K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013 10:03 PM - Well, only one person took the time to even take a guess at my trivia question. That was my faithful friend Geo N1EAV who emailed, "Hi John, I'll take a guess at your trivia question. And that's pretty much what it is because you have me stumped. I'll say that the Steelers almost got into the playoffs with an 8-8 record. Usually the winning percentage to get in is better. And the Seattle Seahawks got in the playoffs with a 7-9 record in 2010.....Am I in the ballpark ??? Happy New Year John geo, n1eav"

I emailed Geo and said of the three things - Who, What, and When - he had the who right. The team was the Seahawks. More than that I'll not say yet.

Getting to ham radio now. I started off the New Year (UTC-wise) with a DX QSO - FG/F5RYX on 30 meters for DX day # 307 now. Hmmmm - wonder if I could go the whole year of 2014 with a DX QSO every day. With the current conditions, working DX with QRP/CW/simple antennas is not actually that hard or much of a challenge. In fact after 307 days, it is really becoming pretty commonplace, but still enjoyable.

After I got my DX QSO, I got into the ARRL SKN for a while and made three enjoyable QSOs. I don't know if I'll get any more than that or not. Depends on how much I get involved in tomorrow.

I also got off to a good start on the NAQCC January challenge with 20 of the 81 letters taken care of already. No European QSOs yet for the European Chapter challenge though. Maybe tomorrow. -30-

Monday, December 30, 2013 9:28 PM - Since we're in the midst of the college football bowl season and the start of the NFL playoffs, how about a football trivia question. The Steelers almost did something yesterday that has only been done one other time in the NFL since the merger in 1970. What was it, and what team did do it, and when?

Same old story on the bands this evening. Little activity and even less DX. However I did hear a JA station fairly strong on 20M, but he was calling other stations and never called CQ himself. I also heard CE2AWW, but he was rather weak, and he doesn't usually hear me even when he is strong. Then there was a WP4 (I think) station on 30M with just about the sloppiest CW I've ever heard. I couldn't figure out his call nor could the station he was trying to work.

Anyway I've completed another full year of daily QRP/CW QSOs when I worked KB3ENU on 80 meters. Also I worked OK4RQ earlier in the day to continue the DX streak. Tomorrow it will be another morning/afternoon search for a DX QSO to make it 306 days or 10 full months of QRP/CW DX QSOs.

I took all my Christmas trim down today, and the room here is now back to the way it looks 11 months of the year. Pretty good weather still, with a lot of bare ground to be seen although it's pretty cold at 23 degrees right now as I type. It's supposed to be in the single digits by Friday morning with a high Friday just in the mid-teens, but fortunately (hoping it's right) I see predictions of some 40 degree days after the late week or weekend cold snap. -30-

Sunday, December 29, 2013 8:25 PM - A typical December evening on the bands. Very little activity, and only a couple DX stations heard. I did manage a brief QSO with WD4DBO from Alabama before conditions changed on us and I lost him. I did notice that my local QRN didn't seem as bad this evening. I wonder if someone in the area had some noisy Christmas lights. So tomorrow in addition to several other things, I'll have to try to get my DX QSO. Perhaps I can get that while my laundry is in the washer or dryer.

It was another nice day today for s#$w melt. A steady light rain and temperature in the low 40s cleaned off quite a bit of it. It was nice to go for a walk this evening after dark without any fear of slipping. -30-

Saturday, December 28, 2013 7:41 PM - My DX QSO came quickly this evening for a change. At 0004 I found a DX station on 30 meters and after finding out who he was, I called and got a WP? I sent my call two more times, exchanged 569/579 reports and day #304 of the DX streak is in the books. Oh, who was it? OA1/AL4Q. On the surface, assuming the AL4 call means Alaska, this person had the right idea heading to Peru to go from mid-winter to mid-summer. I wish I could do something like that.

Earlier in the day I worked SM5X in the RAC contest for day #303. That's all I did in the RAC contest. I just wasn't in a contesting mood today.

It was a beautiful day today - sunny with a brief high in the mid 50s. We lost a lot of the ugly s#$w today and may get close to a clean plate tomorrow after another pretty mild day and some rain. I love it when Mother Nature cleans the plate before offering up another serving so it doesn't get piled up to ridiculous hazardous levels.

It was so nice I decided to take down my outside Christmas lights so I don't freeze doing it. I'll still leave the indoor trim up for a few more days yet.

I just finished up making out my NAQCC challenge sheets for January. One for our regular New Year's alphabet challenge and one for the European challenge featuring early automobile inventors. That plus ARRL straight key night and the North American QSO Party are the highlights of the upcoming month. Along with our NAQCC regular sprint and our special 160M sprint of course. Should be a good month for ham radio. -30-

Friday, December 27, 2013 7:11 PM - Another quiet day today. I did get to enjoy watching some s#$w melting as the temperature got into the low 40s quite a while this afternoon. I went downtown for some grocery shopping enjoying the relatively mild weather. Other than that I spent quite a bit of time on the computer doing this and that. I guess you could say it was one of those dull boring mid-winter days, especially coming after a pretty active enjoyable Christmas days.

With the RAC Winter Contest starting up this evening, I thought I'd just grab a quick QSO for my regular streak, then maybe get in it more seriously tomorrow morning and afternoon and see how many DX QSOs I could make on the higher bands, not really going for score. My QSO this evening was a single call to VA6RAC on 40 meters which indicated to me that 40 is in long skip right now. -30-

Thursday, December 26, 2013 7:54 PM - A pretty quiet day contrasted to yesterday. Shortly after getting up, I went for my DX (and regular) streak QSO and quickly found a strong G8DX on 17 meters and worked him quickly and easily.

We had about 1 1/2 inches of the ugly stuff during the night, so my planned shopping trip to downtown was cancelled. I didn't really need much of anything anyway. I just wanted to stock up on a few grocery items, but I can do that tomorrow or Saturday when it is supposed to be in the 40s and hopefully we'll see some beautiful green again with a good riddance to some of the ugly white.

At least it is good to know that 26 days of winter are gone already, and if you haven't noticed here along 40 degrees north latitude, the sun is setting a few minutes later which is another promising sign.

The bands were their usual terrible self this evening, but I did manage a DX QSO with KP2/K3TEJ on 30 meters to extend the streaks another day. At least I won't have to worry about trying to get something in the morning or afternoon like I did today. -30-

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 11:59 PM - I promised a fleshing out of this diary entry, so here goes.

Not long after getting up Christmas morning, I wanted to get my DX QSO out of the way while I had time, so I fired up the rig, found a station quickly, and worked him easily. It was Mik EW8O on 17 meters. I've worked him several times before. We exchanged quick Christmas greetings and I shut down for the day. That was my first nice Christmas present since coincidentally with no beforehand planning, that made day #300 in my DX streak that started back on March 1st.

Next up finishing my Christmas gift for the gift exchange at the Bowsers next door. Then I took a gift over to Nancy and her family and visited for a while. After that, I went over to the Bowsers for a great fellowshipping and a wonderful meal. The four grandkids (ages 12 down to 4) really were a delight opening (almost literally) a ton of presents following the meal. I stayed for about 3 hours or so and then came home for a bit. Next it was back over to Nancy's for a longer visit.

Back home again to get caught up on a bit of computer work. After that for the fifth Christmas evening in a row now, Mike KC2EGL stopped by for a traditional visit. As usual we went for a drive around the area looking at the Christmas lights displays. Sadly the number of houses with displays continues to dwindle, down quite a bit from our first 'tour' back in 2009. There are still quite a few houses with very nice displays, but there are some blocks that are pretty much totally devoid of any displays at all. When we got home, we did a bit of work in my shack. Mike had to transfer a few QSOs he made here from my computer to his. While he was doing that, I tuned the bands a bit, and didn't hear too much activity. I tried working LZ1EV on 40 meters, but it seems a lot of other hams had the same idea in mind, and I couldn't break the pileups he was getting.

Downstairs again, and we watched some Christmas shows on my computer. We watched Hardrock Coco and Joe in "The Three Little Dwarfs" first mainly to see an error in the show. Santa starts out with 8 reindeer pulling his sled, but mysteriously winds up with only 6 at the end. Next we watched "Frosty the Snowman", "Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus", and "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" which took us to around midnight. We noticed an error in the Magoo show also. Scrooge (Magoo) has only three fingers (which is true of many cartoon characters for whatever reason) for part of the show, but four fingers at other times. Also have you noticed that in different versions of "A Christmas Carol" or as alternately named, "Scrooge" that Ebenezer's fiance has different names. I've noticed Alice, Belle, and Beth so far. I think it was Belle in Dickens' book. I may look into that a bit further sometime, but be that as it may, we took a picture of us around the tree, then Mike left for home. I leave you now with that picture.

pix_diary_20131225_001 (77K)


Tuesday, December 24, 2013 8:11 PM - Let's not forget the real meaning of Christmas:

pix_diary_20131223_001 (74K)
For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


Monday, December 23, 2013 8:56 PM -


Sunday, December 22, 2013 9:36 PM - A busy day today with a variety of things. A beautiful weather day with a high of 65 degrees. Wouldn't it be nice if that were a normal everyday winter day. I could handle that just fine. At least we're down to bare ground now with no s$%w or ice to be seen except maybe a couple small spots around town where it was piled deeper than other places. Great to look out the window and see green everywhere. Well, not everywhere like spring and summer, but you get my meaning.

So I went for a couple walks for some shopping, to look at the river which is pretty high from the rain and s$%w melt, and to see the few Christmas lights around town. The number of folks decorating for Christmas seems to have dwindled steadily the last 5 years or so.

The bands were really deserted this evening. After looking around and calling CQ for about 35 minutes with no result, I came across what seemed to be a DX station (from his operating habits) on 40 meters. Then when he sent TU UP, I was certain he was DX, so I set the KX3 for split, called once and worked whoever it was. He kept working stations with no ID, so I looked him up on the Internet spots (the only reason I ever use those things) and it said HI3EPR was on that frequency. Just after that he finally did ID and I caught the EPR in my local noise. So both the big and DX streaks go on for yet another day. Two more days and the DX streak will be 300 days now. A nice Christmas present for a ham radio operator. HI. -30-

Saturday, December 21, 2013 9:33 PM - The Croatian contest gave me my DX QSO for the 21st and 22nd. YT2T on 15 this morning and E70T on 40 this evening. With a lot of other things going on today, those were the only two contacts I made in the contest. Conditions were good and I could have gotten quite a few QSOs, but....

Pretty much an all-day rain today with a total just over .80 inches. Good thing it wasn't s$%w. A high of 58 plus the rain pretty much insures a green Christmas barring some sneaky storm coming in before then. -30-

Friday, December 20, 2013 8:48 PM - I thought this morning that my DX streak might come to an end. I got on in the 1400Z hour and called several stations with the best result being a not followed up K?. Even stations I've worked before several times including CO8LY and DK3KD were not hearing me. No, it wasn't that my power was turned down like a couple days ago - they just weren't hearing my full 5 watt signal for whatever reason. Finally as I was getting desperate because I had other things that needed doing, I got a K3? from Eddy IZ4RTE and after a couple of repeats of my call, I had my DX QSO in the log for the 295th straight day. The next couple days should be easy ones (probably shouldn't have said that) with the Croatian Contest taking place.

Then this evening for the 8th of the past 10 days, I got a 20+ minute QSO to finish up the NAQCC December challenge when I worked Dave W9AJR for 22 minutes. So I mastered both the regular and European Chapter challenges again this month. Whew!

Just glancing at my remote thermometer, I see it is 48 degrees, up about 5 degrees the past half hour, so the promised weekend warm weather is arriving. I wonder how much rain is going to come with it now. Predictions have dropped a bit now from over 3 inches to about 2.5 inches which is still a lot. After I finish typing and posting this, I'll check to see what the latest forecast is. Dave W9AJR out in Indiana said it was in the 60s there, but hardly any rain, so we'll see what happens. -30-

Thursday, December 19, 2013 9:06 PM - This was the last nice day before a nasty weekend coming up, so I did some outdoor stuff today. Took care of paying some bills, went to the post office to mail some things and buy some more stamps. Did a little Christmas and grocery shopping on a couple separate trips. So I'm pretty well set for Christmas now. Just a couple more little gifts to get ready.

All of that activity took time away from my plans to be active in the NAQCC European Chapter Activity Day. I only managed to spare about 20 minutes or so for that, but I did work four European stations, 1 from Greece, 1 Germany, and 2 from Croatia. I got all four with just a single call. The bands were really good and I could have added many more stations had I the time. Anyway I sent in my report to the European Chapter and will get my participation points. I think I might win the European Chapter Participation Award this year, but that's not certain yet. I sure did enjoy all the European Chapter challenges during the year.

Speaking of challenges, I got what I think was my 9th 20 minute QSO this month toward the main NAQCC December challenge. If my unofficial count is right, I only need one more to master the challenge. Tonight it was a 22 minute QSO with Ken K9UCX on 40 meters. You know, I think I'll just take a moment and count. Here's the list:
1. 12/6 WY3H - 29 minutes
2. 12/9 W9VC - 24
3. 12/12 KA3YNV - 22
4. 12/13 W1IDL - 31
5. 12/14 KA2KGP - 22
6. 12/17 WA8REI - 20
7. 12/18 W9FAM - 25
8. 12/19 NG2D - 28
9. 12/20 K9UCX - 22

Yep, just one more to go. So I should make it. If I don't, then I don't really deserve it. -30-

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:01 PM - I had a somewhat strange experience this morning when getting my DX QSO. I found LY5A on 17M with a good signal just finishing up a QSO with another European station. I've worked LY5A over a dozen times, most if not all in contests, and I figured I'd have an easy DX QSO so I waited till they finished. I was happy when I found out it was LY5A who had the frequency because the other station was just about inaudible. I called Jonas and surprisingly he didn't snap right back to me, so I called again and got K3?. He was having a hard time copying me and I got VWP WVP, but not WWP from him. Finally after several repeats, I happened to glance at the KX3 power meter and saw what the problem was. I never turned the power back up from 900 mW from our NAQCC mW sprint last night. I just left it there and Jonas finally did get my call after a couple more repeats for an almost-5,000 MPW QSO. Other than that I didn't make any more QSOs as I had some other chores to do after I got in my DX streak QSO. The bands did seem pretty good when I made a quick check.

This evening my QSO came pretty quickly on 40 meters when NG2D answered my CQ and we wound up with a solid (till the end when the band changed) 30 minute rag chew. I think that is my 8th QSO of 20 minutes or more this month now toward the 10 needed for the NAQCC December challenge. So I may make it after all. After the slow start, I had my doubts. I should be able to get two more by the end of the month even if I only get one per week.

I hope the conditions for DX are good in the morning and afternoon as it's NAQCC European Activity Day and I hope if other things don't keep me from getting on the air to log a lot of European stations and see if I can come up with a good score for the Activity Day. However it is going to be a nice weather day tomorrow - one of the few before Christmas - and I do have some shopping to do as well as visit the post office and also get some groceries. So I'll have to see how much I can squeeze into one day. -30-

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 8:15 PM - Just getting ready for our NAQCC mW sprint and thought I'd get my diary entry done before it starts. Not really much to talk about anyway. I never got on the bands today until this evening for my streak QSO. No DX yet, but that should come in the morning or afternoon. I did have a nice 'somewhat QRQ' ragchew with Vern W9FAM. Vern is 91 years old and in broadcasting as I was. He was sending about 38 WPM and I was around 25-26 WPM. It's nice to work some higher speed code now and then. I copied him solidly while reading his bio on QRZ and looking at the great pictures he has there.

And I guess that's about it as the clock moves toward 8:30 and the sprint. I'm not sure how conditions will be. I did see quite a few strong peaks on 40 meters on the panadapter while working Vern, so we'll see. -30-

Monday, December 16, 2013 7:58 PM - Today was a quiet day. As usual on a Monday I do my laundry the first thing after I get up. While the dryer was running, I checked the bands and found them somewhat down from the past several days. I did manage to work 9A282N though, and preserved my DX streak another day. That was on 10 meters. The rest of the day I was mainly just playing with my computers as well as reading as much as I could about upgrading the laptop from Windows 8 to 8.1. I also ran a couple programs that checked to see if everything on the laptop was ready for the upgrade.

This evening my DX QSO came quickly and easily. At 0002Z I sent a single call to PJ2/NT6X on 30 meters and got my QSO. Then I went to 40 and had a rag chew with my friend Ken WA8REI. It's really pitiful how empty 80 meters was this evening - nothing but a straight line of QRN on the panadapter with a couple of weak peaks from net operations here and there.

Tomorrow evening is our NAQCC mW sprint. That may be a challenge or maybe even a farce if conditions aren't any better than they were for our regular sprint last week. I may wind up with a 2 hour shutout here as it was difficult pulling 5 watt stations out of the noise last week. Imagine trying to pull mW signals out. It will be rough unless conditions take a big quick turn for the better in the next 24 hours. -30-

Sunday, December 15, 2013 10:04 PM - It's been a busy day today with the 10M contest and the cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs taking up most of my time. The cross-checking went quite smoothly this month. There weren't all that many 'head scratching' things to figure out for a change. So it's already all done just a couple hours past the entry deadline.

As for the contest, conditions were similar to yesterday, but not quite as good. There was a lot of QSB. In fact the band almost seemed to die just after I started up with all sigs dropping down, but then they came back up very soon after that. EU was dominant from when I got on around 1400Z till 1630Z or so. However most of the stations I heard were stations I worked yesterday - one of the disadvantages of a single band contest. I thought I'd shoot for 200 QSOs but I fell short at 197. With EU gone, about all I was hearing and working were the western states like AZ, TX, NM, CO, MT for the most part plus a handful of others. I did manage to get a WAC in the contest when I worked KH7Y this afternoon. So I did make that goal - barely. I think I only worked 1 station from AF (CN8KD), AS (5B/RN3QO), and OC (KH7Y) - also only a few from SA. Europe and the Western USA were definitely dominant.

Poor conditions again this evening but I eked out a QSO with KB3MXM for the big streak. I'll have to get my DX for day 291 in the morning or afternoon. -30-

Saturday, December 14, 2013 7:29 PM - Well, it wasn't 1999, 2000, or 2001, but 10 meters was not all that bad today for the contest. I won't come close to the 460 QSOs I made in 2001 - probably not even half of that, but I may at least approach 200 depending on how much time I put in tomorrow and how many USA/VE stations I work. I started off only working DX for the first 82 QSOs, of which I think 81 were European stations and one African. Then when Europe started dropping out, I did work USA/VE stations for a while plus a couple Caribbean and one South American station to bring my total to 114 before I quit for the day. I could have worked some more as the band was still open after 0000Z, but I figured I'd just wait till the morning instead and see how many DX stations I could add to my total. It was nice having my first QSO in the contest be my friend Franki OQ5M. Also nice to have DL6RAI ask if I was QRP, and saying I had a good signal. Then Matt K7BG wished me a Merry Christmas. Always nice to get little sidelights like that in big contests.

Figuring I don't have to worry about a DX QSO for the 15th barring a complete breakdown of the bands or only DX stations showing up on 10 whom I already worked, I just snagged a quick QSO with VE2JCW for my main streak QSO.

OK, now I'm off to post a new poll as soon as I think up one and get the details worked out. I've got a couple in mind that I've done before, and I may repeat them if it hasn't been too recently that I've used them. -30-

Friday, December 13, 2013 7:58 PM - A good day today. I got on in the 1500Z hour to get my streak QSO which turned out to be with Ben DF3CB. Then after I worked Ben, it dawned on me that he had a 3 in his call which left me needing an S to complete the NAQCC European challenge, so I stayed on and looked around for the S and after a while I found and worked Andy SP9KR to finish up the challenge. Then this evening I took another bite out of the NAQCC regular challenge when I got my fifth 'rag chew' of the month from Tom KA2KGP. So that leaves me with 1 1/2 challenges done this month now.

Other than that a little house cleaning and some shopping filled up my day along with visiting Nancy and Bruce a couple times. Oh, and of course Roscoe - he'd be unhappy if I left him out.

This weekend I'm hoping for good conditions on 10 meters for the 10 meters contest. I was just reading the ARRL Propagation Bulletin and they are saying conditions this year could be similar to 1999 except the ionosphere may be a bit more active this year. Now 1999 was a great year, so I'm hoping the bulletin is correct.

I shouldn't have any temptations to go outside walking as we are supposed to get a few inches of the ugly stuff tonight and tomorrow. Good for staying inside and getting on the bands. -30-

Thursday, December 12, 2013 8:30 PM - Once again today, I missed a chance to explore the bands. I did get on long enough to work F5MUX to keep the DX streak going, but that was it. This evening the bands were all resting in peace again. I don't think I've ever seen fewer peaks on my panadapter than tonight. I could probably count all of them on all bands on my fingers and still have a couple fingers left over. However after some time, my CQs did get a response from Vin W1IDL and we had a nice solid 31 minute rag chew. So conditions were good, just very very little activity.

Otherwise today I went out to see a friend of mine who is in a personal care home. That's Bill whom I have talked about here in the diary. He's the one with whom I rebuilt my thermometer shelter, a sundial, and some other woodworking projects. He's doing pretty well, but at 82 years of age it probably will be some time before he can come home. I hope he can. He has a good attitude about it, and that helps.

I think that's one of the bad things about growing old. Seeing your parents age and die, then your contemporary friends getting old, being unable to do what they used to do and eventually dying also. On that sad note, I'll end this entry and hopefully have something more cheerful to write and think about tomorrow. -30-

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 9:19 PM - Just got home from my computer club meeting a little while ago so this is going to be (another) short entry. I got my regular streak QSO shortly after getting home from Dave KA3YNV, and it turned out to be my 3rd (20 min) "rag chew" towards the ten needed to master the NAQCC December rag chew challenge. Earlier in the day at 1458Z I extended my DX streak another day plus got one more number for the NAQCC European challenge when I worked E720IARU on 10 meters. Also a new prefix in the bargain. The bands were quite good today but again I didn't have all that much time to explore since I wanted to get a good start on processing logs from our NAQCC sprint last night.

Speaking of the sprint, conditions were horrid not only here, but in most places around the country looking at the scores and reading the soapbox comments. Still we're already approaching 100 logs thanks to the great dedication our members have to their NAQCC. Actually glancing at my email inbox I see four new logs which should bring us to 94 and it's still not a full 24 hours after the end of the sprint. -30-

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 6:08 PM - Some feedback on my comments on Windows 8 from Geo N1EAV, "Hi John, Just thought I would drop you a note to tell you that I share your enthusiasm in regards to windows 8. Over the summer we had a lightning strike at work and one of the things that got fried was my shop computer. I replaced it with a Dell machine that had windows 8 on it. Didn't like it at first but as I started getting into it more and more, I became a fan. So much so that I upgraded my home pc to windows 8 a few weeks ago. A little pricey at $120.00 but well worth it. Other than that , still pretty busy with work and family commitments so not much time for radio. I think that reading your diary kind of keeps me connected to the hobby even though I'm not spending time spinning the dials. Have a Merry Christmas my friend. 73 , geo n1eav"

Looks like first impressions are not always accurate, and need to be followed up on. Thanks Geo. It's always good to hear from you.

Never did get on the air today. I wanted to get some other things taken care of since I'll be spending two hours on the air this evening in our NAQCC sprint - probably struggling to make QSOs if evening conditions are like they have been recently. Probably 80 meters will be the band of choice this evening. I'm pretty sure 20 will be dead with 40 not much better. But then, I could be totally wrong since as I said, I haven't been on the air yet today at all.

Since I probably won't get my DX QSO this evening, I will have to check the bands tomorrow morning and/or afternoon to keep the DX streak alive. Now I'm off to get some more preparation done for the sprint and the log checking afterwards. -30-

Monday, December 09, 2013 8:04 PM - When I got my laptop a couple weeks ago now, I planned to only be using it as a speedier computer for my shack plus for taking on our parkpeditions to facilitate logging. Well, I have now fallen in love with Windows 8, and I'm using the laptop as much as, if not more than, my main Windows 7 computer. I find a lot of things are much easier to do and more intuitive to do with Windows 8 than with any previous version of Windows. Keep in mind that's coming from someone (me) who viewed 8 as a Microsoft disaster when I first got wind of it. Even the first couple brief times I used it on someone else's computer, I didn't think all that much of it. I think it is because of the radical change from earlier Windows versions that it is necessary to actually use it (thoroughly) for a couple days or so to come to truly appreciate it. I certainly have.

As for ham radio now, the bands were good to EU in the 1500Z hour again today, and I crept closer to finishing the NAQCC European challenge, and now need only a 3, 0, and S to finish up after working IK3VUT and G3HGE on 17 meters today. This evening I finally worked Nigel on 30 meters (PJ7/G3TXF) for day # 285 in the DX streak.

Each week I check to see if my on-line log matches my computer log, and in so doing I call up a Microsoft Access Query that lists all my QRP QSOs by band and year. In looking at that query today I see that this has been a good year for ham radio on the high bands - the best in most cases since the early 2000s. Here are some stats for the different bands:

10M - 237 DX QSOs best since 767 in 2002
12M - 33 DX QSOs best since 61 in 2004
15M - 592 DX QSOs best since 667 in 2002
17M - 130 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 75 in 2000
20M - 740 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 690 in 1999
30M - 112 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 92 in 1994
40M - 163 DX QSOs best ever, topping previous best 113 in 1994
80M - 25 DX QSOs ties best ever in 2004

Those are DX QSOs. Now for curiousity I'm going to check total QSOs by band:

10M - 238 best since 264 in 2011
12M - 33 best since 35 in 2011
15M - 660 best since 938 in 2002
17M - 138 best ever (103 in 1995)
20M - 1101 best since 1466 in 1999
30M and lower - no records to mention

Take one thing into consideration - I probably have put in a lot fewer hours this year than I used to do before the NAQCC and other obligations took up a lot of my time. Also of course this year is not over yet and there are some good contests coming up like the 10M contest, RAC Winter contest, etc. which should add to the 2013 totals. I think that shows just how good conditions have been in 2013 - OR - is it maybe the KX3 which with the panadapter helps make more efficient use of what time I do have to operate? Hmmmm. -30-

Sunday, December 08, 2013 8:39 PM - I had a good time on the bands today in the 1500Z hour. I first easily got my DX QSO working EI13CLAN on 15 meters. I got a few letters and numbers from that call for the NAQCC European challenge, then decided to try to get some more toward the challenge, so I looked around for a while and found IQ2CJ and EA7AJR who helped get me closer to the finish line. But the real catch wasn't from EU, but AF. I worked 7X3WPL easily, and now I hope getting the QSL is as easy. That's one of the few countries I've worked, but don't have verified. I worked 7X4AN on three different bands, but he never answered any of my QSL requests despite all QSOs being solid ones. So hopefully I'll fare better with 7X3WPL.

This evening it was the same old story. Not much activity on the bands, and almost nil as far as strong DX stations. About the strongest was PJ7/G3TXF on 30 meters, but unlike the fairly easy QSO on 12 a couple days ago with Nigel, I couldn't break the pileup on 30 this evening. So again tomorrow morning or afternoon, I'll be chasing DX for the DX streak. I did have a nice rag chew with Bill W9VC for the regular streak QSO. -30-

Saturday, December 07, 2013 8:55 PM - Well, I got on the bands around noon today expecting much more than what I got. I figured Europe would be all over the high bands, but it wasn't so. In fact I could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of EU stations I did hear, and none of them were strong. In fact, I heard Caribbean stations working EU, and I couldn't hear the EU stations at all. I did manage a DX QSO though to keep the streak alive at 282 days when I worked PJ7/G3TXF on 12 meters which turned out to be a new band-country for toppers.

Although 17 meters was open after 0000Z this evening, the DX signals were too weak to even try except for Nigel again, but he was calling JA only so I didn't bother him. I'll have to get my DX QSO in the morning or afternoon again. I did work TJ K9TJL (a regular diary reader) on 40 meters, the first time we've worked now in over a year. I didn't even listen to the 160 meters contest. Perhaps I might check it before I go to bed. Probably not. -30-

Friday, December 06, 2013 9:07 PM - No DX tonight, but that's good because it will give me an incentive to get on the bands in the morning or afternoon to preserve the DX streak and work on the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. I just fooled around all day today with the laptop, some shopping, visiting next door, and the like.

I got in the 160M contest for a couple minutes this evening and made about a half dozen or so QSOs. Conditions seemed pretty good, but I just wasn't in the mood for a more serious effort. I'm looking forward to the 10M contest next weekend. I hope conditions will be good for that one. -30-

Thursday, December 05, 2013 9:08 PM - Again this evening I managed to get my DX streak QSO when I worked YV8AD on 30M after chasing PJ7/G3TXF unsuccessfully for quite a while. I guess PJ7 is still a relatively pretty much in demand country as Nigel was working one station after another constantly, and I wasn't one of the stations.

I was mostly playing with the new laptop today. I'm getting to really like Windows 8 more and more every time I use it. I remember when I first saw it several months ago, I thought it was rather a dumb scheme, but now I've flipped 180 degrees and just love it. Great job, Microsoft! Now I'm looking forward to upgrading to 8.1 before I get two many new apps on the laptop. It should be a few hours project to do that, but I do want to get all the new features that 8.1 has over 8.

As a result of that, I never did get on the bands till this evening, and I probably missed some real good conditions as the SF was up to 150 today. Well, maybe tomorrow. It's supposed to be a rain/sleet/s^*w couple of days coming up. Good days to stay inside away from that stuff. At least Saturday features the earliest sunset of the season and we start gaining a little daylight each day in the evening from then through the summer. Oh, and 85 days left of meteorological winter after today. Five down, and..... -30-

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 7:58 PM - Two fun things today. First working DX on the high bands and getting a lot of progress on the NAQCC European Challenge from stations like EM110RAEM and S506SLG plus a few other not so letter/number loaded stations. Now I've got 32 of the 47 letters/numbers needed. I also worked a new band country in FJ/DK7LX on 17 meters. Maybe a couple other new prefixes besides the ones mentioned above. Maybe tomorrow I can take another big step toward completion of the challenge.

Not a much luck with the regular NAQCC challenge of making 20 minute 'rag chews'. I don't have a single one so far, and probably won't complete the challenge, but I will get at least one to keep my streak of getting a participation point alive.

Earlier in the day I put the lights on the Christmas tree, then early this evening finished up with the ornaments (or ormanents as Ed King of Party Line called them many many years ago to distinguish them from ordinary every day ornaments). Here's a picture of the finished tree and the manger scene underneath.

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After finishing the tree, it was time to tend to my streak(s). For a change I got a DX QSO right away this evening working H70ORO on 40M with a single call. It's been a while now since I've heard that station after hearing it all the time earlier in the year. Anyway I'm all set with both streaks now, but I still will probably chase DX in the morning and/or afternoon for those challenge letters and any possible new band countries. -30-

Tuesday, December 03, 2013 8:34 PM - Like so many evenings of late, except for a pileup here and there chasing some rare DX, there has been very little activity on the bands. That's borne out by the Panadapter which shows virtually nothing but the noise floor, even on 40 and 80. The few stations that are there are at a good level so conditions are good. There's just very little activity. With the winter weather and dark early evenings, I would think activity would pick up because of the lessening of outdoor activities, but I guess not.

So once again, I got my regular QSO after about a half hour of calling CQ on 40, 60, and 80. Joe WU0E in Iowa finally answered me. Earlier in the day around 1530Z, I easily worked M0TIX. I heard him come on with a brief tune followed by his call. I sent my call once, and he said something like, 'that was quick, you have good ears', and we had a solid, if somewhat short QSO. It could have been longer, but Bruce had called earlier and said he and Nancy wanted to take me out to lunch at Ponderosa and it was getting time to get ready to go. Rob gave me a 599 and copied everything solidly even me telling him about the lunch.

As usual it was a great buffet at Ponderosa, maybe even a little better than usual because some 'head honchos' from Ponderosa were visiting the restaurant for whatever reason. After that when we got home, I played with Roscoe a bit, then came over home and did some computer work, and a little more Christmas decorating. I got the tree up today, but not trimmed yet, and straightened out the lights around the window. That pretty much covers the day. -30-

Monday, December 02, 2013 9:16 PM - A busy day today kept me off the bands again till this evening. Started the day with my laundry and my first of the month financial work. Then I visited next door for a while. Some other chores took care of the rest of the afternoon.

The bands were very poor this evening. It was hard getting a regular QSO, let alone a DX QSO. That will have to wait till tomorrow, but after about 45 minutes of hunting and calling CQ, Bob N9UUI finally answered my CQ on 80 meters. So at least the big streak is still going strong. After I got my QSO, I trimmed my front window with the traditional nativity scene shown here looking from across the room as I sit at the computer.

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Sunday, December 01, 2013 8:29 PM - This was just a super great day today encompassing two events. Let me write a little about both. I could write a LOT about both but I'll try to keep it short.

First was our last minute Requin operation I mentioned in last night's diary entry. Tom WY3H picked me up around 8:30AM and we and his two sons headed off to Pittsburgh. After a little bit of a rough time with the GPS, we got it working and although we knew the route pretty well, it's always tricky driving through Pittsburgh or any big city, but it guided us perfectly to the sub.

Art WA3BKD showed up just a couple minutes after we arrived, and we boarded the sub. As I mentioned this was a trip mainly for a newspaper story, and ham radio was a little side activity. Kind of like those 'dxpeditions' which are listed as actually vacations with a little ham radio on the side. I started off just after 10AM and had a minor pileup and clearing the stations out took about 25 minutes. Then after the break, Tom wanted to let his sons try to make some QSOs, but they are not too proficient with CW, so they tried SSB for quite a while without any luck while I kind of wandered around the sub doing this and that. Finally they gave up and I worked about 25 minutes more making QSOs that totalled altogether in the two periods 13. Not a great rate, but the QRN was horrible on the sub and I could have easily missed other stations calling. Plus the QRM inside the sub with visitors talking, etc. - not to mention having pictures taken while operating - didn't help. So I apologize to anyone I missed. After my session, Art made one QSO on CW, then helped Tom's son Ethan make one SSB QSO. Then all too soon it was time to leave for home.

I killed a couple hours at home then headed over to the Bowsers next door for a really great four hours or so of good food and fellowship in a delayed Thanksgiving dinner. As we did last year, we had a drawing for a Christmas exchange of gifts. The three youngest were having a ball making out gift lists. The youngest Jocelyn (about 4 I think) was going around helping everyone make their lists, and she spent a lot of time with me sitting on my lap first making out my list, then having me help her make out her list. She listed about 44 things, each and everyone started with 'pretty' like pretty shoes, pretty hair ribbon. When I'd suggest an item that she particularly liked, she'd say 'good one'. I really enjoyed that little session with her.

It is just so great to have wonderful neighbors when you live alone and I really appreciate them very much.

Shifting gears now, DX came quickly tonight when I worked C6AKQ on 30 meters with a single call. There was not much activity on the bands at all - typical of late in the evenings. Tomorrow is another busy day with my laundry, some left over last of the month, first of the month things plus a few other chores. I would like to get in some EU DX to get started on the NAQCC European Chapter December challenge, but I don't know if I will. It's also supposed to be a good week weatherwise with temperatures climbing into the mid 50s by mid-week so I'll have to get caught up on my outside walking. Oh, and also tomorrow I hope to decorate my window and put up my Christmas tree - almost forgot about that. Whew! -30-

Saturday, November 30, 2013 10:12 PM - Today I had a great visit from one of our newer NAQCC members who lives about 15-20 miles from here. Tom WB3FAE came over just after noon and we spent about 3 1/2 hours together mostly playing with the KX3 as he is thinking of getting one, and I think after the hands-on experience with mine today, he is now definitely going for one. Tom's a real good op who like so many hams get away from ham radio for several years and then get back into it later in life. When he was last active, 12 and 17 meters were fairly new, and today he made his first ever 12M QSO with my KX3. We'll be getting together again and we definitely want to go parkpeditioning when the good weather returns next spring.

On somewhat of a last-minute decision, I'll be operating from the USS Requin in Pittsburgh tomorrow. Tom WY3H is doing an article for the local paper on the Requin and we will also be doing some operating around 7040 and 14060 with the Requin's equipment. All we know about the time right now is that the Requin opens at 10 AM (1500Z). No definite operating times will be known until we get there tomorrow.

After we get home, then I have an invitation to another Thanksgiving dinner at the Bowsers who all had to work over Thanksgiving itself, thus the delay until tomorrow.

So with all that going on tomorrow, I wanted to be sure to get my DX QSO this evening for day # 276 and PJ2/VE7ACN obliged. It just took a couple calls on 30M to get him in the log. So I'm all set for another day. When Tom was here I was showing him my Microsoft Access logging system and at random I picked a couple SQL queries to show him. One was on how many days I worked DX so far in 2013. Turned out it was 300 exactly, so I now have 301 DX days this year. I think that may be a record for me. I'm not going to make a thorough check right now, but I am going to check a few years around the last sunspot maximum. Interesting to see that in 2000 for the whole year I had the same as what I have now in 2013 to date - 301 DX days. So the next DX day will be a record for me. I think that should encourage everyone and show them that now is the time to be chasing DX if that is their wont. -30-

Friday, November 29, 2013 6:13 PM - I wrote my CQWW DX contest story today and it is now posted, so that will stand as my diary entry for today since nothing else at all noteworthy happened today. Go to the CONTESTING section of my site, then the Contest Stories page for an index of all my contest stories including this latest one. -30-

Thursday, November 28, 2013 9:04 PM - I hope you all had as good a Thanksgiving day as I did. I had a great dinner and visit with Nancy, her two sons, two of her grandchildren, and of course, Roscoe. I could list all the goodies we had to eat, but that would use up too much of my web site bandwidth. Suffice it to say, there were a lot of different things to eat, and I had my share of each and every one, as did everyone else. Well, there were some things Roscoe couldn't eat, but he made up for it with those things he could eat. HI.

After that I played around with my new laptop, and found it does work very well with the KX3 and HDSDR after Mike helped me get it set up yesterday. Then I modified my shack a bit by altering the shelf where my equipment sits to make room for the laptop on the desk. Here's what that looks like:

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My DX came quickly on mostly deserted bands. I worked J88HL on 30 meters even though I did only work him there 10 days ago. There just wasn't much else to be had in the way of DX or anything else for that matter. I guess the holiday added to the empty evening bands even more tonight. -30-

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:36 PM - And now, here's Mike!! (Read that aloud like Ed McMahon) Today John and I worked on setting up his new laptop for use with his KX3. John downloaded the two software programs that run the HDSDR Panadapter. After adjusting the settings to the panadapter we tested the setup to see which sound card compatible with the panadapter and KX3. We found to our surprise, amazement, and relief that John did not need the use of an external sound card like I do with my set up. I brought my sound card along just in case it was needed. The funny thing about the testing is that my sound card for some unknown reason is not compatible with Johns set up. Don't ask us why. We almost hurt our brains trying to figure it out. That could prove to be very dangerous in my case. Hi-Hi!!!!! After the test session we went out for lunch and then for a ride to take a peek at a house I wanted to look at in Butler County. We also ordered NAQCC WPA Chapter hats. Later this evening I have a local ARES/RACES club meeting. After that John and I will have a late dinner and hunt a bit of DX for a bit before I head back home.

We would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah.
Mike KC2EGL NAQCC # 1236
John K3WWP NAQCC # 2 -30-

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 8:22 PM - A really nasty day today although not as bad as it could have been, I guess. We had rain mixed with s$%w all day. A couple inches of the ugly stuff that turned to slush in the rain. It will be bad if it freezes tonight which it may or may not do. The temperature has been 34 or 35 all day which really helped things out.

Anyway it was a good day to play with my new laptop. I got the recovery media made today which took a couple hours or more. Then I did the first series of updates which took an hour or so. Now there is a second series of updated being done as I type here. I've learned a lot about Windows 8 and am getting to like it more and more as I get used to the big differences from Windows 7. Still a lot more to learn yet, but it shouldn't take all that long till I'm pretty much familiar with it.

I didn't get on the bands till around 0045Z tonight as I was busy with the laptop. However the DX came quickly and in a bunch. I worked V25A, J88HL, and PV8ADI all on 40 meters withing a few minutes. Also tried J87GU but couldn't get him and didn't feel like waiting too long since it was nothing new and the streak was already secured at 272 days. -30-

Monday, November 25, 2013 7:48 PM - Kind of a busy day getting caught up on some things after my marathon CQWW DX contest. Although it will be mentioned in the contest report when I get time to write it, I neglected to say in the diary entry last night that all 421 QSOs were DX. Although I could have, I didn't work any W/VE stations since I was only having fun working DX and not going for a score. So I lost several band country and band zone multipliers as a result.

Two big chores today top the list and the only two I'm going to talk about. First of all, I managed to finish up the NAQCC sprint cross-checking of logs. It wasn't too time-consuming this month. I guess each month I learn a couple new tricks to make it simpler and quicker - even after doing 109 of them now.

Secondly I bought a laptop computer today. It will replace my old(!) shack computer and also just be handy to take on our parkpeditions next year as well as just being a backup computer. It's not a top of the line state of the art laptop, but good enough for what I plan to use it. I'll probably be saying more about it as time goes by. I've barely had time to play with it today so far. I only got it around 11:30AM when Bruce ran me up to WalMart. Then I wanted to get the cross-checking done before I even opened the box. Yes, I guess I do have some willpower left in my old age. HI.

I also had to take a bit of time to get my DX QSO since it seems like everyone who is DX shut down at 0000Z last evening. My QSO came easily this morning at 1422Z when I had a short chat with Leif SM3DBU on 15 meters. Then this evening there also was not much DX around except for someone on 80M whom I couldn't hear at all here. I only heard his massive pileup. I did find J88HL on 30M and was about to work him even though I had worked him just a couple weeks ago on 30. However another peak came on the panadapter and I checked it and found FS/K9EL so I worked him for day # 271 in the DX streak. -30-

Sunday, November 24, 2013 8:16 PM - I am fairly beat right now after putting in way too many hours having a ball in the CQWW DX contest. Great conditions this weekend, although Sunday seemed down a bit from Saturday. Still I wound up with 421 QSOs from a rough count of 80 countries from all continents. I'm writing a report for my contest reports page so I won't say more here now. I will let you know in the diary when the report is finished and posted.

Nothing else going on today. Just about all my time taken up in the contest. I did get my streak QSO after the contest this evening, but I still have to get my DX streak QSO which will probably be tomorrow morning or afternoon. -30-

Saturday, November 23, 2013 8:38 PM - With 281 QSOs in my CQWW DX Contest log, I am curious to see the last time I hit 400, 500, and 600 in a contest. I should be able to reach 400 in this one with a very outside chance at 500 if conditions are as good tomorrow as today. OK, let's see now. I reached 600 QSOs once in an ARRL DX Contest back in 2002 when I got 633, my all time best.

I reached 500 QSOs seven times including the above. The last time in the January 2003 NAQP.

I reached 400 QSOs 14 times including the above. The first was an ARRL CD Contest back in 1968 and wasn't really QRP by today's standards of five watts output as I ran about 50 watts out then which was QRP by the standards of that era. The last time I hit 400 was the January 2004 NAQP.

In a pure DX contest (ARRL DX and CQWW DX) I reached 400 only 5 times. The others were NAQP and SS plus one 10 meters contest.

So if I reach 400, it won't be all that common for me.

I'll probably write one of my contest reports for this one, so I won't say much more about it here in the diary now. I'll just say that the bands were definitely reminiscent of the DX contests at the previous sunspot maximum. Ten meters had activity almost up to 28200 and 15 was well into the 21100s. 20 meters was almost up to 14100 with perhaps a couple stations above that.

As I said yesterday, the KX3 continues to awe and impress me. I can see 3 or 4 very closely spaced (within a few hundred Hz) stations on the panadapter and can only hear one of them at a time as I tune. I don't recall ever doing that with any previous rig, although I didn't have a panadapter then to see just how closely spaced the stations were. -30-

Friday, November 22, 2013 9:01 PM - Anyone who claims CW is dead should listen to the bands this weekend in the CQWW DX contest. 40 meters especially this evening where it is wall to wall signals a couple hundred Hz apart. Awesome, and yet another testimonial to the wonderful receiver in the KX3. Very easy to separate two S9+++ signals a couple hundred Hz apart without even knowing the other one is there. Or even better a weaker signal from the S9+++ station.

Working stations is very rough for my minimal QRP this evening against all the competition from the KW/big antenna stations. I've only made 12 QSOs in the first 90 minutes. Eight on 20 and 4 on 40. Four continents so far - EU NA SA AF. Areas and stations usually easy to work are just not clicking yet. D4C usually easy here, but not tonight. KL7 stations not hearing me. And so on. I think things will be better tomorrow. Hopefully 15 and 10 will be in great shape and yield some much better QSO rates for me. We shall see what we shall see, as the saying goes.

It was light up night here in Kittanning, and I didn't realize they were having a fireworks display until I heard the noise. It was pretty awesome, and I actually saw a couple new displays. One looked like Saturn with a globe and the ring. Another for lack of a better description was like a bowtie with two fan shapes coming out of the center globe. I've watched many fireworks displays and never before saw anything like those two.

Well time (a bit past) to get my weather readings, then maybe back to the contest - or maybe not. I might just wait till tomorrow morning. -30-

Thursday, November 21, 2013 8:46 PM - A good part of the day spent in processing sprint logs getting ready for the cross-checking when all are in. I'm getting better at keeping up with them as they come in and not letting them get ahead of me. With 3 logs just ringing in as I type here, we have 89 in so far. Looks pretty good for making it to 100 again, but I don't think we'll approach last month's 156. Conditions were not all that good this month and there weren't any extra prizes this month as an extra incentive.

Actually saying conditions were not all that good is being kind. They were just plain downright awful here, and from the soapbox comments, other places as well. I had to really struggle to get 43 QSOs into my log, but in the long run it was rewarding to have done so. Still I wish just once I could have the quiet local noise level here that we experience at the Community Park. Maybe next summer when it stays light late, I'll operate a sprint from up there. I plan to be getting a laptop computer for my shack computer soon, and I'll be able to take that to the park to log with GenLog. Stay tuned for further developments next spring and summer. I'm certainly not going up there in the cold and dark this time of year.

There was quite a bit of DX around this evening - mostly stations getting in some last testing before the big CQWW DX Contest this weekend. I didn't have a lot of luck working any of it as they were mostly occupied by the big KW stations also getting ready for the weekend. I heard the 3DA station again and tried for a while till I knew it was hopeless. He just wasn't all that strong as propagation wasn't overly favoring our path. However I did work YN2CC easily on 30M, then HK1/PY2ZXU just as easy on 20 to continue the DX streak to 267 days now. It should very easily be 269 after this weekend, barring complete disaster of some kind. -30-

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 7:29 PM - Another busy day today. Just a lot of mundane things not really worth talking about. It was pretty nice and I did get in a couple walks/shopping trips between other things.

Now I'm getting ready for our NAQCC sprint in about an hour now. Not really in a sprint/contest mood, but I haven't missed one of our sprints yet, and tonight won't be the first.

I didn't get a chance again today to explore the bands till this evening. There were a lot of stations getting ready for the CQ WW DX contest. I tried to work a PJ2/.... station, but he never did get my call right so I didn't log him. Then on 40M, I got J75KG easily to get my DX streak QSO out of the way for the 21st. 99 more days now and I'll have a full year of DX. Still wondering if I can make it.

OK, now off to get a snack and then get my weather readings before the sprint starts. -30-

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 8:27 PM - I was busy with other things today and didn't get on the bands much till this evening. I've got a lot of little things to do tomorrow also including getting ready for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening so I may not get on much tomorrow either.

I don't think I've ever seen so many pileups on the bands as I have the past several days. I think the key word is 'seen'. Perhaps they have been there before, but they don't show up as well to the ear as they do with the eye. I'm talking about the KX3 and the HDSDR Panadapter. With that setup, the pileups stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. None of the stations with the pileups today were strong except a couple I had already worked. I did break a 40M pileup this evening for my DX streak QSO though when I worked PJ7/N7QT. It was easy to follow his pile and call exactly where he was listening since I could hear everyone he was working pretty well. That doesn't happen all the time on the higher bands because a good many of the pileup stations are in my skip zone and thus unheard here. -30-

Monday, November 18, 2013 8:55 PM - This is the kind of day when I appreciate having for the most part, indoor antennas. Very windy with gusts up probably near 40 MPH. Not as bad as what was predicted and as what they got in some areas though. I guess there were tornadoes in a few states to the west of here and there were predictions of winds up to 70 MPH here, but that never materialized, and I think I know why. It's because I brought in my flowers, chairs, and wind chimes from the front porch. Probably if I'd left them out, we would have gotten the bad winds. HI.

I didn't do as well today breaking pile-ups. Although I did easily work D44AC on 20 and 10, I just couldn't break the 5S, 3D, and W8 piles. None of the three stations were all that strong here, so propagation wasn't in my favor. The 3D was the best, but he seemed to have transmitter problems. He drifted, and then I finally lost him altogether. All three would have been overall new entities also. Oh well....

This evening it took a while longer than the past couple nights to get my DX QSO, but at 0059Z I worked J88HL on 30M pretty easily. There are so many pile-ups around the past few days, a lot of them are not as huge as they normally would be since the stations are spread out. -30-

Sunday, November 17, 2013 8:04 PM - Another quick DX QSO this evening at 0005Z in the form of J79WI on 40 meters. Took just a couple calls as he answered a couple other stations to get him. It's almost too easy working split with the KX3.

I also bagged a couple other split operations this afternoon. XR0ZR on 10 for a new band country (entity) in Juan Fernandez (Robinson Crusoe) Island. Then J88HL on 17. Neither took more than a few calls. And just so you don't think I automatically bag these stations all the time, I could not get JW8HGA operating split on 20 meters this evening. Anyway the DX streak is at 263 days now. -30-

Saturday, November 16, 2013 8:38 PM - I went up to the shack around 9:30AM this morning to get my DX QSO for the day. That came easily when I worked IQ6CC/2 on 12M. Then I tuned around some more and found a contest going on. It turned out to be the LZ DX contest. I was in the mood for some contesting. I usually am for a good DX contest. So in a couple sessions in the morning and afternoon interrupted by some leaf raking with Ange, I wound up with 43 DX contest QSOs, then added a couple more on 40M this evening for my best ever LZ DX Contest with 45 QSOs, beating my previous record of 26 back in 1998. And I'm not done yet. I might try later for some more on 40M, or maybe even 80. I've got SN7Q on 40,20,15, and 10 so far. It would be nice to get him on 5 bands. I have worked him before on 80, so there is a chance. I don't have a lot of 5 band QSOs in contests. I guess the best one is D4B in the 2004 ARRL DX contest. Speaking of DX contests, next weekend is one of the biggies - the CQWW DX Contest. I'm looking forward to that one. I hope these current conditions hold up till then. That will really be fun.

Before I got the two 40M LZ Contest QSOs this evening, I got Feri HA3FTA with a single call on 30M at 0007Z for my DX streak contact. That's the quickest I've gotten the DX QSO in several days now. So, although I probably will get on and look for some DX in the morning or afternoon, the DX streak QSO is in the log for day #262. Gee only 103 more days and I'll have a full year. Wonder if I can make it.

And now for something different (sort of). I received a very interesting email a few days ago. It goes as follows:

I hope I'm not bothering you, but I wanted to take the time to introduce myself. I'm Amy...I'm a volunteer tutor for a local homeschool group. :)
The kids and I wanted to take the time to tell you that we think your page, http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/links_ss_cwin.html, has some great resources! I had the kids go on an online mission to find some resources that the group can take a look at and use. :) I like to incorporate a little online technology to get the kids more interactive!
Anyway, the kids thought of the brilliant idea to email you in the first place, because they wanted to share a resource they found: http://www.techwholesale.com/morse-code-radios-kids.html . They thought it'd be a great fit for your page and that maybe other visitors would find it fantastic as well! :)
I thought that maybe if their resource gets added, I'll reward them with some of my "clean" bakery treats...cupcakes sounds good! :)
If you like the resource they suggested and think you'll add it to your page, let me know! They'd love to see it up! :)
Amy Ashline"

In addition to mentioning it here, I certainly am going to add that link to my links. In fact I'm going to do it right now before finishing this diary entry. OK, it's been added in the Miscellaneous section of my CW Information links page. Wouldn't it be wonderful if some new hams emerge from Amy's group?

Things like that make my efforts in maintaining this web site very worthwhile and rewarding.

Just a final note. The raking of leaves and also a walk today were done in shirt sleeves with temperatures in the 60s. Not bad for mid-November. Sure would be nice to have this all winter, but.... -30-

Friday, November 15, 2013 12:27 PM - One ham seemed confused by this month's poll. KL7, as in common ham parlance when referring to countries, means the state (entity) of Alaska. It does not mean a ham with a prefix of KL7 living somewhere outside Alaska. Just like W refers to the USA, NOT to say, W9IOP/C6A operating from the Bahamas. Hmmm, I wonder if I should have included C6, CM, KP4, KP2, etc. to the choices. I didn't know the poll was going to open the proverbial can of worms or Pandora's Box.

Oh, and the poll question clearly states Which....ENTITIES...., not Which....PREFIXES.... also. Hope that clears up any confusion.

Anyway DX was great again this morning. I worked 7 or so stations in a half hour or so including a couple nice prefixes in GM100 and DR20. My log is upstairs, so I don't have the calls in front of me, but I also worked LY, I, SM, LZ, Z3 as best as I can recall from my aging memory. Oh, and that list refers to countries, not prefixes. HI.

I see it's 56 degrees on my remote weather station next to me here, so I'm going out for a walk now. -30-

Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:05 PM - It didn't take long to get my DX QSO this morning. I turned on the rig, found a peak on the panadapter isolated from all the pile-ups chasing this and that, tuned in the peak to find it was OH4MDY calling CQ. I sent my call once in response and got my QSO for day 259.

Tonight it was business as usual. No DX to be found other than a couple big pile-ups I knew I wasn't going to waste time trying to break and CO0SS on 30 whom I just worked there a few days ago. So I called CQ on 40 and my friend Skip N2EI answered. So once again it's tomorrow morning or afternoon for the DX QSO.

I posted my new poll today. It's a bit strange, but based on a couple emails I got from diary readers wanting to know if I considered VE and/or XE as DX. I added a couple others and made a poll question for USA hams only this time around. Sorry my VE and DX friends and diary readers. I think it does pose some interesting items that could lead to further discussion about what is DX and what is not. Of course the DXCC award has strict criteria as to what constitutes a country or entity, and every one, even your own counts towards the DXCC award. But is working VE from the USA really DX or not? How about XE, 4U1UN, CY0, CY9? Depending on where you live in the USA, some of those entities are like working your next door neighbor. Further, KH6 and KL7 are USA states, yet separate DX entities by DXCC standards. How do YOU consider them. Please take a moment and vote in the poll. Incidentally I was interrupted by a phone call in the middle of creating and uploading the poll, so if you notice anything strange in its performance, let me know. I think I got it all right, but... I'll let you know how I consider those entities after the poll is over. -30-

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 10:03 PM - The solar flux today was 171. Let's see if I can quickly find when it last was that high. Well, I'm surprised. I didn't remember it reaching that level this cycle, but it was 172 on Jan 11 this year and 174 the day before. And it was as much as 190 in Sep 2011. Anyway it's great to see the figure that high with the resulting good conditions. I didn't get on much today though, but I did have a nice chat with Frank OV1CDX on 10 meters.

Tonight I had a computer club meeting and didn't get on till after 0200Z. No DX, but I did work W4SCV and then was tail-ended by Tom WY3H for my regular streak QSO. Right now I'm talking to Tom on the phone as I type. So I think I'll end this entry for now. -30-

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 7:18 PM - A solar flux of 168 and a K index of 2 should have produced better conditions today, I would think. Oh, they were good, but still not as good as I would have expected. I did manage to work DL0RUS and RU3EG to the Rs to finish off the NAQCC November European Chapter challengs. I also did one of those 'work them, then find out who you worked' things. I heard a station running stations on 15 meters so I figured it was DX, but he either didn't ID between QSOs or faded into the noise when he did ID. So I set the KX3 for split and worked him after one or two other stations, then waited to see who he was. Turned out to be PJ6/W4VAB. No new country or even band country, but as always, fun to conquer a pile-up.

This evening, there was not a DX station to be heard anywhere. A lot of strong W/VE stations, but no one from elsewhere. So I'll try again later tonight to extend the DX streak, and if not then, I'll do it in the morning or afternoon, I'm sure. I did work Dave NF0R for the big streak though, so that's taken care of.

We had our first s^*wfall of the season overnight. Only about a half inch though, and despite a cold day, most of it melted nicely. Right not it's only 31 degrees. I just hope the outlook for later this week is correct when it is supposed to be back in the upper 50s again. It's too early for anything colder. -30-

Monday, November 11, 2013 11:06 PM - Well, my ghost writer is back in Brookville, so I'm back at the keyboard to sum up our day. Mike got back here around 9:30 this morning and after a few minutes, we headed to the Pittsburgh Mills. First it was a visit to Dick's Sporting Goods where Mike had to get some new shoes - postmen go through them quickly. It seemed there wasn't a salesperson in sight to help out, and after a while Mike called the store from his cell phone and told them he needed help in the shoe department. A few minutes later a saleslady finally showed up and Mike got his shoes and a pair of gloves as well.

After that it was over to Best Buy mainly just for a shopping trip, but I wound up buying a 32GB flash drive and some printer ink. We also got to marvel at some of the latest technology including some 2TB, yes TB, external hard drives. That's almost incomprehensible to compare that to the time I started in home computing back in 1979. My first computer had (I think) 16kB, yes kB, of RAM and no storage device at all. When you wanted to run a program, you TYPED it into RAM each time you wanted to use it. Then came the cassette recorder where you could save what you had typed in so you could load it from the cassette the next time you wanted to use. You had to save it three or four times though as it was a very unreliable system. Then came the 5 1/4 inch floppy drive which didn't store a lot more than cassette, but it was more reliable. Well, you get the picture. I'm not going to go into the entire history of my personal computing because I want to get back to today.

From Best Buy, we went to OfficeMax where Mike needed a cartridge for his label maker. There we saw an even larger 4TB external hard drive. Next over to Applebees for our lunch - Mike had a steak, I had chicken tenders. Filled up, we then headed through East Liberty into Shadyside to an Apple store where Mike bought a power supply for his phone. On the way we passed by the home and apartment house I lived in while working at WPIT in Pittsburgh. Ahh, memories.

After that it was back to Kittanning where we worked on solving the problem Don K3RLL was having with HDSDR and we finally recreated his problem, and solved it. Later we emailed Don with the solution. We also tried chasing some DX, although it was late in the afternoon and the higher bands had slowed down by then. We watched a Champions episode from the 1960s on the Internet. Next up to Ponderosa for their dinner buffet. Back home for some more DXing. I worked NP2KW for my DX streak QSO, after which Mike worked him. Some more reminiscing about AM BCB DXing, and all too soon it came time for Mike to head home.

I could have written much more, but it's getting late here now. Maybe I'll bring up a couple more things in tomorrow's entry. -30-

Sunday, November 10, 2013 8:08 PM - Good evening everyone. Tonight John has his ghost writer filling in.

The day started around 10:30AM EST when I arrived at Johns place. We jumped right into some DX hunting. John and I logged a station from Scotland. I followed up by logging Ireland, Cayman Islands, and Columbia. After our early stint on the airwaves we took off for Ponderosa and enjoyed their Sunday brunch. After our meal we began working to resolve a issue for Don K3RLL. He is having trouble with his HDSDR panadaptor showing a mirror image when tuning with his KX3 connected to his laptop. Don figured that since I use a laptop connected to my KX3 I would be able to help him. John and I are about half way through that project. Tomorrow we will try some fine tweaking to see if I can remove a USB hub from the equation. The battery on my laptop was about to call it quits. Right now I have two USB hubs in use. We also learned that you have to 'remind' the HDSDR program of which COM port it needs to connect to. Both of us had mini heart attacks when we could not get things to operate properly on both of our setup's. It took about 15 minutes to figure things out.

After our 'tech support' project we went for a brisk walk. It felt good to stretch the legs. We followed that up with some more DX hunting. Both John and I logged a special event station from Cuba and I logged San Andres (special event and a new country for me). We followed that up with watching part two of a Jeopardy special where two human contestants went up against IBMs super computer 'Watson'. The computer ran away with it.

So that brings me to where I am now. Filling in for John. Tomorrow will be a busy day for us. We need to head to the Pittsburgh Mills Mall. I need new work shoes and a printing tape for my label maker and John wants to take a look at the selectoin of laptops at Best Buy. And of course we are going to enjoy a meal at Applebee's. Applebee's is offering anyone who is active, retired, or prior service military a free meal. So I am going to take them up on the offer. They and a few other eating establishments have been offering this deal on Memorial Day and Veteran's day for years. This will be the first time I take the offer.

So until next time, 73 and hopefully I will CU on the radio.

Mike KC2EGL -30-

Saturday, November 09, 2013 8:30 PM - The first part of the day was taken up by a hassle getting our NAQCC GoDaddy account transfer to Paul N8XMS finalized. And now that is taken care of as another step toward Tom's and my retirement from the NAQCC. You don't know about that? Well he and I are turning over the reins to some younger blood as our blood gets older. We'll officially retire as President and VP when the club reaches 10 years of age in October 2014. We'll only be retiring the officer positions though and will continue to be very active otherwise in the club. As it is right now, a lot of the workload has already been lifted from my back, and I'm finding a lot more time to get caught up on things that I've been putting off for lack of time. Like deep cleaning this house for example. All it's really gotten for some time now is just superficial cleanings. Also more time for getting on the air other than just getting on to get my streak QSOs.

Speaking of the streak QSOs, the DX streak hit 255 days when I worked OK1KUW in the OK/OM contest on 40M. That was a quick easy one. Then it was nice to work Gary N2ESE again. Except for a few NAQCC sprint QSOs, we haven't worked much lately mainly because I've been hanging out on the higher bands chasing DX most of the time. Now with the high bands dying out after the earlier sunsets of the season, I wind up down on 40 and even 80 meters more often and will continue to do so during W&*$er.

I may have a guest writer for tomorrow night's diary entry as Mike is coming to visit tomorrow and staying over through Monday. I wonder what all we'll wind up getting into this time. HI -30-

Friday, November 08, 2013 8:01 PM - My shack floor is getting littered with broken pile-ups. I added another one tonight in the shape of PJ6/N7QT on 30M. After fumbling around a bit with the split phones setting, I found where he was listening and got him after a couple tries. I got a K3W? and once again the pile behaved well and paused while I sent K3WWP again and got my QSO. What's with all this good behavior lately by the DXers?

The bands were good again around Noon as I went searching for letters to complete the NAQCC challenges. I'm still looking for the Rs to finish the European Chapter challenge, but I finished the main challenge by working DL1NKS for the N, OK1AM for the M, and CO2OQ for the Q. That made all DX QSOs for the challenge.

I sure hate these dark early evenings. If I get my streak QSOs out of the way quickly, then the rest of the evening drags on forever it seems. If Europe was still good on the bands in the evenings, I could search for those remaining Rs for the EU challenge, but EU sigs are virtually nil after 7PM or so here.

What else happened today? Oh, Ange and I buried the two biggest remaining fig trees this afternoon. They are nowhere near as big as the monsters he got rid of last year so it wasn't all that hard a task. He'll finish up the smaller ones himself on Monday.

Mike is coming down for the weekend (Sun and Mon), so we'll have some good times on the ham bands among other things. I think the 10th is the last day for the San Andres DXpedition, so hopefully he can catch them. I think he still needs San Andres for an overall new one. Anyway I'm sure we'll catch some needed DX somewhere on the bands. Hopefully 10 will continue its good conditions through the weekend. -30-

Thursday, November 07, 2013 8:08 PM - A fourth band for 5J0R this evening. Another easy QSO as there wasn't a pileup. Maybe I caught him just starting a 20M stint? Anyway I set the KX3 for split, sent my call once and got no response. Another CQ and I tried again and got 3WW? Sent K3WWP twice and I had my QSO. It's unusual for me to get a "rare" DXpedition on four bands. I usually struggle to get them on one band. Of course propagation to San Andres is better than to some of the other "rare" locations.

I got on this afternoon from about 1630 to 1730Z and had fun. I tried to close out the NAQCC challenges and did close out the main challenge. However I'm going to try to make it an all DX challenge and replace three letters I got from USA/VE stations before I submit my results. As for the European Chapter challenge, I'm down to needing 3 Rs to finish it up. Where are all the Russian stations when you need them? HI.

The preliminary results are posted for the Worked All Germany contest. If the scores stand, it looks like I came in fourth in the Mixed QRP category. Mixed???? Yes, they don't seem to have a CW QRP category so I had to go against those who also use phone with my CW only operation. Oh well, I don't really care about results anyway. I just got in the contest to have fun and thought I'd better send in my score anyway since I made more than 100 QSOs (106).

It started off as a rainy day, then we had mostly overcast skies with falling temperatures during the day. So I spent most of my time indoors doing some more Fall housecleaning. Amazing how much dirt accumulates over time. At least now with lessened NAQCC duties, I have more time to keep after the dirt. -30-

Wednesday, November 06, 2013 8:03 PM - Two more broken pile-ups today for a couple different reasons. First of all it was 5J0R on 17, then 12 meters. The 12M QSO was a new band-country or entity, and now I have San Andres on all bands from 40 through 10. The QSO on 17 came because a ton of stations were in a pile-up for another (more popular) station and I got 5J0R on my very first call. I often criticize the behavior of stations chasing DX either simplex or in a pile-up. However this time I must commend those in the moderately large pile-up for 5J0R on 12M. As usual, I set up the KX3 for split and immediately found where 5J0R was listening. I sent my call a few times waiting for 5J0R to answer someone, but he was silent. Finally he sent K3? and to my amazement I watched on the panadapter as the pile-up went from a 2-3 kHz wide collection of peaks to almost nothing as I sent K3WWP and got my QSO. Apparently everyone who wasn't a K3 something actually paused for a K3 station. Amazing and worthy of a "Job Well Done" pat on the back to all in the pile-up at that time.

This evening I found Tibor OM3SEM whom I haven't worked for a while on 30, and worked him for another day in the DX streak - 252 now. Oh, and I also got two Es for the NAQCC European Challenge from the QSO, leaving 5 Rs, 1 U, and 2 8s (if I remember right) to finish the challenge. I still need N and U to finish the main NAQCC challenge.

