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Wed Mar 21 2018 8:09PM - CAUTION! Obscene picture below.

Well, that was nice. I got my DX QSO at 0001Z this evening from KP2/KE0UI on 30 meters. It was rough early in the day though. Even with the CWT sprint, 20 meters was pretty dead until about 2/3 of the way into the sprint when signals picked up a bit and I worked Mike F5IN and Bert F6HKA fairly easily.

Now it's about 20 minutes to the NAQCC sprint. You know since I completed my retirement from NAQCC work, my interest in the NAQCC activities has dropped off quite a bit. I doubt I'll complete the March challenge. Tonight I think I'll just do the first half of the sprint and call it quits. I'll have my soapbox comments here in the diary tomorrow.

OK, look out. Close your eyes. Don't say you weren't warned.


Tue Mar 20 2018 9:00PM - It's looking more and more like March 2018 will have a strong resemblance to March 1960. In 1960 March was colder than both January and February as follows:
Jan Feb Mar 1960 mean temperatures were 31.8 29.6 28.4
Jan Feb Mar 2018                        26.3 38.2 34.3 (so far)
OK, so 1960 was much colder than this year, but it looks like at least Mar this year will be colder than Feb. There's not much warmth coming in the last 11 days this month according to pretty much a consensus of all the major forecasters. We'll see what happens.

The DX streak was barely stretched out another day this morning thanks to 17 meters and PA2EVR. 20 didn't have much to offer the 3 or 4 times I checked, but then a look at 17 showed a pretty big peak on the PX3 that turned out to be PA2EVR. A single call and a repeat and the DX streak reached 1, 846 days. No DX this evening, but the CWT sprint is tomorrow morning. Hopefully that will provide some DX on 20 meters. -30-

Mon Mar 19 2018 8:50PM - There are times in life when things happen to put things in perspective. I was getting discouraged calling one after another unanswered CQs tonight. Finally I got an answer. I won't give his call here, but he was an 88 year old ham suffering from cancer. He said he couldn't stay long, but he just wanted to let me know I was getting out with a good signal. He explained he had had his quota of ham radio for the day and had to be getting to bed now. I thanked him very much and wished him all the best with the cancer. Then I just sat there thinking for a bit, and I felt I shouldn't be so discouraged when it is rough getting a QSO. There are a lot of situations in life that must be much more discouraging.

I had some other things I was going to talk about tonight, but I think I'll just let that stand for my entry. Incidentally the fellow has been a ham for 75 years. That's a long tenure to be in ham radio. -30-

Sun Mar 18 2018 8:48PM - This will be another quick entry. My neighbor and I are getting a pizza in a few minutes. No DX this evening. I tried TI5/N4YDU several times on 20. I usually work into TI easily especially with a good op like YDU at the key, but not tonight. So it looks like a morning or afternoon DX hunt again.

Just checking the BB scores. Big surprise with Texas A&M whupping NC handily. Syracuse continuing on after playing their way in. UMBC playing now, but it's early.

Well, that's it. Got to get my weather readings, then over for the pizza. -30-

Sat Mar 17 2018 8:38PM - Well, the record is now 1-135 if my math is correct. Huh? Oh, that's now the current record of #16 seeds after the big HUGE TREMENDOUS upset of Virginia by UMBC. Who? That's what I said when preparing my Excel spreadsheet for the tournament. It took a while for me to figure out who UMBC (yoU May Be Cinderella) was. Well, they certainly were the greatest Cinderella of them all. Now everyone with the tiniest interest in college basketball knows UMBC is the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Way to go. To top it off they not only won, but considering it was a 16 vs. 1 matchup, I'd say they destroyed Virginia winning by 20 points 74-54. I got to watch the final 4 minutes of it on the Internet, and I'm glad I got to see history in the making.

Keeping on the basketball topic, here are some more trivia questions for you to ponder and comment on if you wish via the email link at the top of the page.

Who are the 4 teams with the most first round losses (12) since 1985?

Which of the four has also won a championship since 1985?

Which of this year's teams had waited longest since their last tournament appearance?

Which was the only team who made their first appearance this year?

A little harder than the first group of questions, but easy to answer via a Bing search on the Internet.

Not forgetting this is a ham radio site, I took the easy road for my DX QSO this evening since I figure tomorrow is going to be a busy day with this and that. I worked PJ5/SP2GCJ on 30 again. I don't like to do it that way, but I will if the day ahead looks to be a busy one. -30-

Fri Mar 16 2018 8:53PM - Another busy day today. Fortunately it started with a quick DX QSO from J6/K1ZZI at 1239Z on 20M. It took but a single call to get him even though he wasn't all that strong. Ralph is another of the many good CW ops on the band which helps explain that.

Then it was finally off to the groomers with Roscoe after a couple postponements. Maybe I'll have a before and after picture in the diary tomorrow.

Of course following March Madness took up some more time today. Things are going pretty much according to the seeding so far with 24 games complete and 8 to go in the first round. Only 5 upsets so far, the biggest being 13 Marshall over 4 Wichita State. Fewest first round upsets record is 3 in the 2000 tournament. So we won't have a record this year, but with an average of 8, we may be at or under that depending on how the last 8 games go.

Speaking of go(ing), I better close here and go get my weather readings. -30-

Thu Mar 15 2018 9:15PM - It took a long time to get my regular streak QSO this evening - almost an hour. That plus following March Madness leaves little time to write a diary entry. I haven't checked the scores for a while. Let's see if there have been any more upsets besides Loyola over Miami. Nope although Stephen F Austin is ahead of Texas Tech, but still 8 minutes to go there.

OK, got to finish my other site updates now, so that's it for the diary. -30-

Wed Mar 14 2018 8:37PM - A Tale of Two QSOs. My DX streak QSOs for the 14th and 15th were a little out of the ordinary so I thought I'd talk about them a bit.

I checked the bands in the 1200Z hour this morning and didn't find much of anything except a very weak 3D2EU on 30, and a weak SM5CCE on 20. So I shut down and figured I'd wait till the CWT sprint started at 1300Z. I went back up to the shack a few minutes before 1300Z and found a strong DX station just finishing a TU 599 style QSO, maybe getting warmed up for the sprint? I didn't wait for him to ID, but relied on my old system of work 'em, then find out who I worked. In this case it only took one call to work 'em. He signed after I worked him and found out it was Alex HC2AO. He's a great op and he doesn't go more than one or two stations without IDing. I say that because that's the way it should be done, and because it contrasted sharply with QSO #2 this evening.

