 PM - Our early summer continues here. 78 degrees for a high today. I cut my grass today without a shirt. I think that may be the earliest in a year that I've ever cut grass here. This is just a very odd winter, and it looks like it will continue right into spring (astronomical that is, it's been meteorological spring for 18 days now).

No fishing today though, as again rain was threatening, but never materialized just like a couple days ago. I did feel a couple tiny rain drops on one of my walks, and that was it. Other than that, it was mostly a basketball watching day when I wasn't outside enjoying the weather. One of my favorite teams NC State beat one of my least favorite teams Georgetown, so that made my day. Also it was nice to see North Carolina win. I've always been a fan of ACC basketball, probably because they were one of the conferences that had a TV contract when I was growing up and I could watch their games. Along with NC and NC State, I also liked Duke and Maryland. Maryland has not done all that well of late, but I remember the days of guard Brad Davis and his teammates whose names I can't come up with off the top of my head right now. I also remember Monty Towe and David Thompson of NC State who 'invented' the Ally Oop play, and rode it to the 1974 championship. I just for fun checked on Monty Towe in Wikipedia just now and I see after he retired, he had a zillion coaching jobs in both the college and pro ranks with several different pro leagues. Going back to Maryland, I always still remember one of my favorite players of all time. He was never a star, but he completely impressed me with his shooting. He had to be the best 'pure shooter' of all time. He could stand virtually anywhere on court and shoot the basketball through the net so cleanly you had to watch closely to be sure it went through as it was so dead on, the net barely moved. His name? Oh, Brian Magid. If he only had the other skills to be a great basketball player, he would be much better known now. But that shooting ability. He must have had built in radar of some kind. Fans would come to the Maryland games early just to watch him taking shooting practice.

I though I'd have to wait till morning to get my QSO. I was a little late (0030Z) getting to the key tonight, and found only a couple weak signals on 30, some kind of RTTY contest on 40, and QRN on 80. I tried for a few minutes, then gave up and got out my little pink note with QSO in big letters to set out by the computer to remind me in the morning I still needed my QSO. However after doing a few things, I went back to the shack, and called CQ for a few minutes on 40 and got an answer from Lane KK4HEF to extend my streak another day.

Oh, here's a 'Didja know' for you. I think this is correct. I heard on a game telecast today that the 25 point comeback by BYU in a play-in game this year is the biggest comeback in the entire tournament history. I'm going to have to check on that, as I would think there might have been a bigger one than that somewhere in the 74 year history of the tournament. -30-

Saturday, March 17, 2012 8:39 PM - It was a very upsetting tournament yesterday and a very upsetting first (or as the first round is called now with the play-in games the second) round. The seed numbers of teams that survive the second round should total 144 if all goes to plan. However this year the total is 210, the highest it has ever been since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985. That's one more than 209 in 2001.

Of course this is the first tournament ever where two (yes 2) #15 seeds came up with a victory. In addition to Norfolk St., Lehigh also won yesterday, beating Duke. I think the Norfolk St. win was more impressive though. It was their first time in the tournament and Missouri was at full strength while Duke had its two top players missing in action, Ryan Kelly to an ankle injury and Dawkins to a 4 or 5 game slump in which someone put a lid on the basket every time he attempted a shot. Without those two, Duke played a very lackluster game. I didn't even notice Coach K getting at all excited as he usually does.

I didn't watch a lot of action today as it was too nice outside. I did manage to watch the endings of the CBS games as much as I could, but that was about it. When it hits 82 degrees in March here, you do not stay indoors. I took several walks, went fishing, sat on the porch, and visited with my new next door neighbors. No, Nancy and Bruce are still here. These are the neighbors on the other side of me. A nice young couple with a 3 year old daughter.

Two QSO's this evening, both quickies. 6Y0A on 30 and K5WE on 20 in the OK QSO Party. Now it's out to get my temperature. I know the high was 82 since I checked earlier out of curiousity. It sure felt like it was in the 80s when I was fishing. I even got my suntan started. -30-

Friday, March 16, 2012 7:09 PM - How about Norfolk State!!! First time ever in the tournament, and as a 15th seed, they upset #2 Missouri. They join only 4 other 15 seeds who beat a #2 seed since the tournament went to 64 games in 1985:

1991 Richmond 73 - Syracuse 69 (Lost next round to Temple 77-64)
1993 Santa Clara 64 - Arizona 61 (Lost next round to Temple 68-57)
1997 Coppin St 78 - South Carolina 65 (Lost next round to Texas 82-81)
2001 Hampton 58 - Iowa St 57 (Lost next round to Georgetown 76-57)
2012 Norfolk St 86 - Missouri 84 (Will face #7 Florida on Sunday)

I wonder if they will become the first #15 to win at least 2 games? We'll find out on Sunday. Right now Duke and Lehigh just tipped off, so I'm going to watch that. -30-

Thursday, March 15, 2012 8:57 PM - I see it's almost 9 PM so I'm going to get my weather readings before I continue writing this entry. It got up to 77 today. It would have been a nice day to go fishing, but the radar showed radar heading this way several times, although it dissipated each time. Anyway it's March Madness time, so even without the rain I had to choose between fishing and basketball. The threat of rain made the choice very easy. I can watch all the games broadcast by CBS for free. I certainly appreciate CBS making that possible. TBS, TNT, and TruTV get my disgust instead of appreciation. The NCAA also doesn't impress me much either with their charging to watch the tournament games this year.

We weren't too far from seeing a 16 seed beat a #1 today. NC-Asheville gave Syracuse all they could handle, and led a good part of the game. The 7 point final margin was no reflection on how close the game really was. That margin came only from the usual fouls by the losing team near the end of the game. If I remember right it was a one point margin within the last minute or two of the game.

So far no upsets seeding-wise in the 8 games completed so far. #12 VCU is trying to upset #5 Wichita State, but as I'm watching, Wichita State is closing down the margin and now trail by only one point, after being down by something like 13 points earlier.

Scott W9JSB agrees with me about the NCAA decision to charge for watching the games. He says, "I read your diary almost every day and I just wanted to chime in on the NCAA charging for the games. I remember a day when they all where on CBS or radio. It is a shame that a game so integral to who we are is now predominately broadcast in the pay to view realm. I moved to WI about 4 years ago from SC. When we moved my wife I decided to drop cable / satellite TV completely. It was the best decision we ever made, in my opinion. We spend more time with our 3 kids (6,6, and 15 months - yes twins / girl and boy). I still get to see my fair share of sports on broadcast, but not everything. We are lucky, though, living in NE WI we see every Packers game no matter if it is on ESPN or not... the local ABC station from Green Bay has rights to rebroadcast the game over the air. I miss my Brewer's games on TV, but I listen to Bob Uecker on AM radio (on my 50's vintage Hallicrafters S-77). Personally, I prefer baseball on the radio... In the rare occasion that my local AM station has other programming on in place of the Brewers, I just tune in 620AM WTMJ out of Milwaukee (~100 miles south) on my Kenwood TS-140s using my G5RV... no problem... So anyway, I share your pain on March Madness. At least we have some games on CBS! Take care! I hope to hear you on the air soon! 73's -Scott"

I guess in a way it's going back to the 'old days' when I used to have to really scramble to follow the tournament, even going so far as having to listen to some games via SWBC stations. One of my favorite MM memories came via listening to a game that way. I'll mention that along with some other memories as the tournament goes on.

I did go fishing yesterday as I said. I caught my first fish of the year, a 24 inch carpsucker. That turns out to be the earliest in a year I've caught that first fish. So maybe it will be a good year. I hope to go tomorrow depending on the weather.

My QSO came quickly this evening as my friend Joe W4ONC answered my CQ at 0003Z. QSB cut our QSO short at 11 minutes. Then I went to 30 and worked PJ7PT. That may be a new band country with the Netherlands Antilles situation. I'll have to check later.

This VCU/Wichita State is really exciting. Better than the two games I watched earlier today. VCU is up by 3 with 12 seconds left. Wichita State is taking the ball in bounds, but they miss a 3-pointer and we have our first upset. That's the 21st year of the last 23 years a 12 has beaten a 5. I think that's what they just said. I'll have to check that later also. HI. That's it for now. Next up for me doing my washing and watching the Indian - Mexico State game. -30-

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 10:46 AM - Today is supposed to be even nicer than yesterday, and I have a computer club meeting this evening. So I'm making this a very early diary entry today, and then going out and enjoying the beautiful weather in one way or another. I'll either take some long walks, go fishing, work in the yard, or just sit on the porch. Actually maybe all four things.

For the same reasons, I also updated my poll question a few hours earlier than usual. I hope you'll check it out and vote. My last poll only got 40 votes, and if the number of votes stays that low, I'll consider dropping the poll, and devoting my time to something else instead. It's up to you. -30-

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 7:54 PM - The nicest spring day so far. Three long walks (9.27 mi. on the pedometer right now), painted the back porch steps, just sat on the front porch enjoying the warmth, put the screens in my front storm door which actually warmed up the house, and talked with Bruce for quite a while as it got dark and we watched Venus and Jupiter appear. Ain't spring great! Best of all, it is the 'warm up' act for the best of all - Summer. It's supposed to be in the low 70s here the next week or so also.

They definitely are charging to watch March Madness on the Internet this year, so I can't watch the games, but they do provide a free console to follow the play by play in text form. I'll just do that this year unless I find another source of free video somewhere. They'll probably have free highlight video after the games are over.

It's 0000Z now so I'm going to go and hopefully get a quick QSO for my streak. -30-

Monday, March 12, 2012 9:14 PM - Today was a rainy one. It didn't rain hard, but it was pretty steady from noon until now. I did get in a good walk this morning. Nothing much out of the ordinary happened today except I replaced the top of the piano bench after deciding it didn't need another coat of paint. It really looks nice now. I think maybe next on the woodworking list may be an old chest with 4 drawers that I store junk in down in the basement. The drawers are getting to stick pretty badly so I may work on that to satisfy my woodworking urge of late.

I very seldom recommend a company, but I had a great experience with one lately so I'm going to mention it here in the diary. If you are ever looking for a hard to find battery for a project or for anything else for that matter, I'd suggest going to the batteryBob web site. For a long time I had been looking unsuccessfully for a battery for the finder scope on my telescope that is used to illuminate the reticle. The original was a mercury battery that is no longer manufactured because of the government's overzealous effort to 'protect' us from ourselves. That's another story though. I could not find a replacement anywhere even at a local battery warehouse that is supposed to have just about any battery ever made. Well, on the batteryBob web site I found a replacement. It was not a mercury battery, but alkaline. In all other respects, an exact replacement. I figured so what, they'll probably want payment only via a credit card, PayPal, etc., and I don't use any of those things here. Never have, and never will unless they outlaw using regular money or personal checks. To my pleasant surprise, batteryBob does accept payment via check or money order. Well, I figured they probably will have to hold my check for a couple of weeks till it clears. Next surprise, they ship the day they receive the check. So I placed my order on-line, and almost before I had my check ready to mail, I had an email from batteryBob detailing all the order and shipping info. So I mailed my check, and as soon as they got it, I got an email acknowledging receipt, and saying they were placing my order in the mail right away. They asked me to notify them when it arrived. That happened today, just about 4 or 5 days after it was mailed. The post office accounting for most of that still very small delay. I put the battery in the finder scope and it works fine. It's such a delight to find a company that still does business with old-fashioned efficient standards, I have to recommend them to you for your battery needs.

That's about it for this entry except to say my QSO again came pretty quickly this evening. I had heard Jim AE4DT in a short QSO, and tried calling him at the end since I knew from the order of the exchange that the frequency was 'his', but the other station he was working was running 175W and took over the frequency with his own CQ, drowning me out. So I went somewhere else to call my own CQs and got a pretty quick answer from Paul AA1LL. He had to leave for a phone call, so I tried another CQ and got another quick answer from Lee K5LY. Both NAQCC members, by the way. -30-

Sunday, March 11, 2012 11:17 PM - It's been a busy day up until right now. We just about nudged 70 degrees today so that meant a lot of outdoor activity including 3 pretty long walks, some more yard and garden cleanup work, and just in general being outside. And hey, wasn't it great staying light until well into the evening now with the time change. Wow! It really makes a body pick up and feel great.

When I finally did get inside for a while, I added another coat of paint to my piano bench top. Then of course this evening, I got my Excel March Madness spreadsheet ready to start tracking the tournament. It does look like they are charging to watch the games on the Internet this year, so I won't be doing that, but I'll find some free way to follow the games.

Three quick QSOs this evening. One in the WI QSO Party, a DX QSO on 30, and a short chat with Bob W1IMA, which took less than a half hour all told.

With that, I'm closing this late short entry for tonight. -30-

Saturday, March 10, 2012 8:33 PM - Looks like today will be the last cold day in a while. It wasn't even too bad today as late in the afternoon, the temperature rose into the mid 40s and the wind died down. It's pretty clear right now so the temperature will probable drop into the mid 20s overnight, but then tomorrow we head up to around 60. And we can enjoy that later in the evening also with the change to Daylight Savings Time. That's really a misnomer as we don't really save any daylight, just shift it around a bit. Supposedly there is an old Indian saying that addresses that. It goes something like this: It's like trying to make a blanket longer by cutting a foot off of one end and sewing it on the other end. Of course maybe we are supposed to think of it like this: We're saving some of the daylight we'd normally get in the morning and using it in the evening. Anyway whatever the language and interpretation, it will be great to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. I've already set my clocks ahead, but as happens every year, there will be one somewhere I forgot about and won't notice for a day, a week, a month, etc.

The bands continue to be very poor in the evenings. I did get a QSO fairly quickly, but it didn't last long as conditions changed rapidly on 40 meters. Anyway I got yet two more letters for the NAQCC March challenge.

I also did some more woodworking today. My mother was a very good piano player, and I still have the piano here although I didn't inherit her talent. Or perhaps I did, but never really took time to find out. Anyway the surface of the bench had been pretty rough looking for a long time now, and I finally got tired of looking at it, and sanded down the worn paint (my mother painted it many years ago), and re-painted it. I still need to add another coat tomorrow. Then it will look a lot better. If my interest in woodworking still continues after that, I'll have to look for another project.

Of course tomorrow evening, I'll be finishing preparation of my spreadsheet for the NCAA BB tournament. I was just checking on the cinderalla team from the past couple years - Butler. I see their record is 24-10 this year. One thing I didn't check were all the conference tournaments going on this weekend which will determine to some extent, how teams are seeded. I did see that one of this year's powerhouse team - Syracuse lost a game in their tournament. As it is every year, it will be an exciting seeding night and an exciting tournament. I do see something on the NCAA web site that there might be a charge this year for watching all the games. If that's the case, I'll follow it some other way. I refuse to pay homage to the money gods. -30-

Friday, March 09, 2012 8:27 PM - This is an exciting weekend coming up. We go back to Daylight Savings Time and get rid of these long dark depressing evenings that we've put up with since November. That will really be great.

Then Sunday evening the seedings will be announced for March Madness, and I'll get my Excel brackets all ready to follow the action which begins with the play-in games on Tuesday evening.

Today was a sunny, but cold day. However things start to really improve tomorrow and by next week we may be basking in near 70 degree weather for a good many days to come.

I did a little more work on my shack desk today and now have a really nice surface to write on. That wood filler I got really did an excellent job in filling up even the smallest annoying little nicks. I didn't know how well it would adhere to the really small ones, but it seems to be really holding on nicely.

My QSO this evening came rather quickly for a change from the past few evenings. Carl K9EEI answered my CQs after only a couple minutes. He was also QRP - running 4 watts. That also gave me a couple more letters for the NAQCC March challenge.