A beautiful day today at 74 degrees, so I went walking and fishing, but the fish didn't seem to think much of the day as I didn't get a single bite and gave up after about 45 minutes. I came home and cleaned some of my windows. Tonight the rain is coming followed by colder weather tomorrow, but not all that bad - only in the 40s which is still pretty good for November. And if the outlook for the rest of the month is accurate, I see a lot of days in the 50s coming up. -30-

Tuesday, November 05, 2013 9:04 PM - Once again, breaking a pile-up turned out to be easy. There were two good reasons tonight. The KX3 and favorable propagation. That combination broke the 8P0P pile-up on 30 with but a single call. Even after over a year, I learn to appreciate just how great a rig the KX3 is. It makes operating split second nature. Two taps of a button to store all paramaters of VFO A into VFO B. A push of a button to set up split. A push of a button to split the headphones. Tune to find where the DX is listening with VFO B. Wait, call and you have your QSO. Of course sometimes you have to call more than once, but still it is so easy at times. Best of all, though I haven't really done it yet, is that setting up split can be programmed into a macro so it takes but one button push to do the above steps.

I also did some DXing this afternoon, mainly looking for letters/numbers to complete the NAQCC November challenges. I'm down to needing an N and U for the main challenge and 10 letters/numbers for the European Chapter challenge. Ten meters is still great for DX and looking at pictures of the Sun on my propagation pages here on the web site, it looks like another big batch of sunspots is just now rotating into view. So as I keep saying, if you love to DX as I do, now is the time to do it. It's never that hard, but right now it is extremely easy to work the world.

Other than hamming, it was a shopping day. Nancy said she was going to the mall and asked if I wanted to go along. I did need some thing at the mall I can't get here in downtown, so I went along and we spent I guess around 2 1/2 to 3 hours up there. Roscoe stayed home to mind the house, and we got a great welcome home from him when we got back. He's a people dog and hates to be alone. -30-

Monday, November 04, 2013 7:52 PM - Yes, it is possible to break a big pile-up with QRP and simple wire antennas. You need at least three, maybe four things to do it. 1. Some operating skill in working DX. 2. A great rig. 3. Some incentive. 4. A little luck.

Let's look at the four things in a little detail.

1. Being a ham radio operator for 50 years, the last 20 or so spent as a serious DXer gives one a lot of knowledge about how to work a DX station, when propagation is favorable, and innumerable little nuances of how to go about it. Those who operate the DX station will also say that a near perfect fist and a near perfect clean signal are much easier to copy in a pileup than someone who runs letters together or makes many other errors in sending or who has a chirpy, clicky, unstable signal. I guess that last sentence leads us to...

2. A great rig like a KX3 which does produce a near perfect signal - clean, crisp, steady, easy to copy. Also its bells and whistles like the automatic antenna tuner, roofing filters, and especially the split frequency headphones. When you can hear the DX station in your left ear, and whom he is working in the right ear, you have an advantage. You can call him exactly where he is listening.

3. I think I qualify for both steps 1 and 2. Certainly for #2 since I have a KX3. Still tonight I needed a little further incentive to get 5J0R finally. Usually I'd try for a few minutes and then my patience gave out since I was doing everything right but still not working him. I figured either the KWs were murdering my QRP or I wasn't in the best location propagation-wise. My incentive tonight came when I was listening to him running stations on 30 searching for the spot he was listening to in his wide pileup. Hey, that's Larry working him - W2LJ, my good QRP friend from NJ who checks this diary regularly. OK, I can't let you get one up on me Larry. HI HI. So instead of quitting tonight, I kept going and after he worked maybe 10 or so more stations, K3WWP 599 came back at me from San Andres Island and I met Larry's "challenge".

4. Since I don't use spotting in any way, shape, or form, sometimes I have luck going with me. While it wasn't so tonight, it was with me recently for a couple stations. I found ZD8O just as he started his operation on the band, and got him simplex even before he went split. I happened across 9L1BTB just as he had a pause in what earlier was a pretty good sized pileup and got him easily.

I really don't understand why San Andres Island is so in demand now. I've got 15 QSOs with the island on 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, and 10 meters. However a lot of those (7) were with HK0ER and HJ0VGJ back in the late 1990s. Perhaps those two are no longer active. I haven't heard either of them recently. Until tonight, my last QSO with San Andres was with 5J0A back in 2007. So perhaps a lot of newer hams or a lot of those who have come back to CW lately do need the country (entity).

Speaking of Larry W2LJ, a good friend of his and mine, Bob W3BBO emailed me with a statement about DX. He pointed out that a couple nights ago I did work VA3ZB in Canada which is DX. That made me wonder about things a bit. Now the USA also counts towards DXCC for another ham in the USA, so are all my USA QSOs also DX? What about Canada? Should I count it as DX? I never have and it seems to be a consensus among hams that when USA/Canadian hams talk about working DX, they mean other than USA/Canada. Bob wonders if Mexico should be considered in the same vein as Canada since the proximity to the USA is very similar for both countries. I'm just curious to know what other diary readers think. However it won't change my definition of DX here. I mean any NON-USA/Canada country is DX, USA/Canada are not.

Anyway, I did easily get my DX for the 4th this morning when I worked DL3XO, PA5WT, DL8PG, and F5JU on 10 meters which continues to act just about like it did the last sunspot maximum. It's great. I think my favorite aspect of ham radio has to be working DX. Although I have over 17,000 DX QSOs, it is still exciting to work someone outside the USA/Canada, especially from some of the rarer countries like San Andres, Ascension Island, Sierra Leone to mention some I've worked recently. Hey, even working Germany after 1,500 QSOs with that country is still a thrill. -30-

Sunday, November 03, 2013 8:26 PM EST - Yep, back to the totally dark evenings of Standard time again. SIGH! Remember though that it's only slightly over a month till the earliest sunset (Dec 7). Then the Sun slowly sets later and later each day after that although the first few weeks it's not very noticeable.

Wouldn't it be nice if all clocks set themselves at these time changeovers in spring and fall like computers do? The fall is definitely the worst of the two as some clocks only go forward in their setting and you have to go through 23 hours to fix them while in spring it's only one hour.

Well, enough about time. Of course the bands were filled with the SS today except for the WARC bands. I didn't even bother getting into the shack till it was time (an hour earlier) this evening to go and get my streak QSOs. There was no DX to be heard anywhere except 8P9NX on 30 and I just worked him there a few days ago. So I called CQ on 30 meters and it wasn't long before Bruce VA3ZB answered and we had a nice rag chew till the band abruptly dropped out on us. I've got my little note here in front of the computer again to remind me to get that DX QSO either later tonight or tomorrow morning or afternoon. Only two more days till the DX streak reaches 250 days. -30-

Saturday, November 02, 2013 9:00 PM - Anyone who thinks CW is dead should listen to the bands today. First it was the Ukrainian DX Contest and the various DXpeditions loading up the bands, then promptly at 2100Z all that was pretty much replaced by the Sweepstakes contest. Whew. I wish all these folks would get on the bands at other times besided the contests.

In spite of all the activity, the bands seemed a little uneven today. I mean they'd be good for a while, then slip away a bit, then come back again and so on. I played in the Ukrainian contest for a while around Noon here and also chased some other DX for the NAQCC challenges. I'm well on the way in both NAQCC November challenges now thanks to stations like LZ1520YYD, EI2CN, HB9TNW and a few others. If the contest QSOs I made in the UDX contest would count, I think I might have both challenges finished now, but they don't.

I had another of those "work 'em, then find out who you worked" last evening on 20M. I found a station with the usual MO of split, and set up the KX3 to work him. I heard exactly where he was listening thanks to the split ears of the KX3, plunked down my call and he came right back the first time with "K3WWP 599". After I sent my info not knowing yet who I worked, I got a bit of a thrill when he sent 9L1BTB. That was a new band-country and the first time I've worked Sierra Leone since 1997. All three previous 9L QSOs were on 30 meters.

I have two SS QSOs so far. I worked NP3A to continue my DX streak, then worked VY1EI simply because I haven't worked a VY1 in ages now. I got both on the first call. That was on 20M. Somehow I haven't gotten interested in the SS for many years now. It's probably been since the 90s that I put in a serious SS effort. I'm really looking forward to the CQWW DX contest later this month and hoping these great DX conditions last through the contest and also hang around for the 10M contest in December. Those are two contests I really enjoy.

Now I've got to get the regular QSOs, UDX QSOs and SS QSOs in order and into my computer Access log. -30-

Friday, November 01, 2013 6:43 PM - I received an email today with some questions regarding my streaks. The person stated in the email that it was a personal question, but I'll repeat my answer here without identifying the person.

The person asked two questions. First, "When you make your contacts for the record of one a day both domestic and DX, how often do you work the same person?

I answered with the following stats and comments:

It's hard to get stats just for the first QSO every day, so instead I'll give you some stats from the whole month of October 2013 which is typical of most months here.
QSOs: 264
Via CQ: 78
Contest: 167
Non-contest: 97
First QSO with a station: 81
Second QSO with a station: 45
Third QSO with a station: 21
Fourth QSO with a station: 12
Fifth QSO with a station: 11
Total of first through fifth: 170
Sixth or greater QSO with a station: 94

So you see about 31 percent (81 of 264) of my QSOs are with stations I've never worked before and about 48 percent (126 of 264) are with stations I've worked once or never before. It's not by any means working the same stations over and over again. In fact I will pass up a DX station most of the time if I've worked him recently unless it would happen to be a new overall band-country for me.

Delving a bit further into stats which I love to do. Of the 78 QSOs that resulted from my CQ, excluding our NAQCC sprint where virtually everyone was someone I worked before (leaving 27), 8 were 'new' stations.

Of the 94 QSOs with stations I've worked more than 5 times before, 64 of those came in contests which makes sense since contesters generally get into a lot of contests.

Of the 30 non-contest stations I've worked more than 5 times before, F5IN and CO8LY are the most often worked with 35 times each. F5IN because most are actually in contests, and CO8LY simply because he seems to be on the bands 24/7 and if he seems to be going without answers to his CQs, I'll give him a buzz.

Stations that I worked more than once in October include several (27) from the Worked All Germany Contest that I worked on more than one band plus the following:

I hope the stats give you somewhat of the answer you were looking for because I can't honestly accurately answer the following (second question):

"So I am really curious how you manage to make a contact a day on both domestic and DX."

I don't know, I just get on the air, look over the bands, pick out someone to try to work, or if I can't find someone, I call CQ. Usually within a half hour, I will be successful.

I can tell you what I don't do to make the contacts. That's easy.

1. I never check into nets of any kind.
2. I don't use any type of spotting info on the Internet.
3. I don't make any kind of skeds with anyone (unless someone wants a sked with me for my county, state, grid square, etc., but then I always get an additional QSO that day on my own).
4. I never call overly long CQs without pausing for an answer and I don't wait a long time between those short CQs. (CQ CQ CQ de K3WWP K3WWP K - wait 4-5 seconds for an answer, if none, repeat)
Sorry I can't give a better answer. Perhaps conditions are different there in [his location]. I've never operated from anywhere outside a radius of 50 or 60 miles from Kittanning. Your noise level sounds very similar to mine(S5 to S8).

If you have any further specific questions, I'll be glad to try to answer them. Hopefully better than I answered this one.

Moving on now. I got on the bands today hoping to find a bunch of European stations to work on the NAQCC European Challenge, but that didn't happen. I worked LY2IJ and another I can't remember right now, and my log is upstairs. That was it.

Anytime you can walk in shirtsleeves in November is a great weather day, and today was great. It was windy, but even with somewhat of a windchill, it was still comfortable out there.

About an hour now till my attempt to add a day to my streaks, so I'll maybe grab a snack and play some computer games. -30-

Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:10 PM - DX was pretty good this evening when I got on at 0000Z to get my streak QSOs. First I tried J75KG on 20, but I don't think he ever did get my call right. The last I heard him send was K3VWW so I didn't log him. Then I went to 30 and just about immediately got HI3EPR on the first call. So that took care of the streaks and also gave me 9 letters to start off the NAQCC November Thanksgiving challenge. Then I looked for some more DX and found and worked Ken JF1IRW on 12M. He had a very nice 579 signal without the usual flutter I hear on JA signals. Then I closed out with XE1XR on 17M.

Other than that, I had to do some work on my remote weather station. I noticed the temperature and humidity locked and weren't moving up and down. I still don't have the problem solved. I thought it was maybe weak batteries, but I checked them and did replace a couple with better ones, but it's still not working right. I'm not getting a good signal from the remote unit for whatever reason. I'll have to do more work on that tomorrow.

I also did a lot of end-of-month things like getting ready to make my bill-paying banking run tomorrow morning. Also I uploaded all my October QSOs to LotW and eQSL. And a lot of other little things I won't bother listing here. -30-

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 9:30 PM - I got my DX quickly last evening and again this evening, so I didn't play much on the bands today. I did work KH7Y on 10M just because I couldn't work him a few days ago. He was a little weaker today, but at least I did work him fairly easily. Don't know what was wrong the other day. I also worked CO0SS for another CO0 prefix QSO. I say another because he was my DX QSO last evening on a different band - 30 meters. Tonight it was KP2/K1ZE on 30. He's getting ready for the SS this weekend.

Other than that it was a walking and shopping day today. 71 degrees on October 30 is not bad at all. I didn't even need a jacket or sweater this afternoon - just my short sleeve shirt. The next couple days will be rainy ones, so I guess I'll be inside a lot. I started doing some 'fall housecleaning' the past few days. If I'm in the mood, the next couple days will be good ones for doing that. -30-

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:02 PM - So, you see I went to the shack and decided to activate my time machine and go back to 2000 and the last sunspot maximum. It worked. 10M was alive again with strong DX all over the bands. I worked the following with the noted power level.

OM5XX - 5W
F5IAE - 5W

Too easy! So..

E73W - 900mW
SM5CAK - 900mW

OK, still too easy. So..

OG3077F - 500mW

Still... So..

HB9CVQ - 100mW
HA8DM - 100mW

Gee, I wish the KX3 would go lower in power.

Oh, wait, I didn't have the KX3 in 2000. I must be dreaming about the time machine. Yes, I see by the calendar it is 2013, but with conditions from 2000. Wow!!!

Yes folks, sunspots are back with the resultant good conditions on the high bands. I bet those with better antenna systems were working DX on 6 meters today. I listened briefly with my low dipole, but didn't hear a thing on 6. Here 10M was definitely the star and the award winner. There wasn't a lot on 12, 15, 17, on down, but 10 - again Wow!!

Those 100mW QSOs were fairly easy although I did have to repeat my call a couple times. That's around 41,000 and 47,000 miles per watt or so.

However those weren't my first DX QSOs of the day. I got streak day 243 in the books around midnight again on 30M. I worked PJ2/YV5DIG through a pileup with a single call.

The moral of this entry so far is if you are into working DX, NOW is the time to do it. Here in the USA, get on 10 meters around oh say, 1400-1900Z and work the world, no matter how simple your setup is. Don't have any self-doubts - JUST DO IT.

Now for something different. It was another beautiful day today (not only DX-wise, but weather-wise). Surprisingly Ange called and asked if I could help clean out his garden. I said sure, and it was a delight to do it in great weather. Usually he seems to wait till it's cold and damp to do it. We pulled all the tomato plants, put the stakes and ties away, then pulled all the pepper plants. Before that, we also pulled all the little stakes with pie pans on them to scare away birds. So all that's left now are a couple zucchini plants and the fig trees. Fortunately as you know if you are a regular diary follower, the big fig trees are gone now, so it is no real task to bury the remaining small ones, although one 'small' one has gotten somewhat big, but nowhere near the older big ones yet.

I also took a couple good walks here and there along with a shopping trip for some groceries. Tomorrow is supposed to be even a bit warmer, so with the garden work done, maybe I'll sneak in a fishing trip. I'm pretty sure I'll be checking 10 meters sometime also. -30-

Monday, October 28, 2013 7:49 PM - Well, I got my DX QSO easily late last night just before going to bed around midnight. I heard what must be a DX station on 30M seemingly working split. He was booming in so I figured he would be easy. I set up for split and after 3 or 4 other stations beat me out, he came back with K3WWP 599. I returned the 599 and had the QSO. Now the only question was who the heck did I work. So far I only heard him giving out 599 and TU and no kind of ID whatsoever. So I waited and waited, and finally he did send his call, but I was distracted and only caught TI5/. Well I was close with my guess of him being a Caribbean station. So now I had to wait and wait and.... About this time I was going to look him up on a spotting site, but I had already turned off my main computer and the wireless network, so back to waiting. Finally after what seemed like a couple dozen more QSOs, he snuck in a quick ID which I caught fully this time - TI5/N3KS. It took a lot less time working him than finding out who I worked.

Today was a nice day so I finished cleaning up my garden, taking out the dead daylilly and hosta leaves. I also took a few walks along the way. So far I have about 7.5 miles on the pedometer. I might do another fast aerobic walk inside later. I set the timer for 10 minutes and see how many laps I can get in during that time. Usually it is between 34 and 36 which is around 2/3 of a mile.

I also did a little rearranging in my shack. I made a new shelf in my desk for what I hope will be more convenient access to some papers like the NAQCC member list, FISTS member list, NAQCC challenge worksheets, etc.

The bands were good late this afternoon, especially 12 and 10. I didn't work anyone as I was just listening for something new to work. I did hear KH2L on 12 which would have been a new band country, but he was weak and very busy so I didn't get him. There were strong JAs all over those two bands, but just about all were chasing other DX, and not doing any CQing themselves. There were some that would have been new prefixes, but....

Anyway it's just past 0000Z now, so off to the shack for my streak QSO, hopefully a DX one. -30-

Sunday, October 27, 2013 9:24 PM - I knew I shouldn't have said anything about DX being so easy to find and work. This evening it wasn't and I didn't. A pileup on 20 working some station I couldn't hear and a Caribbean station on 40 who couldn't hear me were the only DX at all this evening. So I know what I'll be doing tomorrow morning and/or afternoon. That is, unless I get something later tonight which could happen.

It was a pretty good weather day today so I did some shopping and walking. I put over 10 miles on the pedometer for the first time in a while now. The rest of the week looks good also with temperatures in the mid-50s to perhaps the upper 60s. Hopefully Ange will take out his garden this week. I told him I wasn't going to help if he waited till it got too cold, so we'll see. -30-

Saturday, October 26, 2013 9:06 PM - I probably shouldn't say this for fear of jinxing things, but it is really almost amazing how easy it is to get a DX QSO every day. The bands were horrible after 0000Z, although they were quite good earlier - more about that in a minute. I thought for sure I was not going to make my DX QSO this evening. There just weren't any good DX signals anywhere - only some that just breached my noise floor. Even getting a regular USA QSO wasn't easy, although KA4RUR did answer my CQs finally on 40M for the big streak QSO. After that it was back to looking for DX. I tried a weak 5T0JL on 30M, but he was working other stations. I think that was the only station I tried till I found a weak IK2DAD on 30M. I called him, and although I could barely copy him, he came back to me and honestly was copying me much better than I was. It was a shame because he seemed like he wanted to rag chew for a while, but I just couldn't copy well enough. He gave me a 579 report while I gave him a 569 which actually honestly should have been about a 359. Anyway another DX day is added to the streak making it 241 DX days now.

Earlier in the 2200Z hour while hibernating in my shack while Trick or Treat night was going on, I got my share of treats on the bands. I worked OF40R on both 15 and 20, HC2SL on 10, V31ZM on 17. That means a WAC in just under 72 hours, which is nowhere near my record, but indicates just how good the bands have been of late with the highest SF since the last sunspot maximum. Some folks are now predicting another double peak cycle like the last one with this second peak a pretty darn good one. Anyway here's my WAC:

10/24 0148 CN2FA AF
10/24 2122 JQ2IQW AS
10/24 2200 KH2L OC
10/25 0009 OK1DQT EU
10/26 0038 8P9NX NA
10/26 2218 HC2SL SA

If you look at it from both ends, that's 5 continents in around 48 hours. On April 21, 2000 I did it in just under 21 hours with regular QSO's. I've done it faster in DX contests, but I don't have those figures handy right now. In the 1997 CQWW DX contest, I did it in 5h 22m, but I think I've done better than that.

Other than the DX, not a lot else out of the normal going on today. -30-

Friday, October 25, 2013 10:52 PM - Once or twice a month, I go up to our malls in West Kittanning to get the very few things I can't get right here in Kittanning itself. This morning Bruce took me up to Wal-Mart where I got a new pair of shoes and four cans of Turkey Spam. My last pair of shoes only lasted somewhat over 700 miles of walking, so this time I opted for what I hope are better longer lasting ones. At least they are very comfortable ones so far.

I checked the bands this afternoon again, and they didn't seem all that good. Then this evening, they seemed almost dead. I did get a DX QSO though for day #240 in the form of 8P9NX whom I've worked several times, but not recently. He even commented to me that the bands seemed empty. At any rate, my streaks live, and I won't have to go hunting for a DX QSO in the morning or afternoon as I have had to do a few times lately. However since I don't have anything else planned tomorrow, maybe I will just spend some time on the bands anyway. I will tomorrow evening for sure as it is Trick or Treat night, and I don't bother with that anymore. So I'll just turn out the lights and 'hibernate' in my shack for a couple hours. -30-

Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:49 PM - An interesting day on the bands. I got on around 2100Z and found all the bands through 10M in good shape. They were especially favorable to Asia and Oceania. I worked RA0FF with a single call on 12M. A little later JQ2IQW on 17M. That was a bit rougher as I had to repeat my call a few times. Then about 45 minutes after that it was KH2L on 10M. I had to repeat my call several times to finish that QSO. It seemed that 10M just wasn't working all that good for me. I called KH7Y many times with no response at all. Usually I have a pipeline to Hawaii on all the high bands, but not today. I also tried a couple more JAs with no luck.

Then this evening, the bands didn't seem quite as good as last night. Although B9/BY9GA was stronger tonight, but just as elusive. Too much competition for my QRP and dipole antenna. With the KX3 I could easily tell just where to call, but even that didn't help.

After looking around for my DX QSO to make day 239 (more about that in a moment), I finally found OK1DQT calling CQ on 30M, and after a couple tries, I got my DX for another day.

I was thinking I had made DX QSOs on 238 of 239 days back in 1999/2000, but now in looking back at my records, it was 235 of 236 days. So actually what I thought I did tonight, I actually did 3 days ago. Having that one day hole back then always bothered me, and when I got rolling this year, I wanted to shoot for a similar record, but without the missing day, and hey, I've made it. Now where do I go from here? Maybe just like my main streak, take it a day at a time, and see what happens. 250 days would be a nice number. Or how about maybe a full year of 365 days. I don't know. Stay tuned and see what happens. -30-

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:44 PM - Mike came down for a visit this evening. We worked some DX and did some preliminary work on his portion of the parkpedition email QSLs he'll be sending out before long now. He's not a gentleman of leisure as I am, and still works for a living delivering mail, so these things necessarily take a little more time for him.

The bands were quite interesting this evening, well at least 20 meters. With a solar flux of 153 today, the highest in who knows how long. Well, I do, but I'm not looking it up now as it is almost midnight and bed time. Anyway, there were many strong signals from Asia including the strongest I've ever heard from China. Unfortunately, I couldn't break the awesome pileup he had despite figuring out exactly what frequency he was listening on in his split operation. Too many other stronger folks also figured it out. Sure would have liked to have worked him, and I'm sure without the competition, I could have. I did work Victor RK0SA for my DX streak QSO for day 238 now. Mike couldn't get him though as he developed a pile up after I worked him. Mike did get his second ever Morocco QSO though in CN2FA. Then I worked him after Mike. It was nice to get a couple of the harder continents in the same session.

Other than working the DX and Mike's visit, it was actually a pretty nasty day with cold rain showers off and on a good bit of the day. I think about the farthest I walked outside today was down to Ange's garden to return a couple of trash barrels he had filled with garden leftovers for trash pickup.

Well, time to get out of here now. Maybe grab a midnight snack, then get to bed. -30-

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:24 PM - As I just said in a spotting email to my friends Mike and Don, ya gotta be lucky sometimes in DXing. While not new by any means, Ascension Island is still one of those places I like to work. I found this on 20M - QRL? QRL? ZD8O - called immediately and after a couple repeats of my call I had another ZD8 QSO in my log, and a DX QSO for DX streak day # 237.

Earlier today, I had a very quick DX QSO. My panadapter didn't even get a chance to warm up as I found and worked LZ1795WZM - one of the Bulgarian Saints special event calls - on 10 meters. I didn't stay around to try to work anything else as I had other things to do, but it would seem conditions were once again very good in mid-day on the high bands.

Yesterday was a sad day as I said good-bye to my garden for another year. I forgot to mention that when I talked about dividing the tulip bulbs. I didn't keep track of how many tomatoes I harvested this year, but it wasn't anywhere near a record. They just turned out to be enough for me and for some sharing with the neighbors. No overabundance like in some years. Actually all the vegetables turned out that way this year - just about the right number. My peas died off a little early, but everthing else was good.

One final note on the WAG contest. I was surprised by how many Germans I worked for the very first time. Of the 106 QSOs, 36 were first timers. -30-

Monday, October 21, 2013 9:08 PM - Hey, I was just looking in my log to see when I got my KX3. Know what? It was just one year ago today that I built it, and had my first QSO with Mike KC2EGL. That was QSO number 77,316, and I just made QSO number 80,767 so that means I have about 3,452 QSOs with the KX3 +/- a couple that may have been made with other rigs. However that would be only a couple because I have never used my K2, KX1 or TS-570D since the KX3 came into my life.

I took advantage of what may be the last nice weather day for a while, and got in a few walks. Also I divided my tulip bulbs and planted them in another area of my yard. I now have 14 bulbs planted, and it will be something to look forward to during the long winter to see how they come up in the spring. I also helped Denny with a bit of work getting his house ready for winter.

Last night I sent out 46 parkpedition QSLs via email and got around 8 nice comments back from those who received them. I think that is the way we are going to go now when Mike, Don, and I do the parkpeditions. It saves a lot of money and is more quick and efficient. We are still giving those who may want an actual card a chance to get one by sending us an SASE. I sent out three cards today to folks who had already sent an SASE.

I checked the bands briefly today and DX continues to be good during the day. I only worked one station who might have been a new prefix (SA5A) although I could have worked a lot more. I hope it is good again tomorrow because this evening it was not good. I didn't hear a single strong (or even semi-strong) DX station anywhere from 40 through 10 meters. I did work K4GDR in GA for my regular streak QSO, and had a nice rag chew with him, another happy KX3 owner. -30-

Sunday, October 20, 2013 8:47 PM - It seems the better the bands are during the day, the worse they are at night. I got in the WAG contest for the last hour this morning and added 25 more QSOs on 10 and 15 in about 50 minutes or so. 10 died out a bit about half way into the hour as propagation changed. Russian stations were absolutely booming in on 10 and 15 also. I wound up with 106 QSOs in the WAG. I think that's my second best effort in that contest. Well shoot, I should have gone for a few more QSOs had I known I was that close. My record is 110 QSOs in 2002. However my score will be better this year as I had 50 multipliers vs. 44 in 2002.

Otherwise today I worked out a system by which we will send out our parkpedition QSLs via email as it is just getting too expensive producing cards at about 15 cents each and sending them out at 46 cents per card. We will put a note in the email to the effect that we will still send out an actual card if the person involved sends a SASE. A couple folks have already sent an SASE before we set up the system, so they will get an actual card in the mail.

Conditions were poor this evening. I had trouble even getting a regular QSO till I ran across the IL QSO Party and worked a couple of stations there. Even they weren't all that strong like they usually are. Oh, and I did finally find a DX station in WP3Y on 30 meters. So now I can enjoy the last nice warm day tomorrow - after that the nasty word s%^w is actually in the forecast for later in the week with lows in the low 30s and highs only in the 40s. SIGH!! -30-

Saturday, October 19, 2013 8:53 PM - I went up to check the bands briefly around Noon to see if DX was good or not. It was, and about 3 hours later I had 81 German stations in my log from the WAG contest which I had forgotten about. 15M was really great. I was working the Germans with a single call and no repeats just about every time. Later on 20M, it wasn't so good and I did have to repeat often there.

Then this evening, I got my DX streak QSO from DK9PY on 40 meters and then dabbled a bit in the NY QSO Party on 80M. There didn't seem to be a lot of NYQP activity considering the population of NY.

Otherwise this was a sad day as I had to fire up my furnace for the first time this season. It never got out of the 50s today with a high of 57 on my remote thermometer next to me here. It's 47 right now. Worst of all, it looks like except for Tuesday, it is going to continue to be cold with freezing temperatures later in the upcoming week. BRRRR!! -30-

Friday, October 18, 2013 8:23 PM - An interesting day and evening. I went up to the shack around 1400Z to see if I could work any of my FL friends on their NAQCC FL Chapter parkpedition. I didn't find anyone right away so I checked for DX. The bands were in great shape all the way up through 10 meters. I could have worked any number of stations, but I kind of picked and chose who I wanted to work. First was LB2TB on 12 meters, and we wound up having a nice little rag chew. The reason I called though was because that was the first LB# prefix from Norway I ever heard or worked. Lars was interested in my QRP set up when I mentioned I was QRP which I don't often do in DX QSOs unless I feel the other party maybe wants to chat a bit as Lars did. Next I went up to 10 and looked around. I worked IZ5EKV simply because he was so strong. Then also on 10 I worked V31RL for the second band today after getting him for my DX QSO for the day last evening on 30M. That was followed by S59N simply to add some more DX to my 10M totals for the year. After that I went looking for the FL parkpedition again on 20M, and this time worked Art WB4MNK who told me Don K3RLL was on 17M, but I couldn't hear him. Moving on to 12M again, I worked my first ever SC# prefix in SC3DX. Then that was it for air time then as I had other chores to do including getting something to eat. HI.

This evening provided an unusual DX QSO for day # 233. I didn't find much in the way of DX, only hearing a few stations with big pile-ups or weak or that I had recently worked. Finding nothing on the high bands, I went to 40M. I made a little change in my random wire today and wanted to see how it worked on 40 and 30. The past couple nights it had been raining, and I noticed my tuning was changing on the KX3. I wondered if possibly the rope holding the end of it on the small end section in my back yard was getting wet and perhaps acting something like an extension to the wire. When I got my temperature at 9PM, I noticed the rope was soaking wet. So today I replaced the rope with one that sheds water rather than retaining it. This evening my tuning was back to normal, so perhaps that was the answer. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow so that will let me know for sure, I think.

Anyway back to 40M. I tuned around there and heard a strong USA station sending OP is .... Now most times when a USA station sends OP, he is working a DX station, so I listened to see who he was working. Turned out it was G6PZ a very good British operator whom I've worked many times in contests. When they finished, I called Paul, and got a ?. Sent my call two more times and he got it and I had my DX QSO for another day. I think the first one on 40M in the 0000Z hour during the streak. I am going to get on again in the morning or afternoon anyway to see if the great conditions are still there and if so, work some more DX.

And finally, I got the see the penumbral lunar eclipse this evening around 2350Z. It wasn't much to see, but I could see the slight darkening on the southern 1/3 or so of the moon's surface. The first astronomical event I've had a chance to see in quite a while now except for a couple Iridium satellite sightings if you call that astronomical. Hopefully next year after I retire as NAQCC VP and eliminate a load of work from my schedule, I can get in more astronomy and more fishing as well. -30-

Thursday, October 17, 2013 10:46 PM - Almost forgot about writing the entry tonight. I was over next door visiting with Nancy and Roscoe. Roscoe was sitting in the big comfy chair with me and just about half asleep. I hated to disturb him. I keep forgetting I have new readers all the time, and some of you may be wondering who Roscoe is. For that matter maybe who Nancy is. Well Nancy is my next door neighbor and has been for some dozen years or so now. She lives with her son Bruce who moved back to PA after working in IN for a good many years till his plant closed about 5 years ago.

Roscoe is the heir to Joe. Long time readers will know Joe was a dog - a cross between a long-haired Chihuahua and something else. Joe and I became fast friends for about three years till he passed away December 7, 2011. I'll never forget that day. I really felt bad about the loss. Then about a year ago Roscoe came along. Bruce's son brought him back from Indiana, and Roscoe immediately took to Nancy, so when son went back to Indiana, Roscoe stayed here. He's a strange cross between a Poodle and a Pit Bull, a cross-breed that apparently is quite popular in Indiana. It took a while for me to really accept Roscoe because of the way I had felt about Joe. However we gradually became friends. Perhaps not as close as Joe and I were, but still very good friends.

Now with that little bit of explanation for my new readers, let's move on. I put up a new poll question today on the front page of the web site. The question looks similar to the previous poll at first glance so don't overlook it. I was a couple days late in posting it because of work with our NAQCC anniversary week and the NAQCC sprint, but it's there now. I hope you'll vote. I think it's somewhat unique as I don't recall ever seeing anything similar to it anywhere.

I got my DX for the 17th around noon today when I worked HK1MK on 17 meters. Despite the current high SF of 136, I didn't think conditions were quite as good as the past couple days, especially to Europe. Then this evening, there wasn't much to be found although I did run across V31RL on 30M. I had worked him on 20 meters a few days ago, so this was a new band QSO which I don't mind making as opposed to working the same DX on the same band too often. So tomorrow I don't have to worry about a DX QSO for the 18th. I'm up to 232 days now, not far from my goal of 239. Again for new readers, I had a split streak of DX back around 2000 where I only missed one day of 239. So this time I want to make it a solid 239, and then decide where I want to go from there. -30-

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 9:26 PM - A few things to cover tonight. First of all K8LJG asked about parkpedition pictures. I was planning to present them this evening and the interest shown by K8LJG made me be sure not to forget them. So.....

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Me (looking tired after the constant action and with my headphones off for a short break - HI) and my K3RLL jumper dipole antenna.

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And Mike (making QSOs and keeping warm) and his K3RLL jumper dipole.

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My setup (top) and Mike's setup with our KX3s and Begali paddles proudly displayed.

Once again this evening I had to bring out my little reminder with "QSO" on it and put it here by the computer. That means tomorrow morning or afternoon I have to go hunting for a DX QSO to extend the DX streak to 231 days. Not much heard this evening except for 5T0JL and Z320E (whom I just worked last evening) on 30 meters. I did work WD8CW on 80 meters for day 7,014 in the big streak.

If conditions continue as they have been in mid-day, I should have no problem working someone then. Today I went searching for the 8 and Y to complete the NAQCC European Chapter Challenge. But first I ran across special event station EI13CLAN, and worked him the first try for a nice new prefix. Then as I often do when the high bands are good, I called CQ (on 15) because I like the thrill of not knowing who from where might answer me. Well, wouldn't you know it. Serendipity was strongly in force and my CQ was answered by G0PMY - yes, note the Y in the call. So just an 8 to go. We chatted a bit, then after we signed, I tuned down the band to find EW8O booming in, and as with EI13CLAN, I got him on the first try to finish off the challenge. Sometimes things work out very well, and other times they don't. This was definitely the former. -30-

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 8:40 PM - Here are some stats that I promised from our parkpedition. These are my stats from 20 meters:
50 QSOs
4 Countries - W VE I DL
1 Province - QC
Member QSOs - 45
Non-member QSOs - 5
USA call areas - All but W6

I think the interesting thing about them is the area covered - all USA areas but W6 - contacts from four corners of the USA (AZ WA MA FL) and many places in between. Normally (at least for me) 20 is a band open to a particular area or a couple of areas and not that widespread.

It was rough finding a DX QSO once again this evening, but I ran across Z320E who had a pileup and I didn't try him then. I came back later and he was CQing with no answers, so I called and he answered my first call although he had me as WWW which he corrected after I repeated my call a couple times. He wasn't all that strong here either - about an honest 45 or 469 although we traded the usual 599s.

It was a nice weather day again so I went fishing, but not even one little nibble in about an hour. So I came home and went for a couple walks around having my mid-day meal. The next couple days look to be rainy ones so maybe I can get some house cleaning done here. Some places I'm getting close to being able to write my initials in the dust.

Also maybe I can get on the bands late morning or early afternoon and look for that elusive 8 and Y to complete the European Chapter challenge. -30-

Monday, October 14, 2013 9:52 PM - The parkpedition today was awesome. You'd have thought we were a DXpedition to Navassa Island instead of a parkpedition to Kittanning Community Park. It was virtually non-stop action for four+ hours on 20M for me on 20M and almost the same for Mike on 40M. I don't think I got a break in the action anywhere more than 5 minutes at the very most. Many times my CQs drew small pile-ups or I was tail-ended by a small pile-up. I wonder how many QSOs we would have made had we worked contest style which we didn't. We took maybe 2-3 minutes per QSO on average to chat a bit with those we worked. Sometimes even a bit longer. I told Mike afterwards I can't recall ever having a better stretch run on 20 meters in all my years of hamming. Wow, what a great time. We made 75 QSOs overall - my 50 on 20 and Mike's 25 on 40. I even had two DX stations call me - DH1BBO and IK5WOB. The Italian Fabri was also QRP and was peaking S7 to S8, stronger than a lot of the stateside stations. I'll have some stats and some pictures in the diary tomorrow or the next day.

In addition to the parkpedition, I've also been very tied up wrapping up our sprint details, and on top of that, our anniversary week celebration wrap-up. So after I finish this diary entry, I'm going to just take it easy till I go to bed at midnight.

After we got home and had our NAQCC 'semi-live' web cast prize drawing, we went DX hunting - one of our favorite pasttimes. There wasn't a lot to be had, but Mike worked TG9ADM on 17 and V31RL on 20. I also worked V31RL for my DX streak day # 229 QSO. So now I'll have tomorrow to get caught up on a lot of things. -30-

Sunday, October 13, 2013 10:09 PM - Right now, I'm taking time out in the middle of cross-checking our NAQCC sprint logs from last week's sprint. All 3,031 of them - a record for one of our sprints. So far, it's gone smoothly as I did most of the preliminary work as the logs came in. I might even get finished tonight if I don't take too long writing this.

I couldn't work a DX station this evening to save me. S58MU was well over S9 here on 30M, but just was not hearing me, even when he didn't have anyone else calling him, which most of the time he did. Also tried some other stations with no luck. So it will be later tonight or tomorrow morning or afternoon if I am to continue the DX streak. Maybe I can work some DX from our parkpedition.

Yes, Mike and I will be doing a parkpedition tomorrow from about 1600-2000 depending on activity and weather. We'll stick to 7041 and 14061 unless 20M turns out no good, then we'll try 10117 instead of or in addition to 20.

OK, back to cross-checking now. -30-

Saturday, October 12, 2013 8:58 PM - I'm getting too old to sit at my rig for 7 hours straight with only a couple short snack breaks. But that's pretty much what I did today. And I missed out on some great weather although I did enjoy the morning part of it.

I wanted to put N3A in the FISTS sprint to help them out. Their sprints have been declining in participation lately, and that's a real shame. So I put in almost a 4 hour effort there for just 23 QSOs. Right after that ended at 2100Z, I put in 3 hours with N3A in the PA QSO Party for 78 QSOs.

Now in addition to sending in both of those scores, we've just closed out our anniversary week at the NAQCC and that involves some more work. That includes sending out closing instructions to our N#A ops as well as reporting all my results to John KK1X for certificates/QSL cards and to Paul N8XMS for a write up of the operation in the newsletter.

Hopefully I'll get all that done tomorrow and still get a chance to get on the bands and chase some DX. All bands were responding to the 128 Solar Flux reading today. Everything up through 10 meters was open for DX. I looked briefly for some letters for the EU Chapter challenge and found a gold mine in EM5UCC. That call finished off the Es, Ms, and Cs, leaving me needing a Y and an 8 to complete the challenge.

30 meters was good this evening and I fairly easily worked E71A just after 0000Z for day # 227 in the DX streak. Last night just after midnight I got HI3EPR for that day. -30-

Friday, October 11, 2013 8:57 PM - After the great catch last night, this evening produced no DX. Almost worked a station. Answered his call, he came back with his info, then when I was in the middle of sending mine, he just started calling CQ again. No 'sri, no copy' or 'lost you' or anything else. That was very rude, I thought. Especially when earlier I was running N3A and had a couple stations I just couldn't pull through. However in my case, I apologized to them and told them to try again later.

Anyway I've got my little reminder here to remind me to go for a DX QSO either later tonight or tomorrow sometime. I'm only 14 days from my first goal of 239 days and I'm going to try my best not to lose it now. -30-

Thursday, October 10, 2013 8:21 PM - Is it possible to still get excited after 50 years of ham radio. Yes! I just worked Mongolia on 18073 in the form of JT5DX. Not a new overall entity by any means, but there are some countries I am fascinated by, and love working - not just because they are rare although that helps. I always loved the movie with Richard Widmark - Destination Gobi which was set in the Gobi desert in Mongolia. I believe it was filmed in Nevada though, and not on location in Mongolia.

Hmmmm, wonder if I'll get another 10 Tugrik note like I got with my JT1DA QSL several years ago:
pix_diary_20131011_001 (59K)

I see it is now worth 1 cent in USA money. When I got it several years ago, it was something like .008 cents. I forget the exact number of zeroes in front of the 8. Anyway getting that note also contributed to the mystique of working Mongolia. Not to mention it's a very rare CQ zone (23) for the WAZ award. And I'm just noticing it's a new band country and band zone.

Earlier today Nancy and her sons and I went out to lunch at Ponderosa which was one of the things I mentioned I had scheduled for today. We had a good time, and it didn't interfere with getting my DX QSO for the streak. About 15 minutes before we were to leave I remembered I needed the DX QSO and went up to the shack. After looking at the panadapter display and not seeing anything too strong, I went to 15 and found a huge peak which I figured was probably a USA station. However it was RK3ER and a single call to him netted my DX QSO for day 224. Then tonight JT5DX makes it 225.

So it was a good day all around and it included some more N3A QSOs also, although it was slow this time. I'm going to be putting N3A in the FISTS sprint on Saturday from 1700-2100 followed by the PA QSO Party from 2100-2400Z which is the end of our NAQCC anniversary week and our special event calls. -30-

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 9:52 PM - Not a DX station in sight (or earshot) after I got home from the computer club meeting this evening. So another threat to my DX streak. Perhaps later tonight - if not hopefully tomorrow morning or afternoon. I do have some things scheduled tomorrow so that will limit my search time somewhat. Even if it does end, I think working DX 223 days in a row with QRP/CW/simple wire antennas says a lot to the ham community about the effectiveness of CW.

Great sprint last night. All three bands 80, 40, and 20 in great shape although 80 a bit underused. 53 QSOs the best I've done in a while now. Looks like the best since 57 in December 2010, in fact. Although I see I also had 53 in December 2012. Maybe this December I'll hit 60 for the first time ever. If I could only stop sitting and calling CQ and do more S&P, I'm sure I could make it. However I just love calling CQ and not knowing who I'm going to have answer me. That adds interest to the sprint, I think. Especially because in most other contests, I have to do mostly all S&P to do any good at all. -30-

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 12:15 PM - Since I'll be busy with our NAQCC sprint this evening, I thought I'd write my diary entry early today.

I got my DX late last night (about midnight:30) to make it 222 (nice #) days in a row of DX. It was Ivan IZ4DLR, and we even chatted a bit on 30M.

I said we had a great day for our parkpedition. Here are some pictures to prove it:
pix_diary_20131008_001 (99K)


Monday, October 07, 2013 9:07 PM - I think the day finally came when I'll have to get my DX for the streak in the morning or afternoon. There was not a single strong DX station around this evening with the exception of CY0P on 30M whom I just worked a few days ago.

However if conditions tomorrow afternoon are like they were this afternoon there will be no problem extending the DX streak another day. DX was good on all bands up to 12M in the 1900Z hour. I spent my time looking for letters and numbers for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge or I could have worked quite a few DX stations. As it was I only tried and worked IK4VFD and II0CW for their letters.

Then I put in a couple stints as N3A and worked 11 more stations for a total of 76 in my N3A log so far. Tomorrow night is our NAQCC sprint, and hopefully it will be a record breaker with more entries than the 194 we had in February for our 100th sprint. This time we have nine prizes to be given away to nine different members who participate in the sprint. More about that on the NAQCC site and more here in the diary later. -30-

Sunday, October 06, 2013 10:22 PM - Wow what a great parkpedition with N3A Mike KC2EGL and I had today. We racked up 65 QSOs between us. For most of the day I felt somewhat like CY0P or some other rare DXpedition. The activity never stopped for more than maybe a couple periods of a few minutes all of the 5 hours. We didn't do it contest style either, but took time to exchange at least a bit of info in chat form with each person we worked. Then this evening in about 35 minutes of the hour I had planned, I added 5 more QSOs.

Mike and I also worked some DX from here at home. He got TF3JP and we both got Z320E. Z320E came at 0002Z to extend my DX streak another day to 221 now, just 18 from my first goal of 239.

As it was for each of our parkpeditions this year, the weather again was beautiful - partly cloudy and in the 80s. It was a bit humid, but as Mike said, once we sat down and got operating, we didn't really notice the humidity.

And just for the record we had a Vocelli pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms along with their boneless chicken wings and barbecue sauce. Mmmmmm, I'm getting hungry again. Think I'll have that last piece of pizza after I get done with my web site updates. -30-

Saturday, October 05, 2013 9:07 PM - A rather unusual weather situation here. The weather readings were virtually identical yesterday and today. The outside low and high temperature was 63 and 85 both days. The remote reading unit showed 63 and 84 both days. The low and high humidity was 60 and 98 both days. The 9PM barometric pressure was 29.89 both days. The only difference was the amount of precipitation and the 9PM temperature reading. That doesn't happen too often, especially with so many different stats being the same. The outside low and high temperatures will be the same two days in a row now and then. I think I've even seen 3 or maybe 4 days in a row in a really stagnant weather pattern, but that's very rare also.

Although DX was good this afternoon (HB30OK, US7UX, R7NK, DL4FN on 15M and H7H on 17M), it was not good this evening again. Took me 59 minutes to get my DX QSO, and I had to use 40M to get it by working Frantz FG5FR. Only took a single call to get him as it took to get US7UX and DL4FN earlier in the day.

Tomorrow is our N3A parkpedition from 1600-2100Z, weather permitting. It still looks pretty good with only a very slight change of isolated thunderstorms. We'll be on 7041 the whole time and also either on 10117 or 14061. 20M might be ruined by the CQP. If so, we'll stick to 30M and possibly try a bit on 17M around 18088. -30-

Friday, October 04, 2013 8:39 PM - Kind of a rainy day today, but I did sneak in an hour of fishing. I had a small bass on, but he threw the hook before I landed him. Other than that, just a lot of small something or others sneaking my pieces of worm off the hook. Despite the clouds and rain, it was another warm day getting into the 80s again. That's every day so far this month. A bit unusual, but not record-setting. We did that a couple years ago with a bunch of 90 degree days to start off October. That's not likely to happen again as its very rare to hit 90 in October at all.

I also checked the bands this afternoon, but they weren't much better than fishing. A lot of weak signals here and there. I did have a nice chat with K4HPP on 30M though. This evening things weren't a lot better. I did manage to keep the DX streak going by working TF3JB on 20M. I've worked him several times, but he wasn't getting many answers tonight, so I felt OK in working him again. -30-

Thursday, October 03, 2013 10:40 PM - I was on during the hours I mentioned in the diary last night, but there wasn't much activity on the bands at all at those times. I did work K8JD and K3PSD on 40 as well as N5GW on 20.

This evening it took an hour and 19 minutes to find and work some DX. CY0P was strong, but on 30 where I just worked him two days ago. H7H was very strong on 17, but after a couple tries, he started targeting Japan, and I honor directional CQs. When I came back to see if he was working everyone again, he was gone. I found him again on 40 later, but he wasn't hearing me nor too many others either. CO0SS was another strong station on 30, but with just about as big a pileup as CY0P. Can't understand the demand for a Cuban station even though the CO0 prefix is somewhat hard to find. Anyway finally I found V44KAI on 40M and worked him fairly easily even though I did have to repeat my call a few times. Not DX, but I also had a great rag chew with K0JVX in Olathe, KS. I don't have all that many rag chews with that state.

I'm looking forward to Sunday when Mike and I do a parkpedition using our NAQCC Special Event call of N3A. The weather doesn't look all that good though, but the forecast keeps changing, so it could change for the better. I guess the forecast depends a lot on what Karen does. We had a pretty good thunderstorm this evening while I was on the air looking for DX and working K0JVX. A great light show, but not a real heavy downpour - only about .40 of an inch in 15 minutes or so. -30-

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 8:58 PM - I got an email from Wayne K4WK in the end of July asking if I was going to do anything special for the anniversary of the start of my streak or perhaps when it reached 7,000 days. Well, today it reached 7,000 days when I worked Steve K4JPN (NAQCC member) at 0007Z. I don't really want to make that much of a fuss about it. However I feel I at least owe it to Wayne to at least try to get on the air during the day tomorrow in case he or anyone else would like to work me on day 7,000. So although tomorrow will be a busy day, I'll try to set aside the 1500-1600Z hour and maybe the 2000-2100Z hour to get on 40 and 20 meters. The first half hour of each hour on 40 and the second half on 20. Frequencies - 7041 and 14061.

The DX streak reached 217 days when I worked WP4L on 30 meters. -30-

Tuesday, October 01, 2013 8:50 PM - I'm sure you've heard the saying "DX is WHERE you find it". Well DX is also WHEN you find it. I was on the air this afternoon to try to get some letters/numbers for the NAQCC challenges. I worked G100RSGB for a nice bunch and N4QR for a few more. However while I was on, I also heard one of the biggest widest pileups I've heard in some time now, and I was able to find out who it was they were chasing - something I can't always do. It was Sable Island CY0P. I didn't know how in demand that entity was. I've worked it a couple times before, but this was on 20 meters where I could have used it. I might have been able to break the pile with the help of the wonderful KX3, but I didn't really feel like putting in the effort at that time.

OK, fast forward 3 hours or so, and I'm on the air to get my streak QSOs. Not much to be had on 15, 17, 20, so I went to 30 and tuned around. I found (yes, that's right) CY0P all by his lonesome on 10.115 and worked him easily. Seems I found him just starting his stint on 30, as he worked a couple more stations simplex, then when the pack found him, he went split and after 5-10 minutes the 30 pile was as awesome as the one earlier on 20. Yes, DX is WHEN you find it. That's especially true in this day and age of spotting networks, and especially for the QRP station.

The nice weather continued today. Unfortunately it looks like it might come to an end for the weekend when Mike KC2EGL and I have our N3A parkpedition planned. The latest forecast shows a 60% chance of rain on Sunday with cooler temperatures. Maybe we'll have to have a homepedition instead. HI.

I went fishing again to enjoy the nice weather. Only caught one 5 inch bluegill but it was nice to be outside on such a great day. -30-

Monday, September 30, 2013 9:18 PM - A surprise (somewhat) for my DX QSO this evening. I found EA5UB booming in on 20 meters and worked him pretty easily. I haven't been hearing too many European stations on 20 after 0000Z lately. So that got me started on both the regular NAQCC October challenge and the NAQCC European Chapter challenge.

The third of October in a couple days will be day # 7,000 in my streak. I still haven't decided if I will do anything special to celebrate or not. I know some of you have mentioned wanting to work me on that day, so maybe I'll announce some times and frequencies when I'll try to be on the air. We'll see. Just watch the diary the next couple days to find out.

Not much else to talk about today. I went fishing again but got shut out today. Also got in some walks. Then I did my last of the month chores and got ready for my trip to the bank in the morning. -30-

Sunday, September 29, 2013 10:03 PM - Just finished closing out our NAQCC sprint results for this month's sprint. A bit mentally tired right now. Today was another of those days you'd like to record and play it back every day. Partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity.

I went fishing, not really caring if I caught anything or not. Maybe that's a good attitude to have since I did catch something today. I got three bass and a carp. I was fishing with peanut butter bread on one pole and little pieces of nightcrawler with a bobber on the other pole. I hadn't been getting any bites on the bread. Then I saw some bubbles rising from the bottom which often means a carp is digging for food. So I threw my line with the bread near the spot, but nothing happened for a while. Then I got some typical carp bites, so I reeled in the other pole to avoid a tangle, and wouldn't you know it, a bass grabbed the worm as I started to reel it in. So I quickly landed him to concentrate on the carp. Just as I got the bass landed, the carp hit a couple more times, then stopped. Keeping an eye on that pole, I freed the bass. Then I figured the carp probably cleaned my hook and left. So I picked it up to reel in and check. Surprise - there was a fish on the line. I figured it must be a carpsucker because they often hook themselves, then just lie there not moving. It even felt like a carpsucker the way it acted at first, but then it started to pull harder on the line, and I started thinking carp. Well, after I fought it for a while, I saw it was a carp. I figured something like 27-28 inches from the look of it in the water, but after getting a better look at it, I thought no, he's bigger than that. After finally getting him landed after 10 minutes or so, I measured him and he turned out to be 31 inches. That's tied for my seventh largest carp. It also makes 32 fish for the year so this is now only my third worst year. My next lowest total is 68 though, and I don't think I'll catch that unless I have about 9 more days like today which is unlikely.

The bands turned out pretty poor this evening so I went for my regular streak QSO and worked KD2AEF in a 2 way QRP/attic antenna QSO on 40M. Then I went searching for DX and I did find one station - XE1RZL on 17M and got him with a single call for day # 214. -30-

Saturday, September 28, 2013 8:58 PM - Up a little earlier than usual today to get our junk off to the recycling center. Then when Bruce and I got home, I helped him out with some computer work. Next was brunch after checking my email. Some walking and shopping. Then I gave my bush in the front yard its fall 'haircut' to get rid of the stragglies that developed since the spring trim. I listened on the bands a little this afternoon. Not too exciting except for the TX QSO Party stirring things up.

This evening I decided it was time to give my "new" pedometer a checkup. So I went on the measured mile on the trail and came up with 1.03 miles going and 1.01 coming back. I'd say it is still pretty accurate after just about exactly one year now. I had no idea it was so close to what turns out to be its yearly checkup. I see I started using it September 27, 2012.

Again not much DX to be found. HB9CVQ on 30 who was chasing someone else. EJ0M on 30 with a big pileup and not very strong himself. A few others on 20 including PJ4/G3TXF whom I eventually worked although it took a while. Surprising because Nigel is a great op. I've worked him from a few different countries including Wallis and Futuna, British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Austria, and of course England. I see I got my Wallis and Futuna with a single call to him on 30M. Nowhere near that easy tonight, but day # 213 is in the books for the DX streak.

I mentioned a nice email I got. I asked the party if I could use it in the diary, and he wholeheartedly agreed. So here is what Michael KT5MR had to say in a lengthy but extremely interesting email, "Hi John! I hope this message finds you well. My name is Michael (KT5MR) and I just wanted to drop you a note about your website, in which I have found some much needed inspiration.
First, a little background. I am a relatively new licensee and have found my primary interest in DXing. My late grandfather was a DXer and part of my exploration into amateur radio was to connect with what he found so fascinating about it all. After I made my first SSB contact with Australia, I, as they say, got bit with the bug. :)
However, over the course of a year, I began to get frustrated. After getting all of the "easy" countries, I seemed not to be able to hear any of the DX spotted on clusters nor be able to break into any pileups.
So, I set about trying to learn how to be a better DXer. I knew a great deal of my difficulties was my inexperience, but I wanted to improve my technical situation. So I bought books and read copious web pages. The answer seemed to be either towers and beams or taller towers and more beams. I live in an HOA neighborhood with a 50' x 25' backyard. A tower, let alone a beam is impossible. The wisdom of ham radio internet forums seemed to be "well, just move," which is a little on the impractical side.
(My current antennas are three wire verticals strung up a tree, one element for 10 m, one for 20 m, and the other for 40 m and 15 m, and 25 radials. With it I have worked 70 countries, 64 confirmed. Most are JT65 or SSB contests.)
If I couldn't improve my antenna situation, perhaps I could improve my signal. I had stumbled upon the JT65 mode while looking for a "quiet" mode I could operate at lunch while at the office. Its bandwidth is only 200 Hz, which is quite more efficient than SSB. And indeed, I have made a great many DX contacts with it, but they are not all that fulfilling.
If you've ever used JT65, it is just a matter of double-clicking on a call sign four or five times and if the propagation holds on both sides, a contact is made. For me, this just wasn't all that engaging.
So, now I found myself exceptionally discouraged. I felt as if I had topped out at what I could do with my current radio system and if I could do more on the digital side, the contacts would be just numbers and not internally meaningful to me.
I don't want to say I was about to give up on the hobby, but the idea that this might have been just a temporary pursuit saddened me.
So I was searching the web a few nights ago and stumbled upon your website. I don't even recall what I exactly was searching for, but your site was exactly what I needed to read. Your site shows clearly and definitively that it is possible to work meaningful DX in a suboptimal environment. And you do it QRP as well. (You also have a great article in the sample Keynote on the FISTS site.)
Your writings have also inspired me to explore CW. I've been on the fence for some time. Honestly, I perceived CW as difficult and as I am not a musical person, didn't think I would even enjoy it. However, I have noticed that a great deal of the DX seems to be CW only.
So I downloaded a few CW training programs, found one I like that keeps the inter-character speed up while gradually allowing one to increase the inter-word speed. I am happy to report that this seems quite learnable and doable! Even enjoyable! I can recognize the characters in my call sign! This will take a lot of practice and many months, but I think I can do it.
Before this e-mail gets way too long, one of the most inspirational aspects of your site is your diary which catalogs your streak. On the web, whenever I would find a mention of DX being possible with suboptimal equipment, it always seemed to be in a solar cycle that was stronger than our current (and projected) one, so I attributed the success to that. Your diary clearly shows otherwise. I've been following it for a few days now and it shows DX happening with your equipment (and skill, to be sure) unfolding before my very eyes. It is exactly what I needed to read.
Thanks again, John! You have set me on what looks to be a challenging and enjoyable road in amateur radio."

Whew a lot of reading there, but it is such a great example of how many people come to find CW and real ham radio after their ventures into other modes. Michael is now going to get the full enjoyment and fulfillment from ham radio once he gets up to speed on CW. I found his description of JT65 quite..... well should I say scary? How in the world can that give anyone any satisfaction? Michael will find that, just like I do with my situation here, he will soon be working the world easily now that he will be using CW and he will be getting a lot of satisfaction from it.

And just a note about bandwidth. I don't use nor know much at all about any of the digital modes (except CW which is the original digital mode technically) so I was interested enough in him mentioning a bandwidth of the 'very narrow' JT65 mode to refresh my mind as to the bandwidth of CW which I talked about in the diary, and perhaps in a Keynote column several years ago. It's also on my CW page here in the web site. It's a very technical matter that depends on several factors including keying speed and the waveform of the keyed signal, but it boils down to these ballpark figures. A one WPM speed occupies a bandwidth of 4 Hz, 10 WPM is 10 times that or 40 Hz. 25 WPM would be 25 x 4 or 100 Hz and so on. So you see, CW is much more efficient in the use of bandwidth than JT65 or probably most other digital modes.

Now this is getting way too long, so I'll close here simply by saying thank you very much Michael for that interesting story. I hope like you say my web site inspired you to go to CW, your story will add even more hams to the list of those discovering the joy of CW. -30-

Friday, September 27, 2013 9:08 PM - As you know, I often say ham radio antennas aren't rocket science. Well, I proved that somewhat again tonight. I was working UT5XS on 30 meters when the local QRN picked up a bit. I switched to my 20 meters antenna for better copy, but forgot to switch back to the 30 meters random wire when I transmitted my next round. It didn't matter, Hank copied me just as well. All you need is a hunk of wire up in the air a bit and a fair match to your rig and you can work the world. Oh, and it's a big help if you're using the most efficient of all ham radio modes - CW. I think more and more hams are finding that out from my web site and other sources. I had a nice email from a diary reader today dealing with something similar. I'll ask him if I can share the info here in the diary before I do.

Our town is having a cleanup 'hard to recycle items' day tomorrow for electronic equipment of all kind, old tires, and other such items. I've gathered up some stuff here, and Bruce and I will take it off to the collection center tomorrow morning.

And best of all today, I finally did it. Finally finished the NAQCC European Chapter challenge when I worked DJ6ZM on 15 meters late this afternoon to get that final very elusive 6. As I said in my soapbox comments, it was a more rewarding challenge this month because it was.... well, challenging. Most of the challenges can be mastered quite easily, unlike this one. -30-

Thursday, September 26, 2013 9:26 PM - As I transition down toward retirement as VP of the NAQCC, I'm finding I have more time to do things that I just haven't had time for the past few years. I'll just give one example. I logged my first Iridium sighting in around two years tonight when Bruce and I saw the very bright flare from Iridium 3 - magnitude -8.1 which is pretty close to the brightest an Iridium flare can get. I enjoyed that moment, and now I'll be able to find the time to log more of them, and some other satellites as well.

I also got in almost 10 miles walking today. I haven't hit that figure too often of late. Great weather for walking with a high of 80 and nice sunny skies.

I've been picking a lot of chestnuts from Ange's chestnut tree. I think I mentioned it was a great year for chestnuts. I picked another 40 or so today. Just microwaved three of them a few minutes ago and enjoyed them.

The bands were good this afternoon as I searched in vain for that elusive 6 again. I heard a lot of DX including some strong European signals, but nary a 6 in the bunch. This evening, the bands weren't so good so I resorted to working 4A2I again on 17 meters for day 211 in the DX streak. Then I called CQ for well over a half hour on 30, 40, and even 80 with not a single response.

Tomorrow, I plan either on going fishing or strapping myself to my operating chair till I find that 6. Or I may wind up doing neither. It's nice to just take things as they come without worrying about having to get this or that done by such and such a time.

Speaking of time, it's been some time since I heard from my friend George N1EAV, but today I got an email from him, "Hi John Thought I would drop a note your way as it's been sometime since I got in touch. Been a very busy few months for me workwise and haven't had much time for hobbies etc. I have however been following your diary entries day to day. Sounds like you've had a good summer. Your streaks carry on and the Pirates are finally back in the playoffs. Life is good...lol Hopefully as things slow down back to normal for me , I'll have some time to get back into pounding the brass. I still haven't had time to string a proper wire antenna for transmitting and am limited to just listening. When I have turned the rig on the bands have been pretty good with lots of dx to work. Looking forward to the baseball playoffs. The Red Sox have had a pretty good year and people are excited again after last years experiment gone bad. I like the team because it's filled with blue collar hard working guys. Guess we'll see what happens. Maybe they'll end up in the World Series against the Pirates. You never know.... Take care for now.. 73 , geo....n1eav"

Yes the Pirates finally came up with a winning season - the first since 1992, and they clinched a playoff spot. Playoff - remember when there was just the World Series in the good old days before the money god took over and they added all those other post-season games to raise more of the almighty bucks. Not only in baseball, but in all sports. SIGH! -30-

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 7:35 PM - I'm awaiting one of those, as we call them - impromptu visits, from Mike KC2EGL who has a club meeting here in town this evening. We'll have a pizza (surprise HI), and maybe get in some on-air time or watch a Danger Man or Doctor In The House episode. If anything out of the ordinary happens, he or I will add it to this diary entry.

I guess this is a bit out of the ordinary. I worked Japan on 17M at 0151Z. Unusual to work JA at that time on that band. I was disappointed that Mike couldn't get him after I did though. Hiro sent KC2?, but never could get the rest of the call. That would have been Mike's first JA while it merely puts me one closer to 200 JA QSOs so I was really pulling for Mike to get him. I see I've now worked Hiro on 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters.

You know how I've been bragging on the KX3 ever since I got it. Well, here's a comparison table made up by a professional testing company comparing just about every ham radio receiver or the receiver portion of a transceiver. This link was sent from Art WB4MNK to Don K3RLL who sent it to me. I think a close look at this big table will back up everything I've been saying about the KX3. Click here for the table.

Got to run now to get my QSO before Mike comes, or if not, then after he comes. I spent another fruitless search for that 6 this afternoon. Looks like I may come up one number short for this month's NAQCC European Chapter challenge. But then, there are still 5 days left. Maybe if I get on a little earlier in late morning or early afternoon. I've heard Europe is coming through good then. However it was today too, and I heard a lot of 5s along with other numbers excluding a 6. -30-

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 9:15 PM - Only eight days now till my streak reaches 7,000 days. I'm still mulling over a suggestion by Wayne K4WK that I do something special that day. Let's see, that will be Wednesday, October 2. I don't have anything else scheduled that day that I know of. So maybe I will announce some times and frequencies here in the diary that I'll try to be on the air. Also post it in our NAQCC Spot Schedule page. We'll see.

After a chilly morning, a nice day today. Great day for fishing except for one thing. The fish never showed up. I guess they were off somewhere doing whatever fish do on nice days. Still just nice to sit there in the warm, but not hot sunshine for a couple hours. Maybe tomorrow will be better. At least the weather is supposed to be the same.

Ange's chestnut tree is dropping its chestnuts, and it was a real bumper crop this year. With more to come down, I would guess I picked up over a hundred, half for Ange and half for me. I really love roasted (microwaved) chestnuts. I just cut two small Xs in the shell and pop them in the microwave for 34 seconds which is just right in my 700 watt microwave oven.

Otherwise the gardening season is winding down. My Siberian tomatoes are all gone now. The Early Girl and Better Boy plants are still going, but slowing down. The Speckled Butter beans are still producing somewhat. My Bush beans don't know what time of year it is and they are producing new growth and some flowers. They may be in for a rude awakening. The peas are long gone now. I had a couple of late Daylillies flowers this year well into August, perhaps it was even early September. There are still a few roses on the rose plants, but the key word is few. All in all a sad time of year even though September and early October produce some very pleasant weather around here, but then what follows, we won't discuss. -30-

Monday, September 23, 2013 9:59 PM - I received a card from T2YY today as shown here. That's my 207th QRP/CW/simple wire antenna country (entity) verified by QSL card.

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The bands were good for DX this afternoon, but that number 6 to finish the NAQCC European challenge continues to elude me. Where are all the ON6, F6, DL6, etc. stations when you need them? After not finding any, I tried calling CQ on 17M and my friend Carl N5XE, a frequent visitor to my diary and web site, answered me and we had a nice visit.

This evening there was not much around in the way of DX save for some very weak signals. After several tries, I did work T48LT to continue the streak, but it wasn't easy. I guess the tropics are stormy now with a lot of QRN as Cubans and Mexicans generally are easy to work.

A chilly day today with a high of only 61, and not even much sunshine to make it feel any warmer. I'm hoping the predictions of temperatures in the 70s later this week hold true so I can get in some more fishing and some warmer walks. -30-

Sunday, September 22, 2013 9:20 PM - Strange conditions this evening. I heard some DX when I got on at 0000Z, and it was pretty good, but I couldn't work anyone. So I thought I'd get my regular streak QSO out of the way and worked K2TPZ on 40M. Then when I went back looking for DX, all I found were weak fluttery signals like an ionospheric storm just set it. However I don't see any note of it on the propagation pages. Anyway, to shorten the story so I can get to the NAQCC sprint log cross-checking, I wound up working XE1ZW on 30M for my DX streak QSO - day 207.