Finding no DX on 20, I went to 30 and saw a strong peak on the PX3. I listened for a while, but no ID, just TU UP after each QSO. He had a huge pileup and was turning over QSOs rapidly. I set the KX3 to split and watched the PX3 to figure who he was working. Of course the KX3 has the split cans feature, but I seldom use it. I can tell pretty well who the DX is working just from watching the PX3 screen. Anyway after a few QSOs, he did throw in his call. It was a PJ5/SP..... station. I didn't note the SP call as I figured again I'd use the work 'em, then figure...... system. Well, it took quite a few tries till I figured out his pattern. He was working slowly up the pileup. I transmitted slightly above the last station he worked, and it wasn't long before I got him. That was the biggest pileup I've broken in a while now. I knew I could do it because of the strength of his signal at S9+ so I stuck with him longer than I usually do in such a big pileup. I wrote PJ5/SP in the log and waited to get his suffix. And waited, and waited, and wai...... I worked him at 0007Z and he never gave an ID until just before 0015Z. That's 8 minutes plus maybe another two minutes before that when I was trying to work him. Virtually 10 minutes between IDs, and he was solid copy all the way so I didn't miss any. That's not the way things should be done.

Now for a couple classic lines. "But wait, there's more!" from the infomercials and "Now for the rest of the story." from the late great Paul Harvey radio commentaries.

Strictly by coincidence, I got an email from Carl N5XE today that said, "....... On another note – I have to “vent” just a little. How about those guys calling CQ endlessly, then signing their call only once or twice. Just the other day, I counted over 15 CQ’s from a guy without identifying…very poor operating practice!
And while I am complaining, how about those guys in a contest that NEVER seem to identify their station. It sure gives an advantage to those stations that are operating ASSISTED, and checking the cluster for stations. But for those of us who don’t use the cluster in a contest, it is frustrating…and puts us at a big disadvantage. We waste time waiting on a station to ID, while we could be making contacts. It really irks me when I wait, and wait, and wait, and finally, when the station does identify, I find that I already have him in the log!"

So very true Carl. I've aired those same complaints over the years again and again.

Incidentally Carl, my email reply to you bounced, so I'll say thanks here for the above and the other interesting material in your email.

OK, I see it's 9PM now and time to go out in the wind chill temperatures and get my weather readings, then walk Roscoe a bit later. -30-

Tue Mar 13 2018 8:47PM - And then there were 67. Long Island University is out, Radford advances as a 16 seed to face #1 seed Villanova. That's the third time Radford has made the final 64 and each of the two previous times they lost in the first round.

No DX tonight. For some reason every DX station that shows up comes with a built in pileup. I tried beating a couple of them with no luck. I might have to use the CWT sprint tomorrow morning for my DX. I wonder if the CWT time changed with going to Daylight Switching Time. Let's see. OK, it's the same UTC time 1300-1400, but that's 9AM local time here now instead of 8AM. Or maybe I'll run across someone later this evening. I plan to check a couple times.

The spring temperatures have yet to show up in March, but at least all the s#$w is gone, and even though it's cold, I've been able to get in some walks the past few days without risking life and limb. -30-

Mon Mar 12 2018 8:47PM - How about some pre-March Madness trivia?

Who are the top 5 teams with the most #1 seedings from 1979-present? That should be easy although #5 may be tricky.

How many different teams have earned a #1 seeding from 1979-present?

Who are the top 5 teams with the most appearances from 1979-present? Pretty easy. (Hint: See question #1)

Who are the top 5 teams with the most appearances from 1939-present? We're almost in a rut here.

Who are the top 5 teams with the most appearances from 1939-1978? A bit more difficult.

OK, I'll try to come up with some harder questions as the tournament moves along. The above are just warm-ups.

Got my DX in the evening this time. Caught TG9ADM as he was just starting his session on 20 meters. This morning my first Finnish DX streak station in a while now. Had a nice chat with Mika OH6NVC with his big 1500 watt, 6 over 6 element beam antenna station. His signal was head and shoulders above anything else on the band (20) at the time and he copied me solidly all the way during out chat about the weather and our rigs. -30-

Sun Mar 11 2018 8:31PM - Are you ready for some


I sure am. I've got my Microsoft Excel brackets all made out just waiting to start entering some scores and watching the teams advance or fall by the wayside. I wonder who will be the Cinderella team(s) this year or will it all miraculously go as seeded for once. Nah, that will never happen. If it did, the tournament would lose a lot of excitement and interest.

I never make any predictions nor do I even follow the sport until March comes along. So I have no idea what to expect. I just like to follow it as it happens. I can't wait.

One thing I do have to wait for is my DX QSO. On this first day when my going to the shack time changes from 7 PM to 8 PM, there was little in the way of DX to be heard. I did chase HR5/F2JD on 20 for a while with no luck. I also heard XR0YD again. I could work him every night lately, but I don't like doing that. So it will probably be a morning DX QSO again as it was this morning when I worked DL2DX on 20. He was about the only somewhat strong DX on the band as it was opening up around 1300Z. It only took a single call to get him and we even went a bit beyond the usual TU 599 style of DX QSOs.

It was a nice looking day with a lot of sunshine, but the winter cold is still hanging in there. It was only in the mid 40s today and that's about the warmest it has been the last several days now.

We were hoping to have a subpedition to the Requin next Sunday, but I got a call from Art from the sub today saying he would not be available then. So we'll have to postpone it. As I recall we had a few postponements last year about this same time frame. -30-

Sat Mar 10 2018 8:02PM - Remember the lament of the person stranded on a desert island in the middle of an ocean, "Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink." Well for me this weekend it's like that on the bands, "DX DX everywhere, but not a station to work." Confused? Well, it's the BERU contest weekend for British commonwealth (empire?) stations to work each other, and the USA is left out in the cold. Hopefully I can find some non-BERU station to work later tonight or tomorrow morning/afternoon. Otherwise the DX streak ends.

Don't forget to spring your clocks ahead tonight so you won't be out of sync tomorrow. I wonder which of my many clocks I'll forget to change here. Seems there is always at least one. -30-

Fri Mar 09 2018 8:00PM - Mike is sitting across the room from me right now - anything to say, Mike? He says "Hello everyone" and gave a big wave.

We had our Lenten fish dinner a couple hours ago then came back here to play radio. We both worked XR0YD and then W5T on 20 meters. The W5T was a special event call for the 104th anniversary of the battleship "Texas". Mike emailed me a picture of it from QRZ and as soon as it gets here and I resize it, you'll see it. OK, here we go. Just a minute.


