K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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Sun Dec 31 2017 7:41PM - Not much to say tonight except:



Sat Dec 30 2017 7:48PM - With the working of Tom NJ8D at 0012Z, another full year of my streak is in the books. At least the big regular streak. I'll still have to work some DX to finish the year in that fashion. I did hear a strong PJ2 station on 40, but engaged in a long QSO, and from the pattern, I think he answered the other station's CQ, so probably would move on after the QSO anyway so I didn't wait around.

Last night when I worked KP4TF at 0517Z, that was the first DX streak QSO in the 0500Z hour I can recall in a long time.

I hate right now to think of all the end of month/end of year chores I'll be involved in tomorrow. That's always a lot of work, but it has to be done.

I hope to get in SKN tomorrow evening for a bit. However as I say every year at this time, my SKN or more accurately use of CW night is 365 nights a year so SKN doesn't excite me as much as those who literally may use CW only once a year. It is a good idea though, and I'm not knocking it by any means. I just wish those folks who do only use CW once a year would get on the bands more often using CW. It doesn't have to be each and every day like I do, but at least do it a couple times a week or so. If everyone would do that, the bands would sound like they used to many years ago. Wouldn't that be nice! -30-

Fri Dec 29 2017 7:36PM - Of course with the RAC contest in swing, my streak QSO came easily this evening. Hopefully the DX QSO will come easily later tonight or tomorrow morning.

I got a surge of excitement this morning when I heard an OJ station calling CQ. For a fleeting instant I thought I had a chance to work Market Reef, one of only 4 entities I need to complete Europe. Turned out the number in the call was 9, not 0 though. Just Finlad with a special call OJ9X for their yearly Santa event. Still I did work him for the DX streak QSO.

Not much else going on here so I just wish you a Happy New Year in a couple days and close the entry. -30-

Thu Dec 28 2017 7:47PM - I'm going back to Komodo Edit for my html editor. Too many strange things happenning with Bluefish.

Another cold day today and I only went outside to walk Roscoe, and I even hurried him in after he did his business. Right now it's 13 degrees and going down to single digits again.

As usual, no DX this evening. DM500RT was strong on 80, but couldn't get him to hear me. Earlier in the day in the 1300Z hour, I got IP0TRC on 20 meters pretty easily. There didn't seem to be much DX except for him at that time. -30-

Wednesday 27/12/2017 7:35PM - Looks like winter is going to be vengeful this year. At least temperature-wise so far. It's now 12 degrees as I type with a low of 1 predicted. That's not the worst of it. It may not get above 20 degrees until at least the middle of next week. At least there's only a trace of s#$w on the ground and no big s#$ws predicted. But unfortunately that could change as it's hard to predict things all that far in advance in wintertime.

I'm starting a new feature on my web site called Guestbook Adjunct. It's just what it says. It will include info similar to what is posted in the guestbook, but received here via other means like email and letters. I'll always check with the sender before posting anything. I'll be the sole judge of what I post. I've got it started as of now. You can check it out via the "View Guestbook" page in this section.

I'm getting to like the CWT sprints as a source of DX for my streak. Early this morning it was IT9VDQ at 1356Z with a single call on 20. Now as usual in the 0000Z hour, only a couple very weak DX stations heard - too weak to even try working as I probably couldn't tell if it was me they were answering or someone else. -30-

Tuesday 26/12/2017 12:09PM - Mike and I had our usual good time last night. That was the 9th Christmas in a row now we've done our Christmas lights drive. Each year we pick out what we think is the best display. The last couple years now, it's been the same house in neighboring Ford City. So from now on we are retiring our award and will search for a new winner. Actually there is no award involved, but anyway we will pick a new winner.

When we got home, we worked some DX. I got my DX streak QSO from CX7CO on 30 and Mike worked PV8ADI on 40. We also heard a fairly strong OK2PVF (or was it PFV?) on 80, but he wasn't hearing us at all.

If you're a NAQCC member and sent me comments on my retirement as a NAQCC worker, I thank you very much. Paul and I are going to post those comments in the January NAQCC newsletter after we check and get everyone's permission. -30-

Monday 25/12/2017 15:42:29 - Would you believe... a la Agent 86 (Don Adams) the last three days my DX has been from Europe on 80 meters. Unlike the first one or two choices by 86 which were exaggerations, my first choice is true. Today, last evening it was HA8RM. Not quite as easy as the previous two days, but the QSO was made after a few unanswered calls to him. As regular diary readers know, I often say that the low point of a sunspot cycle is a good time for working DX on the lower bands like 80 and 160. Hey, maybe I'll even get some 160M DX sometime during the upcoming sunspot minimum.

Once again this year it was a good Christmas day here, and I hope it was the same there. I had a great lunch with the family next door. That's the family of the parents of Eric KB3BFQ I often mention in the diary. With a collection of parents, kids, grandkids and other relatives, and me, there were 12 of us there. It's always a joy to watch the four youngest kids opening literally dozens of presents. Each one of the four always thanks the gift giver religiously. I think that's great in this day and age.

One more tradition still to come this evening. Mike will be stopping by and we'll go for our annual drive through Kittanning and environs trying to figure out who has the best Christmas lights display. -30-

Sunday 24/12/2017 10:17:17 - Another somewhat of a surprise DX QSO last night. I woke up around 0700Z and thought I'd just check the bands. I found 3 or 4 fairly strong Europeans on 80M. I decided to call SM4OTI since I thought I needed Sweden on 80. As with 9A9A the night before, he answered my first call and I had my DX streak QSO and it is a new band-country on 80. That's 61 entities on 80 meters now plus a lot more confidence in being able to work Europe on 80 meters. That's 22 European countries on 80.

And now as I do each year:

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.

Saturday 23/12/2017 6:05PM - I'm using a new html editor, hence the different date stamp for now. I found it while working on the GenLog data program. It's called Bluefish. At first glance it seems to work better for me than my previous editor, Komodo. Time will tell.

My DX QSO last night came as a pleasant shock. I didn't hear any DX in the 0000Z hour, but when I checked later I heard some fairly strong European signals on 80 meters. I picked out one, 9A9A and gave a call. I heard another strong station calling him at the same, and figured he would win. To my surprise though 9A9A came back to me with a K3WWP 599. That may be one of my easiest ever European QSOs on 80 meters. Competition, no repeats from me and a solid short QSO.

I wonder what tonight will bring. Probably nothing and I'll have to wait till morning or afternoon for my DX. -30-

Fri Dec 22 2017 7:35PM - Besides walking for a while in the low 50s temperatures and doing some shopping along the way, I spent a good deal of time on the computer.

I transferred a lot of my genealogy info to my new genealogy program - Gramps. I'm getting to like it more and more. I think it makes the info more easily accessible than the previous programs I have used.

I also did some work on transferring more of my former NAQCC duties to others. Today I spent a good deal of time figuring out how someone with a Mac computer and its spreadsheet program could produce a GenLog data file that would work like the one I produced each month With Windows and Excel. Since I only use Windows here, I had to do a lot of head scratching coming up with something I think will work on a Mac. Still some checking to be done to see if I figured it right. Anyway I got some good brain exercise working on it. I love doing things like that to keep the brain active along with the walking to keep the body the same way. Still age is gradually catching up to me. -30-

Thu Dec 21 2017 6:26PM - I was very close to my projected scenario for our NAQCC sprint. About the only difference was that I did make a QSO and I stayed about 5 minutes longer than predicted.

As for DX today, I got another of those Irish WAW stations - EI22WAW. It was an easy QSO on 20 in the 1300Z hour. It came quickly also, so I decided I'd also try to finish the NAQCC December Challenge. I went searching for a station with a G in the call. It took a while to find, and then a while longer to work TG9ADM. That finished the challenge.

It looks like we have another year long event in 2018 to keep us busy. As explained in this excerpt from The ARRL Letter for December 21, 2017:

"Ready, set, go! The ARRL International Grid Chase 2018 gets under way on January 1 UTC (New Year's Eve in US time zones). The objective of the year-long event is to work stations on any band (except 60 meters) in as many different Maidenhead grid squares as possible, and then upload your log data to ARRL's Logbook of The World (LoTW). Many hams are familiar with grid squares from the VHF/UHF and satellite realms, and everyone lives in one. An online calculator by David Levine, K2DSL, can determine your grid square. Enter a postal address, ZIP code, or a call sign, and the calculator will return the grid square for that location. Each new grid square contact confirmed through LoTW will count toward your monthly total."

Sounds like a lot of fun and definitely something that appeals to my love of statistics. Probably would have been easier back near the sunspot maximum, but I'm definitely going to give it a shot. I always upload all of my QSOs to the LoTW so that part will just be business as usual. Hopefully the activity will encourage more hams to start using the LoTW. -30-

Wed Dec 20 2017 8:05PM - Just 25 minutes to our NAQCC mW sprint. As of right now I envision this scenario. I'll fire up the rig at 8:30, find the bands as dead as they were about an hour ago, listen for maybe 15 minutes hoping to get at least one QSO, and finally saying it's no use wasting my time here and QRT. At least I will have participated and we reward participation more than we do making scores. I'll be happy with that. Tune in tomorrow to see if I predicted correctly or not.

It was very rough getting my regular streak QSO again this evening, but I finally found and worked Bob AK4JA on 30 meters. He also commented about the sprint probably being rough tonight.

It was much easier getting my DX QSO this morning at 1318Z thanks to LY8O and the CWT sprint. Only took a couple calls to get him on 20 meters.

Just in case I do get involved in the sprint past my projected scenario, I'll close this now and get a couple chores taken care of. -30-

Tue Dec 19 2017 8:29PM - Many folks develop the habit early in life of taking notes and / or keeping to-do lists. I never have done that as my memory has always served me well in that regard. However as the years go by, I'm tending to become a little forgetful and wish I had been a note taker. I guess I could start now, or maybe it's too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

Case in point - I had my diary entry tonight planned out a while ago, but I wonder how much of that plan I will remember now. At least I remembered how I was going to open it.

The bands were really poor this evening, or were they just deserted? Of course there was no DX, but that's the norm of late. However there were very few signals showing up on 80 on the PX3, and those that did show up were at the most S9. Usually there are many well over S9 signals on that band. Calling CQ for nearly a half hour yielded nothing and I feared even my main regular streak might be in jeopardy. Finally I went S&P and called a couple stations with no response. Then I found and called N8AFT, and we had a great 30 minute solid QSO. Lane was also running QRP. So going by that, I'd say conditions were pretty good. So which was it, good or bad? During the QSO Lane mentioned he worked for the CSX Railroad which brought back some memories here.

When I was young (yes I was that at one point eons ago) the Pennsylvania, later Penn Central, and still later Conrail track ran right by my house only around 100 feet or so away. I used to love to watch the trains go by, especially when steam locomotives were in vogue. I became curious to know just how many cars were on each train and started counting and logging them. Yes, my love of statistics was born early in life. Everytime I'd hear a train coming (and at that close range it was hard to miss them), I ran to the window or went outside to count the cars. I forget now what the record was, but since I never throw anything out, I probably still have the list somewhere. I'll have to try to find it.

Another thing to do with statistics is genealogy. For the third time in my life now, I've gotten interested in my family tree. Each time I used a different software. First it was Family Tree Maker, then Legacy, and now Gramps. I think I like this latest program best of all. I only got it about a week ago. My renewed interest was brought on by the death of a cousin on my mother's side who was my last first cousin on that side. I think I have only one left on my father's side. The previous programs didn't make it all that easy to get that info, but I think Gramps will. If you're working on a family tree, I'd suggest you give Gramps a try. Just do a Bing search for "Gramps genealogy". It's completely free and open source, another great point in its favor.

One other thing I wanted to comment on, and I didn't forget. I am continually amazed by how many folks I work on the air mention about reading this diary. Lane did so in our QSO this evening, and I always appreciate hearing about folks reading this. I really don't understand why, but it does make writing it worth the time.

Finally, and I think I remembered it all, I found 30 meters to be interesting this morning. In the 1300Z hour, I noticed the German RTTY signal was there albeit not too strong. I also heard a couple European ham stations although not strong enough to work. It's kind of unusual hearing Europe at that hour on 30. Could be because I just am not on the air in that hour all that much. But when I am, I usually check 30, so I don't know. Let me just see how many EU stations I've worked, say from 1300-1500Z or so on 30. Back in a minute. That was quick and easy with my Microsoft Access log. None! Of 397 European QSOs on 30, the latest UTC time was 0547 and the earliest was 1949. Nothing in between. I'm not quite sure what to make of that. I'll have to think about it some more. -30-

Mon Dec 18 2017 7:39PM - A nice mid-December day today. It was wonderful to see so much of the s#$w melting away as the high reached 42 degrees. It's predicted to be several degrees warmer tomorrow so the ground may wind up pretty bare so we can have a lovely green Christmas this year. I was afraid that 6 inches of the ugly stuff we got a few days ago was going to hang on forever.

I even took a couple of walks to the Post Office and grocery store today. I mailed my last ever NAQCC prize out today. Now the mailing of prizes is in someone else's hands. As I mentioned in the previous diary entry, I also did my last ever sprint log cross checking. Now after tying up a couple more little things, I am just a regular ordinary NAQCC member after December 31. It will be nice after 13+ years of club work.

It was rough today getting my DX. I did manage to work PJ2ND very easily with a single call at 1824Z, but finding him as someone to work took a good deal of time.

There are some stations who never seem to be able to hear me. I heard one of them tonight. He was S9 at times, but as usual didn't hear me. I'm not going to mention his call because I don't know the circumstances why he can't hear me. It could be he lives in a very high local noise area as I do here. Maybe he has inferior receiving equipment. Oh, I could list a lot more reasons, but I won't. I just want to point out that I'm sure it's nothing intentional on his part. With my noise here, there may be other stations who feel the same way about me not hearing them. Although the great receiver in the KX3 does help me a lot of times to pull someone out from at or just below my noise level. -30-

Sun Dec 17 2017 9:25PM - Not much time for an entry tonight. Just finished up cross-checking our NAQCC sprint logs. That was the last time I'll be doing that. As you may know, my final retirement from NAQCC work comes at the end of this year.

No DX this evening. That will have to wait till morning.

Time now to go walk Roscoe in the drizzle. -30-

Sat Dec 16 2017 8:27PM - Back to normal today. No quick DX nor any at all this evening. I thought I might catch some in the 9A DX contest, but no such luck. Perhaps in the 1300Z hour in the morning before it ends at 1400Z. I usually don't get DX in the 1300Z hour, but I have gotten some, so we'll have to wait and see.

Just a couple of stats from my analysis of the first DX QSO of each of the past 1,752 days. Actually I haven't figured in the last few days so it's not quite 1,752, more like 1,746 or so. Here's the percentage of QSO's from each continent each year:
       AF    AN    AS    EU    NA    OC    SA
2013  2.6   0.0   2.6  47.7  36.3   1.0   9.8
2014  5.2   0.5   4.1  44.7  30.4   1.4  13.7
2015  3.8   0.3   3.6  41.9  37.8   0.3  12.3
2016  3.8   0.3   0.8  32.2  44.0   1.1  17.8
2017  2.3   0.0   0.0  24.8  51.6   0.6  20.7
I would say that follows the sunspot cycle pretty closely. Asia and Europe peak in the maximum year(s), then North Ameica takes over when they decline. Africa, Antarctica, Oceania, and South American are more evenly distributed over all years because of the lower latitude paths to those continents. More to follow on band distribution plus the number of different stations worked each month.

Now time to wander out in the s#$w to get my temperature readings. It was a joy to see quite a bit of s$%wmelt today as the high was 40. we should have more the next few days also as the above freezing temps continue. -30-

Fri Dec 15 2017 7:09PM - Cue up KC and the Sunshine Band, "That's the Way (I Like It)". My DX QSO came at 0001Z this evening when I worked HH2AA on 30M. Kind of a strange QSO. I heard him calling CQ - UP. He ended before I got set up for split so I thought I'd wait till his next CQ. But about 10-15 seconds went by and I didn't hear him again, so I sent my call once, waited a couple seconds for a reply which didn't come, then I sent my call again and he came back with K3WWP 599 after a couple more seconds. So I'm set for another 23+ hours now as far as DX goes. I might get on for a while during the day anyway to see if I can get the last few letters to complete the NAQCC December challenge. My work sheet is up in the shack, but if memory serves, I think I need 3 Rs, 1 G, and 1 T to finish.

Mike and I had our usual good time last night. He arrived a little after 5PM with a Vocelli pizza with green peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes. After we devoured that, we put the finishing touches on a story about our NAQCC WPA Chapter activities in 2017. That was for the ARRL WPA Section Yearbook being put out by Section Manager Joe W3BC.

Next it was up to the shack around 6:30PM to look for DX. 40, 30, and 20 were virtually dead so Mike went to 80. The first peak he checked on the KX3 belonged to OE3XMA. It didn't take long for Mike to work him. I couldn't remember if I had Austria on 80 meters or not, so I worked him also instead of waiting till 0000Z for a DX streak QSO. Turns out I did have Austria on 80, but OE3XMA had QRT by 0000Z anyway so it was a moot point. We also were hearing UT5UGR and a Belarus station on 80, but we couldn't get either one.

We left the shack after I worked W1IE for my regular streak QSO, and talked about some WPA Chapter plans for next year among a few other things. Today (Friday) was a work day for Mike so he headed home around 7:30PM or so. We'll next get together Christmas evening (not eve) for our annual Christmas lights tour of Kittanning and some surrounding areas. -30-

Thu Dec 14 2017 9:28AM - I was going to wait to write this till after Mike's visit this afternoon in hopes he might do a ghost writer entry for me. Maybe I still will try to get him to add something later on.

I just worked Luc I1YRL on 20 meters easily for my DX streak QSO to make it 1,750 days now. I should know better, but it still amazes me how well my setup here works with QRP, CW, and an attic 20M flat-top inverted vee dipole. Luc gave me a 579, and I gave him a generous 569. Actually it was an effort to copy him even with my low noise around S3 or S4, yet he heard me on my first call, although I did have to repeat my call twice after that.

So going to a bottom line now. Never think you can't work someone with a minimal setup like mine even though the station you are trying to work is quite weak. The odds are fairly good that you will connect, especially if it is a fine op like Luc whom you are trying to work. Someday I'd like to make a list of those stations whom I consider to be the finest ops in the world and whom you are likely to work easily. -30-

Wed Dec 13 2017 8:03PM - I guess you could call today a day of opposites. As I mentioned in the diary a couple days ago, I've been having trouble working CO8LY lately. Well, today I got him with a single call on 30 meters. I got up early today because the plumber was coming to do some work. Shortly after I got up, I remembered I didn't turn off my alarm clock since I was up ahead of it. When I went up to the bedroom to turn it off, I thought I'd take a quick check of the bands. I immediately found and worked CO8LY to continue the DX streak.

Last night was horrible for our NAQCC sprint. Almost all participants complained about conditions except it seems for those living along the Atlantic coast from FL up to ME. Almost everyone from that somewhat narrow strip of land either reported good scores or mentioned conditions were good. The good conditions didn't make it this far west though, and it was a tremendous struggle for me to make just 11 QSOs. That was another opposite as last month I was one of the few who had good conditions and I easily made 50 QSOs in the November sprint.

The final opposite was comparing last night's conditions to tonight. 80 through 30 were good tonight with strong signals on all three bands. I even got an answer to my CQ on 40 meters. That hasn't happened often lately. Antarctica was strong on 30, but after trying to break the pileup a few times, I didn't pursue it any longer.

Hopefully conditions in the morning will be good so I can get my DX. Mike is coming to visit in the afternoon. -30-

Tue Dec 12 2017 7:47PM - It sure doesn't look like a very good night here for our sprint. I just checked the bands and 40 is virtually dead and 80 has very few signals. Plus there is a high noise level on both bands. I may just get a few QSOs (if I can) and then shut down. Perhaps it's my turn this month to be in the black hole. Last month I was one of only a very few who had good conditions. What goes around, comes around.

It also going to be a rough day for the DX streak. I doubt I'll get anything this evening and I'm getting some plumbing work done starting early in the morning. Stay tuned to see what happens. -30-

Mon Dec 11 2017 6:12PM - Unlike the exciting bottom of the ninth finish yesterday in getting my DX streak QSO, today was much easier. Still nowhere near as easy as when the sunspots were more plentiful, but compared to the past several days, it was easy. I also got a new prefix in the deal - 9A57AX. There was more DX around on a Monday than yesterday. I even heard a G station on 17M. So it was nice to have my self-imposed pressure of working DX relaxed early today. Of course it starts again in about 45 minutes now. Maybe I'll get lucky and get someone this evening.

I continued assembling some stats about the first DX QSO each day. Some interesting things are showing up. One standout is the difference in percentage of European QSOs in summber vs. winter. That's easily explained. Because most of the time I get the DX in the evening, the higher bands are open to Europe later in the summer months, hence Europe is the continent with the most QSOs during those months. Another obvious thing is the percentage of European QSOs getting lower as the sunspots decline. Those are just a couple of the things that stand out. There are others also, but I'm not going to dwell on them now until I complete analyzing the stats. -30-

Sun Dec 10 2017 6:36PM - Either read the first three paragraphs or jump ahead to the one that starts 'SKIP TO HERE' which will explain all.

I knew it was inevitable. The only thing that needed deciding was when. Now that has been decided - December 10, 2017. Those of you who follow my doings know exactly where I am heading with this. You're right. The last day similar to today was February 28, 2013. That's a long time. OK, let's say it. I didn't work any DX today for the first day since then. It's disappointing, but I went down fighting. I spent a good amount of time in the shack watching for peaks on the PX3 and most of the time seeing only small ones around S3 or S4 if they were DX. Conditions started out bad this morning and went downhill from there. At least there were no close calls. I never even got so much as a question mark from any DX that I called. Just a couple things worth mentioning. CO8LY was pretty strong on 17, and I usually can work him easily anywhere any time, but not today. He was also on 30 later. I called him once there, and never heard him again. Next to him, probably the strongest DX I heard was a JR5 station on 30 a little past sunset. I forget his suffix now. Like everyone else today, he didn't hear me at all. Those were the closest calls, and they weren't even that close.

So with the DX streak over, where do I go from here? I think I've already made that plain. I plan to try and keep the percentage of days on which I work DX since March 1, 2013 above 99%. I've already implemented that in my streak table on the main page of the web site.

OK, still a few minutes left in today. I'm going to take one final shot hoping I have to revise the above two paragraphs.

SKIP TO HERE. Well, it worked. A few months ago, I wrote another obituary for the streak prematurely, then worked some DX before the day was over. Darned if it didn't work again. I found nothing on 20, 30, or 40, BUT then I checked 80 and there at 2352Z on 3503 kHz was HB9CVQ just above my S5 to S6 noise. I've worked Andy several times, but never on 80. He's a great op. I called once and excitement reigned. He came back with WWP or ?WWP. A couple more times sending my call and it was ?3WWP, then a couple more times and CFM K3WWP 559 which stretches the streak another day. Whew. And you know what. That's a new country worked on 80 meters for me also - number 60. Wow!

Now it's tomorrow (Dec 11 UTC) so to speak so back to the shack to at least stretch the regular streak. -30-

Sat Dec 09 2017 8:10PM - Although I only checked twice today, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, I didn't hear a single station on 10 meters. So the contest activity didn't open up the band, at least as far as I was concerned.

There wasn't much on the other bands either for that matter. I did mange a QSO with John ON4UN on 20 meters for day # 1,745 in the DX streak.

No DX this evening, but I did have a nice long 36 minute rag chew with Bob K0RKH out in Iowa. That's the longest QSO I've had in quite a while now as far as I can recall. That was on 80 meters where overall conditions didn't seem all that good, yet our 36 minute QSO was 100% solid copy both ways.

I did a little bit of analysis on my DX streak as it pertains to this year so far. It certainly has changed from the first 4 years or so, especially the first two. I'll have some comparison figures for all of the almost 5 years some time here in the diary. Or actually I already have some if not all the figures on my DX Streak story page here. Those figures cover all the streak up through July 23 of this year. They also cover all the DX QSOs in that time frame. What I did today was only figure the stats for the first DX QSO of each day. Here is that update of 2017 up through December 9.

QSOs by band:
10M - 0
12M - 0
15M - 9
17M - 19
20M - 107
30M - 80
40M - 67
80M - 2

By continent:
AF - 6
AN - 0
AS - 0
EU - 67
NA - 145
OC - 2
SA - 60
A big difference indeed as the sunspots decline. I'll have to adjust the early years to take into account using only the first DX of the day, then a more realistic comparison can be made that will really show the change. -30-

Fri Dec 08 2017 7:52PM - I wonder if the ARRL 10M Contest this weekend will bring the band to life. If past results mean anything, I will not hear anything here, yet the big stations with their KW power and high beams will rack up respectable scores at this point in the sunspot cycle. I could be wrong though, and perhaps I will hear and maybe even work a few stations. Certainly nothing like at the sunspot cycle peaks though when I could easily make over 400 QSOs without batting the proverbial eye. We'll see.

DX was decent on 20M today. At least decent enough to work Zen IK5ZWU fairly easily at 1515Z. He wasn't peaking much above S6, and he gave me a 439 RST. Although I know better, I'm still somewhat surprised that my minimal station can still work DX that is not all that strong despite the great decline in the sunspot cycle so far. Actually the solar flux is in the upper 60s now and as far as that number goes, it's not going to get much lower than that. I thought it was 64 for a record all time low. Just to check my memory, I did a Bing search on the Internet and found this interesting article which states the lowest value was set on July 16, 2008 when it was 64.2. Before that the record was 64.4 on July 2, 1954. There's a lot of other interesting reading in the article if you're interested in such things as I am. Since that record is now almost 10 years old, I'm wondering if has been broken since then. The article is from 2008. So let's look a little further. Well, there's just too much material to look through right now. I'll let the 64.2 stand for now as the lowest all-time solar flux. So back to my original point after all that rambling, the current solar flux of 68 is only a little less than 4 points from being as low as it can get. Barring other circumstances, perhaps based solely on that, the DX streak could go on for a ways yet, maybe even make it through the minimum. That will require the big DX stations to maintain their regular activity during the minimum. -30-

Thu Dec 07 2017 7:33PM - December 7th is always a special day for remembering. Of course for the bombing of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii in 1941, but also for something closer to home.

Each December 7, I pause to remember Joe who passed away 6 years ago today. Regular diary readers know who Joe was. For those who don't, he was my neighbor's dog with whom I became very good friends and helped quite a bit in taking care of him. Here's what he looked like:

I didn't think I could ever get close to another dog after that, but 8 months to the day later another dog came to live next door. He was named Roscoe. It didn't take long to win me over. Now we are very good friends also. He's different from Joe, but nonetheless, just as loving. I don't really have as good a picture of Roscoe as that of Joe. I do have these two, one not long after he came to live next door and one just before going to the groomer last year. He looks a bit apprehensive about getting groomed.

Those two dogs have certainly been a great source of enjoyment for me over the past several years. It's also a great feeling to have someone who relies on you so much as they did and do.

As I mentioned a few days ago, December 7 (and/or 8) is also the day of the earliest sunset each year. So from now on until June 27, the sun sets later each day. At first almost imperceptibly, but then it speeds up a little each day until around March 21. That is for locations around 40 degrees north latitude. Times vary at different latitudes. Instead of me trying to describe it, it is easier to look at a table of daily sunrise/sunset times such as the one here which should show the times for here in Kittanning. If you want to construct one for your location go here and fill in the form.

Same old stuff as usual on the bands. No DX this evening, but I got PJ2ND earlier in the day for the DX streak. -30-

Wed Dec 06 2017 8:46PM - It's always nice to have a rag chew type QSO with folks I usually work only in contests or sprints. I had such a QSO this evening with NAQCC member NN0SS whom I've worked before, but only in our NAQCC sprints. It wasn't a long rag chew, but we did exchange a lot more info than in the sprint QSOs. Some of the info I didn't like - Steve said it was 18 degrees with s#$w up in Grand Marais, MN. Brrrr. The worst of it is - it's heading this way and next week is going to be the coldest spell of weather so far this season with the exception of that day in November when it was 15 degrees.

As usual, no DX this evening. I did hear YV5DRN strong on 40M, but for whatever reason, I can never get him to hear me. The same tonight.

At least my DX during the day today was easier than yesterday. After one fruitless trip to the shack, the next time I right away found John ON4UN whom I can always work easily if he's not too busy. It was easy today, and another day was added to the streak. Hope it's that easy during the day tomorrow. -30-

Tue Dec 05 2017 7:44PM - No DX this evening at all. So it will probably be morning or afternoon for the DX again.

Today was another candidate for the hardest day to get my DX QSO. There was just no strong DX at all in the morning hours. I guess the strongest was IK4VFD on 20 at S4 at best. Then this afternoon had a strong V5/DK.... (forget the call now) on 30 meters with an unbreakable pileup. A little later both CO8LY on 30 and PV8ADI on 20 were strong. CO8LY continued his not hearing me lately. PV8ADI wasn't much better, but after about 30 times trying him as the only possible workable station at the time, he finally did send several partial versions of my call. Then it took about 10 more tries for him to get my call right. That was at 2004Z, the longest it's taken to get the DX QSO in quite a while now. I hope I don't have to go through the same thing tomorrow but more than likely I will as we are getting to that point in the sunspot cycle where DX is getting harder and harder to find and work. -30-

Mon Dec 04 2017 11:47AM - It looked for a while like I was going to be hit with a double whammy today. When I was getting dressed this morning, I got a muscle spasm in my back. That's the first I've have in... oh, must be a couple years now. I immediately applied some BenGay and walked a couple miles here inside the house. It hasn't been bad so far. Knock on wood.

Then while checking the bands, the first three checks showed absolutely no DX above my S4 or so noise level. The next check was pretty much the same, but I did hear EI44WAW at S6 or so. Knowing I work Ireland fairly well, I figured I had a chance at him. I was right and I got him easily after he worked a couple other stations. It was just in time, because as I was logging him and marking the NAQCC challenge letters from his call, he said QSY now to SSB. (I think that has something to do with voice communications??? - HI). So that's day #1740 in the DX streak and still at 100% of the days since March 1, 2013.

EI44WAW is part of the Wild Atlantic Way Irish event whereby they activate stations along the WAW which is a famous tourism route on the west coast of Ireland. There are nine special calls EI11WAW through EI99WAW - one from each of the nine counties the route passes through. EI44WAW is from County Mayo. There's an award for working all 9 stations in 2017, but I won't make it as I only have EI44WAW, EI11WAW, and EI55WAW worked. I don't really care about that though, as long as one of them helps me keep the streak going. -30-

Sun Dec 03 2017 7:45PM - One fairly strong DX signal heard this evening on 40 - HH2AA. However a ton of folks wanted to work him and I was not able to break the pileup in about 10 minutes of trying. I'll see if he is still around later tonight with fewer folks chasing him.

My neighbor and I are going shopping in a few minutes to get some dog food for Roscoe and a few other items, so that's all I have time to write for tonight. -30-

Sat Dec 02 2017 7:39PM - I did something this evening I should do more often, especially since it's now winter and the sunspots are dwindling away. What's that? Check 80 meters for DX. This is the season and the point in the sunspot cycle when 80 should be good for DX. It was this evening, and I found quickly and easily worked CT9/DL5AXX with a single call and one correction of my call. While I was filling out the letters from his call for the NAQCC December challenge, I kept listening to him. Strangely others were calling him, but he wasn't hearing them as well as he heard me. I glanced at the S-meter graph on the PX3 screen and he was peaking at S9 plus 10. Not a bad signal for 80 meters DX. I don't think Madeira is a new country on 80, but I'm going to take a quick check anyway. No, I have a few there.

Otherwise today, I finished my Christmas decorating, putting the ormanents on the tree. Ormanents? Those who listened to Party Line on KDKA those many years ago will remember that was Ed King's name for Christmas ornaments to distinguish them from ordinary ornaments. That brings back a lot of memories. I loved listening to Party Line from 10 to Midnight or so. I still think it was the only good radio talk show there ever was (or will be). I'll talk more about it some time here in the diary. Meanwhile here is a picture of the tree and the manger scene under the tree.



Fri Dec 01 2017 7:41PM - Yes, December 1 - the start of the worst of the four seasons. Now I start looking forward to those little landmarks along the way that mark another step closer to spring. Actually the first of them comes in just six days now. That's the earliest sunset here around 40 degrees north latitude. But isn't the shortest "day" around December 21 or so? No, actually shortest day is a misnomer. All days are the same length at just under 24 hours - the exact length depending of whether you are using sidereal or solar time. But that's another story. Actually the shortest period of daylight is what folks really mean when they erroneously say the shortest day. That is around December 21. Ok, then why the discrepancy between the earliest sunset and the shortest period of daylight? Aha, good question. Because of the complex geometry of the Earth's orbit around the Sun which I won't go into here, the earliest sunset is around December 7th, but the latest sunrise doesn't come until around January 4th or so. Do the math and you'll see that the sunrise and sunset times average out between Dec 7 and Jan 4 so that the midway day of December 21st winds up with the shortest period of daylight. OK, got that? There will be a pop quiz tomorrow. HI

You know, there are so many fascinating things in this world such as what I described above. It's a shame that so many people are totally oblivious to a lot of them. Personally things like that fascinate me and have always done so. I guess I have an above average amount of curiosity about just how everything works.

Maybe that's one reason why DX fascinates me so much. I'm always curious to see just at what time and on what band, among other factors determine just where in the world I can hear someone and get them to hear me.

One thing for sure tonight, no combination of factors helped me work some DX. And I only heard one weak CT9 and one weak PY signal. So I guess it will be later tonight or tomorrow morning/afternoon for the DX streak QSO. -30-

Thu Nov 30 2017 7:50PM - Other than my usual end of the month chores, nothing much else going on today. Outside of a couple Brazilians heard weakly on 40 and 30, no other DX heard this evening. Earlier in the day, old reliable Mike F5IN gave me my DX streak QSO to close out another month of DX. The bands were pretty good for DX when I listened in the 1300Z hour. That will probably become more and more my goto time of day for DX during the winter months. Of course meteorological winter begins tonight at midnight local time. I've already started my countdown to spring as you see above. At least the first 5 or 6 days of winter look pretty good with mild temperatures and little if any precipitation until a colder regime comes along next Wednesday. OK, off to more EOM work now. -30-

Wed Nov 29 2017 8:16PM - I've got my guestbook fixed up now. All those entries that were archived by my guestbook provider are now easily available again via the normal guestbook links. Now I just have to remember to keep it up to date as the 120 day mark passes and more are archived. That shouldn't be hard to do.

Not a single DX station heard this evening (yet). I heard other stations working DX, but couldn't hear a dit from the DX station. So guess what I'll be doing tomorrow morning. Unless I happen to work some DX later tonight.

For my regular streak QSO, I ran into my old friend Ken WA8REI. I don't think we worked since our 50th anniversary QSO last year. Let me check my Access log. OK, we did work once since then - on May 6 this year. Speaking of 50th anniversary, I had the idea a little while ago to start sort of a club of those hams with whom I've had 50th anniversary QSOs or at least with whom I've had QSOs 50 or more years apart. Of course three come to mind - WA8REI, WA4FAT, and WA9TUT. I'm sure there are more and I'm going to look into it as time permits. Oh, and K4BAI is another one. Another one just popped into mind - K1ZZ who was originally K1ZND when we first worked. That's something that will make things hard - change of call, either via a vanity call or upgrading from Novice when all Novice calls had an N in the call. OK, they are still coming. I'll stop after this one. W8LQ who was originally W2WOE. That's it for now.

I did some Christmas decorating today. Here are a couple pictures of what I've done so far. The garland across the archway between rooms, and the window stencils of the manger scene with the "Merry Christmas", star, and angel.

garland  window

One little tip. If you use a can of spray snow, be sure to shake the can well especially if it's been sitting almost a full year. I didn't shake it well enough and my first attempt at the star came out looking like the star was undergoing a supernova explosion. -30-

Tue Nov 28 2017 7:52PM - Seems I always get myself involved in a project to replace one I just finished. I was looking at my guestbook the other day and was surprised to see only 30 some entries there. Then I remembered, my guestbook provider archives entries after 120 days. To make a long story short, I've downloaded their archive file and am now in the process of making those archived entries visible again here on my web site without making my visitors dig into the guestbook provider archive file which isn't all that straightforward. Got that? So in a week or so, the guestbook will be as I want it to be again.

The DX came quickly again this evening as it did last night. Then it was VE3RZ/VP9 on 30 at 0006Z. Tonight it was 6Y0D on 40 at 0007Z. Both "leftovers" from the CQWW DX Contest, so to speak. HI. Hopefully the upcoming 160 and 10 meters contests will also provide some good DX before and after those contests as well.

OK, back to work on the guestbook now. -30-

Mon Nov 27 2017 10:45AM - Just added a story of the CQWW DX contest here. That will serve as my diary entry for today. -30-

Sun Nov 26 2017 7:42PM - Eating, contesting, walking Roscoe, coughing. If I wasn't doing one of those things, then I was doing one of the other three today.

My garden friend Ange, as well as my next door neighbors provided me with enough food for two BIG meals today. I still haven't finished it all. I was invited over to the neighbors, but I declined so as not to spread my cold germs. So they sent the food over here.

Band conditions were much better today, although still not all that good. But they were good enough to hold my interest much more than yesterday. I'll have a report on the contest tomorrow in the diary.

Right now I've got to get caught up on some things as well as close out the results from our NAQCC sprint. So I better get going. -30-

Sat Nov 25 2017 7:44PM - That's not for me. Only being able to work 1 in 15 of the stations I'm hearing in the CQWW, if that many. Conditions are pretty bad. In listening around, I'm hearing a lot of stations asking for repeats, or sending repeats, so it's not just here. With conditions like that, I only would check a few minutes every few hours today hoping for a quick change of things, but so far it hasn't happened. The real telling thing is that the PJ2, PJ4, P4, etc. stations whom I normally work easily are not hearing me at all. I don't even have a South America contact so far although I do have NA EU AF and OC in my log. Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better. If not I'll find some other way to pass the time. Also fighting a cold is not helping things at all. Hopefully at least that will improve by tomorrow. -30-

Fri Nov 24 2017 7:39PM - From Mike: As usual we had a lot of fun on the Requin. It was one of the better visits with all the traffic passing through the sub being it was kind of a holiday day after Thanksgiving. It was probably the heaviest visited operations we've had at the sub. We enjoyed talking with all the visitors as they passed by the radio room or dropped in for longer chats. Actually if we summarized all our very interesting chats with the visitory, this would become just the first of a series of chapters needed to include all the stories. We won't do that though.

Overall it was a fantastic post-Thanksgiving visit.

I'll add my AMEN to that. As far as activity on the bands, it was pretty much a par for the course. A lot of answers to our CQs the first 90 minutes or so, then things quieted down, so we abandoned our CQs and went off chasing DX. I should mention we had a broadband noise of some kind that was about 30-40 kHz wide centered on our 20 meters frequency. It was a real struggle to make 5 QSOs on 20 where the noise was. In total we made 31 QSOs. States worked included NJ NY MA ME NC FL TX ID TN MD PA. In Canada BC QC. Countries besides W/VE were: FJ V2 TK KH6 CT3 6Y YN V4 PJ4 KP2. Most, if not all the DX were stations setting up for the CQWW DX Contest.

As far as the DX Contest itself, as often happens, there is so much activity the first hour or so, it is very hard to squeeze in my minimal QRP signals, so after working KH6J on 15 to get my DX QSO, I decided to take a break till either later tonight or tomorrow morning. If conditions are as good during the day as they were today, it may turn out quite interesting and exciting.

Let's close now with pictures from the subpedition.


Thu Nov 23 2017 8:17PM - It's always a bit worrisome getting the DX QSO the evening before a parkpedition, subpedition, Skyview trip, etc. If I don't get the DX streak QSO then, that puts a bit more pressure on me to get it probably in late afternoon or evening after the event. Of course tomorrow we'll be going to the USS Requin as I've been mentioning, but no worry about the DX QSO as I easily worked 6Y3M on 40 meters. I imagine he's getting ready for the CQWW DX Contest. The contest should make DX a snap on Saturday and Sunday. If I can't get DX those two days, I deserve to have the streak end. HI

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I had a great meal with my neighbor and his brother at his brother's home. We were debating on whether to take Roscoe along or not. We decided against it since Roscoe does not like new things or places and he never had been at the brother's place before. In fact, he is pretty much a 'homebody'. I guess other than originally coming here from the state of Inidana when he was only a couple months old, and then trips to the vet are about the extent of his travels. Even when I walk him, he has his limits beyond which he just won't go. Anyway we brought him home a true doggy bag, and he really enjoyed part 1 of that. There's still some more for a snack tonight or maybe tomorrow morning.

I had an interesting QSO this evening after securing the DX streak with 6Y3M. A nice long chat with Bob W9RAS who worked at the Heath Company and did some of the design work on the HW-9. Over the years till they shut down, I built a lot of Heath equipment. I never built any of the ham rigs although I always had my eye on their SB line of gear, but could never afford them. I always liked using homebrew gear from scratch until 1999 anyway. I guess my biggest Heath Kit was a color television which I built and used at my Pittsburgh apartment. I've also built a lot of their test gear and stereo equipment. Perhaps someday I'll try to make up a list of all their kits I built. -30-

Wed Nov 22 2017 8:24PM - Another pretty busy day today, mostly with commonplace things though, not like yesterday. It certainly was more like November weather today than yesterday when it seemed like oh... I guess the middle of October. When I got up this morning it was 36 and didn't vary more than a couple degrees from that all day. I see the AcuRite unit shows a high of 43, but I think that must have been during the night. Yes, my other remote unit, the Computemp shows a high of 44 at 3:14AM. It looked rather gloomy all day too with cloud cover from the cold air blowing across the still warm Great Lakes. At least there was no precipitation.

Another day, same station, a different band for my DX streak QSO. Tonight it was TO2SP on 40 meters working a decent sized pile, but I broke it within a couple minutes with the aid of the KX3/PX3 excellent split operation features.

I still haven't decided what I'm going to do in the CQWW DX contest this weekend. I know with the poor conditions, I won't be putting in a full effort. I'll probably just set a moderate goal like 150 or maybe 200 QSOs and go for that. It will finally depend on the state of conditions Friday evening or early Saturday.

I'm looking forward to heading off to the Requin on Friday. I said I'd post our tentative schedule here in the diary, so...

Mike and I will arrive at 1445Z or so and hope to be setup with his KX3/PX3/Begali paddle to go by 1500Z. As you most likely know by now, the Requin has only one antenna so we can only operate one band at a time. For the first 90 minutes it will go like this:
1500-1530Z 7039 +/-
1530-1600Z 10117 +/-
1600-1630Z 14059 +/-

We'll be using the sub call of NY3EC. QSL via that call in QRZ.com.

After the first 90 minutes we'll stick with whichever of the bands seem the most active. We'll stay as long as activity warrants or the sub closes, whichever comes first. Hope to work you. -30-

Tue Nov 21 2017 7:36PM - I got a lot accomplished today. I closed up shop as the NAQCC prizes mailer and shipped off the remaining prizes to our new mailer Steve WB4OMM down in FL. At least he won't have to walk to the PO in the lousy winter weather like I would have to do this winter and have done in the past 3 or so winters. Although it wasn't a time-consuming job, it will free up a little more time for my other many varied activities.

I also did some more work on the little extra step I built for my neighbor to help him get up on and over the somewhat high front door step with his bad knee.

Since it was one of those great late November sunny warm days with a high of 56, I also did some more outside work. I put my Christmas lights up around my front door and also cleaned off the front porch. I won't turn the lights on until early December, but at least they are up and I won't have to stand out in the cold to put them up later. I also cleaned out the corner for the Christmas tree and brought the trimmings down from the attic. Then also in early December I'll bring down the tree and decorate it.

I also went for a couple walks with Roscoe as usual and a couple by myself just to enjoy the good weather.

I also solved a problem with my computer. I use the CPUID HWMonitor to check on various aspects of the computer. I noticed this morning it was running warm (22C vs. 14C) and also there was a lot of disk activity. I checked the process monitor and found something called HP Touch Point Analytics Client was causing a lot of CPU activity. I noticed it was installed yesterday somehow without my knowledge despite my firewall, antivirus, and malware shields. If you want to know more about it you can find out via a Bing search. Anyway I manually uninstalled it after closing the background process involved with it. I deleted the directory structure I found that it uses via the Bing search. That seemed to take care of it as the computer temperature is back down to 14C with only the normal disk activity. I never did research just what it does. I just didn't want it making my computer run too warm. After all, it's getting old now and probably can't take an extra load like that for too long.

DX? For the 7th day in a row now, the DX streak QSO has been logged in the evening thanks to the DX stations getting set up for the CQWW DX contest. Tonight it was P40L on 40 at 0006Z for day # 1,728.

Oh, I almost forgot. I did hear back from Mike about an hour after writing the diary entry and he said Friday would be good to go down to the Requin in Pittsburgh. I've sent an email to our NAQCC email list with our schedule and I'll post it here in the diary in tomorrow's entry as well. -30-

Mon Nov 20 2017 7:27PM - Our planned subpedition to the USS Requin in Pittsburgh on Wednesday hit a snag a little while ago. I talked to Art from the sub, and he can't be at the sub on Wednesday. He suggested Friday instead. Now I'm waiting to hear from Mike KC2EGL if he can make it that day. I can't remember if he has Friday off work or not.

No big disasters, but it seems like a lot of things are not going right this week. At least with stations setting up for the CQWW DX Contest this weekend, getting a DX QSO has been pretty easy (so far). Tonight I worked another member of the HR team - HR9/K1XM on 30 meters. A good many of the DX QSOs of late have had the / in their calls. Those that haven't are also setting up for the contest, but using a regular type call from that country like TO2SP and VP2MDL. At least the streak is still going despite the slide toward the upcoming sunspot minimu.

Check the diary tomorrow evening for the update on the Requin subpedition. It definitely won't be Wednesday. -30-

Sun Nov 19 2017 8:05PM - Just sitting here waiting for the final NAQCC sprint page to be posted by Corey so I can complete the cross-checking of logs and update Corey's page with the adjusted scores.

It wasn't a very good showing with only 93 logs containing 1,145 QSOs. Looks like the poor conditions everywhere but here in Kittanning and a couple other places took their toll. At least the cross-checking went quickly with fewer logs and QSOs, but I'd have sooner seen us get our normal 100+ logs.

One unusual feature of the cross-checking was the very low number of not-in-log QSOs. Let's see, there were only 11. That's the lowest I can remember in the 150+ logs I've cross checked over the years.

Hmmmm, that's strange Corey hasn't closed out the page yet. It's been 1 hour and 10 minutes since the log submission deadline. Hope he's OK.

After struggling for a half hour to just get my regular streak QSO, I found VP9/DK7LX booming in on 40 and it wen't like this. I somehow bumped my paddle as I called and wound up sending something like K2 dit dit. Wouldn't you know it. He came back with K2EEE 599 so I figured it was my botched sending he copied, since no K2EEE ever came back to him. OK, so I figured it was easy to get him, so I waited till he tried to work a G3 station who was being QRMed by an SV1 station. He never did get the G3 QSO finished and went back to searching for other QSOs. I called once and got him right away and hey, I sent my call right that time. HI. -30-

Sat Nov 18 2017 5:29PM - I'm going to do something different in the diary today. I'm going to write a software review that's really long overdue since the software has been around for many years now.

One of the best discoveries I ever made in ham radio (besides the KX3/PX3 combo, that is) is the marvelous contest logging program General Logger or GenLog as it is affectionately known. Although it is not for the sophisticated multi-op, multi-stn networked (professional) contest stations, it is ideal for a single op station like mine. I especially love it for our NAQCC sprints, but I can use it in any other contest I choose to enter like my favorites, the big DX contests like the ARRL and CQWW ones just to name a couple. It supports virtually every ham radio contest that exists on the planet, all using similar templates for each one. Once you learn how to use it in one contest, all the others are second nature. The learning curve is a very easy one. I know a lot of contests have their own logging programs, but then you have to learn how to use each one individually. I think that is way too much bother when you have GenLog that you already know how to use.

If you keep the program and the data file updated, another great thing is that in most cases, GenLog checks the data file for the contest you are in, and automatically fills in the correct info and saves you typing. However you must be sure that what GenLog inputs and what the station sends match. For example someone may live in OH and operate from there most of the time. However he may decide to operate portable in PA for one contest. He will send PA, but GenLog will input OH.

Besides what I said above, another great feature of GenLog is W3KM. Well, he's not a feature, but the author of GenLog. Unlike some folks who write a program once, and never update it after that, Dave constantly updates his software. The updates never change the main features of the program so you don't have to re-learn how to use it. They change the way the software operates in the background to speed it up, or make it work even better than it already does, or to take advantage of new features in the Windows operating system. He also regularly updates the data files that the program uses for the various contests.

If you ever run into a problem with GenLog, Dave will work with you to get it fixed whether it is something peculiar to your computer setup or something that takes a change in the GenLog software itself.

It is unfortunate for some who use other operating systems that it only works under Windows (all versions from XP through 10). However I have no problem with that since I'm a 100% Microsoft Windows user. I also have no problem with Dave keeping it as strictly a Windows program. That way he doesn't have to worry about any peculiarities in other operating systems that would require a separate version of GenLog and can keep up with any changes in Windows that may affect GenLog.

Since the program is constantly updated, you should always be sure you are using the latest version of the program itself as well as the updated data file that accompanies the program.

No, I don't have any affiliation with Dave and GenLog. I'm just an extremely delighted user of the program. I've tried some others, but they all had shortcomings. While I have had a couple minor glitches with GenLog, an email to Dave quickly took care of them.

If you're into basic contesting, no multi-multi stuff, I'd recommend giving GenLog a try if you're not already a satisfied user. Just do a Bing search for "general logger" to get to W3KM's web site. He also has some other software there. Oh, I forgot to mention that GenLog is total freeware, no charge at all, no ads, no limitations in the software. What you get for free is a complete working version of the program. In fact there is no commercial version. -30-

Fri Nov 17 2017 8:24PM - We're going to struggle to make it to 100 logs for this month's NAQCC sprint. I'd hate to see us not make it to that monthly goal. Especially since this is the next to last month that I'll be associated with cross-checking of our logs. This is the 156th sprint for which I've cross-checked logs now. It's our 157th regular sprint (not counting our 160M and mW special sprints which weren't cross-checked), and we didn't cross-check logs for the very first sprint back in October 2004. Wow, that's a long time - over 13 years. It's been both a frustrating and exhilirating experience doing the log checking. Frustrating because some folks seemed to always submit logs that needed some tweaking before my cross-checking software would accept them. However now that I'm about to retire from the job, I must say that the percentage of logs that can simply be copied and pasted into the software is probably the highest it's ever been. That's rewarding because we've been trying to teach correct logging procedures as a main part of the purpose of holding our sprints.

It's been exhilirating as a learning experience for me as I have continued to tweak my software for better and more efficient results ever since day one. Right now on my next to last sprint I have it just about as slick as it can get and I don't know how much quicker the process has become over the years, but it has cut down the time required by a great deal. Actually the software relys mainly on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which does most of the actual checking automatically through the formulas I've programmed into it. Of course such a complicated procedure still requires some human input to solve some questions. I could write a lot about such situations, but I'm not going to.

I hope whoever takes over the cross-checking job will be as meticulous about it as I have been. I especially hope that he/she adds that human input into whatever software will be used to strive for 100% accuracy as a goal as I have done. I'm probably not 100%, but I bet it's been darn close. At least I've never had anyone argue with me about any changes the cross-checking made. There have been questions about the changes, but my explanation of the changes has always been accepted with no disagreement.

And that wraps up a totally ad-libbed diary entry. HI. I had no idea that's where I was going with the entry after I wanted to mention about the possibility of coming up short of 100 logs this month. I imagine the shortage may be due to very poor conditions in other parts of the country that evening. Although they were great here, in glancing through the soapbox comments, virtually all mention poor conditions in one way or other. I don't understand how they could be so good here and yet so poor in most other places. Especially since as you know, I don't even come close to having the best antennas or location here. Just a freaky thing, I guess. One other PA station had almost as many QSOs as I did. He is in south central PA, yet other stations closer to me all reported poor conditions. Even stranger.

I also wanted to say that if you entered the sprint and haven't done so, please submit your log even if you only made one or two QSOs. A log like that counts just as much as one with 50 QSOs. And you won't be alone. A couple folks submitted logs saying they were on the air trying, but just couldn't complete a single QSO.

Now I've ad-libbed my way almost up to the time to get my weather readings, so I'll close here. -30-

Thu Nov 16 2017 7:45PM - OK, dilemma resolved quickly. Let me explain. In looking for my DX this evening, I found both VP2MDL and TO2SP very strong on 30M. I've worked both on 30 in the past several days. Actually TO2SP just late last night at 0506Z. About a week or so ago for VP2MDL. Still I didn't want to work either one again so soon. I couldn't find anyone else strong enough to work, so I went for VP2MDL and got a K3WWP QSO B4 from him. That's fine, but it presents a question. Did I work him or not? Was that considered a QSO? We did exchange info albeit only a QSO B4 from him and a R TU from me. I was on the horns of a dilemma as the saying goes. It was uncomfortable sitting on those horns so this happened. I heard PJ2/K2PLF working other DX stations via S&P on his part. I had a feeling he might call CQ himself after he worked the other available stations, so I kept a close eye whenever a peak at his strength showed up on the PX3 screen somewhere and after a few minutes I did find him calling CQ and got him after sending my call twice. There was no doubt about that being a QSO. So it's now a moot point whether or not the VP2MDL exchange was a QSO or not. Any thoughts on that? I can see both sides of the situation. We did exchange info so it's a QSO, but I'm probably not going into his log, so it wasn't a QSO. Just some more interesting things I'm running into while maintaining my DX streak.

Last night's NAQCC sprint was a surprise or perhaps even a shock. With horrible conditions on 40 and even 80 the two previous evenings, I had little hopre for good conditions for the sprint. At least for me, if not for many others, conditions took a sharp 180 and were very good, almost great for the sprint. I wound up with 50 QSOs in 25 states in extremely crowded conditions. Since I first broke 50 QSOs with 54 in May 2009, I've only had 15 other NAQCC sprints with 50 or more QSOs or 16 of 157 sprints of 50+. So it's not all that common for me, about 1 in 10. I think that shows how good conditions turned out to be. I've only gotten 25 or more states (all were states last night) or SPCs 4 times, even more rare at about 2.5 percent. Unfortunately for many of the other entrants, they did not get the good conditions that I was blessed with. So far of 82 logs, the closest to my 50 is 46 QSOs from another PA station. So I guess PA was in a 'white hole', propagation wise. It will be interesting to see if anyone else tops that and what area they are from. -30-

Wed Nov 15 2017 7:38PM - A different kind of frustration this evening. R1ANO and TO2SP booming in on 30M, but the pileups are so huge I haven't been able to break them yet even using a lot of the tricks in the book. I didn't think the South Shetland Islands and St. Barthelemy were that rare. I've worked both a few times each. Oh well. DX has been good in the mornings, so if not later tonight, perhaps I'll get my DX then.

We're not far from our NAQCC sprint. I hope the conditions on 30 are an indicator of good conditions on 40 and 80. If not, I may not spend the full two hours there. -30-

Tue Nov 14 2017 7:27PM - Man, that was bizarre tonight. My first attempt at a QSO went like this. I answered a station's CQ and he acknowledged and sent his info, but he gradually faded and by the time he supposedly finished his initial round he was totally gone into my noise. So I put a line through that entry in my log. That was on 30M. Next I went to 80 and called CQ and got an answer fairly quickly. I sent my info and turned it over to him and he was gone. Another lined out QSO. Some more CQs and another answer, but this time I couldn't even copy his call after a few tries. I don't think I've ever had three non-QSOs in a row like that as far as I can recall. Finally I did get an answer from Dan KB6NU and we did have a successful but brief QSO to keep the main streak going. As usual in the evenings of late though, no DX to be heard.

I did get an easy DX QSO early this morning though. Another one of those I could barely copy him, but nevertheless all it took was a single call to HR9/W1UE to get the QSO for day # 1,720 of DX.

I'm wondering now just how conditions are going to be for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening. I may have to go back to a couple years ago when I had my local noise problem, and just enter long enough to get 20 QSOs (if I can do that) and then hang it up. Just looking back at my sprint records and I see that those conditions lasted longer than I thought they did. From July 2014 through September 2015, I made 20 QSOs 8 times, 21 5 times, 22 1 time, and 23 1 time. I hope this is not going to be the start of another streak like that. The average in the rest of the NAQCC sprints I've entered has been about 34.5 QSOs. So we'll see which figure I come closest to tomorrow night. -30-

Mon Nov 13 2017 8:45PM - I worked K1SN in Virginia Beach this evening and in the QSO he described his conditions there as very poor the past two days with lots of QRN and generally weak signals. He asked how my conditions were here, and I had to answer exactly the same. So it looks like my poor conditions are nothing local and that's a relief. If it is widespread then it's something over which I have no control. I'll just have to wait it out until things improve, if they do.

My DX this morning was a quick bang-bang one. I found VP9/DK7LX strong on 20 working split. I set up the KX3 for split, gave a call and got a QSO with that one call. So he's been my DX QSO three times now on different bands - 30, 20, and 17. -30-

Sun Nov 12 2017 7:48PM - The bands continue to worsen. Even 80 meters this evening showed very few signals after to 0000Z traffic nets shut down. I did manage to eke out a QSO with W7FW in IL to keep the major streak going. No sign of any DX at all though. I can hear stations working DX from their much better locations and antenna farms perhaps with very QRO power, but I can't hear a peep from the DX station they are working. Maybe I need to move to a better location like the coast of New England or maybe Florida. New England being closer to Europe seems to help and Florida with a lower latitude path to Europe and Africa helps. No use dreaming though. I'm never going to move, and even if I did and things got easier in the way of working DX, I probably would miss the challenge of doing it from here. Anything worth having is worth working for, I believe.

Nothing much else worth writing about. I did get ready for our Wednesday evening NAQCC sprint. I set up the cross-checking program and uploaded and updated GenLog data file. Only one more month to do that now since I'm winding up my work with the NAQCC at the end of this year. I'll just be a regular member after that who continues to participate in the club events and works with our Western Pennsylvania Chapter, but that's it. -30-

Sat Nov 11 2017 7:23PM - Six days in a row of sub-70 SF readings has really taken a toll on the bands. DX is getting harder and harder to find, let alone work. Usually I can work OK/OM stations easily, especially in the OK/OM contest. Today I could only barely hear 3 or 4 OK stations - ones I usually work - and I couldn't even get heard by them. Fortunately I did run across and work with a single call, ZF9CW on 20M while looking for the OK/OM stations.

This evening about all I heard was VP2MDL on 30, and I just didn't want to work him once again. So I'll be looking again in the morning for my DX. I did get a quick QSO with VA7DX on 40 for the regular streak.

After continually lowering predictions for our overnight low last night, it turned out we didn't come close to most of the services predictions. I think a couple of them were basing the prediction on the current dew point temperature at the time of their prediction. It was around 10 degrees. We only hit 16 degrees here on both of my remote units so that will probably be my 'official' reading on the max/min mercury thermometer when I read it at 9:00PM. The 16 (+/- 1) will break the record of 20 for November 11. Now the cold eases a bit for the coming week with lows in the 20s/30s and highs in the 40s/low50s. That's much better. -30-

Fri Nov 10 2017 7:38PM - No DX this evening, but I did work W0N to keep the main streak going another day. That day number happens to be 8,500. It's nice to reach those 500 or 1,000 day marks as sort of a milestone. If you like numerology, when (if) I get my DX later today, that will be 1717 days for the DX streak.

I was thinking maybe tonight would be one of those weather records that go something like this: If we hit ** degrees tonight, that will be the earliest in the season we've been that cold. I don't think it is going to happen though. The low is predicted to be 14. However back in 1991 it was 10 degrees on November 5. So we'd have to get down to 9 tonight to set a record like that.

Just looking through my records, and here's a list of the earliest date we've hit a certain low temperature:

19, 18 - October 31, 1988
17 - November 4, 1991
16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 - November 5, 1991
9 - November 18, 1959
8 - November 23, 2000
7, 6, 5, 4, 3 - December 2, 1976
2, 1, 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6 - December 3, 1976

Those records on December 2-3, 1976 were a harbinger of the winter to come. Although December didn't stay cold enough long enough to make it the coldest December, January 1977 was and still is the coldest here going back to 1959 with an average min, max, mean of 6.0, 24.0, 15.0.

The 9 degrees on November 18, 1959 was another of the things that fascinated me enough to start my lifelong interest in meteorology, especially the records aspect of the field. While other memories may fade away, I can still recall many record setting weather events. I just hope we don't set any cold temperature, big s#$wfall, or freezing rain records here this winter. It would be nice to set a lot of daily maximum temperature, low monthly and seasonal s$%wfall, and zero freezing rain records though. -30-

Thu Nov 09 2017 7:45PM - A couple of interesting situations in my streaks today. First, as he did last night, Stan N8HN found me on 80 and answered my CQ again. So that's the same station for the main streak 2 consecutive days without any prearrangememt. But wait, there's more.

This morning I got busy with some things and getting my DX slipped to the back of my mind for a while. Finally I remembered and headed to the shack a little past 1600Z. I found the bands in pretty poor shape. The only strong station I was hearing for quite a while was Ralph XE1RK engaging in a string of long rag chews. That was actually it for 20, 17, and 15. Then I thought I'd try 30 to see if perhaps there was a Caribbean station coming thru. Sure enough there was, and like N8HN it was the same DX station I worked the day before - VP2MDL. A single call netted him. So the last couple days in my streak table kind of look like I updated them incorrectly. HI But wait, there's more.

Well, sort of. I like that line, "but wait, there's more" from the infomercials, and just wanted to use it again.

After I worked VP2MDL at midday on 30 today, I got to wondering just how much DX I've worked on 30 around that time of day. I'm going to look now. I have 4,179 DX QSOs on 30 meters according to my Microsoft Access database. I copied them into Microsoft Excel and sorted by hour of day. Now, let me use Excel to count per hour.

Ooops, I forgot to filter out the W/VE stations. Actually I have 1,462 DX stations on 30. I thought that 4,000 plus sounded too high.

OK, now here we go.