This afternoon, the bands were open up to 10M, although not a lot of activity. I did come up with a neat prefix in XP3A on 12M. Never worked any XP prefixes before. Looked up the allocation blocks and XP is listed for Denmark. I thought it was strange to work EU on 12M, and I was right, because checking QRZ showed XP3A to be in Greenland.

Not much else to report or comment on, so I'm going to get to the log cross-checking now. -30-

Saturday, September 21, 2013 8:44 PM - I didn't have to wait till this morning or afternoon to get my DX QSO for the 21st. I got on 40M just around midnight - my usual time of going to bed - and worked E73W and HA8JV. I was so intent on getting the DX QSO for the streak, it didn't dawn on me till a little later that the 8 in HA8JV gave me 2 of the last 3 numbers I needed for the NAQCC European challenge. Now I need just a 6 to reach completion.

I also experimented a bit this afternoon searching for the best times to work DX in that part of the day. At 1810Z I easily worked LG5LG on 17 meters. So I actually did get a Scandinavian QSO as I mentioned last night, although of course since it was 17M, it wasn't in the SAC contest.

However, the SAC did provide my DX for day #206 this evening. I got both OH8X and OV0O. I think the OV0 may be a new prefix also.

Going back to LG5LG again. Roland told me this on the air that the QTH is Morokulien which is a "ham-state" on the border of Sweden and Norway. He told me for more info to look up LG5LG on QRZ which I am doing right now. It's very interesting. I won't re-invent the wheel here, but let you look up the info for yourself if want to know more. Just basically though, the Swedish call sign for the place is SJ9WL. I see I worked SJ9WL back in 2001. Now I'm looking up that call on QRZ. It has the same info as for LG5LG, so I've worked both parts of the 'ham-state' of Morokulien. There is also a web site of Morokulien available via a link on the QRZ site. One final note, the operator Roland told me his own call is SM6EAT. Could have used that for my 6 if I'd worked him at his home. HI.

It rained virtually the whole day here so I took the opportunity to just get caught up on some little uninteresting things to pass the time. -30-

Friday, September 20, 2013 9:56 PM - Well, it happened. I was unable to get a DX QSO this evening. I only heard 4 or 5 DX stations - period. The closest I came was when my friend Rob XE1GXG sent K3?, but couldn't get any further explaining they were having some heavy thunderstorms in the Guadalajara area. I also heard a weak 5T0JL on 30M with a big pileup so never tried him. Then the same HP500OP I worked before was on a different band tonight, but weak and not hearing me at all.

I've got my little note here by the computer reminding me I need a DX QSO in the morning or afternoon. There's not much to fear though, as I should be able to easily work someone in the Scandinavian Activity contest to continue the DX streak.

I got WA5CAV in LA to continue the big main streak. He was also QRP.

Other than that, I worked on recruiting ops for our NAQCC Anniversary Week next month. I sent out an email on our NAQCC email list that resulted in adding a dozen ops to the roster. Then there was processing sprint logs getting them ready for cross checking Sunday evening.

I also had a nice visit from my cousin whom I hadn't seen in a while now. I was going to go fishing, but it got quite warm and humid again today, and I didn't feel like sitting out in the heat. Now if there were a guarantee that I would catch several fish, I would have gone anyway, but it doesn't work that way. HI. -30-

Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:07 PM - A great sprint last night. I thought I had my first 50 QSO sprint in a while, but later found out in explaining GenLog to one of our members, I inadvertently messed up my own GenLog file, and I actually had 49 QSOs. Still one of my top ten efforts - in fact my 9th best as to number of QSOs. With 22 multipliers and 4,136 points, the point total is tied for my 10th best. Had I gotten more close by states like PA OH MD WV MA which I didn't, that would have been my best sprint ever. Should have done some S&P instead of all CQs, but I just love to call CQ in contests, and actually our sprints and maybe the PA QSO party are the only ones I have any success with that method, and the only ones in which I actually do so.

Anyway my personal results aside, I believe we are already very close to the 100 logs mark less than 24 hours after the sprint ended. A rough count of logs received here shows 100 +/- a couple. A more accurate count later when Corey submits the updated results page to me for posting on the web site.

Another surprisingly easy DX QSO this evening at only 0007Z, and a nice prefix to boot. The guilty party was HP500OP on 30M. To clear it up depending on the font you use to read this, that's HP(five hundred)OP. My very first call got a 3WWP?, then he got the K on the repeat. This afternoon I had my second 12M QSO in a couple days when I worked YN2PX whom I worked on 30M a few evenings ago.

Other than that, some work on the sprint results, a couple walks, some shopping, and an shut-out fishing trip filled up my day. -30-

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 8:14 PM - Just a short time now till our NAQCC sprint, so I've got to type fast. HI.

My DX QSO, which I wanted to get in the log before the sprint came from Franc, 9A2HF on 20M. He was quite strong - unusual of late for EU at this hour. I see the SF has come out of the 90s and was 104 today. Maybe that had something to do with it.

Fishing today was a little more successful with two bluegills and one sucker. Just a perfect weather day with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70s. Actually felt warmer when the sun was out. So nice I stayed for about 2 1/4 hours - the longest in quite a while except when I go with Denny or someone else.

Well, have to get my temperature now and maybe a bite to eat before the sprint. -30-

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 9:01 PM - Just a brief entry tonight. Unsuccessful at fishing today, but didn't have too long as I had to help go pick up Roscoe from the groomers. Same unsuccessful results on the bands this afternoon. Conditions seemed good, but I was mostly looking for those 6s and 8s to finish the NAQCC European challenge. I did hear a DL6, but he disappeared after I called him. As Mike and I say when that happens, we scared him away. I did hear a few JAs with decent signals, but couldn't break their moderate pileups.

Tonight was better. I got my DX for day #202 at 0001Z when I easily beat a small pile to work EA8ZS. Had I gotten one of the JAs earlier, I would have made a WAC over the past couple days or so. -30-

Monday, September 16, 2013 8:53 PM - Laundry day today so that started off my day. Some brunch followed, after which I visited with Roscoe, Nancy and Bruce for a while. It was a beautiful day so we all sat out on the porch. Roscoe loves being outside and we were saying it's a shame there is no fenced in area where he could run loose and enjoy himself. Tomorrow he's going to the groomer for a haircut. That will make it just about right so he can enjoy the warm fall weather and then have his coat back for the time when it turns cold later in the fall and winter.

Next up was fishing. I had some good luck for a change today and got a 24.5 inch carp along with a little bluegill. That's still only 25 fish for the year but there's still probably 4-6 weeks of fishing weather left before it gets too cold for me.

Back home again and checking the bands. Again they were pretty good for DX so I looked unsuccessfully for those elusive 6s and 8s to finish the NAQCC European challenge. I did work what I thought was a somewhat rare country for me, and even thought it might be a new band country, but then I checked and found I already have Liechtenstein on all bands from 30 through 10. But I bet I haven't worked many HB0s lately. Let me check my computer log and see. HB0/DF5AU today was my 20th HB0 QSO, but only the second since 2001. So as of late it is a rare country for whatever reason. I also had a 12M QSO today, my first in quite a while when I worked LU7HF.

This evening it was a quick DX QSO for day #201 when I easily worked HC2AO on 30M. In fact he copied me better than I copied him. I wasn't sure he answered me at first, but then he sent my call twice again and we made the QSO.

Time now to get my temperature readings, so I'll QRT here. BTW we might get down in the upper 30s by morning. -30-

Sunday, September 15, 2013 8:32 PM - An excellent DX day today and evening. First of all my DX for day #200 this evening was from a somewhat rare country or entity - Svalbard. I worked JW/DL5SE easily on 20M. I think just before the horde found him as I tuned back later and he had a pileup going then. It wasn't a new country or even a new band country, but I enjoy working it because of what happened the first time I tried to work it many years ago. I called some JW station - don't remember the call now, and just as he started to come back to me (I believe as he sent K followed by a couple dots) he disappeared just like he turned off a switch. I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard or read somewhere that power on remote islands like Svalbard is sometimes shut down at certain times to conserve energy. And it was exactly on an hour that he disappeared, so..... maybe that is true. Anyway since that aborted attempt, my Svalbard QSO this evening was #9 - 2 in 1998, 4 in 2000, 1 in 2001, and 2 in 2013.

This afternoon I fared even better, collecting 2 new band countries, 5 letters for the NAQCC European challenge, a 1,500 MPW QSO, and a new prefix. In order the band countries were both on 17M - TK5MH and KH2L. TK5MH gave me the final number 5 for the challenge while ON6VL gave me 2 Ns and 2 6s leaving me 3 numbers (1 6 and 2 8s) to complete the challenge. The 1,500+ MPW QSO of course was Guam which was only my second Guam ever, N2NL/KH2 in 1998 being the first. The new prefix was T42PZ. So that was a really enjoyable 45 minutes or so this afternoon.

Other than that, it was a lot of time spent on the transfer of leadership in the NAQCC to Paul N8XMS. We got a lot of important things done along those lines today as I move closer and closer to that retirement day as NAQCC VP.

Some walks, visit with neighbors, and so on filled the rest of the time. It was a very nice day today with partly cloudy skies and a high of 74. If that repeats tomorrow, I plan to spend some time fishing. -30-

Saturday, September 14, 2013 8:58 PM - A difficult night for DX, but I made it to day #199. A lot of tuning around, a few calls to stations that went unanswered, and finally a QSO with YN2PX on 30M some 45 minutes into the 0000Z hour. I'm wondering if I should quit at 200 days. But it still irks me that I missed one day out of 238 some 13 years ago, and I'd like to make it a solid 238 this time around. Then what I'd really like to do is to make it a solid 365 days. It's going to take a big effort especially if conditions are like tonight. Although oddly enough I was hearing Japan on 17M, but otherwise almost nothing. Oh, OM3SEM was good on 30M, but I already worked him twice in the past couple weeks - on 30 and 20. I'm thinking I may have to switch my DX hour to the late afternoon, but that way if I fail I only have a couple hours to try before the day runs out. I guess I could try my best in the 0000Z hour and if that fails, then go for the morning or afternoon. I just don't want to have to devote a whole day just to getting a DX QSO.

It was a chilly day today. We had September in August and now we're having October in September, it seems. It wasn't cold enough to keep me from going fishing though. It was about as successful as my work on the bands this evening, although unlike getting my DX, I didn't get any fish. I almost got one. Just as I was reeling in my one pole getting ready to go home, something grabbed the bait on my other pole and immediately starting pulling line off my reel very rapidly. I tried to slow him down and the line broke or the knot at the swivel came loose. I don't know what it was, but I guess it may have been a carp. -30-

Friday, September 13, 2013 9:10 PM - The DX QSO on day #198 of the DX streak came easily. The Bill Windle contest kind of filled up 20M, 17 and 15M were pretty much dead so I went to 30M, found OK7GU there right away and worked him. Took a few calls for him to get my call, but he stuck with me till the QSO was solidified.

Not much else noteworthy to talk about today. It was a quiet day compared to the fun of yesterday on the Requin subpedition. I got the NY3EC QSLs from the Requin into the mail this morning. So if I was the operator and you worked NY3EC, your card should be there early next week.

I guess the only other thing worth noting is that I helped Ange in the garden this afternoon. We pulled out one row of pole beans in the kickoff of the fall clean-up of the garden. That row was planted early and had come pretty much to the end of its productive season. This was a remarkable year in that we only watered the garden with the hose twice all season. That's far and away a record. Ange did some watering with a bucket and watering can a few times to get the plants over a bit of a dry period, but basically the rain just worked out well. Also Ange has grandkids now, and I think they took away a bit of his enthusiasm for the garden.

I didn't mention food in conjunction with the Requin story. I'm sure you who know Mike and me thought that odd. Well, we did eat. I suggested going to Chili's since we'd be passing the Pittsburgh Mills Mall on our way back here. I wanted another of those wonderful California Turkey Club sandwiches I had the last time we were there a few weeks ago. Mike also got one this time and agreed with me that 1 - they definitely were big and very filling and 2 - they were as good as I said they were.

Looks like the next time Mike and I get together will be for an October 6 parkpedition during NAQCC anniversary week using the N3A special event call. Then another one on Columbus Day October 13 using N3AQC. More about that as the time draws closer. -30-

Thursday, September 12, 2013 9:28 PM - The subpedition came off pretty much without a hitch today. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, here's pretty much a verbatim copy of what will be in an upcoming NAQCC newsletter about the subpedition.

On Thursday, September 12, 2013 NAQCC WPA Chapter members Mike KC2EGL (#1236) and John K3WWP (#0002) conducted an operation from aboard the USS Requin submarine moored near the Carnegie Science Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

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We arrived at the sub shortly before 1400Z and met Art WA3BKD who is caretaker of the sub.

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We set up our equipment (KX3s and Begali paddles). Art set up the antenna connection for us. The antenna was a random wire run between the inner and outer hull of the submarine and terminated in a vertical section on the antenna mast of the sub.

Only one band could be used at a time, and as we said in our announcement if that was the case we would start on 7041 for the first hour. Mike's first CQ garnered a small pile up of four or so stations. KD2JC was pulled out of the pile up for the first QSO of the day.

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Activity was good for the first 90 minutes or so. We made 12 QSOs in the first half hour. The 12th QSO was a sub to sub QSO with WW2DEM - the USS Slater in Albany, NY operated by NAQCC member Stan WB2LQF. John K3WWP was at the key for that QSO.

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In the second half hour we made 10 more QSOs. One of the QSOs was with Don K3RLL who unfortunately could not join us today on the Requin. At 1500Z we switched to 14061 and made 7 QSOs in that hour.

A severe thunderstorm with high wind and strong lightning forced us to shut down for just about an hour from 1536 to 1638Z. When we were able to resume, activity slowed down, and we made only eight more QSOs until we ceased our operation at around 1900Z with a total of 37 QSOs from NY NJ PA CT MI TX MO LA OH CA VA MA WI AR NC AZ.

The next to last QSO was with Jerry K6III in CA who was a sub vet from the USS Rock.

Everyone who worked the sub today will get a NY3EC QSL and the QSO will count as a five point QSO towards the NAQCC Friendship Club award because NY3EC was operated by the NAQCC and its club call N3AQC (#1100). All in all a very enjoyable day for Mike and John made even better because of the way that Art made us feel very comfortable just like being at home.

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We hope to have another subpedition no later than next June, and hopefully Don K3RLL will be able to join us for that one. See you then. -30-

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 2:27 PM - With hamfests, subpeditions, parkpeditions, NAQCC work, fishing, painting, and so on, I let the anniversary of the founding of my web site slip by unnoticed till it dawned on me yesterday. The web site celebrated (quietly) its seventeenth birthday on September 8, and began its eighteenth year of existence. I have updated the banner at the top of the pages to reflect that. I wonder how many other ham radio sites have been in existence that long. Or more to the point, are that old and continue to be updated each and every day. I know some sites that have been started and then the owner just forgets about them and they just sit there becoming more and more updated. I must confess that since I got involved in all the NAQCC work that I haven't done as much updating to my site as I would have liked to. Maybe now that I'm resigning as NAQCC VP and giving up most of my related work I can concentrate more on my web site.

It has been a real joy having the site all these years. The number one reason is that it has encouraged many hams to get back to true ham radio that is CW and QRP. I can't count the number of hams who have told me that my examples of just what can be done with CW, QRP, and maybe most importantly, simple wire antennas has encouraged them to take a look at their situation and give it a try and find out I was correct. Yes indeed, you can succeed in ham radio with just a little bit of power and a hunk of wire for an antenna IF you use the most efficient of all modes - CW.

The info on our Subpedition in yesterday's entry is correct and up to date with just one change. Unfortunately Don K3RLL is ill and won't be going with us so it will be just Mike KC3EGL and I. We certainly hope to make a lot of contacts including you. -30-

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 8:53 PM - I think today was our hottest day since back in July as we hit 93 degrees for a high on my Acurite remote weather station, and that always very closely matches my official outdoor min/max thermometer in my shelter. And it should since the Acurite sensor is in the same shelter. It was also quite humid today. However my house is still pleasantly cool from the cool August and first part of September here. (yes, the warmest day since July 19 when it was 96)

The bands were good this afternoon and I managed three mW QSOs to make my 20 mW QSOs this month to master the NAQCC September mW challenge. I worked W2BPI on 40 and IW2IRP (new prefix for me? - have to check) and OM3SEM both on 20 meters. So now I have the rest of the month to only concentrate on getting the last eight letters/numbers for the NAQCC European Chapter challenge.

I got my DX QSO easily this evening also to close within 5 days of the 200 day mark. EA1FA was very strong and got him on my first try and then a repeat of my call. That also gave me the letter A for the European challenge. Tomorrow may be a bit rough for the DX streak as it's computer club evening then during the day on Thursday it's our Requin Subpedition. So I hope conditions are good for DX tomorrow evening or I may have to do some finagling to get my DX QSO.

Here's about all the details available on our Subpedition. We (Mike KC2EGL and I and hopefully Don K3RLL) plan to board the sub shortly before it officially opens for visitors at 10AM and get set up. We'll be using the frequencies 7041 and 14061 with possibly some time on 10117 also. The sub has a new antenna which is supposed to be multiband, and if the old antennas are still operable it's possible we can do a multi-band operation. Otherwise we can only be on one band at a time as we were last year. I doubt we'll be able to be any more specific than that until we find out the situation on the sub. If it's single band, we'll start on 7041 for an hour, then go to 14061 for an hour. We'll use whichever proves most productive for the third hour and then go from there. If it's multi-band we'll do 7041 and 14061 all the time. If you're interested in trying to work us, just listen, listen, listen and I'm sure, skip permitting, you'll find us. -30-

Monday, September 09, 2013 9:20 PM - The solar flux today at 94 is the lowest it has been since June 12 when it was 93. The bands pretty much follow with poor conditions for DX via the higher paths - EU for example. I didn't hear one good EU signal this afternoon or this evening. I did add three mW QSOs though - WD9F and KA3SJK late this afternoon, and HP0INT/2 tonight. Pretty much the same story with HP0INT tonight as it was 3 or 4 evenings ago. He was working station after station without an ID, so I did the same thing as then except it was 15 meters this evening and I was running 900 mW instead of 5 watts. I decided to work him, then find out who it was later. I quickly set up for split, found where he was listening, plunked down my call and got a comeback on the first try. Who says you can't break a pileup with QRP or in this case QRPp. All you need is a modicum of skill and a great rig like the KX3. So that one QSO took care of my streaks and put me at 17 mW QSOs for the month. I'm also going to pause in my typing to see if any of the mW DX I worked this month may have given me a new mW band country or maybe even an overall new mW country.

OK, Ireland was a new overall mW country. Panama also which makes 72 mW countries now. Mexico on 17 was a new mW band country. I also went back a couple years and found several new mW band countries I hadn't entered into my mW DX table here on the web site.

Well that took quite a while and now I'm off track on where I was going to go in the diary tonight. Let's see.... Oh yes, the day started off with Denny looking for me to help him fix a door lock which we did. While we were working, I also had my laundry in the dryer after finishing the washing just about the time he came looking for me. Also while we were working, I asked if he wanted to go fishing later. He asked when, and I said around 11 o'clock. So I put my laundry away, got something to eat, mailed a letter, walked with Nancy and Roscoe, and that took the time almost to 11. I got my fishing gear ready, and exactly at the stroke of 11 both Denny and I came out our front doors. We went up river to Lock #8 where we often go. Generally we don't catch much, but it's a nice place to fish and easy to get to which becomes more important as one gets older. Today was different though. Almost from the get-go, I started catching things and wound up with three bass - 15.5, 15, and 8 inches, two suckers and a turtle. That was my best fishing day this year and assured me that this is not my worst year as my 23 this year now surpasses 22 from 2010. Eight more and it will only be my third worst year since Denny got me interested in fishing again back in 1992.

I also did some garden work after we got home. I tied up some of my tomato plant branches, cut back some of the foliage on my daylillies, and harvested some tomatoes and beans. That pretty much took me to supper and after that, the on-air work with which I started this diary entry. -30-

Sunday, September 08, 2013 8:53 PM - What a great day this was. Mike and I always have a good time when we get together, but I think today was even a little better than usual. Too bad Mike didn't have time to write this entry, so you'll have to put up with my writing. He left early for a visit with his fiance then home to bed since he has to work tomorrow.

Shortly after he arrived, we headed off to the Butler fall hamfest. There we browsed around looking for some bargains on something we might need. We didn't find anything though, and the only thing we bought was some food to help out the organizers a bit. And of course because we love to eat as you know. We stayed about an hour visiting with some local ham friends, then headed home.

When we got here, we figured out what cables, plugs, etc. we need to finalize our Tuna Tin construction project and get the little guy on the air to make some QSOs. We've got everything figured out and on our next construction project visit we should be able to finalize things and get a few Tuna Tin QSOs in our logs.

After that we did get quite a few QSOs in our logs with my KX3 - most all of them DX with the exception of the Rte 66 special event station. I worked the following: EW1HI, G100RSGB, W6G (900mW), LZ2013HST, IK2CIO (900mW), H70ORO (900mW), TF3DC (17M new band country), and XE2S (900mW). Mike worked most of these plus a couple others I didn't work. So I made good headway on both NAQCC September challenges. I now have 14 of the 20 required mW QSOs needed to master the main challenge, and am down to needing just a handfull of letters/numbers to master the European Chapter challenge.

I almost blew the Iceland station on 17M. I didn't think it was a new band country, so I just tried to make it a 900mW QSO, but when that failed, I checked my country list and found it would be new, so I went up to 5 watts and after a few tries, I got him.

Mike and I took a break then and got a buffet dinner from Ponderosa after he did some soldering on his Tuna Tin cables/connectors. Feeling truly stuffed after the dinner, we went back to some more DXing. Along the way we followed some football and soccer scores. We were both happy the Steelers lost, Mike's Jets won and I was glad because they beat Tampa Bay who a few years ago defeated my Raiders in a Super Bowl. Then our Red Bulls won in the MLS, and moved to within a point of first place. Some of the stations listed above actually came after the Ponderosa break.

When we kind of ran out of DX to work, we watched a Danger Man episode and some hilarious Hogan's Heroes outtakes. Then it was time for Mike to leave.

Both of us continue to be amazed, especially after the ease of making the 900 mW QSOs, at how some folks still do not believe that QRP works so well. The only thing we can figure out is that they just never tried it like the little kid who never tried his spinach because he knew he wouldn't like it. Wouldn't it be nice if somehow, the FCC and/or the IARU would have a world wide QRP day where nobody could run more than five watts? Perhaps that would convert a lot of the doubters.

After he left, I went to the shack in search of my streak QSOs. I easily worked K5FA in MS with 900mW for my 13th mW QSO of the month and we had a nice rag chew also. With virtually solid copy both ways. That ensured the continuation of my big main streak. The DX proved a bit harder. Despite being easy this afternoon and earlier evening, now after 0000Z, conditions had deteriorated. However after a rather long fruitless search, I found EI3KG pretty strong on 20M. Actually so strong, I decided to try him with mW power, and after he worked a few other stations, he finally came back with K3WWP 599 and I had my DX QSO and my 14th mW QSO all in one. The only thing I didn't get from him were any letters for the European challenge. -30-

Saturday, September 07, 2013 9:08 PM - Tomorrow Mike KC2EGL and I will be heading off to the Butler fall hamfest at the Unionville Fire Hall. It's always a nice medium sized hamfest with a lot of tailgate sales. As I've said before, should you happen to be in the area, drop in and look for a couple guys wandering around wearing some NAQCC gear and say hello.

Today was yet another nice day. Too bad we can't have May and September weather the whole year around here. Both months are fairly devoid of a lot of precipitation - September more than May. Both months have generally low humidity, and moderate temperatures. Of course there can be extremes, but they are the exception more than the rule. May can have some pretty nasty thunderstorms while September will occasionally feature the remnants of a Tropical Storm or Hurricane. Although I don't have the records to back it up, it seems that September (and October) must have the greatest percentage of clear skies with May not far behind. I do mean clear - no clouds, but also no haze so common in the warmer summer months.

Because of the hamfest tomorrow, I wanted to try to be sure to get in my DX QSO this evening, but it seemed that no one was hearing me. Well someone once said no use being stupid if you don't show it every once in a while. After wondering for some 10 minutes about not being able to get even a question mark from anyone I called, even H70ORO who always hears me, I figured it out. I knew conditions weren't as good as usual, but some of the stations I called should have heard me. Turns out I still had the KX3 set at 900 mW from last night when I was working on the NAQCC mW challenge. I forgot to go back to five watts. Now had it been a few weeks ago, the stations would still have heard me, even at the QRPp level, but conditions now are not as good as then. By the time I did go to five watts, conditions had deteriorated even a bit more as it was getting further past sunset. Now the EU stations still weren't hearing me and they were getting weaker and weaker. I felt the opportunity for my DX QSO slipping away. However CO6WD came to the rescue. I heard his CQ and with a single call, the DX streak extended to 192 days. Whew!

With that in hand, I went in search of some more mW QSOs. I didn't have much luck on 30 or 40, so I thought I'd try 80, and after a few CQs, Andy W1FL from VT answered me for my 8th mW QSO of the month. That must be the first non-contest 80 meters QSO I've had since back in the spring. There just hasn't been much action on that band during the summer months, and also I haven't really checked it that much since the higher bands have been so great all summer. -30-

Friday, September 06, 2013 9:05 PM - The bands went back in time a couple weeks or so tonight. 20 meters showed a strong EA5KV whom I easily worked at 0003Z for my DX QSO and some letters and numbers for the NAQCC European challenge. Then I had some great success with 900 mW on 40 meters garnering 3 mW QSOs for our main NAQCC mW challenge. One was some real DX - about 10 miles out to Chicora, PA where WB3FAE was. After I finish my web site updates, I'm going to try to find an email for him and tell him about the NAQCC as he was also running QRP. We got clobbered by a VE3 station before we got to talk about that.

It was another very nice weather day today. I did some yard work, went fishing, took Roscoe for a walk, and had a couple other walks by myself. Didn't get any fish as I did a couple days ago, but it was nice to sit out in the cool weather warmed just enough by the abundant sunshine.

The daylight part of the day closed out with a beautiful sunset. One of the longest lasting sunsets I've ever seen. I took some pictures of it until I figured it was wrapping up and it was time to get my QSO. However sitting in my shack with the west facing window, I followed it for another half hour or so making it probably about a 40-45 minute sunset display. Had I not gone to the shack for my QSO, I could have added some more nice pictures to what I got. Here are a couple to give you an idea of how it looked. I'll close with the pictures.

pix_diary_20130906_001 (28K)

pix_diary_20130906_002 (30K)


Thursday, September 05, 2013 9:15 PM - I got my DX QSO just after midnight last night. Turned on the rig and found OM3SEM quite strong on 30M, and worked him pretty easily. That gave me a few more letters for the NAQCC European September challenge also.

Tonight was a different story. It did take a bit of time, but I did get my QSO in the 0000Z hour. I found some DX station working split on 17M, and quickly set up for split operation, waited through one other station, sent my call, and bang he came right back to me. Now all I needed was to find out who I worked. I waited through a few more QSOs, then thought I'd get on the Internet and check some spots. I never use spots except for that reason - to find out who I worked when I run into one of those stations who go for many QSOs without giving an ID. I always think 'work them, then find out who it was you worked'. Otherwise I could miss something rare. Anyway just before the spots came up on the Internet, he did identify - it was HP0INT/1. That's 190 days now for the DX streak. After that, I thought I'd try for a mW QSO, but I didn't succeed.

Other than that, it was a busy day. Early this morning, Nancy came over and asked if I could help take Roscoe to the vet. He had been doing a lot of scratching the past few days. So we took him and got some medicine and he's OK. Then this afternoon Denny came over and asked if I wanted to work on my backyard fence. It needed some repair and we were going to do that tomorrow, but anyway it's done now. Hopefully tomorrow nothing will come up and I can do some fishing. In fact maybe Denny and I will go somewhere and fish. -30-

Wednesday, September 04, 2013 9:19 PM - A couple of "it's been a long time since..." stories tonight to start the diary off.

It's been a long time since I pulled out a little pink note with the one word "QSO" on it and put it here in front of the computer. Why? Well, I didn't get my DX streak QSO this evening, and that will remind me I'll have to go for it tomorrow morning or afternoon. I only heard 3 workable DX stations this evening. 4A2I whom I just worked last night and could have gotten easily tonight, but I don't "over work" the same DX station if I can avoid it. Then an EA and a KP2 station who were in long rag chews, and by the time they ended, they had pretty much faded into the noise. I'm pretty sure I will be able to get some DX tomorrow since it has been good during the daylight hours. If not, 188 days in a row ain't all that bad for QRP and my simple wire antennas.

It's been a long time since I went fishing - almost a month now, in fact. However I ended that non-fishing streak today, and even caught some fish to boot. I got two small bass and a 16 inch sucker. That brings my yearly total to a measly 17. That will be my worst year since I started fishing again in 1992 if I don't get any more this year. If I get 6 more, I'll pass my current worst year - 2010 - when I only caught 22. September is usually a good month for fishing here, so If I get out there enough, I should run up my totals if the fish cooperate.

I did have a couple very good rag chew QSOs today. One with Bob K2YGM when I was running just 900 mW. That made 4 mW QSOs this month so far. 16 to go to master the NAQCC September mW challenge. The other one was not with mW power, but was also enjoyable with Jim W3CKU. We talked about his 66 years in ham radio and my 50 years.

It looks like our Requin operation will definitely be on the 12th. Mike said he managed to get the day off, so he, Don, and I will be on board the Requin that day operating ham radio from the Requin's radio room. More about that as time draws closer.

Also it looks like Mike, Don, Tom, and I will be at the hamfest just north of Butler, PA this Sunday, the 8th. If you're anywhere near the area and drop by, perhaps we'll see you there although we won't be setting up a NAQCC table, just visiting. -30-

Tuesday, September 03, 2013 9:14 PM - The bands, they are a'changin. As I've been mentioning, it's getting harder and harder to get DX in the evenings, while late afternoon is getting better and better. Once again tonight I did manage to get my DX QSO when I easily worked 4A2I on 17 meters.

This afternoon though it was easy to work EU and I got E77DX on 17M for only my second EU station this month to help with the NAQCC European Chapter challenge. Then I worked XE1XR with 900 mW for my 3rd mW QSO of the month for the main NAQCC challenge.

I also finished up my porch painting today with Denny's help and his ladder. I still have a lot of paint left, so I'll probably eventually wind up painting other woodwork on the house.

It was almost like a preview of fall today with the temperature barely getting out of the 60s and the strong breeze all day made it seem even chillier. -30-

Monday, September 02, 2013 9:11 PM - Hope you had a good Labor Day. That has never been one of my favorite holidays for various reasons, a couple of which I'll mention here. Of course in my school days even through college and trade school, it always meant the end of a pleasant summer and back to the grind for nine months. Then when I started work at WPIT it was OK for a few years, but then someone got the bright idea of doing a remote broadcast from Kennywood Park every Labor Day. Now Monday was my normal day off every week along with Thursday for a while then Tuesday for the main part of my work years there. However on Labor Day I did have to 'labor' running the board at the studio while everyone else was out at the park. Missing out on going to the park didn't bother me, but I hated that board shift and missed my normal routine of having Monday off. And there are other reasons I won't go into here.

As far as today, it was nothing special. I did my clothes washing this morning, some shopping, got my first of the month financial matters taken care of except for the trip to the bank which will be tomorrow morning. Then this afternoon Nancy and Jeff invited me for some hot dogs from Jeff's grill which made for a good meal.

We had a nasty little thunderstorm late this afternoon. I didn't know how nasty till I went for a walk after the rain stopped and the boro workers were cleaning up a huge tree that had blown down just about three blocks from here. I saw one other little tree that looked like it had also come down from the wind, but overall I didn't see a lot of limbs down like usual when we get a strong windstorm. There was a car covered up with a tarp near the fallen tree. I couldn't get close enough to see if it was because the car was hit by the tree or just covered to protect it through the cleaning up.

I meant to mention this last night, but forgot. Memory really goes as you get older. I'm finding that out more and more as time goes by. Anyway it is interesting how the memory does work while 'surfing' the Internet. I was checking up on the Pirates who if you're from another planet might not realize they are in a real knock down drag out pennant fight for the first time since people stopped carving on stone walls and started writing on paper. At least it seems that long. Actually this will be the first year since 1992 they will have had a record on the good side of .500. Anyway, I then thought I'd check on the Steelers and was pleased they had an 0-4 record in the preseason. I hope they continue that way during the regular season since I am not now, nor never have been a Steeler fan. It's the Raiders for me. We've had some tough years of late, but for a long time they had the winningest record in all of the NFL in the latter part of the 1900s. To get back on track, that led me to check on my favorite CFL team, the Edmonton Eskimos. They were the counterpart of the Raiders in that they had one of, if not the best, overall records in the CFL in that same time period, and are having tough times of late, especially this year. Next step, on to the CFL record book which led me to one of my favorite Eskimos, kick returner Henry "Gizmo" Williams. What an exciting player to watch. He was a threat to score on every return with his speed and great moves. OK, now to the point of all this. Gizmo brought to memory a great little documentary TV program of the same name that I hadn't seen or thought about in years. So a Bing search is next for "Gizmo TV show". Most hits were of another series that must have had the same name, but eventually I found Gizmo! from 1977 - part 3. That had to be it, and it was. I watched part 3, then with a little more detective work, I found parts 1 and 2 as well. If you're not familiar with it, and would like to get a chuckle from some of the fantastic inventions that never quite.... well made it, as well as sympathize a bit for the inventors, here's where you can find it and watch it
http://www.liveleak.com/browse?q=gizmo%21&= I think that will get it to you. It does here when I click it. Enjoy!

The time is drawing nearer when I will have to abandon my search for DX in the 0000Z hour and switch to the afternoon to continue my streak. Each day of late has been a bit harder to find DX in the evening. Everyone I do find is someone I've already worked too many times or someone who is too weak to even try. I thought tonight was going to be the first of those times, but just as I was about to give up, I checked 20M once more and found a strong CM2CCA whom I have worked a few times but not much recently. I got him with a single call for day #187. -30-

Sunday, September 01, 2013 9:06 PM - The DX came easy this evening. Just two minutes into the 0000Z hour I easily worked HI3LFE. That kind of made up for the struggles of late. Earlier in the day I made my first of what I hope will be 20 QRPp (mW) QSOs this month to master the NAQCC mW Challenge. I worked N2AK on 40M. Ironically our last QSO was about 4 years ago and it was also a mW QSO. I think the rig then was the TS480SAT with my outboard RF attenuator which reduced my power to 930mW. This evening it was my KX3 (what else?) at 900 mW. Then after I got my DX QSO at 5W this evening, I went back down to 900 mW and WY3A answered my CQ. The N2AK QSO also came in response to my CQ. So even 900 mW can create enough attention for folks to answer a CQ. Maybe I'll try to get all 20 mW QSOs via my CQs. We'll see.

A warm humid day today, but I did a little touch up painting. I also harvested a bunch of speckled beans today. Those are the beans that Ron K5DUZ sent me last year. Speaking of Ron, he seems to have disappeared. I haven't heard from him in several months now either in response to diary entries or to his 'job' as head of the NAQCC Texas Chapter. If anyone knows anything about Ron, I'd appreciate knowing. -30-

Saturday, August 31, 2013 11:16 PM - The bands were horrible tonight. Poor propagation, high QRN, low activity, and so on. However even that can't stop QRP and CW. It just takes a little longer and a little more work to get those QSOs.

After I ensured my main streak would continue by working KA8WOG on 30M, I went on a DX scavenger hunt. The only DX station I heard for quite a while was H70ORO on 30M whom I just worked a couple nights ago for my DX streak QSO. So I continued hunting and finally after looking just about everywhere, I found TF3JB on 20 meters. He wasn't very strong, but I got him on my first try although I had to correct my call - he had K3W??. I wasn't sure what the two questionable letters were, but they weren't WP. So with a corrected call and an exchange of RST reports, The DX streak continues another day at 185 now.

As you see from the time stamp, I'm late writing this after doing a lot of various end of month things, so I'm going to close now. -30-

Friday, August 30, 2013 9:26 PM - After 10 days of an average of 1 hour per day of operating the KX3 with my new gel cell, the voltage finally dropped to the point where the KX3 shut off. It continued to put out 5 watts almost to the end. I did note it dropping to 4 watts in the last few minutes, then alternating between 4 and 3 watts, then off it went. Appropriately enough, I was in a QSO with WK2T and talking about how pleased I was with the gel cell and how long it was lasting. I guess it didn't handle flattery too well, and that's exactly when it shut off and I had to plug in my regular power supply to finish the QSO with WK2T. Now it's being recharged.

I mentioned about a half year of DX when I reached 182 days. Well another definition of a half year is six full months, and I reached that tonight when I worked PJ4LS on 17 meters. The bands were quite good today and I noticed activity on 15, 12, and 10 late this afternoon. 15 was still good this evening after the 0000Z hour and there were a couple weak sigs left on 12 as well. -30-

Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:25 PM - Kind of a nothing day today. Can't even think of anything out of the ordinary to write about. I helped Ange pick some beans this morning, and he gave me some cucumbers. I went downtown to the grocery store to stock up on waffles that were on sale. I spent a little time with Roscoe while Nancy was at a long doctor's appointment. There are many things that last several hours but the actual business takes only a few minutes - the rest is waiting, waiting, waiting, wa...... Doctor visits are right up near the top of that list.

I cut my grass in the back yard this evening after it cooled down a bit. We've had another warm spell here the past few day excluding the cool rainy day yesterday.

It was the same old story this evening on the bands, but a bit worse. It even took about 40 minutes to get a regular QSO, and then I had to work H70ORO yet another time for my DX QSO. At least a lot of unanswered CQs showed me further how much time I am getting out of the new gel cell. It's down to 11.1 volts but still putting out a 5 watt signal from the KX3. I've been using it exclusively to power the KX3 for 9 days now with about an average of an hour or so per day with a large percentage spent transmitting. -30-

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 8:51 PM - Those of you who read the diary regularly (Thank You!) know that I keep weather records here. I started in 1959 and kept intermittent records that year. Then since January 1, 1960 I've kept temperature records every day. In late 1961 my aunt (if memory serves) gave me a rain gauge, and except for a few days in the mid 60s for one reason or other, I've kept daily precipitation records. That's roughly 19,000 days of daily precipitation measurements. Today our rainfall was somewhere in the top ten wettest of those days. I'll add the exact figure when I finish the rest of the diary and get my 9PM readings.

Perhaps I should write my diary entry early as I did yesterday, more often. Last night for my DX QSO I easily worked Jean 5T0JL in Mauritania on 20 meters for a new DX country (entity) - # 218 for my QRP/CW totals. I was impressed when I looked him up on QRZ after the QSO. He makes a lot of very good points there about ham radio in a very long biography. At 85 years of age, he's seen a LOT of radio in his lifetime.

Tonight I had to look for a while for my DX, but finally ran across HP1/IZ6BRN calling CQ on 17 meters and got him with a single call. That makes a half year (almost) for my DX streak now. An exact non-leap year half year is 182 1/2 days. This was day 182 for the streak.

I mentioned September 12 for our operation from the sub Requin. That may have to be changed now as Mike KC2EGL said he may have to work that day. Stay tuned for further updates.

OK, be back in a minute with the rainfall info.....

pix_diary_20130828_001 (40K)

As you can see (maybe - the picture was hard to take - had to drape a black shirt in back to get something decent), the rainfall today was 3.02 inches when the rain gauge is held perfectly level which makes it # 5 in the 'wet days' rankings here.

9/17/2004 5.69 (Hurricane Ivan)
6/25/2006 5.57 (Training thunderstorms - from SW to NE Armstrong county right through Kittanning)
8/8/2005 3.34
9/8/1989 3.10
8/28/2013 3.02

Thank goodness it was pretty dry the past several days so the ground absorbed the rain with only minor flooding here and there. Just a trace in my basement vs. 8 inches or so those first two days.

The gel cell started this evening at 11.4 volts and dropped to 11.2, but still putting out 5 watts. -30-

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 9:15 AM - I'm cleaning up some email here, and found some diary comments, so I'll post them now and make this my entry for the day.

From Mark WU7F, "John, I was looking forward to working you and Don in the park today, but as luck would have it, I got slammed with things at work. I got through most of that and was able to get on the radio at about 1900Z and nothing heard (didn't expect to at that time) Sorry I missed you guys (again!)

I just got an Inverted Vee put up last week. I'm going to arrange it as a dipole in a few weeks. I'm feeding the Inverted Vee with windowed ladder-line, but will switch to 600 ohm open wire feed-line. I'm looking forward to those improvements (most of which will be the result of putting the wire higher up) I haven't had an antenna up since Field Day when I had to dismantle what I had. I've been doing mini outings in the back yard to get my radio fix since June. So much better now.

The replacement of the K2 with a KX3 has been great (as you know) and I have taken the KX3 to the park numerous times. The best outing with it was Field Day - where it worked so nicely. My son had just come home from college for summer break and used the radio for the first time. He agreed it was the fantastic - and he did most of the operating - insisting on using the paddle rather than using the logging software to send the CW to the rig via a WinkeyerUSB. He said that it didn't even seem like a big contest because the filters made it sound like it was just you and the station he was working. He had used the K2 for years, so its not like he wasn't familiar with a great CW rig... but the sound of the KX3 when the filters are kicked-in sound more natural.

A couple of weeks ago I purchased that little plastic stand for the KX3. I thought it was sort of a gimmick - and figured I could make my own stand. But I don't really have the woodworking tools and didn't want to bother anyone, so I decided to purchase that little 'Nifty Stand'. It turned out to be a good investment for me! The tuning knob on the radio blocked a portion of the display at the viewing angle I had of the radio before using the stand. Unless I moved the radio closer to the front of the desk or leaned in to hover over it, some of it was blocked. Now it sits up a few inches and is angled where I can see everything. I really like the operating position much better and can keep the rig farther away from the front edge of the table so I have room for papers and resting my forearm when using the paddle (I use an external paddle [switched to single-lever this year]). What a great radio! I am grateful to you for the write-ups you did on yours. I loved the K2 and didn't want to loose anything I loved about that radio if I moved to the KX3. Money is tight and I couldn't justify keeping the K2... so had to sell it in the spring to help get money for the KX3. I'm glad I got the KX3 and your experience was part of what helped me make that decision.

So with the antenna up, and the radio sitting right here... all I need is some time. I've been making contacts every day since the antenna has been up - usually in the evening on 40 or 30... Had a great QSO last night for over an hour with my buddy who is a Radio Officer sailing on a container ship in the Pacific (the same ship I sailed on in 2003!) He was half way to Hawaii and we talked on 40, 20, and then settled on 30 Meters. 30 was great (I love that band!) I just wish I had a little more freedom in my schedule so I could get on during the day.

So while I couldn't get on with you guys, I was thinking of you and hope it was a fun adventure and not too hot. 72 WU7F, Mark in Centerville, UT

P.S. Added balun on Ant - have a few feet of coax that goes through the wall, and then into the current balun which converts to the ladder line. On previous antennas G5RV and a Vertical) I would get some RFI in the shack on transmit (on 40 meters my mouse cursor would jump around) - and I would hear a lot of hash on 20. Not any more. The balun and very short piece of coax have improved things considerably."

Mark is referring to our August 20 parkpedition.

The KX3 comments are repeated over and over by every KX3 user. It is the rig for the serious QRPer both as a home station rig or a portable rig. You no longer have to take a tiny dedicated QRP rig with its sometimes hard to use features to the field. You now have a full easy to use complete rig to take out anywhere with either built in batteries or an external gel cell. It certainly has made a difference in our NAQCC WPA Chapter portable operations here. And to top that off, it's by far, the best home station rig I've ever used as well.

And from Jeff WN1MB, "Hi John, Enjoying reading your online diary.

Somewhat related to your Nova Delphinus viewing, I'll be camping in NY's Adirondack Mountains [dates omitted for security] As a literal "Main Street" dweller, it's going to be wonderful to be in the middle of that natural reserve away from all the light pollution and revel at the awesome night sky!

Stay well and 73, Jeff Bauer, WN1MB

P.S. I'll also be operating WN1MB/2 with the Ten Tec Argonaut 509 when not hiking or harvesting fishies from Seventh and Raquette Lakes. HI."

I left the dates out just in case. You never know in this day and age. -30-

Monday, August 26, 2013 8:43 PM - This will be a rather quick entry as I have to talk with Tom WY3H in a few minutes about things needing doing for our pending NAQCC retirements.

The day started early with a call from Ange for help watering his garden. After that it was Monday morning clothes washing time. After the wash cycle, and they were in the dryer, I had another painting session which has now almost finished the green part of the porch. When that is done, I get to the light grey part which shouldn't be as tedious as there are not the tricky intricacies of the green part.

Around mid-afternoon I checked out the bands looking for a better time of day for continuing my DX streak. It looks like maybe the 1900-2100Z hours might be good. I worked S51WO easily on 17 M at 1946Z and we chatted about rig, wx, etc for a few minutes. And hey, I was only running 800 mW. He was S9+ and gave me a 579. then I fooled around a bit more to continue draining my gel cell which started at 11.9 and wound up at 11.7 volts after the afternoon session and another session this evening. It was difficult getting a DX QSO this evening, but finally I found and worked NP2KW for day #180.

I also got confirmation this evening that as of now, barring any changes, Don K3RLL, Mike KC2EGL, and I will be operating from the submarine Requin on Thursday, September 12. Details to follow here and via our NAQCC email list.

Now I've got to wrap this up, get my weather readings, and give Tom a call. -30-

Sunday, August 25, 2013 9:35 PM - Didja ever have one of those days when seemingly a myriad of little things went wrong? I had one of mine today. No major problems, just a lot of tiny little annoyances that I won't dwell on here.

Instead I'll dwell on the positive. Yet another beautiful day and a chance for some more painting. You're probably wondering what's taking me so long to get my painting done. Well, I don't have any kind of deadline and as I've said before, I'm just doing an hour or so a day when I feel like it. I may not get done till it's time to do it again - who knows? And I don't really care.

My DX QSO was almost another negative this evening. Conditions were rough and about the only strong DX station was H70ORO whom I've already worked too often. Oh, and also CN8KD was strong but having trouble hearing those who were calling him. There was also another station whose call I forget now who got so frustrated at the sloppy code that was being sent his way, he just said he was going QRT. I think it was a CU3 station if I remember right now. Anyway it was now getting about to the point where I was going to give up and get out my little pink note to remind me I still needed a DX QSO in the morning or afternoon. Then I went back to 20 for a final time and heard a KD6 station in the Hawaii QSO Party. I forgot it still goes till 0400Z tonight. I always have an easy time working Hawaii on most any band from 40 up through 10. So I tuned around a bit and heard K9FD/KH6 calling CQ. He got a quick answer from someone and worked them, then I called and got WWP? I sent my call twice and we made the QSO which extends the DX streak just short of a half year now at 179 days.

And for those following my gel cell output along with me. I started at 12.0 volts and after an hour and 20 minutes it dropped only to 11.9 volts and still powering the KX3 to a full 5 watts output after almost a week now. -30-

Saturday, August 24, 2013 9:41 PM - I haven't done any "Why is it that..." lately, so here are a couple.

Why is it that some DX stations seem to never identify themselves, but just keep running station after station with just a TU or dit dit or whatever with no mention of their call. I worked a station on 30M tonight, and 8 minutes later I finally found out who I had worked. I actually had to look it up on an Internet spot site to find out who it was, and just as I was looking, he finally did ID. A DX station should definitely ID more often than this one did. Although I'm not a DX station, when I'm in a QSO with someone and my turn is over and it's the other stations turn to transmit, 99 percent of the time, I'll send his call and my call just so anyone listening knows just who he is listening to. Perhaps it's some friend of mine I haven't worked in a while or maybe someone looking for a new county - whatever. If I can save him some time by IDing frequently, I do it.

OK, another one. Why is it that some folks like to play a guessing game with their telephone answering machine. Their message gives no clue as to whom I have reached - it's purely generic. I think such a message should include as a bare minimum a first name or a phone number. Perhaps something like, "You've reached the Shannon residence...." also works well.

OK enough of that for this entry. Sometimes I just get upset when folks don't do things the way common courtesy demands, or at least suggests.

Today was another beautiful day. It's actually been a great weather month so far with early September weather in August. So I did still some more painting and some prep work for still more painting to be done.

I also put in some more time on my new gel cell battery. It started out at 12.2 volts, dropped to 12.1 pretty quickly and at the end of my operating session it wound up at 12.0 volts. That's quite a bit over 4 hours I've put on it so far which means it definitely will be good for any of our parkpedition sessions.

Oh, almost forgot. I spotted Nova Delphinus a little while ago after failing last night just because I didn't feel like going out again later as I said I might. Tonight I just kind of leaned back in the corner of my basement steps to ease the stretching of the neck, aimed my binoculars at the spot and there it was. Of course it just looks like any ordinary star, but knowing your looking at a star that just 'blew up' is kind of thrilling. Well blew up many years ago to be technically correct. The light from the explosion takes a long time to get here. -30-

Friday, August 23, 2013 9:26 PM - I got an interesting QSL card from one of those hams we worked on our last parkpedition. It was from W0RW in Colorado. He has been in ham radio for 60 years now. That's interesting in itself, but he also says he held an Aeronautical Search & Rescue license at one time - in fact he enclosed a copy of the license. And you know what the call sign was - WWP3. Speaking of parkpedition QSLs - as you may know already we send out a picture QSL to everyone we work on our regular parkpeditions. I should be sending mine out in a couple days now. Just awaiting word they have been delivered to our local Rite Aid store. I have the envelopes all ready - just need the cards now.

It was a nice day today, so I did some more painting. I like doing it this way - just an hour or so a day when I feel like it. No pressure to be done by a certain day. Very relaxing and no stress.

I also helped Ange in his garden for a bit, and took my usual walks.

It looked pretty grim for getting my DX QSO tonight. I thought maybe I'd have to wait till the morning or afternoon or perhaps snag a KH6 in the Hawaii QSO party later tonight (it starts at 0400Z). I tried calling a few weak stations with no results. I could have worked CO8LY on 30M easily, but I just worked him there a couple weeks ago. Finally I ran across V44KAO tuning up or testing near the low end of 30M, and as soon as he sent QRZ? I called him and worked him easily. He even said it was nice to work me again. It has been a while since our last QSO.

It's nice and clear tonight, and I think I'll try to spot Nova Delphinus. Trouble is it's pretty much right overhead and hard on the neck to look straight up like that. So maybe I'll wait till after midnight when it should be slipping down toward the west somewhat. The moon will be up by that time, but the nova should be bright enough so that won't be a problem. In fact under dark skies (what is that? HI) it should be a naked eye object. It's one of the top 40 brightest novas of all time, peaking around magnitude 4.4 about a week ago. -30-

Thursday, August 22, 2013 9:15 PM - A good portion of the day today was spent working on our NAQCC sprint results. It seems we had an issue after the sprint when we weren't receiving logs from our autologger. Then last night we found out the problem. Our logs were 'stuck' on one of GoDaddy's email servers and we got 64 of them last night in a big bunch. So today it was combining those with the ones we already had before - discarding the duplictes. Then re-computing scores and practically doing the cross-checking all over again with the new logs included. Whew! If anyone wonders why I'm looking forward to my retirement as VP of the NAQCC, things like that should explain it.

Other than that, I put the KX3 on the air again with my gel cell. Probably about an hour this afternoon and another hour tonight. It held at 12.3 volts most of the day, then dropped to 12.2 late this evening. I figure I have about four hours of operating time, a lot of it transmitting, on the battery now, and I'm pleased it is holding up so well. It should definitely last for any of our parkpeditions and also be a good standby here if we lose power. It will also allow some experimenting in my back yard with some antennas, albeit there's not enough room for any serious experimenting, just fooling around with some small antennas, perhaps.

It was rough getting my DX QSO again this evening. I didn't hear any EU stations, one weak AF (CN8KD), and a few Cubans. Finally I worked one of the Cubans for day 176 of the DX streak. -30-

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 10:00 PM - Yesterday and today, I have been trying out my new gel cell to see how long it will power my KX3 so I know what to expect when we do another parkpedition or other portable type operation. So far I've put in about three hours of use and it dropped from a cold start right after full charging of 13.2 volts to about 12.4 volts. There was a quick initial drop from 13.2 to 12.8 volts after just several minutes. After that the drop has been more gradual. I've included as much transmitting as possible in the test - either calling CQ or engaging in rather long rag chews. So it looks like I am going to be quite happy with it.

Thought you might like to see a picture of Don and me from the park on Tuesday showing off my little portable station to go along with the antenna pictures in yesterday's entry.

pix_diary_20130821_001 (76K)

Today I was also treated to a nice lunch at Ponderosa by Nancy and Bruce for helping them out the other day. Other time was filled with walking, watering my garden, picking some vegetables, and doing some re-wiring of my shack.

This evening my DX QSO again came quickly when I worked E77W on 20 meters. Another 7 days now and the DX streak will be at a half year. I also had 4 other QSOs testing out the gel cell as described above. -30-

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 4:03 PM - Since my memory seems to be getting worse and worse, I thought I'd write up our parkpedition here in the diary shortly after we finished rather than waiting and forgetting something. Don arrived here at 9:30AM, and we almost immediately headed up to the park. It took a little while to set up and we started operating just about exactly at 10AM. I had 20 and Don had 40 meters. I got an immediate response to my CQs and even had a moderate pileup at one point just a few minutes after 10AM. Conditions seemed remarkably good - probably a combination of actual good propagation and my antenna. As with the last time out, I used my K3RLL jumper multi-band dipole in an inverted V configuration. Picture and description later in the entry.

My contacts lined up this way:
1402Z W0RW CO
1405 W5IQS TX
1407 K9OSC MN
1409 WB4MNK FL
1412 W5YDM TX
1425 KB0ETU AL
1431 W0EJ SD
1437 K1JD NM
1454 N4MJ TN
1505 VE6RI AB
1512 KK4SER FL
1524 KG4WPD GA
1544 KK4BOB FL

Not bad for two hours of operating since we weren't operating contest style, but chatting a while when the activity slowed down a bit. I enjoyed all the QSOs, but especially want to mention the one with K1JD in NM. it was a solid 2 way QRP QSO. He was using a KX3 that he had just built over the weekend, and the tiny paddle designed for the rig. Of course I was using my KX3 with my Bencher paddle.

Each time Don or Mike and I have gone to the park, the weather was beautiful. We figure it was because I have been kind to the weather keeping track of it for over 50 years now. This is the picture from today. No it's not a re-run. Each day has looked pretty much the same up there this year.

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Here's a candid shot of Don operating from the opposite corner of the pavilion:

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This is a wide view of the pavilion with my antenna in the foreground.

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Finally a better view of my jumper multi-band antenna. The yellow cord is to raise the antenna up to the tree limb. The legs of the dipole spread out to either side, and the coax feedline is in the middle.

pix_diary_20130820_004 (120K)

When things slowed down a bit around 10:45AM, we thought maybe we'd pack up and head home early, but right on cue, activity increased, so we stayed there almost the full two hours. I'm not sure how many QSOs Don had on 40, but he looked busy each time I glanced his way.

In addition to the pictures above, Don took some with his camera while we were packing up to go home. He'll be sending them to me via email, and from them and the above ones, I'll make up a picture QSL card to send to everyone we worked.

After we were all packed up, we headed out to the local Battery Warehouse. I needed to get a new stronger gel cell. My old one has almost given up the ghost now, and I had to borrow from Don and Mike the last two parkpeditions. Now I have a new 12V 7Ah one that is charging over in the corner as I type here. That should easily give me 4 hours of operating time with the KX3.

There was a Sheetz right next door to the battery store so we stopped there for lunch - a delicious Chicken Caesar Salad for both of us. Then we came home and just visited a bit before Don headed back to New Bethlehem. -30-

Monday, August 19, 2013 9:05 PM - Don K3RLL and I will be doing the NAQCC N3AQC Parkpedition tomorrow as planned. We're leaving here around 1330Z for the park and as soon as we get there and get set up, we'll start operating on or near 7041 and 14061. We plan to stay till 1600Z unless activity warrants us staying longer. So look for us and give a call when you hear us.

Today I finished up cross-checking logs from our NAQCC sprint, helped Nancy and Bruce set up a new VCR/DVD player and with some work on a kitchen cabinet.

Strange conditions on the bands this evenings. Some good strong DX, but nobody was hearing me call for a good long while until I ran across EA8TL on 15M. It took a couple calls to get him, but I did so the DX streak goes on another day. -30-

Sunday, August 18, 2013 8:16 PM - All days when Mike KC2EGL and I get together are great, and today was no exception. Mike came down around 10 AM or so, and we got on the bands to chase some DX. The bands were good to EU at that time and I worked LZ1105PIO, S546EB, HA3FTA, HB9CVQ, and DL2RU/P. Mike also worked them and a couple others that I didn't work. Those stations brought me to near completion of the NAQCC European Chapter challenge, needing only an M to finish it off after working them. After that we went over to visit Nancy for a bit, then headed off toward Pittsburgh to the Pittsburgh Mills Mall. Mike needed some new work shoes so we stopped ad Dick's to get them. Then our top priority surfaced and we looked for some place to eat. We wound up at Chili's, and I had perhaps the best Turkey Club sandwich I've ever had plus a huge order of fries. Mike said after I finished the huge (and I mean huge) sandwich that he thought I'd have to take half of it home. You'd think Mike would know me and my appetite better than that by now. HI

After that we headed home and put together and submitted our Skeeter Hunt report, then went back to the bands again. We had a little trouble working stations, but Mike worked another handful and I, being only interested in getting that M to finish the challenge passed on the stations he was working. Then when he ran across MD0CCE, I 'threw' him out of the chair and quickly got my M to finish the challenge, then let Mike get him.

Since it was getting slow, Mike suggested, and I agreed, we'd go and watch a Danger Man episode. After that, we didn't have enough show watching, so we watched a Doctor In The House episode. A great adventure show followed by a great British comedy show. Then Mike had to head up north again since he has work tomorrow.

It was now 2330Z and I took a walk to fill the half hour before going on the air to get my streak QSO(s). It didn't take long till I worked Z33Z on 20 meters at 0012Z to stretch the DX streak to 172 days. There was a beautiful sunset as I looked out the shack window, so I quickly came down here and grabbed my camera. I missed the real peak by a few minutes, but it was still nice as this picture shows:

pix_diary_20130818_001 (28K)

It looks like Don K3RLL and I will be doing a N3AQC Parkpedition on Tuesday. I have to get back to him via email to finalize things, then I'll report tomorrow night here in the diary as well as sending out a promo via our NAQCC email list. -30-

Saturday, August 17, 2013 7:47 PM - As you see from the time stamp it's about 10 minutes before I go hunting for my streak QSOs, so I thought I'd fill the time writing this entry.

I did some more painting today. The tedious painting of the wrought iron railings on the porch. Kind of tiring, but satisfying to see them with the new coat.

Later I gave my garden a good weeding. I think this is one of the poorest years for my garden. I believe the very rainy early summer rotted some of the roots on a lot of the plants. Still I got (and am getting) just enough vegetables to keep me going without having too many extras and not knowing what to do with them.

Of course I also got in my walking in addition to the usual everyday little things that are not really worth talking about. The beautiful weather continues here. Just about a perfect August - not too hot nor too cold.

A nice week coming up also after Monday. Don (K3RLL) and I are planning to go on a parkpedition one of the days not decided upon yet. Of course I'll mention it here and also we will post it on our NAQCC email list for club members.

Well, just about time to go get my QSOs. Hope I can snag a quick DX QSO. Not sure if there are any DX contests going on or not this weekend. That would make it easy if there were. -30-

Friday, August 16, 2013 9:29 PM - More porch painting today. One more session should finish it up. Then I may work on the other woodwork on the house - door frames, window frames, etc.

I also helped Ange pick some beans from his garden. I watered my garden, and did some weeding. Also took a couple pretty long walks.

It was very rough getting my DX QSO this evening. My regular QSO took a bit of time also, but finally my friend of some 45+ years Ken WA8REI answered my 40M CQ. Before and after that I searched and searched for some strong DX to work but didn't find any. I tried calling some of the weaker DX with no result. Finally after a full hour, T48FM finally responded to my call and that makes 170 days now for the DX streak. I just looked at the SF and A numbers and I see there were geomagnetic storms and the A index was rather high at 23 which helps explain the poor DX conditions. Had I not worked EA8/DL7VOA last night to get that V for the NAQCC challenge, I could have worked him easily on 30M tonight, but I don't work DX stations on consecutive days on the same band. -30-

Thursday, August 15, 2013 9:09 PM - Spent the morning helping Ange pick pears from his trees at his house. It looked from a short distance that there weren't more than a couple dozen because they blend in with and hide behind the foliage so well. However we probably got around 200 or so, if not more.

A couple walks, some more work on the sprint logs this afternoon used up some time. This evening a walk with Roscoe, some more computer work takes us to 0000Z.

The bands were good tonight - very good compared to what they've been the past week or 10 days. I snagged S53A easily at 0004Z for a couple more letters in the European NAQCC challenge and to extend my DX streak. Then a couple of rag chews with WA9NPS and KD5ZLB on 40 meters. Then on to 30 meters where I got my final letter (V) for our regular NAQCC challenge from EA8/DL7VOA - a very easy QSO even though he wasn't very strong here. After that I found EA2CAR on 20M and we had a short chat style of QSO, and I got a couple more European challenge letters in the bargain. I hope conditions continue this way now. -30-

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 9:44 PM - Yet another busy day today working on sprint logs, doing some prep work on my porch getting ready for another painting session, some shopping, and computer club meeting tonight. Then Bruce and I watched an Iridium satellite pass. Whew!

Now I've got to come up with a new poll to start tomorrow here on the web site. Actually it should be starting now, but I didn't have time to do it today. I'll try to come up with something before midnight and get it posted.

I used yet another old faithful for my DX QSO this evening a few minutes ago - CO8LY, at least this time on a new or different band - 30 meters. So the streaks go on for another day.

Oh, I almost forgot to include this in the day's activities. I did go visit my friend Bill in the Health Center. We had a good time chatting together and it was good to see him looking pretty good and in very good spirits. -30-

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 10:47 PM - Another good NAQCC sprint this evening. My usual horrible local QRN was there, but I did cope with it better and got about a dozen more QSOs than last month. Before the sprint, I hoped to get my DX QSO for the DX streak, and I did, working H70ORO. Didn't want to work him again, but I have a somewhat busy day tomorrow and I did want to secure the streak as quick as I could.

Tomorrow I hope to visit a friend in the health center. I think I've mentioned him in the diary in the past. He's the one who helped me re-build my thermometer shelter a couple years ago. We also have done some other woodworking projects together like my sundial to mention one. He's not doing too well right now, but the last time I talked to him he had a good positive attitude which helps a lot in recovery from health problems.

Then tomorrow evening is our computer club meeting, so that will be another tricky one for getting my DX QSO, as I won't be home till after dark, and 20 seems to be slipping away earlier and earlier in the evenings now. Oh, and I guess no one noticed, or at least mentioned my math error last night. With the DX streak at 166 days, I said 20 more days for a half year. Of course it should have been 16 (or 17) days instead.

I'm a bit tired now from 2 solid hours of contesting, so I guess that's about all for this entry. Oh, one more thing. I'm delighted to see the voters in my polls really picked up this month. I took a quick glance today and saw that 65 different folks took time to vote. Thanks. -30-

Monday, August 12, 2013 10:17 PM - The months go by pretty quickly, and so do the seasons. It's already getting pretty dark before 9 PM now here in Western PA whereas a month ago it was still pretty light at 10 PM. Also it seems like it was just yesterday we had our NAQCC monthly sprint, and now coming up tomorrow evening at 8:30PM is another one. I wish I could operate it from the Community Park like we did with the Skeeter Hunt yesterday, but it's not a place to be alone after dark. Also it would be hard to see with no real lighting up there. It sure would provide better conditions than down here in the valley though. Mike was kidding me yesterday about just moving my whole house up there. HI That would be great, but I'm stuck in the valley with no real sign of escape so I'll just have to put up with what I have here. It's not really all that bad and I do OK down here so no real complaints.

There was a super pileup on 20M almost 10 kHz wide. I could hear the station they were chasing quite strong, but I never did catch the call as he only would ID quickly in between quite a few QSOs. I think it may have been HV0A which would be Vatican City. As you know I never do check spots or Dxpedition info here - I just tune the bands like the old prospectors pan for gold. Yes, I guess that is a good analogy of my operating style. Sometimes I'll try a creek with no known gold lode - analogy: try a band that seems dead and hope to turn up a nugget... er QSO or two. Or I'll sometimes get in a creek that is known for its gold and try my hand there - like 20M in early evening this time of year.

If anyone does know if I'm right about the Vatican, let me know. I'm sure of the V0 and think I caught an H or maybe a 5 as the first letter in my drive by tuning. If it is the Vatican, I don't need that one overall anyway, and I think my HV5PUL QSO was on 20 if I recall correctly.

Well, I'm rambling so let me cut that out and get on with it. It was rough getting my DX QSO this evening and I went to the tact of getting my regular streak QSO on 40 to ensure that streak - N8GM provided me with that. Then back to 20M. If I would find someone there, it would probably be an easy QSO since everyone else must have been in the pileup. I found a weak Italian, but while I was listening to him, I noticed a closeby big peak on the panadapter and checked it out. That was XE1ZW and I worked him easily to make the DX streak 166 days now - 20 to go for a half-year.

Other than getting on the air, I also worked on getting our Skeeter Hunt report ready. Then when Mike comes down on Sunday we'll finish it off and submit it. We wound up with 49 Skeeter QSOs and 21 non-Skeeters in 23 SPCs for a total of 11,448 points.

Then I put together my jigsaw puzzle of the WAE contest - with some QSOs in the computer and some scattered randomly on paper from the Community Park and some on paper from here at home, it was a little bit of an effort, but I did it, and only found one duplicate. I had 75 QSOs and 38 multipliers, and I haven't figured the score yet, so I'll just do it right now. I believe that's 75 x 38 x 2 which would be 5,700 points if I understand the rules correctly. Far short of my 2001 showing of 13,056 points, but I put in 7 hours then vs. about 3-4 this year. Nevetheless a lot of fun especially working the DX from the park. -30-

Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:24 PM - A simply great day today. Mike and I went up to Community Park and set up for the Skeeter Hunt. Before that started however, I fooled around in the WAE contest on 15M. It was very easy working stations from the higher terrain of the park. I was using my KX3 (of course) and a jumper dipole in an inverted vee configuration. That was an antenna design we got from Don K3RLL a couple years ago. It worked superbly on 15M in the WAE contest, on 40M during the Skeeter Hunt, and after the test on 20M again in the WAE contest.