So that's a wrap for this entry except to say thanks for another nice visit to Mike. -30-

Thu Mar 08 2018 7:54PM - No quick DX tonight like the past few evenings. In fact no DX at all. I could have worked XR0YD again on 20, but you know my policy of trying not to work the same station on the same band too many times too close together. Hope I don't come to regret not working him. Hopefully I will get some DX later tonight or tomorrow morning or afternoon.

March 8 has some significance to me in one of my other hobbies of meteorology. I've mentioned this before, but I'll add a little more to it here. As a school project in 1959, I made a graph of the daily temperature from about mid-January to near the end of the school year sometime around mid-May. Wonder if I still have that graph somewhere? I do have the data in my Microsoft Excel weather spreadsheet. Anyway with summer vacation coming, I discontinued the records, but I did pick them up again in late September through mid-November 1959 when I again discontinued them. However I started again on January 1, 1960 and with the help of my mother and two aunts and a friend while I was away at school and work, I have a continuous record of the daily maximum and minimum temperatures since then. Now what does that have to do with March 8 (1960), you ask. Well that was the first time that I saw a below zero temperature on my thermometer. It hit 2 below making this schoolboy happy and excited. Just to continue the history a bit, it was in late 1961 (Christmas perhaps?) that my aunt (if I remember right) purchased a rain gauge for me, and on January 1, 1962 I added a daily precipitation reading to my records. So my QSO streak pales in comparison to my weather records streak. HI A rough computation shows around 21,250 days in the weather streak for temperatures and about 20,500 for precipitation.

I was going to write a bit about genealogy in which I've been deeply immersed for about a month now, but I think I'll postpone that a bit for now. -30-

Wed Mar 07 2018 7:18PM - Is DX picking up with spring being here? I easily worked 9Y4/LY2IJ on 40, then went to 20 and easily worked XR0YD Easter Island. Only had to wait through a few QSOs each to get them. Also heard HC2AO booming in on 20, but passed on him. Might need him for a streak QSO down the road a bit. Also another big pileup on 40. I heard who they were working, but didn't listen long enough to ID the station as there were other peaks (including the 9Y4 as it turned out) to work. I figured my odds would be better working any other DX with most stations chasing whoever it was causing the pile. Another DX mini-tip there. If there is a huge pileup chasing someone, the QRP station has a better chance with less competition chasing other less busy DX stations on the band.

Just wondering now when I worked Easter Island the last time. Let's see. I've worked it 9 times overall. The last time was XR0YS just a couple years ago on June 3, 2016 on 20 meters. But before that, it was way back in 2001 when I worked 3G0Y on five bands - 10, 12, 15, 17, 20. Ah, those were the days.

The trip to the groomer for Roscoe was s#$wed out today. Roscoe's owner Bruce is a school bus driver and the horrible roads made him about 90 minutes late getting home and the groomer couldn't fit Roscoe in because of the delay. So he'll have to wait till Friday the 16th now. And although I got the before picture(s), the after ones will have to wait.

At least I got the chance to watch yet another s#$w melt today. Most of the one inch or so didn't hang around long. One could almost get to like March s#$ws - almost is the key word there. -30-

Tue Mar 06 2018 7:45PM - Another day with the solar flux below 70 at 68. I was just thinking back to when I became active again in February 1993 until May 1993 after about a 9 year layoff due to work at WPIT and some other things. My back then acted up and I was again off the air until early 1994. At that time we were roughly at the same point in a sunspot cycle as now, that is heading toward a minimum in about 1996/1997 like we are now heading for a minimum in perhaps 2020 or so. I wasn't really all that much into working DX just then. A good thing too, as I would have been very discouraged with the conditions. I did work some DX, but it wasn't easy. From 1995 through 1997 as we were going downhill toward the minimum, I averaged only 402 DX QSOs each year, but my interest in DX grew during those years, and I began to wonder when and if 10 meters and 12 meters would ever open up to the point where everyone says on those bands when conditions are good, you can work the world with 1 watt and a coat hanger antenna. I certainly didn't see anything like that. I had never used 10 or 12 before 1993 and I wondered if they were really as good as folks say they are. In that same 1995 through 1997 period, my 10 meters QSOs (including W/VE) were just 138, 49, 65. 12 meters totals were 7, 4, 6.

Pretty dismal years, but suddenly the sun's alarm clock went off in late 1997 and he awoke with a vengeance. After not having a monthly solar flux average of 90 or above since March 1994, the September 1997 average was 96.2, and after a hiccup down to 85.0 in October, the solar flux never dropped below a monthly average of 90 until April 2005. DX was everywhere and easy to work. Hey, 10 meters really was as good as everyone said it was. From 1998 through 2002 my 10 meters QSOs looked like this: 529 938 1112 1083 980. 12 meters was: 30 57 71 32 14. I'm not going to quote any more stats here as I've made the point I headed out to make. If you want to see more detailed stats, look at the Yearly Stats page in the QRP section of my site.

What is the point I was making? Just that despite the horrible current conditions, everything comes in cycles, especially sunspots and if we are just patient enough, a reversal is coming in just a few years now. The current similar to 1995 conditions will be more like the 1998 conditions before we know it. Unless another Maunder Minimum is in the works as a few folks seem to think. So hang in there.

Oh, tonight it was a quick QSO with 6Y5WJ on 30 meters at 0004Z to free up tomorrow for some other projects, one of which is taking Roscoe to the groomer to cut back the long fur coat he developed to keep warm during the winter and for a good overall bath to go along with the trim. I think I'll try to get a before picture tonight and and after picture tomorrow. -30-

Mon Mar 05 2018 7:38PM - I was just looking at the solar flux table on my propagation page here on the web site. I see that the SF hasn't been above 70 since February 16 now. I think the cumulative effect of all that low solar activity is gradually but steadily decreasing propagation conditions for working DX, especially in the evenings here. As far as I can tell from the chances I have to get on the air, 20 meters in the morning, that is 1300-1600Z or so, is about the only good time for DX any more, and that may be slipping away also.

I heard no DX at all this evening - well yes I did hear OK4RQ very weakly on 40, but that was it. So to keep the streak going, I guess I'll have to hit that morning slot again. Or perhaps something later tonight. There have been some few and far between openings later in the evenings as midnight (0500Z) approaches here.