0000 - 924
0100 - 146
0200 - 54
0300 - 18
0400 - 46
0500 - 23
0700 - 1 - FW
1000 - 3 - KP2, CY9, CM
1100 - 2 - FJ, J7
1200 - 1 - FO0
1300 - 2 - HR, VP2E
1400 - 5 - KP4, CM, CM, CM, CM
1600 - 2 - FP, VP2M
1700 - 1 - HI
1800 - 4 - CM, PJ7, FS, C6
1900 - 9
2000 - 9
2100 - 76
2200 - 75
2300 - 61

Very interesting. The hours from 2100 through 0500 average 158 DX QSOs. From 0600 through 2000 average only less than 3 DX QSOs. Some of that has to do with my operating habits, but I think it shows that 30 is definitely a nighttime DX band for the most part. I've noted the countries for the daytime hours from 0700 through 1800. Interesting to see FW in the 0700Z hour and FO0 in the 1200Z hour. Now I've got to see if any of that can be applied toward helping to extend my DX streak.

One final thought or tip. Never assume because a DX station is weak you won't be able to work him. I almost did that tonight when I could barely copy VP9/DK7LX on 30. However I did set the split frequency and gave a call. I thought he answered me after he worked a couple other stations, but wasn't sure, so I waited and he sent my call again with the standard 599 report. Yes, you can work DX stations using CW/QRP that may not be all that strong. Of course not all the time, but often enough to give it a try. -30-

Wed Nov 08 2017 8:11PM - After the bands were pretty good last night and provided a quick DX QSO with VP2MDL on 30, tonight the DX was pretty much absent again. So my little pink reminder note here is out on my computer desk to remind me I still need that DX QSO to keep the streak going.

QSO note

That's my paper log to the right of the note. It's there to insert the two QSOs I did make this evening into my Microsoft Access log. As you see I worked N8HN and K8FN on 80 meters.

Not a lot else to write about. I spent most of the day working on my laptop. I just got the latest Windows 10 build and the insider updates, and am studying the new features that it has. Some of them I won't be using, but others will be very useful. Although I use Windows 7 on my main computer on which I'm working right now, I really love Windows 10 also, and since this computer is ten years old now, I figure it won't be long till I'll have a new Windows 10 computer here as my main working computer. Right now the Windows 10 laptop is really mostly a toy. I guess about the only real serious work I do on it is running GenLog for contesting in the shack or out on one of our portable operations. -30-

Tue Nov 07 2017 12:14PM - A busy morning. I took Roscoe out early and gave him his breakfast so he would be ready for the next step when Bruce got home. While waiting, I took the opportunity to fill the time by going and casting my vote. Then it was off to the vets for a toenail trim plus stocking up on heartworm and flea/tick medication. Brief checks in among the above showed nothing in the way of DX.

After we got Roscoe home and gave him the flea/tick tablet, it was over here and up to the shack. Now there was some DX around. I heard Bert F6HKA on 17, but he was engaged in some rag chewing. So I looked elsewhere intending to come back to Bert to see if I could catch him between rag chews. I didn't need to though as I found DL2DX strong on 20. I noted his frequency, then checked out another peak on the PX3. It was PA2EVR just ending a CQ, so I answered him. It took a few repeats of my call, but we made it to stretch the DX streak another day.

It continues to be more and more interesting getting the DX streak QSO in the log. I'm learning more and more about working DX when the solar flux gets down in the 60s as it is today. So far both 20 and 17 have been open for DX in the morning hours from say 1300-1700Z. At the other end of the spectrum so to speak, there has been very little DX heard in the 0000-0200Z evening hours on any band. I thought perhaps 80 and 40, and possibly 30 would be good in the evening, but so far that hasn't been the case. I don't know what will happen when we have a long run of SF readings in the low 60s and the ionosphere gets really inactive. I will find out though as I plan to continue working the DX streak as long as I can. If I miss a day or so, I intend to see if I can at least work DX on over 99 percent of the days since March 1, 2013. You note I've already modified my streak table on my home page to take that into consideration. -30-

Mon Nov 06 2017 7:55PM - Last night I worked ZF9CW on 40M through the SS QRM. Tonight he was strong again on 40. He was working a string of Europeans. I hope I don't regret not trying to work him again, but two nights in a row goes against the grain for me if I can at all avoid it. Also I'm sure those Europeans need ZF much more than I do, and I'd feel bad if my QSO deprived any of them of their QSO. So I'll cast my fate to the winds and see what later tonight or tomorrow morning/afternoon brings in the way of DX.

Otherwise the bands were really poor this evening. Even 80 meters didn't have any signals stronger than S9. Usually there are several stations peaking S9+20 up to S9+30. Other than the ZF and strangely VA7DX on 40, there was nothing there peaking much above S7 with a lot of deep fading. I did manage a 10 minute QSO with Paul KB4GYT for my regular streak QSO. Paul and I have had several QSOs thru the years. When I heard him calling CQ, I knew he is a great op, and figured I could work him, and I did.

I got my QSL for working KN0WCW in the Annual Nancy Kott Memorial FISTS event last month. A beautiful double card with a picture Nancy on the front. A huge number of us folks sure do miss her and the way she ran the Americas Chapter of FISTS. -30-

Sun Nov 05 2017 6:27PM - When I wrote my entry yesterday, I was forgetting about the SS Contest. That totally wiped out the Ukrainian Contest as well as any other DX, except for any on the WARC bands and there wasn't any DX there to begin with. So I went into worry mode since I knew I'd be away most of the day today at the Washington hamfest. I did my best to find a KP2, KP4, KL7, or KH6 in the SS last night to no avail. I'm thinking many of the stations in KP2 and KP4 may still be down because of the hurricane damage.

So with nothing to show last night, I tried early this morning before we left for the hamfest again to no avail. I tried one Italian on 17 meters, but he wasn't hearing me at all. So when Mike and I left for the hamfest around 1315Z I still had no DX for the day.

However the lack of DX was definitely made up for by the great fellowship we had with our ham friends at the hamfest. Here's an overall picture of the crowd in the hamfest building:
hamfest crowd

WPA Chapter members

And above L-R: Bob WC3O, John K3WWP, Tom WB3FAE, Mike KC2EGL, Drew W3FFZ.

We spent most of the time just chatting with folks. We did buy a few things among us. One was a power pole connector we're donating to the sub USS Requin to make it easier to connect various rigs to the sub's 12 volt power bus. Art from the sub was there and we talked with him about, among other things, going down to operate from the Requin on the day before Thanksgiving. He said to check with him a couple days before that to be sure work wasn't being done on the sub that day. I could go on and on about other interesting things we saw and talked about at the hamfest, but I won't other than to say it was a very enjoyable 3 or so hours.

Sometime after noon, we broke up and headed home. Mike and I headed to - wait, here it comes - - right, Applebee's in the Pittsburgh Mills where we had a couple of delicious chicken dinners. Filled up, we then headed back here where my first priority was getting that DX QSO. It didn't take long. 15 meters was still nicely open, and my years of experience told me that if it was open during the SS at that time of day, it was likely to present a path to Hawaii. So I checked each peak I saw on the PX3 and found KH7X, but he wasn't in Hawaii, but Arizona. Shortly after that it was KH7B. I listened and he definitely sent PAC as his section. So I called him and got K3? I sent my call again and we made the QSO with him questioning my number. The rest was solid copy both ways. I logged him, then let Mike take a shot at him. Mike only needed a single call with no repeats to complete the QSO. After I worked him, Mike told me I could breathe again. Indeed yes, it was a big relief to get this day into the DX streak log.

After that we fooled around with a little toy train I got at the hamfest. I told you they sell a lot of non-ham things there also. Tried unsuccessfully for some more DX, then closed out the day with a hidden object game and some reminiscing about the old AM broadcast stations like Radio Saipan, Langenfeld Germany on 1586 and the like. Then Mike headed home a little while ago to get ready to start another work week tomorrow. -30-

Sat Nov 04 2017 2:45PM - Does this make it clearer?


The Ukrainian DX Contest helped me get an easy DX QSO this morning just before 1300Z. I worked YL2KO with just a single call. Hopefully I can use the contest again at 0000Z for a QSO since tomorrow will be a busy day going to the hamfest with Mike. We'll be leaving at 1200Z and I don't know if the bands will be open then or not. Oh, but wait a minute - Daylight Shifting Time ends tonight so actually we'll be leaving at 1300Z so mabye I can get some DX before we leave if I strike out tonight.

OK, that gave you an extra paragraph to think about the picture. Yes, it's silly putty. I still have a lot of those type of toy gadgets (if that's an apt description) like that buried in a drawer somewhere. I'll probably run across more of them as I continue ridding out the house. I'll probably keep most of them though.

I looked up silly putty on Wikipedia and found out a lot of things about it that I didn't know before. I'm not going into that here, but if you're curious, check out this article

Thanks to the following four folks who took time to pass along a guess (or their knowledge). KD8RNF-right #1, N1JI-wrong #1, K6ACF-right #2, and W4DUK-right #3. Good work! N1JI guessed "Is the picture of the plastic egg in your diary one of those shakers - The ones that sound like a maraca?"

Maybe I'll do this again when I find some more of those old toys that have been hidden for so long. -30-

Fri Nov 03 2017 9:05PM - Still going through my house getting rid of a lot of things I haven't even seen for many years now. I have been, and still am quite the pack rat. Now the time has come to start throwing things out instead of bringing them in and saving them. Anyway in one drawer today I found the following:


Anyone know what it is besides the obvious plastic egg?

If you know and are the first one to email me via the email link above with the correct answer, you'll have the great honor of having your call in my diary. HI

After someone guesses or knows correctly, I'll talk more about it.

There are a lot of us old-time hams around on the bands. I worked another close contemporary tonight - K1PUG at age 74 and 57 years a ham. I can't recall the last time I worked a teenage ham, and if I counted them up, I wouldn't need more than my fingers for those hams under 40 I've worked recently. It's a shame the younger generations don't appreciate the wonderful mode of CW. I guess they like to let their computers do the thinking and don't want to strain their brains too much to learn CW. I find it great exercise for my brain, and that's only but one of the many good reasons to use it on the ham bands. OK, that's my soapbox for tonight. I will now step down.

It looks like it will be tomorrow morning till I get my DX streak QSO, if then. I didn't hear a single DX station on the bands this evening. -30-

Thu Nov 02 2017 9:25PM - Running a little late tonight. Almost time to take Roscoe out again. I promised someone I'd post an updated picture of Roscoe here in the diary. I haven't forgotten. Just never seem to fit it into my busy schedule, but I will do it. Maybe this weekend.

I got one of those super quick DX streak QSOs tonight at 0000Z. Just a couple calls to XE2I on 20 added another day to the streak. That gave me time for something I don't seem to have much time for most days. Have a good long rag chew. This evening it was with Barry WA7WKY whom I also worked a couple of evenings ago. Barry and I are pretty much contemporaries. He's 73 years old and licensed for 59 years.

Well, over to next door now to walk Roscoe and visit with Bruce for a while. -30-

Wed Nov 01 2017 9:22AM - If ever there was a typical dreary November day in this area, today is it. It' 36 degrees with a cold rain and looks like it will be that way most of the day with maybe a couple holes in the rain shield. I just took advantage of one and got Roscoe out for the first of his four or five walks for the day.

Now the rain filled in again so while waiting for the next hole to do my monthly first of the month banking, I thought I'd see if I could get some DX. I don't think I've mentioned this before but the short CWT sprints are a good source of DX that may help me to continue the DX streak as conditions decline. The CWT ops are all top notch and can dig out my QRP signals. Fortunately non-members are welcome in the sprints. I was a member at one time but didn't feel like paying the dues to continue my membership. Besides I had too much other work to do with the NAQCC and FISTS. I didn't want to get involved with another club. To this day FISTS and the NAQCC are the only clubs of which I'm an active member and it will always be that way. Those are the top two CW clubs in my opinion and I don't really need any others.

I keep jumping the track when I write these entries. I was going to say that I worked GW4J easily in the CWT sprint a little while ago. He wasn't all that strong, but the second time I tried calling him, I got WWP? I sent K3 K3WWP and we exchanged the sprint info with no further repeats. I also heard Bert F6HKA, but he was busy running stations and I didn't have all that much time to wait, so I found and worked GW4J instead, then QRT to write the diary entry.

Now as I continue to wait for another hole in the rain, I'm going to put my October weather readings into my Microsoft Excel weather spreadsheet and see how the October averages turned out. It was a strange up and down warm and cold, dry and wet month. I'm guessing with all the ups and downs, the averages will be pretty close to normal. I'll know soon unless the hole in the rain comes and I pause in the records for my banking trip.

I heard from Mike this morning and he confirmed our plans for the Washington PA hamfest this Sunday. We plan to leave around 8 AM which should get us there around 9:30 AM. If you're in the area, maybe we'll see you there. As I've said, it is a neat compact hamfest with a lot of vendors selling many different things. If you need something, you might just find it there. -30-

Tue Oct 31 2017 8:40PM - I got to thinking about something I said in yesterday's entry. The part about the good ops who seemingly are sure QSOs when I run across them and need them for the streak or some other reason. So I went into my Microsoft Access log and fooled around a bit. I found the following stations I've worked more than 20 times, not counting contest QSOs, just regular type QSOs.
CO8LY   35
XE1XR   32
PV8ADI  29
HC2AO   23
CO6RD   22
HA9RT   20
I was surprised to not find two of the stations I mentioned yesterday - F5IN and ON4UN. Why? Because most of the QSOs I've had with Mike and John have come in contests.

I also did some analyzing of my DX streak after completing the 56th straight month last night at 0231Z when I worked VP5/N2WKS with a single call on 30M. Although I didn't have any doubt at the time anyway, I'm positive it was a good QSO since when I uploaded my October log to LoTW, that QSO was matched. Although I still love paper QSLs, these electronic ones are quite the modern marvel.

Anyway back on track. The 56 months of daily DX QSOs yielded the following random stats.
Total QSOs - 6,674
Total entities - 159
Most entities from a continent - EU with 56
Most QSOs from a continent - 4,223 from EU
Unique stations worked - 2,709 or 40.6%
Of the 1,706 first QSOs of a day:
676 came from NA
653 from EU
Only 4 from Antarctica
I have a lot more, but I'll cut it short since I'm sure a lot of hams are not as stat-minded as I am. I think that's one reason I love ham radio - it gives me a lot of data to analyze statistically. -30-

Mon Oct 30 2017 11:32AM - There's little of late that makes my heart rejoice as much as after struggling unsuccessfully to get my DX streak QSO finding one of the great ops with at least a fair signal. I can be pretty sure that ops like ON4UN and CO8LY, just to name a couple are more than likely to hear and work me. After pretty much constantly checking the bands during breaks in doing my laundry and walking Roscoe, I was thinking this was a likely day for the streak to end. There was a lot of DX, but most of it was chasing other DX, very weak, in a long rag chew, or fading up and down so badly, I probably couldn't even tell if they answered me or not. All that ended when I found Mike F5IN calling CQ on 20. He wasn't all that strong, about S6 or S7, but he is one of those great ops, and all it took to work him was to send my call once and we had a solid exchange of info.

It is interesting to see how good the high bands still are at this point in the sunspot cycle. When I have to get on in the morning to keep the streak going, I generally find a lot of DX on 20, 17, and even 15 meters. That gives me hope that maybe, just maybe I can go quite the way into the developing sunspot minimum with the DX streak. I love to keep showing the doubters and questioners that you can work DX with CW, QRP, and simple wire antennas. That's my main mission with the DX streak. I wish I'd had that kind of encouragement back in the 1960s and early 1970s when I confess I was one of the doubters. -30-

Sun Oct 29 2017 8:31PM - Today was not much different than yesterday both as far as weather and ham radio. I could probably put ditto marks under yesterday's entry and use it again. I'd just have to change the time of the DX QSO from 1303Z to 1345Z, the band from 15 to 17, and the call from LZ251MKP to ZF2ZE. That would cover it all - really.

I just did a lot of non-ham things today I'm not going to delve into since they are all repetitive activities. Maybe tomorrow will be a little more exciting.

It will be nice when next Sunday comes as there is another hamfest, the last one for me this year. It's the one in Washington, PA. Mike will be going with me, or I guess I'll be going with him, since he's the driver. We went there the first time two years ago, and really enjoyed it. It's a nice compact gathering with plenty of vendors selling just about everything, even some non-ham items. I got a nice folding umbrella there that I use a lot since it is so compact and easy to carry. I also got a nice log put out by the RSGB for keeping track of prefixes.

This time Mike and I are hoping to get some more power pole items which we'll donate to the USS Requin to make setting up to operate from there easier for us and everyone else. We'll be going to the Requin for our annual day before Thanksgiving operating session. We being Mike and I and hopefully some other NAQCC WPA Chapter members as well. -30-

Sat Oct 28 2017 8:37PM - After a great day yesterday with sunny skies and temperatures in the lower 70s, today was a particularly nasty day with rain off and on, mostly on, and a high of only 54 which I think was at midnight. It wasn't out of the 40s during the day. I think today will be pretty much the rule from now on. I think the 70s will wait till next year.

I got an easy DX QSO this morning and a new prefix from LZ251MKP, one of the Bulgarian Saints stations. I haven't worked many of them lately although I did get their beautiful certificate a couple years ago for working one a month or something like that. The QSO was on 15 meters at 1303Z. I guess right now 15 opens early and closes early. I'll have to check on it more often. I'll have to do so tomorrow morning as I didn't get any DX this evening. Only heard one very weak EA station on 40 meters. -30-

Fri Oct 27 2017 8:43PM - No DX this evening to talk about, so I think I'll share some info from a couple of emails.

First of all this from the FISTS email bulletin. "Today, 10/27 Nancy WZ8C would have been 62. We lost her too soon. She was a wonderful friend to me and the FISTS community. In remembrance. Mike, N3HLM". That certainly is true - far too soon. I'd love to see FISTS be as active as it was when she was alive. I remember you couldn't tune past xx.058 on any band without hearing CQ FISTS or a couple of FISTS in QSO, etc. Now I can't recall the last time I've heard a CQ FISTS outside of the FISTS sprints or the recent Nancy special activity. I'm sure Nancy is not too pleased as she looks down nowadays.

I checked with Dirk WA9TUT, and he gave me permission to share his email he sent a few days ago. I think I mentioned this in the diary, but he responded to a note I wrote on back of the QSL I sent him about finding a previous QSO almost 50 years ago with his call, but in a different QTH (Belleville, IL, not Olney, IL) and the name was different (Jeff then, Dirk now). Now as the late great Paul Harvey used to say - the rest of the story.

"..... in 1967, when in high school, I did live in Belleville, IL. I was WN9TUT. I went to the federal building in St. Louis, MO and passed my General class examination with code at 10 WPM. It seemed like forever for my license to come in the mail. I thought it was lost in the Christmas cards at the post office.

However, the day after Christmas, Dec 26th, 1967 my license arrived in the mail. My friend Jeff (already general class) came over to my house and brought his bug and a handful of general band frequency crystals. We spent the rest of the day alternating making contacts. My highlight was contacting the US Virgin Islands, one of only 4 DX contacts that I made in 1967-1972.

But, interestingly enough, the first contact with my new call, WA9TUT was made by Jeff with you on 14.082 75 watts DX-40 & BC-348R loading rain gutters, 1637-1645 CST with you on 14.080, both RST were 579.

I have my advanced now (got it 5 months after the general 13 wpm). In 1968-1972 I could copy 20-25 wpm in my head. now I am lucky to make 8-10 wpm on paper.

Thanks for the QSL and your support of CW/QRP! Dirk"

Unfortunately Dirk will be away over the Christmas holidays this year, so we won't be able to make a 50th anniversary QSO on December 26, 2017. I've mentioned two other 50th anniversary QSOs I've made with WA4FAT and WA8REI in previous diary entries. Kind of hard to believe I've been in ham radio long enough to do that, but time does fly, doesn't it? Just like it's hard to believe I've been using my KX3 just over 5 years now. I mentioned that to Mike when he was here Wednesday evening, and he was a little surprised it was that long also. -30-

Thu Oct 26 2017 3:28PM - Just got my mail out of the mailbox and this was there with some junk mail:


Man that yellow is really bright. That's entity # 213 verified by QSL card. Counting card and LoTW that's 220 verified out of the 225 I have worked. So that made my day.

Mike and I had a good time last night. Just before he came a little past 0000Z, I worked E77E on 30 for my DX streak QSO. I asked Mike if he wanted to try to work E77E also before we dug into the pizza he brought. He said yes, but as we listened conditions seemed to go downhill rapidly and E77E got weaker and weaker and Mike couldn't get him. So we had the pizza.

After that it was back to the shack for some more DXing. The only QSO was Mike working 9Y4/DL1QQ on 40. We talked about some of our future plans and then he had to head home.

Along with the QSL card I got another interesting piece of mail. A couple of weeks ago I got a letter from a relative of Larry Hooks KN3WWW who was the one who got me into ham radio way back in 1963. I may have mentioned the first letter in the diary. Anyway I had lost contact with Larry after we graduated high school and that letter was the first of any kind of info I had about Larry since graduation. One thing that intrigued me was the relative, actually Larry's son, mentioned that Larry died at too early an age. The letter today explained that more in detail. I won't quote it all here, but it seems that Larry died in a plane crash when he was only 29. Sad news, but at least I know more about him now. It's possible without him, I wouldn't be writing a ham radio diary today. I might have not gotten into ham radio nor even into the broadcasting business. I had intended to do something in astronomy, but that kind of changed into broadcasting because of ham radio. But that's another story, as one of my WPIT co-workers used to say a lot. -30-

Wed Oct 25 2017 8:48AM - Yes AM, not PM. I've got a lot of chores I want to get done today, so I'll take care of the diary entry now since I just got my DX QSO thanks to EI5WAW on 20 meters. I'm finding it more and more interesting how it is possible to work DX stations that are very weak here. Dave was really only about 459 although I gave him a 579 since he gave me a 569 and he did have a couple brief peaks to S7. Wouldn't you know it though. My furnace came on with its QRN midway through the QSO, but we did manage to finish properly.

That's another somewhat of a milestone day in the DX streak - day # 1,700. I remember how the streak almost ended on day 1,600 so I was glad to get the DX early and quickly for 1,700.

OK, now off to my list of chores while the enthusiasm to get them done still lasts. It often doesn't and procrastination sets in. HI -30-

Tue Oct 24 2017 7:05PM - One interest I've neglected lately is satellite watching. I started on July 10, 2004 to see how many different satellites I could observe. I especially liked watching the Iridium satellite flares. The first couple years I was out just about every clear evening to try for as many as I could log. Counting duplicates, here are my total sightings by year since then, followed by more stats and comments.
2004   373
2005   368
2006    37
2007     4
2008     0
2009    46
2010     6
2011    13
2012     0
2013     1
2014     0
2015     0
2016     1
2017     2
I guess the neglect went back further than I thought. Looks like the main period of interest lasted only two years.

I've sighted the ISS 61 times, The Iridium fleet of around 100 satellites 154 times from 64 of the 100. A lot of Cosmos sightings - 394 in fact, including satellite and the launch rocket. Some of the oldest sightings were:
Atlas Centaur Rocket - launched 11/27/1963
Cosmos 44 Rocket - 8/28/1964
Cosmos 192 Rocket - 11/23/1967
Meteor 1-1 - oldest satellite 3/26/1969

In looking through my Excel spreadsheet of sightings I'm finding many interesting notes. Maybe I'll digest them a little more and present some here in a future diary entry. One thing I remember but can't seem to find the note yet was seeing the ISS and a supply ship flying in formation either before or just after separation. Also many sightings of two or more satellites at the same time. I remember one triangle formation of three satellites. Well, as I say, I'm going to go through the comments for some reminiscing later to see what all I can find.

What brought this all on was a sighting this evening of Iridium 83 with a flare of -8.3 magnitude, about the brightest I've ever seen.

I get the timing of the passes and other info from the Heavens Above web site. It's a great resource for those interested in goings on in the 'heavens above'. -30-

Mon Oct 23 2017 9:13PM - Wow, 2 evenings in a row I got my DX in the 0000Z hour, both on 40. Last night 8P9RN and tonight PJ4/K2NG. It was nice to have the "day off" today and will be nice again tomorrow. I think I will check the bands during the day though just to see if the morning hours are still providing good DX openings.

I'm kind of watching the rain here now trying to catch a break to take Roscoe out. It seems to be letting up now, so I think I'll just close this entry now. -30-

Sun Oct 22 2017 9:39AM - Since this evening I'll be 'watching' the almost-live drawing for our NAQCC anniversary prizes (see the NAQCC web site info about the operation and drawing) and finalizing our sprint results along with getting my streak QSO(s), I thought I'd write the diary entry early again.

I'd like to talk about a couple pet peeves in ham radio. Comparing results without taking into account antennas and locations. Also correcting contest results.

Let's start with the second. I have always thought it was highly unfair to penalize me for an error made by the station I worked. For example, say he hears me first as K3WMP because the dot I send gets lost in a static burst or QSB. I repeat my call and he now sends it correctly as K3WWP, but doesn't change it in his original logging. In some contests that actually do cross-checking of logs (another pet peeve I'll deal with), I could be penalized for a not in log QSO when I did everything right. There are many other situations where I may be penalized unfairly, but you understand what I'm saying. For our NAQCC sprints, we make every effort to be completely fair in our scoring. Following a thorough cross-checking and score corrections, we give a grace period of one week for stations to question any score changes. If it is a not-in-log QSO that caused the change, we'll let the station check with the station who didn't log him to find out why. It's often one of three reasons. Either the station logged on paper and forgot to add the QSO to his submitted log, the station was actually working someone else on the same frequency and the timing seemed to indicate one station was being worked when actually it was another, or the station questioning the change thought the other station veried the info but did not. If the station being questioned says it really should have been a legitimate QSO, we'll restore the QSO and add it to the oher station's log. I don't think it can be any fairer than that. I could go on listing many other examples, but I think I've made my point so let's move on.

As for cross-checking, I definitely think some form of cross-checking should be applied to every sprint, contest, or other competition. Otherwise there is too much room for error. In each of our sprints on a rough average there are some 20 scores that are adjusted out of the 110 or so scores submitted for one reason or other. However we never penalize, only correct what needs correcting such as logging a state as NY when it should have been NJ resulting in a SPC multiplier change. If there was no other legitimate NY QSO and there were other NJ QSOs, that changes the multiplier total and hence the score. Again no more examples since the point was made, and we'll move on.

Perhaps my longest standing pet peeve is the one about antennas. In many cases, I'm forced to compete on equal footing using my simple station with someone using a beam on a hilltop. Of course with an infinite variety of antennas and locations, it's impossible to figure those into contest scoring like it is with basic power levels. There are two solutions that I use to this problem. First I only compete with someone having an identical setup - myself. I try to better my previous best score in a particular contest. Second with the NAQCC, with each scoring line in the results, we list a brief antenna description so others can compare their results with other stations. The guy with the simple setup then doesn't feel bad getting beat by the beam on a hill guy.

OK, now with that off my chest and my DX QSO secure thanks to DK9PY in the WAG contest, I close now and find something to do till this evening's activities I mentioned at the start of this entry. -30-

Sat Oct 21 2017 10:39AM - It's getting harder and harder. It took 3 QSOs today to get a good one. First the station could never get my last letter P and closed thinking I was Chas K3WW, so that didn't go in the log even though I know it was me he was working. Next station had me as A3WW?, so same thing again. I will give both stations credit though. They did put in an honest effort to get things right. It's discouraging, but I appreciate their effort.

Finally although it also was a struggle, GB8OPW also stuck with me and despite QSB and QRM, he got my call right and we completed the QSO. So the streak struggles on. Oh also there were a few other stations I called as the band was pretty busy with DX, but none of them heard me at all.

Hopefully this evening or before 1500Z in the morning, the WAG contest will provide me with tomorrow's DX a bit easier. -30-

Fri Oct 20 2017 9:05PM - You can be sure conditions are bad when CO8LY doesn't hear me calling him. That happened this evening on 30 meters. I didn't really try all that long, but still it's usually a cinch QSO with him any time, any band.

That's OK though, because if things continue as they have been, I'll find some DX tomorrow morning on 20, 17, or 15. This morning it was another 15M DX QSO with R7KW in Crimea, Russia. That's the first Russian I've worked in some time now. I'm curious to see how long it's been, so let me check. Won't take but a moment with my Microsoft Access log. Wow, I didn't think it was that long. The last Asiatic Russian was RQ16CW on August 2, 2016. The last European Russian was R1DX on July 23, 2016. In all of 2016, I only worked ASR twice and EUR six times. Quite a contrast from the last sunspot peak a few years ago. In 2013 just to pick a year, it was 83 combined ASR and EUR. -30-

Thu Oct 19 2017 8:35PM - 10 straight days now with no DX in the evening which means 10 straight days now with DX in the 1300-1500Z hours. My arena of battle has completely shifted now as the sunspots decline further and further. At least those morning hours continue to be good for DX, but for how long, I don't know. Even 15 meters was open to Europe this morning, and I worked Rune SM5COP there at 1433Z. There were also other Europeans on 17 and 20, but I didn't try to work anyone else after I got Rune in the log.

Otherwise not much else to write about. I did some more 'redding out' of stuff I won't be needing any longer. Then I went to the Ol' Station Marketplace and brought some more stuff back into the house. HI. The outgoing was way ahead of the incoming though and that's good. I went for a couple good walks in the perfect autumn weather and spent a lot of time with Roscoe either walking or sitting on the porch swing.

I also added the World to my country divisions Excel spreadsheet. I listed the 225 I have (including 4 deleted countries) and the 118 I still need to work to have them all. I am pretty certain that is not going to happen. In fact I probably won't be getting any new entities until the next sunspot peak, if then. Sometime back in the diary I listed my number of entities by continent. In fact that data is now on my Awards-DXCC page as well. I have a lot of the entities from easy to work NA (have all), EU (need 4), and SA (need 5). I need 108 total in not as easy to work or not as active AS, OC, and AF. -30-

Wed Oct 18 2017 8:54PM - Same old story - no DX this evening. I did at least hear 8P9RN on 40, but he wasn't hearing me, even when there seemed to be a break in his pileup. So as with 9 of the last 10 days now, the DX will have to wait till morning. Actually 20 and 17 seem to be good for DX in the mornings. I hope that continues. It's getting to be frustrating not getting the DX in the evening, but also becoming more and more interesting having to work a little harder to keep the streak going. I'm learning a little more about propagation as the sunspot cycle declines. During previous minimums I was not as interested in DX as I am this minimum. During the previous couple cycles, I'd work as much DX as I could around the maximums, then pretty much ignore DX during the minimums. Now I'm quite interested to see just how far into the minimum I can still work DX. Of course those with the KWs, beams, and hilltop locations probably don't even notice much of a difference between a maximum and a minimum. But those of us with simple minimal stations can definitely tell the difference. I guess perhaps it would be boring if conditions were as they are at a maximum every single day with no cycling up and down. I prefer having to do some work to earn things and not have them handed to me on a silver platter. The same way with DX. It's more fun and satisfying when you have to work a bit to get the DX in your log. OK, I've rambled long enough on that subject now.

I'm continuing to work on the various first level divisions in various countries - seeing how many of the divisions I've contacted. The way some countries divide up their territory can get confusing with different sources giving different lists. Basically I'm going with what Wikipedia says as it seems most consistent from country to country in defining what is a first level division. Today I decided to add the USA (states) and Canada (provinces/territories) to my Excel spreadsheet. In doing the USA I was a bit surprised to see how many states I worked back in the 1960s with 5 watts or less. Not a lot, but more than I thought. I found 14 states worked between 1/3/1964 and 10/10/1965. The last 36 (finishing with KH6 and KL7) came between 2/16/1993 and 2/18/1995. The lower 48 finished with Nevada on 8/6/1994. 12 of the 13 prov/terr in Canada came between 9/6/1964 (Ontario - only one in the 60s), then 2/26/1993 through 2/25/1995 (NWT). Then I added Nunavut on 6/25/1999.

I also added the World to a page in the spreadsheet listing my 225 entities. By 50s, the entities were worked a follows:
1-2 (USA/Canada) 1/3/1964 to 9/6/1964
3-50 2/27/1993 to 7/5/1994
51-100 7/5/1994 to 2/25/1995
101-150 2/25/1995 to 11/25/1998
151-200 11/28/1998 to 7/27/2002
201-225 11/24/2002 to 5/28/2016

Interesting how fast the first 100 entities come, then the slowdown starts. Anyone with the desire to do so should be able to earn the basic DXCC award. Actually in 2000, I got DXCC in the first 78 days for the ARRL Millenium DXCC Award. I throw that in for those who think earning DXCC is very hard. That's not right by any means. Although it may be a bit harder now going into the sunspot minimum, it's still fairly easy. Maybe I'll see if I can get DXCC in this year just to show it is fairly easy. I'll have to see how many countries I have so far this year, but that's a task for another day. Now I've got to close here and take Roscoe for his next to last walk of the day. -30-

Tue Oct 17 2017 12:05PM - Anticipating my DX streak ending sometime in the not too distant future as conditions continue to decline, I've added a column to my QSO OF THE DAY table below as I mentioned in yesterday's entry. That is the percentage of days on which I've worked DX since March 1, 2013. I hope it will continue to show 100.00 for many many more days to come, but who knows?

I'm pretty much down now to not being able to work DX in the evenings. 8 of the last 10 days now the DX QSO hasn't come till the 13-15Z hour period. Likewise this morning. First I worked Luc I1YRL, but I wasn't copying him all that well, and I wasn't sure he had my call right, so I went for an insurance QSO. I easily worked John ON4UN on 20 and we even had a bit of a chat about band conditions. -30-

Mon Oct 16 2017 11:35AM - Just finished a busy morning here, and guess I'll take it easy the rest of the day as well as getting the diary entry written now.

After a long wait, the FOBB scores were finally posted yesterday. We didn't do quite as good as last year, but we finished 7th among 70 listed scores. By we, I mean Mike KC2EGL and I operating the NAQCC club call of N3AQC. 40 was our downfall this year. Conditions there were miserable and we made only 10 QSOs vs. 42 on 20 meters. As the old Dodgers used to say, wait till next year.

A bit of a disappointment, then success in the DX streak for another day. About the third time I checked the bands today, there were at least some peaks to explore on the PX3, especially on 17 meters as the band must have slept in, then suddenly awakened. The first peak I checked, I heard what I thought was a M0 station, called him and he came back to my first call. Hmmmm, that was too easy. Turned out the initial dot in his call was cut off somehow, and it was a W0 station. A few minutes later though, I did find and work CO2AME on 20 meters with a single call.

I've had a thought about the DX streak. If I do miss a day, I think I'll continue on and keep track of the percentage of days since the streak started on which I was able to work DX. Should I miss tomorrow, for example, then add 10 more days that would then be 1,701/1,702 or 99.94%. I think that will continue to prove my point that if not on every day, but on most days, DX can be worked with QRP/CW/simple wire antennas. What do you think?

I finished the log checking for our sprint this morning. So all that's left now is for anyone who noticed a change in their score to question it if they wish - before next Sunday at 2400Z. Then the results become final after just 12 days. I think considering the meticilous way we check logs including thorough cross-checking that's pretty darn good. Actually the checking takes only a couple hours after the log submission deadline the first Sunday after the sprint. The rest of the 12 days is only a grace period for submitters to check and question changes.

While I was finishing up with that, I was doing my laundry. After that, a walk with Roscoe. Next out with garbage for pickup tomorrow morning. Now time for brunch about an hour later than usual. -30-

Sun Oct 15 2017 9:14PM - I'm in the midst of closing out our NAQCC sprint results, then it will be time to walk Roscoe, so I'll have to keep this short.

Not too much to talk about anyway. As usual of late no evening DX. Didn't even hear any in the short time I listened. So once again it will be the morning or afternoon for DX if I get any. Although I didn't hear any DX, I heard some big pileups working something that I couldn't hear at all.

This morning I did work P40EU. After hearing him on 80 last night, I kind of thought he might be on one of the higher bands today. I was right. I found him rather quickly on 20 and worked him after several repeats of my call. He said local QRM was bad down there on Aruba. -30-

Sat Oct 14 2017 8:20PM - Seems like conditions continue to go down hill, or at least remain in the valley in which they have been stuck for a while now. This will be a tough day for the streak with a few contests going on, none of them really DX, providing QRM during the day. The only DX I heard this evening was P40EU on 80. I tried him but he didn't hear me. I tried again and he never came back again. I guess he shut down.

This morning I didn't find much in the way of strong DX anywhere, but I did work HG500T pretty easily on 20M. That brings me to a tip about chasing DX, be it for a streak like mine, or just at random. If you find a DX special event station, there's a good chance you can work it unless there is a huge pileup. When special events are celebrated in DX countries, most of the time the best operators having some really good stations are recruited to operate the special event call. QSOs are generally turned over quickly so a lot of the strong competition is eliminated quite soon. That makes it quite a bit easier for the QRP station to get a QSO.

Continuing on a bit. Another great place to get a QRP DX QSO is in a contest for basically the same reasons. Great ops, great stations, rapid turnover of QSOs. I haven't figured it out and probably won't do so, but I'm sure a large percentage of my DX streak QSOs have come from SE stations and contests. -30-

Fri Oct 13 2017 8:55PM - Friday the 13th wasn't any worse than any other day here. The DX will have to wait till morning or afternoon, and that's been pretty much the case most days lately. I think things may get better though. The A index the past three days now has been 29, 30, and 42. I think once that gets back down to single digits, things will pick up again. At least pick up to what they normally are at this point in a sunspot cycle which still isn't all that great, but every little bit helps.

It was rough during the day today, but I did turn out getting a nice stations for my DX - IP0TRC. That's a special event station which you can look up on QRZ if you're curious. The IP0 is a new prefix. In fact, it's the first IP I've ever worked also.

I cleaned out some of my garden today since the weather was nice and my bean, pepper, and pea plants have decided the growing season is just about over. I hate to wait like my friend Ange does most of the time and wait till it's bitter cold to clean out his garden. This year I'm not going to help if he wants to do it on a day below 60 degrees or so.

I think except for my main tomato plants, this is about the poorest gardening year I've ever had. I guess that was an omen back very early in the year when my Siberian tomatoes and pepper plants kind of put themselves on hold for a couple months after the seeds sprouted.

OK, weather check time now. -30-

Thu Oct 12 2017 8:34PM - It's looking more and more like I'm going to have to change my daily schedule a bit if the DX streak is going to continue. I see on my table on the home page of my site that I've only gotten my DX in the evening on 5 of the past 10 days now. I'm going to have to maybe shift around some of my daily chores to allow me more time on the air sometime in the 1300-1800Z time frame. That shouldn't be too hard to do, but it will take a little bit of effort.

In thinking about the DX streak today, I was wondering if you would be interested in guessing when the next day that I don't work any DX will be. If so, I have a little ham radio book I could give away as a prize to the one coming closest to the date. I'm fairly certain that I am not going to make it all the way through the sunspot minimum. It probably will be at least 2020 or 2021 till we get through the minimum and get back to the current sunspot level. If you have anything to say about my idea, I'll consider implementing it. If not, I'll just forget about it. -30-

Wed Oct 11 2017 12:35PM - I thought I'd write my diary entry now since I'm at a pause in checking logs from last night's sprint and I also got my DX about an hour ago.

It certainly looked dismal for working DX this morning. I was hearing quite a bit, mainly on 20, but no one I called was hearing me. The DX signals were S6 at best with a LOT of QSB (interesting how we have turned abbreviations for questions and statements into nouns, but that's a story for another time). Even stations I usually work easily like S58MU weren't hearing me. The best I did was getting a K3? from EI44WAW. Someone else jumped in and that was that. Finally though I called I1YRL who was peaking S6-7, but dropping into my S4 noise at times also. I got him on just my second call and not only did we have a contact, but chatted for a few minutes. He seemed to copy me solidly. I missed his power, but did hear him say his antenna was a 7 element beam on a ? foot tower. I guess those seven elements are great at catching weak signals like mine. So whew, the streak lives another day thanks to Luc.

As for the sprint, 20 was completely dead here. 40 wasn't much better, and after 15 minutes of wasted CQs there, I went to 80. There I felt like rare DX for the first 15 or so minutes as I was running stations and working small pileups. That was FUN! But it slowed to a normal pace after that and I made 45 QSOs in 18 SPCs, all on 80 except for N5GW on 40 in the last few minutes when I stopped getting answers on 80 to my CQs. Although I never go for scores competing against other entrants, I do see my 45 (or actually maybe 44 - I'm not sure of one) QSOs are in the top 5 most with 99 logs in at the moment.

OK, back to checking logs now before I walk Roscoe in a bit. -30-

Tue Oct 10 2017 8:11PM - Not long now till our monthly NAQCC sprint so I'll just squeeze in a short diary entry here. I checked the bands today hoping to find that last T for the October challenge. No luck, but it was nice to see good openings to Europe and Africa on 17 and 20 meters around 1700Z or so when I checked. Only station I tried though was S01WS on 17 meters. I'd like to add another band for them to the 80 40 and 30 that I have now. No luck though with a lot of QSB on that path.

I guess that's about it for now. I'll comment on the sprint, good or bad, in tomorrow's entry. -30-

Mon Oct 09 2017 6:12PM - Mike arrived about 9AM today and we discussed the weather and the likelihood of us going to the park for our N3A operation. We still couldn't decide. Nate had passed but there were some lingering showers. So after I took Roscoe out, we went and had a breakfast to pass some time. Also I tried unsuccessfully to get my DX. Another check of the radar after breakfast led us to decide that we weren't going to risk going to the park and getting our equipment wet.

While Mike gathered up his things to take up to my shack for our homepedition, I went up ahead of him so I could try to get my DX. It didn't take long before I worked Rune SM5COP for a nice little 6 minute chat. That was on 17 meters.


After we both as shown above (me at L, Mike at R) got set up, we checked things out and found things not working well. I was on 40 and he was on 20. When he transmitted, my noise level went up around 1 or 2 S-units. When I transmitted, his noise went through the ceiling. We tried different antenna combinations, grounding his KX3 to my shack ground, and so forth, but nothing helped. We decided since it was time to start our operation, that we'd just live with it. Since he had the worst of the deal, I kept my transmitting time to a minimum with short CQs and short QSOs. However I did get a lot of activity during the first half hour so that didn't help all that much. I kept running things through my mind and finally came up with the idea of me calling CQ twice, and if no answers, let Mike CQ twice, then keep alternating that way until one of us got an answer. Then the other one would be quiet until the QSO finished. Of all the things we did, that worked the best. Then later on when Mike tried his hand on 17 meters, I synchronized my CQs with his so we were both calling CQ at the same time and listening for answers at the same time. That also worked well.

However activity slowly ground to a standstill about 3 1/2 hours into our 5 hour scheduled stint, and we decided to quit then. We wound up with a total of 41 QSOs in about 25 SPCs. Most of the QSOs were with other NAQCC members. I'm not sure of Mike's percentage, but my member percentage was just under 75% members.

After we shut down, we chased some DX. Mike worked perhaps a half dozen stations, and I worked one. During the N3A operation, I got all letters except for a T and U. When Mike worked EA8/UA4WW, I also worked him for the U in his call.

Then we went out to Long John Silver's for a late afternoon meal. Then back home for a bit more DXing before Mike had to head home to get ready for a busy workday tomorrow after the three day weekend. -30-

Sun Oct 08 2017 8:42PM - I would say it's virtually certain our parkpedition scheduled for tomorrow will be rained out by Nate. The most conservative estimates of rainfall are around 1.25 inches mostly overnight with showers continuing off and on during the day here on what will be the back side wrap around from Nate.

So we'll almost certainly have a homepedition from my shack. We'll have N3A on the air from 1500-2000Z simultaneously if all works out well on 7041 and 14059 +/-1 or 2 to avoid any QRM. Ops will be me and Mike KC2EGL. Hope to work you.

I also hope to work some DX before or after (or during) our N3A operation since I didn't get any this evening. I heard XE1RK strong on 40 but he was engaging in long rag chews and I didn't feel like waiting him out. -30-

Sat Oct 07 2017 8:42PM - Looks like it's a definite washout on Monday. The projected track of Nate hasn't changed by more than several miles ever since the first prediction. That generally means that's exactly what it is going to do. The only thing that keeps changing is the speed of Nate and thus the timing of when it is closest to us here. It definitely will be sometime Monday though. As far as rainfall, the consensus seems to be around two inches, and that is badly needed as we've had less than a couple tenths of rain in the past 30 days or so.

I guess that means we will be having our homepedition Monday instead of a parkpedition. More about that in tomorrow's diary entry.

I got my DX this evening fairly easily. I worked LZ5G on 40 meters in the TRC contest. Only took a couple repeats to get my call through, but several repeats to get my contest exchange through. -30-

Fri Oct 06 2017 7:25PM - Of all the 1,680+ days of my DX streak, I think last night's DX QSO was the easiest I've ever had. After checking the bands and not finding any DX at all, I thought I'd forget about DX for the time being and concentrate on getting my regular streak QSO. So I found an empty spot on 40 meters and started calling CQ. Well, it wasn't very long before I got a K3WWP DE T. My ears really perked up when I heard the T. Turned out after a split second of anticipation, the excitement set in as he continued ...I5/N3KS TI5/N3KS. As I talked about several entries ago, I do get my share of DX answers to my CQs, but not all that often. That got not only my regular, but my DX streak QSO in the log. Kam is a really good op, and we've worked a few times before when he was in Costa Rica and also home in Maryland. This was the first time we worked on 40 meters when he was in Costa Rica though. Also I'll have to check to see if a Costa Rican station ever answered my CQ before. Maybe that will be country #53 via CQ. Heck, might as well check right now. Still 25+ minutes till 0000Z. Nope, I previously got answered by TI5/W8KJ back in July 2010. Oh well, still a thrill.

After our QSO, Kam again proved how great and considerate an op he is. A WF3 station called him as soon as our QSO ended, and Kam immediately said (QSY) up 1 to the WF3 since it was "my" frequency from the CQs I called there.

Then not long after that it was the sublime to the ridiculous (disgusting). I was listening to some weak DX station working a pileup higher in frequency trying to figure out who it was drawing such a big pileup. He was quite weak here and I had trouble copying him. Then some lid made it even worse not only for me but for others trying to work (hear) the DX. He started sending strings of dashes, dots, and alternating dots/dashes, among other things none of which made any sense. It was obvious he was just trying to jam the DX frequency, probably because he himself wasn't able to work the DX. Time to bring out the Wouff Hong if we knew who he was.

It's looking more and more like Nate is going to crash our N3A parkpedition party on Monday. I guess we might have to do a homepedition and operate from my home shack. We (Mike and I) should be able to operate 40 and 20 simultaneously, and whoever operates 40 can also try 30 at times. Hey, 17 might even be open, but we won't count on that. As soon as our plans are definite, I'll announce them here in the diary as well as on the NAQCC email list. -30-

Thu Oct 05 2017 11:40AM - The bands were good this morning, especially 17 and 15 meters. I worked 3 European stations, probably the most I've worked in one day in a while now. But then unless I don't get my DX the evening before I seldom get on at that time of day. First it was S52ZW on 15. He was having some trouble with his break in delay and sent U3? a couple times. I figured that was me and kept sending K3WWP a few times. Later he confirmed as MWP. Then he started calling FQ CQ CQ.... So I'm sure it was me he worked because of the clipped first letter he would send. U3 = K3, MWP = WWP, and FQ = CQ. Just to be sure I got an insurance DX QSO from OK1DX on 17 meters, then just because he was so strong, I worked SM5CAK.

So with the DX out of the way, I'll see what I can do the rest of the day till 0000Z rolls around again. For one thing I'll continue to work on the country divisions. I guess the biggest country I have left to do now is Yugoslavia/Serbia. I'm finding there are sure a lot of ways of dividing up countries and a lot of names for those divisions. My prime source of info is Wikipedia and their List of Administrative Divisions By Country page. Still it is confusing at times. But I enjoy doing work like that. Good exercise for the brain cells. -30-

Wed Oct 04 2017 7:01PM - A very quick DX QSO earlier today. Just like a few days ago, it was on 15 meters. A single call, no repeats got me OH0Z at 1530Z. That's the first Aland Islands QSO in a while now and also one of the easiest European QSOs in a while.

One of the many things I did today was cut my hair. I've mentioned this in the diary before, but the last time I was in a barber shop was 1972. I like being self-sufficient in many things like that. Also think of the money I've saved over the years. Even figuring an average of $8 per haircut once a month which is probably very conservative. I would imagine the current price of a haircut nowadays is much more than that. Anyway using the $8 figure that's approximately $4,300. Wow!

I guess that self-sufficiency is why I never use things like spotting, Skimmer, reverse beacons, and so forth in ham radio. I prefer to do all the work in making QSOs by myself. I never even check the propagation figures from WWV before I get on the air. I do check afterwards when I update the figures on my propagation page. As for the reverse beacons, I couldn't possibly care less where computer software is copying my signals. I want my signals to be copied by a live person from I don't care where to whom I can talk. I also prefer sending my CW by hand although I do sometimes let the KX3 memory call CQ for me, but that's it.

Perhaps the only concession to modern technology in ham radio is the panadapter. Still I do most of the work. I have to tune the rig to the peak on the screen and then listen to see who the station is. From there on it's just like I used my hearing to tune the band and listen for a signal. It's only a timesaver and nothing more.

I have nothing against such things as spotting, etc. I just don't use them myself. I guess I consider such things just like going fishing in a very small well-stocked pond where the fish are purposely starved so they will bite. There's no challenge at all in that at least as far as I'm concerned.

I think the bottom line covering my life-style is the old saying anything worth having is worth working for. -30-

Tue Oct 03 2017 8:54PM - Yet again no DX heard this evening save for one very weak station with a 500 in the call. Couldn't copy the prefix or suffix at all. So guess what I'll be doing in the morning and/or afternoon.

I checked the first level divisons worked in a couple more countries today. Bulgaria has 28 provinces and I've worked 19 of them. Belarus has 7 regions and I've worked them all. I love showing just what can be done with QRP CW and simple wire antennas. I think my doing this with the divisions is yet another way to convince folks that QRP DOES WORK and you don't need a huge antenna farm either especially when you use CW.

Well, it's 9PM now, so I better check my weather instruments. -30-

Mon Oct 02 2017 7:28PM - I probably won't get my DX this evening, so I thought I'd talk about some old DX - very old DX in the diary this evening.

First of all though, I did get a very nice DX QSO this morning when I worked DL3AZ. It was actually a 6 minute solid QSO in which we got to discuss rigs and the weather beyond the usual RST only or RST QTH NAME type of QSOs. When we were signing off, Andy said he was able to copy every letter I sent with my QRP. Yes, QRP does work even when conditions are not supposed to be any good as the sunspots slip away.

OK, now let's go back to my early days of hamming. Back then I did not have any confidence in working DX with my simple setup which was pretty much what I use now except my power output then was probably 50 or so watts instead of 5 now. Power was measured as input power to the final amp then. I measured 75 watts, but I'm sure the output was actually much less than that. That's why I guess 50 or so watts.

Whatever the power, I believed it was not enough to be a good DXer, so I concentrated more on rag chewing and especially county hunting with only an occasional DX chase. I haven't really delved into my DX results from those days, or at least not recently. Well, I did so today.

I found I made only 171 DX QSOs from 1963 through 1983. They were distributed as follows:
1963 -  7 C6 KZ5 (Canal Zone) KP4 CM YV KH6
1964 - 26 HK YV VP9 DL (West Germany) KL7 ZL CM PY F KZ5 FP VP2V C6 HI 6Y 
1965 - 17 KG4 HP YV VP9 KZ5 KP4 HI HK YN KP2 OA VP5 6Y 
1966 - 20 XE KP2 PJ5 6Y CM ZD8 HI VK GM KP4 DL KL7 VP9 HA 8P ZL G 
1968 - 55 HC 9Y PY YS I F G DL OE SM GW EI FP HB OK (Czechoslovakia) PA OZ ZS HI GU KH6 KZ5 TI ON XE C6
1969 -  1 VP9
1972 -  1 CT
1981 - 19 EA DL YU G GM SM F ON Y2 (East Germany) TK XE
1982 -  2 ON J8
1983 -  1 F
Not very impressive, but it was fun when I did work some DX now and then. I never would have believed how much DX I would work in the second half of my DX career which started in 1993. However even the first couple years of the second half did not contain all that much DX. I think when I really started to believe I could work DX with QRP was in the 1994 ARRL DX Contest. More on that later perhaps. Let's go back to the first half now.

I haven't totalled how many different entities were in the list above. Let me do that now. From memory, I think I worked around 60 entities in that first half. Let's see if I was close. I guess the old memory still works. The total is 58 entities. Let's see the continents. NA SA OC EU AF. All but Asia. There were different prefixes for some countries back then. I used the current ones in the list above. D2 was then CR6 and C6 was VP7 among a couple others I can't recall right now.

And right now it's almost time to head to the shack (now 2355Z). So I'll give the above a quick check and post it. -30-

Sun Oct 01 2017 8:35PM - A different kind of frustration this evening. I heard a strong Cuban calling CQ on 30 meters at 2358Z. I decided to wait the 90 seconds or so till 0000Z and work him for a quick DX QSO. Wouldn't you know it though. He never called CQ again and apparently QRT. I didn't hear a single other DX station anywhere.

So I went and called CQ, and called CQ........ It began to look like I wasn't going to get my regular streak QSO either. I never did get an answer, but I did find special event station K4P in FL on 40 and worked him easily.

OK, now I'm off to finish closing out the records for our NAQCC September sprint. For those of you not familiar with our procedure, here's a brief description. The deadline for submitting logs is the first Sunday after our sprit. Then all logs are thoroughly cross-checked and scores corrected based on that. Now participants are given until the following Sunday to question any changes. If it's a not-in-log QSO that caused the score to be changed, they are allowed to check with the other station to see if it really should be a complete QSO or not. If it is, the scores are readjusted. All that is past now as of 0000Z about 45 minutes ago, and it's time to finalize everything. -30-

Sat Sep 30 2017 8:52PM - Strangely enough, 15 meters was the source of my DX QSO earlier today at 1402Z when I easily worked TI5/N3KS who was booming in. It pays to check all bands, even the ones that are supposed to be dead at this point in the sunspot cycle.

This evening 20 meters was pretty good, mostly to the west coast of the USA. I also heard a PY2 station, but kept losing out to other stations when I called him. There was also a very strong XE1 station, but he was working S&P so no chance to call him. On 40 I called a YU station but only got a WEAK WEAK from him, then he quickly gave up even trying to copy further. As Mike would have said if he were here, he must have his S9 filter on and won't even try to copy anything below that. Summing up, no DX this evening so I'll have to try in the morning or afternoon if not later tonight.

It was a busy day today being the last of the month and also having to get my DX QSO as well. I also helped my neighbor with some work. With all that, I didn't get a chance to get in the FISTS Nancy WZ8C memorial event until this evening. I did manage to work KN0WCW to at least make a presence in the event. Tomorrow will be busy also, but if I can get a quick DX QSO maybe I can get a couple more FISTS QSOs. I, along with many other hams certainly miss Nancy. FISTS is just not the same without her even though the new leadership is doing a good job. -30-

Fri Sep 29 2017 8:52PM - Looks like another fight for my DX QSO. Only heard a few very weak DX stations tonight and the closest I got to working one was V44KAO from whom I got a ? a couple times. I guess it was me, but maybe not. Earlier today I won the fight when I worked P40N on 20 at 1423Z after chasing him for several minutes.

My regular QSO this evening was with K1LKP in NH, but it didn't last long as 40M did a quick flip-flop after the first round when Carmen went from a little over S9 to S5 then nil in less than a minute or so.

Back in the 1960s when I graduated high school, my final term paper or whatever the term was concerned Switzerland. I wrote about the history of Switzerland and its Cantons. I mention that because I just went through my HB QSOs to see how many Cantons I have worked. There are 26 of them, and I worked just half of them. Now I'm interested in finding my term paper and reading it again. That will be a needle/haystack search with all the stuff I have here in the house. Too bad there's nothing valuable. HI -30-

Thu Sep 28 2017 8:47PM - As usual, a good time was had last night with Mike. He arrived just about the time I finished my diary entry and did my other web site updates. We then partook of our pizza quickly. After that we worked on our jumpers to connect our KX3s and PX3s to power pole connectors. We had a bit of trouble putting the power pole connectors on the jumper, but we got it after a while. I think if we were in the business of making a lot of power pole connections we'd get the special crimping tool for them. But $30 or so is too much for just a couple connections now and then. After we finished them, we checked them out on my PX3 to make sure all four that we made worked OK. They did. After a bit of Internet surfing, Mike had to head home.

The bands are really poor this evening. The only DX I think I heard was FY5KE, and I'm not even sure of that. I did hear his call, but it might have been someone working him. It was even hard to get my regular QSO. I had to finally go to 80 meters and it still took about 15-20 minutes of calling CQ before I worked W2RAN in NH. I did get an answer from AE1N before that, but he never came back after I sent my first round.

I guess the A index of 55 did its job in knocking out the bands. It should diminish by morning though so hopefully I can get my DX then.

Meanwhile I'm continuing to work on country divisions. Actually the term for what I'm doing is checking top level administrative divisions. I'll see if I want to go on to the lower levels later on. I think I'll report on my results in tomorrow's diary entry. -30-

Wed Sep 27 2017 8:09PM - Just waiting on Mike, so I'll write till he comes. I just got my DX at 0004Z thanks to HI3T on 20M. Took a call, a WW? from him, sent my call two times and with the quick exchange of 599s, another day was added to the DX streak.

Mike and I will be having our usual 4th Wednesday evening pizza when he gets here. After that we'll be making up a couple of power pole cables for our portable operations so we won't have to take the ones from our shacks. That will make it a little easier. Good idea, Mike.

Still not here. The pizza shop must be busy or he had a longer than usual bike ride.

I checked the divisions in another country today - Poland - and found I have worked all 16 provinces there. Next up I think will be Finland. That's 16 countries including W/VE checked so far although some still need some fine tuning and finishing up.

A little earlier this evening I watched a nice pass of the International Space Station which was almost as bright as Venus. It traversed almost the entire sky from SW to ENE. -30-

Tue Sep 26 2017 7:05PM - Mike sent me the Requin pictures again, so here goes:
Mike John
Requin 1 Requin 2

Top left - Mike operating. Top right - John operating. Bottom left - Requin 1. Bottom right - Requin 2.

I think I'll let that stand as most of the diary entry as this was a busy day. I helped Ange water the garden and pick some chestnuts and figs after I had walked Roscoe. Then after brunch I cut the grass in my back yard. It was hard to believe how much it had grown considering it was around two weeks since we had any rain. Oh and before all of that to start the day I took a trip to the Post Office to mail one of our NAQCC prizes. Back in sequence now. After my mid afternoon snack I made a copy of my chestnut picker upper for Ange. Those plus some other things kept me busy most of the day. So now I'm just going to wait for 0000Z and see what the bands have to offer. It's cooled down from 93 to around 80 so maybe I'll go sit on the front porch for a while. -30-

Mon Sep 25 2017 8:25PM - I seem to have lost the pictures from the Requin I was going to post. I just emailed Mike and asked if he could resend them. If so, I'll post them tomorrow.

I did another country today - Slovakia. It has 20 counties plus the city of Zagreb. That's 21 units and I've found 18 of them in my log so far. I think I've now checked all countries with which I've had 600+ QSOs except for France. Their divisions seem a little confusing and I'll have to study them a little more yet. I'm having a lot of fun with this and also learning a lot about the various countries.

Speaking of countries - tonight's country was Slovenia. I worked S52AW on 40 meters for my DX streak QSO a few minutes ago. It took a few repeats for Karl to get my call, but we made it into a good QSO. I'm a little surprised I'm still able to get my DX mostly in the 0000Z hour with the earlier sunsets now along with the sunspot decline. I have only had to resort to the morning or afternoon hours a few times in the last couple months or so.

I've mentioned Larry here in the diary a couple times. I mean Larry who studied together with me to get our ham licenses back in 1963. He got KN3WWW and I of course got KN3WWP. Anyway I heard from his son today via a letter. He was wondering if the Larry I mentioned in one of my Keynote columns could be his father. Indeed it is. I had lost track of Larry after we graduated high school not long after we got our licenses. So now maybe I can find out more about what happened to him over the years. -30-

Sun Sep 24 2017 7:50PM - Let's see, which gave me more pleasure today, working with Mike KC2EGL on the Requin or watching Mike work VK3CWB in Australia on 30M at my place after we got home. How about a coin flip. Oooops, it landed on edge so I guess both were about equal.

I'm a bit tired now, but here's a brief summary of the day followed tomorrow by more info and a couple pictures.

Mike arrived a little past 8AM and we kibitzed a bit about this and that then headed for our encounter at the Requin. We arrived at the gate around 9:45AM and the two hosts let us in. We met Art at the radio room and chatted with him for a while as we were setting up to operate.

When we did get to operating, things went very slowly. Unfortunately the frequencies we announced along with our alternate frequencies were occupied by other activities most of the time so the QSOs came slowly as we moved up or down the band a bit to find a clear spot. We figure it was one of a couple of reasons. Either folks didn't tune up and down a bit looking for us, or folks believe the info that because the sunspots are dropping off, it isn't worthwhile even looking for us. So after we got tired of not getting any answers to our CQs we decided to tune around ourselves and look for stations to work. We easily worked VE7RAC operating for the 150th anniversary of Canada. Then the Texas QSO Party provided a lot of fun as we were easily working stations that way with our QRP and the simple vertical antenna on the Requin. Most all the TX QSOs came from just a single call. So conditions were NOT that bad, by any means. We can't blame that.

We did wind up with 23 QSOs, 16 20M, 4 30M, 3 40M. A total of 10 states and the one VE province. Most QSOs were from the TX QSO Party.

When things really slowed down to a crawl, we decided to call it quits around 2:15PM and head home. Although we didn't make all that many QSOs, we did have a great time interacting with the Requin visitors. Some had served on subs or ships in the Armed Forces. Others recognized that we were using Morse Code. We got a lot of good questions about the sub and ham radio. Hopefully we answered them all satisfactorily. It was a bit tricky at times copying CW while chatting with the folks. All in all a really great time.