Mike and I made 70 Skeeter Hunt QSOs between us. He used his KX3 and a 110' EF LW for his setup. He did 20M and I did 40M. We have to check our logs, but roughly we made 50 Skeeter QSOs and 20 non-Skeeter QSOs in 21 SPCs.

When we got home we played in the WAE contest some more, and had great fun with out tag-team effort. I thought maybe after the WAE contest wound down, it would be hard to find a DX QSO after 0000Z for my DX streak, but LZ13FDAY showed up on 20M just about after the contest ended and was an easy QSO for not only me, but for Mike also.

Right now, I'm pretty tired (brain-wise) after today. Maybe I'll provide more details about today in tomorrow's entry. -30-

Saturday, August 10, 2013 10:10 PM - I will sure be glad when my NAQCC retirement is complete. This transition period still involves a lot of work. But I'm not going to dwell on that.

I got up early this morning, got my computer work done, and then continued the painting job on my porch. As I said, I'm allocating about an hour to an hour and a half each good weather day for painting. Now I have the whole porch up to a certain level painted except for an area behind my Hosta plant which I will finish when it dies back in the fall. I must say it really looks nice now. What I painted the other day wasn't as out in the open as what I did today, and that section really shows up nicely with a fresh coat of paint. Tomorrow Mike is coming down as I'll mention shortly, so I won't get any painting done then - perhaps I can pick up on Monday.

Mike is coming for another NAQCC parkpedition. As I mentioned a couple days ago, we'll be putting N3AQC in the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt contest from 1700-2100Z, probably on 20 and 40 meters around the standard QRP frequencies of 7040 and 14060. We may have some competition from the WAE contest on 20, but 40 should be OK during those hours.

Speaking of the WAE, I struggled through the QTCs and made 20 more QSOs this evening before giving up. So at the very least, the WAE helped in extending my DX streak to 164 days now. 20 meters still seems pretty good in the early 0000Z hour, but does start to die off slowly after that judging from the European signals the past couple nights. So as I said, I may be losing that band and time for making my DX QSO of the day - at least European QSOs. But I'll find a way to continue the streak somewhere and sometime each day. -30-

Friday, August 09, 2013 9:06 PM - One of my least favorite of the big DX contests is this weekend - the Worked All Europe contest. I strongly dislike the QTC aspect of the contest. Basically the design is just not for the minimal QRPer - especially one who is a bit impatient like me. It's aggravating to wait while the station you want to work is exchanging messages. But at least it was an easy way to get my DX QSO for the day. I worked IR2C easily just after the turn of the 0000Z hour. Then I stuck around long enough to get 13 more QSOs before I couldn't take it any more.

I do think it is great having the extra exchange of information, but it's mostly for stations with big signals. Actually I feel honored when I'm asked QTC?, but I always decline because I'm sure it is not all that easy for the stations to copy my minimal QRP signals.

Anyway enough of that - but really not much else to talk about. It rained this morning, then gradually cleared up. I did get in a couple of good walks including a nice one with Roscoe. Other than that, nothing much else worth talking about happened. So I'll just end here. -30-

Thursday, August 08, 2013 9:25 PM - Another disgusting pile-up on 20M. MJ/OR9T was quite strong here, but those calling him were of the rude or stupid variety. He would send W1? and a W6 would come back. There was also a KY6 who apparently didn't know his own call as he would come back to any partial call the MJ station would send, and there were others as well. I think if I were a DX station and that happened to me, I either wouldn't work those stations, or maybe to get rid of them, I would work them, but 'forget' to put them in my log. Such poor operating practices really upset me. Needless to say I never did break through those guys to get the MJ station. Actually I just got tired of listening to the way things were going and just tuned away. I had already gotten my DX QSO anyway with 4A2I earlier.

On Sunday Mike and I are going to do a parkpedition with a different twist. We'll be putting N3AQC into a contest instead of just making regular QSOs. I'll talk more about that in the next couple days.

I haven't worked any European stations for a few days now, so I haven't advanced on the European Chapter challenge, but I am down to needing 7 letters now to finish our regular NAQCC August challenge. I think with the sun heading south, so to speak, I may have to adjust my times for working Europe as 20M doesn't seem to be providing many good signals from there after 0000Z. There are a few exceptions like LZ1QI, who must have a QRO station and multi-element beam headed this way as he is virtually always strong no matter the conditions.

After we get some rain out of the way in the next 24-36 hours, it looks like another streak of great dry cool weather coming up for a week or so. I hope to get some more painting done as well as some fishing and other outdoor activities. -30-

Wednesday, August 07, 2013 9:20 PM - Once again CW and QRP prevail over not so good conditions. Took a while to find a DX signal strong enough to try working. There just weren't any to be found on 20, 30, or 17. Well there was an OY/DL.... station on 30 pretty strong, but very popular with a big pile-up of high power stations. Finally I just started trying calling some of the not so strong stations and connected easily with OX3XR on 20M. So the streaks go on.

Other than that not much news. We had a good rainstorm late this afternoon, and I thought I'd head to the sewer outlet for some carp, but that didn't work out as well as the DX did. Only some puny little bites with long pauses in between, and I never did catch anything.

The rest of the time spent doing some housecleaning and playing computer games. -30-

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 9:37 PM - Another busy day today. I've been waiting for some good cool dry weather to paint my front porch and some trim on the house. Regular readers know I painted my awning about a month or so back, and I want to catch up to that and give as much as possible a new coat of paint to match the awning. Anyway, I decided I'd not get carried away and try to paint everything in one day, so I kind of decided to spend about an hour or so each good day, and today was the first of those. I got quite a bit done including a lot of the lattice work which is very tedious.

After that was done, I went fishing for about an hour and a half and only got one little sandpike just as I was getting ready to quit. So that's 14 fish this year - quite poor but at least I'm past the 'unlucky' 13. Also I'm just 1 fish behind last year at this time, and I wound up over a 100 last year, so I may put on a good stretch run again this year.

Home again, I watered my garden. Speaking of watering, It's hard to believe, but Ange and I only gave his garden one good hose watering so far this year. The rain has just pretty much been coming at just the right times, and I think he is losing a little interest in the garden also. He has three grandkids born in the past year or so, and spends a lot of time with them.

For supper I had a good garden grown salad with tomatoes and peppers from my garden and a zucchini from Ange's garden.

This evening was another rather tough DX one. Chris F8DGY was booming in on 20, but I've worked him quite often on that band, so I went looking for someone else. Actually, I thought I'd get my regular streak QSO first to ensure that streak continued. I called CQ on 40 and worked KD4NUL in GA who was also KX3/QRP for his setup. Then I went back to the DX search, and found PJ4NX on 30M. Took a few calls, but I got him finally to continue the DX streak at 160 days now. Then I worked some real DX on 30 - Tom WY3H about 2 miles from here. For some still unknown reason, he said my signals were weak there. I was sure it was nothing with my setup, and after we signed, I worked HC2AO on 30 with but a single call just to be sure all was OK here. -30-

Monday, August 05, 2013 5:52 PM - I think I'll write this early while I can still remember what I wanted to write about yesterday, and also write about our parkpedition today.

Don arrived about 10:30AM, and we immediately got off an email to the NAQCC email list giving details of our parkpedition to the members. Then we headed up to the park on an absolutely gorgeous day as shown here:

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We wondered how the bands would be after going through a slump yesterday. We were afraid we might be wasting our time, but the fears were quickly allayed. Don took 40M and I had 20M. We decided to do just two bands as that would make it easier for the members to find us instead of jumping around from band to band looking for us. That way, they knew there would be a signal from N3AQC all the time on both bands. 40 turned out to be the better of the two bands as it usually is, for several reasons. Propagation seems to be more omnidirectional on that band whereas it often is good only in one or two directions on 20. Also it seems a lot more QRPers prefer 40 above all other bands and there are a good many monoband rigs designed just for that band. And with the shorter skip on 40 covering the northeast quadrant of the USA and its large population density, there are many more hams in the 40 coverage area. Most of my QSOs on 20 were from the SE quadrant of the USA and I worked stations from KY, MS, GA, FL, and TN. A minor opening to the central part of the country netted me MN and MO. All in all we made 33 QSOs with Don getting 22 on 40 and me getting 11 on 20.

Of course we both used our KX3s. I used a 110' EF Random wire and Don used a jumper dipole. Here are a couple pictures of my setup:

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Note the adept multitasking operating and eating pizza.

After we ended the parkpedition in a couple hours, we came back here and made up a plug for Don's KX3 so he could have both a keyer and straight key available for use at the same time without having to change any menu settings. I described such a plug in the diary several months ago, and it was also featured in one of our past NAQCC newsletters.

Next we made up our picture QSL cards from the parkpedition and ordered them from the Rite Aid photo center on the Internet. So all who worked us should be getting cards in 10 days to 2 weeks if not sooner.

I wanted to mention yesterday that I crossed the 80,000 QSO mark for my ham career as KN3WWP and K3WWP during the NAQP. I also have other QSOs using other calls like our NAQCC calls of KB3MQT, N3AQC, and N3A. Also with a second call I held for a short time for my apartment in Pittsburgh when I worked at WPIT - WA3IXO. -30-

Sunday, August 04, 2013 11:50 PM - Today it was doing this, doing that, doing the other thing, and here the day is almost gone, and I haven't written the diary entry yet. I did have some good ideas about what to write, but it's too late to delve into them now. If I don't forget (and I probably will), I'll get to them tomorrow. However tomorrow is going to be another busy day. Don K3RLL is visiting, and we may do a parkpedition depending on this and that. If we don't do that, we have some other projects planned.

My DX QSO tonight was a 'fall back' QSO with H70ORO who sometimes is about the only easily workable DX station to be found. Such was the case tonight.

Well, off to bed now after I update the streak table and the propagation table. -30-

Saturday, August 03, 2013 10:47 PM - I don't know where to start tonight. I guess by mentioning that my streak is now 19 years old, and when it becomes the 5th tomorrow evening at 0000Z, I'll be starting on year #20. See what you got me into Eric (KB3BFQ)! And I wouldn't have it any other way because I believe rather than for anything personal, I'm happy with the streak because it has shown many hams just what can be done with CW, even at QRP levels. That's encouraged many to give CW a try again, and not only that, but try it at QRP levels. Most importantly, to find out for themselves what I've been saying and doing all along.

As far as doing something special for the streak's 19th birthday, I've decided to put that off until day #7,000 in the streak comes along in a couple months from now.

I had a LOT of fun today in the NAQP, one of my favorite non-NAQCC contests. I had nothing else to do this afternoon, so I thought I'd just give it a try for an hour or so. It didn't start off well as my panadapter wasn't working. Took me a bit to figure out that when I moved the computer earlier in the day, a plug must have come loose. So I checked and found the input to the sound card had popped out. Now I was able to see again. I am really spoiled by the panadapter now - what a great aid it is in exploring the bands with the KX3. Anyway my hour or so turned into about 8 hours or so. As I went along, I was having fun on 15M which was in good shape, then when it slacked off, 20M took over. It was in very good shape, and I wound up deciding I would only do a two band effort - 20 and 15. 20 just never quit and the stations kept coming, and they are probably still coming, but I quit because it was getting harder to find new stations to work.

I kept increasing my goals as time went by. 100 QSOs became 150 which became 200, 210, 220 and finally I quit at the nice number of 222 QSOs. Not bad for a two band effort. I wonder what I could have done if 10M had been open and I also used 40 and 80. I guess I'll never know. I don't think I would have gone over 500 as I have done before, but in the January NAQPs. My record for an August NAQP is 281 QSOs. I could probably easily go back and break that with a 40 meters effort, but I'm not going to do so.

I did work some DX after 0000Z in the contest to continue the DX streak. I worked KL7SB which technically is DX, but.... Later I covered that with NP2X and LA5O in the contest and outside the contest I worked EO73U to get the nice prefix and some challenge letters and numbers since contest QSOs can't be used for our NAQCC challenges.

Well, I'll close now and rest a bit by watching either Bob Vila's Home Again or Roy Underhill's Old Woodwright Shop. -30-

Friday, August 02, 2013 9:16 PM - This entry features two completely different and contrasting subjects.

Those of you who read the diary regularly know I often mention listening to the TL show on the Internet. You may also know the following, but read on. Back in my late teen years in the '60s I listened to the TL show, and especially his 'Music for Young Lovers' segment which was on roughly from 10PM to Midnight. TL stood for Terry Lee, a DJ at that time on WMCK/WIXZ in McKeesport, PA. He was not one of the robust fast-talking DJs with the constant chatter and catch phrases of say, a Porky Chedwick or a Cousin Brucie. Terry's forte was playing his style of music whether or not anyone else played it. He especially honored the local Pittsburgh area artists, and even produced records for some of them. 'Music for Young Lovers' was just that - beautiful slow romantic music.

Two of my favorite songs he played were 'High on a Hill' by Scott English and 'Creators of Rain' by Smokey and His Sister. Anyway eventually I got away from following TL as I pursued a higher education and eventually got into the work force. Those two songs continued to haunt me though. It was somewhat easy to find 'High on a Hill' on the radio, and I had a tape of it I recorded off the radio as well. 'Creators of Rain' was much more elusive as it was not as well known as 'High on a Hill'. I did have a poorly taped copy of part of it that really wasn't even enjoyable to listen to. Also to my knowledge no one ever covered that song as the Vogues did with 'High on a Hill'.

Fast forward now to a couple years ago. 'Creators of Rain' is still haunting me and I hum, whistle, or sing parts of it to myself every now and then. Finally it dawns on my sometimes slow-thinking brain that I should look for the song on the Internet. I did and found it on YouTube. I guess right then and there I just listened to it over and over again for a couple dozen times at least. I then did some research on Smokey and His Sister, and I don't remember the exact route now, but it led me to Terry Lee who now is on the Internet on the Magic Communications Network and playing the same 'Music for Young Lovers' style of music - in fact the SAME music from way back when. Ever since then I would regularly listen to his show after I got other things done up until the sign-off of 'Music for Young Lovers' at Midnight.

Last year for only the first time in my life I actually requested a song from a DJ. I emailed Terry and told him my story briefly, and asked if he would play 'Creators of Rain' for me. I got a nice email back from him, and he did indeed play the song for me. Fortunately I 'taped' it for a keepsake.

Well, all good things do come to an end, and the past couple nights I had been unable to get TL's show. On the third night - last night - I decided to check the TL web site to see if they changed streaming formats or if there was some other problem with the network. To my shock, I found the following at the top of the web site:

"On July 30, 2013, Terry Lee passed away at home after a courageous battle with lung cancer. He brought so much joy and love to those who listened to him over the years and will be missed by people around the world, but mostly by his family and close friends. We will bring the music back soon, but please bear with us as we get through this trying time. We will be holding a private memorial service, but are planning a celebration of his life in Pittsburgh for all his loyal and loving fans. Thank you for your patience and continued support. Please visit our webstore for a chance to hear more of his great music and wonderful personality that provides us with the cherished memories of our youth."

So today was a very sad one for me. Although I never knew Terry in person, it was like losing a very close friend especially because of the connection back to my teen years. Rest in Peace TL - I will miss you.

Now for ham radio news. I got on the bands a bit this afternoon and with the exception of 17 which had a few moderate EU stations, they didn't sound all that good. I wasn't able to work anyone, but then I didn't really try that hard either. When I got on a few minutes before 0000Z though, 20 was in excellent shape and the display on the panadapter almost looked like a medium size contest was going on with all the signals. AND a lot of them were pretty strong EU signals. I wasn't watching the time and I started to call HA6PJ/P, then noticed it was only 2359Z, so I cut off my call at K3W and still got a W? from him. I anxiously awaited the coming of 0000Z hoping he would still be calling CQ. It came, he was, and I worked him easily to continue the DX streak. I needn't have worried though as I also worked R7AL, TF3JB, and EU6AF from EU. Then I went to 30 to call CQ, and it took just one CQ to get an answer from PJ7TM which may be a new country worked via my CQ. All those calls brought me just short of the halfway mark to completing both of our August NAQCC challenges. One disappointing thing though was not having my Asian path working on 20. I just couldn't get a UN7 station nor UI8U. Usually as strong as they were - 569 or so - they would be easy QSOs, but not tonight. -30-

Thursday, August 01, 2013 9:16 PM - I now have a new personal DX streak record. It wasn't easy, but I worked E77W at 0039Z on 20M and that QSO with Rade gave me at least one DX QSO the past 155 days now. Back in 1999/2000 I had a 154 day streak and missed a day, but went on to wind up with DX on 235 of 236 days. I'd kind of like to make it 236 of 236 now without that missed day. We'll see what happens.

My July stats on the web site are not encouraging. My average daily visitors bottomed out at the lowest since 2009. I may do some thinking about cutting back on the site if things don't pick up again when fall comes.

I got this intriguing email a few days ago, "John, I see you are approaching 7,000 in your streak and also Aug 5th the date of the first one. Will you be planning any special ops to commemorate either of those? I'd like to work you. tnx, Wayne k4wk"

I've done some thinking about it, and I think I will do something either on Aug 4 or 5 or perhaps when the streak reaches 7,000 days in a couple month, if it does. You'll find out more by checking the diary daily. -30-

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 9:02 PM - It gets proven over and over again that the ham bands are a strange and unpredictable thing which makes ham radio the wonderful hobby that it is. It would be boring if you could know exactly what band conditions were at a certain day and time or if you knew who you were going to work and where you were going to work him. I love that mystery of not knowing. That's why I don't use computer spotting or any other computer aids in my hamming. I love to just get on the bands and see (hear) what is happenning and try to figure out just what propagation is like at the moment. Oh, I do use the computer after the fact to look up addresses, QSL routes, etc., but never anything beforehand.

I kind of got distracted a bit in what I started to say, so let me get back on track. When I got on the bands tonight, they sounded rather poor. In fact poorer than I've heard them in days now. There was really no strong DX to be heard on 20 or 17, and only USA stations on 30. A quick check of the bands above 17 showed nothing at all. I thought it was going to be a struggle to tie my DX streak of 154 days, and I envisioned myself sitting at the rig tomorrow afternoon trying to work some DX. That image was enforced when I tried calling some weak EU stations like Z33Z and OE5FBL without being heard at all. I kept tuning around looking for any DX signals with some strength to them, but didn't find any. Enter the strange unpredictable nature of the ham bands. I heard OE5FBL calling CQ again and decided I'd try once more to work him. I called and he came back with K3? so I sent my call twice again and he got it. Strangely enough, we wound up with a very nice rag chew type QSO in which he wanted to know a lot about my QRP setup. And I thought I was going to struggle to even get a quick TU 599 QSO tonight.

So my previous best DX streak has been tied now at 154 days, and I'm set to see if I can extend this one further now. That QSO also got me started on the August NAQCC challenges. I got the maximum 10 letters from OE5FBL for our wild beasts challenge and 3 letters for the EU Chapter tall buildings challenge. After that I went to 30 and called CQ and came up with two more QSOs (USA style) which gave me 10 more wild beasts letters.

Other than ham radio, I went fishing (shut out), did some lawn work, got all my end of the month financial and other EOM things done, took a couple good long walks, and I'm sure did other things that I can't recall. HI. -30-

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 9:26 PM - Streaks update. Fishing now at 8 straight days, and I caught two rock bass today, one at 7 inches and the other at 9 inches which ties for my biggest rock bass.

Regular streak approaching the 19 year mark which will happen on August 4th to complete 19 years. Then on August 5th, I'll start my 20th year. Whew!

DX streak is now at 153 days, one short of tying my previous longest DX streak. I worked OK6DJ on 17M with a single call this evening after finding 20M not all that good except for Joska HA9RT whom I had just worked recently on 20. Petko LZ1QI was strong on 17M, and of course the omnipresent CO8LY was on 17M. I wonder how many QSOs he has made over the years.

The other streak of getting a QSO via a CQ on 20M or higher fizzled out a couple days ago. I even had trouble making my CQs work on 30 and 40. It's a good thing I have the DX stations to work easily.

Tomorrow (Aug 1 UTC) it'll be back to working on NAQCC challenges again. That will be great to pick up on them again after getting July's done fairly quickly. The 'regular' challenge is making names of wild beasts, while the EU Chapter challenge is making names and heights of EU's tallest buildings. -30-

Monday, July 29, 2013 9:08 PM - Shannon's Law of Fishing: When walking home from fishing, the number of people who ask "Did you catch any?" is inversely proportional to the number of fish caught. Every time I catch nothing, inevitably I'll run into 3 or 4 people who ask that question, but when I catch several fish, I will run into no one at all with the question. SIGH!!!

I finished up my new support for the rain gauge as shown here:

pix_diary_20130729_001 (79K)

Didn't cost me a penny as I made it from scrap wood and hardware from my collection of such things. Should last a good long time as it's fastened with galvanized deck screws. Before I just used ordinary hardware and even that lasted a long time, but eventually succumbed to the ravages of time.

I kind of cheated or at least went against my unwritten law of not working the same DX station on the same band too close between QSOs. I worked LZ1722SN on 20M whom I worked earlier this month as one of the stations worked toward my Bulgarian Saints award I described earlier here in the diary. He was juat about the only strong DX station I heard other than CR2F on 30M who for some reason had a big split pileup. I didn't even try him since I had already worked the Bulgarian. I had no luck at all with CQs tonight despite trying on four different bands - 40, 30, 20, and 17. -30-

Sunday, July 28, 2013 8:41 PM - It wasn't pretty or easy, but it was quick and DX day #151 is in the log. Thanks very much to the persistence of GV4BUW who had trouble getting my call right, but stuck with me for a couple minutes till he did fix me up from K3WP to K3WWP. It's folks like him who make this a wonderful hobby. So now just three more days to tie and four to break my longest DX streak.

I didn't have as much luck fishing today - not even a bite in one hour. Other than that it was a little more yard work and a couple walks to pass the time. I also worked on the support for my rain gauge. The wood support for it gave out a couple weeks ago, and I fixed it up temporarily till I had time to build a new support. I got it put together and painted today. Tomorrow I hope to remove the old one and replace it with this new one. -30-

Saturday, July 27, 2013 9:59 PM - Well, if yesterday's fish were 'meaningful' as I put it, I'm not sure what to call today's. We had a good rain late this morning that continued into the afternoon, and I decided as soon as it stopped, I was going to head to the storm sewer outlet(s) in the river and see if any carp were exploring there. The rain storms just trained over the area, and it looked like they were never going to stop. So I had an early supper - well actually I have an early supper every day, but this one was even a bit earlier. Finally about 2:45 PM or so, the rain stopped and I headed to the river. I saw a lot of minnows in the outlet area, but nothing big. I tried anyway and tossed my peanut butter bread baited line out about 8-10 feet or so, and waited. I started getting carp-like bites with their tugging on the line, then releasing it, but they never really took the bait and ran with it..... until my line went out suddenly and the pole bent down to keep up with it. I picked it up, and the battle was on. It was hard to turn him, and he went dowstream along some weed beds. I was afraid he'd get my line tangled up, but finally he turned and headed toward the other side of the river. I pretty much let him have his way, but I gradually gained domination of the situation and 'persuaded' him to swim toward shore so I could land him. He fought like a 26 inch carp which to my belief are the best fighters of all, but I had the feeling this one was bigger but still a good fighter. After maybe 10 minutes or so, I got a glimpse of him, and my suspicions were confirmed. He was bigger than a 26 incher. He fought on for a few minutes, but all the while I got him closer to shore trying to head him to a gap in the weeds and rocks where I could land him. When I did get him landed, he was a good looking specimen and he was big and heavy. I never bother weighing fish, but I do measure them. I had my umbrella handy, and he was just one umbrella length plus one inch. After I got most of the hook out of his mouth - it was really embedded in his tough skin and broke a couple times as I tried to work it loose, and I had to leave a small piece in his mouth - I released him and helped him get the water back across his gills. When he got it together and took off, I measured the umbrella and found it to be 29 inches, so the carp was 30 inches, just 4 inches less than my biggest carp, and only the 21st or so carp I've caught who were 30 inches or more.

That really got me definitely hooked (pun intended) on fishing again, and I'm determined to catch a lot more fish this year. After another 20 minutes or so today, I again had those carp bites, but this time the carp didn't fool around so long and took off. I could tell he was much smaller and it only took maybe 5 minutes at the most to land him. He measured 24 inches. And before I left to go home, I added an 18 inch carpsucker. I knew from the biting, it wasn't a carp. I thought maybe a sucker at first, but he turned out to be a carpsucker, and he proved it by the amount of slime he had on him. He didn't flop around like a carpsucker though - maybe because the ground was still pretty wet after the rain.

So I'm up to 11 fish for the year now which is not very good, but I am ahead of 2011 at this point of the year when I had just 2. Also ahead of 2000 with 5, and not far behind 2012 with 15, 2010 with 20, and 2002 with 27. 2002 by the way wound up being the 'bass year' with 222 bass caught mainly from August-October. I totalled 272 fish that year. So there is hope for a good total again this year.

DX day #150 was easy with a contest going on. I worked 9A1CRT at 0000Z on 20M, then found out it was the IOTA contest. I had forgotten it's the last weekend in July every year. I wasn't in the mood for contesting, but I did work R0AA also just to add an Asian to my log. I had in the back of my mind to try for a quick WAC, but didn't. -30-

Friday, July 26, 2013 8:34 PM - I've got yet another streak going now. I've gone fishing 4 days in a row. Today I caught a couple nice meaningful fish. First a 16 inch catfish just after a couple walked by, asked how I was doing and wished me good luck. No longer did they say that when the catfish hit just like a carp. The couple stuck around to see the fish. I did think it was a small carp at first till I got a glimpse of it and it looked more like a sucker, but when I got a clear view, I knew it was a catfish. Then about a half hour later just as I was getting ready to leave a fishing friend stopped by and we chatted for a while when a sucker decided he liked my worm. He was 14 inches long. Oh, the catfish was caught on peanut butter bread. So that was a fun time today. Even had I not caught anything, it was nice to be out in the beautiful weather.

I also took advantage of the nice weather for some walks, watering my garden, and cleaning out more grass and weeds from the brick sidewalks.

DX streak day #149 came quickly at 0001Z when I worked EJ0PL on 20 meters. I found him, found he was working split, quickly set the KX3 to split and got him after he worked one other station. That surprised me a bit, since I heard a couple other stations at least calling him. Of course with the split frequency reception in the KX3 I could copy both EJ0PL and his pileup. I also got an answer to a later CQ on 20M from W0VX in TX who was also QRP, but with a 3 element beam vs. my attic dipole. That means that every evening except the time Mike was here, I've gotten a QSO via a CQ on 20 or 17 meters. That's gone on for 7 of the last 8 evenings. Maybe I should be trying more CQs on those bands. -30-

Thursday, July 25, 2013 9:33 PM - Mike and I had our usual good time last night, but he had to get going before adding anything to the diary entry. He picked up a couple of pre-ordered pizzas on the way here, and we started out enjoying them. After that we got on the air to chase DX for a while. If I recall, he worked the Slovak Republic and European Russia. He chased a Turkish stattion TA3AX for quite a while with no success. I didn't bother working anything. I just enjoyed watching him work some DX. The bands got kind of poor after a while, so we watched a Danger Man episode before he headed back north.

Today was another great weather day with a high of 80 degrees under partly cloudy skies, so one thing I did was go fishing again. Oh, I didn't mention it, but I went yesterday also and got a rock bass and a bluegill. Today all I did was feed some minnows though. Still fish or no fish, it's really great to be getting out there fishing again. I hadn't done much of it this year what with the weather being hot, cold, or rainy most of the time along with the river being high and muddy a good part of the time. Plus with my NAQCC work diminishing now, that gives me more time for fishing and other things. I also took three good walks/shopping trips today and have 8 and a half miles on the pedometer for the day.

I had a homebrew QRP SWR/Power meter that hadn't been working, and I fixed it today because Mike and I will need it when we get our Tuna Tin rigs going. That will be our next project day.

And some more outdoor work involved painting my back steps and cleaning some more grass from the brick sidewalks on my side and Nancy's side.

It was another rough DX night tonight, and finally I resorted to working LZ1QI again as he was about the only strong DX station I was hearing outside of a PY0 station on 30 with a huge pileup. So just 6 more days now to tie my previous longest DX streak of 154 days. Hope I can make it. It will be disappointing if I come so close and don't make it now. -30-

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:12 PM - Mike is stopping in for a visit in a few minutes so I'll get this written and maybe if he has time before he has to head back home, he can add a little bit.

I got my DX QSO quickly again when I worked DL4SDW/HI3 shortly after 0000Z. Here comes Mike so I'll close for now. -30-

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 8:43 PM - Roscoe's trip to the groomer went well. He's very cooperative on trips now, and actually always has been pretty good. Then while we were waiting to pick him up, Bruce took me to the mall to do some shopping. I got a new pair of shoes as, unless I forgot to log one in-between, the current ones had 2,593.49 miles on them. I'm going to have to check that, as that is quite a few miles. However I see I did have other pairs with even more mileage, so I don't know. I also got a few other things, then we came home, and it wasn't long before the groomer said Roscoe was ready to come home. So we got him home, then a little later I went fishing, and believe it or not, actually caught something - a small bass. That's only 4 fish this year in only 12 fishing trips. Only the year 2000 was worse at this point in the year.

Nothing much else happened after that except a little yard work as it was pretty cool today. For my DX QSO on DX streak day #146, I tried working KP2/AC4BT, but couldn't break his pile-up. Why he had such a big pile-up I don't know. Then I found GV3UJE whom you think with that prefix would have a big pile-up, but he didn't and I got him after he worked just a couple other stations. After that it was CQ time on 20M and for the 5th day in a row, I got an answer either on 20 or 17 meters which I think in my case is a harder streak than the others. HI I just don't seem to get that many answers to my CQs above 30 meters. -30-

Monday, July 22, 2013 9:18 PM - A quick DX QSO this evening with Joska HA9RT for day #145. With time left, I thought I'd try something a bit different. I called CQ on 17M which only had a couple stations on it, and lo and behold, I got an answer from W0UI in Colorado. We had a nice solid rag chew. Which again proves my statement that just because a band sounds dead, it probably isn't - it's just lacking in activity and needs someone to start things off with some CQs. After that I went to 30 and it was fairly dead also, but my CQs aroused K8CQ down in GA for another nice chat.

It was a rainy day today, so not much outdoor stuff. I finished up the NAQCC sprint log cross-checking while I was doing my washing this morning. Then I fooled around with my gel cell that went dead so quickly when Don and I were trying his portable antenna on Sunday. I hooked it up to the KX3 and it didn't last very long then either. It seems to re-charge too quickly, or at least the green light on the charger comes on too quickly so right now I'm letting it continue to charge with the green light on to see if perhaps the fault is with the charger, and not the battery.

Tomorrow morning it's up early to help take Roscoe to the groomers, and then some shopping at the mall while we're waiting for him to get finished. Perhaps even a trip to Battery Warehouse for a new gel cell if time permits. I need a bigger one anyway for the KX3. A 12V 7Ah one that I borrowed from Tom seems to work fine and only lost a couple tenths of a volt at the park in 4 hours the other day. -30-

Sunday, July 21, 2013 8:46 PM - A fun day today with Don, and an informative one for both of us. We spent a lot of time comparing our KX3s and both of us learned things about the rig in the process. Then after that, Don showed me a new portable antenna which we hooked up briefly in my back yard. We didn't have a lot of time to play with it because my gel cell seemed to discharge very quickly. It was a vertical inside a plastic(?) mast for support with 3 guy wires to steady it. I'm going to ask Don how long (tall) it is, but I'm guessing around 30 feet or so. It loaded near 1.0 to 1 on all bands from 80 through 6 meters with the KX3 autotuner. The only band that had a higher SWR was 160 meters. We got a few different readings from 2.6 to 6.0 or so on that band. I should have taken a picture of it, but I forgot. We'll be doing a parkpedition sometime after August 1, so I can get a picture then.

It was a bit hard getting my DX tonight, but I did work LA5HFA who with a KW and 5 element beam was the only really strong DX signal on the bands except for the usual CO8LY. Anyway Svein had a bit of trouble getting my call right, but he got it and we made the QSO for DX day #144 now.

And now it's off to get my 9 PM weather readings then I think I'll see if I can get the sprint log cross-checking done this evening. If there aren't too many confusing things to work out, I should be able to do it and free up tomorrow for ??? -30-

Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:52 PM - It didn't take long to put DX day #143 in the log. I went to the shack a few minutes before 0000Z to see what the bands were like. I found EI3KG again quite strong, but I wouldn't work him two days in a row. I tuned a bit more and at 2359 I found SP9MZH finishing up with a QSO. Then he called CQ, but it was still 30 seconds before 0000. I thought please don't get an answer, and he didn't. then the same thing again with just a few seconds to go. Again no answer and he called again. This time the CQ ended just a couple seconds past 0000, and I answered and got him with a repeat of my call.

Then I thought like last night, I'd see what I could get with a CQ on 20M. But then I thought I'd check 6 meters instead, and I found activity there, but couldn't get anyone to hear my 1 watt. I've got to find out if I can now run 5 watts there without any TVI. I couldn't a couple years ago, but I don't know now with different satellite/cable setups. Anyway back to 20 for the CQs which were answered by WB4ZBI in TN for a nice rag chew. Then back to 6 again, but sigs were down now, so I stepped down the bands. Nothing on 10. Nothing on 12. Several stations on 15, but all very weak. On 17M I found HH5/KC0W whom I worked before on 30M. I quickly set up for split and after WB4ZBI (yes, the same station I had just worked - we must have followed similar paths) worked him, I called and got him with a couple repeats of my call.

Other than that, it was cooler today so I mowed my lawn and trimmed the edge with the weedeater. Then I went downtown for a few things including picking up our parkpedition QSL cards at Rite-Aid. Back home again and filled them out, put them in the already prepared envelopes, and took them to the post office. Did some cleaning around the house, took Roscoe for a walk, and a few other little things filled up the day to where I'm at now.

Tomorrow Don K3RLL is coming down for a short visit to compare KX3s, SDRs, try out a new portable antenna design of some sort that he is bringing, and whatever else we wind up doing. It will turn out to be a nice day. -30-

Friday, July 19, 2013 9:13 PM - Thanks tonight go to EI3KG, my DX contact of the day for helping continue my DX streak which is now at 142 straight days since starting on March 1. Conditions weren't all the best again tonight, but EI3KG was quite strong on 20M and it was an easy QSO with one repeat of my call. After that I thought I'd try some CQs on 20M, and Lee K5LY in Texas (a retired Texas Ranger - not the ball team, but the real thing) answered me and we had a nice chat till he got called to dinner.

20 meters is a strange band for me. I can work DX so easily there and do well in the big contests. Yet making normal QSOs or getting answers to my CQs is more difficult. Also I do very poorly in our NAQCC sprints there. I think 17 QSOs in this past sprint was the most I even made on that band. I often wish I had the room to put up some different kind of antenna to see what I could do with that instead of my 'flat-top' inverted Vee that I use now.

It seems like this will be the last hot day for a while as a 'cold' front is supposed to drift through here this weekend and at least drop temperatures to the low-mid 80s and eliminate a lot of humidity. Going backwards, the highs for the last six days here have been 96 96 96 96 95 94. Although not from an officially exposed thermometer because I don't have the required large grassy area, they are a pretty accurate reflection of what it has felt like here.

We crossed the 100 log mark yet again in our latest NAQCC sprint, and are at 105 or so right now with still almost 48 more hours left to report in. -30-

Thursday, July 18, 2013 9:34 PM - My sprint last night was not all that good. I was dealing with some horrible local QRN on 40 meters and had to resort to mostly S&P work, calling those stations who rose above my noise. 20 meters was a bit better, but that's not really my flagship band for our QRP sprints. So I wound up with only 32 QSOs from a not too bad 21 SPCs. Without the noise it could have been one of my better sprints, but you can only play with the cards you're dealt in this game of poker.

Of course tonight 40 seemed quieter and signals were much further out of the somewhat lower noise level. I had a nice chat with Bill K3WD. Although we didn't know it at the time, we both went to Pitt in the early 60's and talked about the Pitt ham radio club. I went to the club station a couple times, but I never really joined. I wasn't much of a 'socialite' back in those days. Funny as we were talking, the call of the ham who was in one of my classes and told me about the club flashed into my mind for the first time in many years - WA2YED. Wonder if he's still listed in QRZ, or probably has a vanity call now. Anyway I'm going to take a look. Well son-of-a-gun, there's a Stanley Schwartz listed with that call living in OK now. I believe that was his name. Maybe I'll get an email off to him if I can find an email address.

Anyway after working Bill, I went back to 20 meters where I had a fruitless search for a DX station earlier. This time I found CO2IR and after he worked a couple very strong stations, he worked me to extend the streak of DX QSOs to 141 straight days now. 13 more to tie my previous best DX streak now.

And to close, as promised a sunset picture.
pix_diary_20130718_001 (31K)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013 8:04 PM - Another hot one today, but a heavy TS this afternoon cooled it off somewhat and it stayed a little more comfortable after that, although the temp is still 80 and the humidity is 93 percent. It feels less hot though.

With our sprint coming up tonight in a few minutes, I wanted to see if I could snag a quick DX QSO for my streak, and I did, working IK4ZGO at 0001Z. And as a bonus, the I in his call finished our NAQCC July Vibroplex challenge.

So now I've got to get ready for the sprint. I'm not really in a sprinting mood, but I'll try to stay the whole two hours and see what happens. -30-

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:55 PM - Traditionally in this area and most areas somewhat landlocked around 40 degrees north latitude, the middle week of July is the hottest week of the year. This year bears that out well so far. It was 95 today, and 94 yesterday with 90s predicted until the end of the week. So it was another day of taking it easy trying to keep cool.

I did go back to the shack last night after the diary entry and got my DX QSO in the form of Carlos CM2CCA who without any asking or urging just said out of the blue that I had an extremely strong signal. Then tonight the bands were much better with a few strong EU signals on 20 meters. I easily worked Chris F8DGY for my daily QSO. I've worked him a few times now, but he's one of the exceptions to my practice of not working DX stations too often. Although I don't work Chris all that often, we always have a nice short chat for a few minutes rather than a 599 TU type QSO. That makes it clear he doesn't mind the same station working him too often as some seem to do.

Right now I think I'll get my envelopes addressed for sending out our parkpedition QSL cards which should arrive in a few days now. Then watch a Bob Vila Home Again episode on the Internet and maybe check up on the All Star Game on MLB.com. Then time permitting, maybe play some computer games.

We had a very nice sunset this evening and I took some pictures. Maybe I'll share them in tomorrow's entry. -30-

Monday, July 15, 2013 9:05 PM - Well, this is the first day in quite a while I haven't worked my DX quickly after 0000Z. The bands are pretty horrible, so I insured my main streak by working KX9DX on 20M, and after I write this entry, I'll go back and look around a bit more for some DX. If I don't find any, I guess I know what I'll be doing during the day tomorrow.

Today it was just a matter of trying to keep cool as the high was 95 degrees and the humidity was fairly high, although not all that bad. So I spent a lot of time just sitting in front of the fan at the computer. I only have 4.7 miles walked today and most of that was walking around inside for the exercise plus 4 walks with Roscoe.

I had another all-garden supper with another tomato/cucumber salad and a bunch of boiled bush beans. Mmmmm. I think maybe tomorrow I'll have the second half of the Zucchini Ange gave me, and he said he has another one for me now. -30-

Sunday, July 14, 2013 9:34 AM - I've had a couple questions about how my garden is coming, plus some comments about how much they enjoy pictures in the diary, be they ham radio related or not. So I'm going to cover both in this early diary entry.

First of all a picture of my Siberian plants and the first harvest from them plus one Early Girl tomato.

pix_diary_20130714_001 (47K)  pix_diary_20130714_005 (10K)

Next a picture of my climbing beans and some of my pepper plants with one pretty good sized pepper on one of them.

pix_diary_20130714_002 (65K)pix_diary_20130714_003 (33K)

And finally for today, my daylillies well into bloom and almost completely hiding the Big Boy tomato plant to the right with one tomato visible.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013 11:04 PM - Gee, I got involved in some other things like walking Roscoe, installing some new games on the computer, enjoying the nice cool evening, etc., and almost forgot about updating my web site.

Although the IARU HF Championships is one of my favorite contests, I never got in it today except in the 0000Z hour when I worked 10 stations mainly just for my streak QSO(s). Conditions weren't all that good with signals coming and going. Strangely it was easier working SA than EU - it's almost always the other way around here with EU being easy and SA questionable.

I did some work in Paint.net last night and today. I cropped and re-sized pictures for our parkpedition article in the August NAQCC newsletter. Then I made up the picture QSL cards Mike and I will be sending to everyone we worked, and ordered them from the Rite-Aid photo processors at 15 cents a card which is a pretty good deal. I could print them here, but the ink would probably cost more than that per card.

Then this morning I cropped, re-sized and printed some pictures for Bruce. He got a new truck yesterday and Nancy wanted some pictures of him and the truck.

Oh, for supper this afternoon, I had a 100% home grown vegetable meal with a tomato and cucumber salad and fried zucchini. Very good. My tomatoes were about 6 weeks late this year, and I started them about 6 weeks late also so those few early weeks after planting when they seem dormant must actually have something going on. So I guess next year, I'll start them around Christmas or New Years again and see what happens. -30-

Friday, July 12, 2013 9:29 PM - My first QSO this evening was kind of strange. I heard a very strong unID DX station I figured must be in the Caribbean. He was working stations and seemingly having trouble getting calls right asking for many repeats from just about everyone. After a few QSOs he identified as YU1700AST, of course from EU, not the Caribbean. I almost didn't try calling him since I didn't feel like repeating my call several times like everyone else. But then I decided it was a nice prefix, so I did call. He wasn't hearing me through the other stations for a while, and each QSO took a while with the repeats. I kept trying though, and out of the blue he came back to K3WWP 599 - no repeats, just a quick QSO. Strange. I guess maybe what a lot of DX stations say is true that a QRP signal with good accurate CW and clean keying will get through easier than a QRO station with somewhat sloppy sending or defective keying. Something to remember when you chase DX. Be as perfect as possible sending your call and make sure your transmitter is putting out as clean a tone as possible - no problem there if you use a KX3. I just looked up the call on QRZ and it's in celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan.

It was still not long into the 0000Z hour so I thought I'd try some CQs on 30 meters. I got answered by Dan KB6NU whom I've worked before. We had a nice chat about vintage cars. It turns out the N in his call was the next to last letter I needed for the NAQCC Vibroplex July challenge, leaving just an I now for completion.

After that, I went back to 20 to look for some more DX and ran across EA4AOC/P. Needing the 4 to complete the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge, I decided to camp out on frequency no matter how long it took to work him. Well, it didn't take that long, and finally I did get him although this time I did need to repeat my call a few times because of QRM. Just before writing the diary entry I got off my challenge report to the EU Chapter. I think it is really a lot of fun working on the NAQCC alphabet challenges, especially the EU Chapter ones that require only EU stations operating from EU as a source of the letters and numbers. It's hard to believe there aren't more NAQCC members who are as fascinated by these challenges as I am. I have no idea why not. -30-

Thursday, July 11, 2013 9:29 PM - Mike and I had a great day at the park today. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I'm just going to use the text from a report we wrote after getting home today that will be in the August NAQCC newsletter. You'll have to wait for the newsletter to see the accompanying pictures.

On Thursday July 11, Mike KC2EGL and John K3WWP staged a parkpedition from the Kittanning, PA Community Park. They set up and started the operation at 1600Z and continued until 2000Z.

The operation was on all 3 frequencies posted in the email announcement of the event - 7040, 10116, 14060. Specific band times were not announced because they were dependent on conditions at the time. 30 meters was pretty much completely dead until around 1920Z, so much of the earlier time was spent on 40 and 20 meters. All in all 23 QSOs were made. Overall the following 16 states (including ON) were worked - FL AL NC MO GA TN ME WI MI ON MA VA IN NJ WV NY.

Both Mike and John used their Elecraft KX3 rigs which they consider the best rigs they have ever used or owned. Using an external 7Ah gel cell, John was able to operate the entire 4 hours with the voltage dropping only from 12.5 to 12.2 volts. Mike used the internal battery pack and operated for 3.5 hours. The battery pack started at 12 volts and he switched over to the external battery source for the last half hour when the battery pack dropped to 9.2 volts.

Both used 110' end fed random wires which tuned perfectly on all three bands with the built in KX3 antenna tuner.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous with partly cloudy skies, temperature in the mid-70s and virtually no humidity. We talked about bottling it and saving it for our October N3A special event work during NAQCC Anniversary Week.

We missed fellow WPA Chapter member Don K3RLL who had company and couldn't make it this time, but hopefully he will be with us for other parkpeditions this summer. Most importantly, our lunch consisted of 6-inch turkey subs from Sheetz. As usual it was a very enjoyable day, and we're looking forward to doing it again soon. -30-

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:03 PM - A lot going on this evening that I'm not going to talk about so just a short entry.

I got a quick QSO from PR7AR to keep the streaks going for another day.

Tomorrow Mike and I will be doing our parkpedition. We plan on 1600 to 1900 or 2000 UTC around 7040, 10116, and 14060 depending on conditions. No particular times for any bands, just exercise your bandswitch to find N3AQC and give us a call. Don has company from FL so he can't make it this time. -30-

Tuesday, July 09, 2013 9:06 PM - No luck today on finding the last letters/number to complete the NAQCC challenges. Not that I didn't try. It was just that some stations I could have used, I just worked recently and as you know I don't like to work the same (DX) stations too often. I also heard a couple other stations that could have helped, but they didn't hear me. A bit frustrating, but there are still some 20 or so days to finish up. Barring total disaster, I should make it.

Conditions were pretty poor this evening, so this time I did make an exception and worked H70ORO for my DX QSO despite having several QSOs with him already this year. So that's 132 days for the DX streak now.

Other than that, I helped Ange weed the garden. We got three big bags of weeds as they really grew during that rainy streak we had while he was on vacation. The garden really looks nice now, and the desired plants also benifited from the rain.

It looks like Mike and I will be on the parkpedition Thursday from around noon til 4 PM or 1600-2000Z or so. We're still not sure if Don will be able to make it. He's expecting some company up from Florida, but wasn't sure when the last time I talked to him. Anyway if you're a NAQCC member and on our email list, we'll send out as complete details as we can some time tomorrow. And I'll mention the schedule here in tomorrow's diary entry as well. This will be my first parkpedition with the KX3 and its first outing in the field after its great performance on Field Day. I've borrowed Tom's 7Ah Gel Cell which should last the 4 hours, I think. If not I can run the remaining time off of Mike's big power pack which is big enough to run both our rigs without much effort on its part. Now if the rain just ends Thursday morning as predicted, we'll be OK. -30-

Monday, July 08, 2013 9:22 PM - The bands are getting better and better. Well, at least 20 meters is. Still not much activity on 10 or 12, and very little on 15 and 17. Six DX QSOs this afternoon and evening almost closed out my NAQCC challenges. Having worked SE2T, CT7/G3SED, IZ7CTE, LZ20RRC, SV1CQN brought my needs down to a 4 for the EU Chapter Challenge, and an I and N for the NAQCC Vibroplex challenge. Then just for the fun of it, I added R1AP to the list of stations worked today. I truly enjoy working DX and working it for challenge letters and numbers just adds to the enjoyment.

Transitioning NAQCC work to other members - new Club Manager Paul N8XMS in particular - is giving me a lot more time for other things like getting on the air more often. I'm still getting used to having the additional free time, though. It will be great when all the work is transferred, I'm sure - because it's very good now already.

Incidentally I neglected to mention our final Field Day score yesterday. We wound up with 3,520 points. I don't have any idea how that compares with other scores because until this year, I've never paid much attention to any FD scores. I would imagine that would be a pretty good showing for an all-QRP, all-CW effort, but I don't really know. I guess we will find out when all the scores are posted. -30-

Sunday, July 07, 2013 10:25 PM - Coming to the end of a busy day. I should have had Mike write this entry, but we were fooling around on the ham bands and time passed quickly, and he had to head home since he has to get up early for work tomorrow.

We got quite a lot accomplished today. We filed our NAQCC WPA Chapter Field Day report with the ARRL after gathering up all the required information. Then we, with the help of an email from Tom, wrote up our FD report for the upcoming NAQCC newsletter. That went pretty well, although it did take some time.

When we finished up with that and did some NAQCC prizes work, it was nigh onto 6 PM - time to EAT! We ordered a pizza from the best little pizza shop in town (or anywhere else?), Papa John's. We had chicken, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions for the toppings. After we devoured that, it was time for a Prisoner episode. We watched #17 - Fall Out - the final episode in the short series.

In amongst all the above we had a couple sessions on the bands. They weren't all that good, but we did both work OG9W late this afternoon, and then DR20CFT this evening. I got a lot of NAQCC challenge letters from those calls and now only need a 4 and an E to complete the EU Chapter challenge. Mike also worked KL7QK on 20. We thought it might be Alaska - NOT. Turned out to be close, but no cigar. He was on an island in WA instead.

And that's a pretty complete wrap of the day - another good one as usual. We'll be getting together again on Thursday, hopefully with Don K3RLL as well for one of our NAQCC WPA Chapter parkpeditions. -30-

Saturday, July 06, 2013 8:56 PM - A day can sure make a big difference in radio wave propagation. Yesterday great conditions - today very poor conditions. Virtually nothing on the bands above 20 meters today. Only one strong EU station on 20 whom I worked easily - HA1RJ. At least I got a couple of Rs for the NAQCC challenges from him. Then this evening the bands were even worse, and it was a struggle to get my streak QSOs. Finally I stumbled across HH5/KC0W on 30M and worked him fairly easily. I think he was just starting out as I came back a little later and he was working split with a rather large pileup.

Tomorrow Mike is coming down around noon for some work, some fun, some eating, etc. The main thrust of the visit is to get our NAQCC FD operation report off to the ARRL, and a story about the operation ready for the NAQCC newsletter coming out next weekend. Maybe we'll close out the day watching a Prisoner episode.

It's 9 PM now, so I'll close and go get my daily weather records. -30-

Friday, July 05, 2013 9:24 PM - I got in a little more ham radio than usual today. I spent about an hour and a half late this afternoon and early evening on the bands. I was mainly trying to work some EU stations to get some letters and numbers for the NAQCC EU challenge, but some other things turned up as well. Although I did manage two Es from EA1WX for the challenge, it seemed that other stations I heard that could have helped were busy working one JA after another, and not hearing me nor many other USA stations. One station went QRT just after working one station. So I didn't make out too well on that challenge, and now stand at 22 letters/numbers collected and needing 12 more to finish up.

I did a little better in the other NAQCC challenge. I collected seven letters for it and now stand at 61 down and 23 to go.

However despite the tremendous enjoyment I get from working on our NAQCC challenges, the most exciting thing today was finding six meters open. Exciting, but frustrating also. The stronger stations were all calling DX so I couldn't work them. Others were calling CQ specific grid squares, mine not included so I couldn't work them. Others popped up strong, then disappeared. Still others had big pileups I couldn't break. I only made one QSO when N4QS in Paducah, KY answered my CQ, but still it was great just hearing some activity on six. It was a pretty widespread opening as I was hearing New England, KY, MO, NY, and BC to mention a few areas.

I also had fun on 17 and 15. From the way 20 and six were acting, I knew those bands had to be working good also, but there was almost no activity there, so I took the initiative and called CQ. I worked K8LSB in CT on 15 and K9WWT in IN on 17. As I've said so often, if you know a band should be open, but you don't hear any activity, try calling CQ, and I'm sure you'll be surprised at how many hams come out of their hiding places to work you. -30-

Thursday, July 04, 2013 8:43 PM - Additional entry - Hope you all had a good Fourth today. It was quiet here with nothing much going on. Looks like our cookout/fireworks are rained out this evening. I'm just waiting for Tom to call to make a decision one way or the other. Right now we're in the midst of a thunderstorm which looks like it is moving on, but there's a suspicious line of storms south of here that looks like it might develop and move in. Maybe Ford City will postpone their fireworks and we can do it another night if that happens. I should never have wished for a rainy week so I wouldn't have to water the garden during Ange's vacation. Next year I'll have to leave well enough alone and just take what comes.

We originally were going to leave for the fireworks just after 0000Z, so I tried to get my QSO in as quick as possible, and I did. I worked Petko LZ1QI fairly easily for a change. Usually he has all kind of problems copying me and gives up, but tonight we completed the QSO. It didn't help with the NAQCC EU challenge, but did extend the streak.

I fooled around a bit on the air late this afternoon looking for some help with the challenges. I did work Jerry N3HAM for a nice little chat and also a couple of Ns for the NAQCC Vibroplex challenge.

Think I'll give Tom a call to get a final word on the fireworks. We probably won't go, but I might as well make sure then I can do some other things. -30-

Thursday, July 04, 2013 10:40 AM - With over 80,000 QSOs over my 50+ years of hamming, I am eligible for many different awards, but I don't really take the time to apply for them except in special cases like this one received via email today. Take a look, then I'll explain a bit more.

pix_diary_20130704_001 (265K)

I applied for this one with the following QSOs:
2/26/2013 14014.00 1955 LZ969SCP 599 599
3/8/2013 7009.00 0024 LZ1323SKZ 599 599
4/8/2013 14013.00 0059 LZ833MBB 599 599
5/9/2013 14013.00 2220 LZ1876SMB 599 599
6/14/2013 14013.00 2359 LZ1534GWS 599 599
7/3/2013 14014.00 0001 LZ1722SN 599 599

I wanted this award because I am a religious person who is also interested in history, and this award fit in with both of those interests. Also I think it is one of the more beautiful awards I have seen and it contains a lot of information of interest. Finally and less important than the other reasons, it didn't cost an arm and a leg as many awards do this day nor did it require much paperwork. It was FREE with the only info required being that shown above. -30-

Wednesday, July 03, 2013 9:07 PM - Good conditions again this evening, but not a lot in the way of DX heard. Mostly a lot of USA stations. I did work SM5IMO easily though for my DX streak QSO. I also go a couple of letters for the NAQCC EU challenge. I'm now well over half way done with both our regular NAQCC challenge and the EU Chapter challenge. I added a couple letters to the regular challenge when I worked VE3VVF on 30M. He was running just 700 mW, yet was pretty solid copy, although I did have to switch receiving antennas a couple times.

Otherwise it was a dry day today - the first in over a week now. I had a chance to do some weeding in my garden and around the shrub in my front yard. I also took a couple walks downtown for some shopping. Tomorrow evening, weather permitting, I hope to go with Tom WY3H to watch fireworks. -30-

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 9:18 PM - Continued great evening conditions tonight. Again I made 5 QSOs like last evening. Some nice prefixes, a lot of letters/numbers for the NAQCC challenges, and one new band country thrown in for good measure. I couldn't break the Market Reef pileup though for what would have been a new overall country.

Those I worked were LZ1722SN, SJ0SOP, TU5DF (new band country on 17M), KB9ILT, and UA3KW. The first three were legit 599 signals here and only took one or two calls to get them. UA3KW was a bit rougher a little later on. So that's 125 days for the DX streak for those who doubt QRP/CW works through all kinds of band conditions.

The rain let up a little today, so I may be able to postpone finishing my Ark for a while, and won't have to gather the animals yet either.

Other than that, I just kind of took it easy today although I did prune my roses and cut the grass in my back yard earlier this evening when it was rain-free and a little cooler. Took a couple of walks/shopping trips as well. Checked on Ange's garden. It still looks somewhat like a rice paddy after all the rain. I don't think it will need watering till he gets home later this week.

I hope it's nice on the Fourth so I can go with Tom to his friend's house for a cookout and a great view of the nearby Ford City fireworks.

Mike is coming down Sunday to work on our FD report to the ARRL and a FD story for the NAQCC newsletter. Then we'll be doing our first parkpedition (hopefully not an ARKpedition) on July 11th with our other partner in crime Don K3RLL participating also. All three of us will be using our KX3s with Don having just built his yesterday. -30-

Monday, July 01, 2013 9:22 PM - I never did get back into the Canada Day contest today. Just wasn't in a contesting mood.

Twenty meters was pretty good this evening. I made five QSOs to get started on both NAQCC challenges. Four were DX, three from Europe which helped with the EU challenge.

It actually didn't rain much today, just a little this morning, so I got to do my banking and other shopping done without carrying an umbrella. -30-

Sunday, June 30, 2013 9:19 PM - And another month draws to a close (or has closed already UTC time) and a new one is about to begin (or has begun). Must be nice to live near the Greenwich meridian where both times are the same.

Of course up north this (July 1) is Canada Day with the associated RAC Canada Day contest. This is always a good contest, and I enjoy it when I'm in the mood, which I'm not right now as I'm busy with a lot of end of the month - first of the month details. Maybe when I finish up with a trip to the bank tomorrow morning, I'll put in some time in the contest. I did use it to get a quick contact for my streak tonight when I was 9A3B's fourth contact in the contest. So the streaks are solidified for another day.

Another rainy day today. We've had over three inches of rain over the past 4 or 5 days now. I think I overdid it when I wished for rain this week so I wouldn't have to water Ange's garden while he vacations down in North Carolina. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it, and then some.

Well, I'm brain tired now, so that's enough writing for tonight. -30-

Saturday, June 29, 2013 5:31 PM - I just finished trying out the HQ110, and IT WORKS. The gain seems down a little bit, but I was hearing CW signals on 40 and 20. Didn't have too much time to play with it, but I'll definitely be doing more playing as time permits.

It also prompted the most diary feedback on any topic in a while now. Let me share it.

From our new NAQCC Club Manager who will be taking over the club completely when Tom and I retire - Paul N8XMS, "Hi John, I saw your diary entry about your new Hammarlund HQ110. Congratulations, it looks like you now have the perfect receiver to go along with the Tuna Tin Two for a light weight backpacking station! My Novice receiver, given to me by my grandfather, was an HQ170 and I remember that thing being so big and heavy that I had a hard time lifting it! Anyway, that is a very cool "freebee" - enjoy! 73, Paul - N8XMS"

I actually wanted a 170, but it cost quite a bit more than the 110 at that time so....

From Bob W3BBO, "Hi John, Enjoy your "new" HQ-110. That was my first "real" receiver and the attached picture shows a very young W3BBO back in 1956. Hi. 73 de Bob W3BBO"
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I have no idea what that object Bob is holding in his hand is. Some obsolete kind of device, I guess. Or maybe a little hand-held fan?

And from Mike KC2EGL, "You are one lucky dog. Enjoy the new toy. Can't wait to check it out. Mike"

Had to look a bit last night, as the bands were down again, but before long, I got Rey CO6RD on 15 meters to continue the streaks. I don't know what tonight will hold, but I know I'll get someone somewhere. -30-

Friday, June 28, 2013 6:56 PM - OK, I guess I won't be seeing Mike in person for a while to show him the surprise in person, so I'll tell you (and him when he reads this) about it tonight while I sit here at the computer watching it POUR rain.

As documented here in the diary, Mike and I built a Tuna Tin Two rig for each of us - oh I guess a couple months ago now. We had been wondering what we could use for a receiver with it. Of course we can use our KX3s for that, but a couple days ago fortune smiled on me and I got the ideal receiver to work with it for nothing.

This past Wednesday, a bright yellow car drew up and parked in front of my house. A gentlemen got out and walked toward my door. I could see he was carrying a newspaper which looked like the issue of our Leader Times from last Saturday that had the article about our NAQCC Field Day operation in it. Not knowing him from Adam, as the saying goes, and being somewhat bright at times, I guessed it was going to be something related to ham radio. I went to the door, and he said he was looking for John Shannon. I replied, "You're looking right at him." He said he used to be a ham at one time and asked if I was interested in a receiver he wanted to get rid of. If I wanted it, he would just give it to me, as he was no longer interested in ham radio, and his wife wanted him to throw out some of his gear if he was no longer going to use it. I guess that's how wives are - I've never had one so I can't say for sure.

Anyway just so you didn't get a peek at the picture of the receiver before reading this setup, I'm putting a bunch of blank lines here. Just scroll down for, as Paul Harvey used to say, "The rest of the story".

pix_diary_20130628_001 (66K)

OK, little joke for Mike's benefit aside now. Obviously it's a Hammarlund HQ110 from circa 1960 when the gentleman was a ham as a teenager. He never did get back into ham radio, but had kept the receiver. Ironically, I believe it is the same model receiver I had as my third ham radio receiver after a SW-500 and R-100. I say I believe because I'm not 100% positive whether I had a 100 or a 110, but I'm fairly certain it was the 110. After all that was 50 years ago, and hey, this kind of fits in with my 50 years of ham radio theme, doesn't it.

It was a bit on the dirty side after sitting unused for so long, so I gave it a pretty good cleaning and found it was in good shape as you can tell from the picture. I got involved in some other things here, and didn't plug it until this afternoon for the 'smoke test' - it passed, so I plugged in my headphones and heard some hum and some background noise. When I touched my finger to the antenna terminal I heard some of our local QRN somewhat faintly. So it is picking up something. I have yet to take it up to my shack and hook it up to an antenna. Maybe tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how it works and will certainly bring back a lot of memories even if it doesn't work all that well. I found an on-line manual for it today and downloaded that to jog my memory how to use all the controls. Of course nowadays the modern rigs do virtually all the things those controls do automatically.

I'll have more to say about it in upcoming entries. It's still not 0000Z as I'm writing this, so I don't know what the bands will hold for my streaks yet. -30-

Thursday, June 27, 2013 9:23 PM - I've decided I'll talk about my surprise here in the diary tomorrow evening. I had a busy day today doing a lot of work on the transition to my retirement as NAQCC VP. Everything is going well, but the transition seems to have added to my workload. However when it's complete, then look out! I'll be free - on the loose again. HI.

Another quick DX QSO tonight for day 120 of the DX streak, and it was a EU station - HA3FTA whom I've worked a few times before. He was booming in at a legit 599. I had to wait through a couple quick QSOs with other stations, but after that it was an easy QSO. Then I had some time on my hands so I thought I'd try some CQs on 20M. They usually result in nothing, but after just a few tonight, WA0VJM answered me and we had a nice rag chew.

And that's it for this entry from my tired brain. Tune in tomorrow for a story and picture of my surprise. -30-

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 8:28 PM - I was going to talk about a big surprise I got this morning, but I wanted to tell Mike KC2EGL in person first, and he was unable to make a scheduled visit this evening, so my surprise will wait a bit. Now that I've whetted your and his curiosity, I'll continue on with some diary feedback instead from a few days ago.

Steady diary reader Paul N0NBD emailed, "Hello John, I am still riding along with you. My station is all packed in boxes while our kitchen is getting remodeled. I have to sit in the living room typing on my lap...... When the kitchen is complete I will have a nice station desk with a oak roll top... I am looking forward to getting back on the air... I have been off going on five weeks now. Have a good FD knowing some of your long time followers are still here and appreciate your goings on...how's fishing been? I am going in the morning. I have a new flyrod from Father's Day to try out..... de Paul N0NBD"

Well, fishing has just not materialized too much this year. It'e either been too hot, too cold, the river too high, busy with other things, and on and on. I've only gotten out about a dozen times this year and none were all that successful except for one 25 inch carp who gave me a pretty good battle and some small bluegills. I'm hoping conditions will improve and as I wind down toward retirement from the NAQCC work, I'll have more time to fish.

Chuck W8LQ emailed in response to my not knowing a word for lack of a sense of smell, "Anosnia or possibly Siewert's syndrome. (Stolen from Wikipedia...I'm not THAT smart....Hi,Hi!) Vy 73.......................... Chuck W8LQ."

Never heard of either of those. They certainly don't rank in common knowledge with deaf, mute, blind, etc.

My DX QSO came fairly quickly this evening to make it 119 days now. I found XE2CQ on 17M and worked him after he worked one other station. Once again, not much in the way of EU stations heard on any bands. I heard a weak Israel station on 20, but that's Asia. -30-

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 8:05 PM - That was quick. I found EW8DJ on 20 meters at 2357Z, and as soon as it turned to 0000Z, I called him. He answered one other station first, then me. So before 0001Z I had my streak(s) QSO. Not only that, but if you've been following my NAQCC EU Chapter challenge this month, you'll know I was down to needing an '8' to finish it off, so besides a quick streak QSO, I also finished the challenge.

Yesterday the heat had me dragging. Today was the same, but I guess I'm used to it already for this session. I went downtown early today to do some shopping. Then after my brunch, I helped Denny do some work on his grandkids' swing set right in the heat of the day. After that work, I really felt good and used to the heat. I didn't dash out and run a marathon or anything like that, but....

Now I'm off to send in my EU Chapter challenge results, and also my results for our NAQCC FD challenge as well. -30-

Monday, June 24, 2013 9:21 PM - Let's take a little closer look at Field Day for the NAQCC WPA Chapter. Our four operators - WY3H (Tom), K3RLL (Don), KC2EGL (Mike) and K3WWP (me) wound up with 352 QSOs as I mentioned in last night's entry. KC2EGL and K3RLL covered 20 and 10 meters, K3WWP did 40, 15, and 6, WY3H did the graveyard shift on 80. Mike and I worked from about 2 PM till 9:30 PM Saturday and 8 AM till 2 PM on Sunday. Don helped out on 20 and 10 for a while. Tom worked from about 9:30 PM Saturday till 5 AM Sunday.

Although we missed copying the ARRL Bulletin for those extra points, we were visited by a local official, and did operate in the 3A category for the emergency power bonus. Mike and I are going to put all the info together when he visits on July 3.

Let's see if I can get a good section and state count. It looks like 56 ARRL sections, 38 states, 3 provinces, and Puerto Rico.

We're going to have pictures in the upcoming July NAQCC newsletter, so I may or may not post some pictures here in the diary. Not tonight anyway.

This was my KX3's first venture as a portable station, and it performed every bit as well in the field as it does at home. Once again I must say what a great rig it is. My little gel cell that I originally bought for use with my KX1 worked well, but not for long. I had to switch off to Tom's 7Ah cell which seemed to run forever. I also used Mike's big battery which was powerful enough to run both his and my KX3 for several hours without any appreciable drop in voltage. The new inverted vee that Tom, I, and his family put up earlier in the week is a super antenna. I had to keep looking up at the top of the 35 foot mast to see if Tom had snuck a 100 watt amp up there to boost the signals, but no, there was no such thing. We were running just five watts, but it sure felt like more power, or at least I guess it did since I've never really run QRO power. There were very few signals I heard that I couldn't work, if not on the first call as happened many times, then it only took a couple more tries as other stations beat me out now and then. However I also beat many stations, and several small pileups as well. That was really a lot of fun.