It remains easy to get a regular W/VE QSO for the big streak at least. My QRP really gets out on 80 meters in the 0000Z hour in the range of a few hundred miles or so. Not only do I get 589 and 599 reports a lot, but I can tell from the way folks copy me and reply to my questions or comments that they really are copying rock solidly. As you know, just getting a 599 report often means nothing these days, especially in contests or sprints. But it is easy to tell when the person you are working is really getting you at the 589 or 599 level. -30-

Sun Mar 04 2018 7:58PM - Except for helping my neighbor do some work on his dryer and also on his printer, it was a pretty quiet day. I did a lot of work on my family tree and I'm getting up close to having 1,300 folks in it now. Still it's mostly going sideways and not going back. My father's side is back to 1480 which is 14 generations, but only 1840 on my mother's side. There sure are a lot of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th cousins hanging on the tree. I am finding that I like the Legacy Family Tree program more and more. It's got a lot of bells and whistles that spit out some very interesting lists and charts to make visualizing the tree all that much easier.

No quick DX this evening like last night. In fact no DX heard at all except for one weak unID station. There were a couple pileups, but I couldn't hear who they were working. So after a couple quick evening QSOs, I guess it's back to the morning again tomorrow while I'm doing my laundry. -30-

Sat Mar 03 2018 8:40PM - Another sign of spring, I guess. My DX QSO this evening came on 20M. Such QSOs have been quite rare of late. In fact except for a couple around the ARRL DX Contest, a glance shows none until back in early November. Anyway that frees up another day tomorrow from worrying about the DX streak. After I lost just a tad of interest after reaching the five year mark, now I'm more determined than ever to see just how far into the upcoming sunspot minimum I can carry the streak.

OK, the diary has been pretty much obsessed with the streak lately. Let's talk about some other things now. Like what? Well, the weather seemed to switch back to winter as soon as the calendar changed from February to March. It's been very windy and cold the past 3 days now. The wind chill temperature has been quite low. I don't keep track of it, but it must have been down at least to the upper teens or low 20s a lot of the time. Better things are coming though barring some kind of unprecedented change or maybe a repeat of 1960 when March was colder than both January and February.

Let's see, what else? Oh, my tomatoes are developing their first true leaves. Maybe you can see them in this picture, but they are pretty tiny and kind of hidden by the two big seed leaves on each plant.
tomato plants

Still nothing at all from the pepper seeds. I may have to try replanting some if they don't get started in a few more days. -30-

Fri Mar 02 2018 8:11PM - The solar flux is becoming more and more entrenched in the upper 60s now which is what is seen a lot at the bottom of a sunspot cycle. In fact in glancing through my Excel file of solar flux numbers back through 1969, 65 is the lowest number I see and that was only in the previous minimum. In the other minimums back to 1969, 66 is the lowest number. So we are closing in on the values we'll be seeing in this upcoming minimum. Yet the DX keeps on coming, although not as easily. Still my DX for the first 3 days in March has come from European stations. DL1REM on the first, DL2DX this morning on the second, and this evening on the third it was Karel OK1CF on 40 meters. The DLs were on 20 in the mornings.

So does that mean it may be possible to keep the DX streak going through the full sunspot minimum. Stay tuned to find out. I rather doubt it because I can't be at the key 24 hours a day, and some day I may just not be able to be there at the right time. I think the current situation with the sunspot cycle makes the streak more interesting and challenging now.

March came in like the proverbial roaring lion during the night last night. We had wind gusts probably somewhere in the 50 MPH range or higher and about a half inch of s#$w. But I had the pleasure of watching it all melt away today as it hit 43 degrees. Actually we had about 5 or so good s#$w melt days this winter that took us down to bare ground for the next storm. It is just such a delight to see the ugly white stuff turn into flowing water. I love it. -30-

Thu Mar 01 2018 7:41PM - The second five years is picking up where it left off. Although I was hearing other stations working DX and a couple big pileups chasing other DX, I didn't hear anyone who was workable here. 20 meters was interesting this evening. I heard a HL2WA station who was strong enough to work, but he also was chasing something else. Oh well, I guess it will be 20 meters tomorrow morning. We are taking Roscoe to the vet for a checkup so I'll have to work around that either before or after the trip.

I did finish the update on my five years of DX story and stats in the QRP section of my site if you're interested in taking a look. -30-

Wed Feb 28 2018 8:14PM - A momentous day on two accounts. First today was the last day of meteorological winter. Although weatherwise it seemed like it ended a couple weeks ago already. I hope March doesn't take up the slack. Pardon me a minute while I remove the countdown to Spring above.

Of course today was also the day my DX streak reached the 5 year mark, having started on March 1, 2013. I'm currently working on updating the stats to go with the story of the streak in the QRP section of my site. Being this is also the end of the month, that slowed the update while I took care of my usual end of the month things. I'm pretty much caught up with them except to put the February weather in the computer and make my bank run in the morning. That should leave the stats update at the top of the list of things to do tomorrow. Nope, I almost forgot. That will perhaps be second on the list as I still need to get my DX QSO for March 1 to start the next 5 years. Well, you didn't think I was going to quit the streak now, did you? It is really getting interesting and challenging more and more as we continue into the sunspot minimum. -30-


Tue Feb 27 2018 6:05PM - In about 55 minutes from when I start writing this, I will head to my shack and try to work some DX. Why do I mention that since that's pretty much an everyday thing that I do? Well, tonight is a bit more special. If I do get a DX QSO this evening, that will complete 5 years of daily DX QSOs. Although the evenings haven't been a 100% sure time of late to work DX, I'm hoping to get a quick DX QSO this evening and not have to face the self-imposed pressure of doing it later tonight or tomorrow morning or afternoon. If I don't get it tonight, there is the CWT sprint in the morning. That has helped me out now the past few weeks and at the time it is on in the morning, 20 meters is just coming awake and the European stations are generally equal to or stronger than the W/VE stations so it hasn't been hard to find them among all the contest QRM. Just as soon as (if) I get that DX QSO, I'll announce it here in the diary and start to update my DX streak report in the QRP section of my site. -30-

Mon Feb 26 2018 2:53PM - Or is that Mon Mar 26?


Our very warm last 2/3 or so of February caused my tulip bulbs to sprout. I hope we don't have a heavy freeze now.

While we're doing pictures, here's one of my tomato sprouts. Nothing yet from the peppers.