Speaking of the NAQCC (as I often do), Jerry VE6CPP just came up with a new poll question for the NAQCC web site, and it is up and running now. We change polls on the 10th of a month. -30-

Thursday, March 08, 2012 8:50 PM - I forgot to mention that yesterday I finally saw my first robin. That's the latest 'first robin' I can remember in a long time.

This was a rainy day during which we got probably close to 3/4 to 1 inch total. I'll know for sure in a few minutes when I get my readings, but there was over a half inch late this afternoon and we had a squall line come through about an hour ago with some very heavy rain. It didn't last long though.

Once again this evening it took quite a while to get my QSO, but finally Bill KN2CZZ answered one of my many CQs.

Again not a lot more to talk about. I did some more house cleaning and threw out some junk. I also worked on my desk some more. I've got it pretty much to the point where I can write on it without my pen or pencil puncturing the paper and going into one of the nicks or dents in the surface. That was my goal as I'm trying to make more workable room on the desk so I can keep my computer keyboard there and still have time to fill out my paper log. I may just eventually keep my log on the shack computer once I get it to the point where it boots more quickly. I have gotten it down quite a bit, but it still takes a couple minutes before it is really ready to do any serious work. I wish I could get it down to the approximate 45 seconds this new computer takes to get ready for its full days work.

Well, it's 9 PM now so I'll post this, then go get my weather readings. -30-

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 8:54 PM - That big sunspot group just about on the meridian played havoc with the ionosphere today. I was wondering why I was calling CQ after CQ with no answer. Then when I did work someone, it turned out to be KA0ZHL in SD. Wonder how long it's been since a station from SD provided me with my first QSO of a day. Another sign something was up was hearing Asiatic Russia on 30 meters stronger than I've ever heard them on that band. Too bad he was chasing an HR5 stations and not calling CQ. I probably could have worked him easily. I did try the HR5 several times, but the pileup was too big for me. Oh, he did work the Asiatic Russian after a while. Then looking at the solar numbers a few minutes ago, I saw the A index was 44 today, the highest in some time, maybe the highest of this new cycle. I'm not going to take time to check now.

We hit 68 degrees for a high today, and I took advantage of it with walks, fishing, and cleaning my porch and back yard. Fishing again was mostly continuing to get used to my new rod and reel I got for Christmas. It was very windy today, and I'll use that as an excuse I had more backlashes today than the other day. But I also think I was getting more distance today. I'll probably go fishing for real in the next couple weeks. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so maybe I can get some nightcrawlers tomorrow evening to add to the very few I have now. -30-

Tuesday, March 06, 2012 8:03 PM - Good news. Tom WY3H has obtained our 10 special event calls for our NAQCC 8th Anniversary celebration which takes place Sunday, October 7 through Saturday October 13. So that's step one toward what we hope will be yet another fun and successful NAQCC Anniversay week. And hey....shhhh, I know many of you who read this diary are NAQCC members. I'm going to give you a chance to be one of the first ones to sign up to be one of our 10 N#A (N1A, N2A, N3A,.....N9A, N0A) operators during that week. Just email and let me know if you are interested. There's no firm commitment, and if something comes up, there's no problem if you have to back out before anniversary week gets here. You're the only ones to know about this yet. It won't be publicized in the NAQCC newsletter until the February 17th issue. What do you get out of signing up early? The preference for operating times goes in the order of signing up. Any conflicts go in favor of the earliest signer.

After our cold day yesterday, things warmed up a bit today into the mid, maybe upper 40s. I saw a 45 on my computemp late this afternoon, and it might have gone above that a bit. Tomorrow it might be around 60. I may have to take my new pole to the river and practice a little more casting. Maybe something will even hit my lure as I practice. I'll let you know if that does come about.

What did come about was a fairly easy quick QSO this evening with Gene K4AP. We didn't talk long as he got the chow call after we exchanged the basic info. At least I got two more A's for the NASCAR March Challenge from the QSO.

Today I also did a little work on the shack operating desk. The top of it has gotten pretty worn from using it not only as an operating desk, but a work bench as well over the years. It has a few pits and worn spots so I'm trying to get it sanded down, and then fill the deeper pits with some wood filler I bought today. The sanding isn't going to well. It's a very heavy grained wood and the grain is not sanding as well and is slightly raised above the rest of the surface. Running a rag over it picks up some very tiny splinters at the boundary of the grain. So I may wind up going with plan B and just put a new thin laminate surface on it. Anyway I love woodworking, although I don't get much time to do it nor do I have all the equipment necessary to do it well. So whatever I wind up doing, I will have had fun doing it. -30-

Monday, March 05, 2012 8:41 PM - Nothing much happened again today. It was our coldest day in quite some time as the temperature didn't get out of the low-mid 30's at best. It felt that cold too, so I only took one short walk down to the store. I did do a lot of walking inside the house for exercise though. I also did some more house cleaning. I wonder how much a year's worth of dust weighs. Oh, I shouldn't have said that. If the government hears that, they'll want to waste a couple million dollars making a study of it.

Since there is not much else to talk about, I'll give you some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup stats I mentioned.

I think it is really interesting to see which drivers with more than a few wins have the highest winning percentage. Let's look at the top 12 among those with 20 or more wins for example:

Driver - Wins - Races - Winning Percentage:
Herb Thomas -      48 -  229 - 21.0%
Tim Flock -        39 -  187 - 20.9%
David Pearson -   105 -  574 - 18.3%
Richard Petty -   200 - 1182 - 16.9%
Fred Lorenzen -    26 -  158 - 16.5%
Junior Johnson -   50 -  313 - 16.0%
Fireball Roberts - 33 -  206 - 16.0%
*Jimmie Johnson -  55 -  363 - 15.2%
Cale Yarborough -  83 -  560 - 14.8%
Ned Jarrett -      50 -  352 - 14.2%
*Jeff Gordon -     85 -  653 - 13.0%
Lee Petty -        54 -  427 - 12.6%
Note the two active drivers on the list - Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. At one time in his career before slipping the past few years, Jeff Gordon was near or at the top of the list.

Seeing that Gordon has entered 653 races as of the end of last season, I got to wondering what kind of a chance he now has to win 100 races in his career. There are too many variables to come up with a realistic figure of his chances. So I thought I'd see which drivers won races past their 653rd race and how many. Here we go:

Driver - Wins past race # 653 - Race # of last win:
Richard Petty -  36 - 943
*Terry Labonte -  1 - 770
*Mark Martin -    5 - 749
Ricky Rudd -      3 - 747
*Bill Elliott -   4 - 730
Bobby Allison -   3 - 706
Dale Earnhardt -  1 - 671
Based on just that statistic, it doesn't look too likely Gordon will make it to 100. It would be interesting to see at what age each of those drivers reached race #653. I suspect that Gordon may be one of the younger ones. Probably Richard Petty was the youngest since when he started there were more races each year than in recent years.

And just one final stat - Which drivers have entered over 700 races in their career, and who has the most races without having ever won?

Driver - Races
Richard Petty -  1182
Ricky Rudd -      906
Dave Marcis -     883
*Terry Labonte -  877
*Mark Martin -    830
Kyle Petty -      829
*Bill Elliott -   826
Darrell Waltrip - 809
Michael Waltrip - 765
Sterling Marlin - 748
*Ken Schrader -   740 
Bobby Allison -   718
Rusty Wallace -   706
Buddy Baker -     701
Everyone with 700+ races won at least once. The driver with the most races and no wins is J.D. McDuffie with 653 races. Interesting coincidence with that number.

Well, enough of that. -30-

Sunday, March 04, 2012 9:28 PM - Now that's the way s(o% should behave. It falls and barely covers the ground, then you turn around and look again and it's gone. Nice! That happened 2 or 3 times today. And it's predicted to be close to 70 by Thursday this week after one more chilly day tomorrow.

My QSO came pretty quickly and in addition to it being a nice chat with Joe NV4I, it also gave me 2 I's for the NAQCC March challenge and a new prefix for the FISTS PPA. It might even be an overall new prefix for me, but I don't think so. I'm not going to look now.

I spent a good part of the day getting my NASCAR Sprint Cup database up to date. I hadn't worked on it since race 3 of last year. I'll try to have some of the interesting stats I found out in a future diary entry.

Right now though I want to start presenting some of the things that Geo N1EAV sent me about dogs. I'll start off with "A Pet's Ten Commandments".

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10 On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters.

~We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!

Great stuff, isn't it? -30-

Saturday, March 03, 2012 9:32 PM - The dog info that Geo N1EAV sent was really great. It is quite long, but I would like to post some of it here in the diary. I'm going to edit it down a bit in a couple days or so and then I'll post it. Thanks again Geo.

Not much happened out of the ordinary today so not much to write about. I got three QSOs this evening as I tried to get some more letters for our March NAQCC challenge. I eagerly grabbed PZ1DV on 30 meters, then found out I had already gotten all the P, Z, D, and V letters in the challenge. So I sent my name and got his name Ron so I can use the QSO for the PZ1 prefix for the FISTS PPA.

Speaking of FISTS, Nancy sent out an email on the FISTS email list today announcing that the FISTS web site is back up and running after the problems were worked out. That's good news. FISTS has had enough bad news lately, and it's a shame the best CW club in the world has had such misfortune recently. Let's hope everything is completely back on track now for FISTS.

I guess that's pretty much it for this diary entry. Maybe tomorrow will provide some more to talk about. -30-

Friday, March 02, 2012 9:41 PM - Geo N1EAV sent me a couple dog stories or poems today. Thanks Geo. It's been a busy day and I haven't looked at them yet, but I will either later tonight or tomorrow.

I think that as the brain ages, one thing that slips away first of all is the ability to multi-task. When I worked at WPIT, for many years I would run both our AM and FM station at the same time with different programming. In all the time that I did so, there were only a very few times when there was dead air on one of the stations. Most of those times it was the fault of the programming (a taped broadcast too short and the like), and not my ability to multi-task. But lately I notice that I can get distracted easily when I'm doing 1, 2, 3, or more things at same time, and I have to work more at concentrating on what I'm doing than when I did that years ago at WPIT.

Today was yet another nice day. I like to say that a lot mainly to get back at my friends down south who seem to constantly rub it in about how nice the weather is down there. Well, this winter they could have stayed up north and not noticed a whole lot of difference. By the way, February turned out to be almost 6 degrees above normal (+5.8) to join Nov, Dec, and Jan around the +6 mark. February was a few tenths of a degree cooler though. The other months were above the +6 mark so maybe there is a cooling trend coming.

Anyway, I went for a pretty long walk today. I was going to go fishing, but the river was quite high and muddy from a lot of rain north of here the past few days. So instead, I cleaned up my back yard. I bagged the leaves I used as mulch to keep the ground warm over winter. Probably could have done without them this year. I also pulled a lot of weeds out of my garden patches so they don't steal any more nutrients from the soil. Now the soil can warm up nicely as the sun beats down on it from its position higher up in the sky. I said I didn't see anything sprouting a couple days ago, but when I looked today while cleaning up, I see my tulips are up about 6 inches or so, and there are a lot of just starting to develop shoots on my rose bushes. I'll have to prune them back a little in a few days.

Just after I finished that, Nancy called and asked if I wanted to go shopping with her. I though that would make for a change, so even though I didn't really need anything, I went along.

Those activities along with the usual everyday things ate up a pretty good chunk of the day. This evening for my streak QSO I worked VP2MSN on 30 meters with but a single call to him. I also worked W1EYB on 40 meters. -30-

Thursday, March 01, 2012 1:14 PM - I've gotten several interesting emails from Brion VE3FUJ the past few days, and thought I'd combine them into one entry, so here we go.

Re: my hearing him on 30M and ham history - "W9OES was nice and strong here 579 or thereabouts. ---------- So you were eavesdropping Hi Hi funny my eavesdropping alarm didn't go off, so back to the drawing board. Hi Hi. You would have been welcome to drop in. BTW how was my signal at your Qth? We are almost of the same vintage when it comes to ham license. I'm from May 64. Even though the bug bit me 10 years earlier, my life was not settled enough to even attempt to do any thing about it, in the way of a license. The code I learned as a Boy-Scout in the early 40's during the long Curfew nights we had under German rule. We used light bulbs mounted in a cardboard tube to practice with or a flashlight if the tube was big enough. 72 Brion -30-"

I also did the 'learning by light' method with a friend in town, but it never worked all that well. I still have some trouble reading code by Aldis Lamps in movies.

Re: Our both needing the letter L to complete the NAQCC February Dog Challenge and more ham history - "You mentioned the Net. I never considered checking into the Net as a permissible Qso, but I guess it is. I was active to about 75 when my Rig developed trouble of a rather expensive and involved sort. Also at that point I didn't see anything in CW and was fed up with SSB. So I disposed of it and yes, ended my ham career until I got back on the Air in August 2006, a year after we moved up country. I did keep up my license fees until 2000 when I got a letter from Industry Canada, ( the then governing body ) together with a proficiency Certificate in code, which was not issued at the time of my Advanced examination in 66. I was no longer required to remit a fee. From hereon in it was free. And funnily enough that was also the Year I had decided it was to be my last renewal. Also the only thing I have left over from then is my old Speed-X key. It was the one thing that got me thinking of Ham radio again, when we unpacked at the new Qth. It still took a year after that. A lot of hams, when one gets on the subject of the past, have nearly the same experience of fading away from ham radio for one reason or another, most times its Family, work or military service, or just plain fed up, and then getting back in, in the golden years or after the kids have flown the coup. How the S%^w situation ? melting well? 72 Brion -30-"

What little there was of it seems to be completely gone. There might be a tiny bit left in a parking lot plow pile, but I think even that is all gone as there wasn't much to begin with in those piles.

Re: Using his emails here - "John you have my permission to use the Bio and the e-mails as is, as you please. If I would have been adverse to them being published I wood have included a NOTE. Thanks for asking. 73 Brion -30-"

My policy is that any email with the subject "Diary Comments" is OK to post here. If I get something with another subject, if it is interesting, I'll ask if I can use it before doing so.

Re: Unusual antenna - "Me again, a new one for me. I'll start by saying "It takes all kinds" the term is used in an Admiring, Positive and Innovative way. I had a Qso with a Ham earlier this evening, who answered my CQ abt 700cps down, I re-tuned, his signal was abt 579 and abt S 5, with a trace of QSB. During the Qso he told me he was hawing roof work done and had to take down his Outside antenna. And in lieu of anything better he'd strung a random wire below ground level in his Basement and pushing 10W into it. He ought to receive a medal for trying and succeeding. I thought the above would tickle your fancy??? 73 Brion -30-

Sometimes in our sprints I feel my antenna must be underground for sure.

Re: Meteorological vs. Astronomical spring - "I think, what makes the meteorological spring make more sense, is the fact that, one doesn't have to wait another 20 or so days for the astronomical spring. and that makes an astronomical difference to ones mind set. Then again if one was to use the astronomical fall in conjunction with the meteorological spring, one would end up with a pleasantly short winter? Yes !! 73 Brion -30-"

Of course I treat my favorite season of summer as starting with Meteorological, and ending with Astronomical for a looong summer.

Re: The dog poem I posted several days ago - "That!!----------------------- was very touching. Thanks for sharing it John. 72 Brion"

I'm surprised I didn't get more comments about that.