Now it was time for some other activities. We stopped at Best Buy in the Pittsburgh Mills. I have been wanting to get a new digital camera and I did so there. I got a nice 20.1 megapixel Nikon unit. I just now finished charging the battery and will play with it a bit later tonight. Next up a stop at Chili's where I got my favorite California Turkey sandwich with onion rings and Mike got the endless Chili/Salad meal. Then here at home again, we totalled up our sub results, then set up my camera. After that off to the shack to chase some DX.

That was the second equal highlight of the day. I tuned around to find some DX for Mike to work. He and I both found a couple of stations who weren't hearing him. Finally though I did find and he worked EI2HI on 30 meters. Then I looked again and found a real prize - VK3CWB. I had worked him on 30 meters before, and I told Mike I was pretty sure he could get him. Well it wasn't easy but fortunately Moz stuck with Mike and they did finish a good QSO. I think I was almost as excited as Mike. A lot of the things I've worked are now in a sense, "old hat" and although I still enjoy working them, it isn't as thrilling as the first time I've worked them. So I get more kicks vicariously watching Mike work something like the Australian.

I do still get kicks from continuing my DX streak - for sure. I did that this evening after Mike had headed on home. I found LU1XS on 20M and couldn't work him at first after trying several times. However some minutes later I went back and tried him again and got through. It took a few repeats of my call, but we made it for day # 1,670 of my DX streak.

Whew, I didn't think I was going to type this much. I guess all that is left for tomorrow's entry now are the pictures. Also tomorrow I have to close out our NAQCC sprint and of course do the Monday laundry along with other regular daily things so it's going to be another busy day in a different way. -30-

Sat Sep 23 2017 7:18PM - Well, that's not very early. I promised an early entry today talking about our USS Requin subpedition tomorrow, but I got involved in too many other things today and haven't gotten to it until now.

I think I'll just copy what I sent out on our NAQCC email list earlier today.
Date: September 24, 2017

Time (UTC): 1400Z to as long as there is activity

Call: NY3EC

Operator(s): K3WWP KC2EGL 

Frequencies +/- QRM: 7041 10117 14059 (This is the CQWW DX RTTY contest weekend,
so we may have to adjust our 40 and 20 frequencies to avoid QRM.
Alternate frequencies will be 7031 and 14049 which should be below the contest frequencies)

Location: Pittsburgh PA on the submarine USS Requin near the point in downtown.

QSL via: NY3EC in QRZ

Notes: Many folks seem to give up on our portable operations if they don't hear us in the first hour.
Remember conditions can change frequently during a day, so if you don't hear us right away, check
back later. Also check all three bands as we can only operate one at a time with the Requin's one
antenna. We'll try 40 from 1400-1430, 30 from 1430-1500, 20 from 1500-1530, then go with the
band(s) that give us the most activity after that. Check your email for any last minute updates.
That pretty much says it all. I hope conditions are good.

It was encouraging to work Puerto Rico for my DX QSO last evening. With the devastation Maria left behind, it's nice to know that ham radio is alive and well on the island. I figured any activity from there would be only emergency traffic, but this fellow was chasing DX as normal.

I sure hope I can get my DX this evening as a lot of tomorrow morning and afternoon will be taken up with the Requin activity.

I worked some more on my country divisions today. I found I've worked all the regions in Slovenia. I started on the Czech Republic today and found I have all but one region there. I've had a nice email exchange with Dave IK2AGX who read about my country division work in the diary and sent me some great info about the Italian divisions. He lives in Northern Italy not all that far from where my ancestors on my mother's side came from - a little town called Aurano. He sent me a link to information on all the locations in Italy (8,003 of them) and I found out a little more about Aurano from the site. When I say small, I mean small - the recent population is just 110. However there were a lot more folks there in the late 1800s which was about the time my ancestors emigrated to the USA. -30-

Fri Sep 22 2017 6:34PM - We need one more log to reach 100 again for our NAQCC September sprint. If you entered and haven't submitted yet, you could be the one to push us to the century mark. There have been only 6 sprints since we first had a 100 log sprint in April 2010 that we haven't reached the 100 log mark. I don't think there are many, if any other clubs that can claim a popularity record like that. That's 83 of the past 89 sprints with 100+ logs. Congratulations to our fine devoted members.

As I mentioned, I've been working on counting political divisions in countries to see how many I've worked. It's not easy as it seems every country has a slightly different way of dividing up its territory. States in the USA, Provinces in Canada, Prefectures in Japan, Regions in Italy, and the list goes on. Then each of the major divisions has subdivisions. Counties in the USA, Provinces in Italy, and so forth. Right now I'm just working on the main divisions.

So far I've checked the following countries with the list showing the country name, what they call their main divisions, how many there are, and how many I've worked so far. My checking is far from complete and there may be minor differences in just how many divisions a country has. So the following info is kind of rough to say the least.
United States     States                  50     50
Canada            Provinces/Territories   13     13
Brazil            States                  27     18
Cuba              Provinces               16     13
England           Counties/Cities         47     41
Germany           States                  16     16
Hungary           Counties                20     17
Italy             Regions                 20     18
Japan             Prefectures             47     33
Mexico            States                  32     19
Slovenia          Regions                 13     11
I'm finding it fascinating and I'm learning a lot more about the various countries as I go. Something ham radio related to do when conditions are not all that conducive to making a lot of QSOs, especially DX. Maybe by the time I reach a finishing point with the country divisions, the sunspots will be back and I can go looking for the missing ones.

Tomorrow I'll have an early diary entry talking about our subpedition to the USS Requin on Sunday. I'm looking forward to that. -30-

Thu Sep 21 2017 6:44PM - One of my top 10 busiest days of recent times. I don't think I slowed down since I got up this morning. I started off doing some preliminary work on the logs from last night's sprint. After that it was time for Roscoe's first walk.

Next up on the agenda helping Ange pick chestnuts and figs and water the garden. After getting tired of bending over to pick up chestnuts, I finally built a chestnut picker upper out of a pair of salad tongs and a couple pieces of wood. Here's a picture:
chestnut picker

The wood is flexible enough so that a slight squeeze at the top (left in picture) closes the tongs around the chestnut. Sure saves an old back.

Not forgetting about needing a DX QSO for the day, it was up to the shack where I almost immediately spotted a decent sized peak on the PX3 and listened to see who it was. It was EI55WAW whom I worked easily after he worked one other person. Didn't even need any repeats for a change of late.

After that it was brunch and a weekly Thursday trip to the Ol' Station Marketplace to see what I could find. I bought a basket for Ange to help him gather some garden goodies, a CD of hidden object games, and some screws and wall anchors. Also one of those hand exercising spring devices.

Now it was time for Roscoe's second walk. Then we sat on the porch swing for a while. About the only time I took it easy so far today.

More work on logs interspersed among some afternoon snacking. Then I decided to get my second half of the month bills taken care of. After writing all the checks, I figured I just had time for a walk to the borough office and the post office before it was time to watch the Penn State weather at 5:30P. I knew I'd have to hurry and figured I would just make it. I surprised myself and made it home with six minutes to spare. I guess this 72 year old body can still move pretty fast.

Following the weather, it was #3 walk for Rosoce and then back here to the computer for some more log work and typing this diary entry. Whew! -30-

Wed Sep 20 2017 11:07PM - It's late and I just came off a grueling sprint so I think I'll just use my NAQCC sprint soapbox as my diary entry this evening.

"I can't recall when I've worked so hard to make just 36 QSOs. The bands were deplorable here to say the least. Out of the 36, I would say only about a handful were above my noise level far enough for easy copy. Still I enjoyed the challenge and it was rewarding to get that many QSOs considering the conditions. There were at least a couple stations I just couldn't pull out of the noise. Hopefully I did work you later in the sprint. If not, I'm sorry. I worked a couple stations I don't think I've ever worked before - WA0ZSU and WD8RYC. That's going by memory without checking my Access log, and my memory is not what it used to be so I could be wrong. 80 meters was THE band tonight with 27 of my 36 QSOs there. I'm glad a lot of folks are starting to come to 80 now that summer and its noise is winding down."

Not a sign of any DX this evening, so I know what some of my time in the morning and afternoon will be spent doing. -30-

Tue Sep 19 2017 8:43PM - There are sure a lot of 'towns' in Italy. As I mentioned in yesterday's diary entry, I'm working on seeing how many of Italy's regions I've worked. I have 1,110 QSOs with Italy to check, and it seems each town has only less than 5 QSOs except for a few of the bigger cities, so it's a long process, but a lot of fun nevertheless.

I called Art from the USS Requin this evening to see if we could come down on Sunday and operate from there. I guess Art is busy this evening though as he hasn't returned my call yet. I sure hope it will be available as I'm getting the itch to do some more portable operating be it from the sub, a park, or wherever. Even though it is beautiful weather now with no rain and highs in the mid 80s, that's not going to last forever.

I went fishing again today which makes three times now this year. I don't know why I didn't go more often as I really enjoyed it today even though I didn't catch anything. I think one of my New Year's resolutions in 2018 will be to go fishing more often. Although it won't add a lot of free time, my completely retiring from NAQCC work at the end of December will add some time for fishing and other things.

I think I'll get back to checking those Italian QSOs now before my 9 PM weather readings and walking Roscoe. -30-

Mon Sep 18 2017 8:57PM - Back in my early days of ham radio after I worked all states, I looked for another challenge. I wasn't having a lot of luck with working DX and actually thought I never would be able to work much DX with my situation. Some 225 countries and 20,000 DX QSOs later I proved I didn't know what I was talking about. But that's another story for another time.

Right now I'm at the point where I need something new to challenge me in ham radio. With the current stage of the sunspot cycle, I don't know how long the DX streak will continue and I'm pretty sure I won't be adding to my DXCC total any time soon. So I've decided to go through my 20K DX QSOs and see how many political divisions I have worked in various countries. Of course I have all the states in the USA and all the Provinces (and Territories) in Canada, so where do I go from there. Well so far I'm working on the states in Brazil where there are 27 of which I've found I've worked 18 of them (27 / 18). Provinces in Cuba (16 / 13). Regions in Italy (21 / haven't counted yet). States in Mexico (32 / 19). Some of those totals include a Federal District or some similar entity equivalent to our District of Columbia so my totals may vary a bit from other totals in case you notice any difference. Just wanted to mention that.

Time (a bit past time) to get my weather readings so I'll close here and do that. Oh, no DX this evening (yet). So another chance for the streak to end. Well, even the Cleveland Indians can't win all the time, but 22 straight is pretty darned good. -30-

Sun Sep 17 2017 8:37PM - My first check of the bands at 0000Z showed nothing at all on 20 or 30, so I decided to get my regular streak QSO. I called CQ on 40 and it wasn't too long before Jeff K3KYR answered me. We had a nice 20+ minutes QSO. He actually gave me a 599 + 10 report and he was 599 and maybe a bit over here. The signals did drop a bit during the QSO, but it was solid copy both ways till we said our 73.

Since it was still only about 0030Z, I thought I'd go back to 30 and 20 to see if any DX showed up. The PX3 did now show a few peaks on 30. The first one I checked was AA7FV whom I hear quite often. I never have checked his QTH until now though. I see he is in AZ so conditions were pretty good as he was around S7-S8. Anyway back to DX. The next peak I checked turned out to be CX6VM. I thought at the time I had worked him before on 30 easily. I waited till he finished a QSO then called, but lost out to some 8 station. After they finished, I called again with no response. I waited a couple seconds and called again. He came back with K3WWP 599. I sent my exchange and 73 and added another day to the DX streak - # 1,663. I checked and I did work him twice before on 30 and once on 17. It was nice to work someone a little further away. Most of my recent DX has been either the Caribbean or Central America. CX6VM is 5,302 miles from here so that was a 1000+ MPW QSO for a change. Not that I don't appreciate the closer DX as well. I certainly do. -30-

Sat Sep 16 2017 8:35PM - Yet another 0000Z DX QSO this evening. This time from CO2AME on 20 meters. I didn't hang around but a couple minutes after that so I don't really know what shape the bands are in. I did see a couple other strong peaks on the PX3, but didn't explore them after I got my QSO.

Not much else to talk about today. It was just a quiet Saturday. The weather was great. Like mid-August instead of mid-September. It was even on the humid side today. The high was 86 on my AcuRite remote unit. Now it's 69 with 74% humidity. According to the consensus of the forecasts, it should be like today for at least a week or so. Virtually no rain predicted. I think I might do a lot of fishing next week. The fish I got yesterday means I've gotten at least one fish for each of the past 26 years. That's not saying much for the last couple years with only one fish each (so far). My four best years with 200 or more are: 2002 - 274, 2004 - 258, 1996 - 239, 2006 - 218. 2002 was the year of the bass with 222 of them. 2004 it was the drum with 67. 1996 - suckers with 140. 2006 featured bass again with 52. -30-

Fri Sep 15 2017 7:28PM - I did something today I haven't done since June 17, 2016. I also did something today I haven't done since May 31, 2016. Regular diary readers may be able to figure out what I'm talking about. If you can't, I'll talk about it a bit further down the diary.

Fortunately I was able to snag my DX later last evening because even though the DX streak was satisfied, I did check the bands a couple times today just to see what they were doing. Well they weren't doing much of anything. A couple pretty strong USA stations on 20 were about all I heard.

Last night? Oh, the station I worked was J68HZ on 40 meters. I had worked him before a few years ago. It wasn't an easy QSO, but we made it. Now I wonder what tonight will bring in about 25 minutes as I type. There are a couple DX contests this weekend. I might have to use them for the DX streak.

OK, what did I do today? I decided to go fishing. That's the first time this year and the first time since June 17 last year. What else? I actually caught a fish - a 14 inch sucker. The first fish since May 31 last year when I caught a bluegill. That kind of revived my interest in fishing and I hope to go several more times this year while the weather remains good. Catching a 14 inch sucker brought back some memories from many years ago. When I was just a lad, for a long time I could never catch anything bigger than a 14 inch sucker, and I caught a few of them. That is if my memory is accurate. I don't have a record of my early days of fishing before 1955 or so. I do see a 15 inch sucker on July 20, 1955. Then a 22 inch carp on June 16, 1956. That remained my record until a 29 inch carp on August 23, 1957. I think that's the one in a picture I posted in the diary a couple years ago. Let me see if I can find the date of that posting. OK, it's in the entry for August 25, 2015 although there is some confusion about the date of the catch and the picture as mentioned there. -30-

Thu Sep 14 2017 8:38PM - Here we go again. No DX at all heard this evening. I even had to go down to 80 meters to get my regular streak QSO from K8JD. I suspect a lot of my regular streak QSOs will come from 80 meters as we move into fall and then UGH winter.

My DX earlier in the day came from Bolmar HK1MW on 17 meters. I think what is going to eventually end the DX streak as conditions continue to decline is not being able to find the great ops like Bolmar, F5IN, XE1XR, XE1RK, CO8LY, and a host of others who like me, stick things out and get on the bands no matter what the conditions. If at least one of them doesn't show up during my checks of the bands, I think that will be it.

Some time ago as an additional amusement in ham radio, I decided to check to see how many of the various country divisions I have worked. I mean like counties in England, states in Mexico, oblasts in Russia, just to name three off the top of my head. I am working on Mexico now, then I'll hunt up those I've done some time ago and update them. Then I'll put all in one Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with a page for each country. Just another sign of my obsession with statistics. -30-

Wed Sep 13 2017 8:39PM - It sure is nice having summer weather back again the past couple days. We had a long chilly spell around here for about the last three weeks now. Today we hit 82 degrees and it was a bit on the humid side thanks to the moisture from Irma finally reaching here. The outlook for the rest of September looks good also with most days predicted to be in the upper 70s and a few low 80s. That kind of weather can't last too long for me. It would be nice if it could last all fall and winter, but of course that's impossible.

I didn't hear a single DX station this evening so I had to settle for one of the Route 66 SE stations to keep my main streak going. I'll check later tonight for DX, and if I don't find any then, I guess it will be in the morning or afternoon. The solar flux is down to 75, but the stominess in the ionosphere is still continuing. -30-

Tue Sep 12 2017 10:25PM - I'm a bit late with the entry tonight, so I'll make it brief.

I wanted to check on a couple friends who had direct interest in Irma. So I emailed one and called the other. Neither K3RLL who is up here in PA now, but has property in DeLand Florida nor Tom WY3H who moved from here to Georgia a couple years ago suffered any damage. I'm glad of that.

The DX streak moves along thanks to PJ4/PA3BWK late last night on 40 and XE2V this evening on 20. The bands seem much better tonight than they have been the past few days with the ionospheric storminess. Good strong steady signals on 40 where I had a couple 20 minute or so rag chews before I worked XE2V with whom I also exchanged more than just a TU 599. -30-

Mon Sep 11 2017 8:47PM - After two easy DX evenings, it's reverted back to poor conditions again. I only heard a couple weak Brazilians on 40M, and I have trouble working Brazil on 40 in the best of times. Unless it's PV8ADI, that is. But it wasn't him this evening. So looks like another morning and/or afternoon spent looking for DX. Oh well, I didn't have anything big planned anyway.

I've started work on a list of things that I've never done and never will do. Such as using spotting for finding and working DX, or never using Facebook or any other Internet social media. I call it unsociable media. I've got a pretty good list now, but other things keep popping into my mind so I'm going to wait to post the list here on the web site.

For the regular streak QSO this evening, I had a nice chat with Tom W4OIS in South Carolina. He's a retired lineman, but still works part time assessing storm damage. He said he probably will be busy the next few days. Yes, I would guess so with Irma doing her thing in SC.

We started to see some outlying clouds from Irma here today, but the consensus of the different forecasting services seems to be between 1/10 and 1/2 inches of rain here. That seems to be about right from what I've been watching and studying Irma. We'll see. -30-

Sun Sep 10 2017 8:26PM - As it is every time Mike and I get together, it's a great day. Today was no exception. First of all a couple notes about my DX streak. Both last night and tonight turned out to be easy in contrast to the last couple days when the ionospheric storm was in full swing. Last night it was 5K300PF, the Pope's visit to Colombia's special event call very easy on 30 meters. I waited through one other QSO, then got him with a couple repeats of my call. Then tonight it was David XE1XR on 20 meters who was S9 + about 10-15 dB. I got him on my second call. He thanked me for the S9+ report. So it looks like I made it through the storm. I hope saying that doesn't jinx me. HI.

Now about today. Mike and I made out a time schedule via email for our day today and stuck pretty much to it. We planned to start with breakfast at Ponderosa in Butler around 8:30. So we headed out a little before 8, arrived in time and were off to the hamfest a bit past 9. We were checked in by Rick N3VKM who was the one who asked me to do the QRP/CW presentation at their club in November 2015. It was good to see him again. We then looked up Tom WB3FAE who was in charge of serving coffee. Mike and I then scanned all the tailgaters looking for some particular plugs which we never did find. Along the way we met with some of Mike's friends and my friends. We were surprised not to find Bob WC3O who is usually one of the first people we see at any ham gathering. We did find him though and discussed different things including the goings on at the Skyview club where we were a couple weeks ago. We also talked with a couple other Skyview members along the way. We got Tom to take a break from his coffee serving so we could get a group picture of me, Mike, Tom, and Bob. The Skyview member who took the picture was Dewey W3VYK, whom I see on the Skyview web site is Chairman of the Board at Skyview. Bob is going to email the picture. I haven't gotten it yet, so I'll post it in a later diary entry.

Mike bought a bunch of 50-50 tickets so although we had pretty much checked everything out, he wanted to wait a little while longer for the drawing since the winner had to be present. When the drawing time came we happened to be standing near the ticket barrel. One of the BCARA members mixed up the tickets in the barrel, but he didn't want to make the drawing and asked for someone to do it. I said, "since I don't have any tickets, I'll do it." Turns out the ticket I drew at random belonged to the same Dewey who took the picture. When he came to get his winnings which was something like 109 dollars, I told him I made the drawing and kidded him about sharing the prize with me. That led to us talking about the Skyview club and he said that he'd be interested in having Mike and me come to Skyview sometime and the three of us could play around with the antennas. We told him we'd think about that. It sounded very tempting.

After that we headed back home for a stop at Walmart. We picked up some things there then came home here. We checked the bands and found them wanting, to say the least. There was nothing at all on 40 through 17 meters. So it was playing some hidden object games on the computer. After that, we decided to head off to Wendy's for a mid afternoon snack. We both had baconators. I had a frosty and mike had some kind of pop and a baked potato. Back home again and another check of the bands showed about the same thing. So we went for a 2+ mile walk. On the bands again, things picked up just enough so that Mike could work PV8ADI with some effort. Back on the computer after that for a while, then Mike had to head home as tomorrow is a workday for him.

Right now I'm doing my laundry so I won't have to bother in the morning. I figured I'd do double duty and get this entry written while doing the laundry. So now it's off to get my 9PM weather readings, finish updating my streak table and propagation page, and by then the laundry will be ready to take out of the dryer. -30-

Sat Sep 09 2017 5:00PM - The last two days have been the roughest to keep my DX streak going but I made it. Yesterday it was PJ4/PA3BWK in kind of an unusual situation. I worked him, but I thought he sent my call as K3MWP. So I kept trying him again for about 25 minutes with no luck, then finally he sent my call correctly and WKD B4, so it seems he did have it right the first time. Today it took till 2050Z or so to even find a DX station other than XE2V and F5IN, both of whom were down in my noise level at S3 or so. At 2050, I again found F5IN in the FOC QSO Party. I wasn't sure if non-members (which I am) could work members or not. I checked the WA7BNM calendar for the rules and found I could get in the contest. So I called Mike F5IN about 5 minutes till he heard me, but he had me as K3VWP. I sent my call three more times and he got it right. We exchanged info and I breathed a sigh of relief as I logged F5IN for day # 1,654 of the DX streak. Hopefully the severe storming in the ionosphere will lessen by tonight and make things easier.

I was just wondering how many folks who don't know any better will hear about the ionosphere storm and equate it to hurricane Irma. If they do, to what do they attribute Harvey when the ionosphere was quiet then.

Tomorrow will be a busy day so that may mean another rough day for the streak. I'll be going to the BCARA hamfest at Unionville, PA near Butler. Mike and I will head to the Ponderosa in Butler for breakfast, then off to the hamfest followed by a bit of shopping so that will take up a good part of the day. If I don't get my DX tonight, it will have to be after we get home tomorrow.

You all probably know by now how my main streak got started back in 1994. If not, briefly it came about when my neighbor Eric (now KB3BFQ) and I thought about what would be the equivalent in ham radio to streaks in sports. He suggested making at least one QRP/CW/simple wire antenna QSO each day. The rest is history.

What you may not know is that Eric is also largely, almost completely, responsible for me starting this web site. The Internet was still fairly somewhat new at that time and he talked about us trying our hand at setting up a web site. His was going to be about one of his favorite sports, hockey. I was undecided between NASCAR auto racing and ham radio. I was a very serious NASCAR fan at that time and followed it closely as Eric did with hockey. In fact we both were reporters for a sports show out of Pittsburgh for a while around that time. We would phone in our comments on the sports which would be transcribed and used by the personality (Tom McGough with whom I worked while at WPIT) in his on-air sports show.

OK, back on track now. NASCAR lost out to ham radio for my web site idea. At first I used the site mostly to describe my involvement with the founding of the CW County Hunters Net and the CW County Hunters Contest back in the 1960s and early 1970s. Once that material was taken care of, there wasn't much else to do with the site so I gradually expanded into other ham radio topics and wound up with what I have today.

Both Eric and I started our sites on GeoCities which provided free space for web sites. Eventually when my ISP Alltel (now Windstream) provided free web site space as well, I added my site there and eventually dropped GeoCities.

I'll have a little more to say about the site, but I think today's comments and yesterday's links to archived pages from my web site pretty much tell the overall story.

Incidentally I explored the archived pages a little more today, and found that indeed most of the sub pages are available linked to the main page. I did find it odd that the links in the 1998 page took me to pages from 1999 which was a bit quirky. As far as images go, I found them to be rather spotty here and there. The same with style sheets. So beware of those limitations if you do decide to explore the archives. I hope you will do so. -30-

Fri Sep 08 2017 9:35AM - It was twenty-one years ago today that this web site was born. I thought I'd turn on the time machine today and perhaps the next couple of days to travel back through those 21 years as we begin the 22nd year.

Perhaps you know about it, or perhaps not, but there is a web site called The Internet Archive Wayback Machine at https://archive.org/. They take "snapshots" of web sites as they exist on the day the snapshot was taken so you can see how a web site looked during a certain era. The snapshots seem to be taken at random perhaps a dozen or so times a year. At least that's how it looks for my site.

The snapshot may or may not contain all the pages on a site. In spot checking, I am finding in a good many cases, if not all, the snapshot does seem to contain most pages. Pictures are sometimes not archived and all you'll see is a placeholder for the picture. Another thing that may not always be archived are style sheets so the pages may look different from what is intended in those cases.

However with all of that said, you can still get a good idea of what a site looked like in the past. Since my site had its main URL changed three times plus the addition of k3wwp.com, there are four different sections of the Internet Archive for my site as follows:
1998-2003 for www.alltel.net/~johnshan
2003-2009 for home.alltel.net/johnshan
2009-2017 for home.windstream.net/johnshan
2014-2017 for k3wwp.com

Here are links to the home page of my site - one for each year from 1998-2016. Unfortunately there aren't any snapshots from 1996 or 1997 when my site was hosted on GeoCities. When I left GeoCities, someone else took over the URL and their site is archived, but not mine. I may have something here locally, but I'll have to search through a lot of material to find them if they exist.


I was just eating brunch here while checking out the links above. Sure brings back a lot of memories seeing those old pages. I think I'll dwell more on the history of my site over the next few entries. -30-

Thu Sep 07 2017 8:45PM - If it's clear where you live and your skies are fairly dark, you might want to go outside and see if there is an aurora. It's been many moons since I've heard so much auroral flutter on sigs as there is this evening. Nearby stations, distant stations all seem to have some degree of flutter. The flutter is so bad on some signals, it's hard to copy their calls or anything else. I just got the propagation figures for my propagation page. Here's what the WWV page says:
Space weather for the past 24 hours has been severe.
Geomagnetic storms reaching the G4 level occurred.
Solar radiation storms reaching the S2 level occurred.
Radio blackouts reaching the R3 level occurred.

Space weather for the next 24 hours is predicted to be severe.
Geomagnetic storms reaching the G4 level are expected.
Solar radiation storms reaching the S2 level are expected.
Radio blackouts reaching the R2 level are expected.
I can't recall the last time space weather was described as "severe". It may be interesting trying to get my DX today. Although sometimes such disturbed space weather actually enhances DX signals. At least I did manage to get my regular streak QSO easily on 40M from KM4ZZ in VA. He was very fluttery as was everyone else, but we made the QSO. -30-

Wed Sep 06 2017 10:33AM - I promised some info on QSOs via CQ, and here it is.

Another thing that shows that QRP/CW/simple wire antennas really works is getting answers to CQs using that method. While you won't get as many answers, especially from DX stations, as the fellow with the KW and beam on a hill, you can get enough to make it worthwhile calling CQ now and then.

As you know, I love working with stats. I've got a field in my Microsoft Access log to indicate when a QSO came from my CQ. Also when the QSO came from someone calling me at the end of my QSO which is called tailending. We're not going to talk about tailending here, just about the QSOs I've gotten from my CQs when running 5 watts or less. Of coure with CW and my simple wire antennas.

I have gotten a WAC via CQs. Only one QSO each from AF and AS. Only one station from OC, but he answered my CQ three separate times using two calls. I have more complete stats in a text file to which I will provide a link later in the entry for those who want to delve more deeply into what and who I have worked.

I should mention that all but perhaps a couple of the following QSOs came from just a regular CQ, NOT calling CQ DX. Also the stats are not complete because when I initially log on paper I sometimes forget to note if the QSO came via CQ. When I initially log by computer in a contest, I can't easily note if the QSO came via CQ. Still the info is fairly indicative of what is happening.

Briefly here are the number of QSOs including USA/VE from each continent:
AF - 1, AS - 1, EU - 91, NA - 11,323 (46 excluding USA/VE), OC - 3, SA - 14, TOT - 11,433 (156)

The number of countries from each continent:
AF - 1, AS - 1, EU - 26, NA - 14, OC - 1, SA - 9, TOT - 52

I have 49 states via CQ - all but Hawaii. I have 16 of the 40 CQ Zones.

Here are the number of QSOs by band with non USA/VE in parentheses:
  6 -    4   (0)
 10 -   80  (46)
 12 -   20   (9)
 15 -  136  (23)
 17 -   72   (6)
 20 -  704   (8)
 30 - 1415  (50)
 40 - 8422  (14)
 60 -    8   (0)
 80 - 4748   (0)
160 -   99   (0)
I hope you find that interesting and now know that it is possible to work DX via CQs without a hilltop QTH and a huge antenna farm. As I've said before, I find it to be a thrill not knowing who from where is going to answer that CQ you send out.

If that has whetted your appetite and you want to see some expanded stats, click here for a text file. -30-

Tue Sep 05 2017 9:03AM - Yes, another early morning diary entry. I got on the air in the 0200Z hour last night and found some interesting conditions due to the extreme high solar flux and its effect on the ionosphere. Although there wasn't much in the way of DX, there were a lot of strong USA stations up through 17 meters.

I did get my DX though. I checked one strong S7 signal on 17. It was a rag chew type QSO, but I had a hunch it might have been some DX so I waited for an ID. It turned out to be Max KH6ZM whom I'd worked a few times before. I waited till he finished his QSO with some station in W5 land whom I could also hear very faintly. I gave a call, and got a WWP? I sent my call twice again and we had a few minutes solid chat. Yes, the Hawaii pipeline still works and works well.

Although the ionosphere remained fairly quiet with the high SF, today the latest SF is listed as 140, but with some storminess predicted. I'll check later to see just how the bands are.

I did some research on QSOs via my CQ, and came up with some stats, but I think I'll let the above stand for today's entry and post the CQ stats in tomorrow's entry. Just a sneak preview here. I do have a WAC via my CQs. -30-

Mon Sep 04 2017 8:50PM - I guess for my entire ham life, I've enjoyed calling CQ to get my QSOs. I still do except when I'm working on my DX or main streak, in a contest, or maybe working on a NAQCC challenge. The thrill of not knowing who from where is going to answer me when I call CQ never grows old or wears off. Tonight for example a CQ on 20 meters netted me a QSO with one of the Canada 150th anniversary stations, VE1RAC. Normally I would have to search out a station like that, but hey, he answered me. I find that thrilling. I'm going to talk a bit more about answers I've gotten to my CQs either later in this entry or in a future entry depending on time. It looks like we might be getting some rain, and if so I want to get Roscoe out before that comes.

No DX this evening. I only heard a weak DL1 and EA8 on 40 meters, nothing else. Holy sunspots, Batman. I just looked at the WWV report. The solar flux, if not an error, was 183!!! today. It didn't get that high all that often during the sunspot maximum. The A-index was only 18. Now why oh why weren't conditions better this evening? With numbers like that, 20 meters should still be very open for a lot of DX. I think that's a convincing argument for folks not checking the conditions or the bands. They just assume going into a minimum now there are not going to be any good conditions again for a few years and don't bother getting on the air. Sigh! Even if I didn't need to get on for my DX in the morning or afternoon, I'd still be interested in seeing how the bands are with propagation numbers like that.

OK, got to get my weather now, then maybe some more about CQs.

There is some rain coming, so I'll postpone the info about CQs till tomorrow so I can get Roscoe out. I'm curious to see how many countries I've gotten via my CQ. I counted once and I think it was around 30 or so. Also how many states, continents, zones, etc. So I'll research that and compile the info later tonight or tomorrow. -30-

Sun Sep 03 2017 7:25PM - I figured the SF of 100 reported yesterday would bring the higher bands to life today. I was partly right. 17 meters showed several European signals in the 1600Z hour. They weren't all that strong, but I was able to work Joska HA9RT easily for my DX streak QSO. I shut down not long after that and never did check again. Of course I will be getting on at 0000Z in about a half hour from now. I just looked at the solar info before typing this and the SF was at 120 today, and the A-index was just 11, lower than yesterday. So conditions may be interesting this evening and if so, hopefully that will continue into tomorrow.

I managed to finish the NAQCC September challenge today. It required making a total of 72, 73, or 88 from the numbers in the grid squares of stations worked. For example FN04 and EM26 would give a total of 0+4+2+6=12. It took me just 10 stations to make both 72 and 73 to satisfy the challenge two times over. -30-

Sat Sep 02 2017 8:38PM - Being interested in meteorology, of course I've been following Harvey closely the past several (too many) days meandering around and then finally paying us a visit here in PA today. By now, most of the moisture has been wrung out of the storm and we got less than a half inch, maybe not even a quarter inch today. Still about 20 minutes before I check my rain gauge for an exact total.

As Harvey passed I thought of our heaviest rainfall here. There were two days - I'll get the dates shortly - when we had just under 6 inches of rain in a day. One was when tropical storm Ivan got stranded around Kentucky and just kept feeding and dropping its rain here for probably some 20 hours or so. The other was when thunderstorms kept developing in SW Armstrong County and kept tracking diagonally right across Kittanning to NE Armstrong County. Picture an outline map of the county with a red bar through the middle like a no parking sign with the P and a red bar. That's what a time lapse radar image looked like that day. I have a picture of the radar, but I don't know just where right now. If I find it, I'll post it. The thunderstorms were on June 25, 2006 when we had 5.57 inches of rain. Ivan was on September 17, 2004 with a total of 5.69 inches followed by 0.66 inches on the 26th for a total of 6.35 inches. Both those totals were almost double anything in my records going back to 1959. And there's been nothing anywhere close to them since.

I wound up with a little under a foot of water in my basement from those storms, and it took my sump pump running continuously for a good many hours to keep up with it and eventually get it all pumped out. Although that was quite a mess, it pales by comparison to the up to almost 52 inches Harvey dumped on Texas. It's hard to imagine even with all the pictures and videos that have been posted on the Internet.

Once again a rough DX night despite the solar flux hitting 100 today for the first time in ages. It will be interesting to see how the bands respond during the day tomorrow. I did notice that 17 was open this evening with a strong K7 station. Probably had other folks gotten on 17, it might have been interesting. I did try some CQs there but no takers.

Well I typed long enough to take me to 9 o'clock, so I'll go see just how little rain we got today from Harvey. Just 0.20 inches, and still a light drizzle falling. -30-

Fri Sep 01 2017 2:57PM - Some random thoughts about the DX streak. I think it may be inevitable that it will end sometime during the upcoming sunspot minimum. Some of the things that may end it are:

1. The most likely one is that since I can't be on the air 24 hours every day, there will come a day when I am simply not on at the right times. There is a noticeable decrease in the number of DX stations I hear each day as sunspots decline. Whether that is because fewer stations are getting on the air because they believe conditions are not good enough for them to waste time when they could be doing other things - or - the stations are there, but conditions really aren't good enough for me to hear them. In either case, it is a matter of being there when the stations are on or conditions are briefly good enough to hear them. That boils down to luck. I do know enough about propagation to know when the time SHOULD be good for DX. But that is not a certainty. A few nights ago, 20 should have been dead around 0430Z, yet it wasn't and I was able to work Hawaii for my DX streak QSO.

2. Conditions may decline to the point where there will be a day when no DX can be heard for the full 24 hours of that day. Of course then no matter when I get on, there will be nothing there for me to work.

3. There are other reasons such as health problems, etc. that I am not even going to dwell on here nor even think about.

It looked a lot like today would be a day where #1 above applied. It seemed that every time I did get on, there was nothing to be heard except a couple stations who were so weak, I couldn't even copy all their call signs. After a busy first couple hours to start the day I started checking the bands at least once an hour with the same negative results. I persisted though and finally 17 meters opened up a bit and I found PJ4/PA3BWK around 1830Z or so. He would peak at S5 to S6 but was mostly down around S3 or less. I figured if I could catch him on a peak, I'd have a chance. However it seemed that he would be strong in the middle of his CQ, then inevitably fade down as he ended the CQ. So I would be calling on a downswing in propagation. I did get a brief K3? and K3WW? once, but got no further. That did encourage me though, and I continued calling. Finally at 1854Z, I got a weak K3WWP 599, and responded with TU 599 599. He sent K3WWP 599 again, and I responded with TU 599. Finally I got a CFM TU and breathed a sigh of relief as another DX day went in the log.

If all days become that hard, I'm not sure I want to continue, but I probably will as the harder it is, the more satisfaction is derived from the contact when I do make it.

Oh, had I not known PA3BWK to be a very good op, I might have not persisted like I did. You've got to know who is good and who is not when conditions get borderline as they are now. The good ops will stick with you as long as feasible to get it right. -30-

Thu Aug 31 2017 9:01PM - Once again the question is asked, "Will this be the day the DX streak ends?" Conditions were horrible tonight. Only heard a couple weak DX stations and the one I called wasn't hearing me at all.

It was even a struggle to get my regular streak QSO, but I did. I worked a POTA station - N5PHT and also W4USR who was running 700 watts. He went from S9+ to nothing in just two rounds of our QSO.

A lot of end of the month things today, and about all that is left is putting my August weather records in my Excel database and a trip to the bank in the morning. I think I'll do the weather when I finish this diary entry and get it uploaded. I'm just looking at my weather log here and it looks like August will wind up a very dry month, perhaps even record dry at just around 1.5 inches. The temperature may be a couple degrees below normal, but that's just a guess till I get it all figured. -30-

Wed Aug 30 2017 9:12PM - With the working of TG9ADM at 0100Z on 30M another month of my streaks is closed out. I was hoping to get my DX this evening so now I can upload my August QSOs to LoTW and eQSL after I finish this diary update.

Not a whole lot going on today. I did put a new roof on my thermometer shelter this morning. That should protect it better for the upcoming w#$ter season. -30-

Tue Aug 29 2017 8:45AM - Yes, AM. I'm up early today. I find I just can't sleep in as long as I used to. They say as you get older, you need less sleep. I guess that's true as I'm definitely getting older.

Anyway, I thought I'd get to the pictures I talked about. First a couple of pictures from our Skyview visit. This first one was taken by Drew W3FFZ. I'm not sure who took the second one with Mike's camera. Our KX3/KX2 rigs look kind of lost among the Skyview collection of gear. Oh, our revised total after all logs were in was 45 QSOs in 24 SPCs.

That's front to back: K3WWP (See, I told you I'm getting older) KC2EGL AB3RU WB3FAE

And in reverse with a couple of young visitors in the background, one of whom is just peeking around my hat. I do vaguely remember being that young. It was nice.

Let's move on now. Yesterday when I went out on the porch to get the mail, I found a box there. I hadn't ordered anything so it came as a surprise. I opened it up and in a sea of crumpled newspapers I found an enclosed letter from Paul W4KLY which read in part:

"Hi John, Dick Baxter, K5TF, one of our North Georgia QRP Club (NOGAQRP) members brought up your name, call and your passion for Ham Radio as a topic of discussion at our most recent North Georgia QRP Club (NOGAQRP) meeting. We admire what you bring to our great hobby and thought it was fitting for us to present you one of our NOGA KX3/PX3 Combo Stands in recognition of your accomplishments."

I immediately wrote a letter of thanks to W4KLY and told him to pass the thanks along to the club members. I explained in the letter that since I had designed and built my own KX3/PX3 stand in early 2016 for my home station, that the one they sent would be ideal for my portable operations since it is more compact and weighs less than mine.

KX3/PX3 Stand

If you would be interested in getting such a stand, visit the NOGAQRP site for more info. Just do a Bing search for "noga qrp club".

Thanks publicly to all those involved in getting me such a wonderful gift.

And just because I now am well within my Windstream bandwidth, here's a sunset picture to close this entry.



Mon Aug 28 2017 9:07PM - I keep getting more pictures I want to post in the diary, but I'm getting close to my bandwidth limit on the Windstream server. So I'm going to archive the last half of July's diary entries a couple days early and try to get caught up with the pictures in tomorrow's entry.

The DX was easy this evening. Old standby David XE1XR was strong on 20 when I got to the shack at 0000Z. He worked a couple other stations, then it was my turn.

OK, now I'm going to do the archiving and lower my Windstream bandwidth for the pictures tomorrow. -30-

Sun Aug 27 2017 7:19PM - A great time was had by all today at the Skyview Radio Society clubhouse playing QRP with their big antenna farm. Ops were me, KC2EGL, WB3FAE, AB3RU with W3FFZ and K3JZD around also. In addition to them it was nice to see the other Skyview members, none of whom have the bias against CW/QRP that some hams seem to have. They are all very supportive of and helpful with our CW/QRP operation whenever we go there. Thanks especially to Bob WC3O who had all the antennas and filters ready for us when we got there. All we had to do was plug into their power pole bus and connect the antennas to our rigs and start operating.

The four of us made (I believe) 49 QSOs in 22+ SPCs. I still need the log from WB3FAE to make an exact count which I will get and do. Mike worked Asiatic Russia and Slovenia on 20 meters with their 6 element beam. Considering the poor conditions of late, I think that was quite good. I stayed on 40 the whole time I operated. I guess my best "DX" was Oklahoma.

Several pictures were taken, but I'm going to have to wait to post them in the diary. First of all, I haven't gotten them all yet, and also I'm close to my bandwidth limit on Windstream until I archive the diary entries and pictures from the last half of July which I will do at the end of August.

Oh, I did get my DX QSO easily last evening from TG9AFX on 30 meters. -30-

Sat Aug 26 2017 6:20PM - Just sitting here awaiting the morning and our annual trek to the Skyview Radio Society near New Kensington, PA to hook our little QRP rigs to their big antenna farm. We're shooting to have four bands active simultaneously - 7041, 10117, 14059, and 18089. We'll use N3AQC and call CQ for the first 30-45 minutes of each hour depending on responses. Then the op will have the option of doing whatever he wishes for the remainder of the hour. At the end of the hour we'll rotate ops and repeat the pattern. That way, each op can get to operate each band. We'll start as soon after 1200Z as we can and continue up until around 1800Z or until the Skyview folks throw us out, whichever comes first. HI. Hope to work you sometime on some band.

I checked the bands last night just before going to bed and found the Hawaii QSO Party in progress with S5 to S6 signals from Hawaii on 20 meters. My Hawaii pipeline apparently is in need of repair as 3 stations I tried weren't hearing me. However they did have pileups so that may have been the reason. I did work KH6CJJ finally though. It was fairly easy with just a couple repeats of my call and state even though he was only S5. So I guess the pipeline does still work. Hopefully I can get a DX QSO this evening so I won't have to worry about it during the day tomorrow. Maybe another Hawaiin?

Oh, here's a picture of one of the switches I used in the jumper dipole as described in yesterday's diary entry.
jumper switch


Fri Aug 25 2017 8:53PM - No need to chew me out. Here's the info on the jumper dipole I use for portable operation. It was originally built by me and Mike back in late 2010 and based on an antenna that Don K3RLL uses. The construction article is in NAQCC Newsletter # 129 from October 2010. You can read the article and see pictures of the construction here. Since then, I've modified mine quite a bit. For the center insulator/connector I now use a SO-239 mounted on a piece of plexiglass to which I attach my coax line to the KX3. Instead of the alligator clips in the article, I now use small slide switches as the jumpers. I tweaked the lengths of the wire segments a bit. They no longer need the extra inches to connect to the alligator clips as described in the newsletter. I have the current lengths somewhere around here, but I don't know just where right now. I'll try to find them. Actually I believe they are very close to those measurements in the table in the article. Also somewhere I have pictures of the antenna with the slide switches which I'll try to find and post here. I think I did post them in the diary and/or in a NAQCC newsletter, but I can't seem to find them. That happens a lot when you get older and have gathered too much stuff over the years.

Tonight was one of those DXless nights again. I liken the DX signals on the PX3 to looking out over a somewhat rough sea watching a small cork bob in and out of view. That's similar to what the DX signals were doing in the noise "waves" on the PX3 screen. Very weak signals except for WP4L who was booming in, but doing some S&P working DX of his own and never calling CQ himself. So tomorrow will have as much time as needed devoted to trying to find and work some DX, I guess. -30-

Thu Aug 24 2017 8:43PM - A quick DX streak QSO this evening at 0004Z keeps the streak going at 1,639 straight days now. I remember with a chuckle how way back in 1995 I thought it was really something to have worked DX for 17 straight days. Wow! Then I topped that with 81 days in 1999-2000 and was really proud to have done that. On what would have been the 82nd day, I couldn't work any DX, but picked it up the next day and ran off 154 more days. I didn't try a DX streak again until 2011 when I did 120 days. Thinking of those streaks makes me realize the big difference between them and the current one. Why is this one so much longer? Am I a better more knowledgable DXer now? I should be since everyone does or should learn things with experience and I've had a lot of it now at 72 years of age. That's a factor, I'm sure. However I think probably the biggest factor is having a PX3 to assist me in examining the bands. What a time saver that is. It doesn't hurt having a KX3 either, although except for the first streak when I used a homebrew transmitter, my other rigs were only a very slight bit below the KX3 in performance. As I've said over and over, my style of operating hasn't changed. I never use or used spotting of any kind. No reverse beacons or any other type of computer assistance in working or finding any of my DX. So I would rate the PX3 as the number 1 reason for the length of the current streak. A close second would be the experience gained in DXing over the years. And then I've always been stubborn when pursuing a challenge of any kind and don't give up without a fight. I think that contributes also.

I've had a couple questions about the jumper dipole that I use for portable operation. It was described in a NAQCC newsletter a few years ago which included pictures. If I don't forget, I'll look up that newsletter and include a link to it here in the diary. Also I'll try to write a bit about the updates I've made to it since then. If you don't see it in tomorrow's entry, you email me and chew me out. HI.

Now I've got to get my weather readings, do a few other things, and then take Roscoe out for another walk or two.

First though, I was thinking this while on the air a while ago. August is a great month except for one major thing. Except for September and early October, it gets darker quicker and earlier each evening. Tonight with the help of overcast skies, it was completely dark at 8:35PM. It wasn't long ago it was light well past 9:00PM. The change is dramatic. On August 1, the official sunset is at 8:33:06 PM, while on August 31 it is 7:51:00 PM. That's 42 minutes earlier or about 1 minute and 20 seconds earlier each day. In September it goes from 7:49:23 PM to 7:00:41 PM or about 49 minutes or about a little over 1 minute 35 seconds per day, not all that much worse than August. I never figured that out before and I find it interesting the rate of change is not all that different in the two months. -30-

Wed Aug 23 2017 11:28AM - This is pizza night with Mike, so I'll write my diary entry now.

Last night was one of those 0000Z DX QSOs from CO2AME on 20 meters. It's always good to get the streak taken care of quickly. It's really becoming interesting to see how far the streak is going to progress as the sunspot cycle progresses (regresses?) toward the next minimum within the next couple years. There have been some close calls, but no failures (yet). I honestly do expect the inevitable to happen before a whole lot longer. I don't know if it will actually be conditions that end the streak. It might be that a lot of DX stations abandon the bands expecting that conditions will be so bad it would be a waste of time getting on the air. They might even take a break from ham radio until we get through the minimum. We'll have to see which scenario is true. There have been days when I called several stations with no response whatsover. But there have also been days when I just couldn't find anyone to work. Of course on both kinds of days I did eventually find and work someone to continue the streak.

A few days ago, Henry K1WCC signed my new guestbook. That call struck a familiar note, and I emailed him asking if it had some connection to the coastal station WCC. I'll repeat his answer here.

"Tnx, John, yes you are right, it is. When I was a youngster back in the early 60's, we lived close to Chatham and the 500 kc. signal of WCC/ChathamRadio would spill into the AM band in two spots. I started to write down the dots/dashes and convert them. That worked but eventually learned to copy, they sent at about 15 WPM. What they would send continuously were ship traffic lists, lists that indicated they had traffic for particular ships. They would send a string of V's, then DE WCC then info on where they were listening and the callsigns of the ships. I was an swl for a long time and finally got licensed, and when the vanity call program came along, I pounced on k1wcc and was amazed no other Capie took it, and I was a General at the time. There is a WCC Museum down in Chatham that is worth seeing but their amateur callsign is WA1WCC. As you know, k1wcc is a good CW call. It's got a nice swing when sent."

I used to love to log the short wave coastal stations on CW before they pretty much totally abandoned the mode. I also liked to listen to 500 kHz and log the activity there also. Sadly, that's gone also. I haven't really checked the short wave coastal bands in perhaps some 20-25 years so maybe there is still some CW activity. I don't know.

I think when I get time, I'll dig out my old non-ham radio logs and do some reminiscing. Perhaps I'll devote a few diary entries to my SWL activities over the next couple months or so.

Let's see what other diary/web site related emails I have here.

Here's one from Roger AE4RM who is starting a streak of his own and wants to know if he can use some of my ideas about tracking his streak. I need to answer him and tell him sure if he gives me credit for the ideas.

That's true for any of you. If you want to copy anything from my web site, just give me credit and provide a link to my web site. That's all I ask. I don't think that's too much.

Mike N4VBV, a long time diary reader sent this note and picture:

John, After reading your lamp's history, saw this at Walmart today and thought you'd like a chuckle.

New diary readers might miss the significance of the statement and picture. I guess it's best explained by referring you to here.

I think that gets me caught up on diary related emails for now. It's always nice to hear from you with your comments either via email or in the guestbook. I don't do social media like Facebook, etc. at all here. There's too much of a chance of that leading to nastiness or trouble. I'd sooner sit on my front porch and talk with friends. Remember those days? Computers, smart phones, etc. have robbed us to a large extent of those wonderful times. Sigh! -30-

Tue Aug 22 2017 10:53AM - With fingers on keyboard and tongue somewhat in cheek, I offer the following.

I think IOTA started it many years ago for working stations on islands. Then I don't know in what order came SOTA for summits, NPOTA for national parks, POTA for parks in general. Of course they don't have the OTA included in their official titles, but there are also working countries (entities), continents, states, zones, counties..... the list goes on and on really almost to the point of overkill.

I'd like to offer the following 26 "OTAs" to the list (one for each letter of the alphabet) that Mike and I came up with killing time before, during, and after the Skeeter Hunt on Sunday :
AOTA - Avenues On The Air
BOTA - Ballparks On The Air
COTA - Cloverleafs On The Air
DOTA - Depressions On The Air
EOTA - Eating Places On The Air
FOTA - Farms On The Air
GOTA - Grocery Stores On The Air
HOTA - Hotels On The Air
IOTA - Industrial Parks On The Air
JOTA - Junkyards On The Air
KOTA - Kmarts On The Air
LOTA - Libraries On The Air
MOTA - Malls On The Air
NOTA - National Monuments On The Air
OOTA - Overpasses On The Air
POTA - Plazas On The Air
QOTA - Quays On The Air
ROTA - Rest Stops On The Air
SOTA - Streams On The Air
TOTA - Tributaries On The Air
UOTA - Underpasses On The Air
VOTA - Villages On The Air
WOTA - Water Towers On The Air
XOTA - Xenoliths On The Air
YOTA - Yard Sales On The Air
ZOTA - Zip Codes On The Air
I wouldn't be surprised with the proliferation of OTAs lately that some of those show up as actual activities. Hey, maybe Mike and I can get a free meal by giving some eating places publicity by doing an EOTA activity at a Wendy's, Burger King, Ponderosa, Vocelli's, etc. -30-

Mon Aug 21 2017 6:48PM - Things didn't go easily today, but they went. After predicting for the past several days that it would be sunny today for the eclipse, the forecast was changed to partly sunny with scattered showers or thundershowers. When the clouds did develop I decided against setting up my scope and just go with pinhole projection instead. There were enough breaks in the clouds for that to work and I got this picture. It's not all that good because I was juggling the camera and the card with the pinhole in it while trying to take the picture. At least it shows the eclipse in its very early stages.

eclipse 1

It was now looking like the clear spots were taking over, so I went to plan B an did some projection work with my 10x50 binoculars. That turned out very nice. Unfortunately I didn't have a stand for the binoculars and couldn't hold them steady enough for a picture. At least that afforded some nice views for me and my neighbor.

I was disappointed in not getting any good pictures so far and decided I would set up my scope. Almost as soon as I did though, the skies darkened and looked very much like they were going to scatter one of those showers right on us. That was right around the time of maximum eclipse naturally. So I took the scope back inside and got a mid-afternoon snack. Oh, it was possible to notice the general darkening due to the eclipse. I found that interesting. It wasn't much, but it was definitely perceptible even with the clouds contributing their darkening also.

Naturally while I was eating, the skies parted again. So back out with the scope for some hurried pictures till it clouded up again. They didn't turn out all that well because I was hurrying. The first one here shows the sun from the back of the little projection screen. The second one looked very nice, but in my haste, I didn't focus properly and the image of the sun bloomed noticeably. Still I've got a permanent record of today's eclipse.

eclipse 2eclipse 3

Almost as it was for day # 1,600 of the streak back in July, today also looked very certain to be a day without DX. The only usable band for DX was 20 and it was full of Solar Eclipse QSO Party stations, just about all of them USA or Canada. There was one G station in the test, but he wasn't hearing me at all. Other than that, a German special event station who likewise wasn't hearing me, and a couple other weak unID stations comprised a short list of what I was hearing in the way of DX. It was that way for several periodic checks of the band(s) until around 2130Z when some signals from EU were picking up in strength. Still no luck working them though. That is until I got a ? from IK1QHB, then after sending my call two more times, Paul from near Genova copied me solidly and the DX streak goes on. Whew!

I promised more about the Skeeter Hunt so here are some pictures with labels.

SH 1
SH 2
SH 3SH 4

More tomorrow. That's it for now. -30-

Sun Aug 20 2017 9:07PM - A great day in the Skeeter Hunt. The bands weren't all that good and it was a struggle to make 46 QSOs in 19 SPCs. That was secondary to the fun and fellowship among Mike, Tom, and me though. I'll have more to say about the Hunt in a future entry and include some pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I used one from today to modify the main logo on my home page. Tom took that and I really like it.

It looks like tomorrow will have an extra activity besides laundry and watching the eclipse. I just could not get any DX stations to hear me at all this evening. Mike was still here and he had the same lack of luck with DX. So I'll have to spend time in the shack in the morning and afternoon looking for my DX Streak QSO. -30-

Sat Aug 19 2017 8:40PM - This was one of those evenings I really wanted to get my DX QSO since Mike will be visiting a good part of the day tomorrow. We've got plans for a Ponderosa breakfast at the remaining Ponderosa in the area in Butler. Then back here to Kittanning and up to the Community Park for the Skeeter Hunt from 1700-2100Z. Tom WB3FAE will be joining us for that. It will be a NAQCC WPA effort using the club call of N3AQC. Then after that we'll be doing something till he has to head home. Perhaps set up for my eclipse watching tomorrow. Mike has to work, but he'll take his astronomy binoculars with the solar filter with him on his mail route. I'll use some sort of projection system be it pinhole, binoculars, or my old 4 inch telescoper which I used for the Mercury transit a couple years ago.

DX? Oh yes, I did get it. I could barely copy WP4L through some local QRN but we made the QSO on 30 meters for the continuation of the streak. Also that was my 24th 30M QSO so far this month. Looks like I should be able to get another NAQCC 30-30 award if I get 6 30M QSOs before the end of the month.

With the QSO in the log, I was able to get my portable operation kit all packed except for a couple minor items I still need tonight. I'll pack them in the morning. Looks like a great day on tap after we had a pretty heavy thunderstorm late this afternoon. -30-

Fri Aug 18 2017 8:43AM - This may be the earliest in the day I have ever written a diary entry, but I did want tell this story while still fresh in my mind and before I forget it with my slipping away 72 year old memory. HI

Sometime last night after the (non-)QSO I mentioned in last night's diary entry, I decided since conditions were so terrible and didn't look to be getting any better today that I'd email Nelson NP4LW who was the ham in question about the QSO just to see what he would say. So this morning I did just that about 15 minutes ago.

After that I went to the shack to check conditions. They did seem just as horrible as last night. There was one station on 20 meters just below my S3 noise level that I could hear, but not copy. I tried 17M and it was totally devoid of CW signals. I thought I'd try 30 meters, but I stopped at 20 on the way there and found a little stronger signal calling CQ. I crossed my fingers and hoped when he sent his call, it started with something other than A,K,N,W. Well it did. It was an X (E3ARV). I called a couple times and got no reply. A couple more times and got K3?. Three more times and Bob got my call, I got my DX QSO for day 1,632. Big sigh of relief.

So that, along with some rain overnight freed up today from chasing DX and watering gardens. Freed up for what, I don't know yet though. Nothing special planned except a shopping trip to pick up some groceries on sale starting today. I'll find something elso to do though.

While I'm typing, I'll mention this. I received an email from my friend Bob W3BBO mentioning that he checked my call on some Reverse Beacon Network. I knew about the RBN, but NEVER used it nor ever have any plans to do so. I consider it akin to spotting which I also NEVER use. Nothing against those who do use things like that, but they are just not a part of my style of doing ham radio. The only concession I make to modern technology is using a panadapter to save time when exploring the bands. When I get older, I don't know how much time I have left and don't want to waste it laboriously tuning the bands when I can just see the activity at a glance and check out the peaks that I do see. I'll never use anything like Skimmer (I think that's the name) which prints out the calls on the peaks on the screen.

To me, ham radio is like it was when I was a Novice, then General back in the 1960's where you fired up the station and tuned around the bands to find someone to work or to find a clear spot to call CQ. With the one exception of the panadapter it has always been that way with me, and always will be.

Oh, here's an excerpt from Bob's email. ".......I typed in your call [in the RBN] and it shows your activity on the bands for the past year. At first glance, I see I could probably find K3WWP on the air sometime between 00:00 and 01:00. No sense looking for John between 04:00 and 12:00 though. Hi. ....... Hope to work you guys in the Skeeter Hunt on Sunday."

Oh yes, the Skeeter Hunt. I'm looking forward to that on Sunday, then viewing the solar eclipse on Monday. Right now, the forecast for both days calls for sunny weather, although a bit hot, especially Monday. I hope you'll try to work Mike and me, and maybe Tom on Sunday. We'll be using the NAQCC club call of N3AQC from 1700-2100 probably only on 40 and 20 meters. I doubt 15 or 10 will be open. -30-

Thu Aug 17 2017 8:49PM - I may have to dig out that premature DX streak obituary I wrote just abou exactly a month ago and change the month from Jul to Aug to update it. Conditions are really the pits this evening.

Actually I did work a DX station, but after over 5 minutes of trying, he never did get my call right so I can't count it as a QSO. I'm just trying to remember some of the wrong calls he had. There were JAW, LWP, something with a G in it, and K3?, K3W?, and a couple others. I've said before I hate to have the streak end that way, knowing I made contact, but not being able to count the QSO. So hopefully conditions will improve by morning or afternoon.

That's about all I feel like writing now. -30-

Wed Aug 16 2017 9:05PM - Not a lot going on today other than a shopping trip to Walmart. Since I rely on someone else to take me up to the mall, I try to get as much as I can in one trip so they take a little longer than my usual walking shopping trips to stores here in downtown Kittanning.

Anyway I'm pretty much stocked up with items I can only get at Walmart for another month or so. I try to only schedule a trip there once a month or so. If I need another single item, Mike will usually stop there with me after we visit one of our eating establishments.

The bands were a bit rough tonight, but the streaks go on. I got an answer to my CQ from K0HNL who was quite strong here, but after I sent my info, he never came back to me, so I had to scratch that QSO. Then I worked KC9AWL down in Florida. It was a tough QSO, but we made a good one out of it. About the only DX station I heard was NP4AW on 40, and it only took a couple calls to get him solidly in the log.

It's going to be a busy next 10 days or so with the Skeeter Hunt on the 20th, the solar eclipse on the 21st, pizza night with Mike on the 23, and a trip to Skyview on the 27th. Whew! A lot of fun packed into a short period of time. -30-

Tue Aug 15 2017 7:00PM - When Mitch was here the other day, we were talking about which and how many entities we needed from each continent. Well, today I decided to find out exactly wnat I needed from each continent. You know me and my love of stats. I've added a table to my DXCC page in the AWARDS section with those stats.

I learned something today that pleased me. I should have known this, but my following of astronomy events has slipped lately. I was thinking the next total solar eclipse similar to the one next Monday wouldn't be until 2045. However on the Penn State Weather World Internet telecast this evening, they said there would be one on April 8, 2024 which included NW Pennsylvania in the path of totality. So if I can 'hang around' till then, I'll have a chance to see a total eclipse with just a short drive. I think I mentioned that Mike and I talked about driving down to Tennessee for Monday's eclipse, but decided against it largely because of the expense involved in about a 450-500 mile drive. I'm going to look up more about upcoming eclipses as soon as I get a chance. I want to be sure the info about 2024 is correct, for one thing.

Less than an hour now till streak time. I wonder what tonight will bring. -30-

Mon Aug 14 2017 8:45PM - Another busy day today with laundry, watering the garden, mailing a couple NAQCC prizes, a couple walks, some shopping, etc.

I've been watching the long range or medium range weather forecasts lately, and right now it looks like it might be clear around here for the solar eclipse a week from today. Of course it won't be total around here, but still will be interesting to observe via projection through my old 4 inch scope. That's similar to what I did for the transit of Mercury a couple years ago. See the diary archives for May 9, 2016 to see the setup I had for the transit. More about that as the day approaches. Oh, it should be about 80% total around here.

It looked like another one of those blown DX chances tonight. I was chasing Mike F5IN on 40, and one time he came back to a call something like KI0P. I had a hunch that might be me since the KI0P or whoever never came back to him. But I waited just in case. However a couple stations jumped right in, and from then on Mike had a stream of stations calling. I would hate to have something like that end my DX streak. Fortunately it didn't, as I found and worked CP4BT on 30 meters a little later. It took a couple repeats of my call, but it was a solid QSO after that. And it finished the letter B in our August NAQCC challenge. Now I need a few Os to finish it off. -30-

Sun Aug 13 2017 6:15PM - I did a lot of little jobs around the house today. Also spent time with Roscoe sitting on the porch enjoying the nice weather.

I got two DX QSOs last evening. One was EF1A in the WAE contest. Then I went to 30 meters to call some CQs, and got an answer from PJ7TM. When I logged Tom, I noticed he had answered my CQ previously as well about 3-4 years ago. Although it doesn't happen often with a QRP/simple wire antenna setup like mine, you can now and then get some DX station answer your CQ. I very seldom call CQ DX, and wasn't doing so last night, just regular CQs.

Another thing I did today was pull the dead flower stems from my daylillies. Along the way I ran into this beautiful creature.