I got a kick out of actually making two QSOs on six meters. I even also worked one of the stations using my K3WWP call just to get another six meter QSO in my log, the first in a couple years and a new state in Florida as well. Of course we used the NAQCC club call N3AQC for the operation.

I may think of some more things to say tomorrow night, but I want to close by echoing Mike's comments as my guest writer a couple entries ago and send a big Thank You to Tom and his family for the great hospitality. They (wisely or not - HI) gave us full run of their house (trailer) when we needed a break from the operating tent out in his field. We were also served some great meals along the way. I gained a couple of pounds over the weekend. It's a good thing it was so hot and humid or I might have gained even more.

Once again this evening, the DX QSO came with difficulty. It seemed all the few good DX signals came from DX stations who were not calling CQ, but doing search and pounce for other stations, so no chance to call them. Finally after having Tom WY3H happen to answer my CQ on 30 to get at least a regular QSO in the log, I went back to hunting DX and got PY5ZW on 15 meters. That makes 117 straight days for my DX streak now, and perhaps my 154 day DX streak back in 2000/2001 will fall to second place in early August. In fact it will be very close to the date when my regular streak reaches 19 YEARS on August 4. Actually if my tired brain is correct, the current DX streak would reach 155 days on August 2 - IF.... -30-

Sunday, June 23, 2013 11:33 PM - Well, FD is over now, and I was sad to see it go. This is really the first time I've done FD out in the field with a group. Our NAQCC WPA Chapter outing wound up with 352 QRP/CW QSOs from around 40 states and 50 or so ARRL sections. Not bad for somewhat limited hours and just 4 operators - WY3H, K3RLL, KC2EGL and myself. I'll have more to say about it, but it's late and I'm tired right now.

Had a rather tough time getting my streak QSOs tonight. I guess a lot of folks weren't on after FD weekend and conditions weren't that good for DX. I did finally work WA1KWA on 40 and then a little later UA1CE to keep the streaks going. -30-

Saturday, June 22, 2013 10:43 PM - Good evening everyone. Hope all is well on this Field Day weekend. The day started out with John and I heading out for breakfast followed by finalizing our preperation for Field Day.

We headed over to Tom WY3H's QTH for our Field Day activities. John and I set up our operating positions and my field multi-band dipole antenna (a homebrew design given to us by Don K3RLL). At the stroke of 18:00Z John and I hit the airwaves. John took on 40M and I went after 20M. Don K3RLL arrived in the late afternoon and jumped in on 20M. He had his first taste of operating a KX3. He has one on the way to him in the mail. If he likes it half as much as John and I like our KX3's he will be a very happy camper. By the end of the evening John, Don, and I had logged 224 QSO's via CW QRP (like we would operate any other way). Tom took over for the night operating on 80M. Our goal is 300 QSO's for our first Field Day effort with the WPA chapter of the NAQCC. John and I will be heading back out to Toms place early in the morning to continue our operating.

A big THANK YOU goes out to Tom, his wife JoAnne, and his sons Ethan and Ariel for thier amazing hospitality. They are allowing us to operate on their property and they are keeping us well fed.

Until next time 73 Mike, KC2EGL -30-

Friday, June 21, 2013 10:01 AM - Every so often, I get to wondering if this web site is really worth the effort I put into it, especially right now when the number of visitors has dropped to under 100 daily. I even had a few days in the 70s and 80s.

Just then something like this guestbook entry comes along and makes me realize the site really is useful. Troy AE6VP said this in his entry, "What a great site! As a fairly new CW op, I often scour the web looking for help. This site is one of the best! I've bookmarked it and plan on referencing it often. I teach middle school science and have been given the the opportunity to start a amateur radio class. My students have always showed an interest in learning CW - I can't wait to teach them. Needless to say, this site will be used with my class..."

I just entered his guestbook comments into the guestbook and thought I'd get them here in the diary while it's fresh in my mind.

Mike is coming down this evening for the weekend for our NAQCC FD operation, so hopefully you'll get a chance to enjoy his comments here at the end of this entry later tonight.

Good evening everyone. It is 11:35PM EDT. I arrived at John's QTH around 00:30Z after a long day at work. Today I decided to see how far I walk on my mail route. A couple of years ago I used my old 'mechanical' pedometer to see how far I walked the streets. It registered 10.5 miles. Today I decided to use the 'Map My Ride' app on my I-Phone. I have used this app on walks with John around Kittanning and found it to be very accurate. Well today I nearly had a heart attack when I checked the final distance. It registered 16.5 miles. No wonder I am dead on my feet when I arrive home every day. The app measures distance traveled by using the GPS system. I will be avoiding the after work stroll from now on.

This evening after I arrived John and I worked a couple of DX stations. One in Hungary (a special event station) and one in Argentina. Both were rather easy to log. It still amazes me how well 5W into a piece of wire works. As they would say back in my old neighborhood, "We don't need no stinkin' towers and fancy schmancy beams." We also had some pizza from Voceli's. They are having a customer apprieciation event. A medium peperoni pizza for $6. Not a bad deal for one of the best peperoni pizza's you can find. After dinner John tried to help me out with a problem with Internet Explorer. Unfortunately the troubleshooting did not work. So it is back to the tech who installed Windows 7 on that particular laptop. I will let her figure it out since I paid her to fix the problem in the first place.

As you know this weekend is Field Day. Please listen for N3AQC on various bands. John K3WWP, Don K3RLL, and I KC2EGL will be operating (along with Tom WY3H and Ray WA3PRR).

CU on the radio. 73 DE Mike KC2EGL -30-

Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:52 PM - Where do these days go. It seems like I just got up and here it is sundown already. And no, I didn't sleep in that late, wise guy. HI Anyway some of the day passed as usual working on NAQCC business. Boy, that retirement is looking better and better. Then some yard work, cutting grass, weedeating, cleaning grass and weeds from the bricks. After that, Denny and I went fishing, or at least went and sat by the river. Neither of us got even a single bite. We sure did see a lot of minnows swimming around right up and down along the shore, and something that looked like a bluegill or rock bass chasing them from time to time. I'm sure unless they were just swimming in a tight circle, there were actually thousands of them. I said to Denny there's just too much natural food available for the fish (those who eat minnows) to be interested in our bait. Still it was a very nice day again and just nice to be out there. A couple of walks filled in some other time.

I haven't had a "why is it that" here in the diary in a very long time. So here goes. Why is it that (as far as I know) there isn't a word for those without a sense of smell. If you can't see, you're blind; can't hear, you're deaf; can't speak, you're dumb. But if you can't smell, what?

Just another off the wall comment. When Bruce and I were taking Roscoe to the vet yesterday, he (Bruce, not Roscoe) mentioned that he heard somewhere that a very high percentage of deciduous trees were in Pennsylvania. I think he said the number was 27 percent, but I'm not sure now.

This evening Tom WY3H called me wanting to test out our FD antenna. As you maybe know, our Western PA Chapter of the NAQCC is operating FD from Tom's property with me, him, Mike KC2EGL, Don K3RLL, and Ray WA3PRR as the ops. Anyway, it seems to be working good. Tomorrow I'll be going over there to help Tom get some final things in order.

In between working Tom, I got some DX for my streaks. First off was IW0BNW which also gave me the final B and the final two zeroes for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge. Now I just need two 8s for completion. Then I added J68HZ and finally KP4MS who answered my 30M QSO.

A couple minutes past nine now, so I'll close and get my weather readings. -30-

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 10:43 PM - Just finished up submitting my log from tonight's NAQCC mW sprint to Ki VA3PEN who takes care of the results page data. Turned out it was my best ever mW sprint just a few points better than our December 2011 mW sprint. So I'm pretty happy right now. Doesn't matter what the scores from other folks are, since I only compete against myself because that makes more sense than pitting my attic antennas and sub-par location against those with better situations.

Otherwise before the sprint I worked Carlos CM2CCA for my DX QSO. It's strange that the propagation numbers are good, but conditions don't seem to be matching. I didn't hear much in the way of DX this evening, although conditions for domestic QSOs seemed quite good in the sprint.

Other things today, I took another couple of good walks to enjoy the continuing great weather. The past few days have been the kind of days you'd like to bottle and save for the rest of the year. Early this morning, Bruce and I took Roscoe to the vet for a check-up. He passed with flying colors. His alleged birthday was yesterday when he turned one year old. At least that's the best info available from Bruce's son on that. It's probably pretty close. I also did some yard work, or actually sidewalk work, cleaning up the grass and weeds from the cracks between the bricks.

Now time to relax a bit. I've been watching re-runs of Bob Vila's Home Again shows on Hulu on the Internet, and will watch another episode now. -30-

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 9:38 PM - Kind of hard getting my QSO(s) this evening for some reason, but finally I got II2CJ on 15M rather easily for DX day #111. Still very nice weather here, and I got in a couple of good walks although I only totalled about 7.5 miles for the day. When I was out walking a little bit ago, I spotted Venus for the first time this apparation. Tomorrow evening is our NAQCC mW sprint. I don't know if I'll put in the full 2 hours or not, but I will make an appearance. And with that 'variegated' paragraph, I close for this evening. -30-

Monday, June 17, 2013 9:52 PM - The best DX conditions in several days today and this evening. However it seems those stations who could have helped me with the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge were the ones that weren't hearing me. I did narrow it down though to needing only one 'B', two 8s, and 2 zeroes to finish up. Hopefully that can come tomorrow or at least in the next couple days. I worked 4 DX stations this evening and late this afternoon. Now I have a mini Russian streak going. I've worked a Russian the past 5 days now and the overall DX streak is now at 110 straight days.

I just got interrupted by a very long phone call, and lost all train of thought.

Anyway, we finished putting up Tom's antenna this morning, and that's another thing set up for our NAQCC Field Day outing this coming weekend. We're still finalizing our plans on just what we'll be doing, and probably won't have everything ready until Friday.

Still in the phone call, so I'll just close for now. -30-

Sunday, June 16, 2013 11:20 PM - I'm beat right now, so just a brief entry. I went up to get my streaks QSO(s) and found the bands pretty good, but a lot of stations were busy and not hearing me amongst the QRM. Then at 0009 I easily worked RN3GL on 17M to extend the streaks. That was my 18th WARC band QSO toward the NAQCC June WARC band challenge so I decided to stick around and try to get the last 2 which I did in the form of OR5T on 30M and then W1GQL on 30M. So the challenge is complete. Still have to work on the EU Chapter challenge though.

Then I thought I'd try to get the NAQCC sprint logs cross-checking done, but Murphy paid a visit and introduced a lot of glitches into the system. So after two hours of working on it in which time I should be done, I'm only half-way done and quitting for tonight. I'll finish it sometime tomorrow. We had a good showing this month with 125 logs, which should be somewhere in our top 15 totals. -30-

Saturday, June 15, 2013 9:04 PM - Not a lot to say about today. The weather was beautiful again, and it was nice being in the garden helping Ange plant some peppers, and then watering my own garden. I'm still nowhere near a ripe tomato. There are a couple small tomatoes on the Siberian plants, and one good-sized one and a few smaller ones on the Early Girl plants. My bush beans are doing great and already have several flowers on them. The same with the peas. The pole beans have gone into hibernation, it seems. They are just hardly growing at all for some reason. My peppers are also slow. The roses are about par for the course, well into the first big blooming session, and getting ready for session number two for a couple of the bushes.

I figured it would be rather easy to get my QSO this evening from the AA contest, and it was pretty easy. I worked RT0F with a bit of difficulty on 15 meters. Then I got a couple of WARC band QSOs on 17M from T46C and 9A3IH for our NAQCC WARC band challenge. That's 17 out of 20 QSOs required to 'master' the challenge. I also got an 'I' from 9A3IH for the EU Chapter challenge. Now I need a 'B' and an 'E' plus a few numbers to finish that one.

Tomorrow if the weather permits, I'll be going over to Tom's to finish putting up the antenna from the other day. At least I hope we finish. -30-

Friday, June 14, 2013 10:34 PM - I just posted a new poll question on the main page of the web site. I hope it garners more votes than the last poll in which only 19 voters participated. Perhaps the poll feature has outlived its usefullness?

I messed up a bit on my streak QSO this evening. I went to the shack at a couple minutes before 0000Z, and turned on the rig and started the panadapter. I found LZ1534GWS and figured here's my streak QSO and also maybe some letters/numbers for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge. So I worked him easily, but too quickly. A glance at the clock still showed 2359Z. Well, anyway I got a number 4 for the challenge from the QSO, but I'll need to find another QSO to continue the streaks. I heard a contest going on, and determined it was the All-Asian contest, so off to find an Asian station to work, since everyone must only work Asia in the contest. More on that in a bit. After a bit of searching, I found R8MC whom I've worked easily before. After a couple calls, I worked him. Now the streaks were secured.

It was disappointing to listen to OG0W in the contest, and I'm sure frustrating for him. Apparently a lot of hams never bothered to check the AA contest rules, didn't know where OG0 was, or were just rudely trying to work him anyway. As (I hope) you know, OG0 is the Aland Islands in Europe, not Asia. I heard at least 4 or 5 USA and VE stations answering OG0W's CQs. Had I been OG0W, I think I would have said ONLY ASIA or something like that along with his CQs, but I guess he had more patience than I would have. He just ignored the W/VE stations, and worked the Asians mixed in the batch.

Continuing on the AA theme, the SF is back up over 100 again and rising after hitting a low of 90 a couple days ago, so it just might be a good weekend to go hunting for some Asian stations to work in the contest. Hey Mike, if you're reading this, maybe you can get Japan on Saturday evening or Sunday. I'll try to look around myself, but I'm going to be helping Ange tomorrow in the garden, and Tom on Sunday raising his antenna.

Today was just about ideal for walking, and I went over the 10 mile mark for the day. I also checked my pedometer on the measured mile on our hiking trail for the first time in quite a while now. It read 0.99 miles for the 1.00 mile mark. I guess that's pretty accurate. -30-

Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:07 PM - Tomorrow is Flag Day, as you know, and I'll be flying my flag again on my front porch. We need to honor our flag as much as possible in this day and age. I felt bad not flying it on Memorial Day because of my awning painting job, but I look forward to seeing it fly again tomorrow.

Speaking of Flag Day, the town crossed me up a bit. The local Elks held their Flag Day ceremony tonight instead of tomorrow, and I believe they also started earlier than usual. So I missed out on the first part of it, and didn't even get to take any pictures like I usually do. I guess I'll have to check more closely for the date and time next year.

I helped Tom put up a 40 foot antenna mast today. His XYL JoAnne and sons Ethan and Ariel also helped. It was an interesting time. I'm not going to say more about it here, as we will be writing a story about the whole FD experience in the July NAQCC newsletter. There's still more work to be done, and we'll do that on Sunday, weather permitting.

My DX QSO, as it has done a good many times during the DX streak, came easily once again as I worked RX6LG on 20 meters. That QSO also gave me a G for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge, leaving me 12 letters/numbers to finish the challenge. After that I called CQ on 30M to get another WARC band QSO for the other NAQCC challenge. W1GJG and I had a good chat. Then I heard HC2AO calling CQ on 30 and got him with a single call. That leaves me only 5 QSOs short of completing the WARC band challenge.

I had a thought about a good analogy while in the shack. Working the bands without a panadapter is something like watching the world through a slit in your venetian blinds. You can only observe a tiny portion of the whole picture. Or I just thought now it's also like watching a baseball game through a knothole in the outfield wall - kind of like Sluggo does at times in the Nancy comic strip. The last couple nights I started out without the panadapter as my somewhat slow to fire-up shack computer was doing its usual slow thing. What a difference not seeing the whole band at a glance. It's so easy to just tune right past a signal when you're just listening and not looking. -30-

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 10:09 PM - We're back on track with our 100+ logs NAQCC sprints. In less than 24 hours after the end of the sprint, I count 107 logs received already. Great!

This evening was our computer club picnic. Thankfully the rain held off for us. However we are still expecting a good (bad?) dousing later tonight and early tomorrow with 1 to 2 inches of rain and maybe up to three in the unlucky spots.

I got home a few minutes before 0000Z and processed a few sprint logs, then went to the shack. For the first time in quite a while, I made a QSO without having the panadapter turned on. I just happened across S56CW and after several attempts, he finally heard me. No letters or numbers from him though for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge. I then went to 30 to try to snag another WARC band QSO for our NAQCC challenge on this side of the pond. I easily worked C6ATT for WARC band QSO #13 this month. Just seven more to go now.

Just to further clarify and update my correction in last night's entry pointed out by Chuck W8LQ, I now have 105 straight days of DX QSOs. -30-

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 8:14 PM - Almost time for our NAQCC sprint, so I'll sneak in a quick entry here then I won't have to worry about it later. With the SF down at 90 today, the bands as expected didn't show much in the way of DX, so I grabbed a quick QSO with CO8LY on 17 meters. That took care of the streaks, but I felt guilty at just working CO8LY who can be worked just about any day on any band. So I did some more looking around and found another Cuban CM2CCA on 20 meters and snagged him with a single call. Let's see now, 92 + 12 = 114 (OK, 104 - haste makes waste) days for the DX streak now.

Now I've got to run and get my weather readings, then get to the shack for the sprint. -30-

Monday, June 10, 2013 8:46 PM - I had one of those not sure QSOs at 0000Z with FG4NO on 30M. I wasn't sure if he logged my call correctly as there was QSB and QRN on him. So I hung around a while longer and got a good solid QSO with S51AP on 20M to be sure my streaks continued legitimately. There wasn't a lot of activity although strangely enough, I was hearing several Russian stations on 20 and 17, both European and Asiatic.

Tomorrow evening is our June NAQCC Sprint, so I'll be involved with that and either have an early or late diary entry. Speaking of the NAQCC, I forgot to check S51AP to see if the call provided any new letters for the NAQCC EU Chapter June challenge. I guess I'll do that the next time I go up to the shack. -30-

Sunday, June 09, 2013 8:35 PM - If you look at the image of the sun on my propagation and let it loop through to today, you'll see a disk virtually devoid of sunspots except for one tiny group that is getting close to rotating off the Earth-facing hemisphere of the sun. Not good for those of us who love working DX. Further, it's the first day since April 19 that the solar flux has been below 100. It's just 96 today - and that's the lowest since 93 on March 27.

However DX is still there to be had if you listen a little bit or have a panadapter that can look for you. I tuned to 15 and saw two signals there at 0000Z. One was the once-again ever-present CO8LY and the other was KH6MB. Having worked MB only a few times compared to many for LY, I opted to try to work KH6MB, and my Hawaiian pipeline was working. I got him with just two calls. He didn't quite get my full call the first time, but did on the second. So at 0001Z, my streaks continued on. DX is now at 102 days, and regular at 6,885 days.

Now I've got several emails to answer and some other business to take care of, so I'll close the entry for this evening. -30-

Saturday, June 08, 2013 8:50 PM - Of course with the GACW contest this evening, my DX QSO came easily to continue the streaks when I worked HG7T on 20M. I added one more DX QSO in DK7VW, then got a WARC band QSO from N9IXD on 30M to finish the first half of the June NAQCC challenge.

Now let's see where I was in my 50 years of ham radio story. I think it was about when 30M became available in the early 80s, so without going back to check for sure, I'll just pick up the story there.

I continued my 80s activity until September 23, 1983 when I again put away the key for a while because of being so busy with work at WPIT plus taking care of my elderly mother and aunt and our house among other things.

I didn't get back on the air until February 15, 1993. As I've said before, but will reiterate here, my young friend and neighbor Eric who subsequently became KB3BFQ was the 'instigator' for my return to hamdom. We had many common interests despite the vast difference in age of around a little under 40 years. He was very interested in all of my activities - fishing, sports, computers, and so forth. Eventually he discovered my interest in ham radio, and after being off the air for so long, he kept after me to become active again so he could see what it was all about. So I resurrected my old homebrew transmitter from the attic minus a few parts which had gone to other things and put it back together again well enough so it put out a couple of watts of power. I had put up my attic random wire when I was active in the 80s, and we used that for my antenna. I used my ICOM R71A as my receiver as far as I can remember now. The combination worked well, and with Eric with me, I made my first QSO in almost 10 years with K3DQ in MD. Then I made 2 more QSOs that day, and I was back in the swing. Eric was pretty much bitten by the ham radio bug now and was often with me when I was operating.

On March 21st, I got in the VA QSO party, my first serious contest since becoming active again. Eric was there as we worked 23 VA QSOs. I think it was that contest when he would try to figure out from a road atlas what county the mobile stations would be going to next. It was also then when he found the contest aspect of ham radio very fascinating. The next contest was on April 3 which was the QRP ARCI contest. 74 QSOs were made in that one. Activity continued until June 14 around which time I was laid up with back problems and was pretty much inactive for another period of about 6 months. I finally felt well enough to get back on the air on January 5, 1994. I'll pick up the history from there in a future entry. -30-

Friday, June 07, 2013 8:31 PM - Well, the news was released today officially so I'm free to talk about it here in the diary now. Tom WY3H and I are retiring as president and vice-president of the NAQCC. Both of us are just under 70 years old now, and we had been talking about the time coming when we would have to step down and turn the club over to some younger blood. Actually we kind of came to the same decision independently. Tom first told me he wanted to retire now and let me be president. I then told him I had been thinking of retiring as vice-president either when the club turned ten years old, or I turned 70 years old. We talked about it, and decided we would both stay on and transition the club over to the new leadership from now until October 2014 when the club does become ten years old, then retire. I guess the next year plus will be our 'farewell tour'. HI.

The new leader of the club after the transition period will be Paul N8XMS, and we will gradually be switching things over to him and some new helpers over the coming months. More info can be found in the latest NAQCC newsletter on the NAQCC web site for anyone who wants more details.

I am looking forward to having more free time from this point on as the myriad of things I do for the club will slowly be eased out of my schedule. I enjoyed having the other venue besides this, my own web site, to promote CW and QRP, but just like I enjoyed my work at WPIT, I will be glad to put it behind me because I can tell it's time to hang it up. I am slowing down and it does take longer to do things than it did 9 years ago when Tom and I started the club. Of course then we had no idea the membership would approach 7,000 either. That explosive growth only added to the workload each month and year.

So enough said about that. This was an important day for another reason also besides making the announcement. This evening I found the bands pretty empty. In fact it had been a while since I saw so few 'blips' on the panadapter screen on all the bands I checked. However despite that I managed to work one of the 'old reliable' DX stations in Joska HA9RT. I probably have a couple dozen QSOs with Joska on several different bands over the years. I generally don't work him when I hear him being busy running stations as he usually does, but tonight his CQs were going unanswered so I thought I'd say hello. It was noteable because for the second time in my ham 'career' now, I've worked DX on 100 straight days. With more time coming up to be on the air now, if conditions don't crash completely, I could go on for quite a while with the DX streak. I hope saying that doesn't jinx things now. HI. -30-

Thursday, June 06, 2013 10:07 PM - In tomorrow's entry, I can reveal what I've hinted at in a couple of recent entries, and then maybe get back to my 50 years of ham radio story.

I would just like to comment on one big change in the 50 years. Back at the start of the period, there of course was no Internet and thus no spotting, call sign searches, ham radio news, etc. easily and quickly available as it is today. I think things were better back then, although some of the current Internet related perks are nice as well. You no longer have to spend a bunch of bucks buying a huge almost unmanagable paper callbook that became outdated as soon as you bought it, is at the top of the list. Now you just look up a call on the Internet and have the info even while your are in a QSO with the person. However having the Internet keeps a lot of folks from getting on the air and using CW as they should. That, more than anything the FCC, ARRL, ITU, etc. are doing and have done is what is eating away at on-air CW.

Also too many folks use the Internet as a crutch in their operating, using spotting networks to find stations or making email skeds with other hams, just to mention a couple of things. Give me the old days when you wanted to do ham radio, you went to your shack, turned on your rig, and spun that dial to find someone calling CQ and answer them, or call CQ yourself. Not knowing in advance what was on the band or who you were going to work added to the wonderful mystique of ham radio. Ahhhh, that was so great - I sometimes wish I could go back to those halcyon days. When you did work someone, you wrote the info about the contact in a paper log, and maybe later made up a card file system so you could know if you worked someone before or not. Of course being younger then, it was much easier to manipulate what seems so crude a system today, and as I get older, I have grown to appreciate computer logging even if I don't really appreciate some of the other modern things about ham radio. Change can be both good and bad in everything. I'll have more to say about change in future entries including one big change tomorrow.

My QSO for the streaks tonight was someone I've worked several times and have never been able to get a QSL from. Med 7X4AN in Algeria was an easy QSO again on 20M at 0001Z. Then to add another WARC band QSO for the NAQCC June challenge I called CQ on 30 and worked Jim NC4H. That's eight QSOs down and 12 to go to complete the WARC band challenge. No EU stations worked for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge today though. -30-

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 9:15 PM - Conditions seemed poor again this evening, but still it is very possible to work DX with QRP/CW. I caught CU3AK and F/ON6JUN/P on 20M fairly easily for my first EU stations in a couple days now. I got a lot of letters from the F/ON6JUN station for the NAQCC EU challenge. I'm guessing that is a special D-Day remembrance call, possibly operating from or near the beaches of Normandy. I'll have to check when I get time.

I went fishing again - this time in the evening, and advanced a little over yesterday. I actually hooked what must have been a carp. He took my line out quite a distance, then calmly just slipped off the hook. I didn't force him any, so the hook must have just gotten a tiny bit of lip which gave way after a while of pulling on it. Oh well... It just hasn't been a good fishing year so far. 10 trips and only 3 fish to show for it. Things have got to get better. -30-

Tuesday, June 04, 2013 9:11 PM - Six QSOs this evening to extend the streaks (DX now 96 days) including a couple new band countries. Worked FJ (Saint Barthelemy) on 17 from FJ/K5WE which took about 10 calls, then went to 15M and heard a station working split so I set up and worked him on the second call without knowing yet who it was. Turned out to be FJ again in the person of FJ/N5WR. Before both of those however, I quickly snagged VP5/W5CW just in case conditions were poor. Since I worked him several times before, I thought I'd try with 500 mW, and fine op that he is, he heard my first call for a very quick QSO. Probably should have tried 100 mW - maybe next time on a different band. I also worked XE1/VE7BDI and TG9ADM on 17M. First Guatemala in quite some time now. In fact I still need it confirmed on 17M - never did hear from NH6MG/TG5 several years ago. All in all I made 5 WARC band QSOs including ND0CW in ND on 30M for a total of 7 WARC band QSOs toward the 20 needed this month for our NAQCC challenge.

Other than that, I did some walking, went fishing, and worked on the project I'm not at liberty to say anything about just yet. I had a couple of what I think were carp bites on my peanut butter bread, but they must have been wily veterans as they managed to not get hooked. Wait till next time though (tomorrow?). -30-

Monday, June 03, 2013 9:38 PM - The bands seemed difficult tonight. Only one really strong EU station and he was engaged in a VERY LONG rag chew. I hated to do it, but I resorted to working H70ORO once again. It doesn't really prove much working the same station over and over agains plus as I've said, it may deprive someone else of a needed QSO. Conditions could change while I work someone, and then the other station who may have been waiting loses his opportunity because of my QSO. After I worked H70ORO I went to 40 and called CQ and had a QSO with WA3Q. After that I went back to 20 hoping to work some different DX station - and I did. I worked HC2AO with a single call. I never worked him before.

It was a cool day today good for working outside so I cut the grass in my back yard and weeded my garden. Oh, and I went up to the mall with Nancy and got a couple grocery items. I think if the weather is this nice again tomorrow and it is supposed to be, I just might go fishing. I've only gone a few times so far this year and only have caught three fish. At least one of the three was that 25 inch carp. -30-

Sunday, June 02, 2013 9:27 PM - Darn it, I let my ghost writer get away before he had a chance to write my diary entry so I guess I'll have to do it myself. Mike, Tom and his wife and two sons, and I had a good time at the Butler Hamfest today. It didn't seem quite as busy as usual and the attendees seemed to depart earlier than usual. We did get to meet some of our NAQCC members, and signed up a few new members as well. None of us won any prizes, but did pick up a few of those items you really didn't need, but bought anyway. I was one of the guilty parties. I spent $12 on nail clippers, a couple LED flashlights, a switch for a projected HO gauge railroad project, and some batteries for the flashlights.

Mike wanted to sell some radio gear, but no one was seriously enough interested to complete any deals. However he did advertise some of the gear on QRZ.com and QTH.net after we got home, and just emailed me and told me he is working on a handful of emails he already got on the items.

It amazes (disgusts) me how much disregard some hams have for anything CW or QRP. I also get a chuckle out of some of the comments. One in particular that all the skill in QRP is on the receiving end. True it does take skill to copy QRP, BUT if that was all it took, then ANY ham could easily run QRP and get WAS, DXCC, etc. without any effort at all. That is just NOT true, and quite simply refutes any such argument about where the skill lies. The QRP operator must have an equal amount of skill to complete a QRP QSO. Nuff said.

Let's close with a picture taken at the hamfest, after I say that my streaks go on. I worked 9A2UZ in the first minute of the new day this evening to make it 95 days for the DX streak. It also helped with the NAQCC EU Chapter June challenge. Then I got my second WARC band QSO in June for our NAQCC "USA" challenge.

Oh, and one more thing, then the picture. Mike mentioned the Prisoner last night. We wound up not watching the final episode, but I found my tapes that have all 17 episodes on them, and we watched one of the 3 or 4 episodes we couldn't find on the Internet. When we finish the missing episodes, then we'll watch the final.

OK now on to the hamfest picture of Tom, Mike, and I. Thanks to Bob W3BBO for being the photographer.

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Saturday, June 01, 2013 8:48 PM - Good evening everyone. Tonight I will be guest writing for John. I arrived at John's QTH around 21:30Z after I finished my work day delivering mail. Today started my third week back since my surgery back in mid January. Tomorrow John and I will be joining Tom WY3H at the Breeze Shooters annual hamfest at the Bulter Farm Grounds just outside of Butler Pa. If you are in the area please feel free to stop by and visit us in building 2. Unfortunately we will not be able to operate due to being on the wrong side of the building. A few years ago we set up on the opposite side of the building which afforded us to set up a Don K3RLL multi-band dipole. Next year we will ask for a spot on the other side of the building so we can operate during the hamfest.

Our evening started out with dinner. Both of us were a bit famished. I know that I was. I do not eat during my work day. It slows me down as I try to walk the streets with the mail. After dinner we headed up to John's shack and worked a few statoins in the Alabama QSO party. In between AL QSO's we checked for some DX. We found a station in Honduras. John waited until 00:00Z so he could get him for his streaks. I worked him right on the spot. It was DX # 100 via QRP for me. I now have worked WAS QRP and DXCC QRP. Time to build on those numbers.

After I finish writing tonights entry we are going to watch the last episode of 'The Prisoner'. I wish there were more than 17 episodes. I really enjoyed watching the series.

If you are going to be out and about later tonight and tomorrow in the North East USA, please becareful. The forcast calls for some heavy thunder storms to roll through.

Until next time. 73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, May 31, 2013 10:54 PM - Today of course was the day for all my 'last of the month' chores, and that kept me busy most of the day. However I also got quite a few of the 'first of the month' chores done as well, so tomorrow won't be as hectic, which is good as Mike KC2EGL will be coming down after work. He'll be staying the night as we will then be getting up early to head off to the Butler, PA hamfest Sunday morning where we'll set up a NAQCC table and also Mike hopes to sell off some ham equipment he no longer really needs because of having his KX3 now. I suspect the KX3 has contributed to a lot of used ham gear sales since once you use it, everything else becomes lonely and unwanted and wants a new home.

I started off June with still more DX as I worked EA1FZ and special call S573DX easily on 20M which gave me a start on the imaginative NAQCC EU Challenge. This month Matt and Ton are challenging us to make the names and lengths of the four longest rivers in Europe. That's going to peak up my activity a bit till I master that challenge. Then our regular NAQCC Challenge is to make 20 QSOs on the WARC bands this month. That should be fairly easy for most anyone.

Now after the busy day, I have an hour or so to relax before getting to bed. Think I'll play some computer games, listen to TL, and maybe watch a Bob Vila Home Again episode. -30-

Thursday, May 30, 2013 9:31 PM - Up early today to paint the awning with Denny. Actually since I bought the paint, he did most of the painting, but I did my share also. Here's a before and after picture of the change. Although the lighting was different for both pictures - the before was closer to sunset and had that sunset tone to the color vs. the after picture which was taken well before sunset and has a more natural tone. Anyway the difference in the awning is well shown, I think. Keep in mind it's probably about a 45-50 year old awning, if not older since I was quite young when it was installed. It's held up well over the years.

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Although it was pretty hot (90) today, I did also get in a couple pretty good walks. I also helped Pam (Denny's wife) set up her printer with her new laptop. The laptop didn't have the proper driver and Windows Update couldn't seem to find one. So I went to the Canon web site and downloaded and installed the proper driver myself, and now all is working fine.

Another quick DX QSO (OM3JA on 20M) this evening extended the streaks, and now all the days in March, April, and May are filled with at least one DX QSO - 92 days worth.

Although this is the traditional Memorial Day, I didn't want to risk getting paint on my flag, so I didn't fly it as I usually do on holidays. It will fly on July 4th though.

Mike KC2EGL, Tom WY3H (and maybe his two ham sons), and I are going to the Butler, PA hamfest this coming Sunday and setting up a table for the NAQCC. So if you're in the area, I invite you to drop by and say hello. -30-

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 8:57 PM - A warm day today with a high of 88 or 89 depending on which of my thermometers you believe. Denny and I went to get the paint for our awning today, and plan to do the painting early tomorrow morning before it gets too hot.

Just looking at my propagation chart and I see yesterday and today had the lowest solar flux readings in about 5 weeks now. However I noticed this evening that EU seemed stronger and more plentiful this evening than it has been for a few days now. I easily and quickly worked RN3DN near Moscow on 20 meters to continue my streaks. Then I just listened around for a while. I even heard a beacon and someone calling CQ on 6 meters. I don't think of checking 6 all that often, but I should now since it can be taken in at a glance with the panadapter. This is the time for some good sporadic E skip also - another good reason to check it more often. Then before I QRT I thought I'd try for a rag chew on 40 - I haven't done much rag chewing of late, concentrating on just working DX while conditions have been making it so easy. K3ASW - Walt in MD answered my 40M CQ and we chatted for a while. It was a 2XQRP QSO as he was running 2 watts to my 5 watts. -30-

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 8:31 PM - Quick QSO this evening for my streaks. 90 consecutive days of DX now since starting on March 1 when I worked HI3LFE on 20M.

After a bit of an encore for early spring, the weather warmed up today at last. It's 76 now as I look at my remote thermometer and it shows the high was 80 today, and it felt like it as it was pretty humid as well. The current humidity is 60%. That's a brief look at the weather, more details lat........

About the only thing out of the ordinary today, or early this evening was my neighbor Denny and I washing the awning we share on our front porches with the intent of painting it soon.

Some walking, some computer games pretty much filled out the rest of the day. -30-

Monday, May 27, 2013 10:04 PM - I had a very good 'observed' Memorial Day today. I still feel that May 30 is the traditional Decoration/Memorial day, but.... I won't go into that. I wonder when they'll change July 4 to a Monday celebration. It probably will happen some day just so all the people can have their long weekends and forget about why we celebrate days like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, etc.

I celebrated today mainly by honoring those who served in the Armed Forces. I went to our Memorial Day parade, then followed that by attending our very moving celebration at our town amphitheater. After the proper 'celebrating' of the day, then Denny and I went fishing, and I went over to a weiner roast after we got home. Denny and his 6 year old grandson went to the parade with me, and I enjoyed it all that much more because of that. The grandson Gavin made out well in collecting candy thrown from the fire trucks, etc. I always watch the parade right at the point where it starts as there is never a crowd there, and true to form, the three of us had a large section of real estate all to ourselves. Gavin was getting so much candy, he was running out of pocket room. So I told him to take off his hat and start filling that up. By the time the parade was over, the hat was overflowing.

Then this evening, I went over and visited with Nancy and Roscoe for quite a while. Somewhere in between I got my streak QSO(s). Conditions weren't all that good again this evening, but I did manage to work M0XII on 20M despite the fact he wasn't all that strong. Both 4A2I and H70ORO were good and I could have worked them easily, but I've had so many QSOs with both of them, I didn't want to work them yet again. As you know I feel that working DX too often sometimes may deprive someone else of a QSO with some DX they REALLY need, which I don't.

Now in the couple hours before bedtime, I plan to try to get caught up on some computer work. I hardly got on the computer today for a change, and you know it felt good. -30-

Sunday, May 26, 2013 9:04 PM - I never did get back to the WPX contest until about the last half hour or so. I added about a dozen stations to the 30 I got last night. I was just not in a contesting mood. I think had I been hearing more DX among the US/VE stations, I would have put in more time.

It was interesting to watch 20M "die" at 0000Z as the contest ended. Wall to wall spikes on the panadapter down to just a small handful of spikes in less than a minute. I never heard any DX after 0000Z and figured my DX streak would have to wait till 'tomorrow' to be extended. So I answered K1LEE's CQ on 30M and chatted with him for a while to extend the big streak. Then I looked some more for DX and found LY605W on 20M and 'stole' a QSO from his small pile-up with a perfectly timed call and some good operating practice on his part sticking with the K3? till he got me after about 3 repeats. Things like that make the game of DX fun.

I hope you all have a great Memorial Day tomorrow and do something or other to thank those veterans who have helped and are helping keep our country great and strong. I plan to watch our parade and attend our ceremony honoring the veterans at our local amphitheater. -30-

Saturday, May 25, 2013 9:41 PM - WAC in 33 minutes with a slight erroneous detour. When I worked CR2X, I wrongfuly thought at first I had worked the Madeira Islands in Africa. Then after working IK4ZGO, I worked P33W in Cyprus which is Asia. Earlier I had worked PS2T in South America. Then came YN2GY for North America. Count them up, and that's 5 continents, all but Oceania. So I went on a hunt for KH6LC, KH7X, KH6MB, etc. I had worked KH6LC last night on 15. Tonight I found and worked him on 20M. So there is my WAC, right? Wrong - after getting my brain on straight, I found CR2X to be in the Azores, which is EU, not AF. Now the hunt is on for a real AF station. Probably some EA8 (EE8, EF8, etc.) in the Canary Islands. Couldn't find any of them, but here is 6V7S on 20M. Got him with but a single call. So let's list my 33 minute WAC now, then some more comments on the contest.

EU - IK4ZGO 20M 0015Z
AS - P33W 20M 0016Z
NA - YN2GY 15M 0024Z
OC - KH6LC 20M 0042Z
SA - PJ4R 15M 0044Z
AF - 6V7S 20M 0048Z

Probably one of my fastest WACs, although possibly not THE fastest. I'll have to check sometime. Anyway just another proof that working DX with QRP/CW/simple wire antennas is not only possible, but quite easy most of the time.

Otherwise I wasn't really much into the contest. Too hard to sort out the DX from the USA/VE stations as I said last night. Like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. So all in all I only have around 30 QSOs in a couple hours with most of the time spent hunting for the DX to work. I probably won't do much more in the contest unless I might see if I can find an Asian to work on 40M to finally complete my 40M WAC which has been quite difficult since I almost never get on in prime time for 40M AS QSOs VERY early in the morning. -30-

Friday, May 24, 2013 9:41 PM - Superb conditions for the first hour of the WPX contest. I don't think I've ever seen my panadapter work so hard keeping up with all the signals on 20M. I made 18 QSOs in the hour which is an above average start for me in a big contest like this. The only problem was finding the DX among all the USA and VE stations. You see, I only treat the WPX like a DX contest and only work DX stations unless late in the contest when things slow down, then I may work USA/VE stations.

My Hawaii pipeline on 15 was working good this evening. I got KH6LC with but a single call with no repeats of anything. So far I've gotten EU AF and OC towards a weekend WAC. Of course that leaves NA and SA which are a cinch, and somewhat harder AS for the completion. Getting a WAC in a DX contest is always one of my goals, along with collecting new band countries and unusual prefixes. I don't really go for the big scores, but still now and then I do win something like what you can see on my main contest page on the web site.

I do find one thing though after doing so many 'tag team' contests with Mike KC2EGL over the past few months, that it's not quite as much fun without him here. He's back to work now after his shoulder rehabilitation, so probably no more 'tag team' events (nor ghost written diary entries) for a while unless the P.O. does eliminate Saturday deliviries as they had intended to do before being forced to change their mind. We won't go into the politics of that here though.

It was a chilly day today which was good for trimming my front yard bush. It was easy this year as I bought an electric hedge trimmer yesterday at a junk (which is a misnomer) shop for around 5 bucks. It worked perfectly and cut down on time and effort by a great deal. I have gotten several very good tools at that shop for just a mere pittance. Also some other good items as well.

Look like a cold, possibly frosty, night tonight so just as a precaution, I covered my garden plants. However right now it's still cloudy and a bit breezy, neither of which are ingredients for a frost. It's 45 degrees right now as I type, so it has a ways to go to reach 32 or lower, and likely may not make it, but.... -30-

Thursday, May 23, 2013 9:06 PM - I now have 85 consecutive days of DX in my log. The streak began on March 1, and I haven't missed a day since. Tonight I quickly worked 3 continents for my streak QSOs, all on 20M courtesy of EA8TL, YN2GY, and HB9DAX.

I got some diary feedback today from another ham who is enjoying QRP/CW DX also. If I understand his email correctly he is not doing a streak like I am, but seeing how many days he can work DX this year. I believe his referring to not getting DX on days he is not at home confirms that. Also saying he started on the first of the year, and having a total of 122 days seems to be an additional confirmation since as of May 24, there are 144 days so far this year.

Nevertheless his achievement with DX is just as convincing as mine that DX is there for any QRP/CW DXer who cares to work it. Especially since we both use equally minimal antennas. Anyway here's what John N8ZYA says.

"Hello John, I've been following your diary for the last week and realize you're also working DX everyday. I was unaware of your goal and found, surprisingly, that I too was engaged in the same effort. I started at the first of the year and now have over 4 months of daily DX contacts. I've taken a few days "off" for vacation in New York and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But every day that I've been "home" here in West Virginia, I've made at least ONE (sometimes as many as nine) DX contacts every day.

So those who think DX isn't possible, with a simple QRP station, and a simple wire antenna, need to re-think the possibilities of DX QRP. !!

I've lived in restricted antenna area's for my entire Ham Radio career. (a little over 20 years) Currently I live about a block from the state capitol building here in Charleston. For my DX contacts, I'm using a 50 ft piece of 16 gauge Radio Shack "speaker wire" stretched around the perimeter of my radio room, running across the hall, and down a stair railing. My tuner says I'm putting 3 watts to it.

My point is, as you know also, DX is easily workable with a very simple QRP rig and a very simple antenna. I wonder many times why DX QRP isn't taken seriously by some folks. I find the challenge exhilarating and do not plan to work any other mode in my lifetime. (I'm 65 now). Of course the "secret" is Morse Code. I particularly like the 17 and 30 meter bands. There's been a few times since the first of the year when it was tuff to work a DX station, but so far, I'm at day 122 now.

This evening I worked HP1/IQ6CC in Panama (for the second time in the last few days) and CO8LY in Cuba. The bands in pretty bad shape but I'm still making contacts. Keep up the great DX streak. I'll try to do the same, but I think, eventually, you will probably edge me out. hihi 72's Your Truly, John Smithson N8ZYA NAQCC # 2279"

There, if you haven't been believing me about QRP/CW DX, there's more proof. Incidentally 3 watts is about 2.2 dB less than 5 watts, just a bit over 1/3 of an S unit. So even if you can't run a full QRP gallon of 5 watts, go for it. You would have to go down to 1.25 watts before you lose a full S unit.

Now John has made me curious to see how many DX days I have in 2013. I doubt if I have as many as he does because I wasn't really in a DXing mood in January and February, but let's see. I didn't think so since I only had 7 days in January and 20 in February for a total of 112. My best year was 2000 when I worked DX on 301 different days. And continuing with my curiousity, 2000 was also my best year for total DX QSOx with 2,269. In 2000, I worked 149 countries. That was a banner DX year - 97 countries on 10, 50 on 12, 55 on 17, 95 from AS, 56 from AF, 1,751 from EU, 37 from OC. All records for a year.

Going a bit further, a quick rough count shows 105 countries this year, 938 DX QSOs. Those are enough stats for now. If this entry from John and John doesn't convince you that QRP/CW DX is very possible and very easy to work, nothing will, and that's a shame. Actually the only limiting factor is available time. On some days when conditions are not the best, it may take some time to find and work a DX station. I think if anyone has enough time, he can work DX EVERY day as I've done for the past 85 consecutive days. -30-

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 8:11 PM - Another hot, humid day today, but you know I seem to have adapted already this year and it wasn't bothersome at all. Oh, I didn't go out and run a marathon or anything like that, but I wasn't dragging like I was yesterday.

I got a chance to check the bands around 1800Z today and I'm glad I did. I worked PJ2/WI9WI on 12M for a new band country which completed the "new" Curacao on all bands from 80-10 (except 60). That's one of quite a few countries I have on those 8 bands now. In fact, I'm just curious now to know just how many, so I'm going to list them here and count them.

Africa: CN EA8 - 2
Europe: 9A DL F G GI GM HA I OE OK OM ON SP YU - 14
North America: 6Y 8P C6 FG FM FS HI J3 J6 J7 K KP2 KP4 PJ5 TI V3 VE VP2M VP5 XE YN ZF - 22
Oceania: KH6 - 1
South America: HC8 P4 PJ2 (new-Curacao) PJ2 (old-Bonaire, etc.) - 4
Total: 43 8 band countries.

I also have England on 60M for 9 bands, USA on 160, 60, and 6 also for 11 bands, and Canada on 160 for 9 bands.

There are a lot I have on 7 bands (excluding 80), but I'm not going to take time to list them here, nor even count them right now.

I mentioned working 9A5M with 100 mW several days ago, and I wanted to share this email from Marin, actually two emails. After I emailed him and thanked him for the 100mW QSO, he answered, "100mW ?!?!". I confirmed that it was actually 100mW, and he replied, "I'm glad that we made such a rare QSO! I work with 4el. QQ and 2.5kW hee QSL via Lotw! Do you have a recording of our QSO??" Unfortunately I don't record QSOs here, so I couldn't send him a recording. I will QSL at the end of the month via LotW as I do with all QSOs. I wonder what the difference in dB is between 100mW and 2.5kW. Some astronomical figure I imagine. According to a quick calculation it's about 44 dB.

My QSO for the streaks this evening came pretty quickly at 0007Z when I worked HP1/IQ6CC on 17M. That's 84 DX days now with hopefully no end in sight. If I get one tomorrow, at least Saturday and Sunday will be easy with the WPX contest.

I promise I will get back to my 50 years of ham radio. There are just a lot of things going on right now that I haven't talked about here (no, not any problems or anything negative, just a lot of work that I can't talk about just yet that are taking up my time. -30-

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 8:57 PM - This was the hottest, most humid day of the year so far. Each year as I age, I notice the heat more, at least it takes me seemingly an extra day or so to get used to it each year.

So as I try to keep cool, just another brief diary entry this evening. The bands were pretty much the same as last night. Again I thought I'd have a rough time getting my DX QSO, so first of all I solidified my main streak by answering WB6THE's CQ on 40M. After a short chat with him, I went back to the DX chase and 'worked' a rather sloppy LZ station. Most everyone he 'worked', he only sent a partial call, and never did send their full call. I got a K3W from him, sent my call twice again, he gave me a 599, and went on to the next QSO. I did put him in my log, but then I looked for a better DX QSO and worked VP5/W5CW who is probably getting set up for the CQWPX contest this weekend. -30-

Monday, May 20, 2013 9:18 PM - I thought I wasn't going to get my DX streak QSO this evening. There weren't that many DX stations heard here, so I thought I'd get my regular streak QSO out of the way. I wen't to 40 and answered W3MT's CQ, but we were wiped out by QRM before we even completed one round, so I didn't count that one, but I did happen to notice that my KX3 was still set at 500 mW. W3MT heard me easily, but the DX weren't hearing me at that level tonight under less than good conditions. So since I was on 40, I called CQ and worked K2GTC for my main streak QSO. Then I went back to 20 meters and easily worked LZ1MBU. So both streaks are secure for another day. That's 82 for the DX streak, my second longest. Now it's on to 154 (and beyond?) - whew! -30-

Sunday, May 19, 2013 9:12 PM - Another quiet beautiful May day today. A good day for walking and gardening once again. Not a great deal of excitement, but a wonderful just nice to be alive day.

Still feeling kind of lazy tonight, so not a lot more to say. Oh, I did tie my second longest DX streak when I worked HA9RT this evening. That's 81 days now. Then just to celebrate I worked E77DX with 500 mW. Tried him at 100 mW and 200 mW, but he wasn't hearing me. Needed those couple hundred extra mW to get above his noise level, I guess. HI. -30-

Saturday, May 18, 2013 9:27 PM - Again not much out of the ordinary today. Some walking, some gardening, a little shopping, one walk with Roscoe, and a little ham radio. My streak(s) QSO again came quickly this evening when I worked F6KUF/P on EU64 on 20M at 0002Z. That pretty much covers the day except I did cut my hair this afternoon.

Tomorrow I may be helping Ange work on his garden. Also Tom WY3H will be visiting for a while. -30-

Friday, May 17, 2013 9:32 PM - Yet another beautiful May day today. I wish we could bottle normal May weather and use it the whole year round. I had several walking errands to do today, and it was ideal for that. Also nice to be out working in the yard again. The grass and weeds are loving this weather also and growing so fast you can almost sit and watch the growth.

It's good that the weather is so good because the band conditions are not that good. Oh, it's still easy to work DX, but it's not as strong or as plentiful as it had been in April and early May. It took only 3 minutes to get my streak(s) QSO this evening as I worked EA4AOC/1 on 20M at 0003Z. That's 79 days now for the DX streak. I must say it hasn't been all that much of a challenge to keep it going, and most anyone, if they so desire, can probably do the same as I have been doing. Hope I didn't jinx myself by saying that now. HI.

Do you like to play computer games, but don't like paying for them. I found a great site that has FREE totally functional games with no limits unlike a lot of the game sites. Once again these are completely functional no limitations games. I've tried four or five of them so far, and there are no strings attached. Just go to GameTop.com and check them out. -30-

Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:14 PM - Another nice warm May day again today. Good for walking. I've got just under 9 miles on the pedometer. Also good for yard work. I cut the grass in the back yard today. Other than that, not really much going on today. Again this evening conditions on the bands were not all that good, but I managed to keep the streaks going with a 12M QSO from CO8LY. -30-

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 9:42 PM - From 30 yesterday morning to 84 this afternoon. 54 degrees in less than 36 hours. Quite a swing. The record for a single day is 53 degrees. There are some other big swings also. I believe I recall it going from below zero to the 70s in a couple days in a March several years ago. I'll have to refresh my memory and see just how unusual this current 54 day string is.

I helped Denny lay some carpet this afternoon and early evening. It was nice to do some work like that. I also got sort of a dose of the "Fountain of Youth" along the way when Denny's 6 year old grandson asked me how old I was. I asked him to guess and he said in the 30s? I just thanked him. HI I guess I'm holding up pretty well at almost 68.

There was a dose of really poor conditions on the bands today, but even with that, the DX was still there, althoug not very plentiful. I managed to get a couple Mexicans for my streak QSOs this evening to get closer to my first goal of 82 DX days. I'm now at 77. -30-

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 9:27 PM - We had a low of 30 this morning. Perhaps a record for the date, but not for the month as we have hit 26 degrees on several days in May in the past. All the garden plants made it through nicely. Now tomorrow it's supposed to be near 80 degrees as summer type weather returns, hopefully to stay this time.

Not a lot happening on the bands today. I did try to work SV2CQB with mW power on 15M this afternoon with no luck. So I went to 5 watts and got him easily. This evening the DX streak extended to 76 days as I worked Pance Z33Z very easily on 20M despite him not being all that strong. -30-

Monday, May 13, 2013 8:50 PM - Not a lot going on today. Well, thinking back, maybe that isn't all that true. First thing this morning, I did my clothes washing, had some brunch, and then Bruce and I looked up some things on my computer. This afternoon, I checked the bands a couple times. I worked a nice new prefix in SZ7SER on 15 meters. Not much else around. I also reorganized some things on the hard drives of my computer as I was running out of space for my Windows regular weekly backups. Later this afternoon, I had supper with Nancy, Bruce, and Jeff and then we all went out to one of Nancy's friends to pick a big batch of rhubarb. Then home again to see if I had now enough free space for my backup. I started it up and it just finished successfully a little while ago.

I had to look a while to find my streak(s) QSO this evening. There was a very strong OE station on 17, but he was engaged in a couple long rag chews. So I looked around some more, and found a somewhat weak ES3AX and thought I'd call him just to see if he could hear me at all. To my surprise my first call ended up with a nice QSO with August. If there is anything that amazes me at all about QRP, it's how easily I can often work someone whom I have trouble hearing on this end. Quite often it turns into a solid 2 way QSO with more difficulty copying on my end. I guess some folks are blessed to have a combination of good location, good antenna, good receiving equipment, and good 'ears'.

And a final note. We had a very tiny bit of s*(w today. Probably one of the latest times in a season we've had any of that stuff. Of course it was only a few flakes in the air that melted as soon as (or even before) they hit the ground. We've got a freeze warning again tonight so I left my plants covered all day today. Tomorrow the covers come off in readiness for near 80 degree temperatures on Wednesday. A 50 or so degree swing in just some 30-35 hours. -30-

Sunday, May 12, 2013 6:57 PM - Guess I'll write this a bit early today so I can try to finish the sprint log cross checking as soon after the submission deadline of 2400Z this evening as possible.

The bands were a bit on the boring side today. Not a single contest I had any interest at all in, and not much in the way of DX. BUT 9A5M was booming in on 15M, so I thought hey, I think I'll see how low in power I can go and work him. I cranked the KX3 down to 100mW which I guess is as low as it goes. There is a 0.0 watt setting on the power dial, but that probably does mean zero. Anyway I called and after he worked 3 or 4 other stations, it was my turn and he came right back to me with no repeats needed. That's 4,620.7 miles or 46,207 miles per watt. Maybe my best ever MPW figure. Maybe now I'll have to build another RF attenuator or dig out my old attenuator I used to cut my TS-570 output down to the mW range and see if I can get a better figure.

Oh, my Z81X QSO was a legitimate one. I am in their on-line log, so that makes me feel good. I always have a little doubt when I work such rare DX so easily.

My WAC yesterday came in 1 hour and 10 minutes. I'm not sure if that is my fastest ever WAC or not. When I get some time, I'll look into it. Here's a list of the stations:
AF - Z81X 2306Z 5/11
NA - CO6RD 2312Z 5/11
EU - I3VJW 2316Z 5/11
AS - RT9J 2347Z 5/11
OC - WH6R 0043Z 5/12
SA - PZ5RA 0116Z 5/12

Lot's of fun to do little things like that. It maintains my interest in ham radio.

Winter is making its final(?) two curtain calls tonight and tomorrow night with low temperatures predicted around 30 or so. That means I tuck my garden plants under the covers both nights, hopefully for the last time. -30-

Saturday, May 11, 2013 9:46 PM - Today was a good day in a couple ways. Early this morning I got this nice surprise in the mail:

pix_diary_20130511_001 (62K)  pix_diary_20130511_002 (16K)

I had no idea what was in the mailing tube lying on my porch under the mailbox, and still no idea when I saw it was from the ARRL. I thought maybe I'd won something in one of the recent ARRL contests, but I doubted that since I hadn't put in all that serious an effort in any of them lately. Probably 200-300 QSOs at best. So I had to take it inside and pop off the ends of the tube. When I did, the pin shown above dropped out. I didn't examine it closely then so I was still in the dark. The papers inside were a bit stubborn, but when I finally got them out, I found out it was 'honoring' my 40 years as an ARRL member. Not continuous years, but 40 nonetheless. I was not a member during the few years in the 70s and 80s when I was pretty much inactive in ham radio. It's always nice to get something unexpected (if it's a GOOD something, that is.)

That segues nicely into my second bit of 'goodness' for the day. It's said in sports as well as other activities in life that, "I'd rather be lucky than good." Well, I was lucky this evening. I was fooling around in the CQM contest because it's one of the bigger DX contests with the kind of high speed fast action CW that I love. There's nothing better, in my opinion, than that kind of activity in ham radio. Anyway, as I was checking 15M for stations to work in the contest, I came across what I thought I heard as Z81X. I figured I must have missed the first letter - maybe an L. But no, it was Z81X. I had no idea what that could be, but I knew it was a prefix I'd never worked before, so I hurried up and worked it easily simplex. OK, probably the majority of you reading this are thinking something like this, "Is he serious, he didn't know what Z81X was?" Well, I don't follow ham radio news much because I believe ham radio should be like it was in the old days without all the instantenous Internet news, spotting, clusters, etc. I have my fun just exploring the bands and working what I find interesting, and THEN, and only then, try to find out what I heard or worked via the Internet. It's much more fun to me that way.

So anyway, after I easily worked Z81X, I fired up my browser which I can now do on my shack computer since I set up the wireless network a few days ago. I punched Z81X into my Bing search bar, and was immediately shocked when virtually the first words I saw in the search results were "South Sudan". After the shock, I wondered about my working it so easily if it was really the South Sudan DXpedition station I worked, or some pirate. Well, as I was still listening to him, suddenly he went to split operation, and just as suddenly a 3 kHz or so wide pileup developed, and continued for at least a couple of hours after that. It had to be the real thing. I had just been very lucky and arrived just as he was starting his 15M stint apparently. Better lucky than good, for sure. So that is now overall entity #217 worked. Hope the QSL is as easy to get as was entity #216 A71CM.

So then I went back to the CQM contest. I don't have my log here, but either before or after Z81X I had worked a couple of JA stations pretty easily. I started thinking with AF and AS worked - 2 of the 3 hardest to work here along with OC - I might have a shot at a single day WAC since I had also worked NA and EU of course. I thought maybe I could find a KH6 station for OC, and surely some PY station for SA. Well, it didn't take long to find WH6R in the contest and work him for continent #5. SA proved harder. There was a PY4 station in the contest earlier who was having some keying problems and I didn't work him. Oddly enough with Brazilians seemingly very active in all contests lately, I just never did hear any other PY stations. That would be odd to have SA prevent me from my WAC. Finally I found a SA station on 17M as I was checking that band in between contesting. PZ5RA was working a pileup split frequency. I set up the KX3 for split, and with the dual receive capability quickly found exactly where PZ5RA was listening, and after waiting through a couple other calls, he came back with K3? and after I repeated my call, I had my late afternoon/early evening WAC in the books. A good day, indeed! -30-

Friday, May 10, 2013 9:31 PM - This was a quiet day for a change. I wish it had been busier with a lot more sprint logs to process, but they really slowed down today and we may be in danger of not even making our minimum of 100 logs this month. That would be a real disappointment and only the third time in 3 years we would have failed to make the 100 mark. Well, there are still some 48 hours left before the submission deadline so maybe we will still make it although we still need about a dozen to get there.

About all I did do today was to watch a couple videos - Young Indiana Jones and the Phantom Train of Doom and also an interesting show from 1989 featuring baseball records and the folks who set them. Then I watched a This Old House episode on the Internet.

I also got on the air a few times looking for a W to complete the NAQCC EU challenge. Of course getting a W from USA stations is easy, but the EU challenges require all letters and numbers to come only from EU stations operating in EU. This afternoon I had no luck, but did get GB75FOC for a new prefix. Other than that I haven't been working any FOC stations unless they do give me a new prefix like GB75 and a GN75 the other day. This evening my top priority was getting my streak(s) station which I did quickly when I worked HA1RJ at 0003Z. That's 73 days of DX now. Then I went back to searching for that elusive W. About ten minutes later I heard Slaw SP2LNW calling CQ. I'd worked him before and figured he'd be an easy QSO and he was. So finally I finished the EU May challenge and submitted my results. With that done, I thought I'd get only my second or third non-DX, non-contest QSO in May, and called CQ on 30, then 40 and got an answer and a 17 minute QSO from Marty N3BEV who coincidentally is also celebrating his 50th year as a ham. -30-

Thursday, May 09, 2013 9:00 PM - OK, let's pick up with my 50 years of ham radio now. On June 17, 1981 I returned to the air and made my first QSO since December 4, 1973. I worked W8VUV on 3528, ironically just 4 kHz from my last QSO in 1973. I continued using only 80 and 40 meters until November 9, 1982 when I made my first ever QSO on 30M working KW8J on 10140 kHz. That was not long after 30M became available as a ham radio band. Let me see if I can find the exact date. Well, I can't find it, and I'm not going to continue looking. If anyone has it, let me know. I find references to August and September 1982, but nothing any more specific. Whatever the case, when I first activated 30 meters here, there was still a ton of activity from everyone striving to get an early WAS on that band. Originally there was a 'no-no' zone in the middle of the band where no amateur activity was permitted. I believe it was from 10.109 to 10.113 if memory serves. I'm pretty sure of the low end, but not so sure of the high end.

I'm not sure of the exact facts about the early days of the band, but it certainly quickly became my favorite band and stayed that way for a long time. I still really like the band and use it quite a bit. My first DX on the band came on November 21, 1982 when I worked J88CI. All my QSOs, some 127 of them, came on 30M until I went back to 40 briefly on January 25, 1983.

Backing up a bit, I had a lot of fun working DX on 40M in 1981. Sometime between 1973 and 1981 (I believe), I installed my attic random wire which I used mainly for SWL and Maritime DXing in that period. When I got back to ham radio again, I found it loaded up well on 40M and later on 30M. I still used my old homebrew transmitter which I cut back in power to about 30W input. It could have been even lower than that as I have various powers listed in my log in that era. I see everything from 5 to 75 watts (all measured as final plate input power which means my real RF output power was probably some 50 to 60 percent of those figures). That sets up the next paragraph where I want to talk about my DX exploits in 1981.

On September 16 on 40M, I worked DL9ID DL1GBZ YU3DKS (in now defunct Yugoslavia) G4GLL. DL1GBZ told me I was his first ever DX contact. The next night on the 17th, I felt like some rare DX station when I worked ON6KD EA7AIN F3NB-G3US SM4BNZ-G6TC-GM8MJ-F6GOY. The hyphen indicating when I was tail-ended by the following station. Up until that time, that was by far my most exciting experience with DX. Actually even today, I don't get tail-ended by as much DX as I did then. I continued to work DX sporadically, nothing like those two nights. I worked stations like Y22JD (Now defunct East Germany - wish I could have gotten a QSL from him) F0AHY/FC (Corsica when their prefix was FC, not TK) and a few other stations. I still enjoyed rag chewing and some contesting over chasing DX at that time.

I continued with that portion of my ham career until September 23, 1983 when I made my last QSO with WA8FTT, and then went silent again until February 15, 1993. We'll pick up there in a future installment.

My streak(s) QSO this evening was a special Slovenian prefix station - S503EO. Earlier in the day I added another nice prefix in LZ1876SMB. Both those stations required but a single call to get them in my log. Later this evening I added N0SA (I think my first non-contest USA station this month perhaps) and YO7LCB. The S503EO call gave me the final zeroes for the NAQCC EU challenge, but I still need one W to complete that challenge. I did work EW8EW, but that was in a contest and doesn't count. Maybe tomorrow I'll find someone. -30-

Wednesday, May 08, 2013 10:53 PM - This was a busy evening with computer club followed by our NAQCC sprint, and my brain is tired right now. HI.

I managed to get in a DX QSO before the sprint to hit the 70 day mark in my current DX streak. Only 12 days now and I'll have my second longest DX streak at 82 days. I got an IK0 station earlier in the day to get two more zeroes for the NAQCC EU challenge. Now I need two zeroes and one W to finish up. Hopefully I can get them tomorrow. -30-

Tuesday, May 07, 2013 11:02 PM - A busy varied day today. Let's see if I can remember it all. I learned some more about wireless networking, and improved my setup today. Still a little short on file-sharing, but otherwise all doing well.

I took an hour out to go fishing, but the fish didn't show up except for some minnows who were too small to even get hooked. Still the weather was nice, so it was pleasant to sit there anyway.

I helped Nancy do some yard work trimming her front yard bushes, then did some more grass removal from my sidewalk (and hers also). I also walked Roscoe for a little while.

I managed to get on the air for a while in between everything else. I finished up our NAQCC challenge when I got the last 5 Es from a couple of Mexican stations. I also got a 9 for the NAQCC EU challenge, leaving 4 zeroes and 1 W to finish the other side of the pond challenge.

Then this evening I extended my streaks another day when I worked CP2/UA4WHX and CU/I4EML. Neither station was very strong, but still they copied me for the QSOs to be complete. I think if there is anything amazing about QRP at all (and there really isn't much), it's how easy it is to work stations who aren't very strong. So that's a good point - if you hear someone weak you want to work, don't figure he'll never copy your QRP. Give a try, and he just might hear you. -30-

Monday, May 06, 2013 9:57 PM - Another busy day today with not much time to check out the bands. Three major things occupied my time. First continuing to work on getting my wireless network up to snuff. I'm still there except my shack computer will not give me permission to access its files from my main computer. Windows XP home is supposed to have something called simple file sharing, but it doesn't seem to be working. I've got a few more tricks to try tomorrow. Second I did quite a bit of cleaning up around the yard and house outside today. Weeding, removing grass from the cracks between bricks - things like that. Third I helped Denny do some electrical work in his house. When all that finished, It was well past 0000Z, and I didn't think for a while I was going to get my streak QSO(s) this evening and would have to wait till tomorrow. However after about a half hour of trying, I did work XE1RZL on 20M to extend both streaks, and also get two of the 5 Es I needed to complete the NAQCC May challenge. Now I'm down to needing just three Es to finish up.

No, I haven't forgotten about my 50 years of ham radio story. It just seems that something comes up every day to occupy my time and keep me from working on it. I will pick it up again soon though, hopefully before it becomes 100 years of ham radio. HI. -30-

Sunday, May 05, 2013 9:24 PM - OK, now I'm rested up from the long day yesterday and ready to tell you about it. Mike arrived here around 10AM just as I was finishing my breakfast or brunch. We talked for a while, and then headed off for Columbus. I knew it was going to be a long trip, and because of that, I had to 'debate' with myself whether or not I wanted to go. I told Mike if it were in Pittsburgh, I wouldn't have hesitated at all and said yes right away. However the desire to see the match won out in the debate, and Mike ordered our tickets Friday night when he was here after our trip to the Pittsburgh Mills mall on Friday.