Now hopefully they will not stay at this stage for a few weeks as they did last year. -30-

Sun Feb 25 2018 7:52PM - Still another great day with Mike KC2EGL. He arrived around 8:10AM, and in a few minutes we were headed off to WASHfest. As usual we "got lost" on the way again. It was at the same place we got lost last year. Pittsburgh is not the easiest place to drive through by any means, even with GPS assistance. Today the GPS lady did not give enough advance notice on making a turn, and we were past it before we had the chance to turn. Anyway we made the same deviation as last year and got back on track right away. We arrived at WASHfest just about our predicted ETA, parked and entered the building.

We did buy a few little things, but the most fun was fellowshipping with our NAQCC WPA Chapter members. I think this was one of the biggest gatherings we've had with our chapter members. We also met with Art WA3BKD from the Requin submarine and talked a bit about the Museum Ships on the Air event in June. Mike also set up our appearance at the Breezeshooters hamfest in June. We're pretty well set for both events with one exception. Both events are on the same weekend so we'll have to do one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. Which is which still needs some further planning before then.

Time went by rapidly and all too soon it was time to head on home. More about that in a moment, but first here's a group picture of those who were there today.
WASHfest group
From L to R that's Ricky N3ZCH, Mike KC2EGL, Jody K3JZD, Bob WC3O, Bill W3WH, Bob N3RDG, John K3WWP, Tom WB3FAE.

That's the first time we've met N3ZCH in person, and it's been a while since we got to chat with W3WH. Kevin KC3RN was also there, but we think he left before picture taking time. Hopefully our other events this year will be as well attended.

When Mike and I were leaving, I asked Tom if he wanted to join us at Ponderosa, and he said yes. I was glad because a couple years ago I promised him I'd treat him to a Ponderosa meal after he helped me out with some antenna testing. With one thing and another, this was the first opportunity to do so.

The three of us had a great time chatting and eating at Ponderosa. Then Mike and I headed here for a couple projects. First we checked the bands for some DX to no avail. The bands were all next to dead at that time in mid-late afternoon.

So it was on to tuning up the aircraft receiver we built earlier in the week. It was a bit tricky and I won't describe it here, but here's a picture of me looking perplexed during the tune up.

k3wwp and kit
We finally did get it tuned up with the help of Mike's 2 meter hand held rig and a lot of head scratching. When it didn't work at first, we checked and found a couple questionable solder joints and reheated them. That stabilized it and we did hear a few aircraft communications. Next it needs to be mounted in a little case I had here. That will be for the next time we get together.

After that, another unsuccessful DX hunt, a couple hidden object games, and finally a last check at 0000Z for my streak QSOs. Mike found and worked J6/KG9N on 30 meters. I wasn't going to work him again since I worked him just last night, but Mike thought I should since I'm so close to that landmark 5 year point in the DX streak, and the bands didn't look like there may be another chance to work any other DX, so I did reluctantly work him. Then we made a couple QSOs in the NC QSO Party before Mike had to leave to get home and get ready for another workday tomorrow. -30-

Sat Feb 24 2018 8:30PM - (Update - Forget the following, I worked J6/KG9N on 30 meters after I wrote it.) This may be a rough day for the DX streak. I couldn't work anyone yet this evening, even with the UBA contest. I'll try a couple more times later tonight. If I don't get anything then, it will have to be during what little time I have tomorrow with the hamfest and dinner after that. Hopefully 20 will be open before I leave at 1315Z or later in the day when I get home again. I'd sure hate to see the streak end just 4 days before the 5 year mark. -30-

Fri Feb 23 2018 8:07PM - Just got back from a waffles and kielbasa evening snack with my neighbor. Before I went over there, my DX QSO was an interesting one to me. Back on August 5, 1994 I worked KG9N/C6A for what later turned out to be my first ever streak QSO when I starting figuring the streak a while after that QSO. Tonight 8,604 days later I again worked KG9N, this time as J6/KG9N on 40 meters. Hard to believe that much time has elapsed since day 1 of the streak. Wow!

That also leaves just 4 days now for the DX streak to hit the 5 year mark. That streak started on March 1, 2013. Hopefully nothing will happen on those four days to end the streak before the 5 year mark. I think I've learned a lot more about working DX in those 5 years than I knew before that. That knowledge plus, and I can't forget this, my PX3 panadapter have kept the streak going to this point. Anyway, I don't want to say too much more about it until I do hit the 5 year mark, if I do.

I've heard from several of our NAQCC WPA Chapter members saying they will also be attending the WASHfest in the South Hills of Pittsburgh on Sunday. Should be a nice little get together within the bigger get together. I'm looking forward to it.

Oh, before I go, I should mention that some of my tomato seeds have sprouted. I think I counted 5 just barely peeking out of the ground this morning. No sign of any pepper seeds sprouting yet. I took a picture but it's too hard to see the sprouts yet. I'll take another picture in a few days and post it here. -30-

Thu Feb 22 2018 8:24PM - Thanks to Mike for ghost writing my diary entry last evening. We sure had a good time all day with the activities Mike talked about. I totally enjoyed working with a printed circuit board again. I was delighted my old eyes and hands could still handle such a project, especially with the board and parts getting smaller and smaller as time goes by. Now I think I'm getting the itching to tackle another board, especially if it's a joint project with Mike as this one was.

We'll be getting together again on Sunday for WASHfest, a hamfest in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. After that a meal at Ponderosa in Butler, then home here again for some DXing and powering up the aircraft receiver we built to see if it works. So that will be a third great day with Mike within a week.

It's down to just 5 days now for 5 years... of DX QSOs. Hard to believe it's been that long. Taking it down to the 5 day point of the countdown was a QSO with PZ5RA on 40 meters. He was working a pileup. I couldn't tell how big it was but he was turning QSOs over quite fast. I managed to squeeze in my call to work him. He got WWP, and another call got him the rest of my call and a QSO. -30-

Wed Feb 21 2018 8:54PM - John has taken a night off from his diary entry. Most of you can guess who this is.

The day started when I arrived at John's QTH delivering some Kielbasy Loaf and home mad peirogis that I purchased from a trip to Shenandoah, Pa. yesterday. The local kielbasy shop there is the best in the known universe (in my opinion). I also bought some for John's neighbor Bruce. Shortly after the delivery part of the visit we headed up to John's shack in search of some DX. I worked three stations and John worked one.

Next it was on to completing John's aviation receiver kit that we started on Monday. Half way through we took our dinner break. Yes I know it's hard to believe that we took time to eat. After dinner it was back to the project. See photo's below.