When I got inside I went to Microsoft's Bing search engine and searched for 'yellow and black spider'. Bing turned up a bunch of hits including one on Wikipedia which I read. Turns out it's a spider with many common names as it says in this excerpt from the Wikipedia article, "yellow garden spider, black and yellow garden spider, golden garden spider, writing spider, corn spider, or McKinley spider". How would you like to have to remember all those names? Its scientific name is Argiope aurantia. It's non-poisonous to humans except for the very high risk persons who are sensitive to just about anything. OK, no use repeating the whole Wikipedia article. Here is a link to it. -30-

Sat Aug 12 2017 6:25PM - I had an enjoyable eyeball rag chew QSO today with a former Kittanning resident now living in FL. He came to Kittanning this weekend for a class reunion. I'm speaking of Mitch KI4TSI. Although our ham philosophy is about 180 degrees opposed, we both respect the other's way of operating. That's what makes ham radio so great. Each ham can operate the way he likes while respecting other ways. Of course there are some hams who think their way is the only way and all other ways are wrong. Fortunately they comprise only a small minority.

Of course you all know my style of operating, so let me tell you about Mitch. He operates phone and RTTY, no CW at all. He runs QRO (up to 1500 watts) power to a hex beam at 20 meters (I think that's the height he said). We are alike in that we both love chasing DX. Of course with his setup he has a few more countries than I do - actually a lot more - 316 to 225. He has all the European entities worked and only needs Libya to complete Africa. He also has not worked Navassa Island here in NA. I think that's the only one he needs in NA. I still need at least four entities in Europe - Andorra, Sovreign Military Order of Malta, Monk Apollo, and Market Reef. I think that's all. I haven't checked, just going from memory. Strangely I do have Libya in Africa and Navassa Island in North America.

When someone visits my shack, I usually try to work some DX while they are there. It doesn't always work though. Such was the case today even with the WAE contest in full swing. He arrived around 1800Z and the path to Europe with the decreasing sunspots was just closing down.

We talked about some local hams that he knew while living in Kittanning. There were only a couple that we mutually knew though. I showed him my QSL album with one QSL from each of the 212 entities I have confirmed via QSL card. That reminded me I still need to send a card to a few of the more recent entities I've worked.

We exchanged eyeball QSL cards, and he brought his QST with my article in it and wanted me to sign the article which I did. I don't think I've ever had a request like that before for anything in my life.

Time passed quickly and all too soon after an hour and a half or so, Mitch had to get ready for his class reunion later in the afternoon and evening. I really enjoyed the visit. It's always nice to get company, especially when we have common interests like ham radio. -30-

Fri Aug 11 2017 9:11PM - Another 0000Z DX streak QSO this evening. I love those. Tonight it was HI3T on 30 meters.

I did some more analyzing of my NAQCC Sprint stats today and this evening. Here's a table of my average QSOs per month per band:
Mon  20M   40M    80M
Jan  0.0   3.0   26.1
Feb  0.3   2.9   26.8
Mar  1.8  13.8   18.5
Apr  3.5  24.5   13.0
May  5.2  28.6    6.4
Jun  4.5  25.5    4.3
Jul  3.6  23.6    3.8
Aug  3.1  24.8    4.9
Sep  1.3  21.8   10.8
Oct  1.0  10.5   22.9
Nov  0.2   4.7   24.5
Dec  0.0   2.0   23.9
That really follows the seasons, doesn't it. I hope it points out that 80M also works during the summer months. The low figures for 80 during summer is largely due to very few folks going to 80 during the last part of the sprint. Conditions are often great there with signals above the usual summer QRN level.

Here's another bit of info that may interest some of you. It's a list of the stations I've worked most often during our sprints.
Station   QSOs
W2SH      103
W2JEK     100
W9CC       97
N4FI       86
K4BAI      75
KA2KGP     69
KD2MX      62
WB8LZG     56
NF8M       54
W4DUK      50
WG8Y       50
And that will do it for this entry. -30-

Thu Aug 10 2017 12:20PM - Here's that email from Mark WU7F. Mark and I have been web site / email friends for many years now. We have had only one on-air QSO on June 11, 2014 in one of our NAQCC sprints. I think this email sums up the reasons for the web site and the QST article better than anything I could come up with myself.

"John, I was delighted to read your article in the digital version of QST yesterday during a flight back to SLC, UT.

You inspired me to use QRP, and I did so exclusively for 12 years, and continue to use QRP often although not exclusively (I occasionally use an Elecraft KXPA100 @ 70W if conditions warrant it). Your experience proves that an operator can still make successful QSO's on the air - no "antenna farm" required (btw, I loved the reference to your antenna 'Victory Garden' in the article).

I credit you with providing the inspiration and proof that this concept works. Like so many others, I followed your advice and was able to prove it for myself. I am so glad I stumbled upon your website when I did (circa 2002). That's why I was so happy to see your article in QST. That same message of hope and encouragement that motivated me to get active on HF in spite of having less than an ideal antenna, QTH, or equipment; now has a wider distribution among ARRL readers. I'm sure your story will benefit many more Hams, just as it has done for me.

Thank you for all you do to inspire others to:
1. Get on the air
2. Make use of practical antennas
3. Use CW
4. Keep records and set goals to improve
5. Have fun

Furthermore, thanks for co-founding the NAQCC - a great organization that also continues to promote CW and QRP activity.

No need to respond to this email. I know you must be getting a great deal of email and encouragement. I just wanted to add my note of thanks and congratulations.

Your friend, Mark (WU7F) in Centerville, UT"

That's it, verbatim from what Mark sent except to reformat the list for HTML. I think it says it all without any further comment from me.

I've been busy the past couple days now preparing sprint logs for the cross-checking. So far we've gotten 117 logs. I think I will miss working with the logs after the end of this year. Well, except for the few each month that are poorly formatted and have to be tweaked before the cross-check software will accept them.

Oh, last night was another quick DX QSO from NP4R on 20M right after the clock turned to 0000Z. I like those kind of QSOs. -30-

Wed Aug 09 2017 7:00PM - Just killing time until 0000Z rolls around. After getting 55 QSOs in last night's sprint breaking my personal record for an August NAQCC sprint of 48, I thought I'd make a list of my most QSOs by month, and then set about to better the record as that month rolls around. Of course a lot of it will depend on conditions. A repeat of last night's conditions would be nice to have for each of our monthly NAQCC sprints, but that's not going to happen. Anyway here are my monthly records with the year listed.
Month  QSOs  Year  Participants
Jan     50   2017   155
Feb     52   2017   143
Mar     46   2014   189
Apr     64   2017   263
May     54   2009   106
Jun     49   2013   195
Jul     43   2010   180
Aug     55   2017   not yet figured
Sep     50   2011   161
Oct     53   2013   223
Nov     46   2009   110
Dec     57   2010   178
Since 4 of the records are from this year, I should mention another thing that factors in. The size of our NAQCC membership and the increasing number of sprint participants. In fact after I wrote this, I went back and added the number of participants for each of my record sprints. All but the 2009 sprints were ones with above average participation. Oh well that killed some of the time now.

I got an interesting email from Mark WU7F today that I would like to quote in the diary. I'm waiting for permission from him. I never quote anything here without asking. OK, just as I finished typing that, he gave me his permission. So I'll quote it here in tomorrow's entry.

Well, I guess I'll get a snack and maybe go for a short walk to pass the rest of the time until 0000Z. -30-

Tue Aug 08 2017 11:16PM - I just submitted my log for the sprint and after I mention my DX QSO, I'm just going to let my sprint soapbox stand as my log entry. I tried for DX before the sprint from about 0000 to 0020Z without any luck. Then just before getting into the sprint at 0030Z I again checked for DX and found and worked S57V easily with just a repeat or two.

Now here's my soapbox, I think. OK, got it.

SOAPBOX: Just before the sprint, I checked my past sprint results to see what the most QSOs I made in an August sprint were. It was 48. So I set my goal to top that. I never compete against other folks, only myself so that gave me something to shoot for. The sprint started very slowly for me with only 9 QSOs the first half hour and I figured I had no shot at 48 whatsoever. However things then exploded and the next half hour I got 24 followed the next two half hours by 12 and 10 for a total of 55. From 0059 to 0130 I felt like I was a big contest station continually running stations even with several small pileups. I only wish more folks had come to 80 that last half hour. I did get 16 QSOs on 80, but should have had more had more folks checked that band. The QRN level was only S6 or 7 here and most signals were S8 or 9. I had a couple interesting times in the sprint. I had 3 QSOs in a row from DE - N8NA, NR3P, WB4FUN. I suspect, although I haven\'t checked, that the three are related somehow. WB4FUN is a club station. I know Karl N8NA from many contest QSOs over the years. I\'ll look that up later. Then the very next QSO was the former ARRL President Dave K1ZZ running 2 watts. I also worked Karl N8NA again on 80 meters. Well this is getting to be a book rather than a soapbox so I\'ll close with thanks to all for a very fun 2 hours. -30-

Mon Aug 07 2017 9:09PM - I got a couple emails today I'd like to discuss here in the diary.

First Larry W2LJ sent this email to further explain my SP5ELA QSO last evening: "John, I had to chuckle while reading your diary entry for August 6th, especially when you mentioned the DX station was SP5ELA. Being of Polish descent myself, it's not so much "a tremendous amount of patience" as it is "a tremendous amount of stubbornness". We usually refuse to give up! 73 de Larry W2LJ"

Well, patience or stubbornness, I'll take either one if it gets me a DX streak QSO. HI.

Another email was from Tim AC5SH, FISTS America President. FISTS is going to be honoring one of the greatest ladies who ever pounded brass. Sadly she is no longer with us. I'm sure you know of whom I speak - my late good friend Nancy Kott WZ8C, former FISTS president. I could talk forever about her and the wonderful things she has done for CW. You may recall that a few years ago shortly after her passing, our NAQCC honored her memory with a special event. Now FISTS is holding a special event of their own on Saturday September 30 through Monday October 2. I'm not going to give all the info here now, but I will when the date draws closer. Meanwhile you can go to the FISTS web site for details. I hope every one of my diary readers and all of our NAQCC members will join in this special event to honor Nancy's memory.

Once again I continue to get my DX QSO in the evening. Let's see when the last time I didn't get one in the evening and had to wait till morning or afternoon. I know one day was July 17 when I almost didn't make it for day # 1,600 in the streak. I can't remember without looking if there was another such day since. OK, just one day since then - July 22 when I had to wait till 1330 to work HP3SS. Tonight it was NP4AW on 20M at 0033Z for day # 1,622. -30-

Sun Aug 06 2017 8:50PM - It doesn't get much harder than this. I hate to make a DX station work so hard to get me in their log, but some folks have a tremendous amount of patience and will stick with someone till the QSO is complete. They will put other stations trying to break in 'on hold' so to speak and continue to work with the one station till he is in the log or it becomes hopeless. That pretty much describes what happened between me and SP5ELA on 40M a little while ago. It must have taken about 2-3 minutes for him to get my call, but he didn't give up. I guess I must have sent my call about 30 times before he got past K3W and finally sent K3WWP TU 559. Thanks to him, the DX streak goes yet another day.

I'm still continuing to work on my Main Streak report page. A lot of the things there were not in very uniform shape after some 23 updates of the page. I've tried to remedy that. It still needs some more work, but I'll get to that.

I had an interesting telephone call today from KI4TSI in Florida. He used to live in Kittanning many years ago and is coming back here for his 50th year class reunion later this week. We're going to try to get together for an eyeball QSO either Friday or more likely Saturday. He's neither a QRP or CW operator, but he respects QRP and CW unlike some hams. He's seriously into DX needing not that many entities to have them all. I forget the exact figure he said, but he has well over 300 now.

I've also made a big decision to finally retire completely from my work with the NAQCC. Well except for our WPA Chapter activities. I'll also still continue to participate in all club events as I do now. I won't continue my working with processing our sprint logs, nor continue mailing out club prizes after the end of this year. That will give me more time for other activities and put less strain on my aging body and mind - I hope. -30-

Sat Aug 05 2017 7:24PM - I'm still updating (and in some cases, correcting) my Main DX Streak story in the QRP section. I've added who is the QSO for each 1,000 QSO mark of the streak. I had some in the middle of the highlighted days section, but a lot missing at the beginning and end. Now there is one for each of 1 through 68 thousand QSOs.

I had to rely on PV8ADI on 40 meters last night for my DX streak QSO in the 0200Z hour. I wonder what tonight will bring in about a half hour now. Any DX contests this weekend? Let's see. Well, the NAQP is this weekend. I remember how I couldn't wait for those contests to come around in January and August. Now I wonder where and when I lost all my enthusiasm for them. I guess it's old age catching up (fast) on me. Anyway maybe I can find a KP4, KP2, KH6, or KL7 in it for my DX. We'll see.

It was a nice day after the cold/humidity front came through last evening. It produced some really strong wind gusts in the outflow ahead of the storms. It blew a big limb down on my neighbor's car. Other than the wind there wasn't much in the way of stominess. Only a little rain, almost no thunder and lightning. Anyway, I took a couple of fairly long walks today to enjoy the fine weather. It looks like no real hot weather coming back for a while now. Actually it hasn't been all that hot of a summer here. Quite a few humid days, but I can't recall any temperatures above about 92 so far.

I've got about 6 tomatoes which should be ready to pick in a day or two. Not the Siberian ones, they're still small and green. I'm talking about the Rutgers ones. After quite a few peas, my pea plants are dying off for some reason. I'm not having a very good garden year in 2017. Both my bush and pole beans are coming along pretty good though. In the non-vegetable line, my daylillies have pretty much stopped flowering now after giving nice displays during July. -30-

Fri Aug 04 2017 10:30AM - Well, 23 years is now a reality. I worked K3NLT, P4/DF4XX, and an old friend going back many years - Ernie VE3OU. Only two responses (NLT OU) to my diary request for QSOs last night. The bands were not all that good. Actually the DX stations on 40 were stronger than the W/VE stations in most cases.

So let's try again this evening. I'll try to get my DX streak QSO first at 0000Z. If I get one right away, I'll then start to call CQ on 7039 as I did last night. If no DX, I'll start my CQs at 0030 on 7039. Come on and help me get year #24 in the streak going.

Meanwhile I've updated the Main Streak story in the QRP section of the site with all comments and stats through today August 4. -30-

Thu Aug 03 2017 4:50PM - I'm just sitting here thinking about my streak. I remember several years ago when the streak reached a certain milestone, I announced it here in the diary in advance and invited you, my diary readers to try to work me on that milestone date.

Let's try that again this year. I know it's not much advance notice, but I'll try to get on 40 meters around 7039 in the 0000Z hour this evening and call CQ if you want to try to work me to close out the 23rd year of the streak.

Then tomorrow morning I'll announce another (or the same) plan for tomorrow evening to start the 24th year. -30-

Wed Aug 02 2017 12:43PM - I decided with my main streak about to reach the 23 year mark in a couple days, I'd take time now to analyze the DX streak before I do the same with the main streak in a few days.

August 1, 2017 marked day # 1,615 in the DX streak. I culled out of my Microsoft Access log with the help of Microsoft Excel the first DX QSO of each of the 1,615 days. Then I set out in Excel to analyze those 1,615 QSOs in various ways.

First by band and continent:

BAND  DAYS            CN    DAYS
80       4            AF      61
40     228            AN       4
30     459            AS      39
20     563            EU     625
17     194            NA     640
15     118            OC       9
12      21            SA     237
10      28

Next by hour of day:

HOUR   DAYS           HOUR   DAYS  
00     1216           15       73
01       59           16       26
02       38           17        8
03        9           18        8
04       15           19       10
05        1           20        9
12        2           21       10
13       34           23        3
14       94

CQ Zones Worked: 28
Top Ten:
 8      433
15      294
14      245
 9      121
 7       96
 6       92
11       52
33       49
16       42
20       37

Countries Worked: 131
Top Ten:
MEX     92
CUB     85
PUE     76
SLV     53
ITA     52
FRG     49
FRA     47
BRZ     46
SPA     46
NIC     44

Different Stations: 922
Top Ten + Ties:
XE1XR   26
PV8ADI  20
CO8LY   19
HC2AO   16
S57V    15
CO6RD   13
6Y5WJ   12
EA6UN   11
HI3TEJ  11
HT7AAA  11
XE2I    11

Different Prefixes: 508
Top Ten + Ties:
XE1     49
KP4     37
PJ2     35
HI3     32
KP2     29
CO8     25
XE2     25
PV8     20
EA8     19
HT7     19
S57     19

Finally my 8 longest QSOs:
8J2VE     27    17	
KL7QZ     11    17	
CO8RRM    11    40	
OE5FBL     9    20	
SM7NDX     8    15	
DL2MDU     8    17	
EA3JJ      8    20	
OE5MSM     8    30
I found all the info very interesting and informative. Perhaps the most surprising stat of all was the longest (timewise) QSO. Hard to believe it was with a Japanese station, but it was. Remember these stats only deal with the first DX station each day and don't by any means represent my overall DX stats in the streak or all time.

I'll have comments on the results in a future entry. -30-

Tue Aug 01 2017 9:03PM - I did a lot of First of the Month work today which I'm not going to list here. It was a busy day though, so I'm not going to write a long diary entry tonight.

I worked K8HSY in KY for my regular streak QSO on 30 meters. That leaves August 3 and 4 to complete 23 years of the streak and then start on year 24. Hmmm, wonder if I'll make it to 25. It would be nice to be able to say something like, "I made a quarter century of daily QRP/CW QSOs." wouldn't it?

The DX streak was easily extended another day also when I worked XE2I on 20 with but a single call. That's a bit unusual because sometimes I have trouble working him.

I've got 5 30M QSOs so far this month. I'm going to go for another NAQCC 30-30 award this month. I was on track last month but got distracted by a lot of other things the last week or so of the month and didn't make it. I'm also approaching the halfway mark in the NAQCC August challenge after just a little over a day. Last month it took almost to the end of the month to finish the challenge.

So a lot of ham radio things along with other things to keep me busy here this month. -30-

Mon Jul 31 2017 4:08PM - Although it's been a very busy day with sprint closeout work, laundry, end of the month chores, etc., I did promise a wrapup with pictures of our FOBB operation yesterday. First a correction. Our QSO total was 52, not 53. I looked at my log wrong.

Mike arrived a little later than planned around Noon, and we pretty much just headed to the park as soon as he got here. Our set up of antennas and rigs went pretty smoothly with only one real glitch. Mike's Jackite mount that we built a few weeks ago wound up being just a tad too small since his Jackite pole was bigger in diameter by just enough that it wouldn't slip in the mount since we based his mount on my dimensions. The solution? Mike removed the bottom section of his pole and it fit just fine then. We'll address a permanent solution later.

Here is my Jackite pole with the jumper inverted vee antenna and my homebrew mount out behind (to the left of from our perspective) the pavilion. This was our first time using this particular pavilion and it worked out fine except for the bugs. More on that later.


Mike set up his antenna 90 degrees to mine out from another side of the pavilion as shown here.


As far as our rig setups, here is mine with the KX3/PX3 and stand, Bencher paddle, headphones, MFJ clock, paper log and pen with my cheaters on it, my NAQCC WPA Chapter hat, and my 17aH battery pack.


This is Mike at work trying to squeeze out some QSOs from a very poor 40 meter band. That's his KX3/PX3 combo, Begali paddle, paper log, and battery pack.


And then there is this old fellow enjoying himself making QSOs on 20 meters, which was in much better shape than 40 on this Sunday afternoon.


I usually don't like pictures of my old self, but I kind of like this one, and think I'll incorporate it into the logo on the main page of the site as my 2017 picture.

It was funny (not to Mike though) how the bugs were constantly attacking him the whole time we were there, but they weren't bothering me one bit. I guess Mike's younger skin was better for them than my old skin. He got one particularly nasty bite that actually drew blood from his leg through his sock as shown here:


We did have one minor problem. For the first half hour, there was no interference between us despite the close proximity of our stations and antennas. Suddenly Mike's 40 meters signal was very strong all over a good portion of 20 meters. It took us a while to figure out what was going on. Mike had said his SWR was jumping around a lot. Putting two and two together I asked if he had a coax coupler in his feedline somewhere. He did, and I suggested checking it. He found it was very loose and as soon as he tightened it, all was fine again and we went on our way making QSOs.

One strange thing that seems to happen on every portable operation showed up again. When it comes to a choice of bands, I generally always select the one that will have the least activity so whoever is with me can take care of the busier band. So I chose 20 and let Mike have 40 since I was sure with the current conditions, 40 would be much the better band like it was when Jody, Don, and I were out in the park a couple weeks ago. However it seems my plan always backfires and the band I select as the poorer one winds up the busiest one. That was true again for the FOBB when 20 provided 42 QSOs and 40 only 10 QSOs.

We shut down a half hour early since I had pretty much worked 20 dry and wasn't finding any new stations to work and it was the same with Mike. Just before we tore down though, I heard EC1CT right on 14060 and decided to try to work him. It took a while for him to get my call right, but we finally did have a good QSO. I think it might be the first time I worked Spain from the park.

We headed home, then up to Wendy's where we each had a Baconator sandwich combo. Then back here for some DX after we submitted our FOBB report. I forget just what Mike worked, but I passed on working some of the stations since I already had them and wanted to "ration" them out for my streak. There wasn't much in the way of DX to be worked, so it was some computer gaming until 0000Z when we went back to the shack for my DX streak QSO. I tried S57DX for a while on 30 with no luck, then went to 20 where I got KP4TF easily even though he was rather weak. Then Mike also worked him. That concluded our day as Mike had to head home. Next up for us is the Skeeter Hunt on August 20.

Now I think I'll adapt this entry a bit and include it in my NAQCC WPA Chapter news report for the August newsletter. -30-

Sun Jul 30 2017 8:53PM - A good day in the park for the FOBB contest. Mike and I had a great time except for the bugs that were bugging Mike. We took a lot of good pictures that I'll have to take time to process, so they won't be posted until tomorrow's diary entry.

Just a brief note of our results for now. We made a total of 53 QSOs of which 29 were with other bumblebees. We worked 26 SPCs all together.

Oh, Mike did survive the insect attack in one piece. Actually the pictures tomorrow will include a graphic presentation of one of the bites. -30-

Sat Jul 29 2017 8:47PM - After a little bit of sweating with there being the big IOTA contest on and not being heard by the 3 or 4 stations I tried, the worm turned and a single call to P40X netted a QSO with no repeats needed. And he was one of the ones who wasn't hearing me earlier. Goes to show that persistence counts. Remember conditions do change and change quickly especially around sunset. Keep that in mind when chasing some DX station you really want to work. It seemed to be a change in conditions for me tonight, but there is also something else. Often a station working a pileup will briefly run out of stations in the pile allowing we QRP stations to sneak in during the lull. There are all kind of little tricks when it comes to working DX. Those who are fully armed with all the tricks are the ones who can make the QSOs, be it with QRO or QRP power, heck even QRPp for that matter.

I'm still organizing my (mostly) ham radio files on the computer. I'm finding several duplicates and several that I don't need any longer or don't ever remember exactly what they were for at the time.

I ran across one today I thought I'd share here. I made this small file some years ago for some reason or other. It's a list of EVERY one of my 90,000+ QSOs that were made with a mode other than CW.

1/17/69 1806 W3FHT X A3
1/26/69 1914 WA3GPK X A3
3/1/69 1900 VE3BMR X A3a
3/1/69 1905 VE3BMR X A3a
3/5/69 1843 WA8NYB X A3a
3/7/69 2230 VE3BMR X A3a
3/10/69 2023 WA3GPK X A3J

As you see, it lists the Date, UTC Time, Station worked, ?, and Mode. I don't remember what the X was for and since I virtually never use them (except these 7 QSOs), I don't know what the mode designations mean other than they are some kind of voice mode (gee it hurts to even type that).

As best as I can recall, I used a homebrew AM transmitter for the first QSO. I guess I was really bored one day, and just wanted to see how AM worked. I think it ran something like 5 watts output. I may delve back into my old logs to see if there is any more info there. The others may be when WA3GPK from here in town wanted me to check his rig for him and loaned it to me so he could see how it sounded. That was probably SSB.

I guess we all sin when we're young to some extent. This is my confession. I used something other than CW for about 0.0077% of my total QSOs. -30-

Fri Jul 28 2017 8:26PM - It has never been any easier than tonight, except maybe by a few seconds here and there. I worked HI3A at 0000Z on 30M with but a single call. I checked 20 at 2359Z and found GD4FOC, but working a pileup. I tuned to 30, saw a peak on the PX3, tuned it in and it was HI3A. Quite a contrast to last night when I just couldn't work any DX although I did finally get 9A6M at 0406Z.

After that I had a strange QSO - well confusing I guess. I called CQ on 20 meters and after a few CQs someone sent K3WW K3WW. I didn't know if he wanted the last letter of my call or what so I sent QRZ? and as soon as I did that, I realized it was Chas K3WW answering my CQ. HI Unfortunately it wasn't much of a QSO as I was only 339 there and he went quickly from 559 to 339 also then he went into my noise.

Right now, I'm just watching the radar trying to figure out what the rain is going to do. Right now there's some heavy rain in southern Armstrong County moving away slowly to the SE with some other areas of rain to our N and NW heading this way but kind of diminishing as it does so.

Sunday Mike and I and maybe Tom head to the park to put N3AQC into the FOBB contest. It's supposed to be nice by then with a high in the upper 70s and low(er) humidity. Now if the bands cooperate it should be a nice day. Well, even if they don't, it's still always nice to get together with Mike and Tom.

I'm still working on some files here. Today I'm updating an Excel spreadsheet of all my 1000+MPW QSOs by country, state and province. I've got a total of 2074 such QSOs now. -30-

Thu Jul 27 2017 7:10PM - Mike and I had a good time last night as usual. It started with a Vocelli's pizza (of course), then we headed to the shack where conditions were pretty good for a change. We both worked TI5/YN7SU on 20 and HG2DX on 40. That was a new prefix for me. Then Mike worked a couple more DX stations including PV8ADI. I can't remember the other(s). A Sherlock Holmes computer game and then Mike had to head home.

Also yesterday I received my 13 Colonies certificate for working all 13 colonies stations plus WM3PEN as shown here:

I'm continuing to clean up a lot of old spreadsheet files. Deleting the ones I don't need any more and updating the ones I want to keep. All dealing with my K3WWP endeavors. You know how I love statistics and love working with Microsoft Access and Excel to analyze them.

About 45 minutes now till time to head for the shack hopefully for some DX. -30-

Wed Jul 26 2017 4:53PM - My DX came easily late last night so no worries during the day today. It was YW450ARV on 30M in the 0200Z hour. One call did it. It's all in the timing - with current conditions the window for working DX easily with QRP is only open a tiny bit now and then.

I was going through some old files today and found some that I had started but never finished. One was an Excel spreadsheet of DX QSOs by continent, hour, and band. I have all continents finished and hope to post it somewhere in my DX section when I get time. Here's a text example of the Europe page:
Hour    80M    40M    30M    20M    17M    15M    12M    10M    Total
1700                         221     24    645     27    216     1133
1800                         273     21    419     12     66      791
1900                    2    365     19    139      1     14      540
2000             1      2    389     42    118      3      6      561
2100             4     11    531     43    109      1      2      701
2200            35     25    529     21     49             1      660
2300           127     23    392      8     22                    572
0000      3    153    220   1229     72     37                   1714
0100      1    108     46    287      4      6                    452
0200           102      8    117      4     10                    241
0300      5     59      7     63      6      7                    147
0400      2     78     31    222     14      5                    352
0500     24    112     18     75      9                           238
0600     12     42             5                                   59
0700      2      1                                                  3
0800                                                                0
0900                                                                0
1000                                         1                      1
1100             1             9            14      1              25
1200                           9      2    124      1     27      163
1300                          19     10    422     13    669     1133
1400                          53     30    875     69   1543     2570
1500                          85     42    644     46    931     1748
1600                         139     40    650     33    645     1507
Total    49    823    393   5012    411   4296    207   4120    15311
I think I started with the 1700Z hour because that made it local time Noon to Noon which would show more clearly how early in the afternoon and late in the morning propagation was good to that particular continent. Of course all QSOs are only QRP/CW/simple wire antennas as are all the stats on the web site. I found it very interesting to see just when the path to Europe is good on each band. Of course it is biased somewhat by my operating habits. The big bulge in the 0000Z hour comes from my streak QSOs. That is somewhat balanced by my contest activities which make it more of an accurate indicator of propagation. I seldom operate past the 0500Z hour and don't really start up again until the 1300Z hour which contributes to the low totals between those hours. It would be even more interesting to see such a chart from the big QRP contest stations who do work around the clock in the big DX contests.

Tonight is a fourth Wednesday so Mike will be visiting later around 0000Z for our regular pizza night and then we'll try for some DX and talk about plans for our FOBB parkpedition on Sunday. Looks like a beautiful day Sunday as of right now. -30-

Tue Jul 25 2017 9:02PM - I'm beginning to really dislike these evenings when I can't get my DX QSO. Tonight was especially rough. I heard and tried maybe a half dozen stations. YN2RP QRT shortly after I found him. I might have been able to get him had he stayed. Other than that, the best shot was EA8AF. I got K3? from him, but he couldn't get any further than that despite maybe 8-10 tries. All the other stations didn't hear me at all, even CO8ZZ who was very strong on 40 meters. Well, at least tomorrow I don't have anything else pressing to do so I can check the bands frequently for DX. More and more, I don't think I would be all that unhappy or disappointed if the DX streak would end.

Unlike tomorrow, today was a busy day. It was the day for Roscoe to go to the groomer. Let's see if I can fix up a quick before and after shot.

After he recovered from the grooming and bath, he seems to feel better and cooler now with his crew cut all over as we put it. In fact he has perked up a lot. That's due not entirely to the grooming and bath, but the much lower humidity today after the cold front passage. -30-

Mon Jul 24 2017 5:17PM - Wow, feels like we went from mid-July to mid-September in the past couple hours as the cold (humidity?) front swept through from Canada. The temperature only dropped a few degrees, but the humidity dropped some 20+ percent. Nice!

I haven't posted any garden pictures lately, and you do mention the garden when you email me, so:

Starting at upper left and going by rows:
1. My slow (this year) Siberian tomatoes
2. Bush beans
3. Daylillies
4. My slow (this year) peppers
5. Tall peas
6. Four Rutgers tomatoes
7. Speckled butter beans
8. Two more Rutgers tomatoes

And that's it for today's entry. -30-

Sun Jul 23 2017 10:40PM - That worked out good. I closed out the NAQCC sprint page for Corey a minute before 0000Z, went to the shack and quickly worked HI3AA at 0002Z for the streak, then finished off the sprint log cross-checking. Went over to visit Roscoe and Bruce after than, and now finishing my web site nightly updates. It's nice when things go smoothly like that.

Earlier in the day I updated some stats in the latest DX Streak story in the QRP section of my web site. Someone wanted the stats for a club newsletter he writes so I thought it would be a convenient time to update them for him and then also do the web site story. -30-

Sat Jul 22 2017 8:30PM - Both days covered for the DX streak. HP3SS in the 13Z hour and just a bit ago NP2X on 40 at 0006Z.

I'm starting to get more questions in feedback on the QST article. Some very good ones, and I'm happy to try to answer them. However I'm far from an expert in many fields of ham radio, and I don't know everything about QRP or CW or simple wire antennas either. I certainly know more about those topics that others, but still very far from an expert for sure. Anyway don't be afraid to ask, but do keep that in mind.

Thankfully all the weather forecasts so far this weekend were way off. Some were predicting strong winds, heavy rain, severe thunderstorms, etc. However so far we've had less than .10 inches of rain and I don't even recall hearing any thunder nor seeing any strong winds blowing things around. They are going to try again tomorrow with pretty much a similar forecast, so perhaps we will get hit tomorrow.

At least with my indoor antennas, I don't really have to worry about lightning. The house may get hit sometime, but it won't be because of my ham radio antennas. Just another advantage of not having a big outdoor antenna farm like so many folks do.

I prepped some more logs from our NAQCC sprint for cross-checking today. We're up to 115 now which considering the poor conditions is very good. -30-

Fri Jul 21 2017 8:45PM - After 4 evenings of a quick DX QSO in the 0000Z hour we're back to the poor DX conditions of a few days ago. The only DX I heard tonight was a YV5 station on 40, and he is a station that never hears me even when he is very strong. Tonight he wasn't strong so I didn't even try him. Looks like it will be the morning or afternoon for my DX. Wonder if there are any DX contests this weekend. Let me look. I'm thinking the IOTA contest, but that's probably next weekend. Well, there's a Scottish DX contest that's everyone work everyone so that may help. Never heard of that one before. If it is new, perhaps it won't draw all that much activity. We'll see.

I had to read my article again after someone asked about something. There is one place that is somewhat confusing. Where it says "(bands - contacts)" in describing stats about each of my streaks, that means the first contact of each day in the streaks, not overall QSOs in the streaks. That was an addition by the QST editor(s) which I didn't catch in the preview of the article or I would have asked them to make it more clear.

I'm still continuing to get great comments on the article, and if I missed thanking you personally, again let me say thanks to you via this diary entry.

The article certainly has given me a huge surge of visitors to my web site. Since it was first posted on line back on July 7, I've had (not counting today yet) 2,404 visitors (actually visits to be completely accurate - I'm sure many visitors have come more than once) in 14 days for an average of 171.7 per day, about 90 more than my average of late. Thanks also to you who are visiting and welcome. Many of you have told me you like what you see hear. I'm glad to hear that. -30-

Thu Jul 20 2017 8:38PM - Spent quite a bit of time today prepping logs from our NAQCC sprint for the cross-checking. Every sprint I try to make the process more efficient, and I am succeeding in that. Still there are some who mess up the process by sending logs in some non-standard format and that really slows down the process. Fortunately the percentage of malformed logs has been steadily decreasing. There are still some little log glitches that need to be manually corrected by me before the cross-check Excel software will handle them correctly.

We're almost to our standard 100+ logs once again. I think at the moment it's 97 logs with a lot of time to go over the 100 mark. Only 6 times since we first cracked the 100 log barrier in April 2010 have we failed to reach 100, and 5 of those times we just missed by 3, 3, 2, 8, 4 logs with another one missed by 13 logs. It's been 88 sprints now since that April 2010 one. I think that speaks volumes about the quality of our club members.

I had a good sprint last night and I did stick it out for the full two hours despite what I said in the last diary entry. I wound up with 39 QSOs and so far only one person has reported more (40) in the 97 logs I've looked at so far.

Many of you mention the DX streak when you email or oherwise contact me. It's alive and well for another day at 1,604 days after working Nelson NP4LW a short while ago on 20 meters. The bands seem to have recovered nicely from the big geomagnetic storm of a couple days ago. I found it interesting to have heard two Israel stations this evening, one on 20 and one on 30 or maybe the same one on both bands. I didn't catch the suffix of the 30M station. -30-

Wed Jul 19 2017 8:07PM - Just a few minutes now till our NAQCC sprint. I don't know if I'll do the full two hours or not. It's awful hot in my shack and I'm getting less tolerant of heat as I get older and older. I may just get in long enough to get a few QSOs so I can continue my record of never missing one of our sprints.

DX came at 0000Z thanks to David XE1XR on 20 meters, so that is not a worry for another 23+ hours now.

Out ot walk Roscoe now before the sprint. Later. -30-

Tue Jul 18 2017 4:47PM - Our parkpedition went off without a hitch today. The only negative was somewhat poor propagation especially on 30 and 20 meters. 40 was pretty good at the start but it declined as time went by. Signal reports started out being 579-599 and gradually dropped to 449-569 in the third hour. All in all we made 42 QSOs in the following 16 states:


The day started with me walking Roscoe and grabbing a bite of breakfast. Then my neighbor, Roscoe's owner Bruce drove me to the park where I was setting up my equipment when Don K3RLL arrived. When he and I were set up and operating, Jody K3JZD arrived. Don and Jody hadn't seen each other in person for a while so they chatted for a while about their motorcycles and other things. We stayed active for a couple hours when things really slowed down. Don shut down and headed home, and Jody and I shut down not too long after that. I invited Jody to visit my shack at home since he had never seen it before. So we waited for Bruce to come and pick me up. Jody followed us home. I gave him the nickel tour of my antenna 'victory garden' and my shack sans rig since I hadn't unpacked it. Soon it was time for Jody to depart. Now let's close with some pictures of our outing.

It was a beautiful day with a clear blue sky as shown here. It was pretty comfortable in the pavilion - not too hot or cold, and not much humidity:

Usually antenna pictures don't show up too well against the background of trees, but my jumper inverted vee stands out pretty well in this picture:

Here's a view of my Jackite pole and mount as I saw it from my operating position:

A wide angle view of my antenna, our pavilion, and Don and Jody's motorcycles:

My setup of KX3, PX3, Battery, Phones, Key, and UTC Clock:

The two other partners in crime. That's Jody K3JZD at left and Don K3RLL at right:

And that wraps up another parkpedition, but not before we say thanks to all of you who took time out of your day to work us and make our trip worthwhile. -30-

Mon Jul 17 2017 7:55PM - Disregard the rest of this entry after this paragraph. It is no longer true as of 5 minutes ago. I'm going to leave it here though since I spent quite a bit of time writing it about an hour ago. At 2350Z I heard my friend Alex HC2AO not too strong on 30 meters just signing off with someone. I heard him say he was running 10 watts. Well, Alex has to be one of the best ops in the world who also apparently has a great location down there in Ecuador. I believe he is a Russian who emigrated to there. Anyway to make a long story short, a single call to him after he sent dit dit resulted in K3WWP John 579 579 and the DX streak lives at 1,600 days despite what I wrote below. We even chatted a couple minutes. THANK YOU Alex. Whew!

On February 28, 2013 I didn't work any DX. On July 17, 2017 I didn't work any DX. However on every day in between those 2 dates I did work some DX. That was 1,599 straight days of DX, but now it's over and I have to decide where to go from here. Of course the big streak is still going strong and (knock on wood) should continue pretty much despite conditions. Something the DX streak couldn't handle. The severe geomagnetic storminess that persisted pretty much for at least 24 hours saw to that. I took notes along the way today figuring this had a good chance of being a day without DX. Here is what I found in my periodic checks today on mainly 20, 17, and 15 meters - mostly 20.

0000Z - Bands devoid of DX

0300Z - Same

1300Z - Bands just about totally dead

1430Z - Only KW7D (weak) working K1DXA (about S6) heard plus one unID S7 station around 14056 (CHN?)

1600Z - Few stronger USA stations, but no DX. KW7D normally strong still very weak

1730Z - K1DXA + two other USA stations, still no DX heard.

1930Z - A few strong USA stations, but no DX heard.

2000Z - W1AW booming on 17 and 20. A few other strong USA stations, but only DX was PV8ADI who usually is well over S9 anytime I hear him. This time he was S3 right down at or just slightly above my local noise level. He was working some Europeans, but wasn't hearing a couple USA stations calling him. I never bothered to try him.

2100Z - Things continue the same - PV8ADI the only DX heard and still only S3-4 at best.

2200Z - Still the same except YW450ARV takes the place of PV8ADI at about the same weak signal level.

2230Z - S57V about S5 on 30 meters, but not hearing me and QRT not long after I found him.

Despite the streak ending, I think I have proven that on at least 99% of days, DX can be worked with a simple setup like mine consisting of QRP/CW/simple mostly indoor antennas. Actually 1,599 of 1,600 days is 99.9375%. I'll be updating my DX streaks page over the next week or so as time permits.

I have mixed emotions about it ending. I'm sad of course as it was a lot of fun on most days. In another way I'm glad because of late with the decline in the sunspot cycle some days it took up a good bit of my time to find and work the DX.

Will I try to pick up the streak again. Probably not, but I'll still continue to chase DX as it is my most favorite activity. I might even work more DX now even though it won't be every day. I often would pass up some DX if I had already worked my DX for that day, hoping maybe I'll run into the passed up DX on another day for the streak. Now if I hear someone I want to work, the streak won't enter into consideration of whether I work that someone or not right now.

Don't forget to look for us from the park tomorrow probably between 1330 and 1700Z on 7041, 10117, and/or 14061. I'll be on 40 meters. We'll be using the NAQCC club call N3AQC. It may be rough if conditions are like they were today, but we'll be there plugging away. -30-

Sun Jul 16 2017 9:13PM - Conditions this evening are as bad as I've seen them in several years. Not a sign of any DX and it even took 51 minutes to get my regular streak QSO when I found my friend down in GA, Bob AK4JA and got him right away. Before that many CQs yielded nothing and calls to a few other stations got no response. So the big streak is secured. Now it will be another day like Saturday probably when I spent a lot of time trying to work some DX. Hopefully I will get some because that would be day # 1,600 in the DX streak. I'd hate it to end - period, but especially not at 1,599. Always nice to get that round number.

Otherwise today I worked on a couple projects I put aside some time ago and never finished. First I have wanted for some time now to see how many World capitals I have worked. You know like Paris France, Berlin Germany, and so forth. So I juggled my Microsoft Access log a bit and made a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel and came up with 102 World capitals worked. There are still some that need tweaking a bit and I may find a couple more, but not right away.

Then I've been curious to know how many prefixes that I have all 10 numbers for. That is for example DL0 DL1 DL2 DL3 DL4 DL5 DL6 DL7 DL8 DL9 would be DL complete. Again with Access and Excel it was easy, and I found 68 of them from 6Y to YT. 40 from the USA and 28 from DX countries. I just love working with stats like that.

OK, I'm going to send out our parkpedition promo on the NAQCC email list now. So if you're a member and have given us your email address, you should either have gotten it or will shortly depending on when you read this. -30-

Sat Jul 15 2017 8:33PM - Sigh of relief! For a while this evening it looked like a repeat of last night and today. Last night I couldn't get any DX and that held true through most of today - until 2016Z. It was really getting frustrating today. There were just no strong enough DX signals to work. I called a good many who were "below the Maginot Line" as it were. I mean S4 to S5 at the very best. None of them were hearing me. But around 2000Z the path to Europe gradually got better on 20 and signals started coming up to S6 and S7, but with deep QSB. Still no one was hearing me and I was thinking of what to say in the obituary to my DX streak. Finally I got WWP? from HG17OW, but someone butted in whose call was nothing like WWP. HG17OW worked him but stuck with me and a couple QSOs later, he heard the K3 and sent K3. I sent K3WWP a couple times and he put the two together into K3WWP and the DX streak reached 1598 days. Oh, a nice new prefix in HG17 also.

This evening started the same as last night with no workable DX until I found AM825TL which putting 2 and 2 together is EA8TL using a special prefix. Now EA8TL is a great op and one I can count on most times to work me easily. It wasn't all that easy this evening, but he pieced my call together and finally it was "John K3WWP tnx 599" and instead of 20 hours and 16 minutes, this time it took only 26 minutes to get my DX. Wonder what the 25 in 825 is for. Let's see if I can find out. Yep, it's the 25th anniversary of Federacion Digital EA. Anyway another nice prefix added to my collection.

The nice comments on the QST article continue to come in. I've taken time to acknowledge each one personally. In case I missed anyone, consider this my thanks to you. I appreciate it very much.

The weather continues to look good for our parkpedition on Tuesday. Don K3RLL, Jody K3JZD, and I will be operating from morning till early afternoon. They say they will arrive at the park around 10AM (1400Z). I may get there a little before that. I hope to operate 40 meters so I can check out my jumper dipole on that band. I made a few adjustments to it and I'd like to give it a good try. Of course I'll be using my Jackite pole with my homebrew pole mount for the antenna. We'll hang out around our usual frequencies of 7041, 10117, and 14061. More details in tomorrow's diary and in an email to the NAQCC email list tomorrow evening or Monday. -30-

Fri Jul 14 2017 9:15PM - A lot of comments about the QST article still coming in via email or in the guestbook. I'm happy that a lot of them say the article is very encouraging for QRP/CW operators. That's what I wanted it to be.

Looks like this may be only the second or third time in several weeks now that I won't be getting my DX streak QSO in the evening. There just wasn't much at all in the way of DX to be heard that was strong enough to work. One was HC2AO whom I've worked so many times, I just didn't want to work him again. Another was XE1RK who was busy rag chewing, then he faded out or otherwise disappeared. Same with XE2V. So hopefully I can get someone in the morning or afternoon if not later tonight. Let's see if there are any good DX contests this weekend. Nope, so that won't help.

I haven't mentioned my garden lately. Things have really started to grow now. Even my VERY slow Siberian tomatoes now have flowers on them. My pole beans are climbing nicely. I harvested a couple dozen more bush beans today. I'll soon have some peas to pick. The SLOW peppers are accelerating their growth now, but no flowers yet. My other tomatoes have tomatoes some of which are approaching 2 inches in diameter. My daylillies are going through their regular July flowering frenzy. That's the garden in a nutshell (peapod?). -30-

Thu Jul 13 2017 7:18PM - Another day with not a lot going on. Outside was again like a sauna although periodic breezes made it bearable. In somewhat of a switch from the normal "climate" here, the past few weekends have been pretty nice as should be the upcoming one. Usually it's the other way around with poor weather weekends. Although being retired, it doesn't really matter to me.

More importantly it looks like the first few days of the coming week will be nice. We're planning a parkpedition for Tuesday the 18th. It will be a little unusual in a way. Don K3RLL and Jody K3JZD will be riding to the Kittanning Community Park on their motorcycles. So that left me scrambling for a way to get me and my equipment up there. Fortunately Roscoes's owner Bruce said he'd be glad to ride me up there since I do so much to help him and Roscoe. So barring some unexpected weather or other happening, we're set for Tuesday. I'll have more details in the next 4 diary entries.

I received my print edition of QST today, and after a brief check of my article, I loaned it to Bruce who seems to be getting more and more interested in my ham doings. I've gotten a couple more nice comments about the article from those who also received the print copy now. Thanks.

About a half hour now till my daily trek upstairs to my shack for my streak(s) QSO(s). Last evening was quicky from a nice prefix YW450ARV on 30 meters. Took just a couple calls to get him in the log. -30-

Wed Jul 12 2017 1:50PM - Being outside today is like being in a sauna. So after a trip to the PO to mail our special NAQCC FD prize to the drawing winner, and a walk with Roscoe, I'm going to sit here at the computer in front of my fan for a while now.

This will be a good opportunity to share some (2 in particular) comments I've received about the QST article. I wish I could share them all, but that would take up too much of my somewhat meager Internet bandwidth, especially on the Windstream server.

According to this from Jim W4QO, those in the know about QRP understood the paragraph in question even without me having to post a correction on the web site here.

Jim emailed, "John, Congrats on the great article. I just smiled when I read about your QRPp efforts in QST. Pretty much knew it was QRP unless QRPp made sense in context! hi hi"

Now here's the one I mentioned from Bob K9OSC. I think it accurately and eloquently states exactly the reasons behind the article and my web site as well.

Bob emailed, "Hi John: I downloaded the August QST and immediately read your fine article. My congratulations on doing such a nice job and relating to others what QRP is all about and some of the success you have had with it over the years. Hopefully, some hams will at least give it a try and then stick with it. We would certainly welcome them into both the club and other QRP activities that are becoming much more dominant these days.
I can only consider that articles such as yours points them in the direction of QRP and how successful and encouraging that kind of operation is. Those of us who operate QRP much of the time and who participate with SOTA stations and run two way QRP contacts realize the immense satisfaction that comes with every contact.
Having such an article published in a national journal that has overseas members as well only widens the scope of QRP activity and celebrates your success which serves QRP as a method of CW operating extremely well and shows what can be done with very little.
Thanks for your major contribution. I for one sincerely appreciate it."

When I asked Bob for permission to quote the emai here in the diary, he responded with another great couple of paragraphs here:

"Of course, John. The comments I provided I firmly believe and to the extent possible QRP is a very important aspect of amateur radio to emphasize to help provide a firm future for on-air behavior and operation. Your extensive emphasis and daily example of on-air operation serves amateur [radio] extremely well and is a high mark for all of us to try to reach.
We need to be disciplined, respectful and restrained in our operations. Power, huge antennas and the like can make most anyone successful but it isn't a responsible or ethical way to pursue a true amateur radio methodology. That is exactly why I made the comments on your article that I did.
Again, thank you for your continuing efforts on behalf of us all. 72, Bob - K9OSC"

Thank you Bob, for being so perceptive as to the purpose of the article and my web site. As the saying goes, you've hit the nail on the head.

For those who don't know, it wasn't even my idea to write the article in the first place. Steve WB8IMY from the ARRL found out about my streak(s) and asked me if I'd be willing to write an article for QST about it (them). Seeing the possibility of being able to expose a large number of hams to just what CW and QRP with simple antennas can do, I immediately agreed to do so. Now the rest is history, I guess.

PS to yesterday's entry. HI3T is a new call for HI3TEJ. His QRZ bio is very interesting and explains the switch very well. -30-

Tue Jul 11 2017 8:34PM - Kind of a quiet day today with not much going on so I did some work arranging my .mp3 music collection. It was nice to listen to some of the songs I haven't had time to listen to for a while now. I still miss the Terry Lee show since he passed away about 4 years ago now. I still have quite a collection of the music (for young lovers) that he used to play on his show many years ago on WMCK/WIXZ in McKeesport, PA and recently on the Internet.

My DX streak took very little time this evening when I worked HI3T (wonder if that's a new "vanity" call for HI3TEJ? - I'll have to look later) at 0002Z on 30 meters.

Don K3RLL, Jody K3JZD, and I are trying to put together a parkpedition maybe sometime from the 17th to the 20th. They both have some time constraints, so I'm letting them decide on a date and time since I don't have any constraints here (that I know of, anyway). -30-

Mon Jul 10 2017 5:03PM - I've been busy today answering feedback about my QST article along with my usual Monday chores like laundry, putting out the garbage, in addition to walking Roscoe in between and ahead of some heavy rain showers.

I'll take this opportunity to thank all of you for the positive feedback on the article. I may or may not have time to personally thank you, but I'll try.

I especially thank Bob K9OSC for his email that wonderfully summarizes my reasons for writing the article and well as the reason for this web site. I'm going to ask his permission to quote it here in the diary.

I'm also taking time while it rains to work on the Jackite pole mount project pictures, what there are of them.

This first one shows the cradle in which the long box that holds the pole will pivot. The green fence post will be pounded into the ground and the unit will be fastened to it with bolts and wing nuts, one of which is shown here.

pix 1

The next picture shows the hole being drilled in the long box through which the dowel will pass to act as the pivot to raise the unit after it is set up on the ground. If you look back at the first picture you'll see the hole in the cradle through which the dowel will also pass.

pix 2

Here we are getting ready to pass the dowel through the holes and then check to be sure the pivot works as it should.

pix 3

After all the work we did on it, here is the finished project resting on one of my living room chairs.

pix 4

I know that's not much of a description of the building process but building the project got in the way of documenting it blow by blow. If it sounds like something you might want to try building, let me know, and I'll try to give you more info. -30-

Sun Jul 09 2017 8:43PM - Another evening when my DX streak QSO came just after 0000Z. Tonight it was N2OO/VP9 on 30 meters. When Mike worked him on 30 when he was here, I told Mike I'd pass on working him then and save him for my DX streak. That worked out perfectly, and I didn't have to decide whether or not I wanted to work him so soon again. I did pass on PJ2ND just before that because I had worked him on 30 just a couple nights ago.

I enjoy watching woodworking projects on the Internet - Tommy Mac, The Wood Whisperer, Izzy Swan, and the like. I kind of envy them for the neat way they put videos or stills of their projects together. When Mike and I do a project, we seem to get absorbed in it and forget about the documentation along the way. That happened again with the Jackite pole mount. I looked at the 8 pictures we did take and I can't really assemble them into a step by step show. So I'm passing on that again. I still may try to do something. Perhaps combine pictures from my assembly a few months ago with our project a couple days ago. I guess to do it right we need to have a separate photographer or video camera operator like the guys who make the woodworking shows do.

The QST article gave a nice boost to the number of visitors to my site. And that was just the on-line QST. It will be interesting to see what happens when the print version is received.

Tom W3TLN emailed today and said our Skyview friend Bob WC3O also has an article in the August QST. I haven't checked that out yet, but I will.

I hope that everyone who comes to my site via the article will read the corrected paragraph at the top of this diary page or near the top of my main page. The corrections make things clearer and less confusing. -30-

Sat Jul 08 2017 8:45PM - Thanks to all of you who commented on the QST article. I was especially delighted by some comments that the article gave them encouragement from reading what I have done with a very simple QRP/CW setup. Although I use such a minimal setup by choice, they live in a place that has antenna restrictions and are now going to try to see what they can do with their situation. I'm sure they'll do well if they just keep in mind that they are not going to get a pileup everytime they call CQ or work that rare DX with just a single call. As you know, I don't do that here. It does take some persistence and maybe more importantly a belief that you can succeed and succeed quite well with a simple setup.

Of course with the IARU contest in full swing this evening, getting my DX QSO was easy, although I did have to try 3 or 4 other stations before I hooked up with GR2HQ at 0002Z on 20 meters. I think that may be a new prefix also.

I was busy with other things today, mainly working outside around the house and in my garden so I didn't get to work on the pictures from our antenna mount project yesterday. BTW I had my first harvest from the garden today. I picked 19 bush beans and will eat them either later tonight or tomorrow. My home-started tomatoes and peppers are finally starting to grow. Some of both have just about doubled in size during the past several days. I especially want the Siberian tomatoes to develop so I can collect some seeds to keep the variety going. I have a lot of little green tomatoes on the plants I bought from the nursery. They'll probably be ready for picking the first part of August. -30-

Fri Jul 07 2017 8:52PM - Mike and I had a long great day today. More about that later, but first:

The digital issue of the August QST has been posted on the ARRL site, and it contains my streak article right on page 73 like the preview copy I was sent a couple weeks ago. There is one important correction to the article which I sent to ARRL, but it wasn't changed the way I wanted it. The third paragraph from the end talks about QRPp. However they omitted the small p at the end of QRP. So if you read that paragraph, mentally change QRP to QRPp. I think that would clear up the meaning of that paragraph. I'll go over the rest of the article later for any other corrections that need to be made.

Here's a quick synopsis of Mike's visit today. More details in a future entry and/or in the August NAQCC newsletter. Mike arrived around 10:30AM. We chatted for a while, then got to the major project of the day - building a Jackite pole mount like mine for Mike. It took about five hours total, and we're still scared that everything went so smoothly. Usualy we have some glitches in our projects, but not today. Well, except for one - our pencil kept hiding from us, often in plain sight. You had to be here to really appreciate that. We took several pictures along the way, but I'm not going to post them right now. After that, it was off to Wendy's for a combo lunch/dinner. On the way home we stopped at Walmart for a bungee cord to finish off the project. Then back home where Mike filled out his 13 Colonies Award application on-line, printed it out and will mail it along with mine that I printed out yesterday. Then up to my shack for some DXing. Mike worked N2OO/VP9 on 30, XE1XR on 20, KP4/AD4Z on 20, CG3AT on 20, and J68GD. Somewhere in the middle 0000Z arrived so Mike paused to let me get my DX streak QSO which I did by working XE1XR on 20. Now mike is sitting in a chair across the room getting ready for a run up north. End of another great day with Mike. -30-

Thu Jul 06 2017 8:38PM - It worked. The reverse jinx I put on myself 'complaining' about not being able to get VA, I mean. Not long after I went to the shack for a final check for K2B, there he was nice and fairly loud on 40 meters at 0247Z. After he finished with the station he was working, I called and easily broke his small pileup. So with the exception of GB13COL I've worked all the 13 Colonies related stations - K2A through K2M and WM3PEN. I made out my application for the certificate on line last night and will send it off soon.

My DX was quick and easy tonight - PJ2ND on 30 meters at 0008Z. So now I can fully enjoy the day tomorrow with Mike without worrying about getting my DX streak station.

It was a slow day here today since I didn't have to waste time looking for K2B and there wasn't much else going on either. I did a little yard and house work, visited the Ol' Station Marketplace and found a nice pruning tool for a buck, did some other shopping, and then the rains came.

So I thought I'd do something I've been putting off for some time now. I wanted to make a record of all my portable operations and I did so. I still have to decide just what I mean by portable. I'm not counting the times I operated from my apartment in Pittsburgh since that was a permanent location for a while. I'm undecided about the time I operated the CQWW DX test from my cousin's QTH. I'll think about that one for a while. There are a couple other operations I'm not sure if I'll count or not. Basically though I've counted all the Community Park ops, the USS Requin ops, the Butler hamfest ops, the Skyview ops and other such ops.

Using the above criteria gives me 59 portable operations from 1967 (1 op) to 2017 (actually none between 1967 and 2008). By far the most successful ones were the Field Day ops with the following total QSOs 2013 at Garretts Run (WY3H's QTH) - 257, 2014 my front porch - 213, 2015 Chicora 253, 2016 Chicora 382, 2017 my front porch 381. All those were with other ops (WY3H, KC2EGL, WB3FAE, K3RLL) but the QSO numbers are just the contacts I made personally.

The 2013 NAQCC Anniversary op at Kittanning Community Park gave me 60 QSOs for the best non-FD total. The Skeeter Hunt ops were also good with 30 to 57 QSOs for 4 of them from 2013-2016.

The total QSOs for the 59 ops is 2,357 or an average of a shade under 40 per op. That's actually very biased by the FD ops. I'll have to refigure sometime and eliminate the FD totals.

I plan to do a little more analysis later, and also to look it over with Mike tomorrow as he was on virtually all of the ops with me (all but 15 at a quick glance).

OK, that's it. Time now to go out in the light rain and get my weather readings. -30-

Wed Jul 05 2017 8:23PM - It looks more and more like I am going to have to settle for 12 Colonies. Again this evening I heard the wispy little signal from K2B who was working a big pileup. All the other 12 Colonies stations were just booming in here the past couple days. In fact at one time K2I from NJ was so strong it caused my KX3 to shut off the preamp automatically. I've never seen that happen before and in fact had forgotten about the feature and it took me by surprise when it happened. I guess the 13 Colonies organizers just could not find a VA op with a big signal like the other Colonies. I'll keep trying though. If I could get a lull in his pileup and his signal is above my noise, I know I can work him.

DX took a while tonight. K2B QRT at 0000Z, so before I went for DX I wanted to solidify my regular streak for another day and worked K2K easily although there were a good many seconds delay before he came back to me, then another several seconds delay before he came back with QSL TU. Maybe he was recording and playing back my sigs for copy. I don't know. Anyway, then I went looking for DX and found CU3AK on 20, but repeated calls to him yielded no response at all. So I moved on and found YU7XX booming in on 40 meters. I fairly easily worked him with a few repeats to get my call right. Nick is an Aussie operating from Serbia.

I got my request for N3A for the 2018 Field Day approved today, so Mike and I and hopefully other WPA Chapter members can use that short call for our NAQCC club entry. That should be fun. I hope we can also get a better site than my front porch for next year, although we have no complaints about our 491 QSOs from 62 sections we made that way this year. -30-

Tue Jul 04 2017 4:20PM - After I wrote last night's diary entry, I worked K2F on 80 meters still leaving VA to be worked to finish the 13 Colonies. I heard K2B, but so far down in my noise that I wouldn't have been able to tell if he answered me or not, especially with the huge pileup chasing him.

I just received Mike's log and pictures from our parkpedition, so let me compile a report here in real time.

We had a total of 14 QSOs on 40, 14 on 30, and 8 on 20 for a grand total of 36 all told. They were from the following 14 states: AL DE GA IL MD ME MS NC NH NJ NY PA SC VA and one province: ON

Special mention to a few stations: K1IEE worked all four of our ops - Mike and Don on 40, me on 30, and Tom on 20. Dick is always very supportive of all our NAQCC operations.

K2K, a 13 Colonies station in NH worked us on all three bands. N3IOD in DE was another three bander, as was WA2FBN in NY.

It often happens with our portable operations, that we get a rush of activity in the first hour and then there is a sudden drop after that. This one was no exception. On 40 the 1500Z hour yielded 9 QSOs, 1600Z 4, 1700Z 1. On 30 it was 13, 1. On 20 it was 7, 1. Overall 29, 6, 1. I don't really understand why that happens. Do our members give up if they can't work us in that first hour possibly because of all the competition? Do they figure propagation is no good if they don't hear us then, and don't bother to check later to see if conditions change as they often do? Or is it something else.

At any rate, the four of us had a good time handling the traffic the first hour, then kibbitzing when things slowed down. When I let Don take my seat for some 30 meters work, I took about a mile and a half walk on one of the trails in the park. Actually the one that counted for our NPOTA activation last August - the North Country Trail NPOTA TR04. I got to thinking it sure would be nice if Moraine were closer to Kittanning so I could explore all the trails there.

With activity pretty much non-existant by 1PM (1700Z), we decided to tear down and head home. Or in the case of Mike and I, to Ponderosa, then home.

I was very pleased with the operation of my Jackite homebrew mount. Setting up went as smooth as silk except for some minor re-positioning of the tent pegs at the inverted vee ends. I have a tweak for that the next time. I figured how far from the mount the tent pegs need to be for a symmetrical setup at a good center angle for the vee. I cut a string to that length and now it's just a matter of stretching the string and setting the pegs. We'll see how that works at the next parkpedition. The hinge-up mount definitely eliminates the problem of the wires and coax getting tangled during raising. Mike and Don had that problem with Mike's antenna and lost some time because of it. Mike's going to make a visit here probably on Friday to build a copy of my mount for future use.

I think that concludes the summary. Now let's see the pictures Mike sent. I haven't looked at them myself yet and wasn't really aware of what he was taking while we were there.

I guess with our activity and kibbitzing, there wasn't much time for pictures. I only see two here in Mike's email. The left below shows Tom operating. At right me (background) and Don operating. Anyway looks like we were all busy when they were taken, and that was good.

I wish we'd gotten a picture of Mike as well, but that's often the fate of the photographer - getting left out of the pictures. We'll remedy that the next time.

After stuffing ourselves at Ponderosa, Mike and I came back here to chase some 13 Colonies stations and DX. I was only interested in K2F MD and K2B VA, so I let Mike man the controls for the most part to see what he could find. He got a couple of DX stations (CT and 9A) and I think 3 of the Colonies stations. That concluded our fun day.

Time for my hourly (or so) check of the bands to try to find VA to complete the 13 Colonies stations. Except for GB13COL, that is. I doubt I'll get that one. -30-

Mon Jul 03 2017 8:56PM - A great time was had by all on the Moraine State Parkpedition today. Details to follow in tomorrow's diary entry when I compile logs from our four ops and edit some pictures.