And let's finish off with this from Geo N1EAV about spring - "Just wanted to drop a note wishing you a happy first day of meteorological spring. We almost made it through February without any snow this year. However, we ended up getting a couple of inches yesterday, mostly on the grassy surfaces. Leave it to leap year...hihi. Got another 2-3 today. It's hard to measure it because of the melting with the high water content. Temperatures stayed pretty warm during the storm so we have that heart attack snow to move around. Looks like it is pretty much done. Maybe a small burst later on this afternoon. Can't complain much about this winter. Every month had above average temps by a few degrees. As far as snow goes, we've only had 17 inches here in Concord for the season, and that includes the Halloween storm last October. Not bad at all. Looks like an early spring this year to me. Here at work, the witch hazel just started blooming, and most of the spring bulbs are poking through the ground. Will have to spray the tulips early this year so the deer don't eat the flower heads.....I plant around 7000 bulbs each fall and one year the deer got to the tulips before I sprayed the repellent. Wasn't much of a colorfull spring that year. It's only the tulips they go after...They leave the daffodils and the hyacinths alone. Hope all is well your way. 73, geo n1eav"

Thanks Geo. And a happy first day of spring to you and all my diary readers as well. I don't see much blooming around here yet, nor have I seen my first robin yet. Surprising with the last 4 months now averaging 6 degrees above normal. It doesn't look like March is going to be any different either from the outlooks I'm seeing for the month. I don't keep sn*w totals here, but I have the feeling we didn't even make it to the one foot total mark for the winter. Can't go by the nearby Pittsburgh or Butler totals either, since they both had one or two storms that passed us by or only deposited a dusting here.

Back to some NAQCC work now. -30-

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:49 PM - Three topics to discuss today. First of all, thanks to Brion VE3FUJ for his suggestion of a countdown to Field Day. I thought it was a bit early for that, and decided to count down to my favorite sporting event of the year - March Madness or as the less excitable folks call it - The NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship. Between March 13th and April 1, a field of 68 teams will be pared down to just 2 teams in a single-elimination tournament. Then those two teams will meet in the championship game on April 2 at approximately 9 PM EST. The exact time of tip-off will probably be something like 9:17 PM, but I'll count down to 9 PM. Those 17 or so minutes comprise the pre-game hoopla and a ton of commercials. I'm starting to get really anxious now, and will be preparing my Excel spreadsheet to follow the tournament soon. I know all the sites for the games now, and just have to wait till the 68 teams are picked and fill them in. I never make predictions, I just like to follow the tournament and see who the Cinderella teams will be each year. As we get into the tournament, I'll talk about some of my favorite moments from past tournaments.

Just a couple hours now as I type and you read until beautiful glorious spring arrives and the world re-awakens from dismal dark winter. Well, actually there is no precise moment for that, and the world is divided between those who 'observe' the first day of meteorological spring on March 1 and those who opt for astronomical spring around March 21. It seems to me that meteorological spring makes more sense as it comprises the 3 months between the 3 coldest months (Dec, Jan, Feb) of winter and the three warmest months (Jun, Jul, Aug) of summer. On average the coldest week of the year (in many places, but not everywhere) is in the middle of January or the middle of meterorological winter, and the warmest week in the middle of July or the middle of summer.

Of course today was leap day, when we do our best to keep our calendars in step with the Earth's rotation around the Sun. As you know, the Earth doesn't come back to the same place in its orbit every 365 days, but 365 1/4 days. We have to make up for that 1/4 day by adding a day to the calendar every 4 years. Even so it is not an exact 1/4 day, and we allow for that by not adding a leap day in years that end in 00 that are not evenly divisible by 4. That is, 1600 and 2000 have a leap day, but 1700, 1800, and 1900 did not. Still even taking that into account, there will be a cumulative error of about 3 days in the next 10,000 years. I'm not going to worry about that. Are you?

John Nese, a meteorologist at Penn State elaborated a bit more on leap day on his feature called Weather WXYZ which airs on Weather World produced by Penn State. If you'd like to see his segment on leap day, it should be posted here in a day or two. You'll also find much other very interesting info about the weather there.

Now I'm going to go and get my streak QSO. Tomorrow I'll have a little more interesting info from Brion VE3FUJ about how his ham history is similar to a certain extent to mine and to many other hams. -30-

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:01 PM - Not a lot to talk about today. It was yet another beautiful day. That sounds like a broken record, but the best sounding broken record I ever heard, for sure. I can't recall a winter exactly like this one for the number of snow free days and the number of mild days. Of course meteorological winter ends tomorrow, so the coldest 3 months of the year will be behind us. I noted in the diary some time ago that every once in a while March can be colder than December, January, and/or February. According to all the outlooks I see though, that won't be the case this year even though Dec and Jan were 6 degrees above normal, and Feb may be about the same. The one example that comes to mind is 1960 when March was THE cold month of that 1959-60 weather. In fact that cold month of March was one factor that led to my interest in meteorology and encouraged me to keep my daily temperature readings going all these 51 or so years now.

So I guess after tomorrow, I'll have to update my countdown timer to count down to something else. Any ideas? Something besides weather.

I took a couple of nice long walks today and am now around 9 miles on the pedometer. I also did some touch-up painting to some of my woodwork in the house. I was going to take my pole to the river and get in some more casting practice, but it was still just a tad chilly to just be standing there. It was nice while walking though, and I even broke into a little sweat when I was 'racing' another walker. I get a kick out of doing that. If I see a fast walker ahead of me, I'll pick up my pace, and when I catch and pass them, I give them a friendly greeting. There are very very few folks that I can't catch and pass. Except maybe those who do the olympic rules walking. I don't do that, just normal walking.

My QSO this evening came fairly quickly when Hiro VE3CGC answered my CQ on 40 meters. Hiro and I have worked several times. This evening he was using what he calls his winter standby antenna - his metal roof fed through a tuner. I think that's a first for me. I've worked folks using their gutter as an antenna - Wink WA8KOQ comes to mind, but a whole roof? I don't think so - till tonight. -30-

Monday, February 27, 2012 8:44 PM - I got my L easily today to complete the NAQCC February Dog challenge. I tuned across 17 meters hoping to find a DL station. Instead I found OL1FOC. At first I thought that wasn't going to be my L since I only heard 1FOC when I first tuned him in. I stayed there though and heard the OL prefix the next time he sent his call. So I decided to glue myself to that spot. I called him once and lost out to an AB3??/M station. Fortunately he was turning QSOs over quickly, and when he finished with the AB3, I called again and got him. He had my call as K3RWP at first, but corrected it the next round. I also got his name so that QSO was good for the OL1 prefix towards the FISTS PPA.

With that out of the way, I went out to enjoy the 55-60 degree weather we had today. I went for a long walk, then when I got home I visited with Bruce out on his front porch for a while before he went to work. If it hadn't been so very windy, I would have taken my pole to the river and practiced some more casting. The wind was so strong in gusts, it probably would have blown the lure right back at me. HI.

So instead I studied some more vector graphics editing, and later went for another walk.

It took a little while to get my QSO this evening, but after a while, W1JN answered my CQ, adding yet another day to the streak.

There's now a picture of our NAQCC tee-shirts on the NAQCC web site if you're interested. I hope if you're a member that you are interested enough to buy one and help us publicize the club still more.

It's 9 o'clock now, so I'll close now and go get my temperature readings. Just a couple days now and we'll see if we had a fourth straight month with the average temperature 6+ degrees above normal. -30-

Sunday, February 26, 2012 9:16 PM - Mike KC2EGL stopped by today to pick up his scope and we had another good day together. A meal at Long John Silver's started things off. We then tried to find Venus in the daytime, but the scattered clouds made it rough, and we decided to try later. We talked another of our common interests - rock music for quite a while. We also set up a new prize for the NAQCC. Then we went up to my shack to see if I could find that final L that I needed for the NAQCC February challenge, but we didn't have any luck. I then showed Mike my first ham radio receiver, the SW-500 I mentioned in the previous diary entry. We hooked it up and powered it on, and listened around for a while. We heard some AM BCB stations, some 40M activity in the NC QSO party, a few SWBC stations including the Deutsche Welle and some religious broadcasters. Using it for the first time in many years made me wonder all over again how I did manage to make QSOs with it. We tried for Venus again, and this time got it just before sunset with binoculars and the naked eye. The first time for Mike, but I have many daytime Venus sightings. We also tried for Jupiter, but couldn't see it despite looking in just the right spot near the moon.

This evening I got my QSO easily from K5EK in the NC QSO Party. After that, I looked again for my L, but didn't find one. So it looks like I may wind up one letter short, unless I get one in the next couple days. Mike said he'd try a sked with me so I can get my L, and I may take him up on that if I don't get one before then.

And here I am typing this entry now. When I close and post it, I'm going to see if I can get a picture of our NAQCC tee-shirt up on the web site. If not tonight, then tomorrow for sure. -30-

Saturday, February 25, 2012 9:09 PM - I got a quick QSO in the MS QSO Party for my streak. Then I looked around to find someone with an S and/or an L in their call so I could work them and finish our NAQCC February Dog Challenge. 20 minutes or so of looking didn't turn up anyone who wasn't already engaged in a long QSO, so I went to 3558 and called CQ. Guess what..... That's right, one CQ and WS2N answered me. So now I need but one L to finish things off. Think I'll try to do that tomorrow and get it out of the way. Maybe I can find a DL station on one of the higher bands. Oh, and after the WS2N QSO, I called CQ again and got answered by W9STG. We had a great rag chew talking about our early days in ham radio. He started in 1955 and I in 1963. We had our first QSO in August of 1964.

In looking back over my ham career with him (Ken), I thought about how many different rigs I used over the years. Here's a list of the receivers. I'm going to try to find out just when I started using each one.

Hallicrafters SW-500
Knight R-100
Hammarlund HQ-100 (or maybe it was 110 - can't recall now for sure)
Drake SPR-4
Icom R-71A

Then I started using transceivers in 1999.

Kenwood TS-570
Kenwood TS-480SAT
Elecraft K-2

Up until 1999 I only used homebrew transmitters starting with a xtal-controlled 6AG7-1625 combo, then added a Lafayette VFO which I modified over the years to add the WARC bands and 160 meters. The transmitter evolved into one with a 6Y6 final amp when I came back on the air in 1993 after being off for several years while working at WPIT

The NAQCC now has a club Tee-shirt. We'll have more details about that on the NAQCC web site soon, and I'll talk more about it here in the diary shortly. I did spend a good part of today working on a vector graphics version of our club logo for the shirt. I hadn't worked with vector graphics for almost 5 years and had to do a little boning up on it, but I came up with a workable version of the logo which the Tee-shirt supplier was able to enlarge to the size required.

I also helped Bruce put up a folding door for Nancy in between all the other things. Now I want to call Tom and give him the news about the shirts. I also want to update our NAQCC membership database and on-line member list with the updates sent along today by our new FCC database checker Jerry W7GAH. Then maybe watch an episode of Bob Vila's Home Again show on the Internet and listen to the TL show a bit before going to bed.

And that will close out yet another full day. Oh, it s*o#ed today but I don't mind the stuff as much this time of year as I explained a couple entries ago. The stuff doesn't outlast its extremely short welcome period at this time of winter. It'll be history in a couple days. -30-

Friday, February 24, 2012 9:24 PM - I just want to share one thing with you today. This was given to me by Nancy yesterday. I scanned it and present it here now with a brief comment at the end.

pix_diary_20120224_001 (71K)

Isn't that touching! I think every dog owner should copy that and post it somewhere very prominently in his or her house - and follow it to a T. I know all of us involved with Joe certainly did. Although he died naturally and was in good health until the very end, I know the last sentence could well have been his last thought also.

pix_diary_20120224_002 (23K)


Thursday, February 23, 2012 7:54 PM - It was green flag day today, not only for the Daytona qualifiers, but for my fishing season. I took advantage of yet another beautiful day with temps in the 50s to take my new rod and reel given to me at Christmas by Nancy, Bruce, Jeff, and Joe down to the river. I didn't really go with catching any fish in mind, but mainly to try out the new rig. I put a medium weight lure on it, and made around 100 casts or so. I only had a couple very minor backlashes, and near the end I was getting really comfortable with it, and was getting some decent distances with the casts. The feel of these new bait casting reels is certainly different from the 70-90 year old reels that I use here. I think I'm really going to like it when I get still more used to it. Anyway, it's a good thing I wasn't expecting to catch anything, because I didn't, despite good wishes from a local magistrate and an ex-county commissioner I ran into while walking to the river.

About Dayton, should you ask, I don't know. Despite Mike and I talking racing so much yesterday, it's more of a thing of the past for me. I haven't followed much racing at all the past few years except to check on Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson to see how they are doing.

My QSO this evening was with fellow NAQCC member Dale (not Earnhardt Jr.) K3PXC on 40 meters. It's nice that 40 is picking up in the evenings now as it seems to be easier to get a QSO there than on 80. -30-

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 8:33 PM - A great day today. Mike and I had a full day. When he first got here this morning, we started in working on his telescope. The hand controller display had slipped down inside the case. We took the cover off and one tiny little plastic part fell out, then two more similar ones fell out after that. We spent most of our time trying to figure out where they went after we figured out that just a little adhesive on the outside clear cover over the display held it in place and had come loose. Finally after assembling the case, Mike tried out the buttons and found they had a little excessive play in them, so we figured the three little plastic pieces went around the printed circuit board. That fixed it when we put them on. That's but a quick summary of what we went through. The whole process took a couple hours including a break as described in the next paragraph and a call to Celestron support in CA.

During the break we went down to the Pittsburgh Mills mall. I had to return a cable I bought with the new scope at Best Buy there, and also pick up a couple other things. One of which was a new optical wireless mouse. I had gotten used to one with my old computer, but I couldn't use that mouse on the new computer because of a difference in connections. The old mouse and computer used the old DIN type plug. The new computer doesn't even have any DIN jacks on it. It uses a USB mouse connection. So now I have a wireless mouse for the new computer here. After that we went over to Appleby's for lunch. We both had their fish and chips lunch. I had a side order of onion rings and Mike a side of broccoli.

Back home again to finish the scope work. Then we went for about a two mile walk around town in the cloudy but mild weather - 55 degrees. How about that for a February 22nd temperature? About 20 degrees above normal. But then we're used to that kind of warmth this winter. After the walk, we looked at a couple things on my computer, then I noticed the sun came out. Mike had brought his astronomical binoculars with his extra sun filters, so we took advantage of the break in the clouds and went out and took a look at the sun and its one fairly large sunspot group. That was impressive, and the first time I'd looked directly at the sun with optical aid - other than using the projection technique through a scope, binoculars, or a pinhole in a piece of cardboard.

At lunch we discussed among other things, motorsports. That's another common interest. I guess when both Mike and I have so many interests in all facets of life, there are bound to be many we have in common. Now after looking at the sun, we came back to my computer and spent probably an hour and a half or so looking up things about motorsports. We watched some videos of famous accidents like the horrific Michael Waltrip crash at Bristol which I think is the most destructive wreck ever in which the car is totally destroyed yet Michael walked away with barely a scratch. Just to mention a couple others - the race at Watkins Glen in which J.D. McDuffie was killed and the F1 race at Imola that took the life of Ayrton Senna, perhaps the greatest F1 driver in history. Sorry Michael Schumaker fans, but had he lived, Ayrton would have had more and Michael fewer wins (in my opinion as well as that of other racing fans.) The Senna video gave a long detailed complete description of exactly what caused that crash from the data in the car's 'black box' data recorder. We also would think of other drivers and look them up on the Internet. There were a lot, and we kept thinking of others as we went along. I'll just name a couple here. Tim Richmond whom I think was the greatest pure driver in NASCAR history. It was exciting and breath-taking watching him drive always on that thin edge between speed and crashing. A quarter inch further out on a turn and it would be disaster as well as where a 1/4 MPH increase in speed would also result in a crash. Tim could keep the car always right inside the disaster point and of course realized the maximum speed because of that. We also looked up the unfortunate Dan Whelan, Juan Manual Fangio, Wendell Scott, Sara Christian and many others. When we tired of that, it was time for my streak QSO, so we went to the shack, and after trying to figure out who was causing the huge pileup on 30 (it was a 3C6 station), we went to 40 and I got a quick answer to my CQs from K8MPH to add another day to the streak. A bit more listening around after the QSO, then it was time for Mike to head home a little while ago. -30-

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:39 PM - Looks like I've got some more help in running the NAQCC. Dean NW2K is going to take over posting of scores and soapboxes for our regular sprints.

