K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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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-