Mike's smart phone GPS was our guide to Columbus. To keep our minds occupied on the long drive, we decided to play some alphabet games. Finding all the letters of the alphabet on road signs. Then finding all the letters on license plates. Some of the letters were hard to find - Q both on signs and on plates, I and O on plates in particular although others took some time to find as well. Because some came slow, it took quite a while to complete the alphabets, and time passed quickly and we arrived in Columbus without really being tired out by the trip. Mike parked the car and this was our first view of the stadium as we walked across the parking lot:
pix_diary_20130505_005 (70K)

We walked around the stadium for a while, visited the restroom, and bought some food. Mike had some White Castle sliders, and I had a grilled chicken sandwich. The rock music was so loud near the tables, we decided to just go up to our seats and eat there. This is the view of the pitch that we had from above and to the right of where our seats were:
pix_diary_20130505_004 (59K)

And looking back across the pitch from the other end, the small red arrow shows where our seats were:
pix_diary_20130505_007 (62K)

Here are the two Red Bulls fans posing for their pictures:
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pix_diary_20130505_002 (95K)

Nothing more need be said about that. Here's a view of the pitch from the other end of the stadium:
pix_diary_20130505_006 (49K)

That's the skyline of Columbus to the right of the scoreboard. I'm sure you can tell from the pictures that Columbus has a first class soccer stadium. And it is a soccer stadium, having been built from scratch as a venue for soccer, not a stadium 'borrowed' from some other sport as a lot of teams have. It was the first such stadium in the MLS.

It was not the greatest soccer match ever played by any means. At least for the first 75 minutes or so. Columbus were outplaying New York, but couldn't get the ball in the net thanks to some good plays by the Red Bulls keeper, Robles. Other than Robles, the other 10 players looked like they were playing in a fog or playing as 10 individuals rather than as a team. Around the 78th minute something happened that sort of kick-started the New York team. One of the Red Bulls committed a foul in the penalty area and gave the Crew a penalty kick. As anyone who follows soccer knows, penalty kicks are pretty much 'gimmee' goals most of the time, but not always. This was one of those not always times, as Robles made a brilliant save diving to his right and punching the ball out of the way to keep the score knotted at 0-0. Shortly after that on a free kick from some ways outside of the box, he made another great save. That seemed to ignite the Red Bulls and they went on the attack finally, and not long after that, a nice header into the net over the Crew keeper gave New York a 1-0 lead to which they held on for the final 10+ minutes of the match including four added minutes due mainly to the antics of one of the New York defenders. It was great to look at one of the side scoreboards at the end of the game and see this:
pix_diary_20130505_001 (81K)

So Mike and I were happy on the way home as we discussed the game and played the alphabet games again. We got home around 10:30PM or so. A long day, but a very good, enjoyable one.

I managed to get my streak(s) QSO before bed last night as I worked EW8EW on 20M in the RAI contest. It's a good thing because the bands weren't all that good during the day today. Nor this evening actually although I did manage to work Serg DL1DGS on 20 meters to extend the DX streak to 67 days now. Actually the DX streak really hasn't been all that challenging as it's been very easy to work DX most of this year so far. I wish I'd had the time to start the streak earlier in the year then I'd be well over 110-120 days or so now, but....

I spent quite a bit of time today setting up a wireless network to connect my shack and main computers together. Installing the router was a piece of cake, but the wireless adapter in the shack computer was a different story. It has given me fits all along the the way. I did finally get the connection when I found the Windows WZC service was turned off because a long time ago I shut down unneeded services in that computer to speed it up. Once I re-activated the WZC service, things worked smoothly, well except for file sharing. I can access the Internet just fine from the shack computer. I can access the main computer files just fine from the shack computer, but I'm still trying to figure out why I can't access the shack files from the main computer. I have one thing I haven't tried yet that hopefully will work. That is to give a password to my user account in the shack computer. I got rid of it years ago since it wasn't really needed. I'll see if that works sometime tomorrow, but tonight it's watching some Internet TV (Ask This Old House), and some TL, then off to bed. -30-

Saturday, May 04, 2013 11:35 PM - Just got home from the match a few minutes ago. All I'm going to say for now is that it was a very enjoyable day and our Red Bulls won over the Columbus Crew 1-0 in what turned out to be an interesting, if not very well-played game. More about it in tomorrow's entry.

Now I'm thinking about seeing if I can grab a quick DX QSO for my streaks before going to bed. -30-

Friday, May 03, 2013 10:01 PM - The weekend as such has just barely started and it's already been a busy one for me. After getting the NAQCC newsletter posted early this morning, then watering my newly planted garden, Mike KC2EGL came down and we headed to the Pittsburgh Mills where Mike had to get some new shoes for his return to work in a couple weeks or so and I got a wireless router and a wireless adapter with the intention of hooking my main computer and my shack computer together. That will have to wait a couple days though because tomorrow Mike and I are going to Columbus, Ohio to see our favorite MLS team, the New York Red Bulls take on the Columbus Crew. My first ever live soccer game, and I think Mike said it would be his first MLS game although he has seen other live pro soccer games. Either Mike or I will write about that tomorrow evening and maybe even have some pictures as well.

With most of tomorrow occupied, I knew I had to get my streak QSOs for sure just after 0000Z this evening, and I did. I easily worked the following starting at 0003Z: HA8QZ, RP68TT, RA1AOB, UA9MA, and OM3SX. Those QSOs plus some that Mike and I both worked late this afternoon and earlier evening put me much closer to finishing both NAQCC May challenges. I need 5 Es to finish the 'USA' challenge, and I think 6 letters/numbers to finish the EU challenge. Hopefully I can wrap both up on Sunday or Monday at the latest.

Oh, almost neglected to mention eating. HI. Mike and I ate at Applebee's in the Pittsburgh Mills. I had a 'fish and rings' dinner, and Mike had a shrimp and steak dinner. Of course 'rings' referring to onion rings instead of the standard fries. Mmmmm. -30-

Thursday, May 02, 2013 9:12 PM - The second beautiful May day in a row. Instead of fishing though, I planted all my garden. I've got the following planted. From bought plants: three Early Girl and one Big Boy tomatoes. From home started plants: three Siberian tomatoes, four pepper plants. From seeds planted today: one dozen pole beans, one dozen bush beans, about two dozen peas. That pretty much fills up my meager garden space although I do have about six square feet left in which I may add some more pepper plants. I'm sure Ange will offer me a lot of plants, but I'll have to tell him I only have space for a few pepper plants, that's all.

The bands were pretty good late this afternoon when I worked YN/IK2PFL, IA5A, II2CJ, S51Z. There were others also available, but those gave me a nice selection of letters for our NAQCC challenges. Out of some 90 letters altogether, I need about two dozen to complete both challenges. I hoped to pick up more letters this evening, but conditions slipped backwards again. I even resorted to a USA station to keep the main streak going when I couldn't find any workable DX. However after I worked W2BPI, things picked up a bit again and I worked CE2AWW with a single call, then R8MC with a single call and one repeat. None of those three calls this evening provided me with any new letters for the challenges though. -30-

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 9:40 PM - Of course there is the saying about March coming in like a Lion or a Lamb. Well, there should be a saying covering May as well. However I don't know what creature you could compare it to. It would have to be the most perfect creature to ever inhabit the earth, since the weather was absolutely perfect today. Virtually not a single cloud in the sky. Temperatures in the upper 70s. A nice breeze blowing. Ahhhh. Of course I took advantage and went fishing, something I hope to do a lot more of this year.

I thought I'd use the little red worms I bought when Denny and I went fishing a few days ago and see if there were any hungry bluegills in the river. When I got there, I saw a zillion tiny minnows swimming around in the water, but no bluegills. Anyway I put on a bobber and a small long shank hook, baited it and threw it in to a spot where I usually catch a lot of bluegills. I use the long shank hook because bluegills often are so aggressive, they swallow the hook, and the long shank ones are easier to remove without hurting the bluegill as much. Anyway as I was watching the little minnows swimming around the worm below the bobber, noticing the worm must have been too big for the tiny minnows, a large carp swam in from somewhere. He circled the worm a few times, took a bite at the bobber like the one last year who took my bobber in his mouth and swam around with it for a while, then seemed like he was not interested in the worm, and I thought he left. But then I saw him swim back and this time he grabbed the worm, hooked himself and took off to begin the games. I became very patient and was determined to not get too anxious and force him and lose him. I let him pretty much do what he wanted which is so very easy with the rod and bait casting reel Bruce, Nancy, and Joe got me for Christmas 2011. I really learned just exactly how to use it last year - all its little ins and outs. So after about 10 minutes I slithered down the bank next to the amphitheater, and landed him after he splashed me a couple time. Turned out he was just under the peak fighting size which I believe is 26 inches after catching hundreds of carp over the years. This one measured 25 inches, and put up a good fight. So that was the highlight of my day, and it's a good thing because the bands didn't provide much.

A minor geomagnetic storm turned the bands topsy turvy from what they were the past few days now. I heard virtually nothing around noon before fishing, and not much more in late afternoon. Some Caribbean stations were about it. Then for my streak QSO just after 0000Z, there was one strong EU station in EA4DRV whom I worked with a little difficulty. He was just about all I heard at all from other than NA and SA today. But it continued my streaks - the DX streak is now at 63 days and counting.

Well, that was a pretty long entry, so I think I'll end here and wait till tomorrow to get back to the 50 year history. It took 50 years to make the history, so I guess there's no real hurry to get it all said quickly. HI. -30-

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:25 PM - The sun is alive with a ton of sunspots - sung to the tune of "The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Music." Yes, boys and girls, the sun is giving ham radio operators a great present to transition from April to May. Super DX conditions today and hopefully the next few days as well. Picking and choosing, I made 10 DX QSOs this afternoon and tonight. I could have made a lot more had I chosen to. Some highlights - YT9M and UR7GW worked with just 500mW; UR7GW with a single call; wish I'd called with still lower power - Nice Italian prefix in IA5A and possibly another new one in IZ6TGS - GN4FOC who took time out from running stations in the FOC activity to call me 'famous QRPer' and complimented me on the web site and my QRP activity - CE2AWW finally logged; nothing really special, but I had been trying unsuccessfully to work him recently - enough letters from calls this evening to get a good jump start on our NAQCC challenges, both main and EU Chapter. Ham radio is really an exciting hobby when "DX is alive with a ton of sunspots."

I got most of my end of the month work done today, except entering my April weather data into my Excel database which I'll do a little closer to midnight when all the data is complete. Then tomorrow after a trip to the bank, I should have an easy day to chase DX and/or go fishing. Oh, the weather is great also, along with band conditions.

Also I've got most of the NAQCC newsletter ready for posting after the addition of a couple more items. I'm rolling along pretty good now. Should even have time after tonight and tomorrow morning to get back to my 50 years of ham radio stories here in the diary. -30-

Monday, April 29, 2013 7:41 PM - I had an interesting QSO this afternoon. I think it was my longest ever rag chew with a Japanese ham. Taka in Chiba, Japan and I conversed for 13 minutes solid copy both ways even with some pretty deep QSB at times. That was on 15 meters which was in great shape late this afternoon with many strong DX stations. I kind of picked and chose what I wanted to work. Besides Taka, I also worked YO4ATW and 4X1UN. I think that's a new Israeli prefix for me.

Then this evening I heard mostly stations I've worked previously on the same bands, so I looked around for someone on a band I hadn't worked them before. I found TO5PX on 17 and worked him. I had worked him on 30 and 15 previously. Oh, I forgot - Taka's call is JA1KIH.

Earlier in the day it was washday, so I've got my clothes set for another week now. Then I had to go downtown to deposit a NAQCC donation in the NAQCC bank account. Then when I got home, I helped Denny do some work in his house. After that I got in a cleaning mood and ran the sweeper and mopped the kitchen floor. It was a good day for all the inside work, since it was showering/drizzling off and on all day. Only .22 inches of rain, but just persistent enough to be annoying.

The next couple days will be my end-of-month and first-of-month chores, so I'll be busy. I also need to get to work on this weekend's NAQCC newsletter. Seems like it never ends. -30-

Sunday, April 28, 2013 9:43 PM - As stated in yesterday's entry by Mike, this morning it was off to the Two Rivers hamfest along with Tom WY3H, and attending her first hamfest, Tom's wife JoAnne who isn't a ham, but she enjoyed the hamfest nevertheless, and we appreciated her company. Before we left though, Mike and I cooked ourselves some breakfast of Bacon Spam, scrambled eggs, toast, and toaster pastries.

It is one of the smaller hamfests in this area, but still there are a lot of nice items to look through, and it's always nice to fellowship in person with local area hams. I bought a nice lighted magnifying glass and some short cables with various connectors on them. When I was young(er), I couldn't understand why my mother and aunts used magnifying glasses so much. Well, now I know - it's because companies are constantly making their printed material, be it labels on items, instruction manuals, or most anything else, with smaller and smaller print each year for whatever reason - to save ink, paper - I don't really know, but one needs a magnifier as the years go by and print gets smaller and smaller.

When we came back from the hamfest, Mike had an hour or so before he had to head north, so we put another coat of polyurethane on our miniature wooden key bases, then went and checked the bands for DX. We worked a few stations, but nothing really out of the ordinary. Conditions were definitely better than they have been for the past several days.

However when this evening came, conditions seemed to have deteriorated a bit, and it took a bit of searching to find my DX streak QSO, but after about 15 minutes I found Zoli HA4FF strong on 20M and worked him easily to make it 60 days in a row now of working DX.

Hopefully in a couple entries this coming week, I'll continue with my 50 years report, but now I'm closing and going to take it easy for a couple hours before bedtime after getting up a little earlier than usual this morning. -30-

Saturday, April 27, 2013 11:32 PM - Greetings from Kittanning Pa. Yes this is your Saturday guest writer. The day started out when I arrived at John's place around 15:00Z with some idle chit-chat for a few minutes. Shortly after we set up for the Florida QSO Party which we worked in our 'tag team' mode. We worked the QSO party for six hours and fifteen minutes. We logged 128 entries wiht 46 counties worked. John worked his last county for Florida by logging Union County. We also worked a few entries in for the HB9 contest as well as a few DX opportunities. We took a dinner break around 21:00Z at Long John Silvers. It was a nice change of pace for dinner. After dinner we went back to work in the Flordia QSO Party for about a hour or so followed by a walk of 1.96 mile walk. The walk did us both some good. Fresh air has a habit of doing that to you. When we got back from our walk we went back to the airwaves and finished off tonights operating window for the Florida QSO Party and worked one more frm HB9 and a few other DX stations.

After we shut down operating for the night we started yet another project. We have QRP striaght keys from QRPME. The same company that provides the Tuna Tin kits. The kit even came with a nice little wood base. We sealed the bases with a varnish which will dry over night. We are about to start some major soldering on the board for the key. One resistor and one LED. Yep, kit building is a rough life. Hi-Hi!!!!

Once we finish our soldering we are going to take it easy before hitting the sack for the night. We have a early start tomorrow. We are going to the Two Rivers Hamfest tomorrow. I will be looking for some crystal's and clip leads to use with my Tuna Tin.

So until next time, CU on the radio. 73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, April 26, 2013 6:20 PM - I'm going to kind of write this as I go along this evening. I want to get caught up on some things I've overlooked, take care of some email feedback, and just in general get a lot of things taken care of.

Mike and I were talking the other night about who might be the station that I worked on the most different bands. I remembered one incident where W4HG and I worked each other on 8 bands in descending order in one evening in about 30-45 minutes or maybe less. We started on 10, and I believe I needed his state on 12 and asked him if he could QSY to there. He did and we worked on 12, then one of us suggested trying 15, and we just kept going lower and lower - 17, 20, 30, 40, 80 for a total of QSOs on 8 different bands. We didn't try 160 because we barely made it on 80 and figured 160 would be impossible as it was a very noisy evening.

Well, along with him, I also worked HC8N, K4LTA, and WY3H on 8 bands, albeit not in one day like W4HG. I also worked the following on 7 bands - G3TXF, HA0HW, K4BAI, KB4GID, WA2VYA, WI9WI, WJ9B, and WX9E. On 6 bands, over 100 different stations.

Oh, it was very easy to check with a SQL query to my Microsoft Access log with a bit of help then from Microsoft Excel to fine tune things. I love how I can do almost anything with my log using those two programs. It's the only way to fly as far as I am concerned.

And I found this hiding in my email box for the past couple weeks from Brion VE3FUJ, "Hi John Congratulation on on your 50 yrs in ham Radio. ---- Are you joining the Half Century Club now??? Hi Hi Brion 3011." Well, I am already a member of the FISTS Century Club, so I guess I can't go backwards. HI.

I guess most of the stuff I am taking care of is actually NAQCC business, but anyway to continue with the diary. I checked the bands a couple times today and they were pretty poor. My late afternoon check seemed to show them picking up a bit though, and perhaps I will be able to get a DX QSO after 0000Z to extend my DX streak to 58 days. I'd at least like to make it to 82 days so I'll have my 2nd longest streak. It would be nice to reach 100 again also. We'll see.

It was a somewhat busy day today. Taking Roscoe for his trim, bath, and manicure went well, and he again looks like a different dog as he did after his first trim back in February. After we brought him home, Nancy asked if I needed to go shopping. I thought of a couple things I could use from Wal-Mart up in one of our malls, and when I got there, I also thought of tomatoes, and bought 3 Early Girl plants and 1 Big (or was it Better) Boy plant. It won't be long now till they along with the Siberians and pepper plants go outside in the garden. Then I did some work around the house here. Which takes us to now and closing out the diary entry for this evening. -30-

Thursday, April 25, 2013 9:31 PM - In what has to be one of the fastest turnarounds in getting a QSL from an overall new country, I received this in the mail today.

pix_diary_20130425_001 (26K)
pix_diary_20130425_002 (50K)

As you see from the card, the QSO date was 4/13/13, and actually I didn't mail my card until a couple days after that on the 17th. So in just one week and 1 day I have my 206th DXCC entity confirmed. And it was the last new one worked. I'm still waiting on cards from 10 other unverified entities.

I thought maybe my DX streak might end today, although I would still have had 22+ hours to get a QSO. But it was rough this evening. About the only strong DX I heard was TZ6BB (and his huge unbreakable pileup) and LZ1QI whom I just worked on the same band a couple days ago. I don't like to work DX so close together for fear of depriving someone else of a QSO who needs the station more than I do.

Tomorrow morning early, I'm going to help take Roscoe for a trim. Saturday Mike is coming down for a tag team effort in the FL QSO Party, then stay here overnight and go to the hamfest I mentioned in yesterday's entry on Sunday morning. So a couple of busy days coming up which will be a lot of fun.

Oh, who did I work for the DX streak tonight. I forgot to say it was CO8LY. It had been quite a while since I heard him at all on the bands, and at one time, I could count on hearing him every day on this or that band. Then he surfaced again a few days ago, and I'm hearing him pretty regularly once again and worked him with a single call on 17M this evening.

This is a pretty long entry, so I'm just going to make a short paragraph addition to my 50 years story. As I said previously, I left the air in 1973 because I was busy working at WPIT and taking care of other matters besides. I never did get back on again until June 17, 1981. I stayed active until September 23, 1983 when I took another hiatus from ham radio. The biggest change in the early 80s was 30M being created as a ham radio band. When I did get on the band finally on November 9, 1982, it quickly became a favorite band of mine and remains as one of my favorites to this day. Although then, I used it as a domestic band whereas nowadays I use it mostly for DX. More about the early 80s in a future installment. -30-

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:38 PM - Mike dropped in for an impromptu visit this evening after a meeting here in town. We did some DXing, or tried to do some DXing, but conditions weren't all that good. Well, all that widespread, I guess would be more accurate. There were a few stations here and there, and one was very good, but faded by the time Mike arrived. However I worked AX7GN for my first AX prefix station, and I believe my first from the Tasmania area of Australia. That was on 20M and it was an easy QSO even though he wasn't very strong here. Took a single call, a question mark from him, two repeats of my call to make the QSO. That was before 0000Z, so I still needed another DX QSO for the 25th to continue my DX streak. So while waiting for Mike to come, I worked TO5PX on 30 and XF2E on 15.

I was hoping Mike would make it here in time to get AX7GN, but by the time he did get here, as I said, AX7GN had pretty much faded into the noise. So after we tried to work some more DX without any luck, we watched the next to the last Prisoner episode - #16 - Once Upon a Time. A fitting prelude to when we watch the last episode because #16 was pretty bizarre just like #17 is, only #16 is a little less so. Before we do watch the finale, we are going to try to find the 'missing episodes', i.e. the ones that were removed from YouTube for copyright reasons. I think I have them on videocassettes somewhere in my collection, but I'm not sure.

So anyway the bottom line is that it is now late, and I'm going to cut this short with one closing item. Mike, Tom WY3H, and I are going to the Two Rivers Hamfest on Sunday the 28th in McKeesport, PA. We'll be there from about 9AM until 2PM. We'd like to meet you if you will be in the area. We are not setting up anything, just attending, but we'll be wearing our NAQCC shirts and/or hats. -30-

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 9:16 PM - Looks like the sunspot activity is on the rise again. I see the SF is up to 118 today. DX did sound a little better on the bands today although 15, 12, and 10 still not up to what they were a couple weeks ago. I extended my DX streak another day this evening when I worked DJ4DY on 20M. I also worked an XF station on 30, and I'm still trying to get his exact call. His sending was a bit sloppy, he wasn't too strong and my local QRN was bad. I'm actually surprised I could work him, but I got him easily just after he went to split operation. I'll take a look at the Internet DX spots, etc. after I finish this entry and see if I can figure out who it was from that. OK now - I was right on what I thought the call was - XF2E.

Meanwhile, I'd like to update my 50 years and take it up to my first major gap in activity. I've pretty much covered the early years up to the founding of the CW County Hunters Net in May 1966, and the CHN part of the history is covered in my county hunting section so I'm not going to duplicate that here.

I started work at WPIT in April of 1969 and that started a decline in ham radio activity which eventually brought it to a temporary halt altogether in 1972/73. From April 1969 through 1973, I didn't really do much special in ham radio, only getting on when I could on my days off from work. I did establish a lasting friendship that continues to this day with Dave VE3BMR, now VA3RJ. We had many very long ragchews during those years, and then got reacquainted again in the 1990s.

Other things of interest during that time happened as well. Let me try to recall as much as I can. When I was going to Gateway Tech studying electronics, I introduced a fellow student to ham radio. I helped him get his license. In fact I believe I gave him his Novice test, although memory can play tricks after so many years. Nevertheless he did get his call of WN3JAI. We kept in touch for a while after the Gateway Tech years, but then did drift apart. I think he got his General as WA3JAI, but such a call is no longer listed anywhere.

Also at that time, if you lived in two locations as I did with my house here in Kittanning, and my apartment in Pittsburgh, you could get a second call for the second location. I applied for and got WA3IXO which I operated from my apartment in a truly QRP/QRPp operation. I think I used my old SW-500 receiver and I had a couple little xmtrs - one of which used a 2N3053 transistor as the final amp and put out a miniscule amount of RF into a wire strung around my rooming house room. I did manage to make QSOs though, and according to my current computer log containing all my QSOs from K3WWP, WA3IXO, K3WWP/3, N3AQC, etc., I made 121 QSOs from the room in Pittsburgh plus quite a few more when I operated WA3IXO/3 from here in Kittanning.

I didn't renew WA3IXO after it expired.

That pretty much takes us to December 4, 1973 when I made my last QSO until June 17, 1981 unless I think of something else from that early period to talk about. -30-

Monday, April 22, 2013 9:30 PM - Tonight I worked RO85MC and EI3KG for my streak QSO(s). That brought my current DX streak to 54 days which means I have to go back and check my previous DX streaks as I believe I had a 54 day streak once before, but I'm not sure.

OK, I've found a 81 day streak from 11/23/1999 through 2/11/2000. I was shut out on the 12th of February. I could have worked J3/K4LTA probably, and should have tried, but I had just worked him on that band a few days earlier and I didn't like repeating QSOs (and still don't) like that.

I started another DX streak the very next day which ran from 2/13/2000 through 7/15/2000 for 154 days. That explains the 54 days I was thinking of. I shot for and made 100 days, then extended it another 54 days.

All that means that my current streak of 54 days is my third longest DX streak, and I need 28 more days for it to become 2nd longest, and 101 days to be my best streak. Whew! I don't know if I can make it that far or not. However with the KX3 and the panadapter making DXing much easier than any previous setup I have had, who knows? Stay tuned to the diary to find out.

And I'll leave that little bit of DX 'trivia' be my 50 years of ham radio entry for tonight, and get back on a chronological track in a day or so. -30-

Sunday, April 21, 2013 9:28 PM - My ghost writer had to spirit himself off north a little early this evening leaving me to write this entry on my own. We finished up the weekend with a Papa John's Pizza - actually two of them. Then we finished up the MM contest with a couple additional QSOs followed by a Prisoner episode - one of the more bizarre ones with #6 having his brain contents switched with an operative in a further attempt to mine the information from his mind. That's all I'll say about it in case you haven't ever seen the show and want to watch the 17 episodes sometime.

Earlier in the day we fought the somewhat poor conditions to add to our totals in the remaining contests. That was after we had a Ponderosa breakfast. When things got even more slow in the contests, we took about a 2 1/2 or 3 mile walk and did a little further experimenting with my Tuna Tin rig we built several days ago. Oh and one further thing - we watched a good Internet video about the history of one of our all-time favorite soccer teams, the New York Cosmos.

As far as the contests go, Mike said he made 119 QSOs overall for the weekend. I'll have to total mine up in a minute. Mike also got his 98th QRP/CW country in Venezuela. So after finishing WAS with ND yesterday, now he needs only two more DX entities for QRP/CW DXCC.

OK, let's see the contest totals now. First of all I got 8 non-contest QSOs. Other totals were:
YUDX - 10
SD - 6
ON - 23
NE - 3
ND - 4
MM - 46
MI - 31

For a total of 131 QSOs + Mike's 119 made 250 overall QSOs between us. A pretty good weekend workout for my KX3. I'll have to give it a break now - at least till tomorrow afternoon or definitely no longer than time for my next streak QSO(s) tomorrow evening.

After working Petko LZ1QI just after 0000Z this evening, that stretched my DX streak to 53 days. Two more days and I'll top my 54 day streak I had around 2000-2001. When I get time, I'll check to see exactly how many DX streaks over 50 days I've had now and list them here. -30-

Saturday, April 20, 2013 10:53 PM - Good evening. John may get used to having the weekends off if I keep up with these weekend visits. Hi-Hi!!! Todays agenda started out around 14:00Z by diving straight into this weekends radio activities. There are eight events on the schedule. We scored a big goose egg with the Holyland DX. Not a peep heard from that direction. We were rather successful with the other seven events. We logged a total of 193 QSOs between us operating in the MM and YU DX contests and the MI, ND, SD, NE, and ON QSO parties. With logging North Dakota I have finally achieved QRP WAS. We logged a total five QSOs so far in the South Dakota QSO party. Four of which were the same operator K7RE who was mobile.

Of course we stopped for dinner at one of the local eateries. At this moment John is walking laps on the first floor of his QTH to get a bit of exercise. I will be joining him shortly. I need to get the blood flowing. Next on the agenda is a episode of 'The Prisoner'. It has become a regular event during our visits.

Hope to cu on the radio soon if not tomorrow when we hit the airwaves for more of the MM contest. 73 Mike, KC2EGL -30-

Friday, April 19, 2013 8:47 PM - Let's look back at my receivers through the ages as best as I can remember them. I started out with a Hallicrafters SW-500. It was basically a starter SWL receiver designed for listening to SW BC stations. It had different stations (i.e. China, USSR, Paris, etc.) actually marked on the dial along with other segments such as Police, Government, Aviation, etc. Although it did have the ham bands marked on it, I think they were added as an afterthought. The BFO for CW operation was simply a regenerative circuit that you could peak for either increased selectivity as a filter or to the point where it oscillated as a BFO. The selectivity was as broad as the proverbial 'barn door'. Not much fun operating CW with it although I did make some QSOs with it before I moved on up a bit. Another thing I remember about it was that my mom used to like to tune in the SW BC stations with it when I wasn't using it for ham radio.

The next receiver was a Knight Kit R100 which I purchased (or my parents purchased for me) used from Amateur Electronic Supply in Cleveland. Although I do still have the SW-500, I don't have the R100. I can't remember too much about it, even how I got rid of it. I believe it had two dials on it - one to set the band edge, then the second dial spread out the band. It was definitely better than the SW-500 with a true BFO and better selectivity.

I can't remember if the third receiver was a Hammarlund HQ-100 or a HQ-110 but it was one of those. I wanted a 170, but it wasn't in the budget, so I settled for what I got from AES second-hand again. It was somewhat similar to the R100, but with much better performance.

Next on the list was a Drake SPR-4, a second choice to the classic Drake 2B, again because of price. It came along during the period from 1974 through 1992 when I wasn't all that active in ham radio. I did a lot of SWL with it chasing BC, Maritime, and other SW stations.

Sometime probably in the 80s, I bought an Icom R-71A which was what I used when I became active again in the early 90s. It was by far better than any of the previous receivers, and I used it work a ton of stations in the 90s including a lot of DX. I still have it and the SPR-4 here up in my attic.

After using separate xmtrs and rcvrs all my ham career, I moved up to a xcvr on September 1, 1999 when my Kenwood TS-570D arrived in the mail. That changed everything and made ham radio much more convenient for me. No more changing a lot of switches and tuning a lot of knobs just to change bands or to go from xmit to rcv, although I did have a very good hmbw QSK system with the R-71A.

From the 570, I went to my K2 purchased from Mike KC2EGL 2 or 3 years ago, then to the current KX3 built back in October 2012.

I pretty much ran the gamut of most ham equipment manufacturers over the years, skipping only Yaesu and a couple other big names along the way. Each one was a big improvement over the previous one with the KX3 at a point where it will be hard to improve on its greatness. -30-

Thursday, April 18, 2013 9:34 PM - From 50 years of ham radio to 50 days of DX. Yes, for the past 50 days - 31 in March and 19 so far in April - I've worked at least one DX station. In fact, in that time, I see in a rough count 354 DX QSOs, an average of about 7 per day. This is what makes ham radio exciting and fun. I love working DX, and it is so easy right now. And this is a good follow-up to what I said about DX in last night's entry.

It was a nice weather day today. In fact the warmest day so far this year with a high of 86. Denny and I went fishing for a couple hours, but only one fish knew we were coming, I guess. Denny caught an 8 or 9 inch sucker and I suffered my 3rd straight shutout of the year, getting only a couple minor bites today. Things will pick up though.

More about the 50 years tomorrow. Perhaps a history of the different rigs and receivers I've used through the years with a little review of each as best as I can remember them. -30-

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:32 PM - Tonight's edition of "50 Years of Ham Radio" will deal with my DXploits in the 1960s and early 1970s. I actually was not all that much into DX at that time, as it wasn't all that easy to work DX with my setup I had then. I think the real reason was my lack of confidence plus perhaps the state of the art in receivers and antennas in those days. Let's face it, receivers and antennas have both become much better and more efficient in the past 50 years. Not to mention the better receivers and antennas nowadays being much more widely available and affordable. That makes the bottom line it is much easier to work DX now with 5 watts then it was then with 50 or 60 watts and similar antennas in both time frames.

One more factor needs mentioning. The state of the sunspot cycle. Of course allegedly the best sunspot cycle of all was the one centered around 1958. It was 5 years after that when I got my novice license which means it was in the depths of a sunspot cycle then. Basically I missed most all of the peak sunspot years until 2000 and 2001. Either I was off the air for work or my time at the peaks was limited for one reason or other. We'll develop that further later on.

Let me quickly query my Microsoft Access log and call up my DX QSOs from say 1963 through 1973. First of all, let's look at the number of days on which I had at least one DX QSO in each of those years. The figure following the DX Days is the total number of QSOs I had that year.
1963 - 6 - 1001
1964 - 18 - 3174
1965 - 10 - 2931
1966 - 11 - 5542
1967 - 13 - 3279
1968 - 23 - 2090
1969 - 1 - 540
1970 - 0 - 4
1971 - 0 - 0
1972 - 1 - 20
1973 - 0 - 32

The dropoff in 1969 was due to my starting work at WPIT which severely limited my operating time and eventually kept me off the air entirely from 1974 through 1980. The peak in 1968 was due to the increase in sunspot activity.

Now for an idea of what I was working, here is a list of the new countries worked per year.

1963 - K VE VP7 KZ5 KP4 CM YV KH6
1964 - HK VP9 DL KL7 ZL PY F FP VP2V HI 6Y
1965 - KG4 HP YN KV4 OA VP5
1966 - XE PJ5 ZD8 VK GM HA VP6 G

Just to identify some of the prefixes back then that have now changed. VP7 now C6, KZ5 was the Canal Zone, KV4 now KP2, VP6 now 8P, CR now D2, PJ3 now PJ4, GC now GU. All the rest are still the same.

Just a couple notes. PY2SO in 1964 was my first DX YL. ZL1HY in 1964 was a great half-hour rag chew on 40 meters. There was a total of 56 countries in all continents with the exception of Asia. Nowadays I do better in a single weekend in the big DX contests.

Now a bit of feedback about the history from Goran SM0PMJ who has been a diary reader for a long time now. He offers the following in response to wondering about how many dits and dahs I've dispersed into the ether over the years. The figures of course are just a rough estimate, but well thought out in their computation by Goran. Here goes - "Dear John, Just happened across a nice comment in your diary from N5XE Carl ("...congratulations on 50 years as a ham!! That's lots of dits and dahs travelling through space...").
Just for fun I made the following math exercise (hopefully error-free):
Suppose, John, you devoted your 50 years sending CW with an approx speed of 25 words/minute (i.e. sending the word PARIS 5 times/minute).
Suppose you have sent the word PARIS during 4 hours/day during 300 days/year during 50 years (some 2 months vacancies you probably have had each year, but I gather you have devoted some 4 hours per day to your beloved hobby.
Now, 25 words /minute = 1,500 words/hour = 6,000 words/4 hours = 1,800,000 words/300 days = 90,000,000 words during 50 years. Counted in dits and dahs (PARIS = 10 dits and 3 dahs, i.e in total 14) you have sent 1,260,000,000 dits/dahs. WOW John, just an impressing effort from your side...
SM0PMJ Goeran
NAQCC #1020
FISTS #10899
QRPARCI #12041"

Gee, my hand and wrist feel tired all of a sudden. -30-

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:26 PM - This turned out to be a "Help Thy Neighbor" day which are always good days. I took Roscoe for a walk, and while I was walking him, Denny asked me if I could help him fix one of his grandkids' bicycle. So after I took Roscoe home, we got the bicycle fixed. Then Ange had a broken rake that needed fixing, so we took care of that. Then I helped Nancy carry in some groceries from her car.

I never did get a chance to check the bands till I got on for my 0000Z streak QSO hunt. There wasn't much DX to be heard until I hit 40M where PV8ADI was booming in, so I worked him at 0008Z for my streak(s) QSO. That went quickly so I tried some CQs to see who I could work and caught N1QLL on 40 and then K1DCT on 30.

As far as history goes, just a brief note comparing then and now. Those new to ham radio reading this may be surprised to know that back 50 years ago, you had to log everthing! Yes, everything, QSOs, unanswered CQs, brief tests - basically anytime your transmitter transmitted anything, it had to go in your log. I think that was a good thing, or at least better than nowadays when basically you're not required to log anything.

Also back then, anytime you operated away from the QTH on your license, that had to be duly noted, and you had to sign /# after your call, the # being dependent on what call area you operated from, be it your own or another one. And if you moved permanently outside your call area, you had to get a new callsign reflecting that new call area. At least then, you knew approximately where someone was from according to the number in his call. Nowadays there is no indication at all, and you can get a vanity call that has no indication whatsoever what call area you are operating in. I guess that's called progress. -30-

Monday, April 15, 2013 9:15 PM - We left off my 50 years of ham radio story with my first venture into contesting in the 1963 Sweepstakes. Contesting would become a big part of my 50 years, and I have been in over 1100 contests now. I never really went for the big scores to win things although I did collect quite a few certificates over the years. I mostly just competed against myself to see if I could do better each time I entered a specific contest. We'll talk more about contests as the years roll by.

Back in the 60s a lot of ham radio activity seemed to take place late at night compared to today when the general ham population is older and many hams nowadays don't or can't stay up late as they did when they were younger. It was fun working the west coast on 80M after midnight when it was still just after 9PM out there. It was also fun just having regular rag chews with hams who became good friends because of the rag chews. There were many, but I'll just mention a couple right now.

One was Don WN5FQV, later WA5FQV from Dallas, TX. As were many hams in those days, Don and I were in our teens, and shared a lot of common interests with ham radio naturally being at the top of the list. Where Don lived in Dallas, there were several other teenage hams who would join in our QSOs or whom I would work separately at times. Most of our QSOs were after midnight in the first couple wee hours of the morning during summer vacation and sometimes on weekends during the school year.

Another good friend turned out to be Sue W9KSE. Sue and I had many late night long rag chews. Bob W1AFM would often join in as well. If I remember, Bob later became W1HV. Anyway, it was Sue who introduced me to county hunting, and many of our QSOs dealt with that. She and Bob were also into American Morse, and I would dabble in that as well. I never really pursued it all that much though. Once I got into county hunting, that became pretty much of an obsession with me. Sue told me about the USA-CA Award and the book they had for tracking the counties you worked. Also about POD 26, the Post Office publication that listed all the post offices in the USA and the county they were in. Armed with that info plus the big callbook of those days, I became very good at determining what county a ham was in while he was calling CQ and then checking if I needed that county. If so I would call him, if not, I'd move on elsewhere. Sometimes when I would find out a ham's county during a QSO he was having, I'd wait for him to finish, and then tail-end him to try to get that county. Eventually my interest led to joining with Dave WA8EOH to form the CW County Hunters net in 1966. That story is told in the County Hunting section of my web site, and I'm not going to dwell on it here.

Getting back to Sue though, I wanted to mention this. A few years later when I was NCS on the CHN, Bob W1AFM (or maybe W1HV at the time) checked in. I knew he wasn't interested in county hunting and I wondered about that when I asked for his county. He said he just had some news for me, and told me that Sue had passed away. That really shocked me, and I could hardly go on with the net. She was only 31 years old.

Sadly, many of the great friends I made through the CHN are also gone now. Many of them were old at the time of the net's founding.

On that sad note, I'll end this part of the history, and talk a bit about today before closing out the entry. Today was a very nice weather day, and I was outside quite a bit. I helped Ange resurrect the remaining fig trees in his garden. It was pretty much a piece of cake without having to do the three monstrous big trees that he removed last fall. Quite a difference not having to struggle with them. Of the remaining 8 or 9 trees, the biggest one now is just about 6 feet tall.

I also did some good outside walking, and then later in the day, helped Nancy clean up her back yard.

My DX streak as well as the major streak continued easily this evening when I worked H70ORO on 30 meters. That's the third different band on which we've worked now. A little later I also heard some good EU DX on 20 meters as that band seems to be picking up from the last couple days again. I didn't hear anything I really needed, so I didn't work anyone there though. -30-

Sunday, April 14, 2013 10:40 PM - Good evening everyone. Today John had a impromptu visit. Yes I have returned to fill in for John tonight. Our day started around 15:30Z setting up for the Georgia QSO Party and the Yuri Gagarian Anniversary Contest. We logged a total of 67 QSO's between the Gagarian Contest, Georgia QSO Party, and a few extra DX QSOs tossed in for good measure. During a break in operating we finished up with the assembly of our Tuna Tin Kits and ran a preliminary test using a dummy load.

After the preliminary testing of our Tuna Tins we decided to grab some dinner at Ponderosa. When we returned to John's place we went straight back to the Georgia QSO Party which gave us about a hour of operating. After the QSO party ended we worked our respective QSO for the day. Both of us worked HK1ANP in Colombia. We followed that up more testing of our Tuna Tins. John configured a way to connect them (one at a time of course) to a antenna, SWR/Power meter, a key, and a battery. My Tuna recorded a whooping 500mW power out with minimal SWR. John's Tuna recorded a antenna busting 600mW (no fair) power out with minimal SWR as well. Pictures to follow at the end of my guest rambling's. We now have a full range of radio equipment from John's Kenwood TS 570 and my Kenwood TS 2000 to our KX3's down to a collection of resistors, capacitor's, transistor's, and two crystal's (7.040 and 7.030)that make up a very small and portable transmitter. How cool is that?

pix_diary_20130414_03 (140K)
pix_diary_20130414_02 (104K)
pix_diary_20130414 (126K)

And last but not least we watched episode #10 of the Prisoner. Great show. Too bad there are only 17 episodes.

Now it is time for a snack. John's neighbor Nancy gave us a piece of cake from her Church gathering this morning. So until next time, I will CU on the radio. 73 Mike, KC2EGL -30-

Saturday, April 13, 2013 9:19 PM - I had fun in three contests today. Didn't really make all that many QSOs because of limited time and also chasing DX at the same time looking for new band-countries, prefixes, etc.

1. The Georgia QSO Party. This is one of the better more active state QSO parties. Plus I also have a lot of contesting friends down in GA, and even though I don't go for a score myself, I like to help them out with a QSO or two if I can. It was especially nice to work and be greeted by Norm W3DYA. With my declining activity in state QSO parties of late, we haven't worked for a few years now. Also nice to work John K4BAI operating W4AN/M. Plus a couple of our NAQCC members.

2. The Japan International DX Contest. It's always fun working Japan when conditions permit. They weren't very permissive(?) today though. Japan did show up a couple hours before sunset with 339 or 349 signals at best, and never got any better before they disappeared shortly after sunset. I did manage to work JS3CTQ and JH4UYB though. Fairly easy QSOs which only took a couple repeats. The best I could do with other JAs though, was a K? or K3?. Still it was fun adding a couple more JAs to my log which is nearing 200 JA QSOs now after a long struggle to get the first one in the mid 90s when I worked JA3ZOH.

3. The GC contest. I'll have to look this one up to see just what it is. Back in a moment. Oh sure, of course it's the Yuri Gagarin Contest or Gagarin Cup contest. Should have known that right away. I only made one QSO so far in that one, but it goes until 2100Z tomorrow (Sunday), so I should make some more as I shift between it and the Georgia QSO Party.

4. Also heard a couple NM stations in the New Mexico QSO Party, but didn't try to work them. I think that contest ends this evening though.

5. Not a contest, but a comment. I again heard UK8AR in Uzbekistan (in the GC contest), but still couldn't work him. I think he heard me as he did send K? a couple times, but couldn't get any further. Someday I will add that country to the 216 I have now.

I also worked just for the fun of it R6AF and H70ORO on 17 and PJ4/SQ9CNN on 15.

Other than that, not much activity. HI. -30-

Friday, April 12, 2013 8:56 PM - Hey, this ham radio stuff is still fun and exciting after 50 years! I worked A71CM with a single call (although he didn't get my call quite right, and I had to repeat) on 20 meters just after 0000Z. I thought Qatar was just a new BAND-country, but when I checked, I found it was an overall new country - #216. Yes!!! And he has a USA QSL manager which helps.

I had thought conditions weren't as good today as the past couple days, and maybe they weren't, then picked up this evening. There were even good DX stations on 12 and 10 after 0000Z. ZL1BYH strong on 12 meters, for example.

I also picked up a couple good prefixes in H70ORO and S503EO today. And second best of all behind Qatar, I got MI0GRG on 30 earlier this evening to complete Northern Ireland on 80 through 10 meters (except 60M). So it was a good day on the bands.

I think I'll the entry as it is here. I was going to continue my 50 years history, but I think I'll wait till Monday to do that as then I'll be through with sprint log cross-checking and some other things I have to take care of, and will be able to concentrate on it better. -30-

Thursday, April 11, 2013 9:26 PM - This was a day of variety. I got caught up on the logs from our NAQCC sprint early this morning. Then I was surprised by a visit from an old high school friend who came up from Knoxville, TN for a relative's funeral. I had a nice visit with him and his wife for quite a while. His mother and my mother (both deceased now) were very good friends and she spent a lot of time in this house. Her son had moved to TN not long after graduation and she lived alone. She used to enjoy working jigsaw puzzles with my mom, me, and my aunt. We put many puzzles together over the years.

After they left, Denny and I went fishing, but with the heavy rain the past couple days, the river was pretty high and muddy, and we got not a single bite in 90 minutes or so, and gave it up since it was starting to rain again anyway.

I got something to eat, then fooled around on the bands for a while. They continue to be quite good, although I think 12 is slipping down a little bit now. When I don't find anything interesting to work in the way of DX, I've been trying calling CQ on the higher bands. Over the past couple days I've worked PZ1DV, AA5XJ (WY), E71BA, KC4ABC (FL), and K5FA (MS) that way. This evening I went for a couple of walks, and then back on the bands for my streak QSO(s). I worked TF3JB on 20M at 0000Z to quickly continue the DX streak at 43 days and of course my regular streak. A nice rag chew with K5FA followed, then a QSO with 9A9C before coming down for a snack and then writing this diary entry. -30-

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 12:07 PM - Since my computer club is this evening, I though I'd write this now, and also get to the feedback about my 50 years of ham radio.

Alex N8UCN - "I can't believe I did so but I logged on to you site just moments before the count timer went to zero! Happy Anniversery! And may you enjoy many more."

Richard AC0XB (NAQCC #5462) - "Congratulations, John. 50 years of radio is certainly a mark of a well lived life; your low-power advocacy is an achievement. Thank you for your leadership."

Mark WU7F - "Congratulations to you for reaching the half-century mark in Ham Radio!!"

Carl N5XE - "Congratulations on 50 years as a ham!! That's lots of dits and dahs travelling through space. Take care and see you on the bands."

Hmmm, I wonder just how many dits and dahs approximately? Anyway thanks to all for the messages about the 50th.

As soon as I get this busy week out of the way, I'll pick up with the 50 years history. -30-

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 10:54 PM - Just finished the sprint here, and it was not one of my best ones so I'm not going to say any more about it. If you're curious, you can read my soapbox comments on the results page on the NAQCC site.

The DX streak continues with a QSO with RV4CT after the sprint ended. That's 41 days now. Wonder if I can make it to 50 and then beyond? This afternoon I got a new band-country in 4O3A on 17 meters, plus a two way 599 QSO with EA1DR who was well over S9 on 17M. 17 was really hot this afternoon with wall to wall DX. I could have worked a lot more than I did, but I was just being selective looking for unusual contacts, new prefixes, etc.

We had our first 80 degree day of the year today, and I took advantage of it being outside as much as I could - walking, walking with Roscoe, cleaning the winter dirt off my front porch, going shopping, and so on. I even put in the screens in my storm door and unbuttoned a couple of windows to let the warm air in, and push the colder air out. It felt great.

Now I'm going to take it easy for a while before bedtime. Maybe watch some Internet video or listen to TL. Then tomorrow morning I'll get to starting the log processing from the sprint. -30-

Monday, April 08, 2013 9:30 PM - Gee, that was a nice three day vacation from diary writing, but now I've got to get back in the groove gradually. I say gradually because this week is going to be a busy one with our NAQCC sprint tomorrow night followed by log processing. Also it's our computer club meeting week and that will take up Wednesday evening. So I think I'm going to postpone the continuation of my 50 years of ham radio report for a few days.

It certainly was an enjoyable weekend here. It's always fun when Mike and I get together since we have so many common interests. Mike already detailed the specifics, so I'm not going to repeat them here.

When I worked V31MV and R9YP this evening, that made my current DX streak 40 days. I still think that 2000 and 2001 were better for DX, but this last stretch has been great as well. It's fun working the many special event DX stations for a little something different. Here are a few worked the past few days - LY23A, LZ20TRC, YU15OTC, G100C, TM28UFT, R100MP, LZ833MBB. I said to Mike, I'll have to widen the block on my paper logs for call signs pretty soon if they keep getting longer and longer. HI. Other than the SE calls, there's not a whole lot of easy new band countries to work, and they come few and far between now, since I have 1,053 worked. I did get that # 1,053 today though when I worked MD/DL9MWG on 17 meters. However I have a large percentage of the 'common' countries worked on 40 through 10 meters now. There are gaps on 12M for some countries though and to a lesser extent on 17 and 30 meters - mainly because those are non-contest bands, and contests are by far the easiest way to work new countries or band countries.

Well, time to check on the Louisville-Michigan now. -30-

Sunday, April 07, 2013 11:04 PM - Due to having a guest for the past few days John has decided to take another night off from his diary. It is a honor and a lot of fun to fill in for him.

The day started off around 12:00Z searching for more SP stations to add to our respective logs. Unfortunately the bands were not open to Europe at that time. We decided to head out for breakfast at our favorite weekend breakfast stop. I bet most of you can guess the name of the establishment. After breakfast we headed back to John's to get back to the SP DX contest. We were able to log all but two of the provences of Poland. The grand total was 95 QSOs between us.

We would break up the day with the occasional other DX QSOs. After the SP DX contest was finished we worked a little bit of the Missouri QSO party where we logged six QSOs each. All in all it was a good radio weekend. I picked up two new DXCC countries and almost a third. Uzbekistan would have been third one but he could not hear us. Uzbekistan would have been # 216 in his DXCC log.

Of course we took a dinner break late this afternoon. We decided on Subway. John had a couple of coupon's for a buy one six inch and a fountain drink and get a second six inch free. A nice way to split up a sandwich. We also worked in a couple of walks outside with the beautiful weather. It hit 75F today.

After all of the radio operating we watched episode seven of 'The Prisoner'. We followed up with a five minute walk on the first floor of John's house. As soon as I finish here we will watch episode nine. Episode eight is not available on YouTube at this moment. John has it on tape and we will catch up with it at a later date.

So until next time (not sure when that will be) I hope to CU on the radio. 73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

Saturday, April 06, 2013 10:58 PM - Good evening everyone. Today was a busy day. Of course it started out with breakfast at Pondersoa. Followed by a post office run to return two Directv recievers. We then returned to Johns place to get ready for the SP DX contest. The conditions were very rough at first. We thought we would be lucky if we logged twenty qso's for the entire event. After a few hours with very little luck we decided to take a break from operating and continue construction on our Two Tinned Tuna 40M transmitters. After that we went back to the airwaves for more operating in the SP DX contest. By this time conditions improved 100%. We operated for about two hours then took a dinner break. We decided on pizza from Vocellis. We followed that up with watching one of the funniest episodes of the 'Mary Tyler Moore Show'. The one where Chuckles the Clown passes away. Both of us laughed like fools.

Then it was back to the radio for more of the SP DX contest. We did work some other stations in between. Sometimes you just can't pass up some good DX. We continued to work the SP DX and for some other DX around the bands. As of this point both of us have made 40 QSO's in the SP DX and a handful of other DX QSO's. A good day on the air has been had by both of us.

We called it a evening around 02:30Z and decided on a snack and checking out a excerpt from a episode of 'Taxi' where Reverend Jim takes his drivers license exam. Jim asks "What does a yellow light mean?" Bobby answers "Slow down." Jim replies, "W h a t d o e s a y e l l o w l i g h t m e a n?" Bobby gives the same answer. As you can guess it turned in to a very funny cycle. It was so funny that the cast of the show and the extra's could not keep a straight face. Once again we laughed ourselves silly.

Once I finish up here we will watch the next episode in line from 'The Prisoner'.

So until next time I hope to see you on the radio unless you see me here first.

73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, April 05, 2013 11:41 PM - Good evening everyone. It is that time again where John takes a break from his daily writing. Today's activities started out roughly around 20:30Z when I arrived at John's place. We took a virtual tour of Pittsburgh and New York City via the wonderful Bing Maps. John showed off his old stomping grounds from his college days and his time at WPIT .730AM and 101.5FM. And I showed off my old neighborhood where I grew up and a few other places like where I went to school and worked as a letter carrier in the Fresh Meadows area of Queens. I also gave him a little Mid-Town Manhattan tour from the Empire State Building over to the Worlds Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden and on up the Westside and over to Central Park. I also showed him the house that was used in the opening scenes of 'All In The Family' which is out in Glendale Queens while the show was situated in Astoria. Roughly a 10 mile seperation.

Next on the agenda was the inventory of our construction project. The Two Tinned Tuna transmitter. Both of us are builing one. We have installed all the resitors and the crystal and transistor sockets. We will finish up on Sunday afternoon after the SP DX contest. In between the inventory and the start of construction, wait for it...
wait for it...
YES you guessed it. We took a dinner break at Wendy's. And after dinner we started to set up for tomorrows contest and worked some DX.

So all in all it was a busy late afternoon and evening. We will be heading out to breakfast in the morning and making a Post Office run as well.

So until tomorrow night, I hope to hear you answering a few CQ's in the SP DX Contest.

73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

P.S. For those of you who read Johns diary last week when he said I played the Easter Bunny, I took some Easter baskets up to my future stepdaughters apartment where they attend college.

Thursday, April 04, 2013 8:33 PM - It was a beautiful day today and I got the chance to do some outside work cleaning up the back yard and getting ready for what is coming in a few weeks - my backyard garden. With the late start I got planting my tomatoes, I don't think I'll have any ripe tomatoes before June 1 like I usually do, but I should have some in June and that will be good enough.

I got on the air briefly a couple times today, but didn't find any EU stations with the number one or zero in their calls to help finish the NAQCC EU Chapter Challenge. So I just worked ES5QD on 17 since he was so strong. It took but a single call to get him. Then for my streak(s) QSO this evening I got LY23A on 30 meters after a couple calls. That's 36 days now for the DX streak.

Mike is coming down tomorrow and will spend the weekend here. We plan to get in the Polish DX Contest, build a couple Tuna Tin transmitters (if the kits arrive in time), do some more experimenting with SDR and panadapters, and (you knew it) eat some good meals.

Now with that news out of the way, on to our featured item. My 50 years in ham radio. I kind of glossed over studying the code, learning it, and passing the code test. So I want to go back and fill that in a bit. Actually I don't remember exactly how I did learn the code, except that it came to me very easily and naturally after some practice with Larry, and some listening on the air to W1AW and other stations. When we were ready to take the test, we went to see Red W3CYG. He was fooling around just sending us some random code to get used to his fist, when I caught something like "R U READY?" in the code. I don't think Larry caught it, but I said yes. He proceeded to send us 5 minutes of code at around 5 WPM. At that time you needed to have 1 minute of solid copy out of the five as I recall, and we both made it. Then it was on to the written part of the exam. I don't recall much about that, except that we both passed it also. Back then, there was no VEC system, but the Novice exam could be given by any ham holding a General (I believe) license or higher. After that, it was sit back and wait for the licenses to arrive.

Another thing I glossed over was our transmitter. Quite frankly because I don't really remember all the details, especially what Larry had in the way of gear. I do know that my first real transmitter was from an ARRL Handbook (1962 or 1963 edition) and it used a 6AG7 crystal oscillator and a 1625 amplifier with some 75 watts of input power (yes power was measured as the input power to the final then, not the RF power output). So I was probably running some 50-60 watts of power output. I believe my first antenna was a 40 meters inverted V on the side of my house. I do know I only operated 40 meters for quite a while. In fact with crystal control, pretty much only on 7170 and occasionally 7190 until I added a 7160 crystal in late July 1963. On August 3, I ventured onto 15 meters for a brief disastrous excursion. Of course the 40M dipole worked well on 15 also because of the harmonic relationship between the bands. My first QSO was with Eddy KZ5EHN in the Canal Zone, followed by WP4BOJ, followed by complaints from the neighbors of TVI. After one more QSO with local K3DFZ some 8 miles from here, my dad put an end to my 15 meters operation. TV's in those days had IF frequencies near 21 MHz and were not shielded very well. Need I say more. Anyway Red W3CYG after being contacted by my dad, suggested I put off my DXing until I got my General and could use 20M which was a little less prone to TVI. I also bought a good low pass filter which eventually helped out somewhat.

So it was back to 40 meters again until I went to Pittsburgh in late August(?) and passed my General exam. Even after that though, I did stick to 40 meters exclusively for a while. Then on October 6, 1963, my first venture onto 20 meters yielded a QSO with VE7BMW. On October 20, I hit 80 meters for the first time and worked W2KAK in NJ. My first venture into contesting other than making a QSO or two in two minor contests was the Sweepstakes on November 9/10 and 16/17, 1963. The Sweepstakes was divided into two weekends (apparently) back then. I made 120 QSOs in 38 sections.

I think we'll end this part of the story here, and pick it up later in tomorrow's diary entry (or if Mike ghost writes, a couple days later). -30-

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 1:37 PM - 50 years ago today, I officially became a ham radio operator. At least that is the date on my Novice license shown here:
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Technically I knew I was a ham before that after successfully passing the Novice exam, and I probably didn't receive the license in the mail until a few days after the date on the license, but we'll settle on the license date as the date of my 50th anniversary. With that settled let me get into the history of those 50 years which I hope doesn't take another 50 to write. HI

We'll start with my pre-ham days to see how that led up to ham radio. I had an old AM BC radio on which I used to listen to KDKA quite often, especially to a show called Party Line which was pretty much the first ever radio talk show. It was hosted by Ed and Wendy King. Anyone remember it? They had listeners all over the country and down into the Caribbean with KDKA's powerhouse clear channel signal on 1020 kHz. The one thing that set it apart and made it better than any talk show since was the fact they didn't let the callers get their voice on the air. So that kept a lot of the trash talk you hear on talk shows nowadays off the air, and they were able to deal strictly with positive information. Ed was a walking encyclopedia and could answer just about any question on any subject right on the spot. He would relay what the caller said, then respond to it, be it a question, comment, or whatever. They also had quizzes and puzzles for the listeners to call in and solve. One was called the "Party Pretzel" - the meaning being you had to untwist the question to get the answer. Well, I could reminisce for several more paragraphs about Party Line, but I said I'd try not to drag this out forever.

One night, I happened to tune away from KDKA and heard WHO in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 kHz. WOW, this is something! I wonder what else I can hear on this radio? That was the start.

After logging many stations from around the country, I wondered if I could make it any better. I tried hooking up a piece of wire to the radio. I knew very little about electronics at that time. I just clipped the wire to the tuning capacitor. Apparently to the oscillator section rather than the RF section, because I started getting short wave stations as I tuned the dial instead of stronger AM BC stations. The capacitance of the wire must have retuned the oscillator. I think one of the first stations was Radio Switzerland (or whatever they called themselves then - I forget). That was followed by many others with my AM BC receiver that now acted like a SW receiver.

Then one day I heard these people talking to each other on the radio like a telephone conversation. What the heck is this now? Well of course they were radio amateurs. I thought that was neat and wondered if I could do something like that.

Coincidentally around the same time, a high school friend of mine was into CB and wanted to get his amateur radio license. I don't really remember the details of how it came about, but he and I studied the code and theory for the Novice exam, and eventually took the Novice test from Red, W3CYG who incidentally was the ham I first heard on my AM BC receiver. We both passed. He got KN3WWW and I got KN3WWP. He moved away after graduation and we lost touch with each other. I don't think he ever went beyond Novice, and nowadays someone else has the K3WWW call. The new K3WWW has visited my web site, by the way.

I learned things on my own. You couldn't really say Larry (KN3WWW) was an 'Elmer' since we were both in the same boat just plodding along without anyone to guide us.

We built up a so-called transmitter using, I believe, a 6L6 tube. It was actually his transmitter. I can't recall now if it ever worked or not. I built my own transmitter from a circuit in the 1963 ARRL Handbook with a 6AG7 oscillator and a 1625 final amp. My receiver was an old Hallicrafters SW-500, which was pretty much like using a crystal set compared to the receivers I've used since then. It had no selectivity at all as it was designed primarily for SW BC listening. The BFO was some kind of a regenerative circuit.

I struggled mightily to get my first QSO other than working Larry (Apr 8 & 9) or Art, K3HGD (Apr 21) who was also in Kittanning. Finally I did work John WN9GAR (Apr 22) in WI, YL-Dot WN8DOC (Apr 28) in MI, and then Frank W9RQF (May 9) in IL. Frank was a wonderful helpful amateur who did a lot of operating in the Novice bands and really encouraged me in my efforts as he did for many other Novices.

From then on, things got better and better and easier and easier. Still in that first month or so as a Novice (Apr 3-May 9, 1963) I only made 6 QSO's. I added 40 more QSOs in May. In June it was exactly 100 QSO's,

That's the beginning. We'll continue the journey off and on this month here in the diary. -30-

Tuesday, April 02, 2013 7:30 PM - I spent a lot of time today on the bands. Conditions were very good with DX everywhere except on 10 meters. I worked enough stations to come very close to finishing our NAQCC April Fish Challenge. I need just one "E" to finish. Hopefully I'll get that when I get on to get my streak QSO(s) in about a half hour from now. For our NAQCC EU Chapter Challenge, I need five "ones" and one "zero" to finish that one. Although the "ones" have been harder to come by than usual, perhaps I can also get them this evening along with the "zero". The "zeroes" always seem a bit harder with EU stations than other numbers. I did get MI0VKO today for a pair of "zeroes", but still need one more.

I only worked stations that helped with the challenges or I could have worked many more than the 17 or 18 DX stations I did work. They were out in abundance along with the good conditions. I did work A45XR from Oman which I didn't need for a challenge, but always nice to work a somewhat rare country like that although Chris does a good job of making it not all that rare a country.

It was a cold windy day today which made it all the much easier to stay inside and get on the air. After one more cold day tomorrow, it looks like we may finally get that much awaited and much deserved warm spring weather. It sure will be welcome after a March in which the average high temperature was some five degrees below normal.

Well, since I got distracted and didn't upload this earlier, I'll add that I did finish the NAQCC Challenge when N1HFE answered my 40M CQ for that final E. Then I stretched my DX QSO streak to 34 days when I worked UY5VA on 30M just after that. And since it is now April 3 (UTC) I can say I have now been a ham radio operator for 50 years. Where does the time go? -30-

Monday, April 01, 2013 9:36 PM - I promised a report on my DX-filled March, so here goes:
Total QSOs: 350, of which 235 were DX.
Of the 235 DX QSOs, 108 came in the Russian DX Contest, the rest (127) were regular QSOs.
QSOs by continents:
AF - 4
AS - 7
EU - 156
NA - 49
OC - 4
SA - 15
Total countries (entities) - 69 (+W/VE) = 71
QSOs by bands:
10 - 16
12 - 9
15 - 55
17 - 25
20 - 77
30 - 26
40 - 27

There are a lot more ways to present the stats, since it is so easy with my Microsoft Access log and Microsoft Excel to help out, but I think that will suffice to show just how great a month it was. It should be noted also that the highest Solar Flux number during March was just 126 and it dropped to 92 for a low. That's nothing like the great DX days of the last sunspot cycle maximum in the early 2000's, yet it is still possible to rack up totals like that with QRP, CW, and simple wire antennas. You don't need QRO and big high gain antennas. As you know, I did work some DX on all days in March whether the SF was 126 or 92. It didn't matter.

But then, some know-it-alls still don't believe QRP power levels work. SIGH!!

Oh, I just had to check back a couple entries for something, and I noted that I was very close with the estimates of the DX totals for March I gave back then. I said 230-240 QSOs, all continents, and at least 60-70 countries. HI.

What I was checking for was to see if I mentioned this tragedy or not. When I was checking info on the T2YY QSO, I found a story that one member of the DXpedition met a tragic death on the island. Look up T2YY on QRZ.com for more info.

Finally, DX continues into April as well. I've worked a dozen DX stations so far this month, and in the process am coming along nicely with our NAQCC April challenge (63 of 87 letters so far), and our NAQCC EU Chapter challenge (18 of 37 letters/numbers so far). I'm going to try to improve on those numbers tomorrow and hopefully finish both challenges by the end of the week or sooner - again proving to the know-it-alls that QRP does work, and work well. -30-

Sunday, March 31, 2013 10:28 PM - I hope everyone had a good Easter today. I had dinner at the Bowsers and got to see Eric KB3BFQ whom you probably know is the one responsible for suggesting the streak to me after he expressed interest in my ham radio activity and got me active again in the early 90s. Then he got his ticket not too long after that. Right now he is in the stage we all go through when other things in life limit our ham radio activity - job, family, etc. and hasn't been active for a while.

This being a holiday AND the end of the month combined to make it a really busy day here, so I'm going to just cut this entry short for now. I promised some stats on my March DX. Maybe in tomorrow's entry. Also I've promised a history of my 50 years in ham radio starting when I reach 50 years on April 3. Whew, my work never seems to slow down.

Before I go, I'd just like to say that April is starting just like March as far as DX goes. This evening I worked 5 DX stations and 1 USA station to get off to a quick start on our NAQCC April challenges. I've got 38 of the 87 letters for our "USA" challenge so far, and 7 numbers/letters for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge. Time permitting I hope to increase those numbers tomorrow and maybe finish up in the first week or so of April just like I did in March. We'll see. -30-

Saturday, March 30, 2013 8:27 PM - A very good day today in many ways. I'll save the best for last. It was a beautiful weather day with temperatures in the mid-upper 50s and bright sunshine most of the day. So nice I took my longest single walk probably since last fall or early winter. It really felt good to be able to do so again. I hope the nice weather continues now. However I think we do have a couple more cold days coming up next week before that happens.

I also got a chance to help my neighbors again with their new computer. I always enjoy helping folks out. And in the same vein, I took Roscoe out for a pretty long walk after which we sat on the porch for a while enjoying the nice weather.

I also listened to the bands this afternoon for a while, but they didn't have a lot to offer. However getting now to the top story of the day, they did offer something this evening, and I quickly took advantage of it. I wasn't finding much of anything to work to keep my DX streak going. I called a strong Cuban on 17 several times, but all he got from my call was a ?P, so I gave up and went elsewhere. I switched to 15, looked at the panadapter and noticed a peak around 21.018 I tuned there, listened and heard T2YY UP. I immediately switched into Split and dual reception, set VFO B to transmit on 21.019, sent my call and got K3WWP 599. I sent TU 599 73, and with that single call, I added country (entity) #215 overall into my records. That's my first overall new country in a long time with the exception of the re-arranging of the Netherlands Antilles a couple years ago. It also completes my month of DX. On each day in March, I've worked at least one DX station. I don't know if I'll work any more DX today (31st) or not, so I'll wait till tomorrow's entry to present my totals for the month. I think it's somewhere around 230-240 DX QSOs, all continents, and probably at least 60-70 countries, but those are just guesses for now. -30-

Friday, March 29, 2013 10:43 PM - Mike stopped by late this afternoon, and I was hoping to have a ghost writer for this entry, but he had to leave earlier than usual to play Easter Bunny. I'll let him explain that the next time he ghost writes.