Next we sat and chatted a bit before heading up to the shack for John's streak. No DX but he did keep the big streak going with a QSO with NR3Z who was inspired to try for a QSO a day after reading about John's streak on his website [and in the August 2017 QST article]. Next was another round of the Sherlock Holmes hidden object game. Followed by me ghost writting for John. In a few minutes I will be heading North to my QTH. 73 Mike, KC2EGL. -30-

Tue Feb 20 2018 9:07AM - I just posted my story of this year's ARRL DX contest. See the What's New section on my home page for a link to it. That will be my diary entry for today.

Now I think I'll update my ARRL Grid Square totals with the 115 QSOs I made in the contest. -30-

Mon Feb 19 2018 7:49PM - Once again for the umteenth time now it was a great day with a visit from Mike. He arrived around 9:45A or so just after I walked Roscoe. We sat around and chatted a bit, then went to the shack to see if we could work any DX including the German special event station honoring World Radio Day - DR18WRD that I worked an hour or so earlier. By that time he was gone, and we didn't have any luck with any other DX at that time.

Next up was a trip next door for Mike to help Bruce with his smart phone setup. Roscoe gave Mike a couple long rounds of barking before he settled down in my lap while they worked on the phone. While we were there Mike snuck in a picture of me and Roscoe on the chair and emailed it over here. I though it was so nice that I wanted to share it here.

John and Roscoe
The Old Man and the Dog

Don't we both look contented? Someone asked me to post a recent picture of Roscoe in the diary, so there you are.

After Bruce and Mike finished, we headed off to Subway for our lunch. That was a bit of a change of pace for us as far as meals go.

After that we went back to the shack to chase some more DX. This time it was more successful. As soon as I turned the rig on, there was EI100MCV whom I worked effortlessly. Then Mike got him also. That was followed by a few other DX stations also. We both worked CT9/OM8CW on 15 and CT9ABN on 20. Mike also worked a few other stations whose calls I can't remember. I know one was another portable CT9 station. Also KP4TF on 17 meters. The bands were in good shape in that 1700Z hour.

About a year ago at a hamfest I won a little Vectronics Aircraft Receiver kit. We were always going to assemble it, but never got to it until today. We spent about 3 hours or so working with a lot of tiny pieces and got it about halfway done. We hope to finish it Wednesday when Mike visits again.

Then it was another hour and a half of doing this and that. One thing was checking out a new power supply for Mike's telescope which he will also be using for our parkpeditions and other portable work.

When Mike left a bit after 7PM I went to the shack for my streak QSO(s). Before he had pulled out in his car, I worked 6Y2T on 20M to cover both streaks. Also it was nice after that to work old friend Jim W1PID whom I hadn't worked in some time. -30-

Sun Feb 18 2018 7:55PM - I'm a little tired right now after a busy day with a shopping trip and a few hours in the ARRL DX test. So instead of a diary entry as such, I'm going to write a contest story to post in my Contesting section either tomorrow or the next day. Mike is visiting tomorrow so it will probably be Tuesday. I wound up with only 116 QSOs as I really only operated on Sunday with just 7 QSOs on Saturday. I'm also doing my laundry right now so I'll have tomorrow free for Mike's visit. -30-

Sat Feb 17 2018 8:26PM - Still don't really have that interest in contesting this weekend. I never even listened during the day. I got on this evening at 0000Z and played for an hour all on 40 meters. I added 18 QSOs to the 7 from last night for a meager total of 25 QSOs and 21 multipliers. Perhaps I'll get on later tonight, or maybe not.

Tomorrow I have some other things planned including a shopping trip "up on the hill" as we say here since our two malls are up on the hills surrounding the town down here where I live. It's actually West Kittanning up there. I would like to check 15 and 10 sometime in between the other things just to see what they are like. We'll see. -30-

Fri Feb 16 2018 8:07PM - Seven QSOs in the first hour. Despite the low figure, it's still 6 better than the first hour a year ago. I'm not sure what that means. I think it probably means that I can do as good in the contest as I want to. I mean it depends on how much time I want to put in fighting less than good conditions for QSOs. I do hate to make the other stations put in a lot of effort and time to complete a QSO with me especially now at the beginning of the contest when there are so many other stations they can work easily. It's all about rates and time wasted now. Later on in the contest when things slow down, I won't feel so bad about wasting their time as I know my QSO will help them out a little, and they won't mind working a little hard to get it.

It's all about having fun also, and it's not as much fun working hard to make the QSOs as it is when they come slam, bang, TU, 73 up and down the band. I remember in the peak sunspot years I could go from one end of 40, 20, 15, and 10 to the other and work virtually everyone I heard with a single try or maybe two at the most. Those were the days.

I'm wondering how 80 will be this year. It should be good, but then all the big stations will probably wind up there also and I'll have to fight them. I'll find that out later tonight if I'm in the mood for some contesting then. I sure would love to make my two goals of Alaska on 80 and Asia on 40 to completer band WAS and band WAC on those two bands. It would be nice to get some new countries on 80 also to creep slowly toward 100 on that band.

Speaking of Asia, I heard a couple JAs on 20, and I think one may have heard me as he sent a partial call that could have been me, but couldn't get any further.

OK, end of my contest ramblings and end of diary entry. -30-

Thu Feb 15 2018 7:31PM - As I've been talking about the last few entries, with the ARRL DX contest coming up, this should be a week or so of easy DX. It was true again tonight. I worked 6Y2T who is certainly a station who will be in the contest. I got him at 0001Z on 30 meters. That leaves 12 days to go to the 5 year mark for the DX streak. The next two should be lead pipe cinches with the contest itself underway all day Saturday and Sunday. Let's make this another in my series of DX tips here in the diary. Then after that another topic and picture.

7. A very good time of the year for working DX is the week or so before and after the big DX contests, especially the CQWW in November and the ARRL DX in February. In the week or so before the contests, many stations will be setting up and testing their stations, especially those going on DXpeditions for the contest. At home, the stations are set up and tuned to perfection with only minor tweaking to prepare for the contest. Often times the portable operations are set up just for the contest and torn down after it is over. In such a portable operation, there needs to be more on the air checking, not only for the purpose of testing the equipment, but for another reason as well.

There is nothing like operating from a rare or at least somewhat unusual location in the contests. That rare multiplier attracts stations in the contest like a bright light attracts bugs at night. A lot of people don't enjoy contesting the way some of us do, and they avoid them. However because the rare stations are on the air testing before the contest, it's an excellent time to add a rare country to your log. Those stations enjoy giving out QSOs from those locations to any and all hams. Some popular locations are most of the smaller Caribbean islands, islands around Africa and Europe like Madeira, the Azores, Malta, Crete, Cyprus, just to list a few. So if you want to add to your country collection but hate contests, this is the opportunity for you. Not only the week or so before the contest, but oftentimes hams stay at those locations a week or so after the contest just to give out that country to still more hams. These are also the times to work them on the WARC bands of 30, 17, and 12 which are not available for contests. It's a bit late now for the ARRL DX contest with only one day left before, but keep an ear out next week for those who linger on.