Where have all the 13 Colonies stations gone? Mike and I heard very little activity today. Must be on some of those other (ugh) modes, and not the best mode of all - CW. Mike did get a couple colonies station and some DX here today when we got back from the parkpedition. However I looked in vain for my last two colonies of MD and VA. I did get a quick DX QSO just after 0000Z for the streak when I easily worked LY5W on 30 meters despite him being only about S4 to S5.

OK, time for the 9PM weather readings now. Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for the parkpedition story and pictures. -30-

Sun Jul 02 2017 8:23PM - With this busy weekend I cheated a bit on my DX streak and worked the same station on the same band I worked last night - CX2DK. BTW last night wasn't my first QSO with him as I alluded to. I've worked him 4 times altogether now.

We are going to attempt our parkpedition to Moraine State Park tomorrow despite a chance of rain. We'll try to be on the air by 11AM or 1500Z. We'll have 3 ops so we'll be on or about 7041, 10117, and 14061 the whole time. We'll use N3AQC. The forecast for tomorrow has been remarkably consistent ever since last night. Here's the one from the NWS: "A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 81. Calm wind becoming west 5 to 9 mph in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms" Hopefully it will be one of many inaccurate ones (in a good way).

I spent a good deal of time today chasing down the 13 Colonies stations. Once I found them, they were generally easy to work. Most took just a single call or two. One was tough though - K2I in NJ, but I finally broke his huge pileup. He had by far the strongest signal and I think the biggest pileup of all I heard. Then there was K2F in MD on 20. He never heard any of my several dozen tries to work him despite him peaking S8-9 at times. On the other hand I worked K2A in NY easily on 20 meters. As they say, go figure! Anyway I need only MD and VA for a clean sweep of the colonies. I've also worked WM3PEN. I don't know if I'll get GB13COL or not as EU hasn't been too strong anywhere so far this weekend. It's really an enjoyable event no matter what. I wish I'd gotten started before last year which was the first year I got serious about it. -30-

Sat Jul 01 2017 8:28PM - Good thing we postponed our parkpedition. We had a brief but intense downpour today just about at the time we would have been setting up. Some nearby lightning strikes also. There's still a conflicting outlook for Monday's weather. Some sources say partly sunny, others say chance of showers/TS just about the time of our planned operation. We should know more one way or the other by late tomorrow sometime.

I got a lot done today. Did my banking run this morning. Did a lot of grass pulling from my brick sidewalk. Took a couple good walks besided the banking walk. All the other normal daily things contributed to filling up my day nicely.
Another quick DX QSO this evening from a station I have never worked before - CX2DK on 30 meters at 0002Z. Then found and worked a couple of the 13 Colonies stations on 40 meters. K2H MA and K2C RI. And that brings us to right now and typing this entry. -30-

Fri Jun 30 2017 8:10PM - Here we are in a new month again (UTC time anyway). That means a lot of end of month / first of month chores to get done. I think I've covered most of them already except for doing my June weather records and making a run to the bank tomorrow morning. I just finished writing out my sheet for the NAQCC July challenge which deals with words associated with Old Glory. I've got 4 of the 85 letters already from my DX streak QSO XE2I. It was nice again to get a quick DX QSO right after 0000Z. I figured I'd use the RAC contest for my DX, but there was XE2I calling CQ on the low end of 20 not in the contest so I worked him. I was second in line after he worked another station so it was an easy QSO unlike the last time I worked him when I had to repeat my call several times. Tonight only twice.

Earlier today I uploaded all my June QSOs to LoTW and eQSL. I made 120 QSOs in June - about half in our two NAQCC sprints. With the nice weather plus a lot of other things to do, I haven't really been all that active beyond getting my streak QSO(s) and working on our NAQCC challenges.

Speaking of other things to do, we took Roscoe to the vet this morning for his annual checkup and shots. Both Bruce and I had the time wrong and we arrived late and had to wait in line for maybe 45 minutes or so. Roscoe didn't care much for that, but when we finally did get to see the vet, he was pretty well behaved. Then on the way home he got a treat - an ice cream cone. I don't think I've ever eaten a cone as fast as he did today.

So now after a busy day, there's not much left to do. I think I'll play some computer games till it's time to take Roscoe out for his last walk of the day.

There are conflicting weather reports for Monday when we plan to do our Moraine State Park parkpedition. It's either going to be mostly sunny or scattered showers/TS depending on which forecast you believe. I prefer the Penn State reports most of the time and they are one of the ones this time with a good report. So we'll wait and see. I'll have more info in the diary as Monday gets nearer. -30-

Thu Jun 29 2017 8:26PM - It wasn't easy tonight nor a few other June days/nights, but the DX streak made it through another month. It really is getting harder and harder to keep it going though. I called a few stations this evening whom I normally work easily, but with conditions slipping away each day, they are just not hearing me. The best I did this evening was get a WW? from S57V on 30. That is until I found 4V1G just starting up on 30 and got him although it took about six sendings of my call before he got it. Fortunately he hadn't developed the expected pileup yet. I imagine he will as that's not too common a prefix. Not sure if I have it or not. Let's see. Actually I do from 4V1JR back in 2015 on 15.

Since I wrote my FD story for yesterday's diary entry, I didn't get a chance to write about Mike's visit. Of course it started with a pizza. After that we discussed our upcoming Moraine State Park parkpedition which originally was scheduled for Saturday July 1. However the weather outlook wasn't good, so we checked with Tom WB3FAE and the three of us decided it would be better to do it on Monday the 3rd. Next up was submitting our FD report to ARRL. We had a couple head-scratching moments, but finally figured everything out and submitted the summary sheet via the Internet form, and our supporting documentation of our dupe sheet via email.

At least tomorrow no worries about the DX streak, and with the RAC contest Saturday, that (knock on wood) should be an easy day for DX since that contest has really gained world wide popularity over the past several years and it's an everyone work everyone contest.

So I don't have to think about DX as we take Roscoe to the vet in the morning for his annual checkup and shots, followed probably by an ice cream cone treat for him.

Almost forgot, my regular streak QSO was a special event station - K1T for Adopt a Cat Month. -30-

Wed Jun 28 2017 8:32AM - OK, let's get with the promised FD report today.

For the past two years we had a great location in nearby Chicora, PA provided by Tom WB3FAE. However that property was sold, and we couldn't find any other place that satisfied our requirements of having someplace where we could stay overnight without having to tear down at night and set up again in the morning. So we fell back on a plan we had for 2014 that worked, but not as well as 2015/16. That is operating from my front porch.

Mike had to work on Saturday, and our porch setup could only accomodate two operators, so I would have to go it alone till Mike arrived early Saturday evening. I tested things out on Wednesday to make sure everything would work, and it did as I made 29 QSOs in our NAQCC mW sprint that evening. I tore things down again until Saturday morning.

Our setup consisted of our KX3s and PX3s run from batteries with our laptops for logging. Our antennas were Mike's portable jumper dipole and a temporary modification of my random wire. That qualified us for a 2B operation.

We decided to split up the bands so we'd each have one active band at all times. For me, it was 40 meters which would be good for the whole 24 hours. For Mike 20 meters for daytime and 80 meters for nighttime. Then I would clean up on 15, 10, and 6. That plan worked well with one exception. Mike's 80 meters setup did not work well for some reason we will try to figure out some time.

I set as a goal making 100 QSOs before Mike arrived, and I made it by reaching 112, mostly on 40 including 12 on 15 and 1 on 10. 15 and 10 were not all that good on Saturday, but had a big surprise for us on Sunday.

After a pause for pizza with Mike, I returned to the key and he set up his operating position which included both his rig and antenna. That took a little time, and I see from his log he got his first QSO at 6:32PM or 2232Z when he worked VE5MX. 20 meters remained good until we both decided to quit for the night around 0345Z.

One of our early goals was to break our record of 288 QSOs we made the last time we did our porchpedition FD in 2014. When we bedded down for the night, we were at 250 so that looked like a lead pipe cinch, and it was. We started up in the morning just before 1100Z and reached 288 at 1215Z when I worked AA3CS on 40, and 289 when I worked W3SK on 40 and Mike worked WB0RUR on 20. Our next goal was reaching 400, and we also made that one at 1541Z when Mike worked K3NG on 20. Onward and upward. Although we doubted we could reach 500 since it was getting harder and harder to find new stations to work, we set that as our next goal. Well, we came close, but not quite at 491.

We were very pleased with that total which was in the neighborhood of doubling our results from 2014 despite Mike having to miss some prime time Saturday afternoon and his problem with 80 meters that evening.

A rough but pretty accurate count shows we worked a total of 62 ARRL sections. We worked 44 states, missing AK HI ID MT ND WY. We worked 5 VE Provinces - AB NS ON QC SK. Both Caribbean sections were worked - KP4 KP2

I mentioned a 15/10 meters surprise on Sunday. Both bands were open just like back in the sunspot maximum days. Maybe even better because skip was very short on both bands. I worked states on both bands I haven't worked there in quite some time including PA (15) and most of the adjacent states including NY (15, 10) NJ (15) MD (15, 10) OH (15). All but DE and WV. The MD on 10 is a story by itself.

I need two states on 10 for WAS there. I told Mike I'd be watching for MD and DE on that band and work them with my own call instead of N3AQC if I found them. OK, so I found MD but I was so excited I forgot and worked them with N3AQC. When I heard MD again (the same station AH6AW), it dawned on me what I'd done and I uttered a loud expletive. I tried again with my own call, but that was just a couple minutes before quitting time at 1800Z and he QRT before I could get him. I told Mike later at least MD wasn't the last state I needed or I would have been even more upset. Still needing DE in addition to MD lessened my anger.

All in all, I got a surprising 96 QSOs on 15 and 39 more on 10. Most QSOs were easy ones with the great propagation. I don't know what it was, perhaps some kind of Sporadic E, but I didn't hear a thing when I checked 6 meters.

I mentioned to Mike that I thought it might be a good idea to get N3A for next year's FD. There were a lot of 1x1 calls in FD this year, and on top of that a lot of folks who use CW maybe once a year for FD were having trouble with the Q and or C in N3AQC. I got a lot of N3A? or some N3AYC, etc. So last night I applied for N3A and am awaiting confirmation.

Now let's close with some pictures:

k3wwp rig k3wwp antenna
Above K3WWP's table setup and one end of his random wire.

kc2egl rig kc2egl antenna
Above KC2EGL's table setup and one end of his dipole antenna. That's Roscoe looking out the window.

sun shield
At sunset we were facing right into the bright sun, hence this pillowcase acting to shield us. -30-

Tue Jun 27 2017 Well, yet another busy day with a lot of NAQCC work discussing some ideas about this and that with Paul. So the FD report is delayed another day. In fact I think I'll just make one report and use it both here in the diary and for the July NAQCC newsletter. That will save me some work.

Another quick and easy DX QSO this evening. I worked HI/SP5Y on a new band - 20M after getting him on 17M in that hectic day on Monday. It was a little easier, but still took several calls to get him tonight.

I'm gathering my stuff up for the parkpedition to Moraine State Park on Saturday, but the weather doesn't still look too good and we may have to postpone it. Mike will be visiting tomorrow evening and we'll talk about it more then. Tom checked it out with the park rangers today and it looks like just about any day and time will be good for that particular area of the park where we did our NPOTA/Skeeter Hunt operation last year. -30-

Mon Jun 26 2017 - This was another of those SR-SS busy days with the regular Monday chores, plus organizing some (not all) of our FD data and some shopping and garden work. So the FD report here in the diary gets put off another day.

Also I spent a lot of time trying for my DX today. All stations were quite weak at S2-S3 and not hearing me calling at all. There were a couple of stronger ones, but they QRT not long after I found them. A couple I called and called with no answer (PV8ADI, S500R). I also called HI/SP5Y on 17 many times with no response. However at 2104Z I went back to 17 to try some more, and out of the blue he came back to my first call then even though he wasn't much stronger than before.

In contrast, I got two quick DX QSOs, one on 20 (XE1ZW) and one on 30 (HK1MW) right after 0000Z this evening. That 30 meters QSO was my 30th on 30 this month, so I'm going to apply for another NAQCC 30-30 award. -30-

Sun Jun 25 2017 7:43PM - After operating about 17-18 hours of the 24 hours of Field Day, I'm pretty drained this evening. I'll just have a brief report of our FD here, and more in coming days.

As I emailed to our fellow NAQCC WPA Chapter members a little while ago:

"How did you do in FD everyone? I know some of you couldn't participate, but we'd like to know how those who could, fared.

Mike KC2EGL and I (K3WWP) operated portable from my front porch as a 2B entry. The weather was gorgeous and the bands were as well. 15 and 10 were surprising. They sounded like 40 at times on Sunday with very short skip. It's been some years since I worked states adjacent to PA on those two bands.

Here's a breakdown by band of our QSOs

80 - 3
40 - 246
20 - 107
15 - 96
10 - 39

Total 491 - just missed our goal of 500, but shattered the 288 the last time we operated from my porch in 2014

We totaled 44 states, 5 provinces, 2 DX

We missed KL7, KH6, ID, MT, ND, WY

We had a lot of fun." -30-

Sat Jun 24 2017 10:07AM - Getting close! Just under 4 hours now till the start of our FD operation. So I'll get the diary entry done now to save time for FD later in the day.

Somewhat appropriately we received a certificate in the mail today for another portable operation we did last year - The Skeeter Hunt. Here is a scan of it:

Skeeter Hunt

The operation also counted for a NPOTA activation for the trail that passes through Moraine State Park near Butler, PA. Ops were me, KC2EGL, and WB3FAE.

OK, now off to get something to eat and a little more FD preparation. -30-

Fri Jun 23 2017 8:59PM - In the battle of Canada vs. Cindy, so far at my QTH anyway Canada is the clear winner. The Canadian cold front pushed the remnants of Cindy south of Kittanning. Not by much, but enough that we missed the really bad weather that struck south of Armstrong Co. All we got here so far is about a half inch of rain. We might get a little more tonight, but I don't think very much. Then it should be very nice both Saturday and Sunday. To be continued in a couple minutes after I get my 9PM weather info.

Actually it was 0.32 inches of rain today so we made out even better than I estimated.

DX was rough this evening and I feared I may have trouble getting it and have to try to get it before FD tomorrow. I heard several good DX signals, but two were HC2AO and XE2I whom I just worked in the past couple days. Another XE I kept losing out to other stations. There was an HP engaging in very QRS rag chews. So on and on it went. I had heard YV5LAY in something called the BOC contest on 40 meters. I didn't know if I could work him or not. Finally I looked on the WA7BNM contest calendar and found BOC was an everyone work everyone contest so back to the shack. I called and it took a couple of repeats, but we exchanged the contest info and I had my streak QSO. Another Whew!! day. HI

I'm really looking forward to FD tomorrow. Mainly because I'll be doing it with Mike and it's always a lot of fun doing a multi-op contest. Usually when I look forward to a contest I don't do all that well. Hopefully that won't happen this weekend. -30-

Thu Jun 22 2017 10:24AM - OK, let me elaborate a bit more on yesterday's entry. After I took Roscoe out for his morning walk, I set up my FD station on my front porch to check everything out. After putting up the card table and adding the folding chair, I set up the rest of the things I would need for FD. Of course the KX3/PX3 combo with my big gel cell battery to power them through the power pole connectors. My Bencher paddle which is my choice for portable use. Headphones, paper log, pen. Earlier I ran an extension wire down from my attic random wire through a Pomona connector to the KX3. I later added a short ground stake just to see if it would make any difference. It didn't. The KX3 tuned the random wire to 1.1:1 or better on 80 through 10. I didn't try 160 or 60, but it will probably tune them as well. It was nice to have the new second set of ATU settings added in the last firmware update. I used the second set, and now I don't have to retune everything when I take the rig back indoors.

After setting up, I tuned around the bands. There wasn't much activity around that time of day (1600Z or so). I tried some CQs on various bands with no answers. Finally I answered W2SSX on 40 meters and had my first QSO. He gave me a 549 and he was about 579. Next it was KW7D on 20 meters. I was surprised to get a 589 from him and a solid few minutes QSO. I've worked Paul before and I know he gives accurate reports so I was pleased with that. I worked a couple more stations and then I decided I would operate our NAQCC mW sprint with the FD setup.

When evening came, I set up outside around 0000Z and thought I'd try to get my DX streak QSO before the sprint. It didn't take too long to work P43R on 30 meters to take care of that.

I had figured I'd just operate the first hour since I was just curious to get some more info on how the setup was performing. Also it would be time to take Roscoe out and also have some birthday cake with Roscoe's owner Bruce.

Instead of starting with CQs as I usually do, I did some S&P work instead. I tried K4BAI on 20, but lost out to other callers. I went to 40 and worked WB1GYZ who was a good S7. There wasn't much more on 40, so it was back to 20 where this time I did get John K4BAI. He was the only 20M station I was hearing. It always perplexes me how other stations can work 10, 15, 20 or so stations on 20 when I can only hear one or two. Yet I can easily work DX all around the world there.

Next it was back to 40 where things picked up after working 4 S&P stations including Don K3RLL in nearby New Bethlehem, and I decided to switch to CQ. That resulted in a great run of stations from 0101Z to 0130Z when I had planned to quit. I couldn't resist staying around with the stream of answers I was getting and I stayed till my last QSO at 0151Z. I wound up with 29 QSOs, the third highest total for me in one of our mW sprints. I should have stayed till 0230Z. Oh well. My SPC total of 18 matched my best in a mW sprint. Overall very surprising and very satisfying results. I'm sure now I have a good setup for FD. -30-

Wed Jun 21 2017 11:34PM - A fun, busy, crazy day. I played a lot with our front porch setup we'll be using for field day. I even entered our NAQCC mW sprint with that setup. I had no idea I'd do so well. I logged on paper, and now have a mess of QSOs to convert to electronic format for posting my log and getting the QSOs into my computer log. All of that is on the schedule for tomorrow though. It's too late now to do anything but close this diary entry. Tune in tomorrow for more. -30-

Tue Jun 20 2017 8:53PM - A not too busy day today for a change. We took Roscoe to the vet for a toenail trim and to pick up some heartworm and flea/tick medication. Just preventative medication. Then a trip to the post office to send out one of our NAQCC prizes. Not really much more other than the usual time-passing things.

A quick DX QSO this evening from one of the regular standbys, XE1XR. Then a couple rag chews on 30 meters to get me closer to the NAQCC 30-30 award this month. I need 3 more QSOs on 30 to make it to 30.

Not a lot scheduled for tomorrow either. I think I may check out our FD setup on my front porch. I added the extension for my random wire to get it down to the porch and charged up my battery. So I'm pretty much ready for a test. I'll be going solo on Saturday until Mike arrives around 6PM after his workday. -30-

Mon Jun 19 2017 2:05PM - OK, I'm pretty much caught up on things right now. Let me get to the story of the USS Requin subpedition yesterday. It actually was one of our smoothest subpeditions to date. Only one little "bug" to deal with. I'll get to that in a bit. Conditions weren't the best with rapid deep QSB making copy rough. That plus the usual noise from visitors to the sub. We didn't mind that at all though. It was very interesting interacting with the visitors, many of whom were knowledgeable about submarines and other naval things, having served in the Navy. Also folks immediately recognized what we doing as using Morse Code. A couple seemed to be interested in learning more about it. We gladly explained and sent their names in Morse a letter at a time.

Mike arrived around 8:00AM, and after I took Roscoe out and we chatted a bit, we set off for Pittsburgh. Except for one very minor loop around some construction, we didn't get lost at all and arrived at the sub parking lot in only around 50 minutes or so. The Carnegie Science Center which is in control of the sub is being enlarged to about twice its current size and we had to take a little longer walk than usual from the lot to the sub. We waited for about 10 minutes or so till the gates to the sub walkway were opened. The host and hostess there told us Art was in the middle of the sub somewhere. We found him easily, chatted a bit and set up our operating position with Mike's KX3 and PX3 connected to the sub's tuner and antenna. For a change the auto tuner worked flawlessly and we actually got started a few minutes before our scheduled start time. We started on 40 and found signals quite weak there. It was a struggle making QSOs, but we did. I took the first 30 minutes on 40, and then Mike went to 30. The signals were much stronger there although there were very few of them. It finally dawned on me to check to see if perhaps the preamp on the KX3 was turned off on 40. Mike paused in his operation and we quickly checked 40. Yep, the preamp was indeed off. We turned it on and the noise and signals immediately came up. So apologies to anyone who called during that first stint on 40 from 1400-1430Z that we were unable to hear.

From then on we made several QSOs on 40 and 20. 30 was very unoccupied and I think our total there was only 2 QSOs that Mike made. All in all we wound up with 27 QSOs despite very poor overall conditions. Those we were working would fade in and out rapidly and they told us we were doing the same at their end. I don't have a total, but I would say we worked around a dozen states or so. All in all it was another fun experience operating from the Requin. Thanks to Art WA3BKD for letting us do so, helping us out, and just being a great guy in general.

Mike took a couple videos, one of the exterior of the sub, and one of me operating. They are too big for my Windstream server, but here are links to them on my k3wwp.com server.

USS Requin
K3WWP Operating

We left the sub around 1745Z. We stopped at Chili's on the way home. When we got here, we did a bit of thinking and preliminary setting up some things for this weekend's Field Day. Unable to find a good location, we decided to operate from my front porch as we did three years ago. We'll use the N3AQC call and be a 2E entry. More later in the week.

Mike played our favorite hidden object games on the computer while we awaited the end of the rain. Then he headed home.

Much later in the day I worked L20F on 40 meters for my DX streak QSO.

Today I finished sprint log cross-checking and did my laundry. I don't know just what I'll do between now and 0000Z. -30-

Sun Jun 18 2017 9:11PM - A very busy day with the Requin subpedition, closing out the sprint page, and other things. So I'm just going to make this a short entry. Tomorrow I'll talk more about the subpedition and the things that Mike and I did after coming back here. Mike took a couple nice videos of the Requin and of me operating. They are pretty large. I'll figure out a way to display them, probably only on my k3wwp.com server. Also about some preparations we did for field day next weekend. So as they say, be sure to tune in tomorrow. -30-

Sat Jun 17 2017 4:46PM - An interesting day to say the least. The Pest Control man came this morning and took care of my bee problem. I'm now guaranteed to be honey bee free for one year. That's a good thing. Although I do lose some potential help with pollinating my flower and vegetable plants.

I received my first mailing from the QSL buro in a while today. There were 18 cards in it representing maybe 30 or so QSOs. Several new prefixes were there including DK65DARC, DM6V, LZ1043PMU, IO1T, LZ71ZZ, PZ50X, EH0P, UF2F. Also included was my first SWL card in a long time from OK1-3453. Most of the cards were from folks wanting my card for whatever reason. I haven't sent an outgoing QSL mailing to the ARRL buro in some time. I'll have to get caught up with that and then I'll get some incoming QSLs more often.

I think today was the closest call yet for my DX streak. I checked the bands just about every hour on the hour and found virtually nothing in the way of DX. L20F on 17 was actually the only DX station I was hearing for most of the day, and he was only S2-3 and not hearing me at all. Then in the 20Z hour, the most frustrating thing of all. The streak almost ended in a very unhappy way. I found PJ7/KK9N on 18, called him, got a partial call response from him, but he could never get my call completely right as I agonized. After a dozen or so tries, he moved on to someone else. What a way to end, I thought. I know I was being heard, but not well enough for a legit QSO. I didn't give up on him though. I kept trying off and on for maybe a half hour or so. He never heard me again...until finally at 2032 it was U3? I figured my K sounded like a U with the QSB and QRN, and knowing calls starting with U3 are very rare, I sent my call a couple more times and finally got K3WWP? I sent R a few times, he responded with my RST, I sent his RST and breathed a huge sigh of relief as day 1,570 of DX went in the log. Whew! I can't handle too many more of those kind of days.

Well, I hope to work you from the Requin tomorrow. Or if not me, I hope you work Mike on one of his shifts. -30-

Fri Jun 16 2017 8:42PM - Once again it's one of those 'this might be the end of the DX streak' days. As they were for our sprint a couple evenings ago, condx are just horrible - maybe even worse tonight. The only workable DX I heard were a couple stations in the AA test and since I'm not in Asia, I couldn't answer them. Never hear a single dit from any of the Asians. Thanks though to Rick AA4W who at least gave me a brief QSO on 30 to keep the big streak going. Tomorrow might be a busy day with not much time to get on the air, so it may be rough extending the DX streak another day.

Here's the deal for our subpedition to the USS Requin on this Sunday. The only ops will be Mike KC2EGL and me. None of our other WPA Chapter members could make it. We'll try to arrive at the sub around 1345Z and get set up to operate by 1400Z. No definite band/time plans, but we'll use 40, 30, and 20 meters. Perhaps start at 1400Z on 40, go to 30 at 1430Z, and 20 at 1500Z. Then depending on condx, keep repeating that cycle until we have to QRT at 1730Z. We'll use the Requin's call of NY3EC and the frequencies will be (+/- QRM) 7041, 10117, and 14061. We'll use the Requin's vertical antenna (I believe) with Mike's KX3 (and PX3?). CW speed will be around 17-18 WPM. We will QRS if necessary. Just ask. -30-

Thu Jun 15 2017 9:10PM - I'm running a bit late tonight, so I'll type fast. A busy day. I helped neighbor Denny with a plumbing problem early this evening. It took an hour to get my DX QSO, but I finally worked XE2I on 20 meters at 0101Z. Had a nice rag chew with old friend N3HAM. Found out that he operates from the USS Olympia near Philly. Unfortunately he can't operate this Sunday or we might have had a 2X ship to ship QSO since I'll be on the Requin with Mike KC2EGL and probably Jon AB3RU. More on the subpedition in the diary tomorrow or Saturday.

I also picked up a 13' x 9' screen house at the Ol' Station Marketplace today for Mike (or others) and I to use on portable operations if needed. We'll check it out Sunday when we get here after the subpedition.

OK, that mish-mash will serve as the entry. Some rain coming and I want to try to get Roscoe out before it arrives. -30-

Wed Jun 14 2017 4:05PM - I think our local Elks flag day ceremony may be this evening. If so, I'll be attending to honor our great country and its flag as I do every year. Or it may be tomorrow night. I'll have to check after this entry is written.

I don't get outwardly excited very often, but I did today when I got an email from the ARRL about my streak article that they requested from me several months ago. I got a look at the final version to approve it, make corrections and comments, etc. The .pdf version shows the month August 2017 on it and the ARRL confirmed a few minutes ago it will be in the August QST. Get this very cool thing. The page number on the .pdf copy is 73!! How about that?

A funny thing happened on the way to the sprint last night. As I was setting up the frequencies on the KX3 to quickly QSY from band to band I crossed 30 while going from 20 to 40 and landed right on DF3VM on 30. I took a moment to work him for my DX streak.

The sprint itself wasn't as funny. Conditions were poor to say the least. I only made 29 QSOs in 18 SPCs. That's the second lowest total since February 2016 back when I was having all my local noise problems. Still it was actually a lot of fun and good practice digging weak signals out of the noise. All of these contributed to the poor showing - generally poor propagation, local noise, and storm noise. It looks like with the exception of a very few locations, everyone else had pretty much the same lousy conditions according to scores and soapbox comments received so far. -30-

Tue Jun 13 2017 7:32PM - About an hour till our NAQCC monthly sprint. Hope you'll join in the fun, be you a member or not. Details on the NAQCC web site if you need them.

I talked with Art WA3BKD of the submarine USS Requin, and after 3 or so postponements, we're set to go this Sunday for our subpedition. I just sent an email to our NAQCC WPA Chapter members with details, and I'll send one to all the NAQCC members a little later this week. More details here in the diary later in the week also for those who are not NAQCC members. (Why not?)

Last night was one of those 0000Z DX QSOs for the streak from HI3A on 30 meters. Hope I can get another quick one tonight before the sprint.

We had our warmest day of the year so far today with a high of 95 showing on my AcuRite remote unit. Some showers passed us by, but not a drop fell here that I know of. -30-

Mon Jun 12 2017 6:20PM - A little less hectic today. As usual, being a Monday, it was laundry day. Also putting out garbage day for pickup on Tuesday.

I've been having some problems with swarming bees the past couple days. I was mostly awaiting a call back from an exterminator today, but it never came. The bees are swarming near the top of my house on the outside, so it's not all that bad. I think I'll try another message to the exterminator in a little bit, and if still no answer, I'll try another one.

It was quite a struggle getting my DX QSO today (12th). Thanks to great ops like Joe DL2DX though, I did make it finally in the 1600Z hour on 20M. Joe was only about S6 at best, but after three or four times sending my call, a solid couple minute QSO was made.

Tomorrow evening will be our regular NAQCC sprint. I just finished setting up the cross-checking program and uploading an up to the minute GenLog data file for those who use the great GenLog program for sprint logging.

Thanks to VA3BOW who emailed me some info about a portable antenna mast mount. Actually I've gotten a few comments about various mounts since I described my homebrew mount here in the diary. -30-

Sun Jun 11 2017 8:47PM - Withough going into details, I'll just say this was a hectic evening so I'm not going to make a long diary entry. I'll have to get my DX in the morning or afternoon. I did work AB5XP and N5ESE on 30 for the main streak.

Otherwise, I got a nice guestbook entry from AH6WA. Instead of copying it here, I hope you'll check out Mike's comments via the guestbook links. -30-

Sat Jun 10 2017 9:02PM - Every so often, as is happenning right now, the number of visitors to my web site drop off and I think maybe it is time to give up the site. Then something like this happens. I worked AA4MZ, and he told me he is also using an attic wire for an antenna. He said he got the idea from my web site. Once again I realize even though not as many folks are currently visiting, giving someone the idea for an antenna still makes the site worthwhile and I'm encouraged to keep it going.

It looks like summer may be here at last after all the false starts and previews going back to February now. It hit 86 today and the upper 80s are predicted for the next few days now. Sure feels good although I must confess that my tolerance for heat and humidity is decreasing as I get older at 72 years of age now. Still it's much better than the miserable cold, etc. of winter. -30-

Fri Jun 09 2017 9:01PM - I think one of the fascinating things about my DX streak is learning more and more about propagation. It is extremely interesting to note how my QRP compares on days when the solar flux is say around 150 vs. days like today when the solar flux is around 75. One example happened this evening. I heard UN7QX calling CQ on 20M and answered him, but despite having him all to myself, he didn't hear me at all and just went on and on for a while calling CQ and never hearing me at all till I gave up after about a half dozen tries. Let's go back now to the times when the solar flux was higher.

From 1998 through 2002, I worked Kazakhstan 11 times as follows with the solar flux for the date(s) of the QSO in that month included:
Month              QSOs    SF
March 27 1998       1     108   
June 20 1999        1     152
July 8 1999         1     149
October 3 1999      1     135
November 28 1999    1     175
April 15,16 2000    2     164,159     
October 21 2000     1     158
February 18 2001    1     132
March 17 2001       1     134
June 15 2002        1     135
No more Kazakhstan QSOs until 2009-2014 as follows here:
Month              QSOs    SF
June 20 2009        1      67
April 9,17,23 2011  3     105,114,119
May 15 2011         1      95
June 4 2012         1     102
April 6 2013        1     137
February 16 2014    1     154
May 17 2014         1     134
November 30 2014    1     177
So except for the unusual QSO in June 2009 when the solar flux was only 67, it seems I needed the solar flux to be 95 or greater for the path to Kazakhstan to work for my QRP. Possibly being right at the summer solstice and having the path in daylight for the maximum number of hours possible helps to account for that June 20 2009 QSO. I'm sure analyzing other countries that involve a high latitude path would show similar results.

Well, I spent quite a bit of time doing that, so I'll just say that I did get a DX QSO this evening that didn't involve anything near a high latitude path. That was TE8DX on 30M who had a pileup it took several minutes to break. -30-

Thu Jun 08 2017 8:38PM - Roscoe's vet appointment was postponed till next week, but I still had a very busy day. I can't even remember all the things I did. It was a nice day so walks and shopping trips were definitely a part of the day. I also watered, fed, and weeded my garden, what there is of it so far, anyway. Things are still not growing all that well for whatever reason. I'm not doing anything different from previous years.

I also spent some time at the Ol' Station Marketplace looking for bargains. I bought a pair of channel lock pliers, 4 hidden object game CDs, and a neat little gadget that acts like a good miter box, but is very small and works with most saws to make perfect 90 degree, 45 degree, and other in between angle cuts in most any size piece of wood.

I did some work on my neighbor's computer installing some videos for him. Then of course I had my usual daily walks with Roscoe.

This evening the bands weren't as good as last night. XE1RK was his usual strong self, but having just worked him a few days ago, I went looking for someone else. SV2DSJ was strong at times, but at other times went down to my noise level. I tried him a few times but lost out to other stronger stations each time. I called CQ for a while on 30, but only got one station who sent something I couldn't understand, and another one who sent only AGN. Neither came back to my QRZ? Strange. Finally I did manage to find and work Jose KP4JFR very easily on 30 to free up the rest of my day not having to look for the DX streak QSO. -30-

Wed Jun 07 2017 9:05PM - I did something this evening I don't like to do. I worked the same DX station on the same band as last night - LY5W on 20. The only difference was that tonight's QSO was a bit easier than last night. I did it because I have a busy day tomorrow helping take Roscoe to the vet and a couple other things as well. So I didn't take any chance with the DX QSO. I probably could have though as after I worked him, I heard maybe a half dozen other DX stations. I didn't seriously try any of them though. Just a call or two and if they didn't hear me or worked other stations, I moved on. I got a couple more QSOs on 30 from my CQs there which makes 9 on 30 so far this month towards another NAQCC 30-30 award.

Other than that the bands were interesting - almost a throwback to the days of more sunspots. 20 was open both for DX and short skip. W1AW was booming in on 17 where I was also hearing a Panamanian beacon station. With the strong W1AW signal, I suspected some kind of sporadic E so I checked 6 meters and heard a S6-7 signal from K7CW in GS CN80. I didn't have my GS map handy and I'm not overly familiar with GS locations. I think CN80 might be a west coast location. Let me see if I'm right. Well, K7CW is listed as being in WA, but the GS is CN87, not CN80. Maybe he's portable down in CA where CN80 is located. -30-

Tue Jun 06 2017 8:48PM - Another day, another doll......DX QSO. It's interesting that my DX QSO has come from Europe on 3 of the 7 days so far this month. The sun on its journey north (figuratively) has activated the northerly path to Europe past the 0000Z hour now. Even with the declining solar activity. Tonight it was pretty deep into Europe - Sam LY5W from Lithuania. Took a couple repeats to get him, but day 1,560 is in the books now.

Still cool in the early part of June here. If May itself hadn't been on the chilly side, there might be thoughts of June being colder than May in this crazy roller coaster ride the temperature has taken so far in 2017. The high today was only 67.

I'm going to take a stab in the dark here. Have any of you reading this ever seen the FOBB results from last year. I can not find them anywhere on the ARS site nor with a Bing Internet search. I'd love to know how our NAQCC effort with N3AQC made out. Emails to Rich of the ARS go unanswered. So don't bother suggesting that. It seems poor practice to run a contest and then not make the results readily available. A sharp contrast to how we handle our sprint results for the NAQCC. -30-

Mon Jun 05 2017 8:48PM - It was rough but interesting getting my DX this evening. Doing so encouraged me a bit to realize that with patience it is still not all that hard keeping the DX streak going. The key is patience. I tried several weak DX stations this evening without getting so much as a ? from any of them. I kept at it though since meanwhile I worked W4KEP for the big regular streak. I was getting to the point of giving up for the evening and waiting till morning. I hate to do that though, especially with the great summer weather kicking in now with a lot of available time for outdoor activities. So I kept going and found one more weak (S6) station in HK4CZE whom I have worked before. Three calls to him yielded nothing. I thought to myself once more and if no response, that's it for this evening. Well fortune smiled on me and he came right back with my call and we had a short QSO. Patience, patience, patience. Oh and it helps to have a KX3/PX3 combination also. Without the aid of the panadapter, I think the DX streak would have ended long ago because of not enough patience to slowly tune the bands just listening for DX.

Just a closing note. In sharp contrast, last evening right at 0000Z HA3NU was just about burning out my S meter on 20M and I worked Lacy very easily with one call and a repeat. We've worked several times on several bands. Tonight there was nothing even close to being that strong from EU. An S4-5 HB9 on 20 was about the best EU signal.

Now off to get the weather reading to extend an even much longer streak dating back to 1959/60 (with some help from my family in this case). -30-

Sun Jun 04 2017 7:06PM - When you get to be 72, somehow the memory chips in the brain don't work as good as they used to. So before I forget some details, I'm going to write about our hamfest experiences right now.

Although as I mentioned, we weren't able to set up a NAQCC table as we would have liked, but it was still a great time. Mike KC2EGL arrived here around 8AM, and we kibbitzed around for about 25 minutes or so, then headed to Butler. It takes about 35 minutes or so to get there. As soon as we arrived, we ran into Tom WB3FAE who was busy filling out some raffle tickets. The three of us then set off to find the Skyview table where we were to rendezvous with othe NAQCC WPA Chapter members. Of course Bob WC3O was there with Skyview. He graciously let us sort of share the Skyview table as a point of contact with our other chapter members.

Here's a picture of some of our chapter members who were there. A couple others left before the picture was taken.
L-R that's Bob WC3O, John K3WWP, Jon AB3RU, Mike KC2EGL, Drew W3FFZ, and Tom WB3FAE. Also attending, but not in the picture were Kevin KC3RN and Don K3RLL. Other NAQCC members we ran into were Bruce AA3LX, Bob W3BBO, Mike WA8SAN, Tom W3TLN. It was also nice to meet Don's friend Shelley KA4YAK for the first time. Yes, that's a vanity call - she is into kayaking. I hope I didn't leave anyone out. If I did, and you're reading this, give me an email shout.

We also ran into Art WA3BKD from the Requin, and he had some disappointing info for us. Our chapter subpedition to the Requin will have to be postponed one week from June 11 to June 18 since he won't be available at the sub on the 11th.

We also are planning for a parkpedition to Moraine State Park on July 1. More on that later. Also Mike got together with some hamfest officials and got things straightened out about our NAQCC presence at the hamfest. The officials said they never received the emails from us about setting up a table there. They, along with Mike, have taken steps to be sure we will be represented for the 2018 hamfest next June.

In wandering around the hamfest, our little group came across some nice exhibits and bought a couple items here and there. Tom (FAE) got some line for supporting his antennas, and I got a few 2032 batteries for a quarter each for some small items like my pedometer. Sure beats paying 3-4 dollars for them at the stores.

By far the best exhibit was a 1930s fully functional station set up by local ham NO3M. He made a few QSOs with it. Here's what it looked like.


Unfortunately I don't have the info on the rigs here, but a Bing search for "NO3M" will turn up his web site with a lot of pictures and info.

Around 1PM we decided to break up and head for home. Or in the case of Mike and me..... I'm sure you know what's coming...., we headed for Ponderosa and their buffet. I think Mike had 3 or 4 platefuls and I had 4 or 5. I wasn't really stuffed though. Still felt comfortable. After that, it was back home here to check the bands for DX. There wasn't any to speak of, so it was off to the computer for hidden object games. Then all too soon, Mike had to head home since tomorrow is another workday. -30-

Sat Jun 03 2017 8:44PM - I almost got my DX QSO at exactly 0000:00Z. KP4JRS ended his 30M CQ at 2359:59Z and I called him, but my antenna was set to my 20M dipole and he only got the P. I switched to the 30M random wire, sent my call again and another day in the streak is in the books.

30M was very good this evening with a lot of signals, so I thought with the DX taken care of, I'd just try some CQs and go for some letters in the NAQCC June challenge. I did get two QSOs, with K9DP, then KB6NU. So I now have almost half the required letters for the challenge. I've also decided with 5 30M QSOs so far this month already that I'll go for the NAQCC 30-30 award again. If you're not familiar with the NAQCC (it's free membership, so you should join if you like QRP/CW), the 30-30 awards is making 30 QSOs in a month on 30M.

It was a very nice day today - sunny with a high of 80. So I was outside quite a bit. Early this morning, I helped Ange get his garden planting started. We put in a couple Zucchini plants and 6 poles of beans with a dozen seeds per each pole. Later on, I watered my garden. Even with the plants outside now, they are still a bit slow to grow, except for my bush beans. They really took off from seeds and are about 3-4 inches tall after just a couple weeks or so.

So tomorrow's the Breezeshooters hamfest. Mike and I hope to leave here around 8:30A, get there about 9AM, and meet with other NAQCC members around 9:30A. The weather looks pretty good with only a very slight chance of showers before Noon or 1P. We'll miss not having our NAQCC table this year, but we hope to have fun anyway. -30-

Fri Jun 02 2017 8:50PM - It looked for a long while today like June 2 was going to be a DXless day, and I was planning on writing an obituary to the DX streak. However the tide turned when I found Ralph XE1RK calling CQ on 20 and we had a six minute chat to extend the DX streak another day. Ralph runs a KW to a seven element beam so when he points that big thing towards me, my meager QRP effectively acts something like 100 watts to him. I don't know how much gain a seven element beam has, but I know that 13 dB of gain does make 5 watts seem like 100 watts. Even with the KW and beam though, he was only about S7 on average with some S8 peaks and some dips almost down to S5. Overall conditions are definitely slipping away as we head toward the sunspot minimum.

On the other hand, this evening provided a good fairly quick QSO from Europe on 30 meters thanks to Andy HB9CVQ. He was about 579 and gave me a 449 report. So that's 1,556 straight days of DX now. I'm glad I got Saturday so easily as I have a few things going tomorrow morning and afternoon that may take a while.

Hopefully tomorrow evening will provide another quick DX QSO since Sunday morning and afternoon will also be busy with the Breezeshooters Hamfest. -30-

Thu Jun 01 2017 9:05PM - I don't know if you've run into this or not, but I have. There are some stations whom I just can not work, even if they are seemingly strong enough to work. Two such stations are two of the meager number of DX stations I heard this evening. I didn't even bother calling them. Then there were two others who were very popular and I kept losing out to the QRO stations calling them. So the bottom line is I will have to spend time on the bands in the morning or afternoon if I want the DX streak to be extended, and I do.

It is getting a little more frustrating at times though. But then it is more of a challenge also, not to mention more satisfying when I do master the struggle and get the DX.

I'm looking forward to Sunday and the Butler hamfest. Although we won't have a NAQCC table this year, I'm sure we'll run into a lot of NAQCC members there. Who knows, maybe I'll even find something to buy there this year. I usually don't because I'm busy with the NAQCC table and when I do get to roam around, I spend the time visiting with hams I know.

The average May maximum did wind up warmer than the April average when I got my 'official' data into the Excel weather spreadsheet last night. It was just about the same as the AcuRite averages I mentioned in last night's diary entry.

Oh, it was nice to work Rick AA4W on 30 this evening. Rick was one of our early officers in the NAQCC. If memory serves (and it's becoming a poorer servant as I age), Rick took care of our membership certificates. Rick also just signed my guestbook. I haven't seen what he said yet. I'll get to that when I close my page updates here. -30-

the busy day was also an enjoyable one. -30-

Wed May 31 2017 8:30PM - Here we go with a new month (UTC). June came in great for the DX streak. A single call a few seconds past 0000Z to XE1XR was all it took. Earlier today I worked HD2RRC/4 for an insurance QSO after last evening's somewhat questionable QSL. Also I thik HD4 may be a new prefix. I haven't worked too many of them lately. After working 2,863 overall and 8,258 band-prefixes, it tends to become a little hard to find new ones to work except for some special calls.

I put in a good effort today to get all my end of the month chores done. Only a couple things left now like a trip to the bank in the morning for one. I also have to put May's weather data in my Weather Excel spreadsheet. I'm not sure if we made the thing I talked about a few days ago - the average high temperature for May being colder than that of April. We have had highs in the 70s and even hit 80 a couple times during the past few days now. That may push May past April. Let me take a quick check of my AcuRite remote data. According to that, May wins out over April now - 71.2 to 70.4. That's usually very close to my shelter thermometer readings. So it looks like 1967 will remain the only year in my records where the May high was lower than April.

Now I'm going to do one more EOM/FOM thing and get my worksheet ready for the June NAQCC Challenge. Then I'll see where the E and R from XE1XR fit in.

Hope you all have a great month. If you happen to be in Western PA on this Sunday, we'll be at the Breezeshooters Hamfest in Butler. It would be nice to see you there. -30-

Tue May 30 2017 8:48PM - Many years ago when I was seriously DXing the AM BCB, it seemed that the best conditions for DX happened after the ionosphere had been quiet for a few days in a row. In other words there seemed to have to be a cumulative effect, not just one single day. I'm thinking it's the same way as we slip into this upcoming sunspot minimum. Working DX just hasn't stopped or become hard suddenly, but it seems to be a suttle gradual process. I'm finding that it does seem to be a little harder each day as we keep getting more and more days in a row with low sunspot numbers. Just a personal observation. I make no pretense of being an expert on the ionosphere and sunspots by any means.

It was a nice day today except for a couple showers around 1PM, so I went ahead and finally planted out my stunted Siberian tomato plants. Let's see if they do any better outside than they have been doing indoors so far. In other years they would give me green tomatoes indoors by April and ripe ones just about this time - the end of May. This year not even any flowers yet. So now I have all my garden plants started in the backyard garden.

I got my report (card?) from CQ for my last year's CQWW DX contest this morning. I only made 76 QSOs, but I was happy to see there was not a single error or I got a 100%. HI.

I had a somewhat questionable DX QSO this evening with CO5FR. He got my call correct and I copied all his info, but then we has some trouble on the next round. I think I'll try for an insurance QSO in the morning or afternoon just in case.

My DX QSO for the 30th came late last night from a somewhat rare Argentina QSO on 40M. I only have about a dozen Argentinas on 40 and the last one was back in 1999. -30-

Mon May 29 2017 9:02PM - It was a good Memorial Day here despite some difficulty in keeping my DX streak alive. I did my weekly laundry last night instead of today to give me more free time for other things. I walked Roscoe earlier this morning so I wouldn't be rushed in getting to the parade. Like I would be anyway since it goes by a spot just a block from my home. I happened to time it this year and it was just 27 minutes long. Very nice as usual. I'm very glad the town decided to revise the parade several years ago in part due to some urging from my friend Tom WY3H. I've enjoyed it every year since.

I didn't get a chance to go to the ceremony in the park after the parade though, as I had an invitation to go to a cookout which was happening not long after the parade ended. That was very enjoyable also. Just three of us friends got together for some burgers, dogs, potato salad, and beans.

Actually it was in between the parade and cookout that I managed to snag a DX QSO thanks to AD8J/HR9 who was virtually the only DX I heard in the morning. And it looks like I'll have to do the same again tomorrow morning as there was virtually no workable DX heard this evening. I did hear TN5E (If I remember the number was a 5, pehaps not), but he had a huge wide pileup on 40 meters so I never even tried. I think I came close to getting HD2RRC/4 on 30 as I got a K3J?, then a K3? and a P? from him before he gave up on me. He seemed to be asking for repeats from just about everyone he was working. Either he had a big pileup that I wasn't hearing or perhaps some strong QRN down there. -30-

Sun May 28 2017 8:53PM - Well, the big streak lives, but the DX will have to wait till morning or afternoon. I tried a couple DX stations this evening with no luck. There was very little in the way of DX or even domestic activity. There was one big DX pileup around 7025 which probably had more stations in it than were on the rest of 40, 30, and 20. Hopefully I can get a DX QSO before our Memorial Day Parade at 10AM local time as after that I'm going to a cookout. So it may be touch and go. Time will tell.

Almost time now to get my weather info. We had a really heavy shower about an hour ago. It will be interesting to see how much rain it put down. -30-

Sat May 27 2017 9:06PM - I never did get on the bands today to check conditions. Hope I didn't miss anything good in the contest. I worked V31PS this evening for my DX streak QSO. Then instead of continuing in the contest, I went to 30 and had a rag chew with K5FA. I'm just having trouble getting interested in contesting anymore for whatever reason. I guess maybe old age. HI. I still look forward to our NAQCC sprints and the ARRL and CQWW big DX tests in February and November.

I'm stuffed right now. I just finished off a pizza with my neighbor. That makes three pizzas in 4 days now. I think I'll pretty much fast all day tomorrow if I can. I did at least only eat a little bit besides the pizza today and I walked.... let's see....11.31 miles so far. So I'm working on keeping the weight in check despite all the pizzas.

OK, enough rambling for now. -30-

Fri May 26 2017 8:07PM - Of course, the WPX contest provided me a quick DX contact. It was WP3C on 15 meters. The first 15M QSO I've had in a while now. It's "amazing" how big contests can bring "dead" bands to life, isn't it?

I'm not really in a contesting mood right now, but I may check the bands during the day tomorrow to see if I can find any interesting DX to work. I have worked some new overall countries or new band countries in the past in this contest. As far as going for score, I doubt I'll do that.

The solar numbers look good right now. The SF is 80 which is a bit high for this stage in the sunspot cycle so it may be a good weekend for contesting. So I really should check things out at least for a while. -30-

Thu May 25 2017 8:35PM - A quick DX QSO with 8P5A on 20M. He's probably tuning up for the WPX contest this weekend. I work him in many contests. After that a nice chat with one of our NAQCC members down in FL on 30M - Al N4OW, who coincidentally I work in contests also. Actually in our NAQCC sprints to be exact.

We're setting up for something very unusual, maybe unique in a way. We may wind up with our May here being colder than April unless the last few days in May turn out to be somewhat warmer than the first 24 or 25 have been. Actually again to be exact here, the May daily maximum average may be colder than April, not the daily minimum nor the daily mean. Let me just give the figures for April's 30 days vs. May's 25 so far.

Month - Min - Max - Mean
April - 45.2 - 70.4 - 57.8
May - 49.0 - 69.7 - 59.3

Those are my AcuRite remote readings. The "official" thermometer in my shelter will be slightly different one way or the other. It will be interesting to see what happens when May is over.

I've got a few minutes here now. I'm going to check to see if that situation has happened before in my records going back to 1959.

Actually it did happen once before. Never with the Minimum or Mean, but in 1967 May's Maximum was 64.8 and that of April 65.1. A 0.3 degree difference. As Spock would say 'fascinating'. -30-

Wed May 24 2017 9:45PM - Mike dropped by for our regular 4th Wednesday evening get together and pizza party. After we ate, it was off to the shack. Just before he came I got HD2RRC again for another day in the DX streak. This time on 20 meters, whereas last night it was 30 meters.

Mike worked UR5WA on 40, HD2RRC on 30, and XE2B on 20. Other than that, not really much to talk about today.

I did plant out my pepper plants this afternoon, and now only have the stunted Siberian tomato plants left to go outside. I'll still give them about another week to see if they are going to grow, and then put them out one way or other anyway. -30-

Tue May 23 2017 6:37PM - OK, here are the promised pictures from our Sunday parkpedition. I think my Jackite pole and mount are camera shy. I have yet to get a really good picture of them out in the field. About the best are in the .pdf article linked into last night's diary entry. I took a couple on Sunday, but when I got home they weren't in my camera for some reason.

Anyway first here is one of the newest members of our little NAQCC WPA Chapter, Jody K3JZD at his setup.
Jody K3JZD
Next is Mike KC2EGL, followed by me.
John K3WWP
To close out, another not too good picture of my Jackite pole, mount and antenna. I inserted some red dots to make it easier to trace out the pole and inverted vee antenna. The Jackite is the black pole, not the lighter park light pole in the background.
Jackite pole mount antenna


Mon May 22 2017 5:23PM - A simple entry today. Just a link to my Jackite pole mount article. It's a plain vanilla .pdf file with no navigation menus on it. Then tomorrow I'll have the promised pictures from our Sunday parkpedition.

Click here for the article. -30-

Sun May 21 2017 8:40PM - I say this every time it happens because it's true every time. When Mike visits, it's a great day. It was touch and go with our planned parkpedition and we didn't really decide on going until about a half hour before the fact. So we didn't get a chance to get out any advance publicity, just a quick note on our NAQCC email list just before we left for the park.

Also because of the late decision, Jody K3JZD didn't get our email to him about our change of locations in the park, so we and he wound up setting up in different sections of the park. After a while we did get together and he joined in our fun for the last hour or so. The three of us made a total of 19 QSOs in maybe a dozen states or so from a couple hours of operating before the rains finally came.

I was very pleased with my homebrew Jackite mount. The other day Tom helped me set it up. Today I wanted to do it completely by myself and did so with no problems at all. That included taking it down at the end of the session.

I'll have some more comments and pictures in tomorrow's diary entry.

After we tore down and came home, it was off to Wendy's for some burgers and fries. Unfortunately Jody had to leave for his home after we left the park, so he couldn't join us. Back home again and Mike and I put my station back together and chased some DX without any luck. We heard some, but it wasn't very strong and they didn't hear us call at all.

Mike likes my mount and wants to build one as one of our projects. He's off for a week or so around the 4th of July so we will probably do it then. We checked through my wood and parts piles to see what he would have to get. Actually I have most of the parts and he only needs to get a couple minor things.

After that we did a little email testing. His phone was giving him problems with email notifications. We never did really solve that. I suggested he give up on that for now and relax with some hidden object computer games which he did before heading for home. He left just about 0000Z, so I headed for the shack and was surprised to hear Europe pretty strong yet on 20 meters. They were very popular and I couldn't get my call in edgewise, so I went to 30 and worked NP4AW for my DX streak QSO. -30-

Sat May 20 2017 8:10PM - I've been agonizing over the weather forecast for tomorrow just about all day today. I think we'll err on the side of caution and postpone our planned parkpedition. As I said though, Mike will be visiting, and perhaps we will put N3AQC on the air from my shack for a while. It will be a last minute decision in the morning. We will post any activity on the NAQCC email list, so if you're a NAQCC member, watch for that. If you're not a member, why not. It's totally free.

I worked some more on my Jackite pole mount article and am just about ready to publish it via a link here in the diary and/or in the June NAQCC (or later) newsletter. I also sum up the jumper inverted V dipole in the article.

Also today, I did some more garden planting, putting in some bush bean and pea seeds. I now have those plus 6 Early Girl tomato plants and some Speckled Butter Bean seeds planted. I'm still waiting to see if my indoor started Siberian Tomatos and Peppers are going to get bigger before putting them out.

DX came quickly again this evening from Oscar LU1XS on 20 meters. It took only two calls to get him. -30-

Fri May 19 2017 8:18PM - Is there anything better in ham radio than owning and using an Elecraft KX3 with the companion PX3? In my opinion, no. It's the rig that renews itself every so often. By that I mean the periodic firmware updates that either correct a tiny bug (very seldom, because the rig has always been pretty much bug free from day 1) or adds some new features (quite often). I am really excited about one particular feature in the latest update. There are now two independent ATU Data sets. One can be used at home and the other for portable operation. That way when you come home from that portable operation, you no longer have to reset all the ATU Data. You just use the menu to switch from Data Set 2 (portable) back to Data Set 1 (home). That is just so great, I think.

I sometimes forget to check the firmware updates for a while, since I don't have a computer connected in the shack all the time. This latest one was from April 27, so that wasn't too bad - only about 23 days.

I was planning to finish off my Jackite mount story today, but my camera batteries were dead, as were their replacements. So I'm putting that off a couple more days.

The weather is looking worse and worse for Sunday and I think our parkpedition is in danger of having to be postponed. Mike is still coming down, so maybe we can do a bit of a homepedition instead. HI That is putting N3AQC on the air from my home shack here. If not that, I'm sure we'll get into something or other as we always do when he visits.

A quick DX QSO this evening from TI5/N3KS which allowed me time to get the firmware update done this evening.

It was a different story earlier today trying to get the May 19 DX. I checked not long after I got up a little past 1200Z and found absolutely nothing on 30, 20, or 17, really tho only viable bands for DX at that time. After that I checked every half hour or so and still found almost nothing. I did hear DJ3AS on 20 about S5-6, but he wasn't hearing me at all. Finally just past 1500Z as I was heating some Ramen noodles in the microwave, it dawned on me that I hadn't checked for a while, so up to the shack I flew. There were more signals on the PX3 now, and one turned out to be OF5Z at S7 on 20M. I called once with no response, so I repeated my call. I heard him sending something in the background as I was calling. I thought he was working someone else, so I waited, and he came back with K3WWP 599. So we were doubling and I actually got him with a single call. I think these little strange things make the streak more interesting. -30-

Thu May 18 2017 9:13PM - I think maybe the jinx I talked about a couple entries ago may be setting in. I just couldn't work any DX this evening and will probably have to wait till morning or afternoon now, if I work any at all. Even stations I usually work easily weren't hearing me this evening.

At least the main streak worked out. I had QSOs with KC4KNN and N1JI on 40 meters. Both good rag chews.

In glancing back through my log, I see it has been since April 17, just over a month since I haven't gotten my streak QSOs in the 00 or 01 hours. In fact I don't have any QSOs during that period outside those hours except working PV8ADI during our Jackite mount test yesterday afternoon. So I guess I'll get a chance to see what the bands are like in the morning tomorrow.

Not much else to say about today. The weather was good with a high of 88, moderate humidity, and some breezes. -30-

Wed May 17 2017 8:04PM - Yes, a quick DX QSO this evening at 0001Z. But I won't go into that as I want to tell about the day Tom WB3FAE and I had.

As I said the past couple days, we were going to the park to check out my Jackite pole mount. It passed all the checks with flying colors. It was very easy to set up, and it performed well even in some moderate winds. So now that I'm happy with it, I'm going to publish more info about it here in the diary. My camera balked on me today, but Tom took several pictures and will be sending them to me.

The weather was surprisingly nice considering it was 90 degrees and a bit on the humid side. A breeze up on the hill at the park made it comfortable. Tom had his antenna analyzer with him and before we went to the park, we checked out my home antennas. Not surprisingly, except for 20 meters the SWR was not all that good on any of the bands. However we figured that with some 90+ thousand QSOs to their credit, there wasn't much use making any changes to them. You know the saying, if it ain't broke, etc.

After we set up in the park we also checked my portable antenna. It was pretty much right on for 20 and 30 meters, but the SWR on 40 was a bit high in the 2-3 to 1 range. It resonated at 1:1 a little lower in frequency so it needs a couple inches taken off the end of the 40 meters section. I might do that before the Sunday parkpedition.

I just want to reiterate how pleased I am with my mount. Although Tom did help with setting it up, it can be done very easily by just one person. We did only make one QSO - with Brazil - PV8ADI on 20 meters. Although signals were strong, there was a lot of QSB, and the other DX we tried calling all seemed to be very popular with a lot of answers, and we didn't have all that much time to really persist to get them.

So everything went very well. Almost that is. When we were closing up shop and tearing down the installation, we noticed that the gate to the section of the park we had driven into had been closed, and yes you guessed it, locked. Tom went to see if there was any other way out, but there wasn't. A softball coach and a couple players were practicing, and they gave Tom a non-emergency police number to call to see if someone would come and unlock the gate. One policeman did come, but he didn't have the right key, so we had to wait till someone else came with the right key. To make the story shorter, we did get out after 20 minutes or so. -30-

Tue May 16 2017 8:23PM - It's becoming more and more interesting keeping my DX streak going as we slip down towards the upcoming solar minimum. There have been quite a few evenings lately when the bands provided a European QSO, including tonight when I worked IG9/S59A on 20 meters. I called once and he worked someone else. When they finished, I called once more and got him easily. I do work into Italy fairly easily most times. Now even with the solar flux in the upper 60s and low 70s, it's not that hard. He was only about 55 or 569 here, yet my QRP made it through. Of course S59A is a very good op, so that helps too. Each day though, I get a little more confident that I might just make it through the minimum with the DX streak. That is, if saying that now doen't jinx it. HI.

Tomorrow's the day for my Jackite pole mount test in the Community Park. It's going to be a hot day with a high around 90. It was 82 today, and I sort of got myself prepared for tomorrow by taking a couple pretty long walks in the heat and somewhat high humidity this afternoon. As I get older the heat gets to me a bit more. Used to be it couldn't get too hot for me. Then as time went by, I'd find the first hot day of summer would bother me, but after that I was again adapted to it for the rest of the season. Now, it takes a few hot days to adapt, and I suppose that will get worse as I get older.

As I mentioned, it won't be a true parkpedition tomorrow, but time permitting and if we get our testing done, we will try to make some QSOs. No definite times, but if you want to try to work us, check 7041, 10117, and 14061 sometime after 1900Z or so. We might just use our own calls, K3WWP and WB3FAE or perhaps N3AQC. Everything's kind of up in the air right now. We will be more definite about the Sunday true parkpedition if we don't get rained out. I'll list the sked here in the diary and also on our NAQCC email list.

I had a very busy day again today. It's primary election day in PA, so I went and voted. After that Bruce ran me up to Walmart to pick up some needed things. Back home again to get a couple NAQCC prizes ready to mail. Then off to the Post Office. Some pulling of grass from the brick sidewalk was fun. I always have enjoyed doing that since I was a kid. It's nice to see the transformation from a grass filled walk to a nice cleaned off one. About it for the day, but then I thought I'd get my second half of the month bills taken care of also, so I did. Of course the day also included the Roscoe walks, three so far and one yet to come. I really enjoy that also. So

Mon May 15 2017 8:50PM - My regular streak QSO this evening came from my friend Bob K2YGM on 40 meters. We had a nice almost 30 minute rag chew about gardens, my Jackite mount, and some other things. He asked me why I use the 0000Z hour for my DX QSOs if I can. Other diary readers may wonder the same thing so I'll repeat my answer to Bob here.

First of all, that way if I do get the DX in that hour, more or less the pressure is off for another 24 hours to keep the streak going. If I don't make it then, I have the morning hours 13-16Z or so during which time 20 is generally good to Europe. Basically that's it except to add I do like to do a lot of other things in those morning hours like walking Roscoe just to mention one so if I can get the DX in the evening, the morning will be free for those activities.

I'm looking forward to checking out my Jackite mount in the park with WB3FAE on Wednesday afternoon. The the parkpedition on Sunday. After that I have an article written about the mount which I hope to publish here in the diary. Bob said he'd be interested in seeing it. Maybe others will also.