I got 3 QSOs bang bang bang tonight for a solid hour of CW with no breaks. First John AG3N from nearby Apollo, PA answered my CQ, then after we finished, one CQ brought an answer from Dave KA3YNV. Then Craig N4PLK tail-ended that QSO. The last two were FISTS members and new members for my log. Also the AG3 and KA3 prefixes were new for the FISTS PPA award. I guess that's redundant since the A in PPA stands for award. HI. Finally the L in N4PLK left me needing just 5 letters to complete our February NAQCC Dog challenge. I need 4 S and 1 L now. So a productive and enjoyable evening on the band (80) tonight.

Tomorrow as I have probably mentioned, Mike KC2EGL is stopping by for our regular monthly visit. In writing these things for emails, the NAQCC newsletter, and this diary, I forget sometimes where I said what. So please forgive any excessive repeats that sneak in. Anyway Mike and I have planned getting caught up on our NAQCC prizes, going to Best Buy, and also Appleby's in the Pittsburgh Mills mall. Then we'll do a little work on a problem he's having with his telescope. After that, we'll wing it for the rest of the day.

I'm looking at my lone Siberian tomato plant as I'm typing. It is really coming along nicely although well behind the past few years because of the late start. I think I'll plant a few more seeds around March 1st to see what happens. Also maybe a few more pepper seeds around that date also. Ange says he plants his pepper seeds on March 19th (St. Joseph's Day) each year, and he always has a lot of nice plants although they are a little later than if he started them earlier. I have one pepper plant that is just resting. I haven't seen much change in it for a couple weeks now. But the Siberian did that also, then kind of took off. Now I'm going to take off and go get my temperature reading. I wonder if February will wind up being around 6 degrees above normal as were November, December, and January. I said the same about January - I didn't think it was as warm as Nov and Dec, but it was. Now I don't think Feb was as warm as Nov-Jan. We'll see in just over a week. -30-

Monday, February 20, 2012 8:50 PM - February 20 is an important day for winter haters around here. While it's not an exact day, it is about this time when the Sun reaches that altitude in the sky when it starts having a more significant heating effect. I note that most s*o* that falls around this date or later is gone much quicker than s*o$s earlier in the season. Today was a beautiful sunny day. Although the air temperature was chilly, the ground got a good dose of heating sunlight. The whole effect today was to really cheer me up. I even checked my fishing worms in the refrigerator. There were still a couple healthy ones from last fall, but one cup had really dried out for some reason and I lost quite a few worms from that one. Hey, look above to see how few days there are until meteorological spring now. That's great also, even though it was one of the best winters we've had here in a good many years.

Most of the day today was spent doing the final cross-checking of sprint logs. It was a tough one with many errors to correct even before the logs were ready to feed into the cross-checker. There were 4 hams who even mis-spelled their own call in some of their log entries. Some entries had times that were way out of the 0130-0330Z time frame. I don't know what time zone they had their clocks set to. The most common error was probably listing a member QSO points as 1 instead of the correct 2. One other one is relying too much on the data put out from GenLog. In each sprint there are maybe one or two members who operate in a different state from that listed in GenLog. Inevitably a couple hams will log them in their home state instead of where they actually operated from. And on and on it goes. At least this new computer helps speed things up a little bit. In checking one set of logs, it is done in the blink of an eye. Well, faster than that actually, while the old computer took a few seconds to complete the operation.

My QSO tonight was with old friend Stan K4UK. Just tuned to 80M when he was starting to CQ and got him right away for a 23 minute QSO. 40 sounded pretty good tonight also, but a few CQs there yielded nothing, hence the move back to 80. -30-

Sunday, February 19, 2012 8:36 PM - This was a fun day all around. Mostly because of the ARRL DX Contest. Conditions this morning were better than yesterday, and 15 meters got the most action then. Some stations on 10, but I can't recall hearing or working any EU stations there. I'll know more when I analyze my log which I haven't really done yet other than glancing through it and that's not analyzing anything.

I'm not going to say much more about the stations I worked as I think I'll write up a report for the web site on how things went.

Mike KC2EGL dropped in for another unexpected visit this afternoon, and he spent the last 90 minutes of the contest with me in the shack. I was hoping for some JA action but it never materialized as it did last evening. We did hear a pretty strong JH4UYB, but it was pretty much right near the end of the contest so I didn't work him. We also heard JA3YBK whom I worked on 20 last evening. This time he was on 15, but weaker tonight, and I couldn't work him.

So without talking about the test, that's about it for this entry. The contest report, if I do decide to do it, will be up later this week. Now I'm going to import my ARRL DX log into my main log, and maybe get started on cross-checking logs from our NAQCC sprint. -30-

Saturday, February 18, 2012 8:12 PM - Looks like my assessment of conditions for the ARRL DX Contest was pretty accurate. 10 was pretty much out of the picture except for some Caribbean stations. 15 was decent, but nothing to get excited about. 20 bore the brunt of the load here. 40 was pretty good last night, and 80 was even a little poorer than I thought.

So far, I'm at only 90 QSOs in some 45 countries. I'm not going to even come close to the 93 countries I had in the CQWW DX contest back in November. I didn't find QSOs coming nearly as easily as they did then, and I tired quickly from lack of action today, so I probably put in fewer hours than in the CQWW.

When I went to get my streak QSO at 0000Z this evening, I found strong, but very fluttery sigs from Japan and Asiatic Russia on 20 meters. They died out quickly though. I probably should have been there earlier. I might have had some fun working JA and UA9 stations. As it was I did work 2 JAs and 2 UA9s before conditions changed. They were easy QSOs too, despite the strong flutter. Somewhat suprising that my 5 watts to a dipole could make it over there with those conditions. All 4 stations I worked were running KWs.

I haven't heard any overall new countries yet, let alone work any. I did get some nice ones though like ZD8Z on a single call and he wasn't all that strong. Also 6V7S who took a few calls to land. There were some others I liked also. I'll have more about that when I get my log in front of me at this computer. Right now it's in the new "old" shack computer. It's much easier to switch data now since both have USB ports for my flash drive. Before I had to use an old 3.5 inch 'floppy' for transfer.

Maybe conditions will be a little better tomorrow, but looking at the sun on my propagation page, I only see two sunspot groups on the face and neither is very large.

I may check 80 during the night if I wake up. I did around 5 AM today, but there was nothing much there or on 40. I think I made one QSO on 40 in about 20-25 minutes of listening around. More in tomorrow's entry and if it gets more exciting, maybe I'll write a contest story for my Contesting section. -30-

Friday, February 17, 2012 6:43 PM - Just in case I get overly involved in the ARRL DX contest this evening, which is very unlikely at this moment as I'm not in a contesting mood, I thought I'd write my diary entry a bit early.

When I first turned on the computer this morning, I got a message that it was time to make a recovery DVD for the computer. Usually those messages come the first day of setting up a computer. Anyway it said I could use DVD(s) or a flash drive. I figured it would take more than the 8 GB flash drive I had so I opted for DVD. Next it told me they would have to be DVD R, and I had only DVD RW so I had to take a walk downtown and pick up a pack of DVD Rs. I guess they want to be sure you don't accidentally erase the recovery DVD. Anyway I got back home and started the process which went smoothly this time and took almost an hour. I ate my brunch while it was doing its thing.

Next I processed a couple logs that came in during the night, went over to see Bruce for a while, then went downtown again for some more shopping - food this time. Some more computer work, then supper. Next I set up the shack computer for the ARRL DX contest, and moved the previous shack computer up to the attic. Another walk downtown for a battery for an old calculator I found in a drawer somewhere a couple days ago. That brought me to this point where I'm writing this diary entry. In a few minutes I might go up to the shack for the contest or if not for that, then to get my streak QSO otherwise.

Let's see what the solar numbers are for now to get a rough idea of what the DX contest will be like. The SF is 104 and the A index 2. No weather storms predicted. That looks like 10 and 15 will not be all that good, but should provide a decent number of QSOs. 20 will probably be the workhorse band. 40 may be pretty good in the dark hours. 80 not as good as when the solar activity was lower. That's what I find in my case anyway. Your mileage may vary, especially if you have one of those big antenna farms that don't really care much about the state of the ionosphere. They get through anyway when our little antenna 'victory gardens' don't. -30-

Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:29 PM - I just posted log #100 from our NAQCC sprint, and right after that, my email notification went off and there is #101. So for the 22nd time in the last 23 sprints we've reached 100 logs thanks to our wonderful NAQCC members.

Other than that, it was a run of the mill day, I guess. Nothing pops into mind about anything out of the ordinary that happened. It was the usual nice day with temperatures in the mid-40s. In fact it's still 45 as I write this near 10:30 PM. I replaced a couple more floor tiles in my kitchen. I went for a good long walk. I guess that's about it.

Oh, a couple nights ago my diary didn't get posted for some reason, and Brion VE3FUJ explained what happened. He said it was because my new computer didn't know my usual daily routine yet. HI.

I'm doing my washing now, and the washer part just ended so it's time to get the clothes in the dryer. -30-

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 8:19 PM - A busy, interesting, enjoyable day.

First of all Mike KC2EGL emailed and said he could drop by for an impromptu visit 'with company' if it was OK with me. It was.

While waiting for him I worked on processing sprint logs, and had my brunch. I also watched a replay of the dog show judging for best in group to see if the local dog I mentioned advanced after winning best of breed but he didn't even make the top four in his group. After my brunch, Mike came with his company which was two of his fiancee's dogs he was taking up to Clarion north of here. He brought Duke and Buddy into the house here and we visited for a little while before he had to take off again to finish the dog delivery to Clarion. They were both very active and friendly, especially Duke who jumped up on my lap and sat there for quite a while until Mike had to leave. When he did leave he said he'd stop by again later on his return trip from Clarion.

So I processed some more logs, did a bit of shopping and when Mike did return around 2:30, we went out for a walk around town since both of us had been sitting for quite a while. He in his car, and I at my computer. When we got home we fooled around in my shack for a while. I was showing him my new setup there with my 'new' old shack computer and how nice the LCD monitor (which he gave me a couple years ago) looked next to the K2. Then we came downstairs and 'played' with my new new computer for quite a while. He's moving when he gets married and we looked at his new house on Bing maps to discuss how he could put up an antenna there. Then we looked at a lot of the astronomical videos on the Voyager sky map software. That was the first time I had seen some of them as they didn't run very well on my old slower computer. It was interesting to observe events throughout history as if we had hopped into a time machine and gone there. Like Venus transiting Jupiter, riding comet Hyakutake through the solar system, and many other such demos.

We were together for about 4 hours till he had to leave to go see his fiancee. Then it was more log processing and up to the shack for my streak QSO which came easily working HK1MW on 30 then my friend Ken WA8REI on 80.

Somewhere in between all that, I put my tomato plant into a larger pot. It's now working on its second set of true leaves. I helped my pepper plant break out of its seed cover, and it's now coming along also. It has its set of seed leaves wide open gathering up what sunlight there is.

There was probably something else I did today too, but I can't remember now. HI. -30-

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 6:11 PM - A dog from our area took a 'Best of Breed' award at the Westminster Kennel Club Show today. I had never heard of the breed before a couple days ago when there was a front page article in our paper about the dog. It's a Vizsla, a sporting or hunting dog that originated in Hungary. There were 35 of that breed entered, so it was quite an accomplishment for a dog from this area (within 3 miles or so from here) to win and move on to the 'Best of Group' judging. I'm not sure if that judging has taken place yet or not as I haven't had time to check the Internet since this morning. The show is on TV this evening from 8 to 11. Whether that is live or taped, again I'm not sure.

I've been busy today doing a little shopping, a little more 'home repair' work, the usual computer work, and getting ready for tonight's NAQCC sprint. That will keep me from watching the dog show tonight, but the web site has tape delays of everything that went on and is going on at the show, so I can catch it tomorrow.

Tonight will be kind of an experimental sprint for me in a way. I moved my old computer into the shack just a little while ago replacing the older one I had there. I think it will be better in a way because I now have a LCD monitor in the shack which I can position for a better viewing angle than the old bulky CRT monitor on the older computer.

Then for the first time after the sprint I'll be posting scores and soapboxes with the new computer here. After that the log cross-checking will be done for the first time on this new computer also. This speed demon should really zip through the process, although even with Excel 2010 on the old computer, it went pretty speedily as well.

It was yet one more mild day here in this marvelous winter. The temperature got into the 40s for the umpteenth time this winter. We did have a little lite rain with a few flakes mixed in, but that's tolerable when it's in the 40s and nothing sticks around. -30-

Monday, February 13, 2012 8:01 PM - I'll make this a quick entry as I'm going next door to watch the Westminster dog show in a couple minutes. Not really much to talk about except it was one of those great winter days when the sn%w melts. We lost most of the two inches of stuff that fell over the weekend. The sun is getting high enough in the sky now to melt the stuff even if the temperature is not all that high.

Because of that I got in a couple good walks today and have a total of almost 9 miles on the pedometer as of now.

I've also been doing a little fixing-up of things around the house the past few days. Things like fixing a carpet padding, replacing some floor tiles that have suffered the ravages of time. I also helped fix a chair for Nancy today.

My QSO came quickly tonight from KC9ERZ. That gave me my first Z for our NAQCC Dog challenge and I was able to finish another name with that - WIZZER. I also finished the last C and completed the name CQ - nice name for a ham's dog.

Well, I better get going now. -30-

Sunday, February 12, 2012 9:13 PM - This was kind of a hibernation day with that ugly white stuff outside. I don't hate it quite as much at this time of year though. I know it won't be long now till spring and life begins all over again. Won't it be great!

It didn't take too long tonight to get my QSO as Dick K1IEE answered me after about 10 minutes or so of CQs. But as usual of late, 80 meters sure was deserted. Even Dick commented on that.

Still having fun with the new computer. Actually the first few days after getting it provided a different kind of fun. I had a ball figuring things out. Like how to transfer this program and its data files. Deciding if I would just be better off getting a later version of a program if available. Wondering what I'd have to go through to activate the couple programs like Microsoft Office that were not freeware. Transferring my Microsoft Money program files. It sounded pretty complicated reading different web sites and forums about the process. Then I went and just did it logically on my own and it was a piece of cake. Figuring out why this or that didn't work quite as it should. Things like that really turn me on. I love when someone or something lays down a challenge before me that challenges me to use my brain. Actually I think I like it better when something doesn't go quite right, and I have to figure it out. So far I've won all the challenges.

Then the last couple days I've just been playing with this or that feature to learn how it works on Windows 7. Pure enjoyment! I'm still awed by the speed of this thing. Especially its ability to multi-task with virtually no interruptions or glitches. Wish I could multi-task as easily as it does. HI Actually I'm now the slow cog in the computing processes I do here. The computer is way out in front now. It has to wait on me instead of the other way around. HI. -30-

Saturday, February 11, 2012 10:18 PM - I just got through revamping my QSO of the day table (again). It's now back to its original format listing one QSO per day for my main streak. I also added a column which shows the number of QSOs I made that day. Of course that column will be filled in at the end of a day since I obviously won't know until then how many QSOs I made that day.

This evening I got two easy QSOs - Larry KA2DDX and Bob N2UU - both on 80 meters.

I was just wondering today how much actual time per day this new computer is going to save me. It is just so incredibly fast. Literally a lot of the things it does, like loading in programs or even web pages and loading in large data files to programs, among other things, it does in the blink of an eye. While the time for those things in the old computer had to be measured in seconds or in some cases, even minutes. With all I do on the computer each day, those little differences must be adding up to a lot of time.