And now for something completely different, a la Monty Python.

Long time diary readers will know immediately what the following picture signifies, but they may wonder why it is so late this year.


Yes, I finally got around to planting my tomato and pepper seeds. I was a bit discouraged last year by the very slow start for my plants. They just sat there and didn't grow for a few weeks after they sprouted. So because of that and because I seem to be getting lazier each year, I thought I would try starting them later, about 6 weeks or so later, in fact. Three of the cups contain the Siberian tomato seeds and the other three the pepper seeds.

In case you don't know, Siberian tomatoes are small tomatoes that can produce tomatoes very early even here in the cold climate of Pennsylvania. The seeds were given to me by my late cousin and her late husband many years ago, and each year I save the seeds for the next year's crop. A few of the years I had my first ripe tomatoes in late May and early June about a month or more before other kinds of tomatoes will have ripe tomatoes. Well, except for those grown in large greenhouses. Last year though it was almost July before I had the first ripe Siberian. We'll see what happens this year with the late start plus some starter soil that the commercial growers use. -30-

Wed Feb 14 2018 9:17AM - "To err is human, but it takes a computer to really screw things up." So true. My soapbox comments from our NAQCC sprint last night were supposed to contain a link to my diary here. However the software that is now producing the sprint results totally garbled the link which worked fine when I checked it here and submitted it as such. Hopefully Andy N2CN will tweak his software or use some human intervention to fix the link on his next update of the page. Computers are good, but still far short of what the human brain can do.

OK, enough of a "soapbox" about my soapbox comments. Let's get to last night's sprint now.

The best overall description was that it was a combination of very slow and rapid QSB. There were periods when conditions were excellent with many strong signals and lots of answers to my CQs. Signals were very steady during those times. Then there were times when all signals were weaker and underwent rapid fading to the point where half a call could be copied easily, then the other half dipped into the noise.

I started on 40 and heard my friend and WPA Chapter Member Don K3RLL - now in FL for the winter - tuning up. I called him twice and he was the first QSO for both of us. That was it for 40 meters here. I checked 80 and found it as described above so I stuck there the rest of the sprint.

The first half hour the QSOs came quickly and at 0200Z I had 14 in the log including Don on 40. All but one were from states (plus ON) within two states of PA - the usual short 80M skip at that time of evening. The next half hour was virtually the same, but signals were now slipping away and the rapid QSB was coming into play. At 0230 I had 27 QSOs and was hoping to crack 50 for the first time in a few sprints now.

However 80 now switched abruptly to long skip and from 0229 through 0320Z when I quit, QSOs came from IA OK MN TN GA MN VA NC TN MN MN IL TN IL IL. Mixed in were strong signals but from stations I had already worked. The longer skip stations mostly had the rapid QSB.

All in all it was much better than my previous few sprints when conditions were uniformly horrible to describe them kindly. I wound up with 41 QSOs in 21 SPCs.

I hope conditions will be even better next month. Hopefully with the longer and later hours of daylight, 40 will be good again for the first time since fall and 80 will still be good before the spring/summer static starts to pick up.

As far as DX, I think the next several days (knock on wood) will be somewhat easy with the upcoming ARRL DX contest this weekend. Then another 10 days or so and hopefully the streak will hit the five full years mark on February 28. At least it's not a leap year. HI -30-

Tue Feb 13 2018 7:12PM - Another nice mid-February day today with quite a bit of s#$w melt with a high in the mid-40s. I can't wait till Thursday though when it may top 60 and with rain, there shouldn't be much s#$w left after that. Tomorrow will help also with a high around 50. It looks like winter is slowly retreating. Hope saying so doesn't jinx things.

I actually got to go for two outside walks today and did some shopping along the way. Sure felt good.

Another easy DX QSO this evening from NP2/K4XU setting up for the ARRL DX contest. He even took a moment to wish me good luck - I guess in the contest. I hope I'm in a contesting mood this weekend. Could this be when I finally get KL7 on 80 meters to complete my WAS on that band? Sure would be nice and with conditions on the low bands good now, who knows.

Our NAQCC monthly sprint is coming up in just over an hour now. I think unless conditions are really great, I'll not put in much time beyond the first hour. I seem to be losing a bit of drive for our sprints now that I'm no longer working with them - doing the log cross-checking, etc. -30-

Mon Feb 12 2018 9:03PM - I'm running a bit late tonight. I've been busy working on my family tree via the genealogy program Legacy and the Family Search web site. I've traced my ancestry back to the 1500s now. No kings, queens, or other noteworthy persons. Although actually everyone is noteworthy in their own way.

Anyway I got my DX quickly this evening. That leaves 15 days to go for the DX streak to reach 1,826 days or five full years.

OK, off now to finish my site updates then it will be time to walk Roscoe. -30-

Sun Feb 11 2018 7:30PM - No DX so far. I'll try again later tonight. If not then, I guess it's back to the morning. Except for a QSO in the PACC contest and one in the CWT sprint, I haven't had to use the morning hours for quite a few days now.

It was a nice day today unless you don't like rain. Yes, rain. It only got down to 35 last night and up to 48 today. It's still 46 now. If it hadn't been for the ice mixing in the other day, I think most of the ugly s#$w would be gone now. With the ice mixed in, it hangs tough though. Oh well, won't be too long till spring now - just a couple weeks. -30-

Sat Feb 10 2018 7:28PM - The PACC contest made for easy DX QSOs for the 10th and 11th - PA3EZC on 20 this morning and PA3FQA on 40 a few minutes ago. Actually with a couple of sunspot groups on the sun and the SF in the upper 70s, conditions have been a tad better the past few days.