To close now before the weather readings, I'll just say this was a 0000Z DX hour tonite. A couple minutes after signing with Bob, I worked OE3DIA on 40 easily after he went through 3 or 4 other stations before me. -30-

Sun May 14 2017 8:04PM - DX QSO KP2M at 0001Z on 20M. Quick and to the point which was good because now I can get to closing out the cross-checking of our NAQCC sprint logs - all 124 of them. That's down from last month's 217, but still respectable and fortunately a lot more than some 2 hour weekday sprints get. Thanks to a great bunch of members.

A lot to look forward in the coming week. If you can look forward to laundry, that is, for tomorrow. On Tuesday, it's primary election day. Wednesday Tom WB3FAE will be visiting and we'll put the final tweaks to my new Jackite pole, homebrew mount, and rewired jumper dipole. Also one day this week a trip to get some tomato plants and a couple other things at Walmart. Then next Sunday our parkpedition to give a real test to the antenna, pole, and mount.

OK, just got the word that Corey closed out our sprint page, so I'm going to work now. -30-

Sat May 13 2017 8:55PM - It was very nice to hear a bunch of Asiatic Russians in the CQM contest in the 00Z hour. None were very strong and the best I got from one was 3?, but it was still nice to hear them even with the SF as low as it is now. Maybe I'll be able to work some when the Sun gets still higher in latitude in the next month or so.

I did work an Italian in the contest - I2VXJ on 40 for my streak QSO. Then I had a nice 2X QRP QSO on 30 with W4MA with whom I exchanged FISTS numbers. We both had numbers in the 2,000s so we joined rather close sometime in the mid 1990s.

The May weather is finally starting to feel like May and it will gradually get better through Wednesday when the high is predicted to be near 90. That will sure feel good. Speaking of weather, it's time to get my daily 9PM readings now, so 73. -30-

Fri May 12 2017 8:19PM - It's a very long stretch in a couple meanings of the phrase, but I'm just wondering if the one or two dozen fairly regular DX stations I seem to hear all the time will help to keep the DX streak going into and perhaps through the sunspot minimum. I'm talking about stations like ON4UN, CO8LY, V44KAI, XE1XR, XE1RK, S57V, OM3SEM, oh and I could go on, but these and other stations have good setups and good skill to copy my minimal QRP signals. I do hate to work the same stations over and over again as it diminishes the streak somewhat, I think. However, having gone this far now (1,535 days) I would hate to have it come to an end, and then suddenly find that conditions are improving once again. So I probably will do whatever it takes to continue the streak.

I spent a lot of time today working on the preliminary steps of cross-checking our sprint logs from Wednesday evening. It was another good turnout with around 120 logs so far. Way short of last month's 217 when we celebrated our 150th NAQCC sprint and gave away a nice prize in a random drawing of all who participated and sent in their log. As is true of just about each and every one of our sprints, reading the soapbox comments and looking at results indicate that conditions seem to vary widely around the country. I've been blessed here with very good conditions the past couple months allowing me to make 64 and 51 QSOs respectively. Others who usually have big scores have been a bit down the same two months.

Another annual rite has been going on the past couple days as Ange "resurrects" his fig trees that have been buried in the ground during the winter. I helped him a bit today get the last couple up, but as I get older I cut back on the strenuous part of the work involved.

As for my garden, it looks like a dismal year. My tomatoes and peppers are still just not growing. The look pretty healthy, but are just not getting bigger. They seem to have been stalled for the past month or so now. The beans I planted outside a week or two ago, on the other hand seem to be doing pretty well. About half have sprouted so far and are growing. I think I'll have to buy a couple extra tomato plants this year. I usually get a couple Rutgers or Early Girl ones to supplement my Siberian ones I start myself indoors, but looks like this year I'll have to rely on store bought ones for the most part. -30-

Thu May 11 2017 8:08PM - A quick DX QSO from S57V on 30M, hence the early time stamp on this diary entry.

Mike was here a good part of the day which means right there it was a good day. We discussed plans for our summer NAQCC WPA Chapter activities which took a while. I showed him what is virtually the final version of my Jackite antenna pole mount. It won't be long till we will be using it in the park on Sunday May 21. Then I'll know if any final tweaks or adjustments need to be made.

Next we went to the Post Office to mail a couple things and stopped on the way home to get a pizza from Vocelli. It really hit the spot. It had mushrooms, tomatoes, and green peppers as toppings.

After we polished that off at home we went over to the Ol' Station Marketplace since it was their open day of the week - Thursday. We looked around quite a while, but the only thing I got was a mini-hacksaw. I'm gathering a pretty good tool collection from there at very cheap prices. Some of the tools need a little adjusting and cleaning, but I like doing that especially when so much money is saved. Mike didn't find anything.

Next it was a DX session in my shack. Or a lack of DX session to be accurate. There was nothing at all on 30 or 20 which would be the only likely bands at the time of day and point in the sunspot cycle. So it was to the computer and some hidden object games for quite a while.

After that, back to the shack where there was some DX now. However, we weren't being heard by the DX. Mike tried an SP and an I station with no luck, but did work CO2SG to make it at least one DX station for the day for Mike. Shortly after that he had to head home since tomorrow is a work day. -30-

Wed May 10 2017 8:03PM - Seems I'm always in a rush about something now that the nicer weather is here again. Tonight it's not weather related though. It's the monthly NAQCC sprint coming up in a few minutes. I'm not really in a sprinting mood so I might do well tonight. It seems when I really get fired up for a contest I don't do as well as when I approach it casually or am not in a contesting mood.

At least I don't have to worry about my DX contact. I worked WP3C on 30 meters at 0002Z for day # 1,533 in the streak.

Now I want to get in a walk with Roscoe and get my weather readings before I get involved in the sprint so I'll close here with 73. -30-

Tue May 09 2017 5:20PM - Just a couple adjustments and updates of my last two diary entries while I'm waiting to watch Penn State's Weather World program which airs on the Internet at 5:30PM daily.

My QSO total as of today is 92,623 of which 3,638 are away from my home base. Those figures could be off a little bit since some that were away from home were logging in my home database. I'm thinking right now particularly of the time I operated a contest from my late cousin Virginia's house. Actually the portable database is only when I used K3WWP/3, WA3IXO, N3AQC, N3A, NY3EC and perhaps a couple more. With the relaxed rules of logging, I haven't had to use K3WWP/3 when operating portable for some time now. Anyway with the figures above, it's 96.1% of my QSOs are from my home base here.

As far as number of days with a verified DX QSO in my streak, I've worked it out by years as follows:

Year - # of Days - # verified - percent
2013 305 229 75.1%
2014 365 251 68.8%
2015 365 221 60.5%
2016 366 202 55.2%
2017 120  61 50.8%
Tot 1521 964 63.4%
That's as of the end of April this year. -30-

Mon May 08 2017 7:37PM - I kind of got away from the 54 years of ham radio serial I started last month. The past couple days I got to thinking about how things have changed in those 54 years. They've changed a lot for ham radio in general, but being very conservative in everything I do and believe, things haven't really changed all that much for me personally. Let me just do some rough comparisons.

1. Of course my QTH hasn't changed at all. I still live in the same house I lived in when I was born. I never went looking for a better QTH from which to pursue my ham radio hobby. I have operated portable from a few different locations, but my base station is right here. I'd estimate about 98% of my 90,000+ QSOs have been made from right here.

2. My antennas have stayed virtually the same over the 54 year span. That is simple wire antennas of which they've been mostly indoors, on my porch roof, on the side of the house, and so forth. The highest they've ever been were the ones in the third floor (attic) of my house at perhaps 25 feet maximum.

3. My equipment has stayed pretty much the same. I'd say there were only two major changes. The first when I went from separate xmtr (all hmbw) and rcvr in 1999 to my first transceiver. Next when I added the Elecraft PX3 panadapter. Both changes made primarily to save time when I was on the bands. It took time to change bands when I used my hmbw xmtrs as it involved changing and tuning many controls. It also took time to tune across the bands looking for signals. Now with the xcvr and panadapter, much less time is wasted doing those things.

4. Some things have stayed exactly the same for 54 years. I never took up watching packet or Internet spots to find my DX, and never will. I don't use those reverse beacons or whatever they are called. I don't even know how they work and don't really care to. I've never used keyboards to send my CW, nor ever copied CW with anything but my brain. It's been strictly straight key, bug, or keyers for sending. Of course I've never used nor wanted to use anything but Morse Code.

5. Another thing that changed is the method of finding the QTH of stations I work who don't give an exact QTH on the air as in contests or other such events. Back then, it was the paper Callbook which took some time. Nowadays the Internet call sign searchers like HamCall, QRZ, WM7D make it a snap to find a QTH in a few seconds.

6. I guess this is a change also. I've become more confident that I can work DX now. It kind of intimidated me way back when, and I often got discouraged when trying to work someone. Now I'm confident that if I can hear someone, I can contact them most of the time. Also I know when I'm not likely to contact them because they are so weak or have such a huge pileup.

I just kind of ad libbed the above and didn't really sit down and plot it out. Right now it's streak time, so I'll cut it off here. If any more things come to mind, I'll note them and continue this later. -30-

Sun May 07 2017 7:24PM - What a difference a day makes. In turn what a mood swing in a day. Yesterday depressing - today exhilirating. Bright sunshine most of the day. Temperatures a bit cool, but not that bad - almost 60 for the high. I took a couple long walks around town and even Roscoe liked being out a little longer than usual.

I did some work on our NAQCC WPA Chapter activities list today. I think other than added impromptu events, we have the schedule finalized for our main activities. We had been waiting on dates for the Skeeter Hunt and the Unionville hamfest, and I found those today. Our first activity will be a parkpedition on Sunday May 21. In addition to mentioning the final times and bands here in the diary, there will be a promo go out on our NAQCC email list. You are a member of the NAQCC aren't you? And of FISTS also? You shoud be if you're not. NAQCC membership is free, and FISTS membership boils down to a couple cents per day.

I've been curious to know on how many days of my DX streak, at least one of the QSO's has been verified via card, LoTW, and/or eQSL. Of course with my Microsoft Access log and a little help from Microsoft Excel, it only took a few minutes to find out. Most of that taken up by my thinking exactly how to do it. The answer is 964 days out of 1,526 or 63.2%. Not bad. If you consider that because of the delay in QSLing, many of the recent QSOs are still awaiting verification, it's even better. For example I only have 11 of 30 days 'verified' in April so far. Maybe I'll break that down by year, but not right now.

Well, about 5 minutes till I head to the shack, so I'll wrap this up for now with a correction from yesterday's entry.

I said that Ken WA8REI had recovered fully from his first stroke, but that is not true as he emailed me today. In our QSOs following that stroke he seemed to be more upbeat each time we worked that I made an erroneous assumption without checking the facts. He still has problems from that stroke which I won't go into here to respect his privacy. -30-

Sat May 06 2017 8:35PM - A very depressing day today. Cold, overcast, and light rain off and on all day, mostly on. More like early March than early May. I think I'm getting a recurrence of cabin fever. At least I did get in a walk early this evening during a letup in the rain. I almost need a winter coat again. Our high today was 51 on my remote units, but that was at midnight. I don't think we got out of the 40s during the day.

A quick DX QSO this evening from IR2C in the ARI contest. Then I called CQ on 30 and Ken N3CU answered me. However unlike last night on 40 when he was 599, tonight he was just 339 and gave me a 449 vs. 579 on 40 last night. -30-

Fri May 05 2017 8:34PM - I just had a high, low, and high on the bands. Let me cover the low first. I got a call from Ken WA8REI. His sending didn't sound like it usually does. I thought maybe he had another stroke. Unfortunately my feeling was correct. He told me he had a second stroke in February. I can only hope and pray that he recovers as well from this one as he did from the first one a few years ago. I know many of you know Ken so I thought I would pass on this news in case you didn't already know like me. Regular diary readers will know that Ken and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of our first QSO this past August when we worked exactly to the minute 50 years later on August 25, 2016. We had also a similar 40 year anniversary QSO in 2006.

Before that shock, I had a more pleasant one. I was looking for my DX QSO and found DM1517L on 7.014 with a couple other stations working him. When he called CQ again, he answered my very first call solidly with no repeats even though I heard others calling him. He wasn't really all that strong and it honestly was a surprise getting him so easily. So the streak lives and I have a nice new prefix to add to my collection as well.

The second high was being tailended by Ken N3CU, a member of our NAQCC WPA Chapter even though he has moved back to Eastern PA now. We had a special eyeball QSO not all that long ago when he was living part time here in WPA. We found we had a lot of things in common. It was also nice having him along on a few of our chapter activities.

So it was an interesting time on the air tonight. It was an interesting weather day also. We wound up in a dry slot in the rain area here in the Eastern USA. That allowed the sun to come out and heat things up which in turn generated a line of heavy thunderstorms that trained almost over Kittanning and we really got dumped on with a lot of rain. I'll find out just how much in a few minutes. No damage from flooding, winds, or lightning fortunately. I didn't even get more than a few drops in my basement. Again fortunately I had my gutters cleaned yesterday which let all the rain on the roof course easily out the downspout into my back yard. -30-

Thu May 04 2017 10:20PM - A little late with the diary entry this evening. It's raining and I wanted to get Roscoe out in between the raindrops, then Bruce and I watched a Little Rascals short.

So I'm going to just have a short entry. I got my DX early and quicly when I worked OK4RQ on 40 meters at 0009Z. With the sunspots declining, Europe has been pretty good on 40 in the 0000Z hour. Naturally, that is midnight or later in most of Europe so activity from there is down somewhat, but if the stations are there, they can be worked pretty easily.

After that I thought I'd try to get the last three QSOs to finish the May NAQCC challenge and I did. So after I finish the web site updates here, I'm going to submit my challenge report. -30-

Wed May 03 2017 8:45PM - Nothing out of the ordinary to talk about today. It was a busy day with the usual everyday things to do. Plus I cut my grass early this afternoon. I'm trying to keep up with it this year. I usually get a little behind and then it's a bit more work. I don't need that this year as I get older.

I put what may be the finishing touch on my Jackite antenna pole mount. I made a little wooden insert to keep the pole from moving around in the mount. I think it's definitely ready for some field testing now. However looks like rainy cold weather here at least till next Wednesday, so that will have to wait. Seems like everything is going on hold this year.

A quick DX QSO this evening from Bill XE1ZW at 0001Z, so I hung around and worked on our May NAQCC challenge which is making 15 QSOs using homebrew equipment. You must work at least 2 DX countries which I've done and at least 6 states which I finished tonight. I have 11 of the 15 QSOs so far and should finish without any great effort this weekend. -30-

Tue May 02 2017 5:57PM - Let me get caught up on a couple things. First I was quite wrong about my estimate of the April temperatures. Actually instead of my out of the blue estimate of a couple degrees above normal, it turned out to be 7-8 degrees above normal in all three of the major temperature stats. Average daily low, average daily mean, average daily high all turned out not only 7-8 degrees above normal, but all three were all-time records for my readings dating back to 1959. Not only that, but several reporting stations around Pennsylvania, some dating further back than that had an all-time warm April. Now if May continues for the whole month as it has the first couple days and is predicted to do for the next week or so, we could see the extremely rare almost never heard of having April being warmer than May. I doubt very much that will happen though as it has never happened before and even if the first half is cold, I think a warmer second half of May will balance out the scale. We'll see.

We've had a couple nice looking rainbows the past couple days, and since I haven't posted any pictures in the diary lately, here goes with a couple.

rainbow 1
That's from April 27, and you can see it wasn't all that late in the day since the arc is so low in the sky. In fact the time stamp on the picture is 4:37PM.
rainbow 2
From yesterday when there was only a small portion of an arc visible. It's just about identical to one I saw a few years ago, but that one was much brighter than this one. I don't remember now if I got a picture of that one or not. That's my thermometer shelter and rain gauge in the lower left of the picture. Note the big difference in the angle of the bow. This one just about exactly two hours later in the day than the first one on the 27th.
I'm almost embarrassed to show the tomatoes picture. I could lie and say it was taken back in early February, but no, it was taken May 1. I just don't know why neither the tomatoes in the 3 containers on the left nor the peppers on the right are growing this year. In other years, I'd have pretty well developed green tomatoes by this time of year. Certainly I won't have any garden tomatoes or peppers until mid-late July this year, if even by then. -30-

Mon May 01 2017 8:39PM - Did you ever have one of those days when nothing seemed to turn out right? I had one today, but I'm not going to dwell on it except for one thing I'll get to in a bit.

Actually maybe that blanket statement isn't totally true. We had a line of storms go through Western PA this afternoon, and we had our shields up partially and really fared pretty well compared to other areas along the line. About an inch of rain here but no really high winds nor any hail, etc.

Then this evening, I worked my friend Don W2JEK for my regular streak QSO. I didn't think I'd get any DX though. However even though he wasn't all that strong I did later work DL1NKS on 40 meters whom I've worked before. So the DX streak lives.

One thing that didn't work out is our Requin subpedition. Art WA3BKD called this evening and said although the sub is ready, this Sunday was the Pittsburgh Marathon and also a Pirate game. Because of that, the sub wouldn't be open till around Noon. Art and I agreed that would not be a good situation. So we went down the Sundays on the calendar. May 14 is Mother's Day and some of our group wouldn't be able to make it that day. May 21 Art will be out of town. May 28 is Memorial Day weekend. June 4 is the Butler hamfest. So it looks like as of now, we won't be going to the Requin tentatively until June 11. Bummer, but can't be helped. -30-

Sun Apr 30 2017 8:37PM - A busy end of the month day today. I started around 4PM and just now winding down. I've got just about everything done though. I still have to make my bank run tomorrow morning, and post the April weather to my Excel spreadsheet, but that's about it.

I think April will wind up a little above normal, but not too much. Maybe a couple degrees or so. I could be wrong in my thinking though because my gas reading for April that I took today was one of the lowest in the past dozen years or so. It will be interesting to find out when I get all the figures in later. Actually today could skew the average a bit since it was almost 90 - I think it peaked at 88 actually. I'll find out in about 20 minutes for sure.

I got all my 120 April QSOs uploaded to LoTW and eQSL a little while ago. I also updated my streak totals on the main page of the web site.

I flipped all my Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Ireland, and dog calendars to May. I found one in a room I seldom use that I never did change from March to April. HI.

It was easy starting a new month of DX. Only took 6 minutes to find and work V4/W1CDC on 30 meters. I had been waiting to work HA3NU on 40 who was a solid S7 to S8, but he was very popular so I gave up on him. Then I found the V4. -30-

Sat Apr 29 2017 8:17PM - Another full month is in the books for the DX streak. I figured I could work someone in the Helvetia Contest this evening on 40 meters. For a while it didn't look like that was going to happen. I didn't even hear any stations in the contest. Since it's a world works the world contest, I figured there would be some easy to work country other than HB9 that I could easily work. I didn't think the activity would be that low. Maybe everyone was in the Florida QSO Party? HI. Anyway to shorten the story, at 0012Z I heard and worked HB9CA after a few repeats. So that'S 1,522 DX days now, 50 full months, or 4 1/6 years.

I was wondering while listening how many streak QSOs in April came in the 0000-0200Z hour. I don't recall too many days I had to wait till morning or afternoon to get some DX. Let's see.... There were only 4 days I didn't get the streak QSO in the evening, the last being the 17th. So despite the declining sunspots, DX is still available most days in the evening. I hope that continues as with the nice weather here now, there are a lot of outdoor things to do during the daylight hours.

I was out quite a bit today when it wasn't raining. Roscoe and I spent a lot of time walking, and sitting on the porch swing. Other than that, indoors I worked some more on my digital music collection. I've now shaved off almost 10 GB simply by converting the music from wma or wav to mp3. That slimming down was needed because my weekly backups of all my computer data have failed to go to completion a couple times lately.

I also did some nearly final tweaking to my Jackite pole mount. It's pretty much ready for testing now. Tom WB3FAE and I will be doing that sometime in early May. I plan to write a construction article with pictures either for here in the diary or for the May NAQCC newsletter. Whichever it is, I'll link to it from the other in case anyone is interested. -30-

Fri Apr 28 2017 8:41PM - Sometimes you can just throw skill out the window and let luck take over. That happened this evening. I found HP3SS on 40 working a small pileup. He was strong so I figured I could break the pileup. I tried all the standard tricks. He was listening up, so I watched the PX3 panadapter to figure out just where to call. When the pileup got a little bigger, I switched to split headphoes to better figure out who he was working and zero in on that station to call. I tried delaying sending my call a bit so maybe my WP would end up in the somewhat clear after all the other calls were sent. Well, none of those things worked not did other little tricks. So much for skill. I looked for someone else to work. RW1AI/MM was strong but didn't want to work him again. Same with V4/W1CDC. Then I heard CO7FR whom I hadn't worked before or if I have, it was long ago. Well, he didn't hear me at all. Just about the time I was going to give up and wait till morning or afternoon, I ran across HP3SS again, punched SPLIT, gave a call at wherever VFO B was set earlier. Enter lady luck. HP3SS got my first call out of the pileup and I had my DX QSO. Ham radio can be strange at times.

Otherwise it was a nice day. Pretty much typical for late April. I did some outside cleaning up, went for a walk/shopping trip, spent some time with Roscoe, and just enjoyed the nice weather. Only a few peeks of sun, but a high of 73 with no wind made it feel very nice.

I also spent some time compacting my digital music collection. I had a lot of wma files which I batch converted to mp3 files with a program called Pazera Free WMA to MP3 Converter. It has a very neat interface and is very fast. I figure in a couple more days I'll have most of the 3,500 or so files converted. Well actually probably only 1,000 or 1,500 need converting. The rest are already MP3 files. Anyway so far I've trimmed off some 3-4 gigabytes.

This evening I called Art WA3BKD of the USS Requin. He said work on the sub was to be completed today. He'll check on Monday and if all is clear, we are going to do a subpedition on May 7th. I'll have more info when he calls back on Monday or Tuesday. I'm looking forward to some portable work. It's been a few months now since the day before Thanksgiving when we operated from the Requin. -30-

Thu Apr 27 2017 8:35PM - A somewhat busy day today. This morning, I went to get my driver's license renewed for another four years. Then Bruce and I stopped at the Ol' Station Marketplace where he got some good bargains on some lawn care equipment. I went back later and picked up a few things myself. The rest of the day was taken up with the usual things like walking Roscoe and the like.

The bands weren't so hot again tonight. Actually they were pretty good last night, and then slipped back again tonight. I did manage to work RW1AI/MM again on 30 meters. Mike and I decided as long as he is in international waters, it would be DX. The problem is, I don't know just where he is other than as I mentioned, someone said he is headed home.

It did become a moot point again as it did 5 nights ago as after trying unsuccessfully to work V4/W1CDC on 30, I did get him on 40 several minutes later for DX day 1,520.

While sitting there listening, I got to wondering on how many of those 1,520 days I have a verified DX QSO, be it via card, LoTW, or eQSL. Since I track those things, I would just have to filter my Access log to show only DX QSOs since March 1, 2013, only the ones I have verified, and then list unique days to filter out 2nd, 3rd, 4th....... veries on the same day. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow or sometime. -30-

Wed Apr 26 2017 11:25PM - As the time stamp says, it's late. Mike and I had a great time with some pizza and a birthday cake. It's his birthday. We worked some DX, checked out my Jackite pole mount for which he gave me a couple good ideas, played some hidden object games, and all of a sudden here it is after 11PM. I worked J6/K1ZZI, this time on 30 meters for the streak. Mike worked him also plus a couple other stations. Time now to get ready for bed. -30-

Tue Apr 25 2017 9:25AM - Yes, AM not PM. Nothing much planned for today so I thought I'd write the diary entry now.

I received an email from KH2SR this morning telling me about his QRP rigs that he manufactures and sells. Remember the limbo line, "How low can you go?" Well, in this case it's, "How small can you go?" Jim's rigs are billed as the World's smallest QRP transmitters. See the What's New section on my main page for more info.

Let's see where we are in my ham radio history. Looks like a listing of my rigs I used over the past 54 years is where I left off. How about a listing of my antennas over the years. I don't really have them documented as well as I did the rigs. Honestly even the rig documentation wasn't all that good or accurate, but was the best I could do and was pretty complete with a couple exceptions that just occured to me as I'm typing here. Let me mention that, then get on to the antennas.

When I operated as K3WWP/3 and then WA3IXO at my apartment in Pittsburgh, I used a small (tiny?) transistor rig using (I believe) a 3053 transmitter with my SW-500 receiver. It put out (actually had an input of) 1.5 watts. In looking at my WA3IXO Microsoft Access log, I see other power listings from 8 up to 75 watts in the 181 QSOs listed from 2/20/1967 through 3/7/1968. I can't remember what rig(s) those might have been. The 75 watts was probably my Kittanning rig I took to Pittsburgh. There are only a few QSOs listed with that power. I've got my old WA3IXO paper logs somewhere. Maybe there is some more info in them.

I got kind of sidetracked there, and think I'll postpone the antenna history till tomorrow or later. Time now to walk Roscoe. -30-

Mon Apr 24 2017 8:34PM - Another pretty quick DX QSO this evening, also on 30 like last evening. This time it was XR4S at 0006Z or 3 minutes after I got to the shack which not only helps the DX streak, but is a new prefix worked as well. After the QSO I listened around a bit and there were a few DX stations from V4 YV XE and a couple others I forget now.

It was a very nice day again today although the temperature peaked around noon in the low 70s, then dropped to the low 60s by the time evening came. I did get a chance to work outdoors. I deadheaded my tulips, or the ones that have lost their petals, about 3/4 of them. They don't last long unfortunately, but they sure look nice for the 10-12 days they do last. I also pulled some weeds and cleared some leaves from around the base of my backyard fence.

Inside I worked on my Jackite mount. I found a "U" fence or sign pole in my back yard that wasn't really holding up a section of my fence and pulled it out. I cleaned off quite a bit of rust and found it to still be good and strong. Now about all that's left is to drill a couple holes to mount it the rest of the mount. Amazingly in my junk box, I actually found matching bolts, nuts, and wing nuts. I talked about how unusual that is in a diary entry a few weeks ago. So tomorrow it should be complete and ready for some "beta" testing. Tom WB3FAE said he would help with that since he's developed several pole mounts before. Also he has an antenna analyzer with which we can perhaps trim my antennas while he's here. That will be in May sometime.

Another visitor will be Mike who is stopping by for our regular fourth Wednesday evening visit this week. Always nice to get together with good folks like Mike and Tom. -30-

Sun Apr 23 2017 9:03PM - Things worked out very well this evening. I hoped to get a quick DX QSO so I could close out everything for our NAQCC April sprint - as I put it, etch all results in stone with no further questioning of scoring changes from the cross-checking process. Close out took only about 90 minutes even with the all-time record number of logs and QSOs this month.

Anyway as soon as I turned on the rig which was set to 30 meters from last evening, I saw a good sized blip on the PX3, tuned to it and found it was PR7AR. Although Brazil is not among my easiest to work countries, I had worked PR7AR before, so I called. It took a few repeats for him to hear me well enough to get my call right, but at 0001Z I had my DX streak QSO. I QRT and finished the sprint close-out right after that.

It was a nice day today after a chilly start at 34 degrees. The temperature climbed throughout the morning and afternoon to reach 72 under sunny skies. A nice day for walking. Even Roscoe thought so. We took a couple long walks this afternoon and evening. Longer than usual for him.

I also did some work on my portable antenna. I made a new smaller lighter center connector for the inverted vee. I also got a metal post for the mount from my neighbor. It's slightly bent, but if I can straighten it out, it may be ideal. Stay tuned for more. -30-

Sat Apr 22 2017 9:07PM - A strange evening on the bands. For a while it looked like I wasn't even going to get my regular streak QSO, let alone a DX one. There just weren't any strong signals, at least none who were available for a QSO. They were chasing DX, in a rag chew or otherwise unavailable. Finally I found a CQ on 20 meters. It was KF6GC who was a good S7 but with QSB down to my noise level of S4 or so. I doubted I'd get an answer, but I called anyway and was surprised when he came right back, and he was a true 6 in California. I can't remember the last time I had a non-contest QSO with CA. Let me see if I can find out. OK, I have 2,488 QSOs with CA. Let me sort my Access log by date for those. My last overall QSO with CA was W1AW/6 in October 2016. That was some sort of special event so I'll look back further. Some more W1AW/6 QSOs in 2014 for the Centennial. OK, the last rag chew type QSO was February 5, 2014 with N1HEL in Half Moon Bay, CA. I thought it was longer ago. That was on 17 meters and going back further I see two more on 17 meters in 2013. The last one on 20 was NK6A on November 1, 2012. So of late, CA rag chews are rare here.

OK, next strange thing brought up an interesting issue. I worked RW1AI/MM on 30. Now what are the criteria for MM QSOs in my DX streak. Is it distance, nearest country, or something else that determines if a MM is DX or not. I don't know as it has never come up before. I just log them as /MM and don't really worry if it is DX or not. However for the streak, that's different.

Fortunately I don't really have to care about that now, as 8 minutes later I worked HK0/OZ1AA on 30 for a sure DX QSO. Now I just have to see what the country is. Probably San Andres Island, but could be Malpelo or I think there is a third possiblilty also. Or could just be Colombia, I guess. Let me look and see. Well, it's Providencia Is., which is San Andres as far as country goes.

So an interesting evening indeed. BTW, I also heard N4BP and ON4UN and both those powerhouse stations were not very strong this evening which speaks volumes about conditions. -30-

Fri Apr 21 2017 7:19PM - Let's look at the history of the various receivers I've used in my 54 years of ham radio. This is taken pretty much verbatim from my diary entry of April 19, 2013 with a couple corrections and additions.

Let's look back at my receivers through the 54 years as best as I can remember them. I started out with a Hallicrafters SW-500 which I believe was a Christmas present from my parents when I was an SWL before getting my ham license. 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 used Knight Kit R100 which my parents purchased for me 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 to 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 a Kenwood TS-480SAT on loan from Mike KC2EGL. After using that for a couple years I purchased my K2 and a KX1 from Mike KC2EGL on Janaury 17, 2012. I believe that is when he got his KX3. I was so taken by the KX3 I then followed suit and bought and built my own KX3 in October 2012. I added the companion PX3 panadapter a year or so later.

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-

Thu Apr 20 2017 9:03PM - A summer-like day today with a high of 80, high humidity, and some thunderstorms that dumped .93 inches of rain in a couple heavy downpours.

It did turn out to be a nice day for walking in between the storms though. I see just under 9 miles on my pedometer so far today.

This was Thursday so that means The Ol' Station Marketplace less than a block from here was open. I always love to browse through the "junk" and always manage to find something to purchase. Today I got a little triangular file that I can use to sharpen my saws. Also a box of 8-32 nuts so that now whenever I look for a matching pair, I'll be able to find one. It seems I must have a hundred such nuts, but seemingly no two were ever alike. Now that will no longer be a problem. I also bought a couple nice pillowcases as the ones I have are starting to show their age. How much did all that cost? Just $2.50 + $0.15 state sales tax for a total of $2.65. Not bad, huh?

It wasn't easy finding any workable DX for a while tonight. I called a few stations but the best I did was a question mark or a K? whether for me or someone else, I don't know. However when I did find someone workable, it took just a single call to NP2J to extend the DX streak to 1,513 days now. -30-

Wed Apr 19 2017 12:48PM - Let's get back to my ham history. I did touch on this in response to an email from Gus ON6KE a few entries ago, but let's revisit it in more detail. I'm speaking of my DX exploits in the 1960s and 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 (DX and non-DX) 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 DX days 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. I did list these a few entries ago, but they are here now by 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.

More history upcoming. -30-

Tue Apr 18 2017 8:58PM - CO8LY to the rescue. It was rough tonight. Must be stormy in the Caribbean. Both WP4L and CO6RD whom I usually work easily both had trouble with my call and we didn't complete the QSO. Both complained of bad QRN as the reason. It wasn't hard working CO8LY on 30 though. I did have to repeat my call, but the QSO was good and the DX streak goes on yet another day.

I did about a bajillion (heard that number on some woodworking video) other things today from mailing a sprint prize (not the biggie, just the regular monthly one) to answering some questions about sprint scores to taking some nice walks in the beautiful sunny mild weather to doing some more work on my Jackite mount which I'll talk a bit more about to weedeating my backyard lawn, and so on and so on.

I put the Jackite mount on a diet today and reduced the weight around 15-20 percent by dumping the 2x4 support and going with 3/4 inch plywood instead. It will be mounted to the angle iron so that will be plenty strong. I've got some other ideas to reduce the weight some more that I'll work on over the next few days.

And that wraps up a pretty busy day up to this point anyway. Still three hours till bedtime. Plenty of time to get into more mischief. -30-

Mon Apr 17 2017 7:39PM - A very busy day today with the business interspersed with hunting for a DX QSO. It looked very unlikely the DX streak was going to continue. The day started with my usual Monday morning laundry. While that was going on, a check of the band showed nothing in the way of DX. After the laundry and walking Roscoe, another check was equally unpromising. Then I continued with the log cross-checking of our NAQCC Tuesday evening sprint. A record number of entries - 217 with a total number of QSOs - 3154 slowed things down somewhat. What really dragged it out though was the high number of not-in-log QSOs - 50 of them plus other errors that led to 61 of the 217 scores needing adjustment which all takes time. Less time though since I modified my Excel cross-check program.

Somewhere along in here, I had my brunch and also had to mail off some checks to pay the bills. Another check of the bands showed them to be still pretty dismal. There were some S4 to S5 DX stations but none were hearing me at all. I think the best indication of just how poor conditions were was just how weak John ON4UN was on 20. He was at least 3 S units below his normal strength plus he had a bit of flutter on his signals. Like the others, he wasn't hearing me at all which is very unusual. I was pretty sure it was hopeless, but after I did a few other things, I went back for another check. There was a V31 fairly strong on 17 but with a lot of QSB. I called several times hoping to catch him on an upswing in strength, but no luck. Again I gave up for a while.

The 4th (5th?, 6th?) time was the charm. There's VP5/K3NK on 17 meters pretty much all alone. He's a great op and VP5 is pretty easy to work for me. However he was in and out of my S4-5 noise level. I didn't know if I could tell if he answered me or not, but I gave it a try. He faded just when he was answering me or someone else. Fortunately 54 years of copying code came to my rescue and I peaked my brain filter and could barely hear him, but I did hear K3WWP being sent clearly. I returned his RST, breathed a sigh of relief and logged another day in the streak. Now it starts all over again in exactly 6 minutes as I look at the clock. -30-

Sun Apr 16 2017 7:18PM - Hope you all had a very nice Easter. Mine was quiet but nice. I had dinner with the Bowser clan next door around 1PM.

Other than that I worked on modifying my Excel cross-checking program to make it even more efficient and time-saving. Then I did some work on my Jackite pole mount as you'll see in a moment as I present some pictures.

From L-R here are my tulips which opened up fully yesterday just in time for Easter. Every year they seem to get more beautiful. They are very old, and have been transplanted and divided around 4 times as best as I can remember. Way back when there was only one of them, or perhaps a couple in my front yard. Then I think they were moved to my back yard where they were moved twice again. The last move I more than doubled the number of them. I notice a number of them look double again so I may divide them yet again. Next is the Jackite pole mount with the collapsed black pole inserted, in its open position, then folded upright for use. Of course the chair is just there for the picture. Actually there will be an angle iron connected to it to mount in the ground. I haven't gotten that yet.

tulips mount1 mount2
The concept for the mount is good, but it's pretty heavy. I have some ideas about cutting down the weight that I may implement. I can probably replace the 2X4 with a 1X4 since it will be attached to the angle iron which will give plenty of support. Also the enclosure for the pole can probably have material cut out of the sides to open it up and make it lighter. It should still be plenty strong. Time will tell what happens to it.

Hopefully in about 25 minutes now I can get a quick DX QSO and then proceed to close out the sprint log cross-checking. -30-

Sat Apr 15 2017 9:23AM - Mike and I had a good time in our short visit last evening. After we chatted a few minutes getting caught up on our activities since the last visit, we headed to the fire hall for the fish dinner. As always it was very good. Not quite as crowded as the previous one, but we got there a little later plus there seemed to be no Internet promoing of the dinner this time. A lot of organizations stop their Friday fish dinners the Friday before Good Friday, and perhaps a lot of folks thought the same about this one and didn't show up. They did have a marquee outside the fire hall, and a couple days before, my neighbor Bruce drove out to check it for us. Since he has a bad knee and can't stand in line for buffet style dinners, I took a take-out dinner home for him.

Back here again, I showed Mike my partially build Jackite pole mount. He liked the concept and thought it would work well. If it does, we might build one for his Jackite pole as well. Then I showed him a new hidden object computer game I am playing. That passed the time until 0000Z when we headed to the shack. I almost immediately worked KP2BH on 30M. Mike checked on QRZ to be sure he was actually in the Virgin Islands, then he worked him also. Mike then worked VP5/K3NK whom I had worked the previous evening. We both worked W0N, the special event station for the 150th anniversary of Nebraska statehood March 1, 1867.

Next back to the computer where Mike played the hidden object game till the time he had to depart for home. -30-

Fri Apr 14 2017 Good Friday 3:10PM - I just posted a new poll. Thought I'd get that and some other things done early because Mike is visiting this evening. We're going to another fish dinner at the Kittanning Twp Fire Hall. This will be the last one until next year.

I left the diary abruptly last night to head to the shack. I got my DX easily after some time searching for someone to work. VP5/K3NK was the one on 40 meters.

I want to add a bit to what I said about contesting in yesterday's entry. Another thing that definitely speeds things up is logging by computer. Especially for us older folks, it definitely beats logging by pen and paper. It's much faster, and perhaps more importantly, easier to deal with after the contest is over. My writing and printing is getting constantly more and more sloppy. Since I do the log checking, I know that's a problem for other folks also. I see a lot of errors caused by similar looking letters if they are not printed/written clearly. For example a 1 and an l or capital I (that even is rough with certain fonts on the computer - that's a number one, a small L, and capital I). An N and H if that cross bar is in between a full slant and horizontal. You get the picture so I won't dwell on the several other obvious examples.

Still need to get back on track with my ham history. Maybe I'll do that next week after this busy Easter weekend. -30-

Thu Apr 13 2017 7:17PM - A little more relaxing day today. I wound up getting my DX QSO a little later last night, so I didn't have to worry about that today. At least until about 45 minutes from now when in UTC time, it's another day. I worked OE3DIA on 40 amazingly through a small pileup with only one repeat needed.

Also the stream of incoming logs from the sprint slowed down quite a bit after we got 190 logs even before 24 hours after the sprint ended. Now we are around 205 with about 200 past pre-cross-checking processing. I'm happy and a little amazed how much I have made the process very much more efficient as time and sprints went by. Using Microsoft Excel really is a wonderful way to do it with it's many helpful macros, expressions, formulas, etc. With just over 3,000 QSOs to process this month, I did have to expand things a bit, but overall doing 3,000 won't be much harder than a lesser amount. The main time-consuming thing is having to correct all the scores on the results page when cross-checking is done. I've even streamlined that part a bit so it takes less time than it used to.

Enough of that. When I was doing the sprint the other night, I was very pleased with the speed of racking up contacts. I don't really go for scores to compete against others, because I'm never going to beat Johnny Smith X3ABC with his hilltop location and huge antenna farm. So I only compete against myself to better my previous scores from a particular contest. In this case, my top QSO total was 57 in one of our NAQCC sprints a few years ago. Also I set goals for myself. I've always wanted to better 60 QSOs in one of our sprints. Well, I did that Tuesday evening with 64. That's a QSO on average every 1 minute and 52.5 seconds. Me and my stats. HI. How is it possible to maintain that speed operating only around 17-18 WPM? Let me get to the bottom line that I was shooting at now.

A couple things are obvious. Conditions must be good, local noise must be low, and there must be a lot of activity. All three things coincided Tuesday evening. The activity mainly because of it being our 150th NAQCC sprint, and maybe because of a special prize being awarded to one participant. Both 40 and 80 were about equally good here. I stuck with 40 for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, then finished on 80 for 50 minutes. 40 provided 38 QSOs and 80 gave me 26. Roughly proportional to the time spent on each band.

Another thing is being able to hold a frequency for a long time calling CQ. It is much quicker doing that than engaging in search and pounce. I was able to do that on 40 for the full 70 minutes there. On 80 I had to skip around a couple times because of stations jumping on top of me. Although that happens, there are ways to avoid it. That's one of the main things I was leading up to.

To hold a frequency, you must be constantly transmitting except for very brief pauses in between CQs or when you are working someone and copying them. As the saying goes, if you snooze, you lose (your frequency). I've said this before in several places, but I'll also repeat it here using stations AA and BB. I'll be AA and BB can be let's make up a call - X9ZYX.

AA - CQ NA K3WWP [7 seconds]
(listen 3 or 4 seconds at most - if no answer repeat)
AA - CQ NA K3WWP [7 seconds]
(keep the pattern going until BB answers)
BB - X9ZYX [5 seconds]
AA - X9ZYX 569 PA NR 2 K [12 seconds]
BB - TU 579 HI NR 637 K [9 seconds]
AA - TU WALT DE K3WWP [8 seconds]
(listen for any tailenders for 2-3 seconds at most - if no answer back to the first step again)
The whole process totals about 55 seconds for a couple CQs and a QSO. IF everything is kept brief and to the point. Never repeat any info. If the other station doesn't get it the first time, ask for a repeat. When answering a CQ, send your call, nothing more. Send N for 9s in the RST. Don't send HW CPY, QSL, K after a CQ, AR, or anything not absolutely necessary. I do make one exception and thank folks by name as in TU WALT above, but it's not necessary by any means.

Oh my gosh, just looked at the clock. It's time to head to the shack. I'll close this for now, post it now, and spell check it later when I do my other site updates. -30-

Wed Apr 12 2017 9:10PM - Tough getting a regular QSO this evening let alone a DX one. I did finally get an answer to my CQ from KD2FLX. No DX though. That will have to wait till later tonight or more likely tomorrow morning, if then. J5B very strong on 30 this evening, but a MASSIVE pileup. I'm sure without the pile I could have worked him.

I'm kind of mentally tired this evening starting last evening putting in a very solid two hours in our NAQCC sprint and running up my best total ever with 64 QSOs. I'll have some more to say about that, maybe tomorrow. Then today I've been doing prep work on our sprint logs for cross-checking when they are all in. Right now we are around 190 logs so far, and I've got 176 of them prepped.

So now I'm just going to say 73 for tonight and pick up with my history, a sprint story, etc. in a later entry. -30-

Tue Apr 11 2017 10:05AM - Tough going - well, not really. Once a good to strong DX station is found, it's still not that hard to make contact at this point in the sunspot cycle. Finding the station sometimes can be the hard part due to lack of activity, poor conditions, lack of time, and so forth. As for the lack of time, the PX3 panadapter is a big help in that regard with its ability to show the whole band or at least a big part of it at a glance. If no peaks are seen within a minute or so, you can forget about that band for the time being. If there are peaks, all that need be done is to tune to them to see who it is. If it's not DX and I'm going for my DX streak QSO, simply move on to another peak. Now that the PX3 has done its work and found me some DX, I need to do a bit of analysis. How strong is the DX? Strong enough to work? Too weak to work? Not sure? Does he have a pileup? Is he operating split? Is he a known great operator? Is he known to have a top notch receiving setup? Is he a regular contest operator? Is his sending sloppy and hard to copy? Is he in a part of the world I can work easily on that band? Or in a very tough part for me to work? Is he engaging in long rag chew type QSOs? Plus many other things to think about to see if I'm likely to get him easily or not. How long should I try to work him before figuring it's useless to wait and move on? And some anti-QRP folks say all the work and effort is done at the receiving end. That sometime ticks me off, but they are prejudiced and there's no way to change that. Just like prejudice against anything or anybody can't be changed in spite of facts.

On the other hand, I'm delighted with the many folks who have open minds, and learn from my experience as told here on the web site that it is very possible to succeed in ham radio with QRP and simple antennas, especially using CW.

Let's analyze my DX QSO today. First of all, I heard one fairly strong station in a part of the world I have about an average chance of working, but didn't recognize him nor know anything about him. Probably just a casual operator, and even though he was fairly strong, I didn't have high hopes of getting him. I did try though, but with no sign he was hearing me at all, I moved on after 3 or 4 tries. Sometimes there are short term changes in conditions and it's good not to give up after only a single try, especially if there is a hint he might be hearing me. Things like sending a question mark, QRZ, K3?, or some other hint. Then I'll stay after him for a bit. I also heard a known good operator with a contest station, but right at or a little below my noise level and hard to copy. I didn't even try. I heard some other stations that were very weak, but a little (very little) above my noise. I tried them a couple times each before moving on.

Then the PX3 showed me a very big peak. As with most all big peaks during less than good conditions, I figured it was a W/VE station, but checked anyway. Turned out to be John ON4UN. Now John fits into several of the positive categories I mentioned above. Strong signal, known great op, top notch receiving setup (he's written books about antennas, etc.), regular contest op, I work ON easily a lot of the time, chatting a bit, but no real long QSOs. With all that in my favor, I figure he should be easy to work. I called and got a K3? Called again and bingo, I get a K3WWP, get called by name since we've worked several times before, exchange reports and a bit of a chat. So day # 1,503 is booked. Took some time, but having to work a bit for the QSO makes it all the more worthwhile. It also encourages me that perhaps the streak may continue well into the developing sunspot minimum if I have the time and patience to stick with it.

Just one more thing to get off my chest before moving on. I was really upset last evening. I worked(?) a DX station who repeatedly sent my call as K3RRP despite my correcting him at least a dozen times. He never did get it close to right. So I did not log him. He was copying me good according to the timing of the exchanges and he did ask me to repeat his RST which I did and he verified. He just could not get my call right. I hoped very strongly that the streak wouldn't end on a note like that, and I'm glad it didn't.

OK, I kind of got on the soapbox as I'm wont to do now and then. I'll get off now and turn to a bit more ham history

Gus ON6KE stimulated my curiosity when he asked why KZ5 wasn't included in my list of countries on the DXCC page. I explained that page only lists QRP countries since 1993. That got me thinking that it might be an interesting part of my ham history to analyze my DX before 1993 which was done with more than 5 watts. DX was not one of my top favorite activities as it is now.

I filtered the date and DX indicator in my Microsoft Access log to only show DX before 1/1/1993 and it popped 171 such QSOs in a split second. Now I'll sort by country and see how many countries there are.

Not to take up too much space, I'll just list them by prefix. First I'll list the countries that were deleted before 1993 or so.

KZ5 - Canal Zone - Now part of Panama
DL - West Germany - Now Germany after unification
OK - Czechoslovakia - Now Czech Republic and Slovakia
Y2 - East Germany - Now Germany after unification

All the following were worked prior to 1993 and also afterwards with QRP.


That's 1,2,3......56 countries including the deleted ones. Of the ones worked in both time frames, D2 (2012) EL (1999) ZS (1999) took the longest to work after 1993.

Just a an extremely non-relevant though popped into my mind. When I but a young pup as the saying goes, I loved to show how well I could spell Czechoslovakia. HI. -30-

Mon Apr 10 2017 9:23AM - Since it's going to be a great day for being outdoors, I thought I'd get the diary entry written while my laundry is in the dryer. My DX QSO for day 1,502 came easily last night with another QSO with Josh 6Y5WJ on a different band, this time 40 meters.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention another great friend I made back in the 60s, and who remains so to this day. That's Dave VE3BMR then, VA3RJ now. Not many friendships span 50 years or more. Our first QSO was back on June 4, 1968. As we continued to work each other, we found many similar interests beyond ham radio, and soon made up regular skeds. We worked 92 times through May 15, 1969, and then as I started work at WPIT around that time, my ham radio activity diminished and we kind of lost touch although we did communicate through regular mail from time to time. We also communicated via the Internet via voice. In fact I remember helping him look for a second (third) call sign. VEs can have two callsigns with no strings attached, I believe. He gave up VE3BMR, got VA3RJ, then was looking for a new second callsign related to his initials. We would think up callsigns, then check them to see if they were available. After not too long we found and he settled on VE3JDR.

We first worked when he was VA3RJ on May 3, 1997 and picked up our regular skeds again. With that call, we made 89 QSOs. Among those was a very special one. Our very first QSO for both of us on January 1, 2000 at 0001Z to celebrate the arrival of the new millenium. We also worked using some of the special Canadian prefixes they use for special events. Not counting those, we've had 181 QSOs and countless emails. Dave has a wonderful web site with information on too many different ham radio subjects to list here. Just do a Bing search for VA3RJ and check out his site. I'm sure you'll find some info that applies to your interests and will be useful to you. Dave also does a lot of work for our NAQCC including the task of keeping our membership database up to date among other things.

I think that will be it for my ham radio history today. It's about time to walk Roscoe and then take the laundry out of the dryer. -30-

Sun Apr 09 2017 7:45P - Just waiting for 0000Z so I can go for day 1,502. 1,501 was easy last evening from S52AW on 40 meters. I can remember a long time ago I had a very hard time getting that first Slovenian. I could hear them but couldn't work them. Now they are one of the easier European countries to work. Ham radio can be strange.

A beautiful day today - sunny with mid-70 temperatures. Nice day to walk, and I did. I also worked a bit more on my mount for my Jackite antenna pole. I've changed the design several times and now I have the final plans pretty well developed in my mind. When it's finished, I'll have pictures and info here in the diary.

I'm going to pause for a day in my ham history. I want to thank the following who had kind words about my 1,500 days of DX. Paul N0NBD, Jeff WN1NB, Gus ON6KE, John N8TA.

OK, time now to head to the shack. -30-

Sat Apr 08 2017 10:14AM - Touch and go for a while but:

pix_1500_days (17K)

Is now a reality thanks to Josh 6Y5WJ (and all the others I worked on the previous 1,499 days) for the DX QSO on 17 meters this morning at 1406Z. I've worked Josh nine times during the streak, but not for almost one year now - 4/22/2016. It took just a single call for him to hear and work me. I found that interesting because as I was logging him, a German called him and he had all kind of trouble getting the German's call. I couldn't even hear the German here. That says a lot about the current conditions at this stage in the sunspot cycle. I only heard one other DX station. That was a GI0R.. on 20 meters, and he was just barely peeking out of my S4 noise level on peaks. I'm getting more and more convinced that it won't be long till my DX streak ends, but at least I made it to a nice sounding round number of 1,500 days.

I'll probably update my DX streak story in the QRP section within a few days, but now I want to continue with my ham history. Let's see, where was I?

First though, thanks to Gus ON6KE for the guestbook entry this morning congratulating me on 1,500 days. Actually prematurely because the entry came before the QSO. He said he was sure I'd make it. I wasn't quite that sure earlier this morning when 20 and up were just about totally dead. He also commented on my Canal Zone QSO on 15 meters as my first QSO on that band. He said he'd only worked one KZ5 when it was still an active DX entity. Out of curiosity, I just checked my Access log and I see I've had 9 Canal Zone QSOs with 5 different stations, the last being KZ5FX on 7/14/1968 on 20 meters. Well, I guess that counts as a bit of my history, but here goes for real now.

We left off my 54 years of ham radio story with my first venture into contesting in the 1963 Sweepstakes. Contesting would become a big part of my 54 years, and I have been in at least 1,332 contests now. To be honest, quite a few of those were just a brief entry for my streak QSO, especially during the past few years or so. Actually 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 in this history.

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. Sadly, Don is now a SK. I last heard from him via the Internet and email a few years ago. On the air we worked 4 times as WN5FQV and 8 times as WA5FQV. After looking that up in Access, I am surprised there weren't more QSOs, but I do know all of them were good solid rag chews. All at least 30 minutes and about half around an hour or more. The last QSO was 7/18/1964 for exactly one hour.

Another good friend turned out to be Sue W9KSE. Sue and I had many late night long rag chews. I see 28 QSOs in my log, all but a couple contest QSOs were long rag chews. I see one that lasted 90 minutes. Bob W1AFM would often join in as well. 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.

This history is certainly bringing back a lot of memories to me. I hope you are enjoying reading it. More still to come. -30-

Fri Apr 07 2017 5:48PM - Just over a couple hours now till I hit the bands and look to make the DX streak 1,500 days. So I'll take some time here to continue with my ham history.

Of course back then in the 60s a Novice was allowed some space on 80, 40, and 15 meters. My first time on 15 was memorable, but mainly for the wrong reason. 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. TVs 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 summer 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 back then. I made 120 QSOs in 38 sections.

I thought it would be interesting to see my first time on the other bands from 160 through 6 meters, so a quick check of my Microsoft Access log yielded the following. The first date and call after each band was my very first QSO with any power including those from way back in time when I did use more than five watts as I explained earlier in this history. The second date and call after each band is my first QSO with five watts or less. On some bands it's the same QSO for both in which case I don't list the date again, just the call. Here goes.
160 - 2/15/1995   K3KLC    -           K3KLC
 80 - 10/20/1963  W2KAK    - 9/4/1964  WA8HDU
 60 - 2/8/2013    WY3H     -           WY3H
 40 - 4/8/1963    KN3WWW   - 1/3/1964  W1DC
 30 - 11/9/1982   KW8J     - 2/18/1993 KA8WOG
 20 - 10/6/1963   VE7BMW   - 3/26/1993 AB4HA
 17 - 4/22/1994   HK3DDD   -           HK3DDD
 15 - 8/3/1963    KZ5EHN   - 9/27/1994 HI8LC
 12 - 6/28/1995   K0OSW    -           K0OSW
 10 - 12/28/1994  KB3BFQ   -           KB3BFQ
  6 - 6/28/2008   VE2008VQ - 6/29/2008 W0GKP
Just a note about 6 meters. I've told this story before. When Mike loaned me his TS480SAT, it was the first rig I owned that had 6 meters capability. He and I set the power at 5 watts on all bands, we thought. However the rig had two or three segments for 6 meters and we missed one of them. So my QSO with VE2008VQ came at 100 or so watts. I quickly noticed some flickering of my lights and a big deflection on the power output meter on the 480. I immediately set that segment to 5 watts, and that was the very last time I ever made a QSO with more than 5 watts from my own station. I did use more than that for a couple QSOs from the Requin and I think one from Skyview.

I'm jumping ahead though. I'll try to get back on the chronological wagon as I continue with my history here in the diary in coming days. -30-

Thu Apr 06 2017 8:42PM - 1,499 days of DX now, so tomorrow will hopefully make it 1,500 for a nice round number. It's a Saturday via UTC time so perhaps there is some DX contest on that will help if necessary. Tonight it took but a minute to get the DX at 0001Z. So I hung around a while and got some letters for the NAQCC challenge from N9PR and K1OPQ on 40 and 30 respectively.

So let's get back to a bit of my ham history now. Let me elaborate a bit on studying the code and passing the code test. 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. At W3CYG's QTH for the test, Red 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. So 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, 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 license or higher. After that, it was sit back and wait for the licenses to arrive.

Another thing I don't remember very well was our first transmitter. I'm not sure what I used initially, but in my log my first few QSOs are listed as being made with 30 watts. I think that was something Larry and I cobbled together. My first 75 watts listing was on April 21, 1963. That would be when I started using my first real transmitter built from plans in the ARRL 1963 Handbook. It used a 6AG7 crystal oscillator and a 1625 amplifier with some 75 watts of input power. In those days power was measured as the input power to the final tube, not the RF power output as it is today. So I was probably running some 50-60 watts of power output if that much. 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.

I'll pick up here tomorrow or perhaps skip around not in chronological order. -30-

Wed Apr 05 2017 7:50PM - Some more of my ham radio history now. This is copied from my 50th anniversary info in the diary archives with some added updates.

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.

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? After logging many other 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. I'm still not sure exactly how, but the wire changed the tuning of the AM BC band to something in the short wave portion of the spectrum. I started getting short wave stations as I tuned the dial. One of the first stations was Radio Switzerland International. 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 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 pretty much 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 designed primarily for SW BC listening. The BFO for copying CW was some kind of a regenerative circuit. The selectivity was very broad.

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.

More to come. -30-

Tue Apr 04 2017 5:30PM - I was going to write about this yesterday, but I forgot. I do a lot of that lately as I get older and older. I'll just alter the starting sentence I had in mind and go on from there.

Yesterday was the 54th anniversary of getting my first ham license as KN3WWP. Here's a glimpse of that first license from way back in 1963.

First License

Atually there were a couple gaps in my activity as a ham. Let's look at those periods I was active.

1. 4/3/1963 (Actually my first QSO came on 4/8/1963) to 4/20/1970. 18,561 QSOs
Then I was inactive due to work at WPIT.
2. 6/6/1972 to 12/4/1973 when time and work permitted. 52 QSOs
Busy with work at WPIT again.
3. 6/17/1981 to 9/23/1983 again when time and work permitted. 752 QSOs
Another work gap till I was near or at retirement from WPIT.
4. 2/15/1993 through the present. 69,484 and counting QSOs

There were significant changes during and in between my periods of activity. During the first period, incentive licensing came into being and after being a Novice during part of the first year, followed by General until mid-1968, I quickly got my Extra to have access to those segments of the bands that were no longer available to anyone but Extras.

During the third period of activity, the addition of the so called WARC bands started with 30 meters. The first three periods of activity and the fourth until September 1, 1999 saw me using homebrew transmitters and a few different commercial receivers. Then I got my first transceiver, a Kenwood TS-570D.

During the fourth period, a company called Elecraft came into being, and some of the best rigs ever, at least for my style of operating with only CW and QRP, became available. It took a while for me to get on the Elecraft bandwagon, but I did with a KX1, K2, and now the fabulous KX3. The rest is history.

With that preamble, I hope to present more of my ham history during the rest of the month of April. I'll draw largely on the info I presented for the 50th anniversary in 2013 with appropriate updates. So as they say, "stay tuned for more". -30-

Mon Apr 03 2017 8:27PM - Three old standby DX stations were on and strong this evening. However XE1XR on 20 QRT just before 0000Z, ON4UN on 40 had a pileup, and I debated a couple minutes before going for HC2AO on 40 whom I had just worked there a few days ago. However he wasn't getting any answers so I figured I wasn't depriving anyone of a QSO with him and I called and after a couple repeats I had my DX streak QSO to move within 4 days of 1,500 days now.

Otherwise it was a very busy day starting off with my usual Monday morning laundry. While that was in the dryer, I walked Roscoe for the first time. Oh, thanks to Paul N0NBD for emailing saying he enjoyed the picture of Roscoe at the window. He also was disappointed the SF at 100+ didn't liven up the bands more. Actually I think it did improve propagation but folks weren't there to take advantage. I guess a lot have given up on this sunspot cycle already. While we're thanking folks, thanks to Tom W3TLN who said he got a kick out of my April Fool's tease about the streak ending. He said he was about to send a sympathy card before he saw the second paragraph.

OK, where was I in my busy day? It was a very nice day with some sun and mid 70s temperatures, so a shopping walk was in order. Then back home to clean up the back yard some more. I sure get a lot of leaves for someone who doesn't have any trees except the small evergreen. After that I was talking with my neighbor who was also working in his yard and we talked about cutting grass. So after he finished his, I used his mower as I always do, and cut mine also. Another Roscoe walk in there somewhere and also some sitting out on the front porch. Sure is nice to have good weather again. I did some more spring cleaning. Then I started work on the mount for my Jackite pole for our portable operations this year. A few other things filled out the rest of the day to this point.

Still one more walk for Roscoe to come, along with watching some TV with my neighbor - Our Gang, Andy Griffith, Honeymooners and other shows from the time when TV was clean, wholesome, and fun to watch.

Of course it's the men's basketball championship final tonight between NC and Gonzaga. Actually my interest in the tournament peaks when it starts and diminishes along with the number of teams, so I'll just check the score a couple times and that's about it.

I guess that pretty much covers things for today. -30-

Sun Apr 02 2017 10:05AM - It looked pretty dismal this morning. Only one peak on the PX3. That was N4BP in the SP contest, and although he is normally very strong with his QRO and huge antenna farm, he was barely above my S3-4 noise level. A little later when I checked again, he was stronger, but still no DX to be heard on 20 and nothing at all on 17,

I checked once more and found the same thing. I decided to take Roscoe out for his first walk then come back and try again. It was now almost 10 o'clock and if the bands haven't opened for DX by then, well.... However as soon as I switched on the rig and hit 17 meters I saw a good sized peak. I tuned it in and found it to be a KP4. A dozen or so tries yielded nothing though. Then another small peak showed up a little higher in the band, so I switched to it and found it was IC8MDC. Well even though he is only S4 to S5 or so, I do work Italy pretty well, so I gave it a try. No luck, not even a question mark. I persisted though and got a K3? after a few more tries. I repeated my call and he came back with K3WWP 599 C02. I'm not sure what the C02 was. I'll look it up in a moment, but at least I eked out another day in the DX streak. Six more now for 1,500 days if I make it. I couldn't find the C02 reference in a quick check, but the call is a special event call for the 20th anniversary of the Mediterraneo DX Club. See here for more info.

How about a picture of Roscoe engaging in his new favorite activity.

He just loves looking out the window since "his" sofa was moved to give him access to look out. I tried to get a better picture, but as soon as he sees me coming over to see him, he jumps off the sofa and runs to the door. So I had to take the picture from a distance and crop and enlarge the cropped portion quite a bit. So it is a bit blurry and distorted, but I really like it.

I think it will be very interesting to see what happens in the women's championship game this evening. I see two possible scenarios. Miss St. after that superb effort against UConn in the semis will suffer a bit of a let down feeling that beating UConn was almost like a championsip game in itself, and now here they have to play a second one in a sense. Or they could be buoyed on by the UConn game and now be determined to finish the job by beating South Carolina. In theory without those scenarios, it should be a very even game going down to the very end (and beyond) like the UConn game. -30-

Sat Apr 01 2017 8:43PM - Sad to say, but the streak is now over. Four years plus is a long time to keep things going. Time now to think about moving on and going for another streak. I don't think it will be as easy this time around though as things are changing. We will see what happens though. After all there have been other long streaks before. None of them have been as long as this one though.

What's that, you say. I can't quite hear you. Oh, you thought I was talking about my DX streak. No, no, I'm talking about the UConn women's basketball streak of winning championships over the past 4 years and running up a winning streak of 111 straight games until Mississippi State put an end to it last night with a 66-64 OT victory. As far as games go, 111 straight wins might be tops in any sport. If you count by years though, the probable undisputed leader would be the United States in the America's Cup sailing competition. I forget now how long that lasted. I think it was well over 100 years. I'm going to do some more research on those topics when I get time. OK, I took a quick look now. The America's Cup streak lasted 132 years. The longest winning streak in matches or games is in Squash at 555 straight wins by a Pakistani. See here for a fascinating page about sports streaks of all kinds. I'll devour that info when I get time.