Incidentally I got a program called Speccy which lists a lot of specs for computers all in one place. Most of the things can be gotten through Windows, but often in different places. Speccy combines them all in one place. Here are a couple of things you might be interested in about my new computer:

O/S: MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
CPU: AMD A6-3620, Cores 4, Threads 4
Core 0 - 2.5 GHz, Bus 100 MHz
Core 1 - 2.5 GHz, Bus 100 MHz
Core 2 - 2.2 GHz, Bus 100 MHz
Core 3 - 2.2 GHz, Bus 100 MHz
RAM: 2 sticks of DDR 4 GB DRAM Freq 665.5 MHz
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6530D Graphics
Hard Drive: 1TB, 7200 RPM

There's a lot more, but that will give those of you who are technically minded about computers some idea of what I got.

Now I'm off to play with the new toy some more before bed time. -30-

Friday, February 10, 2012 8:49 PM - After dropping below 100 for a couple days, the SF jumped back up to 111 today. I was afraid the sun was going to go back to sleep again, but I guess it was just a short cat nap. It doesn't really matter though, as I still can't seem to find the time to get on the high bands during the day. However with the adding of helpers to take care of some NAQCC tasks and finally getting this new computer just about completely set up, I should be able to get some more free time for ham radio.

It took a while to get my QSO this evening. I didn't have any luck calling CQ around 3547 or 3558, so I tried 3538 and got an answer after a few minutes there. Once again, signals were good, but few and far between on 80 meters. That band should be a lot more used than it is during these cold months when conditions are very good there.

My streak reached the 6,400 day mark this evening. I was talking to Tom WY3H last night, and he said it won't be long till I reach 20 years now. Well, I kind of disagreed with that. 20 years is roughly 7,305 days depending on how leap years fall during the 20. That means I need about 900 more days for 20 years which would be a little under 2 1/2 years. Wonder if I'll make it that far? I plan on trying, that's for sure. -30-

Thursday, February 09, 2012 12:27 PM - My emails got somewhat mixed up in the computer upgrade. I found one from Paul N0NBD who also agreed with cutting back on the streaks. I think that makes it 4-0 in agreement now. Or probably 5-0 since I also agree. HI

This will be my entry for today unless something else really exciting happens. Else? Oh, the ugly sn*w from yesterday is just about all gone now and beautiful concrete, bricks, roofs, grass, etc. are back at the forefront now. Wonderful! -30-

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 10:36 PM - Brion VE3FUJ is another one who agrees with my decision and the reasoning behind it for cutting back my streaks to just the one QSO per day one. The one QSO came late and easy this evening. I got home from our computer club meeting, got my temperature readings and headed for the shack. A few CQs on 3546.5 netted a nice half-hour rag chew with Dean, KB9ROB who said that was the longest QSO he had this winter.

I spent quite a bit of time working on the computer transfer/upgrade and am getting close to being done with it now. I still have a few programs to upgrade and a couple 'bugs' in other programs to work out, then I can tear down the old computer and move it to my shack. Hopefully I can cure the very long start-up time on it before then though.

We had some of that ugly white stuff today. Just a coating, thank goodness, but I thought this picture was interesting. It shows the bare patch of ground offset from where you would expect it to be. The stuff didn't appear to be arriving at the angle that would produce that result, but appeared to be coming down in more or less random directions. Strange!

pix_diary_20120208_01 (80K)
The cross-hatching is from the window screen through which the picture was taken. The camera focused on that instead of the tree. -30-

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:28 PM - The 2 or more a day streak is now definitely over. I thought briefly a couple times today of going to the shack to get a second QSO for the day, but I successfully resisted the impulse. Now I'm back to just the long main streak again. Oh, Geo N1EAV agreed with Chuck about the streak in an email today.

The QSO came pretty easily this evening. After calling CQ for a while on 3558, I went down to around 3538 and called CQ there and got an answer fairly quickly from Bunky K4EJQ who was running 1/2 watt from TN. I don't know why no one seems to use or even listen to 3558 any more. It used to be so crowded around there I couldn't find any room to operate. Now it's like a vast empty space around there. I'm having better luck down in the 3530s or 3540s of late. Oh well, it won't be too long now till 40 meters will be in good shape in the 0000Z hour again.

I'm continuing with my computer upgrade here. A lot of the programs on the old computer were old, just like the computer itself, and I've been just getting newer versions of the programs off the Internet instead of re-installing the older versions from the old computer. So it's taking a bit longer than it should. At least the main important programs came off without a hitch. I'm talking about Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Money Plus Sunset. Actually Sunset replaces 2003 which I had on the old computer. I wasted quite a bit of time reading from so-called experts how difficult it was to upgrade from 2003 to Sunset. I spent a good 15 minutes reading one thread about the process where they went back and forth offering suggestions to one fellow who found that each suggestion didn't work. I finally gave up and just copied the 2003 data file to the new computer and opened it with Sunset. I did run into a couple things they mentioned, but to me the solution was obvious. Sunset said it couldn't open the file because another program was using it. Seems it was my explorer program I used to copy from my flash drive to the new computer. I closed that and got to the next step where it said I didn't have permission to access the file. Well I just went into Properties for the file and gave myself permission. After that it worked perfectly and I'm back in business with my financial program. Sunset seems pretty much the same as 2003 with some improved features as well. I wonder if that fellow in the forum thread ever got his working OK. Next time I'll just go with what seems logical to me and not bother doing any research on the Internet.

I am really getting to like Windows 7 after using it a few days now. Microsoft did another great job. I still want to customize the Start menu a bit more to my liking, and maybe eliminate a few of the many warning messages, but otherwise it is great. -30-

Monday, February 06, 2012 8:17 PM - I only got one response to my thought about ending the 2nd QSO streak. It is from long-time diary follower Chuck W8LQ who says, "Hi, John..... Cngrats on the year of 2 QRP/CW QSOs!! For what it's worth.....Go back to one per day. Fishing season will start again soon, the garden will need TLC, and you're not a spring chicken any more!! That faster computer will suck you into more internet time, too. Just my thoughts...whatever you decide I'll enjoy reading about it in the diary. Vy 73...... Chuck W8LQ."

Chuck makes some excellent points there, especially about the spring chicken. HI That certainly is true, and getting truer day by day. One of the effects of that is taking just a tad longer to do things nowadays. The difference is so slight, I'm sure others don't notice it, but I do.

Speaking of gardening, so far only two of the seeds I planted in pots have sprouted so far. The Siberian tomato is coming along nicely. It got its first two true leaves a couple days ago, and I noticed in checking every couple hours today as it sat in the sun, that those two leaves grew noticeably bigger. Then one pepper seed sprouted, but it looks like it is going to be seed-bound. I'll let it go a couple days and if it doesn't break out itself, I may try to help it.

Back to ham radio now. My QSO (seems funny I won't be saying QSOs) came pretty easily tonight although I had to go searching for someone else's CQ after not getting any answers to my own CQs. I worked Gene N8ER down in WV. I didn't say anything to him, but his call sounds very familiar. I think we used to work on 160 meters now and then. I'm going to check my Access log right now to see. With the new computer it will only take a second, so don't blink, or you won't even know I'm gone. HI. Yes, I thought so. It was back in the mid-90s when we worked a few times on 160.

Well, back to play on the new computer now. -30-

Sunday, February 05, 2012 8:46 PM - Back on February 7, 2011, I added a 2nd QSO to my streak, meaning in addition to the main streak which has been going since 1994, I now had a secondary streak as well. That secondary streak of making at least one additional QRP/CW/simple wire antenna QSO each day reached one full year a few minutes ago when I worked Paulo W3/PY7COU on 80 meters after getting my main streak QSO with Dan AF4LB just before that.

Now that the streak has reached the one year mark, I must decide if I am going to continue to try to get a second QSO each day or revert back to just the main streak. Getting that second QSO has eaten up a lot of time for me some days when CW activity on the bands was very low. It's not that QRP/CW stopped working or even slowed down. It is just that when I was on, there were very few folks available to work. I don't think stopping the secondary streak now would prove or disprove anything. If one QSO per day can be made, a second one can always be made also IF (a big IF) I would take the time to do it. Some days I haven't really been willing to take that time, but I have for one full year's worth of days now. I think that's proof enough about a second QSO without continuing that streak any further. Your thoughts are welcome.

This new computer is super neat. I am extremely pleased with it. It is a real speed demon. Speaking of time, I figure just the speed of the computer itself will free up a few more minutes each day for other things. Especially the start-up time which had grown unbearable on the old computer. It was taking 10 to 15 minutes to completely boot up each day, and I never had time to figure out why and correct it. This computer is up and running after probably just over a minute after hitting the on switch. The graphics display is fantastic. I can watch ESPN sports on it with almost the same quality as watching it on TV. I watched a full soccer match between Munich and Wolfsburg with nary a pause in streaming video and perhaps only a couple tiny break-ups in the picture. And that was at full screen mode on this 20 inch monitor.

Programs start up literally in the blink of an eye. Internet downloads in two or three blinks at most. Every thing is FAST. I'm almost finished transferring things from my old computer over to this one. I think by tomorrow night at this time, I'll have everything major taken care of with only some little used programs remaining that I may or may not transfer.

Temperature getting time now, so I'll close now and upload this. -30-

Saturday, February 04, 2012 8:58 PM - Have you noticed the gradual decline in the Solar Flux (SF) lately? Today it is at 107, the lowest in a good long while. In fact the lowest since sometime before October 29 which is the earliest day remaining on my propagation chart. Let's hope it stages a comeback before the ARRL DX test in a couple weeks. I'm not sure how it has affected propagation since I've been too busy to get on during the time of day when the higher bands are open. Oh I did get on this morning, but just long enough to snag a couple MN stations in the MN QSO Party for my streak.

Mike KC2EGL dropped by on a more or less unannounced visit late this afternoon and early this evening. We had a pizza (naturally) and I showed him my new computer. We visited for a couple hours before he took off.

After he left I went to get my QSOs, but couldn't get anyone on 80 meters, so I went to 30 and quickly worked HA9RT. My second QSO will have to come in the morning or afternoon. One more day and the 2nd QSO streak reaches 365 days or one full year. I may drop that and go back to just getting at least one QSO per day after that. I'm not sure yet.

Now I'm off to get my temperature readings and then some more computer upgrading, or since I'm mentally tired from all the computer stuff I've done the last couple days working on the new computer, I may just quit for tonight and do some walking around the house for some exercise. -30-

Friday, February 03, 2012 4:33 AM - Well, I'm doing this from my new (super-fast) computer. I'm slowly migrating files over from the old computer while I'm learning Windows 7 along the way. Sure are a lot of subtle little differences between XP and 7, but I'm already getting used to some of them now. Bruce drove me down to Best Buy in the big Pittsburgh Mills Mall this morning and he looked over the laptops there to see which one he would like to get when he does get one in the next month or two. He found a really nice looking HP laptop which is about the same overall power as this HP desktop I bought and am using now. Then we went to Appleby's and we both had a great (large) lunch courtesy of some Appleby's gift cards I had.

I see I've got to set up some custom tags here in HTML-Kit on this new computer. I had to type in those breaks manually or enter them from a list. In the customized version I just make one mouse click and the breaks are inserted. It's little things like that I'm going to be running into during the transition period.

I love the way this computer plays videos. My first hour or so after setting it up I was just watching some sports on ESPN3 or Weather World, etc. It's not quite TV quality, but very close. Still a very rare pause in the streaming video, but I only noticed a couple in the hour or so I was watching.

Bottom line - I've got a new toy I'm really going to love a lot. Or I should say like a lot, since someone once told my you can't really love inanimate objects. And that's my (early) entry for today. I think I going to take a break from computing now and get in a little walk. It's sunny and 46 degrees showing on the computemp right now. -30-

Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:23 PM - Well the very over-hyped fake event in Punxsutawney took place this morning, and "Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, and we will have six more weeks of winter" prediction was made. However, there was no sun for Phil to see his shadow and the prediction was actually made several days in advance of the event by those in charge of the circus.

OK, now if you believe the origin of the groundhog shadow story, actually winter is virtually over. Probably most of you know that the origin of groundhog day was laid in Europe some centuries ago. The story is that a sunny Candlemas Day (Feb 2) means more winter weaher on the way while a cloudy Candlemas Day means winter is at its end. The connection goes something like this, as far as I know. Somewhere in Germany, someone decided if animals see their shadows on Feb 2 (because it's a sunny Candlemas Day), there will be six more weeks of winter. Then moving ahead in the story, when Pennsylvania became settled by the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually Deutsch - Germans), the animal became the groundhog because of its abundance here in the state. And that's the story in a nutshell with a lot of details left out.

Two quick QSOs tonight for a change. Joe N2ADP in NJ and one of our NAQCC brothers as we call them, Tom KA2KGP in NY tailended that QSO. Oh the other brother is Mike N2COD, and there was a third with the club also, but unfortunately KA2RWL is now a SK.

I'm glad the QSOs are out of the way because tomorrow then the following days are going to be more busy than usual for me. Tomorrow I'm replacing my 8 year old computer with a new one although this one still works fine. I just like to get a new toy now and then. HI. Also I want to get caught up on the latest in the line of Microsoft O/S's with Windows 7. I always felt that Vista, like ME and 2000, was kind of a stopgap O/S to satisfy demand for something new and different while 95, 98, XP, and now 7 were the real 'serious' O/S's. Then I always like to wait a couple years until at least one SP has been issued before I change.

Once I get it set up, then transferring 'stuff' from this XP computer will be a slow process. I like to do it all manually instead of getting one of those transferral programs because I have more control over the process and can also clean up and update as I go along. I have a lot of 'junk' on this computer that I don't need starting to clutter up a new computer, even though it has a 1 TB hard drive plus my external 1/2 TB hard drive which I will transfer eventually.

So with all that said, my diary entries may be a bit lean the next several days depending on how things go with the transfer. -30-

Wednesday, February 01, 2012 10:44 PM - Here we are into the second month of 2012 already. Where does the time go?

My QSOs came fairly easy this evening. The first one on 30 meters of all places, and with TN which isn't so unusual. It seems TN is one of the states I seem to be able to work easily to a great extent no matter what time or band. That was Bob KJ4BJ, then it was Bob N3JJT answering my CQ on 80 meters after just a couple minutes. Incidentally Bob was 47 and Scott 49. That has to be the youngest pair of hams I've worked for my streak QSOs in a very long time.

For the second day in a row the high temperature was in the low 60s. I wish we could store this winter somewhere and replay it each year. At least the first two thirds of it, and if February continues the same way, I'd like to add it to the storage. According to AccuWeather it will be nice all the way through the 15th at least.

Oh, January was the third month in a row with the mean temperature at least 6 degrees above normal. The average high was about 8 degrees above, and the average low about 4 degrees above normal. Even with those extremes though, we set very few daily records. I took my records upstairs already. I wanted to list a few more stats about January, but I don't feel like going up to get them right now. If I remember, I'll try to get them here in the diary tomorrow. I do remember that the average high was the second highest since I've kept records starting in 1959. I think it was 2006 that was in first place.

Thanks to Geo N1EAV and Tim K6ACF for telling me it must have been the posting of my web site on eHam.net that increased my hits the past few days. I don't have time to peruse hardly any ham radio sites on the Internet, so I depend on kind folks like Geo and Tim to provide answers to some of the things I ask. -30-

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 8:08 PM - It looks like my web site got posted somewhere in the past couple days. I've had a big surge in hits - about 75% or more above average. If anyone saw such a post anywhere, I'd appreciate you letting me know where.

I was noticing my little Siberian tomato plant today. I put it in the sun on my kitchen window sill, and all the time the sun was bright, its leaves really didn't turn to face the sun, but later when it became cloudy, its leaves did turn to face more directly towards where the sun was in the sky. I don't know what it means, but I enjoy seeing little things like that in nature. Much better watching things like that than the crap they have on the appropriately named 'Idiot Box' some folks call television.