As soon as he arrived, we headed to the St. Mary's Church Hall for a Good Friday fish dinner. As it was a couple weeks ago, it was again very good, and so filling we took a little longer walk home than we needed to.

When we got home we got on the bands and chased DX. I got 6 DX stations, and I think Mike got a few more than that, as some that he worked, I had worked several times previously, and I don't like to work the same DX station too many times - unless it be in a contest, that is.

We took time out to go next door to check on Roscoe as Nancy and Bruce were out for the evening. Roscoe pretty much barked at Mike all the time we were there. So after we left to come back over here, I went back by myself about 15 minutes later to check on Roscoe. I took him out for a short walk, and he seemed calmed down then.

We then ordered a vegetable pizza from Papa John's, and worked some more DX while awaiting the delivery man. After we ate the pizza, we watched another Prisoner episode (#6), and then Mike had to leave to head north.

Now I'm typing this and following the NCAA tournament. I see we lost another #1 seed tonight in Kansas who lost to Michigan. That leaves Louisville as the lone remaining #1 seed. The thing I want to watch now is to see if FGCU can be the first #15 seed to win three tournament games. They're already the first to win two games. Right now as I write, they are ahead of Florida by 15-4, but that's only with five minutes gone in the game. Florida usually does well come tournament time, so I don't hold much hope for FGCU, but who knows. -30-

Thursday, March 28, 2013 9:33 PM - Another good DX day today. I worked all continents except Africa. EU-EA2SS, OC-KH7Y, NA-CO3IT, SA-PJ4/W1SRB, AS-UA0ASS. Heard 6V7S for AF, but worked him too many times already. I did try him on 80 with no success this evening.

I guess the prize catch of the day was JW7QIA from Svalbard. He had a huge pileup, but with careful strategy and the dual receive of the KX3, I got him on the first try, although I did have to repeat my call a few times till he got it all right.

This month so far, it's still DX every day. I have 226 DX QSOs, and only 29 W/VE QSOs outside the NAQCC sprint, and the OK and VA QSO parties. Of the 226 DX QSOs, 118 were non-contest QSOs plus 108 from the Russian DX contest. Ham radio has really been a blast this month. -30-

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 9:00 PM - Everyone who knows any history of ham radio - and all current hams should be well versed in the subject, although many are not - should know what the Wouff Hong is, and should tremble at my mentioning it. I'm going to mention a couple of candidates who should be inflicted with the terrible instrument of torture, but first for something completely different, a la Monty Python.

It's always a great thing to have good neighbors, and even nicer when you get a chance to help them out with this or that. Right now I have great neighbors on both sides of me. I've talked about them a lot in the diary so I'm sure you know what I mean. Anyway (a favorite seque word of mine) today the Bowsers got a new laptop computer and I got the chance to help Pam set it up and get it running. It actually went quite smoothly even though I'm not all that familiar with laptops nor with the new Windows 8 operating system. However I am finding out more and more about both laptops and Windows 8 as I get to help friends who have them. I must say that at first I didn't like laptop computers, mainly because the older ones had screens that were not all that easy to read. Also I never cared much for the little touch pads that were a replacement for mice. However I think I am slowly being converted, and quite possibly my next computer which probably won't come for a few years could well be a laptop. Also I was quite opposed to the totally new concept of Windows 8 when it first came out, but now after getting a chance to learn it and to use it from time to time, I have pretty much already become a convert to it. I don't know that I will go for it as my next o/s though as I still think it is kind of like ME, 2000, and Vista, that is kind of a stopgap o/s between the mainline XP, 7, and the upcoming 9 (or whatever moniker it will have when released probably next year sometime.) So I'll probably wait for 9 as my next o/s.

Thanks to Mike for ghost writing last night. He always writes a good entry, plus I enjoy getting a break now and then. That episode with the KX3 and HDSDR could have taken up several pages, but Mike summed it up pretty concisely. I just hope that our solution does hold, and he gets to enjoy HDSDR as much as I have now for the past couple months or so. As I've said, it is a great time-saver when you want to see what is on a particular band in a hurry, and if the band is busy, to check out who is who in a further hurry. Kind of like being able to listen to a bunch of stations at one time, only doing it visually instead of aurally. I think because of that, I've worked more DX this month than any month since the last sunspot cycle peak. With a couple of DX stations after 0000Z this evening, that makes every day in March so far a DX day for me.

That gets me back to the Wouff Hong and the candidates upon whom it should be used. What's that? Oh, you're one who isn't all that much into ham radio history and have no idea what I'm talking about. Well before I go on, you better read this: http://www.arrl.org/ham-radio-history. Scroll down the page and open up the Wouff Hong section.

OK, got that? Over the past few days, I've heard these Wouff Hong candidates. I won't name them individually, but as a group in this first case since there are quite a few of them. They are the hams who either can't hear well, understand well, or just don't care when it comes to the simple word "UP", that's UP as in UP and down. Instead of heeding it, and shifting their transmit frequency UP a kHz or so when a station ends his call in UP as in CQ DE XX3YYZ UP. That UP is not an extension of the call, it means answer my call UP 1 kHz. Regardless, even when a station sends UP after every call (a lot don't, and you do have to guess some times) they go on blindly and ignorantly calling right on top of the DX station's frequency. SIGH!!!!! Get out the Wouff Hong and give them the Wouff Hong treatment.

Another group are the stations who go on for QSO after QSO without ever identifying themselves. I had a case of that this evening that made me want to go to Newington, get the Wouff Hong and.... but then I had no idea where to go since this fellow never did sign his call, even when he QRT. I listened for several QSOs that ended simply with TU QRZ (not even the correct QRZ?, just QRZ). Then I decided I better work him anyway and find out who I worked later. I got him easily after a couple calls, filled out my log except for his call while listening to see who he was (probably should have sent CALL? when I worked him), and waited, and waited, and wai..... (a la the line from Casablanca) for him to sign, but he never did, then as I said, he shut down. I think I did figure out who he was from checking some spots on DX Summit, but I never will be sure. Doesn't really matter now since it wasn't a new band-country, prefix or anything I needed.

OK, enough said about bad operating practices for now. There are many more that could be discussed, but I had to at least say something about those two. -30-

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 9:14 PM - Good evening everyone. John is busy walking laps on the first floor of his house at the moment so I will be his guest writer tonight. Yes it is I, Mike KC2EGL. Who else gets the honor of doing this stuff. Hi-Hi!!!!

Last night I asked John if he was up for a vist to check out a new external sound card that I planned on using with my KX3 and HDSDR panadapter program. The new external sound card has a Line in port which lead me to believe that it was a true stereo device. Well when I attempted to use it last night I was still getting the mirrored effect on the spectrum screen of the HDSDR only that this sound card produced more signals on the spectrum screen.

Well I arrived this morning around 10:30AM and we pretty much jumped into our project for the day. For the life of us we could not get rid of the mirror effect no matter what we did. I downloaded the updated version of the HDSDR to see if it would work properly. No luck what so ever. After a rather late lunch/early dinner we went back to work. For some reason I clicked on the soundcard button on the HDSDR program only to discover that there were three sound cards listed. The external card and two internal cards. We clicked on one of the internal cards which put sound through the laptop speakers and gave a very wide bandwith of noise on the spectrum screen. I followed up by clicking on the other internal sound card setting and BINGO!!! We had signals all over the spectrum screen with NO mirror effect. We had a few hiccups to follow the first successful attempt. With a little bit of trial and error we finally figured out the procedure of keeping everything properly set. The BIG test will be when I get home and set up my station for home use.

The great thing about this program (or any HDSDR program) is that it maps out where you can find signals along the band you are operating. All you have to do is point and click on the signal and the program centers the signal on the spectrum screen AND it tunes your radio (many different rigs are supported with this particular HDSDR program) to the frequency instantly. This works very well when you are searching and pouncing during a contest. Not to mention when you are casually operating.

On the leisure side we both logged three DX stations between 22:12UTC 26 March and 00:30UTC 27 March. Next on the agenda is a episode of the Britsh spy drama 'The Champions'.

So until next time (which will be sometime next week since we ordered two 'two tinned tuna' quick build kits for 40M) I hope to CU on the radio.

73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

Monday, March 25, 2013 10:17 PM - I guess Punxsutawney Phil's prediction is only valid for 6 weeks after he makes it. We had decent weather in that period. However overnight last night we got about 5 inches of snow - I think out biggest snowfall since pre-prediction days. Not to worry though. March snows don't last, and the 5 is already down to 1 now with temperatures in the upper 30s and some afternoon rain to boot.

Finally finished up the cross-checking today, and then took it easy this afternoon. Didn't check the bands so I don't know how they were except for after 0000Z this evening. They were pretty good then. I called CQ on 30 meters and got answers from DJ5NQ and IK2NJZ. Then worked TF3JB on 20 meters. If I can get some DX the next 5 days now, that will be a DX QSO-a-DAY for March. I'll have to see if I can get a NAQCC QSO-a-DAY award for March endorsed for all DX QSOs. In fact I'll look at the rules now. Even though I helped write them years ago, I can't remember now. The frailities of old age. HI. I don't see anything in the rules about a DX endorsement. I'll have to talk with Tom WY3H about possibly adding one. -30-

Sunday, March 24, 2013 11:07 PM - Where's my ghost writer when I need him? HI. I'm really beat after a grueling session of cross-checking logs. It seems every month some new kinds of errors creep into the logs and I have to adjust my cross-checking program to account for them. The worst things are the logs with the wrong times. Those that have local time instead of UTC or some completely different kind of time frame. I'm not even going to go into it any further. I'm just going to make this a very short entry. -30-

Saturday, March 23, 2013 9:16 PM - Too little time, too much to do. Ham radio, basketball, astronomy all competing for time today. Astronomy - it was clear this evening, but a search for Comet Panstarrs yielded nothing. Too much light here in town, and I didn't feel like walking to a darker spot since I had already seen the comet once several days ago.

Basketball - After the past couple days of upsets, today so far was pretty normal with no upsets so far. If you total the number of the seeds surviving the round of 64, if every higher seeded team wins, you have a total of 144. Last year was the highest total ever with 210. This year came close with 208, and there was a 209 year a dozen years ago in 2010. There is a potential upset going on right now with Wichita state leading Gonzaga by 12 points 3/4 of the way through the first half. That will bear watching.

Ham Radio - The bands were very good again today. In the brief times I listened, there was a lot of DX to be had, but I didn't take time to work any since I didn't hear any new band-countries or unusual prefixes. I did work HD2A on 15 for my streak(s) QSO. 24 days is my DX streak now.

Back to basketball now. -30-

Friday, March 22, 2013 9:09 PM - My DX streak continues at 23 days. I worked CT2IWW at 0004Z on 30 meters. There was a lot of DX around this afternoon and evening, although I didn't try to work a lot of it. I was busy following basketball for quite a bit of the time, and right now I'm following the Georgetown game rooting for Florida Gulf Coast to upset them. FGC up by 8...uh 9 with 29 seconds left. 10 points now with 20 seconds left. I'd say we have a #15 seed win pretty much in the bag. Well, 6 seconds left and we're stuck there. I can only watch live the CBS games on the Internet. So I have to watch play by play in this game like they did with baseball games before broadcast radio came along in 1920, and the plays were telegraphed in to some central location for folks to hear what was going on in the game. OK, it's over and FGC has won. So we've now had wins by #12, #13, #14, and #15 seeds so far in the tournament. Ahhh, March Madness at its best. -30-

Thursday, March 21, 2013 8:16 PM - Today was a two project day. Getting the logs from last night's NAQCC sprint ready for cross-checking, and following the NCAA basketball tournament. Seems like they only give limited hours to watch the tournament on the Internet, but I did get to see Butler beat Bucknell plus parts of other games before I got shut off for the day. We again came close to a #16 seed win when Southern had Gonzaga tied with a couple minutes left, but they couldn't hit their last several shots and Gonzaga pulled ahead and won. I still think each year it is going to be more likely a #16 seed will win. That's mainly because of the increasing pressure on the #1 seeds to NOT be the first one ever to lose to a #16. I think within the next 4 or 5 years, a #1 is going to 'choke' under that pressure and wind up losing. Just my thoughts.

I added two more days to my DX streak when I worked F5NBX this afternoon and then CN8KD this evening to make it 22 days in a row now.

Well, back to check on March Madness after I update my streak table and propagation info here on the web site. -30-

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 11:02 PM - Our NAQCC sprint went well tonight. Conditions were very good for a change on all three bands. I probably spent too much time on 20 meters. That band just doesn't seem to work well for me in our sprints, although I can do great in DX contests there. It doesn't make sense. Probably if I'd stuck to 40 and 80, I would have had quite a few more QSOs, although I did get some multipliers on 20 I wouldn't have gotten on 40 or 80. But I had fun, and that is the bottom line. Now it's late, and I'm going to check on the NCAA First Four games tonight. I did watch some of the James Madison/LIU Brooklyn first game. JM was quite a ways ahead with just a little time left when I had to leave to get in the sprint, so I imagine they won. -30-

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 10:24 PM - I've now worked some DX every day in March so far, and the 20 day streak is one of my longer DX streaks. Of course as you probably know from reading about my DX streaks in the QRP section of the web site, from November 23, 1999 through February 11, 2000, I had an 81 day DX streak. Then I missed one day on the 12th, picked up again on February 13, 2000 and went through July 15, 2000 for 154 more days or 235 out of 236 days I worked some DX. I haven't had any other DX streaks anywhere near that long since, so as I said, this 20 day current streak is probably in at the very least the top 5 or so DX streaks.

In addition to working CO2IR a couple minutes past 0000Z to continue both streaks, I also worked a new state on 60 meters when I worked K9ZMU from Wisconsin. That's 12 down and 38 to go for 60M WAS. Getting the last 38 will take a lot of time, I'm sure.

Tomorrow evening will be our 101st NAQCC monthly sprint. Perhaps not as exciting as #100 last month, but I hope participation will approach our 194 entrants from #100. At least, I hope we go well over 150. The recent CQ Magazine article on the NAQCC brought us a lot of new members along with the usual number we get from Dave VA3RJ's promos for our sprint. Perhaps a lot of those are interested in contests/sprints and will join in the fun tomorrow evening. -30-

Monday, March 18, 2013 10:18 PM - Not much time to check the bands today as I was busy getting caught up on emails from this weekend. Also getting my 148 QSOs from the weekend processed and into my computer log. Then of course I had to get my Excel spreadsheet brackets ready for the best sporting event of the year, the NCAA basketball championships. It was nice to see Gonzaga get a number 1 seed and be recognized for having a very good basketball program. I didn't think they would get that #1 because of their weaker schedule than other top teams, but they did. Now's their chance to show they really deserved it.

My mean little KX3 went ahead and broke a pileup on its first try this afternoon, when I worked 5B/RZ3DJ on my first try after figuring his pattern and finding where he was listening thanks to the dual watch feature of the KX3. I'm getting to love that rig more and more every day.

After working Tom WY3H to help him out a bit with our NAQCC March challenge, I checked the higher bands and worked KP4RD on 15 meters for my streak QSO of the day. -30-

Sunday, March 17, 2013 8:40 PM - Well I did not expect to be here this late but we found the Virginia QSO Party this morning since the Russian DX Party ended at 12:00Z. Besides operating some more raido we worked on two projects. My external keyer would not key John's KX3. I could not figure out why since I keyed my KX3 a couple of weeks ago after John and I figured out how to set the sequencial serial number. MFJ's manual's are not as user friendly as Elecraft. Matter of fact they are 180 degree's out of phase. So John and I went to work with my keyer. We opened it up and ran some testing with a multi-meter and found nothing wrong. Checked the RCA cable and found it to be in working condition. After about a half hour of scratching our heads and trying everything we could imagine John went to the MFJ site and checked the PDF file for the manual and BINGO!!! He found the proceedure for a factory reset. After performing the reset the unit was back in working condition. We must have hit a couple of the buttons simultaniously which turned off the keying feature. It is now back up and running. This is a good thing because I am selling the unit. It is a keyer/reader (no I do not use it for reading CW. That is cheating.). I have ordered a new keyer that has a memory bank for eight messages and has all the menu commands right on the front panel. It will be much easier to use and with the extra memory slots I can set a few for contesting and not have to worry about resetting them all the time. We also did some work with my Begali Graciella paddle. The right side paddle (the dah side if you are right handed) seems to be out of sorts. We tried every possible adjustment and have yet to find a very comfortable setting. I have emailed Begali for some help. Funny that it was working properly the other night. Maybe it does not like to make road trips. Hi-Hi!!!

At this time John is making me dizzy. He is on one of his power walk's, lapping the first floor of the house. We have done this a few times this weekend. Makes for a decent workout for the leg's and lung's.

Of course food was on the agenda as well. We find that the best bet for breakfast is of course the buffet and made to order omelet's at Ponderosa for $5.99 and that is before the coupon discount which can range from 20% off to a by one get one deal. And dinner consisted of leftover pizza from last night. And we got a brisk 2 mile walk outside today.

Thankfully John is going out to get his temprature readings for the day. He has stopped making me dizzy walking like a mad man.

In a few moments we will be watching one of the 'Carry On' movies 'Carry On Screaming'. I found interest in this particular movie because Frank Thorton (famous for his roll as Capitan Peacock in 'Are You Being Served') is listed in the credit's. He is one of my favorite British comedy actors.

Well John has returned from his weather checking for the day so I am going to sign off here so we can get to watching a movie. So until next time I shall see you on the radio.

73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

P.S. This weekends QSO count between us was 303. A productive weekend if I say so myself.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 11:47 PM - Good evening everyone. Yes I am still visiting John in Kittanning. Today we operated in the Russian DX contest as what we like to call a 'tag team effort'. We started out our day with breakfast at Ponderosa. We returned to John's place around 10AM and jumped right into the Russian contest. So far between us we have 208 QSO's. All by search and pounce. We are one continent away from a WAC for this event. I personally have worked at least two new countries via QRP. Austraila being one of them.

We took a few breaks to stretch our legs by walking loops on the first floor in John's house. Unfortunately the chairs we are sitting in while operating are not the most comfortable for long periods of operating. One gets a tad bit stiffish after a while so a good stretch is much needed.

We broke for dinner around 6:45PM. We ordered in from Papa Johns Pizza. If you have one near you and have yet to try their pizza we highly recomend it. We followed up dinner by returning to the airwaves. I think I have doubled my QSO count with operators from Hungary. Serbia was a close second. And of course the occasional Russian station. For some reason the Asiatic Russian's were a little easier to log than the European Russian's. Funny how that works at times. We may make the very early morning effort for some Asian and Oceania DX. Japan is still playing hard to get. We did hear someone in Europe working a station in Korea. Unfortunately we did NOT hear the Korean.

Once I finish here we will be cathing either a episode of 'The Champions' or 'The Prisoner'. John has me hooked on a few old British tv show's. They are very enjoyable.

I am not sure if I will be here for the production of John's Sunday entry for his diary. It all depends on how tired I am after plenty of time at the key. So until next time...

73 Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, March 15, 2013 9:45 PM - Lately it seems if there is a contest over the weekend you will find a guest writer for John. Lets see, yes there is a contest this weekend involving DX. This means John's guest writer is in town.

I arrived around 4:30PM this afternoon to prepare for the Russian DX Contest which runs from 12:00Z tomorrow through 12:00Z Sunday. We are going to give it the tag team try again. They even have a catagory for Multi-Op Single Transmitter. This should be alot of fun. We started our late afternoon with a walk over to the St. Marys Church hall for thier fish dinner. For some reason you can not go wrong with a Lenten Friday fish dinner. I have yet to attend one where the food was not up to par.

When we returned to John's place we went DX hunting. Both of us made about five QSO's. One of which was a new country for me. I worked Sint Maarten for the first time on 17M and then again on 30M. The bands seemed to have some life tonight. It may be everyone preparing for tomorrows contest.

Our next project was to connect my external keyer to John's radio. Unfortunately we think my keyer has bought the proverbial farm. For some unknown reason it is not sending to the radio. So we connected one of John's external keyers. I am using the keyer because it generates a sequencial serial number which I will need for tomorrow. After trial and error we have it set properly to send my callsign with a press of the first button and a serial number with a press of the second button. John also assisted me with adjusting my Begali Graciella. Some how the adjustments were knocked out of line and I could not get it back to a comfortable adjustment. Well it was John to the rescue. So now we are set up for chasing some Russians on the airwaves tomorrow. We followed that up with a snack. Yes food is just as important as radio when we gather for our visit's.

We will end the night with watching Episode four of the Prisoner tv series.

Until next time (most likely tomorrow night. Hi-Hi!!)CU on the radio.

Mike KC2EGL -30-

Thursday, March 14, 2013 9:18 PM - A good day for ham radio and astronomy. First astronomy - the skies finally cleared about an hour before sunset and stayed that way long enough to finally see Comet PANSTARRS low in the western sky about 40-50 minutes after sunset. It was pretty spectacular considering it was still in the afterglow of sunset. A nice bright nucleus and a somewhat fanned out tail which I could see with binoculars about 1/2 degree long.

As far as ham radio, I was able to get on a few times today to chase DX. Conditions were quite good, especially 30 meters this evening. All told, I worked PD1DX (10M), OG3007F (15,17M), CT1EWX (17), SP2XF (30), FS/UA4CC (30), EW8DJ (30), and LZ1GC (30). That's 70 DX QSOs this month out of 92 QSOs so far. Three factors involved. 1. Of course good conditions. 2. My panadapter making scanning the bands easy. 3. More time on the air because of the first two factors.

Mike KC2EGL is coming down for the weekend. We'll be chasing DX, getting in the Russian DX contest, and a lot of other projects as well, like (you know) eating. HI. -30-

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:26 PM - It was a 'stem to stern' busy day today with a few hours spent helping Tom WY3H with a computer project. Then home for a little while till Nancy called and asked if I wanted to come over and watch the appearance of the new Pope. I finished up a little snack then went over for a while. Then I took Roscoe out for a walk. Spent a little time on the computer, then went to our monthly computer meeting. Got home a little while ago, got my streak QSO for the day from John K1ESE in ME. Now I'm writing this entry. Whew!

With all of that, I didn't have much time to get on the bands, although I did listen for a little while in the 1800Z hour for any signs of activity in the NAQCC EU Chapter sprint. Didn't hear any, so I worked ZF2UL on 15 meters then QRT.

That's pretty much a full summary of my day. -30-

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:35 PM - It cooled off a bit today, but hey, it's 7:35 PM as you see from the time stamp and it is still pretty light outside, and that's great even with the cooler temps. It was a good day to get on the bands as conditions are still great as we are near the vernal equinox.

I heard all continents easily today, but only worked 4 of them. Heard several JAs on various bands, but all except one were not calling CQ. They were working other DX themselves. The one I had a chance to work just disappeared after I called him. As Mike and I would say, I scared him away. I also heard an EA8 briefly and heard 9X0?? and his super big pileup. As he was quite weak, I didn't bother trying to work him although Rwanda would be an overall new country. I did get one new band-country at least - ZL1BYZ on 12 meters. Other DX worked included HK, 6Y on 12; 6Y, HA, KP4, DL(3AO - Nice rag chew) on 17; ZF on 10; OK, OH, LZ(20TRC possible new prefix) on 20.

I did go out for a couple walks today and a little shopping and letter mailing, but it felt quite chilly after our past two spring-like days. No fishing or yard work today.

Right now I'm going to update my band-countries in the little booklet I keep by the rig to see what I need. I probably should just put a list on the computer up there. Maybe I'll do that sometime, but not right now. I bought the book from ARRL several years ago for $2.00 and I want to get my money's worth before it falls apart completely. HI.

I just want to add a bit about DXing before I close. While sitting at the rig today hearing some of the S9+++ signals chasing the DX, I was wondering what fun and satisfaction folks get from just using pure power to work DX. That wouldn't appeal to me at all. Some of them don't even have to bother sending perfect CW. While many big signals do come with very good perfect or near-perfect CW, a lot of them, to be frank, are very sloppy. Yet they succeed just because their signal is so strong. Personally I enjoy the challenge of trying to outwit the competition to get my DX, not get it by brute force. I don't mind failing at times because my signal is overwhelmed by the bigger signals. That's part of the game. Part of any game. Unless you're the 1972 Miami Dolphins, you are going to lose some of the time. But that makes it more rewarding when you do win. I guess the statement penned by Robert Browning in 1855 applies, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp or what's a Heaven for?". Once we 'work them all', then what is left? Or as someone else analyzed the statement, "In dramatic style, the concept is formed that humans strive for things seemingly unattainable. Yet they still reach, struggle, stretch in hope of acquiring that which they desire." I'll probably never work them all, yet the struggle to do so is more rewarding in the long run than actually doing it. That's my way of looking at it anyway. -30-

Monday, March 11, 2013 9:37 PM - Ahhhh, Spring, wonderful Spring. Saw my first Robin today. In fact four of them altogether. That's late as I usually see one or a few in February, and have seen one as early as January. So they were late coming into town from the woods this year, or else I just didn't spot any of them until today.

To top that off, I went fishing for the first time this year. I only took one lure, and wasn't really planning on catching anything as the water is still pretty cold and the fish not too active yet. But it sure was nice standing there by the river in the low-mid 60s temperature and exercising my casting arm. Didn't have a single backlash, so maybe that's a good sign for this year. Last year starting off I had a lot of them, but then this new-fangled bait casting reel given to my by Nancy, Bruce, (and Joe) was new to me and took a while to get used to.

In addition I took a couple good long walks, and as I did yesterday, a pretty good walk with Roscoe. I also did some more cleanup in the back yard, and just plain enjoyed being outside.

I did spend over an hour on the bands early this evening also. There was DX galore on the bands from 30 through 12 meters. A lot I didn't need nor work. I would liked to have worked KH2L out in Guam, but when I found him and listened to him work a couple stations while getting ready to call him, he suddenly complained of poor conditions starting out there, and promptly QRT. I also heard D3AA who was weak with a pileup so I didn't try him since I had already worked him a few months ago. I didn't actually work all that much, just a couple here and there that were a bit unusual for me like PJ7AA on 17, CX9AU on 30, and TF3JB on 20. I need to check and see if PJ7 is a new band-country on 17. Yes it is! #130 worked on 17. Oh and I got my Romanian QSO with Adrian YO3APJ verified in the LotW - my first 80M verification from Romania.

So it was a good day in many regards. I hope conditions will be this good on the weekend. Mike is coming down to spend the weekend. We'll be doing the Russian DX contest and having our usual good meals among a few other projects. -30-

Sunday, March 10, 2013 9:23 PM - Shortly after I uploaded the diary entry last night, I realized I left off a big contest this weekend - the WI QSO Party. Sorry about that, and it is a favorite of mine also. However today it was a choice of enjoying a 73 degree day in March outside or being cooped up inside for yet another day. Guess which won? That's right - OUTSIDE BABY! Two long walks, another pretty good walk with Roscoe, cleaning up the back yard a bit, helping Denny next door doing some work on his downspout drain, and so forth. YES! Spring is here for sure, although there will still be some regressive days thrown in. My tulips have poked out of the ground. Looks like just a couple days or so ago. And looks like there are going to be 7 or 8 of them this year as they continue to multiply each year. It's supposed to be warm again tomorrow. I might clean up some more leaves which served as mulch during the winter. I'll leave them around my roses, but clean up where nothing is planted yet. Actually I just realized I neglected to see if my daylillies had started to grow again. I'll have to look tomorrow. And hey, isn't this light in the evenings great now too with daylight savings time. It looks like the whole world has come alive in a spring resurrection.

Oh, and March Madness is getting close again too. WOW! It's great to see a not all that mainstream a school like Gonzaga at the top of the rankings as of now. I know, I know... They've been making a name for themselves in basketball for several years now, but still overall they're not a Duke, NC, UCLA, Kansas, etc. Next Sunday is Selection Sunday for the tournament. I've got my Excel brackets all ready to go - they just need some team names filled in all the spots. Then when the games are played, and the score entered, the winning team automatically advances to the next round in the spreadsheet. I don't pick winners, and never have except for one time many years ago, but I love to follow the advancement of the teams anyway. I generally don't like single game type championships like say, the Super Bowl, but I don't mind it in March Madness. I think the World Series, Stanley Cup, NBA Championship generally come up with a more likely winner because a team has to have at least 3 bad games there whereas in the Super Bowl, the team that is best the whole season can have one bad game at the end of the season and lose out. Witness the Patriots a few years ago - undefeated the whole season until the Giants came along in the Super Bowl.

Well enough rambling about that. Let's talk ham radio a bit. Tom WY3H called me late this afternoon wanting me to give him a signal report on an antenna he had just repaired for 60 meters. I did, then thought I'd call CQ after that since I was in the shack anyway. I got an answer from Larry K1ON in Vermont and we chatted for a few minutes. Then later for my streak, I figured I'd just work someone in the WI QSO Party, but I looked around for a while first. There was quite a bit of good DX around on 30 through 15 meters, but except for one station, all were someone I'd just worked recently on the same band. Of course I always pass up working someone like that (unless perhaps they are going begging for answers to their CQs) so I don't deprive someone else of a QSO with them. The only station I hadn't worked before was JT1CO, and he was very weak with a big pileup so I didn't even try. Finally I settled for W9EAU in the WIQP to continue the streak. I've got a several days DX streak going now, so I'll try to work some DX tomorrow to keep that mini-streak going as well.

Whew, that was a rather long entry. This great weather has got me hyped up. -30-

Saturday, March 09, 2013 7:48 PM - Not much happening on the ham bands this weekend. Too bad we won the Revolutionary War back in 1776 or we could compete in the BERU contest. HI. There's always some good DX in that one, but we in the USA can't work it since we're not a Commonwealth nation. Oh well, there's the ID QSO Party if I get in the mood for contesting. Also the Clipperton DXpedition is winding down or has already wound down. Well, tomorrow is supposed to be another nice weather day like today when it got up to 57 degrees - good for walking with just a very light jacket. In fact I was even sweating just a bit with a jacket on as I walk pretty fast. So tomorrow maybe I can go for another couple good long walks or do some kind of outside work. I guess I will check the WARC bands to see if there is anything interesting there.

Right now I'm going to total up my countries and states worked with the KX3. I believe Clipperton was country #100 for my mean little machine. Or maybe #100 was something else before Clipperton. I haven't checked for about a month now. I don't think I worked anything in that time I hadn't worked before but then again there were some pretty common countries the KX3 hadn't corralled yet.

My streak QSO tonight came on 30 meters. PY2OE was working on his WAS, so I answered him just in case he might have needed PA. Other than that, I didn't hear much outside of BERU stations, ID stations, and 6V7S on 30. I didn't try for him since I have Senegal on that band. Perhaps he'll be on 17 and/or 12 tomorrow. I still need Senegal on those bands, so that's at least something to look for tomorrow.

Oh, remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed, or do it officially and stay up till 2AM - the traditional and official time change time. I've already changed all of mine with the exception of the auto-time changers like my computers and my remote weather stations. -30-

Friday, March 08, 2013 8:19 PM - Super DX day - great conditions and a lot of stations. Almost too many to know where to start working them. I got TX3K on two more bands today - 15 and 12. Both of those were new band-countries as was HR2/NP3J on 12. Three new band-countries in one day has to be the most in several years now except for contest days, of course. As I said to Mike KC2EGL in an email a few minutes ago, "This ham radio stuff is FUN!" To which he replied that I sound like a newcomer just discovering ham radio. HI.

All in all 12 DX QSOs today on 40 through 12 meters. We need more days like this. Other than ham radio, it was a good weather day also with abundant sunshine and a high of 47 degrees which led to a couple walks in-between working DX. If you look at the pictures of a couple days ago here in the diary and look at the big red building, you'll see some big trees right up against it. Well they are now gone. They were finally cut down today, and I took some time to watch the removals. You've got to admire folks who work in those trees, and cut and dislodge huge branches so they fall without any damage. These folks didn't have any cranes, lifts, or any big equipment. Just a couple chain saws, a rope and a truck to guide the trees falling in the right direction after cutting the traditional notch and saw cut in the trunks.

Now I guess I have 3 1/2 hours to play till bed time. Maybe I'll check the bands again or watch some Internet TV, and definitely get something to eat. -30-

Thursday, March 07, 2013 9:09 PM - More and more I'm learning just what a mean little machine my KX3 is for CW and QRP. I'll develop that in a moment.

One of the great sounds in ham radio is hearing your call letters come back from a rare DX station after you've been immersed in his huge pile-up. The quicker you hear your call, the greater a sound it is. I heard that great sound once last evening and again this evening. The one last night was greater because the station was much rarer, but still...

This evening I found J34G on 10120 working a pile up 1 kHz. He plainly ended each QSO with J34G UP A which obviously meant he was listening up 1. So I parked slightly above 10121 and called after each over. The pile up wasn't that big, but still I kept losing out for a while until I finally heard that great sound of my call and 599. Now I don't really need J3 as a new entity, but I think J34 might be a new prefix which is why I kept after him, plus for the thrill of breaking a pile up.

Last night the station was much rarer and the pile up much bigger, but the KX3 helped me break this one even a little quicker than tonight's. I found TX5K calling CQ on 20 pretty strong and saw his pile up on the panadaptor. It was pretty awesome looking, but that meant even though it was spread out over a few kHz, I could probably figure out who he was working since all the signals in the pile looked strong. So I set up my plan of attack. I copied his frequency from VFO A into VFO B, then set up the KX3 for split and the auxiliary tuning knob to tune VFO B. Then I used the dual receive function of the KX3 which feeds the audio from VFO A (TX5K) into my left ear and the audio from the the pile up on VFO B into my right ear. Now I could keep track of what TX5K was doing all the time while tuning VFO B to figure out who he was working. After a couple QSOs I had the pile figured out and started calling slightly above the frequency of the station he just worked. After only about perhaps a dozen more QSOs TX5K came back with K3WWP 599 and he was in my log. It wasn't an overall new entity as I had worked Clipperton 3 times before on various bands. However it turned out this was my first time on 20 so it was a new band-country or entity. Also it gave me a great deal of satisfaction breaking such a huge pile up thanks to my mean little DX machine - the KX3. That dual receive is a great feature as long as you can hear the stations in the pile up to know just where to call. Of course if you can't hear the pile at all, it's still a guessing game more or less.

Besides J34G this evening, I also worked LZ1323SKZ and 6Y6T on 40, and HR5/F2JD on 20. The LZ station is another special event station honoring Bulgarian saints. I also worked LZ969SCP in February. There is a different one each month. If you work 5 different ones in a year, there is a nice certificate. I probably won't buy the certificate, but it would be nice to at least qualify for it. I only would need three more now.

Each day is getting a little better as far as weather goes. In the 40s today, and 50s the rest of the week and weekend. I took a couple pretty long walks today. I also took Roscoe out for a walk around the block. He seemed to like that as he's been limited to mainly our front yards most of the winter. -30-

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 5:26 PM - Ditto from yesterday's opening sentence. I finished up the NAQCC EU Chapter March challenge when I worked DJ8PG a while ago for that final elusive 8. So that makes a sweep for March. What do I do for the last 25 days of the month now? HI.

Ahhh, March s^*w, a much gentler and kinder s^*w, a hit and run s^*w.

pix_diary_20130306_001 (24K)pix_diary_20130306_002 (36K)

Two+ inches overnight virtually gone in just under eight hours. If all s^*w would act like that, I might even learn to live peacefully with it. -30-

Tuesday, March 05, 2013 5:33 PM - Another early diary entry today. I just finished up the NAQCC March challenge when I worked EA8/DL2MDU for that final letter U. Now on to chasing down that number 8 to finish the NAQCC EU challenge - maybe that will come tomorrow. No, the 8 in EA8/DL2MU doesn't count as the EU stations must be operating from EU to count and of course EA8 is in Africa.

I'm getting a little tired of hearing TX5K pileups everywhere, and I'll be glad to see the bands get back to normal. It's great that they are putting Clipperton on the air for everyone. I just wish there was that much CW activity all the time, but spread out over the bands instead of all in one big pile per band. Today I heard many many EU stations, but only a couple outside the Clipperton pileups. Many had an 8 in their call also which I could have used.

It looks like winter is going to make a (final?) curtain call tonight and tomorrow with a blanket of that white stuff, but it's March and it won't last long as it will be in the 40s and 50s following the nastiness.

Later last night after writing the diary entry, I got on the air again and worked my 11th state on 60M in the form of RI from WA1JHV. It's amazing how with just 5 channels, that band can be empty quite a bit of the time. Or maybe not - considering the dearth of activity on other bands at times. -30-

Monday, March 04, 2013 10:08 PM - It's amazing how many hams do not know what continent they live in. Listening to the TX5K pileups is a prime example. TX5K will say EU to signify he only wants contacts from EU at that particular time, yet stations from NA and other continents will go on in their fog and continue calling. I admire the TX5K ops for ignoring these folks and only working the EU stations. Also it's almost as amazing how many hams pay no attention to UP and go on blindly calling right on top of the DX station. Of course if the DX station does not signify UP often enough, the newcomers to the pile don't know he's listening up and can be excused for calling on frequency. However if it's a really rare DX station the odds are excellent he is working split. End of a brief dissertation on DX Ethics 101. Hope some folks learned a bit from it.

DX was good today again. I worked 6Y, J3, M0, GM0, PJ2. Those zeroes brought me down to needing one 8 to completer the NAQCC EU March Challenge. Also working 6Y6T gave me my last two Ts, leaving me needing one U to finish 'our' NAQCC March Challenge. Then this evening just a few minutes ago, I worked WA1JHV on 60M for my first RI QSO on that band. So it was a good day on the air. Just wish I'd gotten on a little earlier, but I had to go downtown for some business, and the I spent quite a while visiting with Nancy and Bruce and playing with Roscoe. I'm hoping to get in some more time tomorrow if the bands are still good and get that last 8 and that last U, and maybe catch some good DX. I have worked Clipperton, so am not really dead set on trying to break the TX5K pileups. If it were a new overall country, I probably would try. I haven't heard Rodriguez since Mike and I heard it Saturday. That would be a new overall one for me.

Well, of late I've been watching the TV show "How It Works" on the Hulu Internet site. Think I'll finish my web site update, then watch another episode before closing out the night with the TL Show. -30-

Sunday, March 03, 2013 8:14 PM - Thanks to Mike for writing the entry for yesterday.

Today was another winter in spring day here with lite s*o& and temperatures that just nudged the 30 degree mark for a high. The coming week is looking better though with gradual warming to around 50 by the weekend.

At least that kind of weather is good for ham radio. I was on quite a bit today mostly trying to finish up the NAQCC March challenges. I didn't finish, but I see the finish line just ahead now. For 'our' challenge, I need two Ts and one U. For the EU Chapter challenge, it's three 0s (zeroes) and one 8.

I made another 60M QSO this evening and also got another Curacao QSO on 30M. Aha, I forgot to check yesterday, but the 'new' Curacao is a new band country for me on 30M. I'll have to fix up my DXCC page after I finish writing here. And I'm going to do so right now. -30-

Saturday, March 02, 2013 11:20 PM - To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy...

'You may be a guest diary writer when your enter starts out with "Hello everyone guess who this is?"' Today John and I had a busy early part of our day. We started out with breakfast. We decided to get the first feeding of the day out of the way at Ponderosa. They have a very nice breakfast spread. We followed that with mailing of prizes from the NAQCC 100th monthly sprint. Eight books on construction projects went out to the lucky winners. We have recieved a few replies to the email notices that we sent out in regards to the prize mailing. It is very refreshing to hear the excitement from those who win any of the prizes we offer. We also mailed out a set of paddle handles to a monthly sprint winner. I know they will be a fine addtion to his key.

Our next project was trying to figure out how to work the numerical increment feature in my external keyer. I would like to put it to use during contest's that require a serial number. After about a half hour of trail and error we were able to figure it out. It is a product of MFJ. It is a very good keyer (I do not use the reader feature in it) and wanted to use it to its fullest potential as a keyer. So now I am ready for the next contest.

After that we hit the airwaves. It was a moderately successful day by our standards. We woreked a special event K2O in Branson MO. I worked them on a second band. They are offering a very spiffy QSL certificate for just the cost of $2. domestic and $3 DX postage. We also worked Spain, France, Belize, Colombia, Cuba (twice), Dothan Al on 60M, Curacao, and a very long distance qso with Tom WY3H on 60M as well. We broke for dinner at Wendy's. By far the best of the big burger chain's.

We returned to John's QTH and attempted to locate some DX from Japan, Asiatic Russia,and Great Brittan with absolutely no luck what so ever. Ya win some, ya lose some. We did hear two very rare DX stations. One from Rodriquez Island in the Indian Ocean, dab smack in the middle of nowhere. And the other just West of XE land in the form of Clipperton Island. We needed to bulldoze our way through the pileup's. Needless to say we were not able to crack the foundation of said pileup's.

Our next task was much more relaxing. We did some web searching on some famous sport's moments which brought back some very fun memories for both of us. The most vivid was when N.C. State won the NCAA tourney against the University of Houston with a last moment desperate heave at the basket which was caught off to the side and guided in just as time ran out. The sight of Jimmy Valvano running all over the place looking for someone to hug was priceless. We followed that with what is becoming a tradition for our visit's. We watched episode three of 'The Prisoner'. A British spy/sci-fi/drama. It is a very enjoyable program. The main character is always keeping one step ahead of his adersaries.

After watching our program we attempted to find some more DX with out any luck. We called it quits for the day just before I started this edition of John's entry. Having said that, it is time for me to close out this guest appearance.

Hope to CU on the radio. Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, March 01, 2013 8:21 PM - After I did my banking this morning and answered a couple phone messages, I finally had a day to myself. I took advantage and spent 2 to 3 hours on the radio. It turned out to be a good day to do so. I planned to try to knock off as many letters and numbers for our March NAQCC challenges, and I did pretty well. Of the 31 letters/numbers in the EU Chapter challenge, I worked enough EU stations to get 26 of the 31. Perhaps I can finish it up tomorrow if the bands (especially 20M) are as good as today. For our regular NAQCC challenge, I got 76 of the 100 letters taken care of now.

It was kind of strange on the bands. It seems the stronger a station was, the harder it was to work even without any pileups to contend with. I had a couple very nice rag chews with OK1AVG and IZ4PKD, both of whom I really had trouble copying, although I did copy most of what they sent and they seemed to copy me almost solidly all the way. All in all I had 11 EU QSOs, 8 on 20 and 3 on 17. It was a very good day, and the total of 17 QSOs was the most for a non-contest day in I don't know how long now. Oh, and this evening for my streak QSO, I got a new 60M state (FL) from N4KGL.

Mike is coming down tomorrow. We're going to take care of mailing out the rest of the prizes from our NAQCC 100th Sprint drawings. After breakfast at Ponderosa's, of course. Then a couple other ham radio projects, after which I hope we can work some DX. Later another meal, and perhaps a Prisoner episode. You'll get the whole story in tomorrow's diary entry. -30-

Thursday, February 28, 2013 9:05 PM - Except for going to the bank in the morning and putting February's weather records in the computer, I think I have all my end of month - first of month work done already. So maybe tomorrow can be a ham radio day to work on the NAQCC challenges. I don't have any DX for the March EU challenge yet, but I did get 3 QSOs this evening and 15 letters of the 100 for our "NA" March challenge.

Oh, I picked up a copy of the March CQ Magazine with our article about the NAQCC in it. It turned out very nice and is virtually verbatim what Tom and I wrote with the addition of a couple of footnotes by the CQ Magazine editors about FISTS and 'sprints'. The pictures we enclosed turned out nicely as well. It's an article to be proud of. Hopefully it will bring in a bunch of new members when they find out what we are all about. We did get our first one from Saskatoon, SK today. I'm not sure just when the distribution of the magazine will be complete.

Well, winter (meteorologically) will be over in about 3 hours. However it looks like winter weather will continue on into the first few days of spring here. Somebody didn't get the message, I guess.

So it's time for a new countdown up above. I'm going to count down to my 50th anniversary of becoming a ham back in 1963 as KN3WWP. I guess I'll use Noon as the time since I don't remember the exact time my license did arrive here at 478 E. High. It was a great day, but I got off to a very slow start.... Oh but wait - I'm going to tell that story the few days following the anniversary. -30-

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:26 PM - Well, I figured I'd have an easy day, but even at this hour I'm still tying up loose ends from the prize drawing, getting caught up on updates to my web site, and seemingly a million other things. Maybe tomorrow will be the take it easy day. Well, probably not, because it's the last of the month so that means I've got all the end of month - first of month things to take care of. Geeez!

I did get a little time to listen on the bands today, but DX seemed down again from yesterday, and I didn't add a single DX QSO to my log. I probably could have, but the ones I did hear were stations I've worked before on the same bands I worked them before. I hate to have repeat QSOs like that because I fear I might just deprive someone of something THEY do need to work.

My streak QSO came quickly on 40M as W4AUV/M down in NC answered my CQ after just a couple minutes. I think if I get things caught up, I might go back to the shack a little later and see what's on 60M, if anything. I'm kind of liking that band as something new to play with in ham radio.

Now back to some more web site updating. -30-

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:57 PM - Thanks to Mike for filling in again yesterday. It was quite a busy day as Mike chronicled. And it went on a couple more hours till 2 AM or so as we watched The Prisoner episode 2, and then searched for a USB external sound card with a stereo line input for Mike's computer as he mentioned. We finally did find one after almost an hour of searching on the Internet. It's amazing how much trivial info you have to wade through to find out a simple answer like does the unit have a stereo line input. After that, Mike headed north to Brookville. We'll be getting together Friday to get the NAQCC sprint prizes in the mail and for a couple other projects which hopefully Mike will chronicle in the Friday diary entry.

Meanwhile I'm doing this entry early along with getting caught up on a lot of other things that have been put off because of all the extra work involved with setting up and carrying out our NAQCC 100th Sprint and the followup giveaway. My goal is to get all caught up today (HA!!), then have a couple days totally to myself without any NAQCC work.

I mentioned my first 60M DX QSO a couple days. I sent G3SED an email thanking him and received this reply, "Hi John I am delighted to be your first DX qso on 60m - it's a really great fun band and reminds me of the early days of Ham radio on 160m here in the UK. Very little qrm and a real gentleman's band ( at the moment). Here in the UK we have just been given extra allocation, but of course only a few channels are in common with the USA. I am using two antennas on 60m my 160 doublet ( open wire fed) up 65ft - this is the one we worked on and an inverted L 66ft/66ft with 140 radials ( my 160 DX antenna). Surprisingly the doublet seems to work best for the USA. Glad to hear you are still enjoying the hobby, like me, after all these years. Great Fun and thanks for the QSO - let's do it again soon! 73"

If I didn't mention it earlier, Mike (G3SED) and I will both celebrate 50 years of ham radio this year. Mine will be April 3. I think I'll offer a look back at those 50 years here in the diary at that time. Well, now back to getting caught up. -30-

Monday, February 25, 2013 11:31 PM - Good evening everyone. Yes I am back as John's guest writer for tonight. Today was a very busy day for both John and I. John helped his neighbor Bruce with taking Bruce's dog Roscoe to the vet to have his stiches removed due to him becoming a 'it'. He also put the finishing touches on the NAQCC 100th Sprint special prize drawing page. I on the other hand had a crazy day as well. I had my physical therapy session (for those of you who do not konw I had shoulder surgery six weeks ago this coming Thursday). This was followed up with a visit to my surgeon for a check up. Both my surgeon and physical therapist are extremly happy with how my shoulder is progressing. Of course it is not fast enough for me. Hi-Hi!!!

I had planned on arriving at John's QTH around 6PM for tonights special prize drawing which we tentatively scheduled for 6:30PM. Well you know the saying 'The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry'? Well they did. I did not get out of my surgeon's office until 6:15PM. I was scheduled for a 3:45PM appointment and I arrived 20 minutes early. The waiting room resembled Grand Central Station during the evening rush. When I arrived around 7:30PM I found John and Tom WY3H sitting in John's living room waiting for me. We quickly commenced with the drawing of 13 prizes. Go to the NAQCC website for details on our best attempt at a somewhat realtime drawing. John did a magnificent job as usual.

After the drawing was finished and the final results were posted Tom headed home and John and I went to get something for dinner. Both of us were practically starved (if you believe that I have some choice ocean front property for you in Death Valley) so we headed out to Ponderosa. After dinner we went up to John's shack so John could get his QSO of the day which was HC2AC in Ecuador. For good messure I worked HC2AC shortly after. John and I have perfected the so called art (well to us it is a art) of tag teaming DX. We followed that up with some testing of my laptop running a HDSDR program with my KX3. We found that my external sound card is not a complete stereo sound card. If anyone knows of a very good external stereo sound card please let me know where I can purchase one. This one will work for now. I adjusted my settings as close as I could get them to John's settings. In the process we heard K6K/MM on 20M. Unfortunately he did not here us.

We are going to end our evening with episode 2 of 'The Prisoner'.

I would like to thank John yet again for allowing me to be Jay Leno to his Johnny Carson. No I will not be taking over John's diary when he finally decides to call it quits. Like that will ever happen.

Until next time I shall hopefully CU on the radio. Mike KC2EGL -30-

Sunday, February 24, 2013 10:10 PM - I think I need to re-retire. I'm doing more work now than when I was at WPIT. It seems every member we add to our NAQCC roster somehow winds up increasing my work load. And I'm not getting any younger. Even with all the helpers we have now, it seems my work continues to increase. Only my love of promoting CW and QRP keeps me going.

I've noticed that my diary entries don't seem to have as much content sometimes as they used to. That's due to the NAQCC workload. By the time I get through with all the work (which I actually never do) I forget some things I thought of earlier in the day that I wanted to include here.

I worked my first DX on 60M last night in case you didn't notice from my streak table. It was a little struggle, but G3SED got my call after several repeats. I looked him up on QRZ a little later, and it turns out we both will celebrate 50 years in ham radio later this year. I sent him an email thanking him for the 60M DX, and got a nice reply from him this morning.

It seems to me that the location of 60M in the spectrum matches the ease (or difficulty) of working DX. It was a little harder than 40M, but a lot easier than 80M. Of course that's only based on the experience gained from one DX QSO. I may have to modify that after I work more 60M DX.

Since I finished my February NAQCC EU Chapter Challenge yesterday, I didn't feel the urgency to get on and check the higher bands for DX this morning/afternoon so I don't know how conditions were. I got my streak QSO quickly this evening when W8DW answered my 80M CQ not long after 0000Z. -30-

Saturday, February 23, 2013 6:11 PM - Thought I'd write this early today. I finally found that elusive 9 to finish the NAQCC EU Chapter February challenge. I had been keeping an eye (ear?) out for HA9RT when I got down to needing the 9 and R as I've worked him almost 20 times over the years since he is very active. Finally today I found him on 30 meters and worked him easily, and just sent off my report to the EU Chapter. I really enjoy the EU challenges as they involve working EU stations to master them, and are for that reason more challenging than our regular (USA) NAQCC challenges.

I also heard John VK6AU on 30 meters. I've written about John in the diary in the past, but that was some time ago. He used to be VK6HQ until 2004, and he answered my CQ on 30M not once but twice. The first time in 1996 and the second time in 1999. After that first CQ, my phone rang, and when I answered, I was shocked to find John was calling me to talk about our QSO. That was quite a thrill, and the very longest LOOOONNNGGG distance call I ever got and probably ever will get from anyone on Earth. John is in Lesmurdie near Perth which is quite close to being on the opposite side of the Earth from here (Kittanning, PA).

Later John again answered my CQ with his new call in 2006. Those 3 QSOs along with one from VK6DXI on 40M before sunset here are among my most prized QSOs. I've also worked VK6LW from that area of Australia. I'm not sure exactly which of the QSOs are really my most distant ones. Something to look into some day.

Other than that, DX seemed down again today from what it was yesterday. I didn't even hear a lot of activity in the UBA contest, and only worked HA3OV on 20M. Perhaps later this evening I'll see what can be heard on 40M and maybe even 80M as I don't have much else to do this evening for a change. -30-

Friday, February 22, 2013 10:35 PM - DX was much better today than the past couple days. I didn't work a lot of it because I spent my time searching for that elusive "9" again for the NAQCC EU challenge. Where are all the Croatian stations when you need them? HI Or maybe a Malta station although they are a lot more rare than Croatia. Anyway I did work a couple of nice (new?) prefixes in LY16W and YU15OTC along with OF3I, OT4A, 6W/HA0NAR, and 6V7S who was my streak QSO for the 23rd. The bands were open all the way up through 12M although there was only one weak station heard here on 12. Tomorrow I'll go searching for that "9" again. Not many days left in February now.

Winter is making an effort to go out with a nasty disposition. We had a little freezing drizzle today and a winter mix due Monday night and Tuesday, but OM Winter's days are numbered for this year. -30-

Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:34 PM - Again the bands weren't all that good this afternoon, but I did manage to finally get my "R" for the NAQCC EU February Challenge when I worked RL3AC on 20 meters. He had a good signal, but he didn't have much company. Most other DX I heard was on the weak side. Now I've got to find that elusive "9" to complete the challenge.

My streak QSO came rather easily when N8CT answered my 40M QSO after a few minutes. Since that came so quick, I tried to get a couple more QSOs, but without any luck. -30-

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:43 PM - I just worked my sixth state on 60M thanks to AC8LJ. That was also my streak QSO for the day. I listened for a while this afternoon trying to find some EU DX, but only heard one EU station from Spain. The bands were rather poor compared to how they were for the ARRL DX test.

OK, now where was I? Just got interrupted by a phone call. Oh, I guess other things that happened today. Really not much. I put some final touches on transferring my QSOs from the ARRL Test into my main computer log here. I found out Mike and I put in just under 25 hours in the contest, so that figures out to a rate of around 24 QSOs per hour which is right around the norm when I do a big DX contest here. My best hours were 1900Z on Saturday and 1400Z on Sunday with 24 QSOs. 1600Z Saturday I had 23. So figuring Mike made almost the same number that's around 46-48 per hour which is near my best hours in the big DX contests.

I guess that's about it for today without boring you with the usual everyday things. -30-

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 8:15 PM - Things slowed down a litte today after I finished the log cross-checking late this morning or early this afternoon. I watched Roscoe a couple times today while Bruce and Nancy both had to be out at the same time. I guess I didn't tell you that Roscoe was neutered a few days ago and has to be watched so he doesn't try to pull out the stitches himself.

Not a lot else to talk about, I guess. I went out for a bit of grocery shopping. It was a cold blustery day today, but only light flurries in the way of precipitation. I wanted to try to see if I could work some EU for the NAQCC EU challenge, but I didn't get on early enough. I did work W3ESE late this afternoon and then Gary N2ESE this evening. The bands didn't seem all that good any time I was on. Sure a big difference from this past weekend.

Mike didn't mention this in 'his' diary reports, but I think one of my best QSOs was really a non-QSO. I almost got Ukraine on 80M which would have been my most distant ever QSO on 80. But the Ukrainian could never get my call quite right despite sending things like 'ww?', 'k3?', 'wwj', etc. It's encouraging to know my 80m QRP signals can get out far enough to work most EU countries though. However all the other 80m EU stations we worked partially made up for that disappointment. Hmmm, I haven't listed my new band-countries on my DXCC page yet. Guess I'll do that now. -30-

Monday, February 18, 2013 11:17 PM - That was a very enjoyable weekend working the DX contest (along with other things) with Mike, but I paid for it today with a lot of work to get caught up on. Most of the day was spent at the computer putting my contest log into my regular log, working on winding up all the work involved with the NAQCC sprint, plus other web site work. So right now, I'm tired out and about ready to go to bed. First to wind down I'm going to watch something on YouTube - probably a New Yankee Workshop show and listen to TL. More to come in tomorrow's diary entry. Thanks to Mike for filling in here in the diary. I certainly appreciate it, and I'm sure you enjoy getting someone else's perspective on things also. -30-

Sunday, February 17, 2013 9:25 PM - Good evening eveyone. Yes John has taken a long weekend off from his diary. And I am very honored to be a fill in ghost writer for him.

We started our day operating in the ARRL DX contest on 15M. We planned on operating until 10AM so we could take time for a breakfast break. Needless to say that 15M was in such great shape that we were 10 minutes late getting away from the radio. We quickly made our way up to Ponderosa for thier breakfast buffet. Within a hour we were on our way back to continue our pursuit of some DX. We kept ourselves very busy hunting down as much DX as we could. We did stop for a break to get some walking in on the first floor of John's house just to get the blood flowing again. All that sitting makes one very stiff. Unfortunately we were not able to work anyone from Japan. But we did get two qso's from Asia so that make up for not getting Japan. We lucked out in the last forty minutes of the contest. Alaska popped up and we pounced on it. We had made seven qso's with Hawaii so it was nice to fit Alaska in as well.

My favorite qso of the weekend was with C4N in Cyprus. Both of us had to nurse each other through the qso because of a weak signal and a good amount of noise. Getting Asiatic Russia was a close second because it was our first Asian qso. Because of this getting a WAC was pretty easy. It was the fist time I achieved a WAC in a contest. And doing it QRP makes it even more special.

As I write this John is getting one of his infamous indoor walks in. Sitting for 21 hours makes one not want to stay put for very long. I myself will be taking a very long walk tomorrow. I sure can use one. Hi-Hi!!!

It is time for me to close out my ghost writing duties for this weekend. John and I are going to watch a episode of 'The Avengers' here shortly. Thank you for reading my ramblings for the past three nights. And I would like to thank John for allowing me to make an attempt at entertaining every one the past three nights.

So until next time, I will see you on the radio.

Mike KC2EGL NAQCC 1236 -30-

Sunday, February 17, 2013 12:30 AM - Good morning everyone. Please accept my apology for being late with John's diary entry for February 16. We had planned on calling it quits from the ARRL DX around 03:00Z but we found 40M to be in very good shape tonight.

Our day started out around 8AM with checking the bands to see what shape they were in. We quickly worked a few stations before heading off to breakfast (Ponderosa has a very good buffet breakfast at a reasonable price) and a trip to Radio Shack to get a cord to use as an extension for the head phones I was using and a four port USB hub that I will need at my QTH.

Our day on the airwaves went well. We had one goal in mind for this weekend. To log a station from Asia. Perferably Japan. We did hear a few Japanese stations that did not hear our 5W signal. We were able to bag a station from Asiatic Russia, RC9O. We still want to get Japan in the log. 80M was not in as good a shape tonight as it was last night in to Europe. We did have a little success. We found 40M to be a pipeline to Europe and Hawaii. We have TI5W Costa Rica on five bands. Numerous countries on four bands, and Hawaii on three bands. All in all it has been a very successful event. We decided to cut our operating short tonight so we could get a early start at finding someone in Japan who wants to help us out. Today's QSO of the day is a tie between Asiatic Russia and the Ukraine. Last night both were impossible to log. Tonight (Saturday night) they were good enough to put in to the log after some very patient operating on both ends. Kudo's to the operators who have kept up with our 5W signal.

Just in case you are wondering about our evening meal, we took part in a Spaghetti fund raiser for a local gentleman running for Sheriff. We enjoyed the company of Dan KB3SVN and his wife Anita KB3SVO during dinner. The spaghetti was a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was all you can eat for $10. It was for a worthy cause and getting a great meal made it even better.

Now it is time for a little snack before hitting the sack. I have a feeling we will be up and at it with some Asian stations later this morning.

CU again sometime. Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, February 15, 2013 11:46 PM - Mike is writing a diary entry as we work the ARRL DX Contest together. I'll post it whenever we come to a stopping point.

And here we go:

Good evening everyone. Yes it is John's favorite guest diary writer. The day started when I arrived at John's QTH after my physical therapy appointment. For those who do not know, I had my shoulder surgically repaired four weeks ago yesterday.

John jumped into my car as soon as I arrived at his place. We took off for the Pittsburgh Mills Mall. We had four stops to make. First was dinner at Applebees. Followed by a visit to Best Buy to check on a external sound card to get my laptop and my KX3 to talk to each other via a panadaptor program. I had to order the sound card from their website. We then took off to the main part of the mall. John wanted to check out a hobby shop to set see if they had anything in model railroading that he could use. Our last stop in the mall was at a kitchen appliance/gadget store. I wanted to get a ginger grinder (to make home made ginger ale) and a two piece 11" tart pan, which they did have. We headed back to John's QTH to get ready for the ARRL DX Contest.

We are using our soon to be patented tag team approach to working DX. John works a station then I try to work the same station. Most of the time it works out well. Sometimes my attempt goes without bearing fruit. As of this moment John has a sub total of 34 between 20M, 40M, and 80M, and my subtotal is 28 QSOs between 20M, 40M, and 80M.

This will be a weekend effort. Of course we will have our breaks for out second favorite past time during our visit's. We are going to the West Kittanning to the fire hall for a spaghetti dinner fund raiser. That will be a very enjoyable meal.

Until next time... Mike KC2EGL -30-

Thursday, February 14, 2013 7:56 PM - Still keeping busy working on sprint logs and other NAQCC matters. In fact I think that occupied most of my day except for a walk and a couple of on-air sessions.

The bands didn't sound too good this afternoon. I hope that's not an omen of how they will be for the ARRL DX contest. I didn't hear much of anything from EU this afternoon, and only worked on SA station - PJ4/WI9WI. Jim did pause in his roll to ask if I was running QRP which of course, I was. Then this evening it was mostly SA stations I was hearing with one AF thrown in. I got excited when I worked CT9/OM3RM on 40 because the call contained the letters I need to finish the NAQCC EU Chapter February challenge. But it turned out to be Madeira Island in AF, instead of Portugal in EU, and only EU stations count for the challenge. Oh well, I'll get them. I also worked my state number five on 60M in the form of K1ON in VT.

Mike KC2EGL is coming down for the weekend, so that will be a lot of fun chasing DX in the contest plus at least a dozen other things, I'm sure. -30-

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:26 PM - Another busy day today with preparing NAQCC sprint logs for cross-checking come Sunday. At the moment we have 167 logs plus or minus a couple by rough count here. That shatters our record of 148 from a couple months ago.

Then this evening was our local computer club meeting for about 3+ hours. So those two activities plus the usual eating and a couple walks pretty much depleted the day.

I thought I might have to wait till the morning to get my streak QSO, but after quite a few fruitless CQs, I found T48RRC on 40M and made an easy QSO.

Now I've got to get back to processing logs before I relax a bit and watch some New Yankee Workshop videos on YouTube. -30-

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:29 PM - Just a brief entry tonight following our 100th NAQCC regular sprint. We've already got probably 80 logs submitted just one hour after the sprint ended and they are still coming in. I've been busy looking at them and also on the phone with Tom WY3H and the time is getting away from me.

I did want to mention one thing. Brion VE3FUJ 'accidentally' included me in an email featuring some really fantastic animal photographs. Since I couldn't possibly put all the pictures in the diary, I asked him if there was a web site where they came from. He didn't know, but a Bing search turned up this link which not only includes what he sent me, but a lot of additional great animal pictures as well. Click here for the site, and enjoy. -30-

Monday, February 11, 2013 9:14 PM - This was a variety show day - a lot of different things taking place I could talk about, but I've probably forgotten a lot of them now. Anyway let's go...

First of all a picture worth a thousand words.
pix_diary_20130211_001 (147K)

Now isn't that beautiful. Looks like the middle of April rather than February 11, doesn't it. 63 degrees today, but quite windy so we didn't get to feel that warm, but it beats s^*w and cold. I wish I could have been outside more. I had to go to the Library to do some work on our computer club computer though. Still I took the very long way around walking to there. While waiting for the computer to complete its updating, I took the time to sign up for a library card. I've had them in the past but they expired a couple times. I also asked about the Douglas Corrigan autobiography "That's My Story". They didn't have it at our library, but they are getting me a copy from another library in about a week. That will be interesting reading, I'm sure.

I also played around on the bands and learned something else from the panadapter. The bands are REALLY as dead as they sound from just tuning around. Blips indicating stations are the proverbial "few and far between" most of the time. Actually there is just a tad more activity this week from stations getting ready for the ARRL DX contest. Besides that, at other times about the only real large amount of activity comes when a rare DX station shows up. Hams come out of the woodwork then. I guess they sit there monitoring the different DX spot sources waiting, and waiting, and wai.....

I did have a nice rag chew with Wino PA0ABM on 15 meters who was interested to know how much of that white stuff we had here. They have almost nil there as we do here now also. He also was interested in my QRP setup and work. Later in the evening I got an answer to my 40M CQ from a DX station 8P9LS with whom I had another nice chat. He said he had just arrived on the island, and I figured he was there for the DX test, and asked him. He said not really, it was just a vacation, but he might put in a slight effort into the test.

I also did something I haven't done for a long time. I pulled my partial HO gauge train set out of its resting place in a drawer, blew off the dust, and kind of assessed just what I have which isn't very much. Four freight cars, a caboose, some track and a switch - period. I'm still toying with setting up a little train set, either expanding what I have in HO, or perhaps something in N gauge. Mike KC2EGL and I might be going to the big Pittsburgh Mills Mall this weekend. I thought they might have some kind of hobby shop there with train sets. Stay tuned for developments.

Now I'm going to finish the web site update, and maybe watch a couple New Yankee Workshop episodes before bed. Don't forget our special 100th NAQCC Sprint tomorrow evening with the special very nice prizes that you could win just by being a NAQCC member, entering the sprint and reporting your results. -30-

Sunday, February 10, 2013 8:33 PM - It was a nice weather day today with a high of...let's see...56 on my remote reading thermometer next to the computer here. A lot of bright sunshine the first half or so of the day which helped get rid of a lot more of the ugly white stuff. Now about all that is left is what's in the places that are shaded all day or where it got compacted down into ice.

It's nice that it was nice as I got to take a nice walk since there was very little to be found on the ham bands with the Netherlands and LA QSO contests ended. I did hear something called YLQP. I don't know what that was all about - maybe some kind of YL contest?l Like the old YL-OM contests. Do they still have those (on CW)? I did make one DX QSO with SP2GWH on 20M. He sounded like he was right next door, but no other DX was anywhere near as strong.

Wow, I just glanced at my thermometer again. We had a 41 degree temperature range today from 15 to 56. It will be interesting to see what the min/max thermometer out in my shelter registered and to see what the record daily temperature range is for February. The all time yearly daily range is 52 or 53. I'll have to look that up. Back in a minute. It's 53 on April 18, 1985 when the low was 32 and the high 85. The February record is 49 on February 19, 1980 with a low of 8 and a high of 57. So we weren't all that close today.