I hope my little April Fool's teaser doesn't prove to be prophetic for the DX streak. Again the bands were pretty poor this evening. There were a couple strong signals, but they were chasing, not being chased. One especially was YU6DX on 40 who was chasing a J6 station. He was well over S9 here. Odd he was the only EU station I was hearing on 40 though. Maybe an April Fooler?

Anyway the MS QSO Party provided a quick QSO for the big main streak. The DX streak may have to wait till morning though. I've said that the past few evenings, then went on and got a DX QSO later in the evening on all but one of those days. Maybe again tonight? If not I'll have between 8 and 10 AM to try for a Polish station on 20 or 15 in the SP DX Contest.

A final comment on stats. It was close, but March wound up a tad warmer on average than February. Here are the average low, average high, and average mean for the two months:
February - 29.1, 51.3, 40.2
March - 31.5, 50.3, 40.9

So March was 0.7 degrees overall warmer than February. Almost too close to call.

OK, one final final stat. I just saw in updating my propagation page that the SF was 101. The first time over 100 since let's see, well, before December 17 which is the earliest date on my chart. Let me check my Microsoft Excel spreadsheet data. OK, looks like October 10 last year when it was 102 on the last of 5 straight 100+ days. -30-

Fri Mar 31 2017 9:10PM - Maybe the next couple days won't be so rough finding and working DX. Hope I didn't jinx anything by saying that. I see the solar flux is back up in the 90s at 91. The picture of the sun on my propagation page shows a somewhat big sunspot group right in the center of the disk. All that energy has caused some ionospheric storminess though. Still 20 was open a bit this evening and I heard a couple strong sigs on 30 - not DX. HC2AO on 40 was about as strong as I have heard him. I didn't work him though. Instead I worked KP4CPC and had a brief chat vs. the usual TU 599 type of DX QSO.

It rained all day here and is still raining. The temperature traded in a narrow range of 45 to 50 to close out March. A little later after I walk Roscoe and do a couple other things, I'll get the March weather in my Microsoft Excel file and find out if March was colder than February. When I checked roughly and quickly a couple days ago, they were neck and neck.

Well, better get going now. I'm running a bit late because I had a very nice long rag chew with N4PGJ/3 up in St. Mary's, PA. My mother lived there over 100 years ago now, and I've visited there several times, but not for quite some time now. I've also worked his brother NM3B several times who lives there, and Ron N4PGJ is visiting him. -30-

Thu Mar 30 2017 8:43PM - As I started last night's entry, "The bands were pretty dismal DX-wise this evening", so I can use the same opening line tonight. A weak PR7AR on 30 plus a couple weaker stns on 40 were it for hearing DX this evening. So like I did today, tomorrow I'll have to get my DX in the morning. This morning it was old standby CO8LY on 20 meters in the 1200Z hour.

I did get my regular streak QSO this evening from KC4ZPB who when I called said immediately he reads my web site and likes the CW info here. Unfortunately that was on 30 meters and 30 did one of it's rapid fadeouts. Rusty went from a solid S8 down into my s4 noise in just a few seconds and never did come back up.

Also like yesterday, not a lot else to talk about. It was a showery day and only made it into the low 50s. Still better than a s#$wy cold day. -30-

Wed Mar 29 2017 8:44PM - The bands were pretty dismal DX-wise this evening. I actually heard only one DX station - YV5DNR on 40 who wasn't hearing me. He was engaging in slow speed rag chews and I just didn't feel like waiting to keep trying him. The one time I did call, there was no competition and he still didn't hear me so that pretty much told the tale. So I'm getting out my little pink slip with "QSO" on it and putting it in front of the computer to remind me to try to get my DX in the morning or if not then, the afternoon.

I received my Jackite antenna 28 foot mast today for our portable operations this year. Now I'm going to design a mount for it. I have a couple ideas in mind which I'll try out some time. One I really like came to mind when I was thinking. It would permit me to extend the mast, connect the antenna, then with a hinged mount firmly anchored in the ground, I could simply walk the mast up to vertical and fasten it to the mount. Pictures will follow when I get around to putting my idea into action which may be a while now.

Not much else out of the ordinary happening today. I did get in a couple walks and now have 7.36 miles on the pedometer. We had a high of 64 and some sunny skies. -30-

Tue Mar 28 2017 8:43PM - With apologies to Agatha Christie, and then there were ten. Yes, ten days now till the DX streak reaches 1,500 days, if it does. Tonight I thought I was going to have to wait till morning to even get my regular streak QSO as I just couldn't raise anyone. Then after jumping around from 80 through 20, my last stop on 30 yielded W0FK/4 on IOTA NA034 followed a couple minutes later by HH2AA. So tomorrow is free now until the evening.

I had a minor pipe leak in the basement today and spent some time waiting for the plumber. Actually he came just a few minutes past the window he gave me, so really no complaints there. Otherwise I worked on a propagation article for the April NAQCC newsletter. Also the monthly NAQCC WPA Chapter news and my K3WWP news.

It was a rather dreary chilly day today, but still a lot better than those true winter days. Actually its great when you can call a 60 degree day a bit chilly. HI. Still I didn't get in any good walks mainly because of the plumber visit. I did my usual inside walking thought and got up to let's see.... gee, 8 miles. I didn't realize I walked that much.

Another NAQCC thing I did today was to reserve the club call N3AQC and N3A for our parkpeditions, subpeditions, etc. this year. I'm looking forward to some portable operating again now that we made it through winter. The last portable operation was way back in November on the Requin. I envy our Florida Chapter members who can operate portable the whole year although I guess some of them do mind the heat and humidity of summer down there. HI -30-

Mon Mar 27 2017 8:03PM - Gee, when I write an entry early in the morning, then not till the next evening, it seems like an eternity in between. HI

A very quick DX QSO this evening. You know (to go into athlete sentence starting mode), it must be wonderful to live in an area where the local noise level is right at S0 or at the very most S1. Actually that is close to what we get in our parkpeditions to Kittanning Community Park. The noise is so low there you can actually hear distant thunderstorm lightning static. That's something I could never do in this house where about the best the noise ever gets is down to from S6 on 80M to S2-3 on 10M. I diverged from the point I was shooting at. That is that David XE1XR must be one of those blessed with a quiet location. Although I could barely hear him through my S4-5 noise on 30 meters, all it took was a single call to log him at 0001Z. I know he runs high power and not QRP so if he was S4 here, I couldn't have been much above S1-2 there in Mexico. Anyway thanks to David for getting me to the point in the DX streak where I only need 11 more days to reach 1,500.

Another nice spring day today. A bit on the cloudy side but the high approached 70 again. It shows 68 on my AcuRite remote unit and it's still 61 out there. So some more good walks today. Almost 9 miles on the pedometer.

While not out walking, I did some more fooling around with my WPX prefix stats. I found a couple more errors along the way and fixed them up. I also counted the number of prefixes provided by each country worked which was easy to do with my Microsoft Access log and a little help from a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Of course by far the USA provided the most prefixes with 778. No, Canada was not second even though they do use a lot of special prefixes for various reasons. Second is Germany with 105, then Canada with 97.

Here's a list of the next 15 top totals:
EUR	96
UKR	83
ITA	79
SPA	57
JAP	56
BRZ	54
POL	54
ARG	53
BUL	52
SWE	52
YUG	47
ASR	43
ENG	41
BLG	38
CRO	33
The country abbreviations are the ones I use in my log and are obvious with maybe a couple exceptions. EUR is European Russia, ASR Asiatic Russia, YUG (a hangon from Yugoslavia) is Serbia, and BLG is Belgium. Maybe someday I'll explain how I arrived at my set of country abbreviations.

Most of those have different letter groups to choose from. Of course the USA has AA-AL, K-KZ, N-NZ, W-WZ with a few exceptions like AL7,KL7,NL7,WL7 for Alaska (a separate DX entity for DXCC purposes) and those for Hawaii, Virgin Islands, etc. Germany has a large portion of the D block of calls. Canada parts of the C, V, and Z blocks. ITA has the whole I block except for IS for Sardinia. You get the idea. Maybe a note for Bulgaria - they just use a lot of different numbers with their LZ block for their saints stations and so forth. -30-

Sun Mar 26 2017 9:26AM - I'm glad now I didn't get those two DX stations early last evening. I went back later and looked around. I even checked 80 and there was S01WS peeking out of my noise level. After a few calls, he came back with K3WWP 599 and I had my streak extended another day along with a new entity (#59) and prefix on 80. I'm going to have to include 80 on my evening DX searches as with the declining sunspots and in turn declining absorption on the lower bands, I might be able to work more DX there. It would be very nice to make it to 100 countries on 80, but that's not going to be easy with my attic random wire. It will take a lot of patience. That's something I seem to have less of lately. HI

Just about time to go walk Roscoe for the first time today. Then I don't really have any other plans for the rest of the day. I'll probably do something outside. Maybe do some more yard cleanup like removing the mulch of leaves around my roses and daylillies. I'll see what happens as the day goes on. -30-

Sat Mar 25 2017 8:43PM - Looks like I'll be chasing DX in the morning. Just couldn't work any this evening. I came close with OE1WMA on 40 and HI3/N3SY on 80. They both were hearing me, but I never heard them send my call correctly before they gave up. I sure hope I can get someone in the morning. I'd hate to see the streak end with two such close calls.

A beautiful day again today. For the second day in a row, we reached the mid 70s after a low of 16 the day before that. A 59 degree temperature range in less than 36 hours has to be close to a record. I'll have to check that sometime. I know the record range for one day is 53 degrees. It sure felt good to get out with no jacket and a thin shortsleeve shirt for two nice walks.

Early this morning we took Roscoe for his postponed grooming. He looks like a different dog now with all his curls gone till they grow back in a couple months. The timing was pretty good as the long hair kept him warm while it was cold, and now he'll be cool with the warm weather pretty much here to stay.

Well, the first of the final four teams has just been decided a little while ago. Gonzaga remains alive in the run for its first title. They are one of the better teams the past few years who haven't won a championship. This is their 19th tournament appearance in a row and the first time to the final four. Their previous best was the Elite Eight which they reached twice.

Just about time to get my weather info, so I'll close here. -30-

Fri Mar 24 2017 3:17PM - Just sitting here with not a lot to do right now. So I thought I'd write the diary entry and then go out for a walk in the 73!!!! degree weather. I was out before, but it was about 10 degrees cooler then.

Then in about 2-3 hours Mike is coming and we're going to a fish dinner at a local fire hall. When we get home we'll probably head to the shack for some DXing and a couple other little projects.

We just had a change in one of our plans for this year. We were going on a subpedition on April 9, but I just had a call from the sub caretaker Art who said the sub was going to undergo some maintenance from April 8 through the 22 (and maybe beyond). So we'll have to postpone the subpedition probably till sometime in May. -30-

Thu Mar 23 2017 9:15AM - A short visit but a good time last night. Mike arrived with a pizza just as I was finishing my regular streak QSO with NV3N around 0010Z. I saw him pull up in his car. I had the door unlocked so I knew he would come in. While he was taking his bike off the rack and putting it on my porch, I thought I'd try for a quick DX QSO. I found HC2AO on 40 not all that strong, but since he is a great op, I knew if he heard me at all, he would stick with me to get the QSO. After a couple of WW? and K3?, he got my call, thanked me by name and the DX streak was still intact, thanks to Alex.

Now off to more important (?) business - devouring the pizza with Mike. Following that, we discussed a list of projects upcoming this year. Things like the hamfests we'd be attending, where we were going to do Field Day, finishing our little Tuna Tin rigs which have been in abeyance for some time now, our subpeditions, and so on. Sounds like a fun busy year.

Then we went up to my shack to see if Mike could work some DX. I let him sit in the pilot's chair since I already had my DX QSO. There wasn't a lot to be found, but Mike did find and work the almost omnipresent PV8ADI on 40 meters. We also heard Josh 6Y5WJ whom I hadn't heard in some time now, but he was having long QSOs, and we didn't wait long for him. Mike did call a couple times with no luck. With not much on 40, just for fun, we listened on 80. No DX heard there, so while I wasn't paying attention, Mike went to 160. He saw a busy spot on the PX3, and after we listened a bit, to my surprise we were hearing an OZ7 station from Denmark. I forget the suffix now, but he was pretty good copy. I just can't work DX on 160 and seldom even can hear it with my local noise and low antenna. Maybe I should be listening more on that band. Perhaps I will as with the sunspot minimum coming and lower ionospheric absorption, 160 (and 80) should be in good shape. During the last couple minimums, I found it much easier to make QSOs in the 160 meters contests than during recent maximums.

I'm definitely not a news junkie. Watching TV or Internet news is just too disgusting since they go for the sensational BAD news instead of presenting the GOOD things going on in the World. I often have no idea of so called major news things that are going on until some days later if at all unless it affects me directly somehow. Anyway, I do follow the weather supposedly very closely. However I found this morning when I was watching some AccuWeather videos that I missed something big there also that goes back years ago now. For many years the world record windspeed was the well known 231MPH on Mount Washington in NH back in 1934. However that was broken some years ago with a verified 253MPH reading in Australia.

OK, time for Roscoe's first walk of the day. Oh, his grooming was postponed again till Saturday which may be good since it's only 25 degrees now after a low of 17. We missed the latest in season record by a good margin. -30-

Wed Mar 22 2017 7:18PN - Mike should be coming soon, so I'll make this diary entry now. Then if time permits, I (or Mike) will add something to it later.

We slipped back into winter hopefully for the very last time. It just barely got into the 40s today with strong winds that made it feel much colder. I even saw a few ugly white specks floating around in the sky. The low tonight is predicted to be 11. If we make it there, that will be very close to the lowest temperature so late in the season. Right now the record is 11 on 3/25/74 and 11 on 3/28/82. Actually the second is the record, but I thought I'd mention the other one also. Brrr! I always enjoy seeing records broken for their own sake, but not for the weather that is involved if you know what I mean. -30-

Tue Mar 21 2017 8:52PM - Similar pattern to last night. Rag chew on 40 (vs. 80), then pretty quick DX on 20 (vs. 40). Had to try a few DX stns though before I hooked up with CE3KHZ. I heard Asia on 40, but futile trying to work 5B4AJC as he wasn't all that strong and a lot of folks chasing him. My rag chew was with NM1I and the letter I in his call finished the NAQCC challenge for this month. That didn't dawn on me till we began the QSO as I wasn't thinking about letters but just getting my main streak QSO in the log. Conditions weren't all that good.

Other than that not much going on again today. Nice weather = nice walk. Some shopping on the walk at the PO and supermarket. Roscoe was supposed to go to the groomer this evening, but the groomer wasn't feeling well, so that was postponed until tomorrow or Thursday. I'll find out which when I go to take him out in a half hour or so.

Now it's time to get my 9PM weather readings. I see a high of 61 on my AcuRite remoter weather station. That should be close to what will show on my main thermometer.

I also talked to my friend and NAQCC co-founder Tom WY3H a while ago. I miss him since he moved to Georgia, but nice to keep in touch via telephone now and then. -30-

Mon Mar 20 2017 8:38PM - Kind of a quiet day compared to yesterday. The weather was nice with a high at 50 degrees and all the s#$w gone so I went for a walk and did some shopping. Also took some little longer walks with Roscoe. Roscoe has a new hobby now, so to speak. The sofa which he claims is his is now closer to the window where he can look out and see what is going on out there. He seems to really be enjoying that to the fullest. It should have been set up that way a long time ago.

After a rag chew with W2XU up in Maine on 80 meters, my DX came quickly. When we finished at 0031Z, I went to 40, found J3/OE2SNL, called and after one repeat, the DX streak was extended to 1,482 days. Only 18 more days to 1,500 and if I make it, I'll have to come up with another goal.

I'm looking forward to seeing Mike KC2EGL again. It's been about a month now. He's coming down for our usual 4th Wednesday evening get together for some pizza and some ham radio.

Oh and for those who celebrate the coming of astronomical spring instead of meteorological spring, Happy First Day of Spring. Either way, ain't it grand!

One final thing. I got my certificate from the ARRL today for First Place Western Pennsylvania and Atlantic Division QRP SOAB in the 2016 ARRL DX Contest. Picture on my main CONTESTING page. -30-

Sun Mar 19 2017 9:05PM - A busy day and a good day. The two always go together. I love keeping active and busy. I still have things to finish here, so just a condensed diary entry.

A quick DX QSO from ZP6CW on 30 meters at 0008Z. Some spring cleaning. Following March Madness. Working on log cross checking from our NAQCC sprint. Cooking up some sloppy joes with Bruce. Plus all the usual daily things like walking Roscoe, walking myself, and so forth. That's it. Back to work now. -30-

Sat Mar 18 2017 8:37PM - Kind of frustrating but interesting this evening. I heard P33W on 80 meters. I'd have to do some deep thinking to remember when or if I've heard Asia on 80 before. I probably have heard it, maybe a 4X4 or something like that, but I've never worked it before for sure. I didn't work it this evening either. I called several times before I convinced myself he was not hearing me at all. Never got so much as a question mark. So I decided to head to 40 and see if perhaps he might be multi-band on there also. If so, I'd have a better chance to work him there. But I never even heard him. I will try again later though to work some Asian on 40 in the Russian DX test which is bringing a lot of activity to the bands including the aforementioned P33W.

I got my DX quickly at 0002Z in NP2P also in the test. That's why with the DX cinched, I was just listening around to see if I could find something new. I heard DQ2C which might have been a new prefix, but couldn't get him.

After a pretty predictable first round with only 6 upsets, there were a couple of rather big upsets so far today. Last year's champ Villanova went down to #8 seed Wisconsin and #11 Xavier got its second upset so far beating Florida State. Gonzaga lived up to its #1 seeding defeating a tenacious Northwestern who stayed close the whole game.

I checked out the farce they call the Women's tournament a little while ago. Farce? Only because it's pretty much already been decided even before the tournament began that Connecticut will walk away with the championship. But I guess they do have to play the games to make it official. Personally I'd love to see Baylor win again because I've always been a fan of their coach Kim Mulkey whom I think is still the best point guard I've ever seen, man or woman, when she played for Louisiana Tech way back when. She's also the only basketball person who has won a championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. Not bad, and she also had a perfect academic score of 4.0 as well. Quite a person, indeed. So go Baylor Bears. -30-

Fri Mar 17 2017 6:56PM - It looks like the year of the #11 seed. So far three #11 seeds have played and three #11 seeds have won - Xavier, Rhode Island, USC. Cincinnati beware this evening - they play #11 Kansas St. I wonder offhand if any of the 9-13 seeds have swept all 4 first round games before. I have the data here to check so let's see. In 1999 all 4 #10 seeds did it - Miami Ohio, Purdue, Gonzaga, Creighton. In 2001 all #9 seeds - St Josephs, Charlotte, Fresno St, Missouri. In 1999 all 4 #9 seeds - Oklahoma St, New Mexico, Tulsa, Mississippi. In 1994 all #9 seeds - Georgetown, Wisconsin, Alabama, Boston Coll. So if Kansas St pulls it off, it will be the first time for a higher than #10 seed to do it.

I just love March Madness. It gives so many opportunities for statistical work which I love doing. Speaking of that, I'm still awaiting more responses to my March Madness trivia questions from a few entries ago. Only one response so far from Bob N2SU.

Back to ham radio. I got an immediate DX streak QSO this morning. As soon as I turned on the rig, I found PJ4/K2NG calling CQ on 20, and even though I worked him two days ago, I got him with my very first call again. I'm getting a little less strict about making repeat QSOs with stations now as sunspots slip away carrying with them any good propagation.

I spent a lot of time today doing the preliminary work of cross-checking our NAQCC sprint logs from the Wednesday evening sprint. Once again we crossed the 100 logs mark standing at 101 now with still 2 days left to submit logs. In the last 84 sprints since April 2010, we've only missed getting 100 or more 6 times. I think that makes us just about the most popular of all mid-week 2 hour CW sprints. Congrats to our NAQCC members. -30-

Thu Mar 16 2017 10:42AM - I got to thinking about my new poll about the number of keys owned. I chose the answer 11-15 without actually counting. Then I got curious to know if that was accurate so I gathered up all the keys I could find. I took two group pictures as shown here with a brief description of each key.

keys picture 1

These are my regular keys among which I switch from time to time. Lower left-upper right are:
Begali Blade
ARRL Centennial Paddle
Begali Magnetic Classic Paddle
Above three given to me by the NAQCC
Vibroplex Lightning Bug given to me by Larry W2LJ
In front of those four is my homebrew popsicle straight key

keys picture 2

These are the rest of my key collection. I'm not really a collector as such. These have just come along as the years went by. As you see, most are homebrew with a couple exceptions.
In the middle of the top row, the Bencher paddle was given to me by Mike KC2EGL. It's what I use for my portable operations.
In the upper right an old straight key my late uncle used on the railroad many many years ago.
Second from left in the lower row is one of two that Mike and I got to go with our little Tuna Tin style rigs.
Second from right in that row is a Morse Express Christmas straight key given to me by Geo N1EAV.

As I sit here looking at the picture, I notice a paddle I made from two straight keys is missing. It's either in a different drawer somewhere or I may have loaned it to someone. Also many years ago back in the 60s or 70s, I had a bug inside a clear case. I know I loaned that to someone and never did get it back. I also had a homebrew bug that never worked very well. I took that apart for parts. There was also a homebrew sideswiper that suffered the same fate as the homebrew bug. I think I also had a couple very cheap straight keys that never worked too well either. Maybe a couple more I can't remember now.

Counting just the ones in the pictures, that makes 15 so my early guess was right on.

A couple other items now before I close. Last night's sprint was a good one again. I came up with 42 QSOs vs. 50 in February when I finished first overall. This month my good February conditions were widespread while they were poorer here. So several folks had 50+ QSOs this month. Some more had in the mid-upper 40s, so I may be lucky to make the top 10 overall. However, I don't really get into our sprints for high scores. Rather just to give out QSOs to other members and help train them in contest operating. Also to have fun. I love to just call CQ and see who is going to answer me. I much prefer that to S&P where I know who I'm going to, or trying to work. If I did more S&P I could probably add a dozen or more QSOs to my totals.

When someone jumped on "my" frequency where I was calling CQ, I dropped out of the sprint for a few minutes to look for my DX streak QSO. I found and worked PJ2ND on 40 meters.

OK, I think I'll process some more sprint logs now to get them ready for cross-checking. -30-

Wed Mar 15 2017 10:50PM - Didja ever have one of those days when everything seemed to get a little ahead of you and you never seemed to catch up to anything? Probably so. I had one today so I'm going to make this a very short diary entry and see if I can finally get caught up on some of those things. I'll talk about the sprint tonight and my DX QSO, etc. tomorrow. -30-

Tue Mar 14 2017 10:00AM - I've got a correction to my trivia question from yesterday and another item I completely forgot about. I'll use as an excuse the storm.

Actually so far (and that's important) it hasn't been much of a storm here in western PA. I don't want to jinx things by saying this, but I'll say it anyway. So far we have less than a inch and studying all the maps, projections, etc., it looks to me like we won't be getting more than perhaps 4 inches at most. It depends on a lot of things like how much will be lake effect snow, how far west the storm will pump in Atlantic moisture, and so forth. It looked to me like the midwest storm transferred most of its energy to the coastal storm as they approached each other during the night and early morning. Good for us in the west, but not for those in the east except for those crazy folks who actually like s#$w. From NE PA through CT or so they may get from 2-3 feet of it. Let's get to something better now.

I asked which four teams made it to March Madness for the very first time. N2SU named four, but he had one I didn't have. So actually there are five schools making their debut. Bob needs one more now since he missed one that I have.

I completely forgot to mention that I got an email from the ARRL about my upcoming QST article. Not the best of news, but good nevertheless. Sound confusing? Here's a portion of the email:

"Just a note confirming the receipt of your release form for: Streak
We have many articles in the queue to be printed and we want you to know that it may be several months -- possibly 12 -- before your article appears in QST.
One of our QST handling editors will contact you when work begins on your article, and you will be sent proof copies to inspect prior to publication.
Thanks for your patience."

I guess that explains the good/bad reference. It will be in QST, but maybe not for several months or even a full year. I had been hoping I could keep the DX streak going until it was published, but it may not be easy with the sunspots declining. However even with the solar flux at 70, only about 6 or 7 points higher than minimum, it hasn't really been all that hard to keep going.

For example about an hour ago before it was time to take Roscoe out, I found quite a few DX stations on 20 and 17. I tried a UA4 on 20 but he never heard me. Other stations in EU were chasing other things. On 17 though, I found LZ139LO and called him. At first he wasn't hearing me, but I knew the special event LZ stations all have really good ops, so I kept trying and finally got a WP?, but another station with no WP in his call jumped in. The LZ station worked him, then tried for me again. After a few tries, he put my call together. Not only did that keep the streak going, but gave me some more letters for our NAQCC challenge. I only need 3 Is and 1 O now to finish up.

It's the 14th of the month which means I need to come up with a new poll question. Actually I have one about the number of keys/paddles/bugs a person owns. I think I'll get the question set up now before breakfast (brunch?) time. -30-

Mon Mar 13 2017 4:33PM - Just sitting here wondering how much of the ugly stuff we'll get tonight and tomorrow. At least it is 40 right now and melting some of what we got last week, so that will help a little bit.

I got my Excel spreadsheet set up for March Madness last night. I made up a few trivia questions from my stats including all tournaments going back to 1939. Let's see, that's 78 tournaments now.

1. Who are the four teams in this year's tournament that have never been there before?

2. Which two teams have 30 prior appearances, but didn't make the field this year?

3. Nine teams won the tournament in their first appearance including Oregon who won the very first tournament in 1939. How many of the other 8 can you name? The latest one was in 1963. One team won both of its first two appearances.

4. Which two schools made 11 appearances before 1979, but haven't made an appearance since?

5. Which two schools have the most appearances since 1978 (20), but none before that year?

OK, that's enough to keep anyone busy for a while who is interested in such things. Email me your answers. If I get 5 or more emails, I'll reveal the answers later during the tournament. Less than 5, and you'll have to figure out the answers some other way. -30-

Sun Mar 12 2017 8:29PM (EDT) - Yep, we're back on Daylight Shifting Time again. Another sign that better weather can't be too far away now. We still have to get through at least one more March s#$w though. That will be Monday night and Tuesday. It's still uncertain just how much s#$w there will be. It depends on how two low pressure systems move and interact. One coming up the east coast, another from the midwest. We'll just have to wait, pray, and see.

I've pretty much finished adjusting my prefixes now, and posted the updated totals in the AWARDS section on the WPX page. As I surmised, not a big change, but a change nonetheless. I'm not going into any detail here.

Things didn't look too good for DX this evening. YS1YS was strong, but with a pileup at first, then he was calling EU only after that. So I went to 30 and my PX3 immediately showed a S9+ peak. I tuned to it, and it was TI5/N3KS. I had to call three times, but the third time was the charm for streak day # 1,474. So I can get some things done tomorrow morning and afternoon without the DX distraction. Of course it's laundry day, and put out the trash day. I also have to make a trip to the PO to mail a couple of bills and a NAQCC prize.

Another thing I might do is check on some prices for a grooming session for Roscoe at a couple new places in town. His regular groomer hasn't answered Bruce's phone calls for over a month now. She might be sick, he figures.

Oh, I wanted to mention that it was nice to work PJ2/PA0VDV last evening. When I became active again in the early 1990's, Joeke was among the earlier DX stations I worked. That's over 22 years ago now. Where does the time go? -30-

Sat Mar 11 2017 11:57AM - I think of all the days recently when I thought the DX streak was at an end. Of them, today was the day I really thought so. One reason dates all the way back to 1776. If we hadn't declared our independence and were still a part of the British Empire, DX today would have been a piece of cake. However just about every DX station I heard (and there were a lot) was in the BERU contest for British Empire countries only. Many were booming in, and finding a DX station in the mix was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. There were only a couple of needles actually. One was YS1YS working a big pileup and fading in and out badly. On the 17M WARC band, there was virtually nothing to be heard except for a very weak 5J0NA. Very much weaker than when I worked him yesterday. Finally there was a station who gave me hope. A strong S7-8 station from Hungary on 20M of course not in the BERU contest. However, several calls to him went unanswered. I would give up and then come back to him later hoping he was still there and conditions were better for him to hear me. At last at 1642Z, he did hear me. It took a few tries for him to get my call right, but he stuck with me (thanks John). Who was it? Oh, HA8GZ whom I thought I had worked a few times before, but I was wrong. This was our first QSO. End of story - the streak lives. Now back to working on my prefixes as I mentioned yesterday. -30-

Fri Mar 10 2017 7:50PM - Another Brooklyn Dodgers evening - "Wait till next year" - or in my case "Wait till tomorrow morning" for my DX. The only DX heard this evening had huge pileups. One was a 5U5 station - if I would have needed Niger, I might have tried to break the pile, but I have it worked and verified. Another station with a pileup was 5J0NA. By coincidence I worked him this morning on 17 meters for my streak QSO for March 10. It was an easy QSO then as there was no pileup. In fact as I was logging him, I was listening and he QRT after a half dozen or so unanswered CQs after working me.

I spent some time today cleaning up the prefixes in my log. I found some errors here and there like logging the prefix for K3WWP/OA2 as K3 instead of OA2. I think I might wind up losing a few prefixes when I'm done, but possibly gaining them back along the way also. No drastic changes. Just the perfectionist in me.

This was a depressing January in March day here with about 3 inches of s#@w. Fortunately a lot melted now that the altitude of the sun is much higher now. Looks like another bout on Monday evening and Tuesday though. Oh well, it won't be long now till we have only good weather. -30-

Thu Mar 09 2017 8:04PM - Kinda looks like winter is taking a curtain call for the next week or so with a couple of s#$w events and temperatures from the teens to the 30s at best. But hey, it's March and spring, so that's not nearly as scary as it would be in December or January, even February. S#$w then tends to stick around much too long.

Couldn't get any DX this evening (so far anyway). I heard a couple stations OA1F and CE2LML, but they weren't hearing me. Also two stations on 40 with huge pileups. One was 9G5X and I couldn't ID the other. Some lid kept throwing a carrier on the station whenever he was strong enough to ID, then when the carrier was off, the DX was down in my noise. Either the carrier thrower was deliberately QRMing the DX or had no idea what was going on. At any rate, he was good at zero beating because he was exactly on the DX station frequency. I guess it must have been deliberate. Also there were the others who don't know what UP means and were calling on top of the DX. Sigh!

I was just looking at my streak table, and I see on only one of the last 10 days did I fail to get my DX in the evening. I had been doing quite well in that respect - not having to wait long for the DX. -30-

Wed Mar 08 2017 4:45PM - I just finished doing something I've wanted to do for some time now. Figure out my percentage of entities worked per continent. Here are the figures. The Del/Wkd are entities I've worked, but are now deleted countries. Pct/Wkd ignores the Del/Wkd column.
Con    Ent   Wkd  Del/Wkd  Pct/Wkd
AF      76    35     0      46.1%
AS      55    20     0      36.4%
AN       2     1     0      50.0%
EU      67    63     1      94.0%
NA      50    50     1     100.0%
OC      59    27     1      45.8%
SA      30    25     1      83.3%
Total  339   221     4      65.2%
Pretty close to what I would have estimated. I knew I only needed a few in EU and SA, and had them all in NA. The one part of the world I have trouble working is southeast Asia, and there are a lot of small (and bigger) entities there hence the low percentage for Asia. I'm surprised how close AF and OC are. Also they are a little higher than expected.

Since there are only a few needs in EU and SA, here's a list of the ones I need there:

EU - 1A, C3, OJ0, SV1/A

SA - HK0 (Malpelo), PY0P (St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks), VP8 (Falklands), VP8 (So Georgia), VP8 (So Shetlands)

By far the biggest entity I need in Oceania is Indonesia. Most all the rest are small islands or island groups.

In Asia, the biggest are India and China. I've actually only heard those countries a couple times each, and never strong.

And now with all of that, I will close the entry and rest my brain a bit. HI -30-

Tue Mar 07 2017 7:35PM - Often when I'm sitting at my rig, I think of things I want to mention in the diary, then promptly forget them when I get here to the computer. Hopefully no longer. I finally thought (remembered) to add a small notepad next to my log to jot down those thoughts. Then the only problem will be to read my scribbling when I get to the computer. HI.

Of course, it's now March 8 by UTC and that shoots my thoughts back to March 8, 1960. That's when I was newly interested in meteorology. I kept my temperature records then from a regular thermometer outside my bedroom window. That morning I saw my first ever below zero temperature. Up until then in a few months of records in 1959 and January and February 1960, the lowest I had seen was 6 above a couple of times and then 3 above on March 7. When I saw -2 that was quite exciting to this new meteorologist. I can't remember a lot of specific temperature and dates among my 58 or so years of records, but I'll never forget that one. The very next day then we bottomed out right at zero. I've written about March 1960 before as the whole month was memorable because it was colder on average than either January or February. That -2 stood as my all-time low temperature for the Month of March until, let's see...... 1986 when the low was -3 on ironically March 8 wiping out my March 8, 1960 record. A few years later in 1993 after the great blizzard, we hit -6 on March 15. That remains my March record although it was tied on March 6, 2015 when we again hit -6.

When I worked CO2YT on 20 meters at 0003Z that not only extended the streak, but also gave me 6 letters toward the completion of the March NAQCC Challenge. When I filled in the letters on my challenge paper, I noticed the remaining letters to get were I LOST. Hope that's not an omen. HI.

I put the last coat of polyurethane on my sundial early today then put it outside later in the day. I treasure that sundial because it was made with the help of a good friend who is now in a personal care home in poor health.

One other thing I did today was to give my computer corner a good cleaning. Then I opened up the computer itself and blew out quite a bit of dust it had collected over the winter months. Everything actually worked immediately after I put it all back together also. That was a relief. I always feel uneasy taking it apart for cleaning. -30-

Mon Mar 06 2017 7:31PM - Tonight it was 2 DX QSOs. One for the streak from HP3SS on 30, then a few minutes later RN5M/6Y5 on 30 for some letters for the March NAQCC Challenge, and maybe a new prefix in RN5. Let me check and see. Yes, that's new.

After a couple cooler days, we approached 60 again today. I see a high of 59 on my AcuRite remote unit. Some lite rain with it, but that's OK. Better than that other solid precipitation.

Not much else going on today. Well, I did finish my taxes for the year. That's the earliest I've gotten them done in a few years now.

I also put a couple more coats of polyurethane on my sundial and it should be ready to go outdoors soon. Probably the next day it isn't raining. -30-

Sun Mar 05 2017 7:43PM - I posted my Portable Operating page in the QRP section today. Not long after I did, I remembered a couple things I left out. Isn't that always the way it goes? So I'll be modifying it a bit in the next couple days as time permits.

While I wasn't as anxious to get my DX as I was last night, it again was nice to secure the streak for another day in the 0000Z hour. I worked XE1XR on 20 meters. Yes, 20 meters. As the hours of daylight grow longer, I've noticed some stations on 20 after the 0000Z hour. That should be improving more and more somewhat countering the results of the declining sunspot cycle. Of course it won't be like the evenings when the sun was really spotted, but every little bit helps.

I have been meaning to mention this, but I don't think I've done it yet. One, and maybe two of my pepper seeds finally sprouted. I say maybe two, because something sprouted right at the edge of the soil in the pot, and I didn't plant any seeds that close to the edge. Possibly it's an intruder of sorts or a pepper seed got washed out there when I was watering. I'll be able to tell better when it gets bigger. The tomatoes are growing, albeit slowly. Only lost one of the 8 seedlings that I planted, although one other one doesn't look all that strong.

I got the compressed air and polyurethane today. I mentioned that a couple diary entries back. I've got a couple coats of poly on the sundial already. I think I'll add one, maybe two more. Then sometime this week I'll open the computer and clean it. -30-

Sat Mar 04 2017 7:48PM - Just like last Saturday evening, I really wanted to get my DX QSO this evening. Last Sunday was the hamfest. This Sunday my neighbor and I are going up to the mall to pick up some things we both need. That will be during what seems to be the prime DX time in the mornings from 1300-1600Z or so. Anyway I worked, after some effort and a patient operator at the other end, another of the Spanish (Canary Islands) URT special event stations on 40 meters, so the streak is secured for another day.

You know (starting off like an athlete interview), many years ago I had a fairly cheap crystal controlled watch that had one great feature. You could minutely adjust the crystal frequency with I suppose a tiny variable capacitor to get it to keep perfect time. What reminded me of that was the little MFJ crystal controlled clock I won at the hamfest last Sunday. So far it doesn't keep perfect time although it is close gaining only about a second in a couple days now. There is no adjustment like that old watch. I will keep track of the time though and see if it continues to gain or levels out. I bought a clock at the Ol' Station Marketplace last year that tracks perfectly with WWV ever since I got it. It makes a great station clock except for one thing. Although it does have a 24 hour setting, it only covers the USA time zones with no provision for UTC. Well, one can't have everything, I guess. HI.

I've just about finished my page on portable operation and hope to post it here on the site within a couple days now. I think it may be interesting with discussions of my past portable operations along with a lot of helpful (I hope) suggestions for those who are just starting to do portable work. I'll be interested to have your comments via the guestbook or email when I do get it finished and posted. -30-

Fri Mar 03 2017 1:50PM - March s#$ws are not that bad. We had around an inch overnight and this morning and a lot of it has already melted even though the temperature is just at or below freezing. That's the wonderful heating power of the sun which is now some 20 degrees higher in the sky than back on December 22. In fact where it is shining on the streets and walks, they are drying out already. Wonderful. The only better thing would be to have no s#$w at all.

I'm working on adding a page to the web site, probably in the QRP section, about operating portable. In preparing for that, I'm trying to list all the times I've operated portable. So far I've found 55 instances distributed as follows:
Butler, PA -                             3
Chicora, PA -                            3
Kittanning Community Park -             29
Garretts Run (WY3H property) -           4
Manor Twp, PA (late cousin's property) - 1
Moraine Park -                           1
My front porch/yard -                    1
Skyview -                                4
USS Requin -                             9
I don't think that's complete, but it's close. I may find a couple other instances.

The folks I've operated with: KC2EGL, K3RLL, WB3FAE, WY3H, AB3RU, N3CU, W3IRS, KC3AHO

I'll stop here and leave the rest of the info for the new page. I hope to have it up within a month or so. I'd like to have it done before my QST article gets published. I still don't know when that will be, but it is being worked on at ARRL headquarters. -30-

Thu Mar 02 2017 7:48PM - For the first time in a while now, I may have to wait till morning or afternoon to get my DX streak QSO. The bands had little to offer this evening and what they did have to offer was in great demand. I didn't realize how much PZ was in demand, but PZ5K was booming in here with a pileup a couple kHz wide. I haven't checked the bands in the morning for a while now. I think the last time was on Presidents Day when Mike was here. They were pretty good then. I hope they will be tomorrow if I don't get someone later this evening.

Actually this was a day when little went well for me. I wanted to open up my computer as I do every few months to blow the dust out and clean the insides, but then I found my can of compressed air was just about empty and the store downtown where I could get some just went out of business. So that gets postponed till I can get a ride to Walmart. Then I was going to put a coat or two of polyurethane on my sundial before putting it outside after winter ended yesterday. However my can of poly was almost empty and dried out. So that will wait for the Walmart trip also since after walking to Jordan's Paints store downtown, I found out they no longer carry it there.

A few other little things went that way also, but I won't go into them here.

At least my regular streak QSO came quickly after just a few CQs on 80 meters when good friend John K4BAI answered me for a short chat before he had a net sked to go to. That's our QSO # 223 dating back to May 10, 1964. 188 of them in contest QSOs. He's way out in front on my contest QSOs Honor Roll. See the HR in my CONTESTING section. -30-

Snoopy dancing
Wed Mar 01 2017 9:48AM - The record setting month of February 2017.

Many records were set during February including but not limited to the following:

Highest average daily maximum temperature: 51.3
Highest average daily mean temperature: 40.2
Second highest daily minimum temperature: 29.1 (record 29.3 in 1998)
Lowest Heating Degree Days: 686
Highest daily maximum temperature: 80 (24th)
Highest daily mean temperature: 64 (24th)
Highest daily minimum temperature: 50 (23rd)
Fewest days with a minimum temperature of 32 or lower: 18
Fewest days with a minimum temperature of 0 or lower: 0 (ties many other Februarys)

Many individual daily records were set as follows:

Daily maximum temperature: 60 - 7th, 70 - 18th (tied 2011), 70 - 22nd, 80 - 24th
Highest minimum temperature: 39 - 12th, 46 - 22nd, 50 - 23rd, 47 - 17th
Highest mean temperature: 47 - 7th, 46 - 8th, 52 - 19th, 58 - 22nd, 60 - 23rd, 64 - 24th
Least daily temperature range: 6 - 16th
Mean temperature departure from normal: +18 - 7th, +22 - 19th, +27 - 22nd, +29 - 23rd, +32 - 24th (all time record for Feb and only bettered by +33 on March 6, 1961 and January 8, 2008)
Earliest in the year to hit each of the following - February 24th: 80, 79, 78, 77, 76, 75, 74, 73 (it was 72 on February 21, 1997)
Number of days with a high of 70 or more: 3 on the 18th - 70, 22nd - 70, 24th - 80 (ties 2000 with 3 also)
Number of days with a high of 60 or more: 9 including the above + 60 - 7th, 66 - 19th, 63 - 20th, 66 - 21st, 69 - 23rd, 62 - 28th
Consecutive days with a high of 60 or more: 7 from the 18th through the 24th
Greatest range of maximum to minimum record temperatures: 96 on February 24 (80 in 2017, -16 in 2015) - also a record range for a whole month breaking a record of 94 set in March with a low of -6 on March 15, 1993 and a high of 88 on March 23, 2012.

Quite impressive. As a contrast, let's look back two years now when I wrote this in the diary:

Sunday, March 01, 2015 8:36 PM - We wound up setting a lot of records in February this year. Remember I've been keeping weather records since starting in 1959, so there is a lot of data for February to be broken, and quite a lot was as follows:

Average low temperature: 7.6.
Average mean temperature: 19.7.
Absolute lowest temperature: -16 (20th, 24th).
Coldest so late in season:
-16 Feb 24
-15 Feb 24
-14 Feb 24
-13 Feb 24
-12 Feb 24
-11 Feb 24
-9 Feb 28
Daily mean: 0 (16th)
Number of days 0 or below: 10 (for all months including Jan)
Mean daily temperature range: 24.2
Heating Degree Days: 1262
Daily low: -13 (16th), -2 (19th), -16 (20th), -16 (24th), -9 (28th)
A total of 17 other daily records among the following categories:
Lowest daily maximum: 12 (15th), 13 (16th), 12 (19th)
Lowest daily mean: 5 (15t), 0 (16th), 5 (19th), 2 (20th), 13 (23rd), 8 (24th)
Greatest daily range: 48 (24th), 43 (28th)
Negative departure from normal: -24 (15th), -30, (16th), -25 (19th), -28 (20th), -18 (23rd), -24 (24th)

Brrrr! Let's move back to more pleasant things.

Just a couple record setting stats for the winter of 2016-2017:

Highest mean daily temperature: 36.1 breaking 2015-2016 when it was 35.6

Missed these by that much:

Highest daily minimum: 27.7 (record 28.0 in 1997-1998)
Highest daily maximum: 44.4 (shy of 44.9 in 2015-2016 and 44.8 in 2011-2012)
Lowest Heating degree days from July 2016 through February 2017: 3,409

For those not familiar with weather stats, Heating Degree Days are figured like this: Take the daily mean temperature and if it is less than 65, the difference between the mean and 65 is the HDD figure for that day. If the mean is greater than or equal to 65, the HDD figure is 0. That is a contrived stat that assumes with a mean lower than 65, some heating must be applied to one's house to keep it comfortable. The higher the HDD, the more heating is needed. Cooling Degree Days are just the opposite assuming cooling is needed when the mean is above 65. Supposedly those are important stats to the HVAC industry.

I think that's plenty to absorb for one day, so 73 till the next entry. -30-

Tue Feb 28 2017 7:16PM - The fifth year got off to a real jackrabbit start. A single call to PJ2/OE3GEA at 0004Z started things rolling. Wonder if I'll make it all the way through a fifth year?

This was a very busy day with a lot of end of the month business to take care of. Also I updated the DX streak story to include stats from the full four years now. I think I'll let that story be most of my diary entry for today. Just go to the QRP section - Streaks page and pick the story of the latest DX streak.

Otherwise, just a couple hours to go now till spring. The weather looks like it will be in sync also with a high of 68 tomorrow and maybe even some spring-like thunderstorms.

OK that's it for now. The next entry or two I'll deal with some stats about our record-setting mild winter. Oh, we had one more last 60 degree day for February today. -30-

Mon Feb 27 2017 7:06PM -


Yes, four years of working at least one DX (non-W/VE) station each day for 1,461 consecutive days is in the books as of working PJ7AA on 30 meters at 0001Z on February 28, 2017. The last day I didn't work any DX was February 28, 2013. I think that proves to any doubters that may be left that you CAN work DX each and every day even with a simple station of QRP, largely indoors antennas, a poor location in a river valley. One of the major keys (pun intended) in so doing is using the wonderful efficient mode of CW.

Do I intend to quit at four years? Nope, I'll go on just as long as I can find and work a DX station. I kind of expect the streak will end as we get closer and closer to the upcoming sunspot minimum, but who knows. I never tried anything like this before during a sunspot minimum. It hasn't been all that hard with the solar flux down in the 70s, and in a minimum it doesn't go lower than the 60s. It will be very interesting to find out. Of course it was a lot easier in the early part of the streak to work DX since we were then just starting to wind down from a sunspot maximum.

Another good thing comes to pass on February 28. That's the last day of meteorological winter. Of course March can still produce some winter-like weather. Most of us who lived in the Eastern USA remember the blizzard of 1993 called the storm of the century and many less complimentary names. However being in March all the 2 feet plus of s#$w was gone within just a few days. On March 15 in the wake of the storm we set an all time low temperature for March of 6 below. However the next day it hit a high of 55 degrees. That took care of a good deal of the s#$w.

There have been other extreme swings of temperature in March even exceeding our February swing last week from 80 to 27 in less than 48 hours. In March of 1995 we went from 74 on the 7th to 7 on the 10th, then back to 70 on the 12th. In March of 1986 it was -3 on the 8th and 75 on the 10th, a swing of 78 degrees in less than 60 hours. It's an interesting month for weather buffs. The key for winter haters though is bad weather doesn't last long once March is here. Well, maybe except for 1960. But that's a story I've told before.

With one full day left in February, it's virtually certain the winter of 2016-2017 will be the warmest of the 58 winters in my weather records going back to 1959. We might even have another 60 degree day to add to the others this month as the high for tomorrow is predicted to be right at 60 degrees. We were in the low 50s today. -30-

Sun Feb 26 2017 7:38PM - Only one more day now till my DX streak reaches 4 years. I worked 8P9AL a few minutes ago after trying to get him unsuccessfully the past couple of evenings. That was on 30 meters.

More interesting than that though was the rest of the day earlier. Of course all days are interesting and fun when Mike and I get together, and even more interesting when the getting together involves a hamfest and meeting other local hams who are members of our NAQCC Western PA Chapter. There will be a more complete story of the hamfest in the NAQCC March newsletter which will be out in about a week, so I'll just kind of gloss over that here. I would like to mention those who we ran into and show their pictures here.


L-R Bob KC3DOF Tom WB3FAE John K3WWP Mike KC2EGL Bob WC3O Jody K3JZD Drew W3FFZ.

Kevin KC3RN was also there but he seemed to have left before we got around to taking the picture(s). Jon AB3RU had to work and he couldn't make it.

Just one more thing about the hamfest. I actually won a drawing for a door prize grab bag. In it were a MFJ 24 hour clock, a MFJ catalog, a Yaesu mouse pad, a WASH organizer with a lot of good useful info included in it, and a Vectronics aircraft receiver kit that covers 118-136 MHz. The clock will be great to take on our parkpeditions. That's the first time I've ever won a door prize drawing of any kind anywhere. Also one of perhaps only a half dozen things I've won without earning them in my almost 72 years on the planet.

After the hamfest, Mike and I stopped at Chili's where I had a huge turkey club sandwich with onion rings and Mike had their endless soup and salad. Then we stopped at Walmart to check out some canopies for our NAQCC parkpeditions and other activities. Following that, Mike played a computer hidden object game. Then we watched a couple of NASCAR videos, specifically the horrendous wrecks of Michael Waltrip at Bristol, Bobby Allison at Talladega, and Cale Yarborough at Daytona. I can't comment on today's Daytona 500 in case Mike reads this because he is taping it to watch later in the week and doen't want to know how it turned out until he watches it on tape.

Well a lot yet to do today, although since it's been a long day, I might just postpone them until tomorrow. HI -30-

Sat Feb 25 2017 7:21PM - I'm all set for the WASH Hamfest tomorrow. No worries about my DX QSO since I worked EG8URT on 30 meters a few minutes ago. I had to repeat my call quite a few times, but I was determined to land him just like landing a big carp no matter how much he fights. Once I got him hooked, that was it. Thanks must go out to him though for sticking with me and not giving up right away like some DX stations do. Now just two days to go to complete 4 years or 1,461 days of the DX streak.

As of right now, it is 43 (ooops, 44 as I prepare to upload this diary page) degrees colder than it was about 28 hours ago. We might have hit 60 during last night though to add another 60 degree day to our February record. My AcuRite and Computemp units show a high of 59 somewhere around 2 or 3AM. I'll see what my shelter thermometer says when I get the 9PM reading. Actually when I was in my shack a few minutes ago, I saw a few s#$w flakes in the light from the streetlight across the street. So from summer back into winter, but maybe not for long. There are hints of a return to the 60s the middle of next week. It's also very windy right now so adding in the wind chill it might feel 60 degrees colder than yesterday.

Mike and I plan to head to the hamfest around 8AM. It should take about an hour to get there so we hope to arrive around 9AM if we don't get lost on the way which we often manage to do somehow. We'll probably stay as long as there is activity, then off to Chili's in the Pittsburgh Mills for a meal before heading back here perhaps to work some DX before Mike has to head north again. Maybe I can con him into ghost writing the diary entry tomorrow before he leaves. -30-

Fri Feb 24 2017 7:52PM - These are exciting times for sure. We SHATTERED our previous February high temperature today when my shelter thermometer nudged 80 degrees breaking the previous record of 74 set back in 2000. I guess that wasn't April in February, but June in February today. I'm not going to list all the potential records being set or having a chance to be set until February ends, then a day or two later I'll have a report here. Incidentally I appreciate those of you who express an interest in my divergent writing about things other than ham radio like the weather, sports, etc.

I did something today I haven't done for some time. I went out to my thermometer shelter several times to check on the progress of the rising temperature. Actually it pretty much matched my remote AcuRite readings, but I wanted to make sure.

There is one possible negative to this February heat wave. A lot of plants around town are sprouting. I hope we don't now have a below average March with some hard freezes to destroy them. Most, if not all, my 18 tulip plants have sprouted. Some bulbs have sent up multiple shoots. I'm trying to figure out now if I should let them out in the open or perhaps cover them with some mulch. I'll study that on the Internet.

I also took advantage of the warm weather to fix the railing on my back steps. It was becoming a bit shaky. It's solid now though. I also took a couple long walks. Of course I took Roscoe out, and even gave him a bonus walk to enjoy the weather. Then we sat on the porch swing for quite a while. I also sat on my porch rocking chair for a while. Just an absolutely superb day today.

I got my DX streak QSO out of the way this evening. I called several stations who were around S5 to S6 who didn't hear me at all until I called OM2VL on 40. He was also around S6 or so and I expected the same non-response, but he got my call on the first or second try surprising me. Another sign of approaching spring was hearing a Japanese station on 20 meters. He was only about S4 to S5, but still nice to hear him. If I remember right it was JH1GEX. -30-

Thu Feb 23 2017 7:40PM - Just missed 70 degrees by a hair today. I checked my main thermometer earlier in the day just to see if we got our 3rd 70 degree day this month to tie a record. The high today will go down as 69 degrees. Tomorrow is predicted to be 75 which if it happens will be the all time high for February in my 58 years of recording such things here. I said a few entries ago that this could be our warmest winter (Dec-Feb) of record if Feb averaged around 38.4 degrees. Including today so far it's 39.0. So unless that cold blast coming through on Sunday is really cold, we probably will have just had our warmest winter come Tuesday. Interesting times.

Mike stopped by late this morning to bring the kielbasa and pierogies. We visited about an hour making plans for the hamfest on Sunday. We also had fun looking back through my diary archives remembering some things we've done in the past such as our tag-team DXing and contesting. Also the weekend in April 2013 we entered 8 different contests and made QSOs in all but one of them - the Israeli contest. We've had a lot of good times since we met when he delivered a QSL card to me back in the early 2000s. Hopefully a lot more are still to come.

It's nail-biting time for my DX streak. Only 4 more days to reach the 4 year mark, and I'd really like to get that and then move on to 1,500 days in 43 more days. It may be rough on Sunday unless I get a quick QSO in the 0000 or 0100Z hours since I'll be away at the hamfest a good part of Sunday morning and afternoon. That's the weekend of the UBA CW contest so hopefully I can catch a Belgian station on 40 meters in the 0000Z hour. I think that's only the world working Belgium, so I can't work other countries. Let me make sure of that right now. No, I'm wrong, it's everyone working everyone, so that makes it a little easier, hopefully. -30-

Wed Feb 22 2017 5:01PM - April in February continues. 67 right now with a high of 70 on my AcuRite unit sometime earlier today. This lovely non-winter weather really buoys up my spirits as well as my body. I feel much more like taking longer walks when it is like this. Plus I have more energy for many other things I just don't feel like doing when the weather is like winter, even though those things don't involve going outside in the nasty weather.

I was doing a litte research on past Februarys to see how they compare to this one. There were several other of them that had such periods of warm weather in my 58 years of records here. Let me list some records and how they compare to this year.

1. There have been 9 Februarys with at least one day in the 70s including this one.

2. There have been 36 Februarys with at least one day of 60 degrees or higher including this one.

3. The most 70 degree days happened in 2000 with 3, then 1976 with 2. So far this year, we have two if my official thermometer matched the AcuRite reading and I'm pretty sure it will.

4. The most 70 degree days in a row was 3 in 2000. Only one in a row (twice) this year.

5. The most 60/70 degree days happened in 1976 with 8. So far this year it is 6 including today with two more expected tomorrow and Friday which would tie 1976.

6. The most 60/70 degrees days in a row was 6 in 1976 and 2000. This year 5 so far which we should break on Friday.

Whew, we're having quite a fantastically great near record February this year. And it's not even over yet.

Another thing that this nice weather fired me up for was our NAQCC sprint last. I was really into it with full vigor. That plus low noise on 80 got me 27 SPCs breaking my old record of 25. I came up short of a QSOs record though with 52 vs. my record of 56. That was really a lot of fun. Although I don't really get in the sprints to win, so far with 80+ logs in, no one else has a QSO total in the 50s. What is really important and pleasing to me is the great participation we get in our sprints. Since we first broke the 100 log mark in April 2010, we've only missed reaching 100+ logs in 6 months out of 80. That's pretty impressive, and hopefully we'll get 17 more logs this year before the Sunday deadline to make it one more month.

I forget if I mentioned it here in the diary or not, but my laptop battery was subject to a recall. Today I received the free replacement from HP after less than a week.

Mike and I will be getting together again twice in the next couple days. Tomorrow he's bringing me some kielbasa from the place in eastern PA he visits a couple times a year - Kowalonek's Kielbasa Shop in Shenandoah, PA. Then on Sunday we'll be attending our first hamfest of the year in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Hopefully we'll be meeting some NAQCC members there. -30-

Tue Feb 21 2017 11:15AM - I just finished my ARRL DX Contest story so that will stand as my diary entry for today. It's in the CONTESTING section Stories page - first link in the table there. I'd like to hear your comments if any. Thanks. -30-

Mon Feb 20 2017 6:25PM - A great day all around today. Great weather, a great visit with Mike, some work done on my contest report, etc.

Mike arrived a little past 9 this morning. We talked about various things, then I had to take Roscoe out for a walk. Some more talk and planning our trip to the hamfest near Pittsburgh on Sunday along with some other NAQCC WPA Chapter activities for this year. Then up to my shack to check on the bands. They turned out to be pretty good. We both worked EI11WAW on a single call, then Mike got C6AKQ on a single call. We heard some other DX, but didn't work anyone else.

Next it was off to Applebee's in the Pittsburgh Mills for a fish and chips, or in my case a fish and rings lunch. After that, it was over to Best Buy to look around, and wound up buying some things. We both got a new USB keyboard, Mike got a new mouse, and I got ink for my new printer and a 128 GB flash drive. Then we walked through the main mall just looking around. We headed back home and when we got here I installed my new keyboard, and right now I'm getting used to it. It has a different feel from the one I used for several years. The key caps are more square topped than the old one. Also for some reason I'm having positioning problems with the right shift key. My little finger just doesn't seem to hit it exactly as it should, but I'll adjust to that.

Next up, Mike played a hidden object on the computer before heading home to be up early in the morning.

I still have a long way to go on my story of my experience in the ARRL DX contest. I hope to get that done in a few days and get it posted here on the web site.

Also I have to send out the promo for our NAQCC sprint tomorrow evening which I'll do a little later tonight after I get on the bands for my streak QSOs.

Almost forget to post this picture:

Although it isn't the clearest picture since it was snapped in a hurry before he moved and with a screen window in the way, I'm sure you can tell it's a robin. The first one I've seen this year. And Mike and I were just talking about the robins showing up soon, and lo and behold this one must have heard us.

So I'll close for now. -30-

Sun Feb 19 2017 7:22PM - Lots of fun in the ARRL DX test. I spent a lot more time than I thought I would because I was enjoying myself. Conditions were spotty but overall not bad for a Solar Flux in the 70s. I'm going to write a contest story so I won't say much more about it here. I wound up with 214 QSOs from 120 multipliers. I'm pleased with that.

Right now I'm going to do my laundry since Mike is visiting tomorrow and I want to get that out of the way tonight.

No DX this evening after 0000Z. The bands suffered a sudden death as soon as the contest ended. But man were they busy, especially 40 meters the last hour. Well, I said no more about the contest, so that's it. -30-

Sat Feb 18 2017 7:40PM - I'm a little brain weary now even though I didn't put in all that much time in the ARRL DX test. Only 119 QSOs so far which actually beat my first goal of 100. Now I think I'll shoot for 200. I'm finding my endurance is not as great as it was when I was younger. I guess a lot of things fade with age. HI

I did try for (or at least look for) Asia on 40 and KL7 on 80 to complete 40M WAC and 80M WAS, but no luck so far. I did hear 4X4NJ fairly strong on 40 last evening, but couldn't break the pileup.

We hit 70 degrees on my AcuRite remote unit today. I enjoyed that via a pretty long walk during one of my several breaks from the DX test. Sure felt good to walk in just a short sleeve T shirt on February 18. If my main thermometer in the shelter also shows 70, that will be one of only a few 70(+) degrees days in my February records going back to 1959. I think I'll check on that and report in a couple days. -30-

Fri Feb 17 2017 10:34AM - One thing I've always tried to do with my web site is to keep all the URLs constant so that if anyone adds a page to their favorites, the link will always work despite the page content being changed (often quite a bit). The only real major change other than adding completely new pages came March 17, 2009 when Alltel became Windstream and every page URL changed. That change resulted in a big dropoff in site visitors as folks who didn't vist the site regularly weren't aware of the change despite my publicizing it well in advance and often.

Even when I added a second hosting service in k3wwp.com, I kept all the individual page URLs the same so that the only change to the URLs was from home.windstream.net to k3wwp.com. Even that wasn't really a change, since I also kept my Windstream site as pretty much an exact mirror site of k3wwp.com.

I mention that mainly because I just checked all the links on my QRP Rigs page and there were many changes in URLs there, and it wasn't all that long ago I checked things. Lesson to be learned - if you have a web site, try your best to keep all URLs constant.

I probably shouldn't say this, but it looks like Spring may be starting 12 days early this year. After today in the mid to upper 40s, the highs for at least the next 7 days will be in the 50s. It will be interesting to see how this winter compares to past mild winters after all my February stats are in after the 28th. Right now, the 2015-2016 winter is the mildest with a Dec-Jan mean of 35.6 or 6.3 above normal. The maximum was 44.9 or 7.1 above normal. The minimum was 26.4 or 5.5 above normal. So far this winter the Dec mean was 2.2 above normal. January 8.3 above. Roughly figuring, to make this the mildest winter February would have to be 8.5 above. Or going by actual average instead of departures, February would need a mean of 38.4. According to my AcuRite average which is my backup to my actual mercury in glass maximum - minimum thermometer, so far February's mean is only 34.0 so we will need those days in the 50s to have a chance for this to be our mildest winter. Time will tell. -30-

Thu Feb 16 2017 7:42PM - A quick DX fix these evening with a lot of stations doing prep work for the ARRL DX test coming up Saturday and Sunday. In fact two quick fixes. First I worked NP2/K4XU on 40, then heard CT9/DL5LYM and thinking I haven't had an African for my DX QSO for a while, I'd work him also and got a bit of a surprise when I got him with a single call. That was also on 40. So I would say barring something entirely unsuspected, the streak is secure for at least two more days with the DX test.

I'm continuing to tweak different things on the web site. There are some pages I haven't done anything with for a few years now. They don't really need any major changing, just as I say, tweaking here and there. I'm listing the tweaks in the What's New section on the main page. If there are only one or two minor tweaks, I don't list them. Anything more significant than that, I'll list.

After a cold night tonight with a low around 20, we've got about 7-8 days in a row with highs in the 50s. That is just so great, I can hardly stand it. HI. I wish every winter could be like this one from now on. -30-

Wed Feb 15 2017 5:55PM - As you know if you've looked at the new What's New section on the main page of my web site, I've been making quite a few changes lately. Some involve changing page names, adding pages, and changing some links to conform to those changes. If you see anything that doesn't work or look right, please let me know. In a site as complex as mine with some pages on different servers, it's not easy to keep everything straight.