We closed out January with temperatures in the low 60s. It will be interesting to see what the average for January will be when I do the figures either later tonight or more likely tomorrow morning.

Although long range weather outlooks must be taken with the knowledge that many times they are educated guesses at best, here's what AccuWeather says for the first half of February through the 14th. The predicted high for each day ranges from 40 to 53, and the low from 26 to 35. That's compared to the long term averages for the same 14 day period of a high of 35-37 and low of 18-19. Just remarkable. I wonder if that huge mass of cold air is going to stay up in Canada until it just warms up in the spring. It has happened before, but very rarely do we go through a winter without at least one major spill.

Only one QSO so far in February. I just happened to tune to 3558 to hear my good friend Gary N2ESE asking QRL?, and I called him and we visited about a half hour. Before that I was on 40 meters and it seemed everywhere I went to call CQ, someone jumped on top of me. So the second QSO will either be later this evening or tomorrow morning or afternoon. Anyway Gary's QSO gave me 8 letters of the 79 needed to master our NAQCC February Dog Tribute Challenge. That's the maximum possible so far.

Well, I have a lot of my end of month stuff done already, but still more to be done, so I'm going to close this entry and get some more done before bed time in 4 hours or so. -30-

Monday, January 30, 2012 8:41 PM - For the first time in quite a while, my first streak QSO of the evening came on 40 meters. It seems to be picking up of late as the sun sets a little bit later each evening, and will continue to do so for quite a while now with the quickest rate of change around March 21st. I had a solid QSO with K0ZXQ in MO. I also had the start of a second 40 meters QSO, but KC9NEH was quite chirpy and drifting when he answered my CQ, and he never came back after I sent my info. Perhaps he was on batteries which went dead. Then it took quite a while to get my second QSO on 80 meters, but finally Steve KM6XG answered my CQ, and we had almost a regular 30 minute rag chew. Amazing how conditions are so good on 80 meters, but very few folks seem to use it in the evening for some reason.

Only 6 more days and my multi-QSO per day streak will reach one full year. Then I have to decide if I want to continue it or discontinue it and go back to just the main at least one-per-day streak. That one will never be discontinued voluntarily. Something beyond my control will have to end that one.

I mentioned a couple entries ago that I was going to check my weather records to see if I could make what the Penn State meteorologists call an analog forecast. I was going to see how February turned out temperature wise after having Nov-Jan be above normal. Well there wasn't much of a relationship between Nov-Jan warmth and Feb warmth. 26 years had the period Nov-Jan above normal and of those, 15 times the following Feb was above normal - only slightly above half. Of the 7 times when Nov-Jan were 3.0 or more degrees above normal, 4 times Feb was above normal, again only slightly above half. The biggest discrepancy was in 2006-2007 when Nov-Jan averaged 4.7 degrees above normal, and February was one of the coldest in my records at 8.0 below average. So I can't make any kind of prediction for this upcoming February based on those stats. It's only slightly better than a 50-50 chance of being an above normal month. Interesting though.

Speaking of temperature, it's just time now for me to go out and get my readings. Nice to be able to walk on green grass to get to my thermometer shelter. Unusual for January 30th. Supposed to be in the 50's here tomorrow and Wednesday, too. -30-

Sunday, January 29, 2012 9:24 PM - A day when you get up in the morning, do some things, look around, and it's almost bed time. That was my day today. I don't even remember half the little things I did. I know I did some NAQCC work. I also took a couple of long walks. Let's see what my mileage total is so far - 9.72. On one of the walks I checked the pedometer against a measured quarter mile and full mile on the Rails to Trails path. The quarter mile checked out exactly. The mile showed up as 1.05 miles. I figure that was because there was very little wind for the quarter mile, but a very strong headwind for the mile which caused my steps to be a little shorter and hence needing more of them to make the mile. When you figure about 1900 steps to the mile in my case, if a lot are 32.6 or 32.7 inches for example, that difference from my normal 33 inch pace adds up, and the pedometer is still figuring each one at the normal distance of 33 inch, that accounts for the difference. I'm not going to try to edit that sentence. I think you know what I'm saying. HI.

I never did get in the 160M contest beyond using it for my streak QSOs. I did briefly try calling N0NI in Iowa who usually copies me well, but didn't this time, so I figured conditions weren't good enough to warrant staying up late or getting up in the middle of the night. I think I will do that for the ARRL DX contest though to try to get KL7 on 80 meters to complete my 80M QRP WAS. If I can fairly easily get KH6 on 80 with QRP and even be heard there with QRPp, I should be able to get Alaska if I can hear a KL7. Although it is a more northerly more disturbed path than that to Hawaii. I'll just have to wait to mid-February to find out.

Tonight I worked 2 NAQCC members for my streak QSOs - Craig N4PLK and Mike N8IUP. -30-

Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:05 PM - A pretty quiet day here. I worked a couple jigsaw puzzles, and went for a walk. Also helped Bruce with a couple things. In a couple minutes I'll go and extend my streak another day by getting a couple QSOs in the CQWW 160M contest. I may even stick around there and work some more stations. At least give out some QSOs to my contesting friends to help them out. I won't be going for any kind of score myself.

Still a green January. Wonderful to see a lot of green this month instead of white. The long range outlooks are tending to say a change is coming around the 7th of February or so with some of the cold Canadian air spilling down here, but they also say the cold will be short lived. I don't put a lot of store in long range outlooks, but it is nice to hear that no realy bad winter weather is in store for the rest of January and the first week of February. We can only hope this one is correct.

My little Siberian tomato plant still looks very good. No sign of any true leaves yet, but the seed leaves look good and healthy. I haven't checked to see if anything else has sprouted yet since early this morning, and there was nothing then.

Well, off to get the QSOs now. -30-

Friday, January 27, 2012 10:27 PM - Right now, the transitioning of NAQCC jobs to helpers seems to be a little more work than if I was doing the jobs myself. However the training is coming along just great and I know that Ki VA3PEN and Jerry W7GAH are going to be doing the jobs pretty much without intervention on my part. That will be great. And I'm just starting on handing off a third job as of a few minutes ago. I'll talk about that in a future entry.

I took advantage of the help today and finally got a chance to go and help my friend Bill do some work on his new computer, such as transferring his web favorites from his old computer to the new one along with some other things I won't list here. His computer has Windows 7 so that gave me a chance to work with that O/S since I still have XP here. I do plan to get a new computer sometime this year, and it will have Windows 7, so what I learned today will come in handy. 7 is quite a bit different from XP, but I think I'll become familiar with it very quickly once I start using it regularly.

I also got in a couple walks today including walking to Bill's house which is just a little under a mile. Our weather continues to be just wonderful. It got up to 54 very early this morning, but then a cold front came through and dropped that quickly to the low 40s where it stayed the rest of the day. Maybe they should rename it a mild front instead of cold front. But that's the way our winter has gone so far, and the long and medium range outlooks seem to indicate it will continue through February, but I don't know if I trust that. I need to do some analog checking to see what February was like in other years when Nov, Dec, and Jan were mild and almost s*o$-free.

The CQWW 160M contest gave me two quick streak QSOs this evening. I should get into the contest again later tonight to see if I can get some of the few remaining states I need for 160M QRP WAS, but I'm not really in a contesting mood now. Maybe tomorrow night. It should be better then as stations will be going begging for QSOs more then after getting a lot of QSOs tonight. I learned from the NAQCC 160M sprint last night that apparently my signals are getting out better than I thought. A few stations said they were hearing me well, but I wasn't hearing them at all. Well, in the CQWW contest, I won't be trying to hear QRP signals, but QRO ones, so who knows, if I do get on tonight or tomorrow night I could possibly pick up a new state or two. I think the closest ones I need are MS and LA, and then NM. The other 5 are AK HI (forget those two, I think), ID, NV, and WA.

Well, I guess I'll get a late snack now and listen to the TL show. -30-

Thursday, January 26, 2012 11:13 PM - Conditions weren't all that good for our 160M sprint this evening. I did manage to eke out 19 QSOs, but came up short of my goal of 24 to beat my previous best 160M sprint total of 23. It sure is nice not to now be frantically processing logs and posting scores. I hope Ki VA3PEN is having things go smoothly on his first day as mW/160M sprint manager for the NAQCC.

It was another non-typical winter day here with temps in the low 40s and rain - ordinary rain, not freezing, sleet or that white junk. I still wonder what February holds in store. There's an awful lot of very cold air bottled up in Canada, and if someone pulls the drain plug in February, watch out.

My first little Siberian tomato looks very healthy so far. Popped right out of the seed cover almost as soon as it popped out of the ground. It has two very nearly perfect seed leaves right now that are very photosensitive. I put it by the kitchen window today, and it very quickly turned its leaves to capture what light there was. Actually there was a gap in the rain for a while, and the sun came out for a short while. The tomato plant really liked that. Other than that one plant though, nothing else has sprouted. -30-

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:50 PM Gee, when's the last time my first 2 daily QSOs were DX on 30 meters? Well, down the road if I ask that again, you can answer January 26, 2012. First I worked PJ2/AA9A on a single call, then Gus LU/DJ8QP on my second call to him. I'm not surprised by the PJ2, but LU on 30 is a little harder for me usually. Although I do work Antarctica easily on 30, so maybe southern Argentina shouldn't surprise me.

A lot of signals on 40 had flutter this evening, so that may account for the enhanced N-S propagation on 30 meters. It's strange that both stations I worked were pretty much going begging for answers when I worked them. Maybe HK0NA is still around somewhere although I didn't hear any pileups on 40 or 30.

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That's my first Siberian plant at age 2 days. It got its first dose of sunlight today as the sun came out for a while this afternoon on yet another great January day. A bit cooler, but still in the upper 30s a little above normal.

I hope you're planning to enter our NAQCC 160M sprint tomorrow evening as sort of a dress rehearsal for the big CQWW 160M contest this weekend. You say you don't have an antenna for 160? If you have a GOOD antenna tuner, you should be able to tune an 80 or 40 meter antenna to work on 160. Give it a try - you may be surprised how well you will do. Give our new special sprints manager Ki VA3PEN a good workout with a large batch of logs to work with on his first sprint. -30-

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:40 PM - In a couple of weeks my streak of making at least 2 QRP/CW QSOs a day will reach one whole year. I'm thinking of perhaps ending it and continuing on only with my at least 1 QRP/CW QSO per day. It just takes up a lot of time getting the second QSO sometimes not because CW and QRP don't work, but because the bands seem to be very deserted when I get the chance to get on the air which is usually in the 0000-0200Z period. But then if I can hand off more of my NAQCC work to other members, that may free up time during the day for me to get on when the bands are more occupied. I'll just have to wait and see how things develop. As I've said, I've got VA3PEN taking over our NAQCC special mW and 160M sprints starting now. Soon I hope to have W7GAH taking over my task of updating our membership list from the FCC database every 5 days. So little by little my workload is easing hopefully leaving more time for more on-air work like I used to have before the NAQCC. Absolutely nothing against the NAQCC. I love it and think we are doing an excellent job of helping preserve CW on the ham bands just as FISTS is doing, and I'm proud to be a very active part of both clubs.

We're back to bare ground now except for a few piles of the white crap here and there. It was nice to walk again today without having to step in the stuff anywhere. I see I've got over 8 miles on my pedometer for today so far.

Now I've got to work on our NAQCC newsletter for a while after I get my 9 PM weather readings. -30-

Monday, January 23, 2012 9:28 PM - Another beautiful January day today. Rain this morning and again late this afternoon with a sunny period in between. Again I got to see my favorite winter sight - s*o( melting - significantly! We bid good riddance to most of the 5 inches we got a couple days ago, except where it was piled from shovelling or plowing. This winter has been hard to believe but very easy to take. Hope it continues this way through March. Oh, it was 60 degrees today. We also had a strange anomaly a little while ago. When I came down from getting my QSOs, my computemp showed 40 or 41 degrees, then in about 15 minutes it shot up to 48 degrees and has stayed there. Something to do with the warm air at the leading edge of a cold front, I imagine. There is a front coming, but perhaps it should really be called a cool front as it's not going to get much colder than it is now.

QSOs were easy to come by tonight, at least once I got started. I worked K5ACO in AR, Craig N4PLK in VA, and Scotty KG3W in PA.

I closed up our NAQCC sprint report today except for those who may appeal their final score or GOLDEN LOG status. I also worked another jigsaw. I've been doing about one a day lately for some nice relaxation when I can't get out to get in my walking as much as I'd like. Oh, my first Siberian Tomato seed sprouted today. I had to look hard to see it, but it is definitely started now. No sign of any activity from the pepper or cucumber seeds yet.

Not a lot more to talk about, so I'll close and maybe play a bit with Morse Runner after I upload this page and the index and propagation page. Oh, looks like some nasty space weather tomorrow. Check it out. -30-

Sunday, January 22, 2012 11:42 PM - Almost midnight and I just finished the cross-checking of logs from our NAQCC sprint. I'm glad I don't have to take care of the upcoming NAQCC 160M sprint later this week. Of course there is no cross-checking for our special mW or 160M sprints, but still it's a big job posting scores and soapboxes on the web site page. Ki VA3PEN will be doing that this Thursday through Sunday.

It was a 'Watching the snow melt' day today as temperatures went from 7 this morning into the mid-40s under bright sunshine. Still some left though, but not for long if the forecast for the next few days is correct with rain and 40s temperatures. A wonderful winter so far. I hope February doesn't try to make up for the lack of snow and cold.

Too late to talk about much more tonight. -30-

Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:28 PM - It went and s%o#ed overnight to the tune of about 5 inches. Now Kittanning looks extremely ugly again.

A couple of good things today though. Looks like I found someone (Ki VA3PEN) to help out with our NAQCC special sprints. He'll be processing the logs for our 160M and mW sprints as well as updating the web page for them. So that's a little bit of the NAQCC workload off my back.

I also received my gift from the ARRL for renewing. A Software Library CD. Now a great deal of it is devoted to non-CW junk, but I did get the program Morse Runner from the CD. It's a really neat CW Contest Simulator, and I had a lot of fun with it today running stations as fast as 240 per hour. That's something I can't do in real life with my simple setup. Maybe someday I'll get the chance to operate a big contest station once, and see how close to reality this Morse Runner simulation really is. I'm sure I have the skill to do it except perhaps handling the really big pile-ups since I've never really experienced that. About the biggest pileups I've ever experienced were maybe 3 or 4 stations. The Morse Runner has a pile-up mode to it so that should help. I've mostly tried just the single-call mode, but when I get used to it more, I'll try the pile-up mode as well.

If anyone is into the digital modes, glancing at the table of contents of this CD seems to show a lot of things on it pertaining to all the digital modes. I'll probably wind up giving the CD away since as I said, the only thing that interested me was Morse Runner, and there is also the N1MM contest program on there. I prefer GenLog for contesting, but I may install N1MM just to see what it is like. Someone said the interface for Morse Runner is similar to that of N1MM.

Think I'll go play with MR for a bit now.

Oh, only one QSO this evening, so the second will have to come in the morning or afternoon. I worked DL6FBL on 40 meters in the HA DX contest. FBL is pretty much always a sure bet to copy my QRP signals with his great ears. -30-

Friday, January 20, 2012 6:58 PM - Let's talk about a little mystery tonight. First take a look at these two pictures. The object in the middle of each is a Golden Poet Award my mother won. It doesn't enter into the mystery which concerns the two photos of me and Joe.
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Mystery? Well the right picture of Joe keeps rotating. Every time I reset it, eventually it will slowly move back to the 45 or so degrees position. Those who are into the supernatural will try to make something of it that relates to Joe's "spirit" or some such thing. I'd love for it to really be something like that, but I have the logical explanation for it, I believe.