Tonight I gave N2ESE his first ever 60M QSO. We talked a lot about 60M last night in a QSO, and he said he was going to try it. I had no idea he meant so soon. I was going to call CQ for my streak QSO on 5332, but after I listened a minute or so getting ready to send QRL?, another station came on and sent QRL?, paused a bit, then sent QRL? de N2ESE. Wow! I called him and he now has at least one 60M QSO and I have a new 60M state in NJ to join PA MI and VA. 46 to go. HI

I hadn't thought about this person in a long time although he is someone I admire very much. I was watching Pawn Stars next door with Bruce, and one item was an airplane propeller that allegedly belonged to Lindbergh. That triggered my memory over to Douglas Corrigan. Do you remember him? Maybe not personally, but have you heard about him? Back in 1938, he wanted to fly the Atlantic like Lindbergh did earlier, but the FAA decided it was too risky for him to attempt it in the plane he had bought and refurbished and denied him permission to do so. So Doug instead settled on a cross country flight from California to New York and back. It took some 27 hours to make it to New York, and he shortly set off for the return flight to California. When he took off, he headed East to clear some buildings as he was instructed. However those watching and especially the flight controllers were shocked when he continued heading East. To make a long story short before referring you to an interesting video that tells the story better than I do, Doug landed in Dublin, Ireland having made his trans-Atlantic flight after all. When asked about it, he said he got confused when his compass malfunctioned and thought he was heading West when actually he was going East. That led to the moniker we know him by today "Wrong Way" Corrigan. Although he was chastened and suspended from flying for a while, after he and his plane were sent back to New York by boat, he received a heroes welcome with a bigger ticker tape parade than even Lindbergh had gotten. As a result he was always more of a hero to me than was Lindbergh. Many years ago I saw his biographical movie in which he portrayed himself. I'd love to see that again, but I can't seem to find it anywhere on the Internet yet. The movie title was "The Flying Irishman". Now here's about an 8 minute long video that adds detail and pictures to what I've set forth here. Enjoy! -30-

Saturday, February 09, 2013 10:03 PM - I'm coming to learn a bit more about 60 meters and growing to like it more and more. I've now got five 60M QSOs from three states. I got my first 60M QSO via a CQ today and right after that, my first QSO via a tail-end call.

I also worked a couple Netherlands stations in the PA contest on 40 meters late this afternoon and early evening. I hope that DX conditions on 80 and 40 remain good for the ARRL DX test coming up this weekend. Of course it would also be nice for all the higher bands to be in good shape also. Maybe like back in the early 2000s when I made 633 QSOs in one ARRL DX test. I don't see that happening though.

I think Mike KC2EGL will be coming down Friday and then staying overnight so we can do some of our 'tag-team' DXing in the contest. That will be fun. Hopefully we'll both get some new band-countries or maybe even an overall new one or two. I'd love to get KL7 on 80 to complete 80M WAS and an Asian on 40 to complete 40M WAC. We'll see what happens.

It was a nice weather day today. Not too warm (upper 30's), but still a good sunny day with a lot of s*&w melt which is always good. -30-

Friday, February 08, 2013 8:36 PM - On April 3 this year I will have been a ham 50 years. In almost 50 years (not all active) I've logged just short of 80,000 QSOs. You would think that after all that, there would be very few thrills left in ham radio, wouldn't you. I certainly would. However I proved that wrong today, not once, not twice, but three times.

1. Last night in talking to Tom WY3H via landline, he mentioned he made his first 60M CW QSO that day. I had been wanting to try 60M, but never had gotten around to it. However Tom asked me if I wanted to try a QSO on 60M with him today. I said I sure would. We made a sked. When time came I found I forgot how to re-activate 60M on the KX3. I had de-activated it since it was a nuisance to go through it every time I went from 80 to 40 or vice versa. Finally I checked the KX3 manual and got 60M activated after about 5 minutes. I tuned to 5332 and Tom was calling CQ, probably thinking I couldn't make the sked. I answered him and got thrill number one for the day - my first ever 60M QSO.

This evening I got my streak QSO quickly when Pip WB4FDT answered me after just a few CQs. We chatted for about a half hour and signed off.

2. I decided to check out the blips on 80M on the panadapter and found one that sounded like DX. It was - YO3APJ in Romania. Should I try? Or would it just be a waste of time since EU is not at all easy for me to work on 80 and Romania is very deep into EU. It wouldn't be like working say England, France or Portugal where most of the path is ocean. Getting to Romania would involve my sigs going over a good deal of the continent. I wasn't even copying him all that well in some fairly strong QRN. I decided I would try. After I sent my call, he sent some letter and a question mark. I didn't copy the letter, and figured hey, it could be me he was hearing. He was my very first Romanian many years ago and Adrian is a very good op. I'd worked him 7 times on 20, 15, and 10 meters. But this was 80 meters. Anyway I repeated my call, and got K3WP? Hey, it is me he's hearing. I sent my call again two or three times, but some other station butted in (a Ukrainian, I think, if I heard right) and Adrian worked him. When they finished, I sent my call twice again and Adrian came back to me (I think with my right call - hard to tell in the QRN) and gave me a 559. I replied with a generous 579 along with my call a couple more times in case. He returned sending my call correctly twice and 73. I sent 73 TU. I got what was probably a big grin on my face after thrill number two for the day. I believe that may be my most distant DX on 80 meters. It definitely was DXCC entity # 50 on 80 meters - half way to DXCC, but the second half will be rough. But working Romania is encouraging. At just under 5,000 miles, that leaves a lot of countries within that radius to be worked yet.

3. I tuned around for some more EU on 80 but didn't find any that were anywhere near as strong as Adrian. I figured if 80 was good to EU, then 40 should be also, so I started to head up there but in passing over 60 to get there I found a strong CQ on 5332. It was K8JD whom I worked easily for thrill number three - my first non-local station on 60 meters. So only 48 states for WAS and 99 countries for DXCC on 60M now. HI.

I'd say that was a pretty good ham radio day. I also got another number for the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge when I worked DJ0SP and got the 0 in Samuel Morse's birthday.

I also had a little feedback about Roscoe I want to present now. Paul N0NBD emailed, "Hello John , great picture of your new little friend! Your count down timer is getting ever closer to spring! Cul de Paul N0NBD."

And one of my other regular visitors Geo N1EAV, "Hi John Hey that's a nice looking dog there. Our lil guy likes to chew as well, but doesn't chew much besides the sticks etc we give him. When I come home he likes to grab my baseball cap and chew that but mostly it's just a hello, he doesn't destroy anything. Bruce and Nancy might want to try the bully sticks you can get at petco or a similar store. They are a little pricey, but the dogs seem to like them and they keep em busy. Looking at the weather radar this morning it looks like you guys are gonna miss the snow. Looks like rain out your way John. We are hunkering down for a blizzard here. They are calling for around two feet of snow where I am here in Concord. Am planning to be here overnight and most of the day tomorrow doing snow removal. Not looking forward to it but has to be done. They say that this storm could easily be one of the top 5 in Boston history. Should be interesting either way. If I get a chance, I'll take some pictures and send them off to you, because I know that you like the snow so much.....hihi Hey, enjoy the day. 73,geo n1eav"

Turns out I really did enjoy the day. -30-

Thursday, February 07, 2013 8:22 PM - This was a busy day, yet with the time-saving panadapter I was still able to get in some hamming this afternoon. Let's take things in order.

I got up a little bit early today to help Bruce take Roscoe to the dog groomer for a hair trimming and a good bath. I've never shown you a picture of Roscoe. He's no Joe (no other dog is or will be), but he's a great little dog in his own way and a very intelligent dog. According to Bruce's son who got the dog before he left him with Nancy and Bruce, he's a mixture of pit bull and poodle. That's supposedly a very popular breed out in the state of Indiana where Bruce's son lives. Roscoe is a very friendly affectionate dog with one fault - he loves to chew things. Anyway here he is just after we brought him home with his neckerchief gift from the groomer curled up in the chair and wondering what I was doing pointing that thing at him.

pix_diary_20130207_001 (90K)

After that, I got in some hamming with the panadapter. I was hunting letters for our regular NAQCC challenge and the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge. I worked a couple of Italian stations IK2SND and IK2CIO plus VE1OU. I could have worked a lot more, but as I said, I was just going for letters. It was so handy to check each band in a few seconds to see where the action was. I saw nothing on 10 or 12, but 15 surprised with quite a bit of activity. Without the panadapter, I don't know if I'd have noticed as much on 15, and probably wouldn't have hung around the band.

After that, Bruce called and asked if I'd check on Roscoe as he had to go to work and Nancy had to go out also. Because of Roscoe's chewing they don't like to leave him home alone for very long if they can help it. So about 15 minutes after Bruce left I went over to check and found a chewed up pen on the floor. Didn't take him long to do it. I told him he was a bad dog, and he seems to understand he did something wrong when you say that, but it doesn't last and he goes back to the old ways. However I checked in on him a couple more times and he hadn't chewed anything else. I also took him out for a couple walks which he enjoyed.

After Nancy got home, I got on the bands again and looked around, but couldn't find any letters I needed, so I didn't work anyone.

It was a nice day today with a high of 46, so I went for a late afternoon walk, and picked up some potatoes at the store.

I wanted to mention this last night, but forgot. You know I like to note a lot of astronomical signs that track the end of winter like the earliest sunset around Dec 7, the latest sunrise around Jan 3, plus a lot of other little things like how far in my house the sunlight reaches at sunrise, etc. Two other things happen around this time. First, the setting sun just barely shines into my shack room around Feb 4 or so. It was good to see that. Second, Sirius rises just about the time it is getting dark enough to see it. Last night it was pretty easy to see, but tonight it was a little harder as it rises about 4 minutes earlier each night and at the same time, the sun sets a couple minutes later each night. So tonight may be the last time till next year I see it as it rises in early evening.

Then it was time to get my streak QSO. That came quickly as KG9HV answered my CQ although it was a rough QSO with a very splattery signal near our frequency. Then I went looking for someone with an L in their call to finish off our NAQCC groundhog challenge. After 10 minutes or so I found K1MLP calling CQ and worked him to finish the challenge. Now tomorrow I'll see how close I can come to finishing the NAQCC EU Chapter challenge of making Samuel Morse's name and birthdate from letters in calls worked.

That brings the day to now when I'm typing this diary entry, then when I close, it's out to get the weather readings for the day. -30-

Wednesday, February 06, 2013 8:32 PM - The six, uh seven top reasons not in any particular order why using a panadapter is a great thing for the CW operator with limited time to operate the ham bands (ME for instance).

1. You can check band occupancy with a glance at the computer screen, saving time tuning up and down to see what's going on.

2. You can tune very quickly by just clicking a blip on the screen to go to that frequency.

3. You can find an unoccupied frequency quickly by just looking for an area with no blips and click to go there for calling your CQ.

4. You can save time going up and down with your RIT to find stations answering your CQ off frequency.

5. Since you can go to a station very quickly you are more likely to get there to hear his CQ rather than just catching the end of his transmission not knowing if it was a CQ or not, then having to waste time waiting to see if it was a CQ.

6. If your local QRN is not constant across the spectrum, you can learn where the quiet spots are very quickly from the computer screen.

7. By seeing the relative strengths of stations, you can check out the strongest signals first since they are in many cases the ones that will be easiest to work with QRP.

Yes a panadapter is a wonderful thing for the busy CW operator, and it doesn't destroy the traditional aspects of CW in any way, but merely adds to the enjoyment of this wonderful mode.

I got a kick out of this email from my friend Bob W3BBO about my SDR adventures: "John, Reading your diary, I'm shocked!!! HDSDR!!! Whats next? A tribander on the roof, a KPA500, a (gasp) microphone? Oh, the humanity of it. Just joking, John. Enjoy! 73 de Bob W3BBO"

Now those are things that would destroy the traditional aspect of CW for sure. HI.

I did save time today and made 6 QSOs that were much easier to get than they would have been without the panadapter. On 17, I worked EA4KD and KE6QR. On 20, E77DX. On 30, KO5Q and PA4VHF (at 1952Z - early for EU here). On 40, KA3WEL. My streak QSO this evening was gotten without benefit of panadapter when Rafael CO8RRM answered my 40M CQ after just a couple minutes. -30-

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 9:24 PM - I've got HDSDR working pretty much just as it should now after fooling with the settings in Omni-Rig and HDSDR. It's a real joy watching the activity on a large part of the ham band that I'm on. It's especially a really big help on the higher bands that have very little activity. If I see any activity I can quickly with a mouse click go to that frequency to see who it is. I may wind up being very spoiled. Still I will never use the computer to copy or to send Morse Code. That is one thing I just don't believe in. It's just another digital mode when done that way. Just like GenLog helps me with logging by doing dupe checking for me, HDSDR will be used to simply help me more quickly explore the bands in the limited time I have for operating. -30-

Monday, February 04, 2013 8:24 PM - I made quite a bit of progress today in learning HDSDR. I added the Omni-Rig .dll file and that initiated 2 way communication between the KX3 and HDSDR. Now the frequency display on HDSDR follows the KX3 and I can tune the KX3 from the HDSDR frequency display. It's very nice to be able to scan a band at a glance and zip right to where the activity is. Sure is a big time saver and helped me to work some DX this afternoon while I was fooling around with HDSDR. I easily found 6W2SC on 15 meters as he showed up as virtually the only signal on that band and I got him on the first call with a minor correction of my call from WWP? to K3WWP. Then I got PD1DX and Dl1DGS on 40 meters. PD1DX was not easy as he had my call a few different (wrong) ways. I finally gave up and came back 5 or 10 minutes later and got him easily then.

Other than that, not much happened today to talk about. We got some more light sn$w, but not enough to get too upset about. If we don't get any more in the next couple days, we may clean off the plate again as it is predicted to get into the mid 40s a couple days later this week. That will be nice. Maybe this will be one of Phil's correct years. Or I should say one of his positive prediction correct years. It's easy to predict six more weeks of winter around here and be right, but not so easy to predict an early end to winter and be correct. -30-

Sunday, February 03, 2013 8:22 PM - It was nice to have a day off from writing a diary entry. Thanks Mike. But now back to work again.

My streak QSO(s) came easily again tonight. After a couple minutes of calling CQ, Kevin W2ZRA answered me on 40M. Then after we finished, another couple minutes of calling CQ netted a QSO with Chas K2GTC on 40. In the process I got ten new letters for our NAQCC February challenge to put me at 51 down and 29 to go.

I also got a little better handle on the HDSDR program today and I understand the spread spectrum display pretty well now. I may play some more tomorrow with it.

I got a response to my groundhog entry of a couple nights ago from Tim K6ACF who emailed, "Regarding the accuracy of groundhogs to predict the end of winter, here's an excerpt from Wikipedia: Meteorological accuracy. According to Groundhog Day organizers, the rodents' forecasts are accurate 75% to 90% of the time. However, a Canadian study for 13 cities in the past 30 to 40 years found that the weather patterns predicted on Groundhog Day were only 37% accurate over that time period-a value not significant compared to the 33% that could occur by chance. According to the StormFax Weather Almanac and records kept since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil's weather predictions have been correct 39% of the time. The National Climatic Data Center has described the forecasts as "on average, inaccurate" and stated that "The groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years." I really enjoy reading your diary entry each day!"

Not surprising the Groundhog Day organizers would skew the statistics to show a much higher success rate than the more independent study groups. It just shows than in many cases, stats can be adjusted to show whatever results are desired. Anyway exactly how do you determine if it is winter weather or not for those six weeks involved in the prediction? Does the temperature have to be a certain number of degrees above average in that period to qualify it as winter having ended. Or is it a certain number of inches of snow below normal? A combination of both? No wonder it is so easy to make the statistics show what is desired if there is no hard and fast set of rules to determine if winter ended or not. -30-

Saturday, February 02, 2013 11:51 PM - Today John has a guest writer for his diary. If you are a regular to John's diary you can take three guesses as to who it is. The day started out with me arriving in Kittanning around 10:30 this morning. John and I had one project in mind for the day. John found a software defined radio program with a spread frequency display to use with our KX3 radio's (can you guess who his guest writer is yet?).

We started out our day with a trip to the Ford City Post Office to mail out a prize to one of our monthly sprint drawing winners. We followed that up with a trip to Radio Shack to purchase a cable and an adapter for my set up for said radio software program. After the Rado Shack trip we returned to John's to check out some sport's history that we had talked about while out and about earlier. We followed up with a late lunch (you know food always comes into the equation) at Ponderosa.

After lunch we started on our project. After roughly a hour of frustration John was able to get the spectrum display to operate properly. Once John got the program running correctly he did some signal searching with it and found it to be pretty accurate in locating surrounding signals. We believe that this will assist in finding some weak signal's with out the headace of searching them out. After we finished our project for the day John nailed his streak QSO on his sixth attempt at calling CQ with a operator in Philadelphia, Pa. By this time we were ready for dinner. A pizza from Papa John's hit the spot.

While waiting for delivery of said pizza we started to watch episode three of a British secret agent type action drama 'The Champions'. Half way through the episode our pizza arrived. Yes food takes precedence over everything during our visits. After dinner we returned to the episode of The Champions. We followed that with a discussion about British comedies. John suggested 'Doctor In The House'. We watched episode one. I am hooked. It was very funny. You know the very dry British humor. Great stuff. After that we checked out the history of some of our other favorite British comedies. 'Allo 'Allo, Are You Being Served, As Time Goes By, and One Foot In The Grave among others. We followed that by checking out part of episode one of 'The Prisoner'. A British spy action drama. Once I get my laptop back from the repair shop I will be very busy checking out the show's that John has recomended. It will give me something to do as I recover from shoulder surgery which took place on January 17.

That brings us to this very moment as I am writing his diary entry. We will have a snack from the last of the pizza before I head North to Brookville. As usual it was very fun and enjoyable visit with John. We are never at a loss when it comes to finding things to keep us busy. Most of the time we are working on radio projects. Today it was the other way around. We spent most of the day doing other things besides radio.

Now for that last slice of pizza... - Mike KC2EGL -30-

Friday, February 01, 2013 8:38 PM - Of course tomorrow is Grounhog Day when Punxsutawney and other towns around the country bilk a lot of money out of tourists who come to see Phil, General Beauregard Lee, Wiarton Willy, or whatever the town calls its groundhog. Everyone knows it's a racket, and whether or not Phil sees his shadow or not has already been decided as I type this evening. If I were a betting man I'd bet on Phil "seeing" his shadow as there have only been a very few years the secret Groundhog Society or whatever they call themselves have decided he won't see his shadow. Phil doesn't even come out of his burrow, but is brought out to site from his cozy home far from the cold burrow. It has no bearing whatsoever if it is sunny or cloudy tomorrow morning.

Originally centuries ago it did. A groundhog was not even involved. February 2 is the traditional Candlemas Day and some European countries - notably England, Scotland, and Germany - came up with the idea that a sunny Candlemas Day meant six more weeks of winter, and conversely a cloudy day meant that winter would come to an end very soon. That's a somewhat condensed version of the origin but it leads me to wonder something.

I don't see in any possible way what happens on February 2 could influence the future weather beyond a day or two at most. However I wonder if anyone has done any serious research on the matter to see if there is any possible basis in the belief. Personally I would bet that be it sunny or cloudy, the next six weeks would more than likely be winter-like either way.

Right now I'm going outside not to see whether or not I see my shadow (I certainly will thanks to a very bright parking lot light about a half block away), but to get my temperature and precipitation readings for the day. Before that, I'll just say that this was another easy QSO evening. One CQ provided a QSO with Ken WA8REI on 40, then two more including a nice rag chew with N0SA in MO on 80, and then a tail-end call from Tom KA2KGP. -30-

Thursday, January 31, 2013 10:19 PM - Well, here it is February (UTC) and that means only 1 more winter month before the welcome spring months of March, April, and May arrive. It did switch back to winter today with temperatures only in the 20s and a dusting of that stuff, a lot of which melted as the sun gets higher and higher in the sky and its heating power increases.

A good night on the bands again with 3 good QSOs for a nice starter helping of letters for our NAQCC February Groundhog challenge. I knocked off 23 of the 80 letters thanks to WA0ITP on 40 and KB3ENU and WY3H on 80. Never did get time today to check 17 meters as I wanted to though. Too busy doing a lot of end-of-the-month things. Tomorrow its first-of-the-month things so I probably won't get on then also.

I did get a cable made up to hook the HDSDR program to my KX3 but haven't had time to try it out yet. Man those tiny 2.5 mm stereo jacks are tricky for an old guy to work with. It took me far too long to get it hooked up. Years ago, I probably could have done it in a few minutes. Oh well, that's part of growing old, I guess.

I've got my clothes in the dryer right now, so maybe I'll take a little break and go up to the shack and see if I can try out the HDSDR program. I'll report on that tomorrow night if I get it going. -30-

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 10:10 PM - I got to fooling around here and the time got away from me a bit. I still have some chores to do before bedtime so this will be a short entry.

The pendulum swung back the other way this evening and the QSOs came easily - three of them. WB4YDY and W8IX on 40 followed by K9VA on 80.

My friend Ken WA8REI made a guestbook submission a little while ago which I will post tomorrow. In it he says 17M was really hot today. He listed some good DX he worked there today, one of which caught my eye - 7P8US. I need Lesotho here, so perhaps if time permits, I'll have to check 17M tomorrow. I definitely need to get a job again, so I can have more free time for things. HI. Somehow this retirement just eats up too much of my free time one way or other.

It was April in January again today including the famous April showers. I went shopping up to the mall with Nancy today, and at one point while we were on our way there, I saw one of the heaviest rain showers I can recall seeing in a long time. Fortunately it only lasted a minute. I think it was connected with a fast narrow squall line that went through the area. Oh, it's still 54 degrees as I type this - very unusual for this time of night in January. That will change over the next few days though as the cold returns, hopefully with no significant s*(w accompanying it. -30-

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:08 PM - Another 180 degree turn back to the way things have been lately. It took 50 minutes of CQs on three bands (80, 40, 30) before K7MOA/4 finally answered on 40 meters.

While I was sitting there calling CQ, I got to thinking how different things are in ham radio from what they were back in 60s, and even in the early 90s. Definitely the amount of CW on the bands (except in contests) is much less now. In the 60s it was hard to find a place to call CQ, and you really didn't need to because so many other folks were already on calling CQ themselves. And that was not only in prime time, but at virtually any time of day or night. I have many QSOs in my log back in the 60s that took place in the 05, 06, 07, and even 08Z hours. Nowadays the bands seem to shut down early in the evening. I guess we're all getting old and need to get to bed early.

Back in the 60s, there was train spotting and other kinds of spotting, but none related to ham radio. Nowadays it seems a majority of hams depend on Internet spotting, packet spotting, or any other kind of spotting to find someone to work on the bands. What happened to just tuning around the bands with your rcvr or xcvr as we did back then, and I still do. As far as I can recall, I've made one contact via spotting when some years ago a ham friend was checking some spots and told me V51AS was somewhere on 30 meters. Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd try to work him, and I did. Other than that instance, all my 75,000 plus QSOs have come via just getting on and tuning around.

Well, that's not strictly true as a few have come from skeds - mostly from other hams wanting a sked with me for Armstrong County or some other reason. I've probably asked someone else for a sked less than a half dozen times over the years. As far as remembering specifics, it's hard to do, but I did make a sked to get DE on 15M to complete my 15M WAS. Also ID on 80 to get all states but HI and AK at that time on 80M. There are probably a few others that I'm forgetting now, but very few. Again I just tune around the bands.

Tuning the bands adds to the mystique of ham radio and makes it much more interesting to my way of thinking. I even prefer calling CQ to answering someone else's CQ - much more mysterious and often times surprising that way. I distinctly remember getting an answer to my CQ on 30 meters from a ham in Turkey. What a shock and pleasant surprise that was. Also getting a couple answers from Australia on 30 meters. I don't have the stats at hand here and am not going to take the time to look it up, but I've gotten somewhere around 30 or so different countries via my CQs.

Maybe I'll talk more about the differences in future entries, but it's late now and I'm closing this entry now. -30-

Monday, January 28, 2013 9:19 PM - Things took a 180 degree turn on the ham bands this evening. I went to the shack wondering how long it would take to get my streak QSO, and how many waasted CQs there would be. What a shock! Just two CQs netted me 3 nice QSOs. The very first CQ was answered by Marc N4DR. After we signed off, I didn't even need another CQ for QSO number two when Gary N2ESE tailended. When Gary and I finished, another single CQ drew an answer from Ken KN2G. Now that's the way I like to gather in QSOs. I hope it continues that way for a while now to make up for those long CQ droughts of late.

In our QSO, Gary asked me how the weather was here, and I said, "In a single word - slush." It was just warm enough during the night last night that virtually all the precipitation came in the form of rain with perhaps a bit of sleet mixed in here and there. The rain falling on the little left over s$#w created a slushy, but welcome mess. After all, it could just as well have been freezing rain or more s@#w which would have really been horrible. It got up to 45 today and continued the melting. Hopefully highs in the mid to perhaps upper 50s with rain the next two days will clean off the plate for the next unwelcome serving of the white crap. -30-

Sunday, January 27, 2013 8:53 PM - I went over to Nancy's today for a while. The Lord of the Rings movie was on and I watched a part of that in between talking with Nancy and playing a bit with Roscoe. So when I came back over here I decided to look up some info about LotR, and wound up finding a very intresting series of videos on YouTube about the making of The Hobbit movie. I watched part of them, and still have more to watch. They talk about surfing the Internet... well I guess I'm surfing YouTube. HI. You can really get turned down a lot of different paths when getting on YouTube. Oh, the Lord of the Rings is by far the best book I've ever read with The Hobbit not far behind. I didn't find the Silmarillion to be of the same caliber though, possibly because it was written mostly by Christopher Tolkien, the son of J.R.R. who wrote the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

I guess that was about the only out of the normal routine things I did today. As has been the case for a while now, my streak QSO took a while to get. I tried CQs on both 40 and 80 before WT2W finally answered me on 80 meters. -30-

Saturday, January 26, 2013 8:08 PM - And the winter weather goes on and on, getting more depressing every day. I'm at the point now where I don't even feel like doing much of anything.

I've been watching some New Yankee Workshop shows on YouTube to pass the time. I also watched a Young Indiana Jones video.

I also fixed a broken faucet handle in my powder room sink. Or actually built a replacement from some wood, a one inch ID hose coupler and a couple 6-23 screws. Works very nicely, and saved a bunch of money over buying a new one. You know if the economy depended on folks like me, it would be in much worse shape than it actually is now. If I can fix something myself, I will - using junk parts if possible.

I downloaded the HDSDR program today with the intention of hooking it up to the KX3 mainly to see the spread frequencies it displays. That will help in checking out the bands for activity since it has been so sparse of late.

I tried a few CQs on 80 meters for my streak QSO, but got no takers. So I just went down to 160 and worked K8MFO in the contest to extend the streak another day. -30-

Friday, January 25, 2013 9:43 PM - This was a busy day with a lot of little things getting done. In between it all, I did even get a chance to check the bands during the day. That was mainly because I wanted to try to work our NAQCC FL Chapter portable operation down in warm sunny Florida. Although I checked all the frequencies on 40-17 meters they were scheduled to operate, I didn't hear a thing with the poor conditions of late. I did hear one weak station on 14060 saying the wx was light snow flurries, but as I told Don K3RLL via email I was sure that wasn't him or any of his partners. HI.

Along the way I had a nice little chat with Bert F6HKA on 17M, our first QSO on that band. Copy was solid both ways indicating conditions were good, but there wasn't much activity at all. That's a common trait on the bands these days - good condx, but no one taking advantage. Later in the day I fooled around on 30 and got a very quick answer to my CQ on another deserted band with good condx. It was K5OO/M in AR who used to visit my site frequently and said he would have to start up again.

This evening I just used the 160M contest to grab a quick streak QSO, but then I went to 80 and ran into Ken WA8REI. We've known each other on the ham bands since the mid-late 1960s. In fact our first QSO was back on August 25, 1966. We made a sked for a 40th anniversary QSO on August 25, 2006 and each made up a special QSL card for the QSO. Hopefully this summer sometime we may get to meet in person, as Ken is coming to do some walking on the Appalachian trail here in PA.

Thanks to Gary N2ESE who sent me a railroad article from Popular Science magazine in the mail. -30-

Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:24 PM - Rather than re-inventing the wheel, here's my soapbox entry from our 160M NAQCC sprint this evening:

With the temperature at 10 degrees, my furnace cycle is running about 12 minutes on and 5 minutes off. During those 12 minutes, 160 is unusable due to QRN from the computer controller in the furnace and it's just too cold to turn it down for 2 hours. Now these new high efficiency computer controlled furnaces are great for keeping the house within a 2 degree temperature range and saving on gas, but it wreaks havoc with ham radio. The noise is liveable on 80, 40, and 20, but not on 160, nor a couple of the higher bands for that matter. Anyway although I have worked 42 states QRP/CW on 160, my attic random wire isn't all that great on that band. Bottom line, I didn't feel like sitting there waiting for those 5 quiet minutes every 17 minutes, so I'm throwing in the towel after 4 QSOs. I hope one of my friends Tom, Mike, or Scotty from WPA wins the W3 section this time. However N3QE in MD was booming in here and even almost overrode my furnace QRN. N8IUP in OH was almost as strong.

Yes 160M and my furnace do not get along at all. I didn't say so in my soapbox, but I really wasn't in a contesting mood anyway this evening. This miserable winter weather is getting me down. I did get out to do some shopping today. But now more s*(w is predicted for tomorrow. There is a brief warm-up scheduled for Tuesday and/or Wednesday with the possibility of approaching 50 degrees. That will be nice even though it is supposed to be accompanied with rain.

Well, time to upload this and my other two daily updated pages, then I'm going to get my Thursday evening laundry done. -30-

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 11:28 PM - A good way to spend an otherwise nasty mid-winter day - a visit from Mike KC2EGL. We had our usual good time. We updated his KX3 with the latest firmware version. Then we chased some DX. We both worked V31RL in Belize and 6W2SC in Senegal. At least we think Mike worked 6W2SC. There was a burst of QRN just when SC was sending Mike's suffix. It sounded like EGL, but we weren't 100% sure. There wasn't much else on in the way of DX, so we went to my computer and watched some hilarious excerpts from the "Carry On..." series of movies. When watching an excerpt from Carry On Doctor, my mind flashed back to the great funny British TV series "Doctor in the House". I checked to see if there were any episodes of that on YouTube, and sure enough there were. Then I thought about the British secret agent series, "The Champions" and they are also on YouTube. I loved both those series back in the late 1960s, and will be sure to watch as many as I can to help pass the miserable winter days.

Anyway Mike then left to go to the local ham radio club meeting. I don't belong because they have no interest or very little interest in CW and QRP. When he came back here he brought a Papa John's pizza which we had ordered on line earlier. We finished that up, then I asked Mike if he wanted to watch more "Carry On..." stuff or an episode of "The Champions". He opted for "The Champions" so we watched the first episode of the show which portrays how their plane crashed in Tibet while on a mission and they were given super powers by an ancient Tibetan civilization. It was wonderful to see that old show again, and Mike really enjoyed it also and he said let's have a little snack and watch another episode. So we did, and that brought us to the time a little while ago when Mike headed back up north to Brookville. -30-

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 8:20 PM - I hope you got a chance to see Jupiter and the Moon in some close dancing last evening. If not, you have to wait 14 years or so to see them that close again in this part of the world. I simulated it on my Voyager and Starry Night programs to see just when the absolute closest approach would be and went outside into the bitter cold to catch them just at that point around 10 PM or so. As a rough estimate, it looked like Jupiter was only about 1/3 Moon diameter from the Moon.

Yes, it was cold last night and all day today. The high today on my remote unit shows 16 degrees. If my outside mercury maximum/minimum thermometer shows the same when I check it about a half hour from now, that will be our lowest daytime high in just over 4 years. The high on January 17, 2009 was just 12 degrees. We're predicted to drop down in the low single digits tonight. If we should perhaps drop below zero, that would be our first sub-zero temperature since it was -7 a couple years ago on January 24, 2011. Winter has definitely arrived this week. According to the Weather Channel, it may hang around through February, but with a warm March and April to follow and somewhat make up for February.

What do you do on a cold day when you have no desire to go outside? Well, I spent quite a bit of time on YouTube watching some RR videos and some New Yankee Workshop shows. Also Tom WY3H did brave the cold and came over for a while to do some NAQCC work and to return my TS-570D he had borrowed for a few weeks.

Speaking of rigs to continue my 'snappy' segues between paragraphs (HI), I got a new rig today. Well, not really, but I did get a firmware update for my KX3. It's neat how features can be added via software to the KX3 (and other Elecraft rigs), and in some regard present you with a 'new' rig without having to go bankrupt to purchase an entire new physical rig to get the same features given in the software.

Speaking of going bankrupt running out of things, I'm out of words now and signing off. -30-

Monday, January 21, 2013 6:37 PM - I'm going to write this a bit early tonight for a couple reasons. First of all if it is clear where you live, you might want to venture outside or look out a window at the moon. The bright object right near it is Jupiter and a little later tonight the two objects will be as close in the sky as they will be until the year 2026. In fact if you're far enough south on the Earth, the moon will occult or pass in front of Jupiter. Full details can be found on the Sky and Telescope or Space web sites. Right now here Jupiter is about a moon diameter to the upper left of the moon. The spacing and position varies depending on where you live which is why I'm not being any more specific here.

Second we've talked a lot about YouTube videos lately, and by coincidence I ran across a great little program called Free YouTube Downloader a little while ago today. It really is free, and it can save virtually anything you see via YouTube to anywhere on your computer (or any little gadget that shows videos) in any format - .wmv, .avi, etc. at any quality you choose. One caveat though - the installation program tries to sneak in a bunch of additional software, so be sure to read each step in the installation process to be sure something you don't want doesn't sneak past. Interested? Go to here for more info and the download.

Finally I cleaned up my web site today and archived a lot of things that didn't need to be on the web site any longer. That gave me quite a bit more bandwidth so I can post some more pictures here in the diary as appropriate, and add some other things here and there.

Now it's almost 0000Z and time to go see how long it takes to get my streak QSO this evening after I check on Jupiter and the Moon again. Oh the other bright object to the moon's lower left a couple degrees away is Aldebaran in Taurus. -30-

Sunday, January 20, 2013 7:47 PM - Let's get a bit of diary feedback in here followed by a couple comments then I'm off to finish up the cross-checking of our NAQCC January sprint logs.

From Paul N0NBD, "Thanks for the train tip, I enjoyed the nightmail videos. The ATSF was still hauling mail in 1970 when I rode the train the Kansas City to take a physical for the navy. It was done a little different but pretty cool all the same Good to watch the trains. All that is left here is the SKO railroad. They haul cement from 2 cement plants and grain from elevators. Not much traffic like when I was a kid. CUL de Paul N0NBD Sent from my iPad."

Yes the RRs did continue hauling the mail for some time after 1950, but the actual RPO service was pretty much wrapping down by that time as far as I know without doing some research.

My streak QSO came a bit quicker this evening, but it still took some 15 minutes or so before Bob KR9Z answered my 40 meters QSO. He was running just 3 watts so a total of 8 watts made for a good QSO. So conditions are good, but where are all the hams?

Falling temperatures all day today, but at least no precipitation of any kind. It's going to be winter the next few days now, hopefully with again little or no precipitation. Well, off to the cross-checking wrap-up now. -30-

Saturday, January 19, 2013 7:56 PM - Another nice mid-January day today with sunny skies and mid-50s temperatures. If all winter days were like today, that would be so wonderful.

I watched another good train video today about the Railway Post Office (RPO) system. It was pointed out to me by AC0XB. I vaguely remember my dad on his mail truck making connections with the railroad, but I was very young at the time and don't have any clear memories of it. I don't know offhand when the Pennsylvania Railroad discontinued its RPO service, but I would guess sometime around 1950 which would mean I was only 5 years old at the time. Oh the film is called simply Night Mail and a search on YouTube will turn it up easily if you are interested.

For the third night in a row it was a bit of a struggle to get my streak QSO. Are a large portion of the hams hibernating or what? It's taken around a half hour each night to contact someone despite conditions being pretty good. It's just a lack of activity. Finally KB2RSK answered my 80 meters CQ to extend the streak another day. -30-

Friday, January 18, 2013 9:15 PM - These mid-winter days are really boring. There's no fishing, no gardening, not as much walking, no sitting on the porch visiting with neighbors - just a lot of nothingness. Even the ham bands seem to be hibernating with very little activity. It also makes it hard to come up with something different to write about here in the diary.

However, there are some hopeful signs. When I get up in the morning, the sun is a little higher in the sky each day which is shown clearly by just how far into the house the morning rays extend. They are really backing off from where they struck back on December 21st. Also the sun is high enough in the sky that its heating power is starting to have more and more effect. We had a dusting of that stuff I hate to mention by name during the night, and although it only got to a couple degrees above freezing today, it was mostly all gone simply because the sun was out brightly all day. It was fun this morning while eating brunch to see just a couple of small non-white patches on the concrete out my back window grow almost so rapidly you could see a change in a minute or so. By the time I was done eating, there were now just a couple of small white patches left.

At the other end of the day, the evening daylight is noticeably longer now than it was back on December 7. It was pretty light until well after 6 PM tonight. Also Sirius is rising right at 7 PM now vs. 8:30 PM not all that long ago. Another sign that spring is slowly on its way. Yes, there is hope for the re-birth of Earth after all.

As far as ham radio, a ham in CA asked me for a sked for Armstrong County, so we gave it a try today, but were unsuccessful as expected with the poor propagation of late. We will try again though when things are a bit better. I think he said he needs just 25 to complete all 3077 counties. As you may know, county hunting was my main interest in ham radio at one time, having started the CW County Hunters Net along with WA8EOH back in 1966. But that interest faded away into other things. I made it to something like 2,200 or so counties. I guess what turned me off was seeing it change from county HUNTING to county WORKING. I enjoyed using the callbook and POD 26 (is that the correct number?) to quickly look up to see a ham's QTH and then what county that QTH was in. Then off to the USA-CA record book to see if I needed that county. If not, I went HUNTING for someone else. Nowadays most everything is done on the county nets. Although I helped start them, I just think that takes the fun out of it by just sitting on a net waiting for someone to show up from a county you need. Actually I'm not much for sitting around doing nothing - period. I like to continually be doing something whether it be typing this diary entry, playing a computer game, walking,... well, you get the idea. I'm a total failure as a couch potato.

Took a while to get my QSO this evening, and I was getting antsy just sitting there calling CQ also. I finally did get an answer from W8FA to extend the streak yet another day. OK, now let's see what I can do till bedtime now to keep busy. I've got some digital photos to edit. Maybe I'll do that. Or watch some more railroad videos. Have another snack. Got to be doing something. -30-

Thursday, January 17, 2013 8:08 PM - The sprint last night was (as always) a lot of fun. Conditions were poor on 20, not much better on 40, but 80 was quite good and everyone who had an 80 meter antenna gravitated down there sooner or later and made a lot of QSOs. I just started on 80 here and had one of my best ever first hours with 29 QSOs. However the second hour was not as good with just about half that many at 14. We're very close to, or just over the 100 log mark as I write here.

I finished up my NAQCC January challenge today. I got on the air to help Tom WY3H do some rig/antenna checking, and after we finished I headed to 20 meters where I almost immediately found SM2EKM. His signals were fluttery, but after waiting till he finished a QSO and made one other one, I called and got him right away for my 89th and final letter - M - to complete the challenge.

This evening it was kind of the reverse of last evening. I tried for about a half hour to get a QSO on 80 meters with no luck. Then I went to 40 which sounded pretty good compared to last night and got an answer to my CQ within a couple minutes when Gary N2ESE found me. It seems I can't hide from him (nor do I want to) anywhere on any band. HI.

Now I'm off to do some non-ham chores for a while, then probably watch some more train videos on YouTube. -30-

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 7:30 PM - Just a short time now till our NAQCC sprint. I thought I'd get my diary entry done before then. Tonight is our 99th NAQCC sprint, and as I mentioned last night, February will be #100. Tom and I made our plans for what we're going to do for that special occasion. They're going to be a secret for now - maybe right up until the time of the sprint.

Winter did descend on us during the night last night. We got about 2 inches of s*&w, but at least no freezing rain accompanied it like some had predicted. And this was a pretty well-behaved s#$w. It knew it wasn't welcome and about 80 percent of it has already departed. Wish they were all like that. I hate the ones that really overstay their welcome (if they would be welcome in the first place, which they are not). But each day brings us closer to the re-birth of Earth in the spring. That's some consolation. -30-

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:08 PM - It looks like a bit of winter returns overnight tonight. We're on the northwestern edge of a big southern stalled cold front storm situation. Depending on how far the front backtracks, we could get a little bit of the ugly white stuff again. And just when we had everything looking so beautiful again after our recent warm spell. Ughh!.

In February we'll have our NAQCC regular sprint #100, and I've just been thinking of some special things we can do to celebrate. I'm going to talk them over with NAQCC President Tom WY3H a little later tonight.

It took a bit of doing to get my QSO this evening - about 15-20 minutes worth of calling CQ on both 40 and 80 before Ernie AA2YK answered me on 80. Still looking for the last couple letters to finish our NAQCC January challenge.

I'm still watching a lot of railroad videos on YouTube. Some really great stuff there. Got to ride vicariously in the cab for about an hour on the GCR road in England. Also saw a documentary just how they built the steam engines back in the 1920s. And a recreation of the 1829 RR trial runs in England that was the very beginning of passenger service on trains. Really fascinating. After (if) I run out of train stuff to watch on YouTube, I've got the wonderful series of train programs from PBS(?) from several years ago hosted by Monty Python's Michael Palin on tape to watch. That was a great series I think was made by the BBC originally then re-aired on PBS. I'm not sure of that, and don't have time right now to check. -30-

Monday, January 14, 2013 8:04 PM - I just posted the new poll a little while ago. I hope you'll take a look and cast your vote.

My streak QSO came on 40 meters this evening. I answered a CQ from W8XI. That gave me another day in the streak, plus the last two letters I in our NAQCC January challenge. Now I'm down to 2 L and 1 M for completion.

Not much else to talk about today. Just about all the s#@w is gone except where it was shoveled or plowed into piles. Otherwise everything looks like an April day - beautiful. We did hit 70 yesterday, by the way, but now it's down in the low 30s. Still not bad as long as there is no s#@w or ice around. And it looks like it will stay dry the next few days as well. Best of all, we're now over the hump as far as winter goes. Or at least we will hit the halfway mark a few hours from now as I type. -30-

Sunday, January 13, 2013 8:15 PM - Ahhhh, Summer in January - ain't it great. Today was among the top 5 warmest January days here since I started keeping temperature records back in 1959. My remote unit peaked at 69 degrees and stayed there for quite a while. When I check my thermometer in the backyard shelter, I might see a high of 70 or 71. 71 would tie a record with two other January days for the warmest January day in my period of record-keeping. It was 71 on January 14, 2006 and on January 9, 2008. It was 70 on January 13, 1972. Incidentally 3 days later in 1972 it was -8. A 78 degree drop in less than 60 hours or so.

So as soon as Mike got here today, we went out for a walk to enjoy the warmth. We also did our usual variety of other things. We chased some DX on the bands, what there was of it. Mostly we had the proverbial pipeline into Mexico. I worked XE1RK, XE1L, and XE2HQI. In addition to those same ones, Mike also worked 4A2I whom I didn't work since I worked him on the same band the day before yesterday. We also heard some Japanese stations, although only one was strong enough to be workable. However we couldn't break through the pile of stations also trying to work him. We also worked C6AVA. Only one EU was heard though - a Lithuanian whose call I think was LY7N if I remember right. That was in the evening on 20, and he was very fluttery. We couldn't get him. Along the way, my QSOs gave me still more letters for the January NAQCC challenge. I'm now down to needing 2 I, 2 L, and 1 M for completion.

We also did some NAQCC work getting caught up on some prize info. Then we were invited over to Nancy's for a chili dinner which was very good. And one other thing we did was to watch a very funny movie. One of the multitude of "Carry On ....." English comedy movies. This one was "Carry On Spying." Then all too quickly it came time when Mike had to head back up north.

I thought I'd close this entry with a little football info. Mike and I both wonder why so many people think that pro football began with the year of the first Super Bowl. They say the Steelers are so great because they "won" so many NFL Championships. Well folks, the NFL did not start with Super Bowl I (It wasn't even called Super Bowl at that time). The NFL began back in 1920, and 3 other teams have won more championships than the Steelers. The Green Bay Packers have 13, yes 13, NFL Championships - 1929, 1930, 1931, 1936, 1944, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1997, 2011. The Chicago Bears (originally the Staleys) have 9 NFL Championships - 1921, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1963, 1985. The New York Giants have 8 NFL Championships - 1927, 1934, 1938, 1956, 1987, 1991, 2008, 2012. The Steelers have only 6 - 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 2006, 2009. Keep that in mind when talking about who has the most NFL Championships. -30-

Saturday, January 12, 2013 7:18 PM - I finally got a chance to check the high bands today in what should have been the prime DX hours. It was disappointing to find nothing on 10 or 12, just a few signals on 15, mostly USA stations, a strong MD0CCE on 17 as the only decent DX signal heard, and a couple weak DX stations on 20. So unless the minor radio blackouts really did a job on the bands today, I really didn't miss much the past few days. I did manage to make a couple QSOs, but no real DX to speak of. I worked 4A2I just to get the I for the NAQCC January challenge. I also worked WA9PWP in WI and NE3Z in SC. All in all kind of disappointing considering the great SF/A numbers.

This evening I just got a quick NAQP QSO for the streak. Didn't even feel like getting in the NAQP seriously today, and that's unusual as that is a favorite contest here.

It didn't come close to 60 today, but did make it into the low 50s which accelerated the s#$w melt considerably. There was water running everywhere when I went out for a couple walks. What a beautiful sight that was. Almost got a very slight preview of spring in the air. I see from the countdown above we're just about at the mid point of winter, and that's encouraging although February can be a miserable month some years. -30-

Friday, January 11, 2013 9:01 PM - Once again no checking of the high bands today. I think my problem is I'm not selfish enough. Instead of saying no when someone asks me to help with something, I put my own interests on the back burner and help them out. I guess you could say there were three instances of that today. First this morning, I spent my time finishing up the NAQCC newsletter and getting it posted instead of checking the bands. Then Nancy asked me to help her with a couple things which I did instead of checking the bands. Next up was the computer club computer work I mentioned instead of checking the bands. By that time it was late afternoon and well past the point when 10 and 12 meters go quiet for the day. However I got more satisfaction from helping others than I would have gotten sitting at the rig chasing DX.

I got three easy QSOs this evening and in the process got the letters needed for our NAQCC January challenge down to just 12 - some Is, Ls, Ms, and an X. I need to get on and get some DX from Italy, Germany, and Sweden to mention some possibilities. Maybe tomorrow or better yet Sunday when Mike comes down. I like chasing DX with him when we both can work the same stations.

Trouble with tomorrow is that it is supposed to be in the mid-60s and I certainly will want to be outside taking advantage of a rare January day like that. It will be wonderful to see more green emerging. When it gets that warm, you can actually see the s**w melting if you watch a patch for just a very few minutes or even less when it is thin and not frozen solid. Unfortunately it is at that frozen stage now from melting and re-freezing. -30-

Thursday, January 10, 2013 9:25 PM - OK, so maybe tomorrow. Today I got busy cleaning out my computer among other things and never did get to check the high bands for DX once again. Tomorrow I have to do some work on our computer club computer that will take quite a while, but maybe before I get started on that, I can find a little time to check. The SF today was 174 which has to be the highest yet this sunspot cycle. Also the Sun seems to have a good scattering of spots all over itself. So you have been advised.

I got my QSO on 40 this evening. That's only the second QSO so far this year that hasn't been on 80 meters.

It was another mild day today although the high came in the morning, then dropped a bit the rest of the day. It's still 36 as I write this. The sn** cover retreated quite a bit again today, but not as much as it would have had the temperature stayed at its morning level. Just checking the forecast, I've got my eye on Saturday when it is supposed to be 60 degrees with rain. There should be a lot of green showing up after that.

Right now I'm doing my regular Thursday evening laundry, so I'm going to cut this entry short. -30-

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 10:00 PM - We got a minor scare this morning from the only thing in the world that is worse than s%^w - freezing rain. Fortunately it was just a trace, but it did make it tricky for those who had to drive somewhere. It later warmed up to 49 degrees and the ice was just an unpleasant memory. Also I finally got the back steps cleaned off, and didn't have to go out through the basement or out the front door to go the the backyard to get my 9 PM temperature reading. So it is looking better and better each day. It was even easier to walk downtown to the stores today.

We had a computer club meeting this evening and I was going to walk to that also, but my friend Bill insisted on picking me up and taking me there and home. He has a little trouble getting around and I think he wanted me around as a bit of a security blanket. I didn't mind that at all.

Because of the meeting I didn't get on the bands until later this evening and thought I might have to wait till morning to get my streak QSO, but after about 15 minutes or so John W3FMF answered my 80 meters CQ, and after that, a couple more CQs got me a second QSO with Jerry W0PWE in IA on 80.

Just noticed the SF was 169. I definitely need to get on the high bands tomorrow and check for DX. -30-

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:36 PM - Well, no more train feedback today. So we'll give that topic a rest for a couple days or more. I experienced two of the great winter events today. Watching s&^w melt and seeing more and more grass, sidewalks, and roadways being freed from their abominable white covering. That and hearing the drip, drip, drip, as the stuff melts off of roofs. Great!

It was in the 40s today and nice enough to go out with just a light sweater and no hat. I got in a couple of outside walks, in fact. Haven't done much of that since Christmas because of the ugly weather. The rest of the week looks pretty good also all the way through Sunday with temperatures getting into the mid, maybe even upper, 50s. That should annihilate even more of the ugly stuff.

Took a little effort to get my QSO this evening as the bands were rather deserted, but John KC8TQP finally answered my CQ and we had a solid 30 minute rag chew. 12 of my 13 QSOs this year have been 20 minutes or longer which means one half of the January NAQCC challenge is already mastered - making 10 or more 20 minute QSOs. Also I've got 69 of the 89 letters required to master the alphabet half of the challenge with still 22 days to go. Other than that I haven't been on the bands all that much. I keep wanting to check the high bands as the SF and A numbers look like they are good enough to open up those bands. However it seems I always get side-tracked onto something else - shopping, working on the NAQCC newsletter, along with other things. -30-

Monday, January 07, 2013 8:08 PM - Carl N5XE adds to the train discussion, "Hi John, I, too, really enjoy trains - both the real thing and models. I have the Lionel train set that was my dad's from the 1940's (still runs). My choice now is HO scale, mainly due to the availability and popularity of the scale. I haven't had a working layout in years, and all my train "stuff" is put away in the attic.

Steam had given away to diesel when I was a kid (1960's), but I still remember the train coming into town where I lived and passing by the house. The main line didn't pass through our town. Instead, there was a 6 or 7 mile spur into town to the local farmers coop, lumber yard, and oil company. The train would have to either back all the way into town from the main line, or back out, as there was no turn-around at the end of the spur.

Morse, albeit American Code, was used for many years along the railroad lines across the country. I guess that is why I really enjoy using my Vibroplex "bug", which was also used my many railroad telegraphers through the years. In some strange way, Morse seems to tie railroading and operating amateur radio together - hi. 73 for now, Carl, N5XE"

Good point about trains and American Code. I have a J-38 straight key that my uncle used on the RR many years ago.

Tonight my streak QSO was with Gary N2ESE, and he added to the discussion as well in the QSO. He said he watched the Santa Fe video I mentioned, and really enjoyed it. -30-

Sunday, January 06, 2013 12:59 PM - The railroad entry continues to provide more content for the diary and gives me a chance to rest from having to think up what to say here.

Brion VE3FUJ says, "Hi John: That was a nice entry in your Dairy about Steam. I too loved traveling Steam Trains as a kid, watching the white steam cloud drift by the windows, first on one side then the other, boy that brought back memories.

Being from overseas and a bit older than you I probably had more of it than you, as the Steam Train Era lasted a bit longer over there. Also I remember traveling on Steam Tramps around from Harbour to Harbour overnight. Lovely things those, very little Engine noise so sleeping wasn't a problem. That's where my love of Steam lies, Steam Boat and small Steam ships.

The last 5 or so years of my working life I was involved in building 2 Steam Launches of 25 and 21 1/2 feet, the former " AREZOO " a roomy 25 and the latter " CURLEW " a sleek 21 1/2 ft. A thoroughly enjoyable Experience. However there was one fly in the Ointment of Both, both Owners died before they could enjoy their boats. So I don't think I'll ever build another.

The larger Vessel was recently purchased by Lee Anderson Classic Boats and can probably be viewed on their website sometime in the future. The smaller is now plying the Rivers, Lakes and Canals of Europe. AREZOO was by far the most Plush, Gleaming black Hull, Canopy, Custom made Hardware and Mottled Cherry interior with a few other woods mixed in, money was not an object. CURLEW, on the other hand was built with the bottom line in mind, nothing fancy but lovely and practical, and somewhat unusual in that it had a heart shaped curved and forward sloping Sailboat type" varnished Mahogany Transom, ---- Owners insistence. Also it was lengthened from 18 OAL to 21 1/2 OAL. because of a small boat rule that a boat less than 20ft must be self buoyant, can you imagine a sleek 18ft Boat where Boiler and Engine ETC. weighs in exess of 1000# and then having flotation tanks build in. That would take 17- 20 cub. ft to make positive flotation not to mention that it had to include Operator as well. That would leave scant room for the Operator So it was lengthened to 21 1/2 ft so the waterline would be 20' 2" just in case some hairsplitting was to take place by some Official. 72 Brion 3011."

More about other than steam locomotives, but still interesting. Brion also enclosed a couple pictures. I'm not going to use them here in the diary now, because my bandwidth on Windstream is getting filled up. Perhaps after I clean things up a bit, I'll show them.

Paul N0NBD adds, "As usual I am a Johnny come lately with my thoughts. I was thinking about when I was a kid on Thursday night the stores stayed open late and people went to town in their very best, we as a family did too. Some shopping was done but mostly people visited with other people and saw who came to town. The highlight was when the Oil Flyer from Tulsa pulled in. People walked the one block from Main Street to see who got off. There were four passenger trains a day through my home town and many freights. Thanks for the good memories. I think I will see if my grandson has any train interests, I have a ton of N scale track, cars and engines upstairs and have never done anything but a small layout. Thanks again for jogging my memories de Paul N0NBD."

I think if I ever get back into model trains, N gauge might be my choice. It's small, but still very realistic. The one thing I have against Lionel is that extra rail in the middle. I think that hurts their realism.

Finally for now from Bob K9OSC appended to an email about another matter, "...By the way, your daily journal was most interesting about trains. I have been an afficianadio of trains for much of my life. I even listen to the digitalkers that run in most cities where trains enter and leave the city limits. That system consists of taking the count of axles per train, checks for dragging objects by the train and measures temperatures for hotboxes in the axles. If the latter is high it gives the axle count. All this runs in the railroad frequency band just above 2-meters and is all FM. It is fun to listen to.

Up here in the Twin Cities we also have huge switching yards and all that chatter plus remote control is all done on the railroad VHF frequencies. I listen to that a great deal plus it is very helpful when I am out taking pictures from overpasses where the trains travel.

When I was a kid I had Lionel train sets and when I was first married I made HO gauge track layouts for my younger brother and ran them myself. But, ham radio continued to win out and that is where I am today. Maybe when the grandkids get a little older I will resurrect my railroading prowess and get back into it. Meanwhile, it was great reading your experiences."

More to come? -30-

Saturday, January 05, 2013 1:30 PM - My railroad entry brought two nice responses which I will share for today's entry.

From Geo N1EAV (NAQCC 1679), "Boy John, you really jogged loose a few memories for me reading your diary entry on Friday. My father used to take me to see the trains roll into the station when I was a kid. Being a little younger than you, most of what I saw were diesels but I do remember being in awe seeing my first steam engine. There is one still operational here in Massachusetts at Edaville Railroad in South Carver. They don't always use it as far as I know, but it does run from time to time.
As far as model trains go , I too had the old Lionel steam engine trains as a kid. In later years I played around with the ho and n gauge trains but never got a full fledged model railroad going. While you are doing your youtube visiting and bing searching, you might want to look up John Allens Gorre and Daphetid model railroad.....all built by hand mind you...no commercial kits etc....Quite a story about this man and his model railroad. Check it out if you have some time. You'll enjoy it. 73 for now...geo,n1eav"

From Richard AC0XB (NAQCC #5462), "Very nice essay, John. You should never worry about your eloquence. Whether it's radio, CW, the weather, fishing, pals like Joe - or locomotives. When you feel it the way you do, it shows. You write from the heart, John. That's a rare and powerful gift that you share with us.
In 1956 I was going to school in a small eastern Ohio town that was on one side or another of a strip mine. Steam engines pounded up the grade into town. You could hear them coming for hours, struggling, hissing, banging and coughing. They came into town one train after another, slowed to a crawl by their load of coal hoppers - miles of them, winding through the Appalachian foothills, pumping heaping pillows of brilliant white steam into the cold winter skies. The engines hissed and snorted as they passed beneath a stone bridge that crossed the main street of the village. I skipped plenty of classes on coal days just so I could stand on that stone bridge and let the locomotive thunder shake my bones.
The kids at our school lived in a world of steam and steel and coal dust. There wasn't one of us that didn't feel humbled by those engines, by their magnificent hulk, by their curious beauty and by the hard forged power they radiated, even at rest, hissing on a siding.
And when the schoolmaster called lights out at night I wasn't the only one to sneak over to the open window where we would watch those beautiful machines wail into the night under a full head, steam streaming in the moonlight.
I miss that moment in America's history, but like you, John, I am glad at least to have been there for the show. Richard Coffey NAQCC #5462"

Thanks Geo and Richard for those well written additions to my 'steam' entry. -30-

Friday, January 04, 2013 6:25 PM - A couple entries ago I mentioned another of my interests that I couldn't really recall writing about here in the diary before. That interest makes me wish for a couple of things. I wish I could write more eloquently as the subject deserves that. I wish I could go back in time to enjoy that interest more fully. Or I wish I had had more money then to enjoy it and more time now to enjoy it.

I'm speaking of railroads, of course. More specifically steam powered railroads. Just like ham radio IS CW, railroads ARE steam engines. Both hobbies have the devotees who are doing their best to see that the prime motivating force in each will survive forever.

It's much easier to explain how my interest in railroads came to be than to explain my interest in ham radio. This house I live in and have lived in all my life is a mere 100 feet or so from where the railroad used to run. Used to? Yes, unfortunaltely like so many railroads around the country, it became 'a thing of the past' when folks gave up riding the trains in favor of cars, and goods were hauled by trucks instead of freight trains. Sad!

What a thrill it is to be old enough to have lived in the last few years of steam trains. Being old doesn't have that many perks, but enjoying steam trains as a youngster is definitely one of them. I didn't even have to go outside to watch the trains. I was fortunate enough to just look out my window to see them. Why the Kittanning railroad station was also within the same block along with its small freight yard. A spur to the local brickyard ran right by where Ange has his garden these days.

Of course steam trains were not only an enjoyable visual experience, but an aural experience as well. They were LOUD. However unlike a noisy truck, car needing a new muffler, the many beeps and whistles from modern cars talking to their owners, spinning tires, and the like, the steam engine noise was not annoying like those things, but was simply a sound (or several different sounds) to be enjoyed. There is still an active railroad across the river here, and on a quiet night, it is simply wonderful to hear a train whistle again even though it be from a diesel engine train, not steam.

With all its moving parts to delight the eye and its sounds for the ear, you could almost believe a steam engine had a soul - well at least it definitely had a personality. Perhaps the one piece of machinery that was closest to being a human being.

With my penchant for record keeping, of course I kept train records also. I logged the numbers of the various engines and the cabooses as well. Remember cabooses? They seem to be a thing of the past along with the steam engines. I also kept track of how many cars were on the trains as they passed through town. I'm sure I still have the records somewhere. I believe the longest for quite a while was something like 174 cars, but I think I did eventually log a couple longer ones.

For some of my childhood, there was passenger service between here and Pittsburgh, and my mother and aunts used to take me shopping on the train to there. It was so much better than riding a bus. I still think trains are the best means of travel over anything else. We also took a few vacation trips via train. I believe we went to DC, NYC, and Atlantic City that way. It was a long time ago though, and my memory isn't that certain.

Of course, I also had model trains. Being a somewhat poor family, they weren't the best nor all that complete, but they were still fun. My first one was a steam American Flyer, then a Lionel steam engine followed by a Lionel diesel. I also dabbled a bit with HO, but never got more than a couple pieces of track and a couple freight cars. Never did get an engine. Now that I'm older and do have a little more money, the time is lacking. Maybe someday. Even what I do have is not in that great a condition, as I was hard on them as a kid.

Over the years, I've collected some books, magazines, movies, etc. about trains. There were some good movies made about trains. I can't recall but a couple right now offhand, but I think one was called simply "The Train", and there was another one that I believe featured Frank Sinatra. PBS also had some good series about trains. Right now I'm just delving into the many YouTube videos featuring trains which is really what brought me to this topic.

I just finished watching a great two hour video about a steam train excursion from LA to the Grand Canyon which featured a restored Santa Fe engine #3751. If you're into steam trains, here's the URL to that one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xszdK0OMgnM. Enjoy, and I'll probably expand on this new topic in future entries, maybe even with pictures. -30-

Thursday, January 03, 2013 8:27 PM - Of course I left off one DJ last night. I was mainly talking about the DJs and the big 50KW clear channel stations. I've talked about TL several times in the diary. Terry Lee from WMCK/WIXZ back in the 60s and 70s wasn't on a big powerhouse station and he concentrated a lot on local area artists plus music that he personally liked more so than being a "Top 40 Jock". Anyway after my entry last night and when I finished listening to some more WLS stuff, I went back to the TL show on the Internet Magic Communications Network for his "Music for Young Lovers" segment. Turns out just after I tuned it, Terry gave out an email address for requests, so probably for the first time in my life I requested a song on the radio, well at least the first time via email to an Internet station anyway. I may have requested a couple songs years ago that I've forgotten now. I emailed Terry and thanked him for the time machine taking me back to the good old radio days and requested he play one of my two top favorites from then - Creator of Rain by Smokey and His Sister or High on a Hill by Scott English. Terry played Creator of Rain for me very soon after I got off the email. That was kind of a thrill for me.

On to ham radio. My sixth QSO of the year tonight proved to be yet another NAQCC rag chew. That's six for six now. Maybe I'll get my 10 rag chews for the January challenge in my first 10 QSOs of the month/year. With those six QSOs, I've already gotten about 40 percent of the letters for the alphabet part of the challenge. My QSO this evening was with another NAQCC member - Steve W1SFR up in COLD Vermont. He said it was 26 below this morning if I recall correctly.

That segues into some comments about the weather here. I haven't gotten the "official" low from my thermometer shelter yet, but my remote reading thermometer says the low was 5 which probably means the low will be 3 or 4. The remote temperature is usually a degree or sometimes 2 higher when it gets that cold. That means this is the coldest day in just about two years now. We never got below 5 in 2012. You have to go back to February of 2011 to see 4 degrees and January of 2011 to see 7 below. It "warmed" up nicely today though getting into the mid 30s, just enough to see a little of the beautiful sight of s*(w melting. That has to be one of top most beautiful sights in nature. -30-

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 9:35 PM - Last night I mentioned about finding things to talk about in the diary. I've been playing on YouTube the past couple days, and I found an interest I've probably never talked about - trains. In my opinion, the best means of travel ever invented was trains. I loved riding them, watching them, reading about them, studying railroad history, model trains, and so on. We'll get into that more in future entries, but while watching trains on YouTube, I got side-tracked (pun intended) into AM broadcast history.

I loved radio in the 60s and 70s when it was enjoyable to listen to - so far from today's radio. Well I'm not even going to go there.

Right now I'm listening to the WLS New Years Eve broadcast from 1983/84. At the moment they are playing a couple seconds from virtually every song they ever played on their DJ shows over the years when they were one of the top R&R stations in the country. It's a real joy sitting here trying to see how many of the songs I can recognize from the very brief excerpts coming at me in shotgun fashion one after another with the only pause being a play of one of the many WLS jingles over the years. If that sounds like your cup of tea, I think this URL will take you there. There are a list of air checks from many stations in a column on the right. The WLS NY Eve is in three parts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPDZ0YnQSFk&list=PL08DE17373A36333D

There are many other WLS stories there also. That was one of my favorite stations to listen to back in the 60s and 70s, along with WABC in New York (Cousin Brucie) and KQV in nearby Pittsburgh. Wow, what a great time that was. Too bad there aren't working time machines. It would be great to go back there. Oh, WKBW in Buffalo was another good station. As was WOWO in Fort Wayne.

I've mentioned this before, but I guess my favorite DJs were Art Roberts and Dick Biondi. It was great seeing and hearing them on YouTube a little while ago. I loved the nutty stories (puns) that Art used on his show. One I heard tonite (I'll condense it here) concerned one of the last buffalo herds led by a buffalo named Bernie. Bernie and his herd thought they were finally safe from the buffalo hunters but one determined group showed up and started chasing them. They hid in places like Yankee Stadium, Fort Knox, the Pentagon, but the hunters kept finding them. Finally they wound up in Cape Canaveral just before a satellite launch, and thought they were safe, but again the hunters showed up, so Bernie and his herd climbed into the satellite, and were launched in orbit, thus becoming "The herd shot around the world." You don't hear good humor like that nowadays. Nowadays comics don't know anything but dirty jokes and profane "humor". -30-

Tuesday, January 01, 2013 9:16 PM - This starts the eighth different year I've done a diary entry. I started in 2006, but not till April 23 when I made my first ever entry. I didn't go daily though till May 15, and every day since then, I've added an entry. Whew! Time really flies. I wonder how many days that is now. Let's see..... 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 were all 365 day years so that's 1,460 days. 2008 and 2012 were 366 day years, and adding them in makes 2,192 days. Then in 2006 it was 17+30+31+31+30+31+30+31 days for a grand total of 2,423 days if I hit all the right keys on my calculator. Whew again! After all that, it's no wonder I can't always come up with something new that I haven't discussed here before. But maybe that's a good thing because I'm SURE not one single person besides me have read all 2,423 entries. Actually not even me because I don't always read (proofread) every entry. A fact I make plain now and then when a goofup creeps into here.

Also my QSO streak entered another year today (last evening) when I made two SKN QSOs. 2013 starts my 20th different year for that streak. Today (1/1) was day #6,725 in that streak. For the 2nd, I worked W0ZP in Colorado. We had a solid 25 minute rag chew. Maybe the longest QSO I've had with a station in Colorado. I don't know. -30-