I got my DX streak later last night when I worked C6AKQ on 80 meters. I think that's my first DX on 80 in a while outside of contests, perhaps. Let's see. I only have 185 QRP DX QSOs on 80 meters. The last one before last evening was S53A last November 17. Only 16 of the 185 have come outside of contests. Only 3 of those from Europe - YO3APJ, ON5GK, and S53A. I never checked that before. It's interesting and pretty much shows that while it's not too hard working DX on 80 in contests, it is somewhat hard otherwise.

The non-winter is continuing, and it is really appreciated. Looks like several days in the next week or so will have high temperatures in the 50s. I only hope we don't have a replay of 1960 when winter didn't really show up until March and hung around for three weeks with quite a bit of s--w and cold weather down to minus 2 F.

Just waiting around for 0000Z and hopefully getting my DX QSO this evening. I've been hearing stations setting up for the ARRL DX test. They are very strong, but with equally strong and large pileups. The pileups are apparently other contesters testing equipment since none of what I've been hearing is by any means rare - FG, FM, CT9 and the like. Maybe I can squeeze in my call and work one of them tonight.

Looking forward to a couple things coming up in the next couple weeks. A visit from Mike on Presidents Day, and going to my first hamfest of the year in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with Mike, Tom, Jody and maybe some other NAQCC WPA Chapter members. If the weather permits, that is. -30-

Tue Feb 14 2017 6:24PM - A busy day today from start till now. I won't mention the routine things. I cut my hair for one non-routine thing. At least not a daily routine thing, but something like a 4-6 week routine. I gave my bathroom a good cleaning. I did some shopping, getting some snacks for myself and a couple bags of snacks for Roscoe.

I've gotten a couple emails from HP lately about a possible defective battery in my laptop. I wasn't sure they were legit, so I went to the HP web site instead of responding to or clicking any links in the emails. Indeed it was legit. I downloaded a program from the site, and it checked my battery and reported it was one of the possibly defective ones that could overheat. There was a form to fill out to order a free replacement. I filled it out and got a confirmation email back from them saying they were sending the replacement and gave me a tracking number to track the package. You know, that worked out well, because the battery was getting old and not holding as much of a charge as it once did. In fact last year I was going to order a new one, but I couldn't find one locally, so I never did order one. Now I'll be getting one for free from HP. I have never gotten involved in any product recalls before that I can remember.

I also did a little more work on the web site. You can see what I did in the new What's New feature on the main page. As I'm typing this, I just realized I have one more thing to take care of which I'm going to do as soon as I close this entry. I made up a new poll today, actually a repeat of one I posted a few years ago, and I've got to get it up and running. I've got 25 minutes before streak time so I'll try to get it going before then.

Oh, I also replanted some more pepper seeds today, as neither the first nor second batches ever sprouted. This time I went back to some seeds from 2015 instead of last year. Maybe last year's were defective somehow. We'll see. -30-

Mon Feb 13 2017 4:24PM - My DX QSO for today came last evening when I worked OK1FFU on 40 meters. I was a bit surprised to get him as he wasn't all that strong, but he stuck with me through several repeats of my call.

I've added what I think is an important little feature to my web site. It's a What's New item on the main page of the site. There I'll list changes, additions, etc. to the web site. I often think that regular visitors to my site can't possibly read my mind to know what has changed unless I mention them in my diary. Then they get kind of lost as the diary grows and the change slips down the page. This way, they'll be listed right on the main page and pretty much stay intact there for a month or maybe two - however long I choose to let them stay. The number of site visitors has been falling off lately. Perhaps this will help the number to pick up again. Of course there are many more ham web sites now to be perused than when I started my site over 20 years ago. I'm sure that's another reason for the decline.

Perhaps restoring my guestbook will help also. That will provide a very easy way to contact me with any questions, comments, etc. I've already had 14 signers since restoring it a couple days ago. I'm very pleased with that and also pleased with how nicely it works. With the old guestbooks, I had to copy all the info into a local viewing page as that was the only way I could preview before posting anything with that guestbook. This one, after I get an email notification of a new signing, all I need to do is read the item, then click a link on the guestbook site to approve or reject the post. If I approve, it is posted verbatim immediately.

We had a bit of s#$w during the night, but most of it melted during the day today. We're getting to that time of year when the sun is high enough in the sky that its ability to heat the ground is becoming more and more effective, even though the actual air temperature is not all that far above freezing. It seems that point is reached just about this time every year and s#$w that comes now, unless there is a lot of it, gets the you're not welcome message. In March it's even better. I remember in the blizzard of 1993, some two feet of s#$w was gone in a matter of a few days.

New readers of the diary may wonder why I use s#$w when I mention that white stuff. Well, to me s#$w is one of the more obscene four letter words and I do not want any obscenities in my diary or anywhere on my web site.

OK, I think I'll do some work on my streak stories now. And you'll see an item in the What's New section when I finish the work.

One final thing. I heard from Steve WB8IMY about the article for QST he requested I write. To paraphrase what he said, he has asked an assistant to send me a release form and he will get it into the QST schedule. I'll also get a .pdf preview file of it before they go to press. No info yet on which issue it will be in. Anyway I'm excited about it. I must have read it over around 50 times until finally I read it through without making any more changes and then submitted it. Thanks to Mike KC2EGL and Tom WB3FAE for looking it over and making a couple suggestions. -30-

Sun Feb 12 2017 4:05PM - I've just finished revising my streak stories I alluded to in the diary entry yesterday. I've got a separate page for each one of the different streaks - past and ongoing. All the navigation setup is complete. Each individual story is linked to a QSL Stories page in the QRP section. Some of the stories are pretty bareboned right now, and I'll have to flesh them out. That will come with time.

That work took up a good part of the day, although I did manage a shopping trip. Couldn't resist going for a walk in the 50 degree weather which really cleaned up the ugly messy s#$w with the help of a couple rain showers and some wind. -30-

Sat Feb 11 2017 4:28PM - Oh what a beautiful day. A high of 53 and every time I look out a window there is less s#$w left on the ground from our 5 inches or so a couple days ago. With rain tonight and tomorrow and mid-50s temperatures that should quickly dispatch what remains.

Still tweaking things of my web site. Found one page that still referred to a link in the left column from the days before I switched the site navigation from left column to the top of a page.

I'm also thinking about devoting separate pages to descriptions of eight different streaks I've had over the years instead of having them all on just two pages. That's well in the future although I have listed the eight streaks on the QRP Streaks page in the QRP section.

I also submitted some endorsements to my NAQCC awards to our NAQCC awards manager John KK1X.

Another thing I did today being a busy little beaver was submitting my QST article and pictures to Steve WB8IMY. I would guess I have a good chance at having it published since he requested the article from me. It wasn't just something I submitted on my own in hopes of having it published.

I didn't have to worry about my DX streak QSO during the day today since I worked FG/F5PGA (wonder if he's a pro golfer? HI) last evening in the 0000Z hour on 40 meters.

I hate to say this for fear of a jinx, but the next couple weeks before and after the ARRL DX contest may make the DX streak QSOs a little easier to get. Stations will be testing setups the first week and just hanging out after the contest the following week getting some relaxing type QSOs. I'm really hoping to make it through February to reach the 4 year mark on the 28th. -30-

Fri Feb 10 2017 3:12PM - Tale of the missing QSO II. Back on January 27 I wrote about how VA1MM was missing from my logs. Well, here's another tale of a missing QSO with the same happy ending. With the NAQCC QRPp challenge this month, I've been researching some of my QRPp history. I remembered several years ago, I had a QRPp streak of at least one full year. So I went through my computer log filtering it for 1 watt or less QSOs. Aha, here are a lot of consecutive dates with such QSOs. Let's see the time span. OK, it starts on May 1, 2010. When does it end? May 2011 - still going. Jun 2011 - 30 days. Oh, here it is - nothing between July 21 and 31, 2011. So I pulled out the first mW QSO of the day from May 1, 2010 to July 21, 2011 from Access into Excel and glanced through the list. Hmmm, nothing for June 17, 2010, so I then counted QSOs for each month. The very next month July 2010 had only 30 QSOs. All the rest through July 2011 are OK. So off to my filing cabinet and my paper logs for 2010 after seeing I had a QSO with K4UK on June 17, and one with WB2YRL on July 25 in the computer, but both listed as 5 watts. However the paper logs definitely show the K4UK QSO was made with 930 mW which was the power I used for QRPp then with an RF attenuator and the TS480SAT. Why that figure? Those were the only resistors I had on hand to make an attenuator. OK, that's solved. Force of habit made me log the QSO at 5 watts instead of the correct .93 watts.

That wasn't a missing QSO though. So here (a la the late Paul Harvey) is the rest of the story. WB2YRL showed up in the paper log right at the bottom of a page, but it was definitely a 5 watt QSO. Let's turn the page. OK, there was another QSO on July 25. It was WA9JTU and definitely at .93 watts. Almost the same ending except this QSO was in my paper log, but not in the computer log. Oh, I never checked yet to see if it is in my on line log. I may have to add it there. Let's see. Nope, not there either. I'll have to add it, and also do some adjusting of my QSO stats. I hate getting older and more forgetful or maybe just more careless about things.

For a while today, it looked like the DX streak was in peril. I was only hearing a couple very weak DX stations in the 1300 and 1400Z hours. TI7/W1VE was the strongest, but he'd go from about S6 down into my S2-3 noise repeatedly. I gave up trying him because I couldn't tell if he would come back to me or not. Finally in the 1500Z hour I found XE3ARV on 17M and remembered that he has worked me before when conditions were poor. He was only about S5 with some S6 peaks. Anyway I tried him and after he worked one or two other stations, it was my turn after a K3? from him. A couple repeats of my call and another day is secure in the DX streak. -30-

Thu Feb 09 2017 9:27AM - It's so so depressing. About 4 ugly inches of s#@w overnight. That's all I'll say about it. Let's move on to some pleasant uplifting things.

I finished the NAQCC February QRPp challenge last night when I worked C6ARU and VE2MF. Actually C6ARU was a triple threat - daily QSO, DX QSO, and QRPp QSO. I got my money's worth from that QSO.

Here are the 15 stations I worked for the challenge - P40LE* WA2DRG VO2NS* KP4JRS* W5CBT* KP2M* K1ARR PV8ADI* N4KS/MM* P49X* N9PR CO8LY* PJ2/KB7Q* C6ARU VE2MF.

Those marked with an asterisk qualify as 1,000 MPW QSOs. I'm not sure about C6ARU as he is almost exactly 1,000 miles according to QRZ. I'll have to do some further checking.

I found some new QRPp band countries among the 15 - PV8ADI 40, KP2M 40, PJ2/KB7Q 30. I need to concentrate more on adding QRPp countries. I often work someone easily with 5 watts, then think darn it, I should have tried him with QRPp. I could easily be over 100 QRPp countries if I thought more about it. Maybe I'll do that in the upcoming ARRL DX test. With conditions as they are, I don't think I'll put in all that much time in the contest especially if I sense a lot of folks are having too much trouble copying me. I hate to slow them down like that just for my selfish purposes.

I'm getting a couple guestbook entries a day since installing the new guestbook. It's working as smooth as silk. I think I have it tweaked to just where I want it now. Hope to see an entry from you there soon.

Well, just about time for Roscoe's first walk of the day. -30-

Wed Feb 08 2017 10:07AM - Thanks to the six of you who signed the new guestbook. Everything is going smoothly with it. Those who left an email in the entry (it's optional), I replied to.

I got three more QRPp QSOs yesterday and last night. Two were DX (CO8LY and PJ2/KLB7Q). That leaves two more to go. I think I'll try to finish it out today.

It looks like some of the ugly white stuff is on tap tonight. The only good thing about it is that it's coming at this time of winter. Much better than coming earlier and lasting forever. It's supposed to be in the 50s this weekend, so hopefully that will deal a death blow to most of it.

I'm continuing to do some more tweaking of the web site. Yesterday I made some navigation changes in the DX and QSL sections to keep them a little more independent of each other. Today I'll look to see if there is anything else I'd like to tweak. -30-

Tue Feb 07 2017 9:30AM - I'm just waiting here for the rain to stop. Isn't it great to have rain in February instead of that ugly white stuff! When it does stop, I'll take Roscoe out, then we're taking him to the vet for a toenail trimming.

Meanwhile I thought I'd write my diary entry. I got two more QRPp QSOs this morning, one a /MM and the other a DX. Both over 1,000 miles. That makes 10 down and 5 to go to master the NAQCC QRPp challenge. 8 of the 10 have been over 1,000 miles (1,024 to 2,876).

I'm still awaiting some more entries in my new guestbook. It seems to be working fine, but there still might be some bugs. I'll need more entries to be sure. I added a couple of graphics to replace the simple text navigation instructions. I think that will make it clearer as to how to get around in the book. So even if you just say hello, I hope you'll give it a try.

I've also been updating some other features on the web site. I found some things that I haven't updated since 2014 now. Especially my info on QSLing in the QSL section of the site. I'll be checking out some more things today after we get Roscoe taken care of.

OK, time to get going now. -30-

Mon Feb 06 2017 9:35AM - I got my DX last night working PV8ADI on 40M, this time with just 1 watt which also made my 8th QRPp QSO for the NAQCC challenge. Just 7 to go now to master the challenge. 6 of the 8 so far are over 1,000 miles for 1000+ MPW QSO's.

Wasn't that a great Super Bowl. I wish I'd had more interest in it and had watched it. It's nice to see another team with 5 SB wins now. I hope one of them ties the Steeler's 6 next year. I'm tired of all the local gloating about the Steelers. At least now there is a team with more SB appearences in the Pats - 9 vs. 8. If there isn't a team with a chance to get their 6th win, of course I'll be rooting for my Raiders. If they can keep a healthy team next year, I think they have a good chance.

OK, on now to my new guestbook. After having trouble with the captcha because of the difficulty of telling some lower case letters from their upper case equivalent, I simply eliminated that feature. This guestbook from Guestbook Central is very customizable for a free guestbook. Wish I'd found it long ago. I also added an email field so I can contact the signers if need be, or just to thank them directly for signing. More in a couple minutes after I take Roscoe out for his first walk of the day. QRX.

OK, back now. Where was I? I also changed the background color of the guestbook to match the rest of my site. I added my logo to the guestbook page also. There are still some more tweaks I'm thinking about to enhance the layout a bit.

Meanwhile thanks to Mark W4MMR for testing the guestbook and including some very nice comments in the posting. Everything went smoothly with his post and several test posts I made (and subsequently deleted). If you have any comments or suggestions about the guestbook, simply sign the guestbook and leave them there. Thanks. -30-

Sun Feb 05 2017 12:43PM - After getting my DX QSO from a single call to ZF2LC on 17 meters, I've spent the last hour doing something I've been putting off for a couple months now.

I've installed a new guestbook so you can return to submitting your previous great comments easily. Just click the "Sign Guestbook" link above where you'll find options to sign or view the new guestbook, or view entries from previous guestbooks. I hope you'll at least try to sign it to help me work out any bugs. Your entry won't appear in the guestbook until I approve it. That plus using a captcha are attempts to prevent the spam flooding that forced me to close the previous guestbook. I may decide to omit the captcha if I feel it is not really necessary.

Right now, it's pretty bare-bones looking. After ironing out any bugs that may pop up, I'll do some "re-modeling".

That's it for this entry. Now I may try to get a couple mW QSOs for the NAQCC monthly challenge. Hope your team wins the Super Bowl. I don't have any preferences since quarterback injuries prevented my Raiders from getting there. -30-

Sat Feb 04 2017 8:08PM - Two stones - No birds. Or something like that. I didn't get either a mW or a DX QSO this evening. I did work Roger KF8DA on 80 meters though for the main streak QSO.

How about some pictures to save me 3,000 words. The first one shows the progress of my tomatoes (left) vs. the non-progress of my pepper plants (right).

Next the progress of the sun spot on my wall. On December 21 when the sun is at its lowest elevation, the spot (left arrow) is at its highest on the wall. Today a few minutes later than when this picture was taken, the spot crossed the line at the right arrow. In only a couple more days, the spot will be below the chart. A neat way to watch the progress of the sun as spring approaches and it gets higher in the sky providing more warmth as the days go by.
Sun Spot

Here is what the view out my kitchen window looked like on most of the days this winter. No s#$w in sight. Ain't it great!
No Snow


Fri Feb 03 2017 7:24PM - One stone - Two birds. I worked KP2M on 40 at 0003Z with 1 watt. Even beat out a couple other stations I heard calling in the background. The two birds if you haven't figured them out yet? Of course my DX streak QSO and also my NAQCC QRPp challenge QSO #6 for the month. Later I worked #7 in K1ARR and earlier today on 20 it was #5 from W5CBT. We had a nice rag chew QSO till his XYL called him for something. I guess QRPp does work even with the sunspot cycle on the decline. As if I didn't know that already. HI

I don't honor s#$w by keeping s#$wfall amounts as part of my weather records, but I would say this is one of our least s#$wy winters in a good long while. The vast overwhelming number of days this winter season have seen bare ground, and that delights me. Let's hope the next 25 days till spring remain the same, and then that we don't have any early spring s#$ws after that.

I still can't figure why my pepper seeds haven't sprouted yet. I think I am going to have to do some re-seeding of them. All 8 tomato plants are coming along nicely although one is very tiny still. Hopefully I'll have tomatoes before June this year. I didn't make it last year although I did have my earliest ever peppers then. -30-

Thu Feb 02 2017 6:05PM - Sometimes I'm sure I don't know what I'm talking about. I said this month's NAQCC QRPp challenge was going to be tough, especially with the provision that 2 of the 15 QRPp QSOs required to master the challenge must be DX QSOs. Well, from yesterday and last evening I already have 4 of the 15 QSOs including 3 DX QSOs. Actually the challenge accepts Canada as DX which I don't. So I really have 2 true DX, 1 VE, and 1 W stations.

I did try a couple times today to add some QRPp QSOs, but didn't have any luck so far. Still I should be able to get 11 more to completely master the challenge.

When I worked KP4JRS last night as the last of the three DX QSOs, I was so intent on getting the QSO for the challenge it didn't dawn on me for a minute or two that was also my DX streak QSO for the day.

It sure is nice to follow the progress of winter into spring. As I write this, the sky is not completely dark yet. Also another sign is the rising of Sirius earlier and earlier. Tonight it rose right at 6PM and the sky was fairly bright still. It's also nice to see the sun higher in the sky each day now. Actually around here it's just nice to see the sun - period - with all the clouds we have during winter.

I can understand how the ancients valued these and similar signs as they left the dread and cold of winter and moved on to spring.

Actually this has been a pretty good winter so far. I was thinking about s#$w cover today. I don't think we had more than 1-2 inches on the ground so far. It's been very well behaved and not overstaying its "welcome". I've had many the occasion of watching it melt away this winter. -30-

Wed Feb 01 2017 8:50AM - I used a new source for my DX QSOs this morning - the CWOps CWT mini-test. I wasn't sure non-members could enter those or not. I checked the rules and easily worked IK0YVV with a single call to start another month of the DX streak.

The NAQCC challenge this month is going to really be a challenge. It's making 15 QRPp QSOs that include at least 2 DX QSOs. With the sunspots decreasing rapidly and good conditions along with them, it's becoming harder making QSOs even with 5 watts. Not impossible by any means, but it does take more time now. Also no contest QSOs are allowed so that makes it doubly tricky. I will give it a shot though. At least I'll be able to make one such QSO to get my participation point and keep my record of never missing one of our challenges.

I wound up doing my weather records last night and January was indeed well above normal. Not a record, but the mean daily temperature was 8.3 degrees above normal at 35.3 degrees. In fact that happens to be higher than the normal maximum daily temperature of 35.1 degrees. The record daily mean? 36.8 in 2006.

Right now we just had a brief s#$w flurry that put a light ugly white coating on the ground. It's 35 degrees though, so it may not last. I see drops coming off my porch awning as I type, in fact. Now I need to decide if I want to do my banking walk or not. -30-

Tue Jan 31 2017 8:47PM - Back to normal this evening - no DX. So guess what I'll be doing in the morning or afternoon.

I just got finished writing checks and doing some other end of the month things so my head is swimming with figures. I've got just about all the EOM stuff taken care of except entering the January weather into the computer. I suspect the month will turn out quite a bit above normal, at least if gas consumption is any indication. If I read my meter correctly (it was fogged up a bit), my usage was around 75% that of January 2016. We'll see later tonight or tomorrow.

Also tomorrow morning, it will be off to the bank and a couple other places to pay some bills.

It was a nice day today. We woke up to some s#$w, but then it warmed to the upper 30s and changed to rain. Now most of the inch or so ugly white stuff is gone, thank goodness. -30-

Mon Jan 30 2017 8:15PM - Strange conditions this evening, or perhaps it should be said conditions that may become more typical as we move down toward the sunspot minimum. When I went to the shack at the usual time of 0000Z and tuned around a bit, I found PJ2ND strong (peaking S9+) on 30 meters. I tried a few times but always lost out to someone else. Then he faded right down into my S4-5 noise level rapidly and stayed there at least for a few minutes after which I gave up and went down to 80 to find a W/VE QSO for the main streak.

After I had a long visit with NJ8D from Homer, Michigan, I went back to 30 to see if any other DX stations were there. Lo and behold PJ2ND was still at the same spot. He wasn't as strong as originally - perhaps peaking s7-8 now. I worked him easily then with a couple repeats.

I'm glad I got my DX this evening since tomorrow will be a busy day with all my usual end of the month work to take care of. Also we're taking Roscoe to get his nails trimmed and that will be early in the morning near the time when I've been getting a lot of my DX lately.

Anyway now the DX streak has passed another month and if I can make it last through February, a QSO on the 28th will complete four full years of daily DX QSOs. Whew!

Since I won't be getting on the air again today, I'm going to now upload my January QSOs to LoTW and eQSL as I do at the end of each month.

Oh, I had a question about my "Spring" countdown above about whether it was correct. In case anyone else wonders, the countdown is to the beginning of meteorological spring which starts on March 1. The meteorological seasons don't go by the position of the Sun, but by weather. To explain simply and quickly, each season is three months long. Winter the coldest three months of Dec, Jan, Feb, summer the warmest months of Jun, Jul, Aug. Then spring and fall fit in between. I hope that's clear. I think that makes more sense than going by sun position and it's easier to remember to boot. -30-

Sun Jan 29 2017 7:17PM - A somewhat strange QSO this evening. Well, that's not really the right term. I got on 40M, heard this station at high speed working a couple USA stations. He was pretty much down in my noise and I couldn't catch his call, but I called and worked him anyway. Work 'em and then figure out who you worked is what I do now and then. I listened to see who my DX station was. Darn it, it was VO2NS, not DX. Anyway that was my main streak QSO for the day. I'll have to get my DX in the morning or afternoon.

This morning it was pretty easy working F6KRK as the REF contest was winding down. I tried an earlier F station who wasn't hearing me. F6KRK got me after just a couple tries though. I also heard a strong FR station, but he was S&P and then disappeared so no chance to work what would have been a new country.

Time now to finalize the results from our January NAQCC sprint. -30-

Sat Jan 28 2017 9:07AM - Note the new format of the date stamp. I'm using a new HTML editor Komodo Edit and I'm still learning some of its features. One of them is Snippets for inserting portions of code into a page. I understand them pretty well except for some of the date formatting features. I'll get them though and maybe go back to my old style date stamp.

Inserting the breaks and line feed was the first snippet I wrote. That was very straightforward and simple as it didn't involve accessing an environment variable.

I went to the shack just after getting dressed to get my DX QSO. I know the REF contest is this weekend, but I didn't even have to use that. I heard Wolf DF2PY ending a QSO with someone and tailended him when I was sure he was done and not in the contest. It took but a single call and we had a bit of a chat about my QRP setup. I always follow the lead of the DX station and keep my QSO format the same as his. He mentioned his rig - KW to a 6 element beam - so I mentioned my setup then he asked some questions about it like how high my dipole was. It's always nice to go beyond a simple TU 599 type QSO. He gave me a 569 and copied everything I sent except one word he asked for a repeat on. Of course the 6 element beam amplifies not only his transmit signal, but the signal he is receiving as well. I don't know if there is an actual term for received ERP, but my 5 watts transmit ERP would act like more at his end. I don't know how much gain a 6 element beam has, but as an example, if it was 13 dB, my five watts would act like 100 or so watts.

Anyway, the DX streak is secure for another day thanks to Wolf. The white stuff is on the ground here so except to walk Roscoe, I won't be stepping outside the confines of my house today. I guess I'll do some more work on the QST article and some more analysis of my streaks. -30-

Friday, January 27, 2017 9:20AM - This story is too good to wait to share it.

A tale of the missing QSO. While working on the QST article, I was compiling some stats about the first QSO of every day in the streak. Horrors! In checking the compilation in Microsoft Excel, I found only 8,211 days instead of 8,212. I quickly used the Excel counting feature to count the QSOs for each year. When I got to 2008, it showed only 365 days instead of 366. I then counted each month of 2008. January 31, February 29......October 31, November 30. So far, so good. Must be December. Yes, only 30 days there. Now which one is missing. It's December 27. OK, back through my Access log to see if something got miscopied from Access to Excel. No, there is indeed nothing for December 27. Well, on to my paper logs for 2008. Nothing there for December 27, but two for December 26. However the second one was a tail end QSO, so both were December 26. Hmmmmm, did I really not make a QSO for that day. How about my on-line log. Nothing there. Any mention of that in my diary entry for that date and the day after. Nope. Think, think, think. Bright light appears over my head as in the comic strips. Could that be the day of the RAC Winter contest and I didn't transfer my paper notes to any of my logs. Let's search the Internet for RAC Winter Contest 2008. Aha, the date was December 27 that year. OK, where do I go from here. I have a notebook with many contests in it when I logged on paper and not with GenLog. Up to the shack for the notebook. Down here to the computer. Now here's something worth perhaps some Twilight Zone music. The notebook has 180 pages. Know what's coming? Yep, I opened it first try right to that contest and there was the missing QSO with VA1MM on 80 meters. The only contact I made in the contest, apparently using it just for the streak. Heart beating again now. The streak is indeed continuous. I'm glad I never threw away those contest notes. Now to correct the logs and some other stats.

So far no DX today and the bands didn't sound all that good when I checked a little while ago. I'd sure hate to have the DX streak end with the QST article coming up. Well, there are still 10 or so hours to go. The ugly white stuff is falling so a good day to stay indoors and check the bands often. -30-

Thursday, January 26, 2017 7:46PM - The ham population must be starved for DX with the sunspots soon to vanish completely. Even common stations from P4, HI, YV and the like had huge unbreakable pileups this evening. So no DX for me till the morning or afternoon, I guess.

I spent some time today working on the article for QST that I mentioned in yesterday's diary entry. It's hard to squeeze so much info into the 1300-1500 words frame I've been alloted. Just a lot of writing, re-writing, re-writing....... to get it just right. I've got most of February yet to work on it.

Oh, last night I worked an old standby whom I haven't heard in a while for my DX. I'm speaking of CO8LY. I worry about him a bit when I don't hear him for a while. At times, he seems to be on the air constantly. I've worked him 53 times now, but only a couple times on 40 where I worked him last night.

Still no pepper seeds sprouting, but several of the tomatoes are starting to develop their first true leaves now. -30-

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 9:10AM - I'm still kicking myself about the 160M sprint last night. I made some other arrangements and wound up planning to just operate the first half hour to get a QSO or two. Well, I stuck to the plan, but..... When I got on, I found conditions to be great and more surprisingly, my noise level only S5. In the half hour I wound up with 11 QSOs in 9 SPCs. That would project out to about 40 QSOs had I stayed the full 2 hours. Several participants did wind up with totals in the 30s to the upper 40s. Oh well, next year I'll be a year older and maybe wiser.

At least the DX streak continued a few minutes ago. Thanks to one large sunspot and a SF in the 80s, 17 meters was nicely open this morning and I easily worked Luca IK3VUT for day # 1,427.

To make up for my disappointment from the 160M sprint, yesterday I got an email from Steve WB8IMY, Editor-in-Chief of QST magazine asking if I would write an article for QST about my streaks. If you ask a duck if he would take a swim, you wouldn't get a quicker answer than mine to Steve. I plan to put the article together during the upcoming wintry February and get it off to him by the end of February. I think that would schedule it for publication in the May issue of QST according to my unofficial guess. -30-

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 7:38PM - Our NAQCC 160M sprint is this evening. Right now, I plan to operate just the first hour, then quit. 160 is not my best band with a high local noise level. However I just checked the band a little bit ago and there were quite a few signals there, but probably from QRO stations, not QRP. 80 was good. I saw a lot of big peaks on the PX3 on that band, and got a quick QSO from Jim K2ZF. As usual of late though, no DX in the evening.

All 8 of my tomato seeds have now sprouted. Here's a picture, then I'll close this entry for tonight and get ready for the sprint.

tomato plants

The bottom two cups are the tomatoes. It's hard to see the tomato plant in the upper right of the left cup, but it's there with its little seed leaves open. Still nothing from the pepper seeds in the other two cups. Maybe I'll have to replant them. We'll see. -30-

Monday, January 23, 2017 7:16PM - I got a shock when I got up from my shack chair after getting my main streak QSO from VE100VIMY/VE4. When I turned and looked out the window, I saw this ugly white fluffy stuff falling from the sky. Much much worse than the rain we had most of the day. I hope the white stuff realizes it is not welcome and leaves quickly.

It was nice to work the VE100VIMY station from a different province. The only problem is that the 13 characters in the call are too long to fit in the callsign field of my Access log. I'm not going to change the length of the field to accomodate that one call. I'll just note in the comments field of the log that it was /VE4 this time. You know I can't recall the last time I've worked Manitoba. I bet it's over a couple years now. I'm curious, so I'll look. Yep, JUST over a couple years. I worked VE4GV on December 14, 2014 and on July 1, 2014 - the two RAC contests for that year. Before that VE4WI on November 19, 2011. So I don't work Manitoba much here or at least recently. I have 115 QSOs overall with the province.

It was another old faithful station that gave me my DX this morning, and it was an easy QSO as it is most of the time with Mike F5IN on 20 meters. That's two days in a row with a European DX station. That could be helped by a solar flux in the mid-upper 80s those days.

Updating my plants. 7 of the 8 tomato sprouts are coming along nicely. The previously seedbound one broke out quickly this morning when I watered it and the others. Still one seed that hasn't sprouted yet and probably won't. None of the 8 pepper seeds show any hurry to sprout for whatever reason. -30-

Sunday, January 22, 2017 12:26PM - So far today the high is 65 as the wonderful spell of weather continues. I think I'll go out for a walk after I finish writing this.

Niko S53A was my DX QSO earlier today. That was on 20 meters where we even chatted a bit. It's not as warm in the mountains of Slovenia. Niko said the lows have been around -20C and the highs only -7C. Brrr!

I'm writing this early because this evening I hope to finish cross-checking our NAQCC sprint logs. I like to get that finished as soon after the submission deadline of Sunday at 2400Z as possible. No need to keep everyone waiting for the final results. With my Microsoft Excel cross-checking program that I wrote, it doesn't really take that long to handle our usual 100 to 150 logs containing around 2,000 QSOs. I'd love to see if it still as quick with 200-300 logs and 4,000-5,000 QSOs, but I don't know if we'll ever hit those figures.

This week is our annual NAQCC 160M sprint as sort of a warm-up for the CQ 160M contest next weekend. 160 should be pretty good now with the sunspot cycle approaching a minimum in a couple years or so. -30-

Saturday, January 21, 2017 7:39PM - Remember I was talking about my old weather records going back to 1959 and how January 21, 1959 held the January high temperature record of 59 for quite a while. Until today, it was also the longest lasting record for any day - 58 years. Well, no longer. We shattered it today with a high of 67 according to my AcuRite remote. Of course the 'official' high will be gotten a little later at 9PM, but it should be within a degree of that. Well, actually I am wrong. There is one record that is a little older. On January 13, 1959, the least daily temperature range was 3 degrees which still stands and will stand another year at least. And delving a bit further into my records, there were also other records set on January 21, 1959 - Highest Minimum 42. Highest Average 51. Departure from normal +22. The highest minimum will still stand. The other two will be broken.

Still another sign of how conditions are deteriorating showed up tonight. S52AW was pretty strong on 40, but couldn't hear me at all. Usually when he is at that level, I can work him pretty easily. I did something today I don't like to do. I worked XE1XR on 20 meters after working him there just three days ago. However there was an extenuating circumstance. He was kind of lost in the HA DX contest and not getting any answers. If someone goes begging for calls, I don't really mind giving them another QSO to at least let them know they are getting out.

My tomatoes continue to do well. I now have 7 of the 8 seeds sprouted with one of them seedbound but looking like it might break out. Still no pepper seeds sprouted though. I just looked back in the diary archives and I see I'm about 10 days late this year with the tomatoes. However they developed slowly last year. Hopefully they will develop faster this year. -30-

Friday, January 20, 2017 (Inauguration Day) 7:29PM - A great day today. Great weather although a little rainy. Still no s#$w on the ground and temperatures in the 40s. There is a hint of a change coming as January winds down though. But at least spring continues to draw nearer as you see from the countdown above.

My DX again came early this morning in the 1300Z hour when I worked XE1IM to eke out another day in the DX streak. I wonder how many more there will be before that day comes when there is no one strong enough to work. I heard 3 European stations on 40 this evening, but all very weak.

A couple more tomato seeds sprouted today for a total of five. Two have their seed leaves nicely opened. Hopefully I won't get any seedbound sprouts this year. I soaked both the tomato and pepper seeds before planting them. Maybe that will help. No pepper seeds have sprouted yet.

I set up a grow lamp to give the new sprouts some light now that they are out of the ground. I have it on a timer to match sunrise and sunset and I'll slowly increase the amount of light as daylight gets longer each day now. We now have 28 more minutes of daylight today compared to December 21. The sun sets a full half hour later than the earliest sunset at 4:50PM on December 7. Some very encouraging stats. -30-

Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:23PM - My first tomato seed sprouted sometime early this morning. Here's a picture with an arrow pointing at the tiny sprout.

Tomato sprout

Later in the day, it had opened up its two seed leaves and one other seed sprouted. So hopefully things are on their way.

My fourth straight very good NAQCC sprint last night. Actually even better than the previous three. I hit the 50 QSO mark and 24 SPCs is my second highest total. Conditions weren't quite as good as the previous three sprints, but I think greater activity made up for it. I simply called CQ the whole two hours on the same frequency 3559.3 and even had a few minor pileups now and then. Really a lot of fun when things go well like that. My noise was only S6 most of the time, but now and then a several seconds long burst of S9 noise came along usually at the most inopportune times when I was trying to copy some weak signal. Still I think I did manage to work everyone who called, or at least 99 percent. As with the previous three good sprints, it seemed I had a 'white hole' here in Kittanning. Anyway a large portion of stations reporting so far complained or commented on poor conditions. So far only John K4BAI and I are the only ones with 50 QSOs. There are only a handful of others with QSO totals in the 40s.

Another good thing last night was a quick DX QSO so I could devote a lot of time during the day today doing preliminary log cross checking of the 93 logs received so far. It was Alex HC2AO on 30 meters with a single call. He's one of the truly great ops. Also the letter O in his call allowed me to finish the NAQCC January challenge. Now in about 16 minutes as I type I can see what the bands will bring this evening at 0000Z -30-

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 5:25PM - Mike stopped by for another visit this morning. He brought me some kielbasa loaf and pierogies. We talked about ham radio for a while, then went to the shack where we didn't find any DX. I was glad I got XE1XR earlier in the 1300Z hour for my DX streak. We then watched some woodworking videos on the Internet. I took Roscoe out and brought him in here to see Mike. Roscoe seems to be more used to Mike now. He used to bark at him a lot. I gave Mike a couple dog biscuits to give to Roscoe, so maybe bribery helps.

Our NAQCC sprint is this evening which is why I'm writing this diary entry early. I hope I can have my 4th straight 40+ QSOs sprint after a long spell of poor results before that due mostly to strong local noise and poor propagation.

I like to analyze my DX streak every now and then. I did so this morning before Mike arrived. Here are some totals:

Total QSOs - 6,154
Total countries - 160

Most worked countries overall:
Germany - 524
Italy - 308
Slovenia - 252
Spain - 232
France - 221
Poland - 201
Hungary - 184
Croatia - 168
Czech Republic - 167
England - 161
Cuba - (top NA) 137
Brazil - (top SA) 112
Hawaii - (top OC) 75
Canary Islands - (top AF) 75
Japan - (top AS) 52

Number of countries with just one QSO - 28

Most times a country was the first DX QSO of a day overall:

Cuba - 77
Mexico - 71
Puerto Rico - 58
Slovenia - 48
Italy - 47
Spain - 46
France - 44
Nicaragua - 44
Brazil - 42
Germany - 42

Same as above, but by years:


Canary Islands
European Russia

Puerto Rico
Virgin Islands

Puerto Rico
Virgin Islands

Aland Islands
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
They are listed in order of most times, although I didn't copy just how many times. I thought there would be a noticeable decline in Europeans and an increase in Caribbean, North American, and South American countries. However it doesn't really stand out yet, although it may as this year moves along and if the streak still continues. -30-

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 7:40PM - We had St. Patrick's Day weather two months early today. A low of 38 and a high of 58 on my AcuRite remote unit. Fantastic! I got in a couple good walks, and might have done more without the rain showers that came and went. I remember for quite a while when I started keeping weather records in January 1959, the record high for January was 59 degrees on January 21, 1959. Which also was the date of a major flood here in Kittanning due to the melting of that ugly white stuff. Since then we've had several January days in the 60s and even low 70s, but I still remember that one particular day.

I really wanted to get my DX QSO today, and not have the streak end the way it would have. I mean with Mike working PV8ADI on 40 last night. As I said, that would have meant my station kept the streak going, but not me personally. It's a moot point now, as after many tries to work someone today - unsuccessfully, I did make it. Most of the day, any DX I heard was just barely above my noise level at S2 or S3. The strongest was maybe S5 to S6 from EA8TL on both 20 and 17. He usually hears me easily, but not today. Also TF3JB the same way. Finally I resorted to working the self-same PV8ADI, but on 20 meters just after 2100Z. He was strong again on 40 this evening, but I hate working him over and over again unless it is on a band where I haven't worked him for a while as it was with 20 meters today.

Not much else happening here. Still waiting for my pepper and tomato seeds to sprout. The soil is nice and warm with the heating pad and I'm keeping the ground moist. I hope they are not going to be slow like last year especially since I got started late this year.

Good to hear from Paul N0NBD who says he also hopes to do more 'parkpeditions' this year as well as more fishing. I hope we both realize our hopes in 2017. Of course everyone else also. -30-

Monday, January 16, 2017 8:35PM - Once again, a great get together with Mike KC2EGL day. Mike arrived a little before 10 just as I was finishing taking care of Roscoe. When I did finish, we spent what must have been a couple hours chatting about our favorite things. In this case it was mostly about football. We both have an avid interest in all things football, especially the historical aspects of it. One thing we both get annoyed about is when people think that pro football started with the first Super Bowl (which actually wasn't even called Super Bowl at that time). They claim that the Pittsburgh Steelers have the most NFL championships. WRONG? They have won the most Super Bowls (a couple on questionable calls), but the Green Bay Packers have the most NFL championships with 14 followed by the Chicago Bears with 9, the New York Giants with 8, then the Steelers. That was only one of the football topics we got into. There were many more.

After that it was off to Butler for lunch at Ponderosa. Of course we both had the buffet as usual. Then back home where we put together an agenda of the things we plan to do this year. Here it is as it stands now:

February 26 - South Hills Hamfest
April 16 - Requin subpedition
May 14 - Parkpedition
June 4 - Butler Hamfest
June 24/25 - Field Day
July 30 - FOBB
August - Skeeter Hunt
August 27 - Skyview
September - Unionville hamfest
Oct 9 - N3A Parkpedition
Nov 22 - Requin subpedition
Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad Train Ride(s)
Looks like a fun year ahead. Also we plan to have some more parkpeditions, and maybe another subpedition as situations permit.

Then up to my shack. As Mike said that's probably the latest in any of our visits that we've gotten on the air. The bands were their usual poor selves. We did hear some DX (PV8ADI) on 20. Mike tried for quite a while, but couldn't work him. I didn't work anyone then and I don't think Mike did either.

Back downstairs for some computer games (hidden object). After that it was back to the shack a little past 0000Z. I got my regular streak QSO from N8RZO then a little later we both worked W0N. Mike also worked PV8ADI easily on 40 meters. So the DX streak station-wise continued, but not operator-wise. HI. I still have to work some DX in the morning or afternoon to truly keep the streak alive.

Wow, time flies. I see it's almost 9PM and time for me to get my temperature readings, and then take Roscoe out for his last walk of the day. So I'll close here. -30-

Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:20PM - Of late when I hear PV8ADI, I generally ignore him and look for some other DX I haven't worked so often. However with Mike spending the day tomorrow and knowing how many things we can get into, I worked PV8ADI this evening for my DX streak QSO. That way, I won't have to worry about it tomorrow.

Isn't this weather great. Well, around here anyway. I hope it's great where you are at also. It sure cures the winter depression when you can look out and not see any s#$w anywhere and also have the temperatures in the 40s and 50s. I sure feel a lot better than I did when we had that cold spell and s#$w cover several days ago.

I spent time today going through some ham radio pictures from our parkpeditions, subpeditions, hamfests, and so forth. I took the time to edit them and resize them. A lot of memories in those pictures. Now I'm really looking forward to doing it all again this year. I hope we can do even more this year.

I'm also hoping to get in some more fishing this year. I'm ashamed of myself for last year. I never did go fishing after June 17, and only made 6 fishing trips all together. I thought there were a few more than that. Maybe I didn't put them from notes into the computer Excel spreadsheet. I'll have to check that. My fish total - ONE, yes just one Bluegill in May.

One thing that should be at the top of the list for hams. They should be balanced. For instance, me and my fishing, walking, gardening, computers, astronomy, among other things. As great as ham radio is, I would be bored with it if it was the only hobby I have. Just like I'd be bored with those other hobbies I listed if I only had one of them.

Thinking about that led me to my new poll here on the web site. I would like to know what your interests are, specifically outdoor activities. So I hope you'll cast your vote and make the results more meaningful. -30-

Saturday, January 14, 2017 10:52AM - It's that time of year again:

pix_diary_20170114_001 (78K)

Yep, time to get those tomato and pepper plants started. Actually I was hoping to get them started back in December to shoot for tomatoes in May, but one thing and another came along. You know how it is, I'm sure. So I'll have to settle for a start of January 13 this year. Hope Friday the Thirteenth doesn't affect things. I'm not superstitious, so it shouldn't.

The above picture shows the four containers, two for peppers (L) and two for tomatoes (R) with the soil getting a good soaking. The seeds are in the cups also getting a good soaking to hopefully give them a kick start toward germinating.

That was yesterday. This morning, I laid the seeds, four per container, on top of the soil, covered them with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil, pressed it down so the seeds make good contact with the soil, and watered the top layer of soil. Then I put them on a heating pad, and covered them until they germinate hopefully in a few days.

pix_diary_20170114_002 (64K)

For the second night in a row, my DX QSO came in the 0000Z hour. It was 6Y4K again on a different band (40) this time. It was a much easier QSO than the one on 30 a couple days ago. Only took a couple minutes to get that solid K3WWP 599 from him. I did have to repeat my call once though after he sent K3?. So another free day today until 0000Z rolls around again. -30-

Friday, January 13, 2017 4:51PM - Oh, oh, Friday the 13th. Actually so far it hasn't been a bad day except for some folks here in town near the river. Yes, evil s#$w strikes again. The s#$w melt upstream raised the river close to, but not quite over the banks. I took a walk to take a look at it. I should have taken my camera to take some pictures, but I didn't think of that till I was halfway to the river. I saw several sump pumps working to keep basements dry in the lower areas of Kittanning. Other than that, I didn't see any damage. The good thing is that the s#$w cover is now pretty much gone which will hopefully prevent any more serious flooding later on.

One good thing was I didn't have to worry about my DX streak during the day today. So no frequent trips to the shack. Last night I easily worked the Mexican special event call of 6E0C on 40 meters. I think that's a new prefix also. Yes it is. I worked 6E2T way back in 1994, but this is the first 6E0.

I'm looking forward to a visit from Mike on the holiday Monday. We're going to explore some of the features of our PX3s that we haven't played with before. Nothing we really need - just to satisfy our curiosity. I think we'll also plan out as much of our 2017 itinerary as we can at this early stage of the year. -30-

Thursday, January 12, 2017 5:01PM - For a good part of this warm January day (64 degrees), it looked like yesterday was going to be the end of a couple things, but it turned out it was only the end of one.

We called it quits for our local computer club. For most of its 25 years, it flourished and a lot of good computer info was exchanged. Although I didn't join the club until about 13 years ago, I see that before that in the mid to late 1990s, the membership roster peaked up to perhaps 40 or more members. From the time I joined until last year, we had 15 to 20 members. However during the past year or maybe two, that number dwindled to the point where we only had 3 or 4 members showing up at our meetings. We'd talked about ending the club for the past few meetings, and last night we did it. We donated our treasury funds to the local library where we'd been holding our meetings the past few years, and donated our computer to a local genealogical organization. So no more club meetings to occupy every second Wednesday evening of a month. It was a lot of fun while it lasted, but all good things must end someday as is said in Summer Song by Chad and Jeremy among others. End of club obituary.

I came close to writing a second obituary today. That one for my DX streak. I seemed to run out of that luck I talked about as every time I made a trip to the shack, there was virtually no DX to be heard. Actually the first several trips, the only station I heard was CE2AWW who was just above my S2 noise level. Not even worth calling him. So either conditions were continually bad or I was unlucky to pick the times they were bad. Finally things had a strange ending. I must have called 6Y4K, who was peaking S9 on 30 meters, 50 times with nary a question mark from him. There wasn't much competition - he just wasn't hearing me. It almost seemed like he was ignoring me, but I'm sure that wasn't the case. At last out of the blue, I called him for what was going to be one of the last couple times I was going to try, and got an immediate K3WWP 599 without a single repeat needed. Add another day to the streak for a nice sounding number - 1414. Many more struggling days like today though, and I may change my mind about voluntarily ending the streak.

I opened this entry saying 'warm January day'. How warm, you may ask. My AcuRite remote unit shows a high of 64 which is the warmest January 12 in my records going back to 1959. The previous record was 60 back in (I think) 2005. I didn't even need a coat to walk Roscoe or go downtown for some groceries. I don't like to keep mentioning this for fear of jinxing things, but according to the AccuWeather outlook, the rest of January doesn't look all that bad with a lot of days in the 40s and no lows near zero. Fingers crossed. -30-

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 10:23AM - I'm writing this early for a couple reasons, one of which is it's our computer club meeting this evening. It may be our last ever meeting so I'd like to attend. Attendance has dropped off drastically over the past year or so, and I think it may be time to lay it to rest. We'll see.

I haven't checked the bands yet this morning. I'll do that in a little while. There is another factor looming large in my DX streak now. It's called LUCK. If the streak is to continue, I'm going to have to be lucky enough to be on the air at the right time on the right band. The band isn't so important as I can quickly check all appropriate bands with the PX3. To get off the main track a second, there was a very nice article in the latest QST about the PX3. Back on course now, if I happen to get on the air at the right time when a workable DX station is also on, the streak will continue. Lately it is taking more opportunities to check the bands, and it is messing with other activities. I don't really like that, and part of me wants the streak to end.

Of course I could always just monitor the Internet spots for activity, but regular diary readers know I abhor spots, and except for maybe a half dozen QSOs in 53 years, all my contacts come from just getting on the air, and tuning the bands. I like doing things the old fashioned way without aid from computers, etc. The half dozen or so QSOs came from spots from friends Mike KC2EGL and Tom WB3FAE. The three of us exchange info if we work something rare. That's the extent of my use of 'spotting'. Oh, also as soon as someone who is a little rare is spotted, all the hungry wolves jump on the prey with their KWs, beams, and great locations. That lessens the chances of a minimal QRP station like mine working the rare DX. Another reason I don't like spots.

Now a la Monty Python, for something completely different. Here are three thousand words about the great little spell of weather we're having near mid-January. You'll notice something missing from the two bottom beautiful pictures, I'm sure. The top picture shows why. Oh I do leave my porch chairs and flowers (artificial) out during the winter. It's encouraging to see them there.

pix_diary_20170111_003 (33K)
pix_diary_20170111_001 (56K) pix_diary_20170111_002 (73K)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 7:42PM - Yes, January 10 and it's 37 degrees and raining. That's pretty good weather for the time of year. I even got to see one of my favorite winter things today - melting s#$w. It's so great to see the ugly white stuff transform into liquid water and run away. But hey, the next two days will be even better. 50 tomorrow and 58 on Thursday. Break out the suntan lotion. Well, not really because it will be cloudy with showers.

Band conditions continue to deteriorate. Even 80 didn't have many strong stations on it this evening. I did manage a quick QSB-ended QSO with Bill WB4DBO though to keep the streak going.

The DX streak was in severe peril for quite a while today. Nothing strong at all on 20 in the way of DX in the morning and a good part of the early afternoon. EA8TL was fair on 17 meters, but not hearing me at all. That's unusual because he's usually easy to work from a good target area for me most anytime I hear him. Another example of how poor conditions are. Finally at 1930Z I checked 17 again and there were three nice peaks on the PX3. One turned out to be HI3TEJ whom I worked pretty easily (couple repeats) to secure the DX streak another day.

Say, wasn't that a good college football championship game last night. Actually games like that should be declared a winner for both teams. It was just one of those games where the team that scores just before time runs out wins. Had there been three more minutes in the game, Alabama probably would have won. Six more minutes and Bama scores, but Clemson comes back again. And so forth. My favorite pro game of all time, Oakland vs. Miami that I've talked about in the diary before was that kind of game. They just took turns going up and down the field, till time ran out just after Oakland scored with the "sea of hands" pass from Ken Stabler (an Alabama alum, BTW) to Clarence Davis. Had that game not ended then, Miami very well could have won just as easily. -30-

Monday, January 9, 2017 7:19PM - Winter is such a drag with its cold weather, frozen precipitation, and dark evenings. I'm getting more and more tired of it each day (and each year also for that matter). My cabin fever is in the very advanced stage now. It's even hard to get up the initiative to do much of anything. I can't wait till at least March. Then we may still have some bad weather, but at least there will be much more light in the evenings. That can be counted on for sure, at least.

Even as much as I love ham radio, it's a struggle to get up enough enthusiasm to head to the shack. Possibly if I didn't have the streaks to take care of, I might not even go to the shack some days. That's pretty sad, but it's what winter can do to a person.

I got my quickest regular streak QSO in some time this evening when I answered a CQ from my friend Bob N2UU at 0001Z on 80 meters. We had a nice chat, then after a quick check for DX, I shut down since I didn't hear any DX at all.

I thought the DX streak had it today. All morning and early afternoon, there just was no workable DX to be found. Well actually I did hear Mike F5IN, but he was virtually zero beat with a strong local birdie I have here on 14016. I only heard him clearly one time long enough to get his call. I attempted a call, but wasn't sure if he heard me or not. I copied dah dah di dit which might have been the end of a question mark or an eight. I thought it was an eight so I didn't call again. Then he either faded out or went QRT as I didn't hear him again.

Finally on about the 5th or 6th check of the bands just before 2 PM (1900Z), I haard Ralph XE1RK booming in engaged in a rag chew. I waited him out and when he finished, I tailended him and got a K3?, then K3WWP, and we chatted a few minutes. So that's day 1,411 of DX now. I'm sure it is definitely drawing to a close though. Even if it does, I'm pleased with the long run, just like the cast of a long running Broadway play, some streak by an athlete, and so on. I've definitely proved my point that you can work DX regularly with a very minimal QRP setup in a poor location like mine. I hope that has encouraged other hams (actually I know it has) to realize their particular situation shouldn't keep them from enjoying chasing (and working) DX. It just takes a little more time and patience when it gets close to a sunspot minimum.

Just checked the propagation numbers preparing to update my propagation page. I see the SF was 71 today. I think that's the lowest it has been since the last sunspot minimum. Let me verify or disprove that. Back in a minute. Well, it's tied anyway. It was 71 last month on December 11-13. So we're getting closer and closer to the depths. -30-

Sunday, January 8, 2017 7:46PM - Whoever the operator is at AN5CRM, he's a good one. After calling other stronger European stations without being heard at all, he got 3WWP the first call, and after I sent K3 K3WWP, it was an easy QSO. I also had a similar easy QSO with AN5CRM 4 days ago. However the special event ends on the 9th, so I guess I won't have him for an easy DX QSO any longer. Oh well, at least he added two days to the streak. That was in the 1500Z hour today. This evening as usual, no DX, and even a struggle to get a non-DX QSO. However I finally answered W8AJU's CQ after having no luck with my own CQs for almost a half hour.

Tuesday looks like a challenging weather day. Predictions are running the gamut from s@#w to rain to sleet to freezing rain. I'm definitely hoping against the last. Then later on Thursday a high of 55 is predicted. Now, that's what I like to hear, even if it a rainy day. -30-

Saturday, January 7, 2017 7:25PM - With the cold weather and having to turn my furnace down when I get on the air to reduce the QRNN it produces, I haven't been staying in the shack any longer than necessary to keep my streaks alive. Tonight I got a fairly quick answer after just 4 or 5 CQs from Bruce VA3ZB on 80 meters. This morning, the DX was fairly quick also when I managed a tough QSO with OF0TA on 20 meters at 1335Z. It took a good many repeats to make it, but he hung in there. Hope it's that quick tomorrow as well.

I've noticed a couple quirks on the bands of late, and haven't gotten around to mentioning them here in the diary till now. Every once in a while I'll get someone send a question mark in response to my CQ. Since that is not a proper CW procedure signal, I simply go on calling CQ without acknowledging it. I figure that way, if he wasn't sure if I was calling CQ or not, he should know after I call again. A lot of times, the person never does come back again.

Another thing is after I finish a QSO with someone and we exchange the traditional TU dit dit, some third party will chime in with a dit dit of their own. Again I ignore it.

Oh, and one more thing. I often hear someone sending QRL to see if the frequency is clear. What's wrong with that, you may ask. It should be QRL? as having the question mark there conveys a whole different meaning. With it, you are asking if the frequency is clear. Without it, you're actually saying the frequency is not clear.

Think about those things. We should always strive to use as close to 100% correct CW procedures as possible. CW is a great mode and using proper procedure is the best way to keep it as efficient as possible.

Oh, just thought of another thing. The eternal CQer who sends CQ 10, 15, even 20 times without sending his call and pausing for an answer. In my 53 years of hamming, I've found the absolute best way to call CQ is the following which I have harped on many times.

CQ CQ CQ DE K3WWP K3WWP K (pause for 4-5 seconds to listen for a call). If no answer repeat this sequence till you do get a call or give up trying and QRT. -30-

Friday, January 6, 2017 7:30PM - Same time as last night's entry and the same story as well. No DX and even a struggle to get a regular domestic QSO. I finally did get answer after calling 3x2 (CQ CQ CQ DE K3WWP K3WWP K) QSOs 27 times on 80 meters. WA2TWS answered, but the QSO fizzled out after just a single round because of QSB/QRN both ends. Still it was good enough to extend the main streak.

Earlier today (1546Z to be exact) I worked P49X on 20 meters to keep the DX streak going. I thought maybe there would be a DX contest this weekend to help the streak along. However the only one I see is the DARC 10 meter contest. I don't think that is going to help a bit. So I'll just have to scan 20 and maybe 17 in the morning or early afternoon hours and hope.

The weather continues depressing with very cold air, but at least no s#$w today. I managed a cold walk to the PO to mail one of our NAQCC prizes. It wasn't horribly bad, but I sure had to bundle up. Last night I threw a couple more blankets on my bed, and that helped me make it through the night. Although it might bring some ice before it warms up, it looks like the middle of next week is going to be a little less cold with temperatures in the mid to maybe upper 40s.

To pass some time, I've been working on my NASCAR records Excel spreadsheet. I knew Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Buddy Baker, Donnie Allison, and a couple others really dominated the Grand National/Winston Cup racing in the early seventies, but I didn't really know how much till I started filling in laps led from that era in my spreadsheet. It is really awesome. One other thing I'm noting is how much bad luck Bobby Isaac seemed to have in that era, or maybe he just pushed his cars too much. In many races he led a lot of laps, but wasn't there at the finish most of the time. -30-

Thursday, January 5, 2017 7:30PM - Same old story. No DX available in the 0000Z hour, but the mornings in the 13, 14, and 15Z hours still provide some workable European DX. This morning after 20 looked completely dead in the 1400Z hour, it perked up and showed a few fairly strong European signals after 1530Z. I worked AN5CRM on 20 although it was somewhat of an effort for him to get my call correct, but he did and thus another day was added to the DX streak. I say this a lot now - I wonder how long it is going to continue. The SF still hasn't gotten down into the 60s yet. It is hanging in the low 70s and DX is still fairly easy to work although it takes more and more time each day, it seems.

It was a depressing day today with a coating of s#$w. Fortunately only a coating. Unfortunately it will overstay its welcome (I use that word loosely - I certainly don't welcome it) because it's going to be very cold through the weekend before a bit of a warm up early next week. It's so depressing, I have to push myself to do things, even to get on the ham bands. Oh, to see that great spring weather in a couple months. -30-

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 7:47PM - I am continuing to eke out those DX QSOs despite the fact it is getting harder and harder each day. Today at 1425Z while waiting to go for brunch with my neighbor I worked DR60SAL on 20 meters. Right after I worked him, he went QRT. Pulling out my signal must have tired him out. HI. That's a special call having to do with the 60th anniversary of the Saarland. I'm not quite sure exactly what, but it doesn't matter since I got the QSO.

This evening I had another of those QSOs with someone whom I first worked over 50 years ago. This time it was Ken W9STG. We first worked on August 27, 1964. I'd like to find out who some others might be. I know Ken WA8REI is one along with WA4FAT. Probably K4BAI.... yes, we first worked on May 10, 1964 in I believe, the GA QSO Party. I can probably write some sort of SQL query in my Microsoft Access log to find out. I may do that some nasty winter day. Just glancing through the early 60s in my log turned up W8TY who was WN8ELT when we worked on May 23, 1963, then again last year with other QSOs in between. W4ONC is not quite one. I worked Rip W4ONC on December 13, 1964 and worked his son Joe W4ONC who took his dad's call when he passed away several years ago. Joe and I worked in 2015 a few times. Well, that's a lot of fun and a lot of memories, but I'm going to quit for now.

Another nice non-winter day today although the temperature did fall from 46 to 25 throughout the day. Still, no dreadful s@#w though. We may get a bit tomorrow, but no big storm (I hope). -30-

Tuesday, January 3, 2017 6:19PM - Is it really January 3? It doesn't look like it or feel like it. That's a good thing! It's such a wonderful feeling to be walking in the rain in 45 degree temperatures in January! I almost broke into "Singing In The Rain" today as I walked downtown to do my beginning of the month financial chores. Keep it up, weather!

I posted the first part of my analysis of the DX streak I mentioned in yesterday's diary entry. The results so far clearly show a connection between solar flux and the DX I've been working. Check it out in my QRP Section - DX Streaks page. I still have a few more stats I want to add when time permits.

Since I got my DX QSO last evening, I didn't check the bands at all during the day today. So I did some more cleaning up and shredding of old papers which I've been doing the past few weeks now. It's amazing how much paperwork can be accumulated if you don't keep up with it regularly, and I surely have not been doing so. If confetti was valuable, I'd be rich now with all I've produced lately. Think I'll work on another stack of old checks now before I head to the shack for the streak QSO(s). -30-

Monday, January 2, 2017 6:34PM - An easy QSO with DL1REM on 20 meters shortly before 1400Z added yet another day to the DX streak. Frank was quite strong and it only took one repeat to get myself in his log. Then I tuned around a bit more and PD1DX whom I worked a couple days ago was quite strong also.

I started an analysis today of how my DX during the streak relates to the sunspot cycle. I think it will prove interesting when I get it finished. At least it may give me some insight on the odds of continuing the streak through the sunspot minimum.

I had a good, if short, time in SKN on New Year's Eve. I made three QSOs using my homebrew popsicle stick straight key shown here:

pix_diary_20160803_001 (76K)

One of the QSOs was with Ken N3CU. Ken and I have had a few eyeball QSOs either here at home or at hamfests or on our parkpeditions. I'm looking forward to some more in 2017.

As of yesterday, Christmas season is over here at my house. I put away all the decorations for another year. Still listening to a little Christmas music though.

Thankfully it still does not look nor feel like winter yet. Not any s#$w to be seen anywhere and a high in the mid-40s today. We're supposed to get a lot of rain overnight tonight. It's a good thing it won't be s#$w or there would be several inches. The AccuWeather outlook for January still looks pretty good to this s#$w hater. Hope it continues to be correct.

It's getting close to 0000Z now, so almost time to get to the shack in search of the daily (DX) QSO. -30-

Sunday, January 1, 2017 2:50PM - I hope you're all having a good New Year's Day. It's good here now. However it looked for quite a while as if Dec 31, 2016 was going to mark the end of my DX streak.

I got up a little earlier than usual today, and after I got dressed, I hit the bands. The DX was there on 20, but I never got so much as a ? from any of the several stations I called. Either I was losing to the competition or in a few cases, the stations just weren't hearing me. So for most of the morning I'd do other things, mainly work on closing out my weather records for 2016, and check the bands once or twice an hour. About the only change was that the DX was getting weaker by the hour and finally around 1630Z or so, the bands were pretty much devoid of DX. I didn't give up though, and kept checking, all the time working out in my head how I was going to announce the end of the streak here in the diary.

However now I can put that off for another day. Finally at 1942Z, I checked 17 meters and saw 4 or 5 peaks on the PX3. They all seemed to be USA stations though - except for XE3ARV who actually was the strongest peak. I waited till he finished his QSO, gave a call, got a QRZ?, sent my call twice and breathed a big sigh of relief when he came back to me.

I'm learning more and more that it is going to take persistence if the streak is going to continue. It's necessary to continue checking the bands often because sooner or later on just about every day, some workable DX will show up. I don't think that will continue all through the sunspot minimum, but hey, maybe it will. I don't know since I've never gone through a sunspot minimum in which I tried to work some DX every single day.

It's a great day weatherwise here. No sign of the ugly stuff and it's quite mild at 44 with a high of 47 a little earlier under bright sunshine. I sure hope the outlook is correct and it continues this way as long as possible. -30-