When I can't go outside for my regular walks or just don't feel like going out, but am getting tired of sitting at the computer, I walk in the house. I loop from the parlor through the living room then the kitchen and back. I do that many times for the exercise. Now apparently the vibrations from my walking shake the entertainment center on which the pictures set. That causes the picture to rotate.

OK, why doesn't the other picture rotate also? It doesn't, but stays perfectly straight. Probably because although the frames look identical, there is just enough of a difference in the base for the one to move while the other one doesn't.

If it really bothered me, I'd do some experimenting like switching the two pictures from one side to the other. Or even switch them in their frames, the left picture to the frame on the right side and vice versa. But you know what, I kind of like the idea that perhaps there is a one in a billion chance it is something supernatural so as of now I'm not going to play with it.

How's that for something different in the diary?

Oh, I also took a new picture of my shack with the K2 and KX-1 today. I'm going to touch that up and replace the old K2 picture that was there in the pictures page in this section. -30-

Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:47 PM - This will be another brief entry. It's almost midnight as you see from the time stamp. A lot of time today was spent processing sprint logs. We got 104 in the first 24 hours after the sprint ended. I think that may be the quickest we've reached 100 logs. It was a s*o*y day today with a couple inches of the ugly stuff messing up that nice green area I showed you. I only got out for a brief walk before the stuff started around noon.

I guess that's it. -30-

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:44 PM - Just finished the sprint and a short chat QSO after that. This was the first time over 40 QSOs in a sprint in a while now. I wound up with 42, but only 15 multipliers. I did the entire two hours just sitting on 3559.6 kHz. calling CQ. I probably should have done some S&P, but I just enjoy sitting in one spot and calling CQ too much. Our sprints and perhaps the PA QSO Party are about the only contests where I can successfully call CQ so I like to take advantage of it.

Now after I finish my web site update, I guess it's off to my email program to start processing logs. Don't know how far I'll get tonight as I feel like going to bed already. -30-

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:07 PM - Mike surprised me and showed up today instead of tomorrow. I asked him if I had slept through Tuesday, and was it now Wednesday.

We got caught up on all the NAQCC prizes and got all the ones that needed to be mailed into the mail. Then we had pizza from Vocelli's Pizza here in town. After that a trip to Radio Shack for a couple things he and I needed. I settled up with him for the K2 and KX-1 so they are now completely officially mine. We did a little bit of planning for our Messier Marathon in March. He showed me a nice pair of astronomy binoculars - 10.5 X 70, and we fitted a pair of Sun filters on them. Unfortunately Mr. Sun didn't make an appearance to try them out. A few other odds and ends things and it was time for Mike to go. The day sure flew by.

We had some beautiful weather today. How about this picture I took this morning before Mike arrived.
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Yes, that was really taken on January 17, 2012 in the morning. Doesn't that look just wonderful. Not a speck of s*o( to be seen anywhere and some raindrops on the window. We hit a high of 56 today after an overnight low of 37. That low of 37 is a few degrees above the normal high for January 17. The best part of all is that according to some outlooks, this warm weather is going to continue for the rest of January with just a couple cold days thrown in here and there. Of course that's an outlook, and in many cases outlooks are equivalent to guesses, but we can hope.

Those of you who are regular diary readers know what this next picture means.
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It means I've started my Siberian tomato plants. However this year for various reasons, I'm late getting them started, so I may not have my usual ripe tomato in May. However in other years, they seem to go dormant for part of the growing span from Jan-May, so maybe starting them later will eliminate that period, and I will get my May tomato. Time will tell. Oh, and also there are a couple pepper plants there, and a lemon cucumber. Of course they're not plants, but just seeds in the ground right now. I'm not sure if that lemon cucumber seed is a hybrid or not. Bruce gave me a couple of the cucumbers last summer and I saved some of the seeds. Another wait and see situation.

For my QSOs this evening, I worked Pip WB4FDT and Lind WA2WMR which not only gave me my streak QSOs, but two new prefixes for the FISTS PPA and the letters D and R to finish our NAQCC January challenge. I just love the events our NAQCC and FISTS put on. They sure add to the enjoyment of ham radio and in so doing, really help to increase CW activity on the ham bands which is really the bottom line purpose of the two clubs. Communicate via CW, not via the Internet! -30-

Monday, January 16, 2012 10:58 PM - Mike came down with a cold and postponed his visit so as not to share his germs. Now we're shooting for Wednesday.

A lovely day today with some rain and temperatures in the 40's. That melted a lot of the ugly white stuff and it's so much better to look out and see grass and sidewalks and streets, etc.

Man, here it is 11 PM already. I was going to post a picture or two in the diary, but no time left now. They will have to wait.

At least I didn't have to wait too long for my streak QSOs this evening, so that helped with my busy schedule. Larry W2LJ answered my CQs after a few minutes, and we had a nice chat. Then just a couple more minutes of CQs after that netted Craig N4PLK. I couldn't figure out at first why his call was so familiar. Turns out our NAQCC net manager Dan AF4LB had emailed me today and said that N4PLK was going to take over as a 'Pinch NCS' for our NAQCC NQN net Sunday evenings while Dan recuperates from some surgery in mid-February. My memory is just getting worse as I have all this NAQCC and other work to do.

Now I've got to process a bunch of NAQCC membership applications and take care of some other emails before bedtime. It just never ends. -30-

Sunday, January 15, 2012 9:38 PM - I can't get my streak QSO any quicker than tonight. One CQ at 0000Z and Gary N2ESE answered me. He said he was just getting ready to call CQ on that frequency and heard a ? and waited to see who was there. It was me. He heard the ? at the end of my second QRL? The second QSO wasn't that easy though and I had to go back to the shack a little after 0200Z for that one. I found NP2F calling CQ and worked him. No, it was Michigan, not what you thought.

In between my two QSOs, I went over to Nancy's, and Bruce looked at the pictures of Joe I gave them in a digital picture frame for Christmas. Losing Joe was pretty emotional especially to Bruce since they pretty much were glued to each other most of the time. It was hard enough for me and I only saw Joe an hour or maybe 2 most days. But Bruce said he was finally ready to look at the pictures, so we did.

I said I'd have a little story about Joe and the pictures. Bruce's son Josh was here for the past few days from the state of Indiana. It was Josh who started it all with Joe. He and a former girlfriend got Joe who was supposedly an abused puppy, and when they broke up, apparently neither one could take proper care of Joe, so Josh gave Joe to Bruce. Now there's a little bit of suspicion about that story. Not long before that, Bruce lost Joe the first, and he thinks maybe that Josh got Joe (who was called by another name then) just to fill up the loss that Bruce was feeling. At any rate, like the TV program Connections with James Burke where some event in history leads to something else entirely different. Josh getting Joe eventually led to giving me 3 very enjoyable years with Joe.

That's why I worked so hard on the Joe pictures the past couple days. I wanted to be sure Josh had a copy on a flash drive to take back to Indiana with him.

So with that story told, I'm going to close now as Mike KC2EGL is visiting tomorrow and I have a few things I want to get done tonight so I'll have the day tomorrow free to do whatever Mike and I wind up doing. -30-

Saturday, January 14, 2012 10:04 PM - This was another winter day with s#$w flurries off and on all day, but no real accumulation so that was good. I'm getting cabin fever already though and haven't been for a good outside walk in two days now. Brion VE3FUJ says it's good the s#$w kept me indoors and let me get all that inside work done. I suppose so, but I just feel so much better when I get in those good outside walks. It's not the same putting in the miles indoors just circling the first floor rooms here.

Since I was inside, I spent most of the day doing two things. After scanning all the Joe pictures yesterday, I did the touch-up work on them today. Getting rid of red-eye, brightening or darkening, cropping, etc. I've still got the story about the pictures to tell. I could tell it now, but I'll wait as I have other things still pending. Oh, the other thing was wandering in and out of the NA QSO Party. I mostly was just looking for the final few states to complete my Elecraft WAS award, and also for new prefixes for the 2012 FISTS PPA.

I do now have all the states except one, and if you are a long time follower of my site and the diary, I'm sure you know it is Nebraska. I don't know what it is with that state. I root for the Cornhuskers as one of my favorite dozen or so football teams, so it can't be that. Anyway NE is just plain hard for me to work under any circumstances. Probably because I don't hear it hardly at all. If I do hear it, I can usually work it, but.....

I've got 71 prefixes now for the FISTS award, but that means there are still 179 to go. The rough part is you must get a name and a QTH in the QSO. That means the NAQP QSOs qualify, but most all other contest QSOs don't, except for the FISTS sprints and maybe a couple others.

It's the day for changing my web site poll, and I think I'll see if I can get that done before I call it a night. -30-

Friday, January 13, 2012 9:56 PM - We got the ultimate in bad luck on this Friday the 13th. About 2 inches of the obscene s%^w. At least it kept me indoors and I got a lot of things done.

The only time I went out was to go over next door a couple times and to sweep the stuff just a little while ago. Otherwise I did my walking indoors today to the tune of just about 4 miles. I also worked a jigsaw puzzle, got some little pots ready to start my tomatoes, and a few other little things.

My big project was scanning pictures of Joe with my new scanner. Now I've got most (if not all) of the pictures taken of Joe by me and Nancy scanned into my computer. I'll tell you a little more about that in a couple days.

Oh, I also finished up and posted the latest NAQCC newsletter, and amazingly I got a response from a member who is willing to help out with a couple NAQCC jobs after posting a Help Wanted item in the newsletter. So if that pans out, I'll be on my way to keeping my resolution of cutting back on my workload this year.

This evening my two QSOs came from two NAQCC friends whom I've worked a few times each. Dale K3PXC and Ron NT8P. So no new challenge letters or FISTS prefixes, but it's always nice to keep in touch with friends.

That's about it for tonight. I wonder if I'll be in a contesting mood again tomorrow as I was last weekend when I didn't have any contests of interest to enter after being ready for the NAQP a week early. It really is this weekend for sure, so I have one of my favorites if I'm in the mood. -30-

Thursday, January 12, 2012 10:33 PM - Where do the days go. Seems like I just got up a few minutes ago and here it is 14 hours later and only a couple hours away from going back to bed. Some of the time was passed in walking over 10 miles again since I wanted to get in some good walks while the weather is still nice. It looks like a taste of winter is coming the next couple (few?) days now. Still we're just a couple days away from winter being half over so that is good.

I also spent some time this morning getting my second QSO of the day. Took a little while to get Paul W3HGT on 40 meters. This evening it was different. I worked Dan AF4LB a few minutes after 0000Z, then 6 minutes after that QSO I worked an old friend I haven't worked in some time now when Bob K8FN answered my CQ.

Let me share those couple emails I mentioned last entry, then it will be about time to take my clothes out of the dryer and put them away.

First this long email from Mike N4VBV, "John, Really enjoy reading your site and diary comments. While I don't get to get on the air as much as I'd like due to family and work commitments, CW is really relaxing and I've had some great QSOs, especially the ones I've had to work hardest to complete. I do run a 5w/CW beacon on 10m (28.2615 MHz), and it's designed to show what can be done with an attic dipole and 5w on CW. Figured it would help folks decide to get on the air if they thought they couldn't have a QSO due to no big beam, tower, amp, etc. Has been heard in quite a few countries/states, even at the BOTTOM of the sunspot cycle. More info on my QRZ page (N4VBV) , but it's fun to see where all it's been heard. At least it keeps plugging away while I'm at work or doing family things. I still like to get on the air, especially catching slow, weak, or halting CQs. It's always nice to draw folks out and have a nice QSO with someone who starts out a bit nervous. You're in FISTS also, you know why we do it.
Just wanted to let you know that your site is very inspirational to get back on the air after being off a bit due to life's other requirements. Even one QSO an evening makes you feel much better before going to bed. A few times I've really not felt like turning on the radio, but then remembered reading your diary during the day and ending up with a nice QSO after listening around a bit. Thanks for the little push to get up and spend even a few minutes on the air.
The other diary comments are also fun reading. Shows you're not spending all the time in your shack playing radio, but living life as well. I do have a couple of telescopes, so enjoy the astronomy stuff as well. And the fishing stories. Took my 11 yr old daughter fishing a couple of Labor Days ago back in my old home town in southeast KY. Thought she would latch on to one of the big carp below the Main Street bridge, but she pulled up a 12"-13" smallmouth bass on her Pocket Fisherman (like on TV a long time ago; she loves that thing). Note the grin, she was happy (so was I, and very surprised; didn't know there were smallmouth bass in the river).
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Thanks again for the great site. Nice inspiration to relax and get on the air, and lots of other interesting stuff to complement radio activities.
Good luck, and hang in there. Only a couple years until 10,000 days!
Mike, N4VBV"

And from Paul, N0NBD, "Hello John, For me I have always found puzzles frustrating, I really like the nine piece puzzle and I can understand how difficult that one could be. I for one will be intrested in hearing more of you work time at the TV station... CUL de Paul N0NBD"

Well, it's an AM/FM station, not TV, but anyway I will be doing some stuff about the station. -30-

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:21 PM - It's late after getting home from the computer club meeting, so I'm going to make this short.

I got a couple of very interesting emails today in response to the diary, and I'm going to share them with you, probably in tomorrow's entry. Briefly one states they would like to hear more about my days at WPIT. OK, will do, but not right away.

Otherwise I got a new printer/copier/scanner today. I mainly needed a scanner as I want to scan some photos of Joe that my neighbors have. I was going to get just a scanner, but I figured for the same price, I might as well get a combo even though my printer was still working fine. I may wind up hooking it up again and use it for printing and use the combo unit for copying and scanning. Some day perhaps I'll rescan some or all of the QSL cards in my QSL card album here on the web site. Some of them are pretty low in quality now since I saved them mainly as low quality jpeg's to save space on the site. But with the external album now, I can use higher quality.

Finally only one QSO tonight, and I didn't think I was even going to get that. I was just a couple CQs away from giving up for the night and waiting till morning for my QSOs, but just then Paul K9NO answered me and we had a nice little visit. So I'll still have to get the second QSO in the morning or afternoon, but at least the big main streak is intact for another day. -30-

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:49 PM - Another jigsaw puzzle working/walking day today. Our great winter continues. It was 50 today again, and I went over the 11 mile mark in walking. Tomorrow will be warm again but some rain late in the day. However we don't mind liquid precipitation at all in January. Much better than that unmentionable ugly white stuff.

Take a look at this puzzle I worked today. Only 9 pieces, but extremely hard to work. I did manage to luck out, and it was pure luck, to work it after only about 3 or 4 attempts. One time I got 8 pieces fitted nicely, but the remaining piece didn't fit, so I had to start over. When I did work it, I wound up with 8 pieces again with a 9th that didn't fit. However just swapping that piece with another corner piece completed the puzzle. I think a couple of friends who did a radio show on WPIT gave me that puzzle way back when. I had forgotten about it, till I started to look through my puzzles a couple days ago and found it. They also gave me some other nice gifts to thank me for helping with their show. One was another jigsaw with a picture of a celestial planisphere since they knew I loved astronomy. You know I've never talked much about my days at WPIT here in the diary. Maybe I'll have to remedy that. Hopefully if I do, you'll find the stories interesting.

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And this other one I worked since I got the first one done so quickly.

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I always liked those round puzzles, especially the Tuco puzzles with their thick pieces.

My QSOs came easily tonight as 80 meters seemed a little more active than usual. Maybe it was because I started a little later (0020Z) than my usual 0000Z starting time. Anyway Bevin K4ALE answered my CQs after a couple minutes, then Gary N2ESE tail-ended that QSO, and Ron NT8P tail-ended that QSO. So I didn't use up very many CQs at all tonight.

Tomorrow evening is our computer club meeting, so I'll get an even later start on the bands, and may have to wait till the morning to get my QSOs, but I will get them.

I haven't been too eager to get my tomatoes started this year as I think I mentioned in the diary a little while ago. However today I bought some potting soil, and maybe in the next few days I'll plant some seeds. -30-

Monday, January 09, 2012 9:45 AM - Here's the picture of the jigsaw I mentioned in the previous diary entry. If anything interesting happens today, I'll have more comments to add this evening.

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Sunday, January 08, 2012 9:23 PM - Three....uh Four diverse topics in the diary tonight.

First I wonder after watching the end of the Broncos/Steelers game if Tim Tebow is maybe the second coming of John Elway. Admittedly I don't watch much football nor really follow it closely any longer, but the little I've seen of Tebow, not just that play tonight, does make me wonder. Elway started off slowly his first couple years and did little with the Broncos, but then..... Also I wonder just how far New Orleans will go this year. They have quietly put up some great numbers, but all you seem to hear about is Green Bay this, Green Bay that. Years ago when I really followed football seriously, I could have given a more thorough analysis, but just thought I'd throw out those thoughts. Oh, and Tebow is a left-handed quarterback just like my favorite of all time - Ken Stabler.

Next I did something this evening I haven't done for several years. I worked a real jigsaw puzzle. By that I mean one where you actually move the pieces on a card table by hand. I have worked a few computer jigsaws during those several years, but this was the only real one probably since 2003 or so. Years ago when I worked at WPIT in Pittsburgh, and came up here on my weekends, my mother, aunt(s), and I would work at least one puzzle each weekend. Then my aunt Josie died in 1971, followed by aunt Laura in 1994, and my mother in 2001. After that I worked several puzzles on my own for a year or two, then just quit. I took a picture of the puzzle I worked this evening, and maybe I'll post it in the entry tomorrow night.

Thirdly last night while listening to the TL show on the Internet, I got to thinking about other DJ's I'd listened to back in the 60's, and decided to look up some of them on the Internet. I guess my favorite station back then was WLS in Chicago which of course I could hear easily after sunset. Two of my favorites on there were Dick Biondi and Art Roberts. I see that Dick is still active today, but Art passed away at age 70 in (I believe it said) 2002 or 2003. Those two, although probably my favorites are just the tip of the iceberg as far as great DJs of that era. I plan to do some more research when time permits. Jack Armstrong, Ron Riley, Cousin Brucey, Clark Weber pop into mind as I'm writing. I think another was Emperor (Hal?) Murray. As far as stations go, I mostly listened to WMCK for TL, WABC, WLS, WKBW, and a station on 1100 in Cleveland whose call letters escape me at the moment (it was KYW). KYW had a countdown every Sunday evening, and I remember Cherish by the Association was #1 for many weeks in a row. Ah, those were great days, and thanks to the Internet it's possible to relive them some 40-50 years later. I've just started looking around on the Internet on this topic, and I'm sure I'll be doing much more.

Finally ham radio. Once again two easy QSOs. That's 9 days now and just 19 QSOs to start the year. I've got to do some more daytime activity and see how those high bands are. Tonight it was W0LGU, Tom in MN, and Larry W2LJ in NJ. Both NAQCC members. I've worked both before often times, but I haven't heard much from Larry of late, and it was very nice to visit with him again on 80 meters. I especially like one of his New Year resolutions - to be more active in our NAQCC sprints in 2012. I told him to be sure to keep that one! -30-

Saturday, January 07, 2012 9:36 PM - Gee, maybe I better re-instate the more complete listings in my Contest Calendar pages. I was thinking today was the NAQP, but after going to WA7BNM's calendar, I saw it was actually next Saturday, the 14th.

Anyway when I got on this afternoon looking for the NAQP, I worked some DX instead - HH2/HB9AMO for some letters for the NAQCC January challenge. I'm thinking there's a slight possibility since that was on 17 meters, it might have been a new band country - let me look. Nope. Had it been on 12 or 10, it would have been as I still need Haiti on those bands plus 160 and 80.

Another beautiful day today and I took just about full advantage of it with 11.21 miles on the pedometer - a goodly portion out in the 56 degree temperatures. Actually that was the high, but it was above about 45 for a large part of the day.

For the past 3 evenings now, my streak QSOs have come easily. Tonight it was Jim K1TMJ, followed by a tail-end call from my friend Gary N2ESE. That's about 110 or so QSOs with Gary now.

I'm kind of disappointed in being wrong about the NAQP dates. I got myself into a bit of a contesting mood this afternoon, and there aren't any other contests this weekend that I have any interest in except the DARC 10 meters, and band conditions and the timing of the contest are no good for me. Well, maybe I can re-kindle my interest next weekend when it's really time for the NAQP. Of course then there is our NAQCC sprint on the 18th local time, and our special NAQCC 160 meters sprint on the evening of the 26th local time. Hope to see you in 1, 2, or all three of those. -30-

Friday, January 06, 2012 8:35 PM - Two quick QSOs again this evening. Ron NT8P answered after a few CQs, then a couple CQs after that QSO brought an answer from Dick K8MW. Besides being nice chats with both, I also got some more letters for our NAQCC Janauary challenge and both were new prefixes for the FISTS 2012 Perpetual Prefix Award (PPA). In my QSO with Dick, we both noted that FISTS activity seems to be picking up again of late. I think the fire at FISTS HQ a couple years ago really hurt the club, and it is just now starting to recover. I love those two clubs, our NAQCC and FISTS, and will always do my best to support them in any way that I can. They are the only two clubs that I really have any interest in, and it always will be that way.

I underestimated the time of my shopping trip with Nancy today. Actually it lasted about 4 hours, but we both got a lot accomplished in the way of stocking up on things. It was a great day to do it. Sunny with a temperature around 60 or so. I saw 57 on my Computemp a couple times during the day when I was home, and my shelter temperature (right or wrong) is usually a couple degrees higher on sunny days because of the heating of a large concrete slab in back of my back yard. Anyway I'll know in about 15 minutes when I go out to get the readings.

Tomorrow it will be one month since we lost Joe, and all of us are still missing him very much. My life has sure changed since that fateful day. There is still a void in my life that hasn't been filled. Nancy is talking about getting another dog. I don't know about that because Joe was so special. It's not like replacing a pet, but like trying to replace a very dear friend. That's how special he was. -30-

Thursday, January 05, 2012 10:01 PM - I got to talking to Tom on the phone, and after that started my washing. Almost forgot about the diary entry.

Tom and I were putting some details to our NAQCC February challenge. If you don't know yet, it deals with dogs that members have owned, but are no longer alive. It's called the Dog Tribute challenge. We want our NAQCC members to add the name(s) of their deceased dog(s) to our list of words for the alphabet type challenge. Also we want to hear how the dog got its name. Of course it was brought on by the loss of Joe, and agreed to by Tom who also lost two dogs this past year or so. If you're a NAQCC member and fit the premise, check out the challenge on the NAQCC web site for info on how to submit your dog names.

I worked my first DX of 2012 today when needing a 2nd QSO for my streaks, I checked out 17 meters around noon and found Josh 6Y5WJ there and worked him easily. Then this evening my 2 QSOs came pretty easily from Frank K3DZ and Dan AF4LB.

So I won't have to worry about that during the day tomorrow. It's a good thing too, because tomorrow is my monthly trip with Nancy to the shopping malls to stock up on the items I can't get here in downtown Kittanning. It's supposed to be a nice day with temperatures in the mid 40s and a lot of sunshine. Today wasn't bad either. It got up to 40 permitting me to engage in my favorite winter sport - watching s**w melt away. Still some left to watch disappear tomorrow also. -30-

Wednesday, January 04, 2012 9:06 PM - Our coldest day of the year/winter so far with a low of 5 degrees at 3 AM this morning. Good thing it got cloudy or we might have gone below zero.

Pretty much a nothing day around here as are many of the days in this very undesireable season. Too cold for a decent walk although I did have to go out to take care of some business. Four layers of clothing along with a scarf, hat, and hood at least made it bearable. Can't wait for the warm weather to come. At least it looks like we will be in the low 40s Friday through Wednesday if the outlook is correct, and the odds of that are..... I hope at least it is warm enough for one of my favorite winter activities - watching s$o^ melt.

Deserted bands again this evening. There just has not been much activity in the 0000Z hour of late on any bands except for the traffic nets on 80. My CQs did eventually net an answer from my friend Gary N2ESE, but again I didn't get the second QSO, and will have to do that probably in the morning. I wonder what else there is to do on these winter evenings that is keeping folks off the ham bands. -30-

Tuesday, January 03, 2012 9:09 PM - A little bit of diary feedback this evening. Dave W4DUK emails, "Hello John, I saw your recent diary entry requesting information on the archived magazines. It's 73 Magazine (but not CQ) and it's on the Internet Archive website at www.archive.org. Hope this helps. I wish you a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous 2012! Dave W4DUK"

Thanks Dave. I was never much into 73 magazine. I subscribed at one time to CQ magazine, mainly for their awards program and county hunting info. I picked up a copy of 73 occasionally, but never really cared too much for it.


Only one QSO this evening so far as 80 was a vast wasteland of unused RF space. I'll have to get my second later tonight or more likely tomorrow morning or afternoon.

Our coldest temperature of the season so far. It was 7 when I got my readings a little while ago. If it stays clear and calm, we could be headed below zero. At least we can be thankful we got only a trace of s*o$ the past couple days. -30-

Monday, January 02, 2012 10:35 PM - One of my goals (resolutions?) this new year is to cut down on the amount of work I get involved in as I get older. That means either simplifying the things I do or in the case of the NAQCC, hopefully get someone to help out with some facets of running the club. Of course we do have several members now who take care of particular club activities, but we need more.

One thing I have just done is to simplify my streak table on the main page of the web site. It has been too cluttered anyway. I've eliminated the entries for a DX QSO and for a mW QSO, and now list only the main streak QSO and a 2nd QSO for each day. That in itself cuts down on the work of updating the table each night as I had to figure where each QSO went and figure how many days in the year I had now worked a DX or mW QSO. It doesn't look like it took all that much time just looking at the table, but it did.

Of course I've also eliminated a lot of work with my contest calendar by simply listing some of the big contests and my favorites for each month, and letting the very fine calendar provided by Bruce WA7BNM provide any further details for any contest that may interest you.

I'm not sure where I'm going from here, but I will be studying things. One think that might be worth studying is my propagation page. At one time my propagation info and that from WWV were about the only info available on the Internet. Now there is literally almost too much propagation info to be had. Perhaps more folks spend more time studying the propagation than just getting on the air and making QSOs. Heck, back in the 60s and even the 70s, you maybe checked WWV at 18 minutes past the hour once a day to see if there were any major propagation events in progress or upcoming, then no matter what the situation, you got on the air anyway and had fun making QSOs.

I think I will keep the diary going just as it is. I enjoy writing it each day and it even serves as a reminder of things that have happened to me that otherwise I may have forgotten. Right now I'm slowly going through the diary archives looking for things that Joe and I did together in the almost 3 years we were together. I'm compiling the events into sort of a Joe biography to help keep his memory alive and complete.

Incidentally I believe it was exactly 3 years ago tomorrow (3rd) that Joe came to PA from IN and I first saw him. I didn't note the exact date in the diary and actually didn't mention Joe much for the first couple of weeks or so as far as I have found.

Another thing I'm cutting back on this year is starting my tomatoes so early. I really only did it as a challenge to see if I could get ripe tomatoes in May and now that I've proved I can, the thrill or challenge of doing it has diminished. I may still start some Siberians a little early this year to try to get some ripe garden tomatoes before my regular Early Girl tomatoes bought as plants produce ripe tomatoes in mid to late July at best.

I also plan to do a lot more fishing this year and get started much earlier than I did last year. Bruce has threatened to get a license again this year and go fishing again which he didn't do last year. We'll see how that pans out.

Of course this year will be much different overall than the past three without my little friend Joe to share my time with. He really provided some great relaxed breaks for me. I think maybe if he were not so much of a friend and more like just a pet, it might be easy to replace him, but barring an exact clone, it would be very difficult for me to get involved with another dog. That seems as of now anyway to be true for Bruce and Nancy also.

Well I've rambled quite a bit tonight. I think I'll end this now and listen to the TL show or maybe an old Fibber McGee and Molly show before going to bed.

Oh, bed reminds me of one more thing I'm going to try to do this year. When I do go to bed, I always spend time working a crossword puzzle or reading before going to sleep. Lately it's been virtually all the puzzles for the past couple years. This year I've started to read Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings again for the 4th or 5th time as my bedtime project. -30-

Sunday, January 01, 2012 8:32 PM - Isn't it March that sometimes comes in like a lion? Well in our mixed up weather the past several months, January just came up with a mighty roar of thunder as I'm sitting here working at the computer. My Internet went down for a minute or so after the thunder, but I'm back in business now.

I compiled all my weather records from 2011 this morning. It turned out to be the warmest year in my span of records dating back to 1959.

Average daily minimum - 43.4 or 3.7 degrees above normal
Average daily maximum - 65.2 or 3.5 degrees above normal
Average daily mean - 54.3 or 3.6 degrees above normal

Also one of the wettest with 52.50 inches of rain (53.91 in 1984, 53.88 in 1990, 54.69 in 2004 being the only wetter years.)

The 144 days with .04 inches or more precipitation is a record beating 137 in 1972.
The 74 days with .25 inches or more beats 72 in 2003 and 1979.

The growing season (days between last spring and earliest autumn frosts) of 196 days is second longest to 197 in 2007.

There were several times the monthly temperature departures from normal exceeded 6 degrees, an abnormally huge departure:

Average minimum: May +6.5, Sep +6.1
Average maximum: Jul +7.8, Nov +8.6, Dec +7.0
Average mean: Jul +6.2, Nov +6.0, Dec +6.5

For the first time ever, December had no days where the maximum was 32 degrees or lower.

46 days with a maximum of 90 or greater is second only to 47 days in 1980.

113 days where the minimum was 32 or less is the fewest since 112 days in 1973 and 1977

25 days in July when the maximum was 90 or greater is by far the most in a single month, eclipsing by far the 17 days in Aug 1980, Jul 1987, Jul 1988

1259 base 65 cooling degree days the most ever beating 1077 in 1991 by a large margin.

The summmer (Jun, Jul, Aug) of 2011 was the greatest contributor to the record setting warmth:
Ave minimum: 62.7
Ave maximum: 88.0
Ave mean: 75.3
All record highs.

Enough on meterology for this entry. I think that's enough to give you a good idea of how extraordinarily warm 2011 was in Kittanning, PA. I don't keep s*o$fall records, but I'm sure the months of Oct, Nov, Dec had to have one of the least amounts of that ugly stuff of any year. I'll have to see what the Pittsburgh records say when I get a chance.

SKN last night was rather disappointing in the lack of activity at least in the 0000Z hour. Generally it's almost too crowded to find a place to operate on SKN, but there was a lot of room last night. My CQs went unanswered for quite a while till K3PXC, then a little later K4UK, both NAQCC members answered me. I never got on the bands again after that to see if activity picked up later or was maybe better during the day today.

Getting my two QSOs this evening for the streaks was easy. Only a few CQs netted VE3VGI, then after we finished, a couple more CQs and KN8B answered me.

Say, isn't the FISTS special activity for 2012 neat! I never did get far with the ones from the past couple years, but collecting prefixes this year really peaks my interest. If you don't know, you need to get 25 unique prefixes for each of the numbers 1 through 0. That's a total of 250 unique prefixes. For example under 3 you could have K3(WWP), VE3(VGI), DL3(MM) and so on. Complete rules are or will be on the FISTS web site so I won't elaborate any further here. -30-