I'm continuing to count up my overall grid squares worked. I'm up around 650 now, actually exactly 650 at the moment as I glance at my Excel spreadsheet records. I've downloaded a couple of grid square maps, one for most of NA and one for most of EU. As I find a new GS in my log, I'll color in the GS on the maps. That way I can easily see which state or country I still need the most and concentrate on that area. Here's a downsized version of my Europe map to more clearly show what I mean.

grid map

For example, although a bit hard to see, I need to find GS in the bottom of the boot of Italy and quite a few in Spain. So I'll work on those countries next. -30-

Fri Feb 09 2018 10:02AM - I was just doing some work on my log and noticed that when I worked W9ZN last evening, that was QSO # 90,000 in my Access log. That's a lot, but it's far short of some of the "professional" contesters who enter just about each and every contest with their big powerful contest stations. I'm sure some of them could be over the 1,000,000 mark. Also those who get involved in the big DXpeditions. 90,000 is just a drop in the bucket for those stations. Still I'm proud of making it to 90,000 and I wonder if I'll be around long enough to hit 100,000 some day. Let's see, over the past 5 years, I've averaged about 2300 QSOs, so at that rate it would take a little over 4 years. However the last two years with the decline in the sunspot cycle, the average is only about 1700 which means it would take almost 6 more years.

Here's another important DX tip to close out the entry.

6. Always follow the lead of the DX station when you are answering his CQ. That is, if he sends only a quick K3WWP 599, I would answer with a TU 599 and we would both be on our way to our next QSOs. If you do that, you earn the respect of not only the DX station, but the stations waiting to work him. It annoys me to no end to have someone respond to a quick 599 exchange with their entire life history. To elaborate a bit more, if the DX station responds with something like 599 OP EDUARDO, then I feel it is OK to come back with TU 599 OP JOHN. If the DX gives name and QTH, you can do the same. Sometimes the DX station wants to rag chew, and then you are free to do the same. I find it very enjoyable chatting with DX stations when conditions permit and the DX station wants to do so. But never initiate a rag chew yourself. I'll repeat for emphasis. Always follow the lead of the DX station as to what type of QSO he wants to engage in. -30-

Thu Feb 08 2018 8:56PM - Remember the Ray Price song that contained this line: "It's never going to be like old times again." Well, it did seem like old times again this evening. I turned the rig on at 0000Z, tuned a bit, found C6AKX on 40 and beat out two other stations to work him. It's been a while since my DX streak was secured before the day was beyond its first minute. 23 hours and 59 minutes worry free! I also had a couple nice chats with VE3IDS and W9ZN at kind of opposite ends of the spectrum. VE3IDS was running 5 watts, and W9ZN 1,000 watts. IDS peaked a little over S9 and ZN about 20 over, so not all that much difference, maybe what, 15 dB or so.

I'm running a bit late, so I'll cut this short to go get my weather records and then go next door to visit Bruce and walk Roscoe. -30-

Wed Feb 07 2018 8:00PM - It is the same old story on the bands this evening with only a couple DX stations heard, either too weak or too busy to work. Maybe the evening will end like the last couple though with a DX QSO on 80 around midnight. Last night it was Mike F5IN on 80 for the streak.

This was another of those very rare days when I was glad to see s#$w. Why? Because there is only one weather event worse than s#$w, and that's freezing rain, and we were very close to getting that today. However we were fortunate and we got a sequence of s#$w, regular rain, and then s#$w again. There were some colder spots where some of the rain did freeze a bit, but all in all it was not bad at all.

I'm finding that the ham population as a whole moves around a lot. In checking my QSOs for grid squares as I mentioned a few days ago, I'm finding that probably over half no longer live where I worked them. Still I've found around 600 different GS so far and I'm far from checking all my QSOs. That is going to take some time yet.

As for GS this year for the ARRL event, I have just over 60 worked so far and about 40 on 80 meters. It sure is a lot of fun and good brain exercise. I don't care if I get any kind of award or not.

Speaking of challenges sort of, I got 11 letters for our February NAQCC challenge from my two QSOs this evening with VE7ACN/7 (on IOTA NA-75) and K1MZM. That makes 51 letters down and 34 to go. -30-

Tue Feb 06 2018 9:00AM - "Sunspots? I don't need no stinking Sunspots. I have 40 meters and 80 meters." That's a quote from the Skyview ARS February Newsletter which is edited by my friend and fellow NAQCC WPA Chapter member Jody K3JZD. It certainly has applied to me recently, especially 80 meters.

Just last night a little past midnight (0511Z) I checked the bands before crawling into bed. There on 80 meters was HA8JV calling CQ. He wasn't too strong, but I thought I'd try him anyway. I sent my call once and bingo, he came back right away with K3WWP 569. So once again the DX streak was extended another day before I went to bed.

I thought I'd analyze my 80 meters results recently concentrating on DX and in particular European DX stations. Here I go to filter my Microsoft Access log for 80 meters, DX, and EU. Overall I have 63 matching QSOs, a few from the 1963-1983 period with more than 5 watts. Let me filter them out. OK, there were only 3 leaving 60 QRP 80M EU QSOs. I'm sure the vast majority came from contests. Let me check that. Yes, 49 came from contests, leaving 11 non-contest QSOs to work with.

Let's analyze those 11. 9 of them came since December 10, last year. One each from 2013 (YO3APJ) and 2016 (S53A). I never really concentrated on 80M DX outside of contests until recently, virtually only since December last year. I did that to preserve my DX streak since at times I couldn't find any DX above 80 meters in the evenings. It seems to be working, and I am going to try to regulary check 80 during the sunspot minimum years. Let's make that another DX tip.

5. Don't neglect 80 meters when chasing DX, especially during low sunspot years. It can be worked even with a very minimal QRP/CW/simple (indoor) wire antenna setup. It's not too easy like on the higher bands during high sunspot years, but it can be done.

Now let's continue my analysis of my 80M EU DX. The earliest QSO was OE3XMA at 2348Z, then HB9CVQ at 2352Z. 3 in the 0000Z hour (YO3APJ, S53A, HB9CVQ again another day). The 0300Z hour - 9A9A, HA8RM. In the 0500Z hour it was OE3XMA for a second time, OK2RZ, HA8JV. The latest at 0738Z was SM4OTI.

Four of those took but a single call to work them: 9A9A, SM4OTI, HA8JV, OE3XMA. I don't remember for sure now, but I don't recall any of them taking a lot of effort to work. Repeats were involved in several of them to get my call right or to be heard at all.

I find it interesting to note just now that almost all are from somewhat deep into Europe with HB9CVQ being the one furthest west. None from the far western part of Europe. In fact come to think of it, I don't even hear western Europe much on 80 except in contests. Maybe later I'll analyze the contest QSOs also. That's it for now though. Time to walk Roscoe and then perhaps some shopping. -30-

Mon Feb 05 2018 9:35AM - I just worked DL2DX on 20 meters for the DX streak. I also noticed when putting it in my Microsoft Access log that it was my QSO number 89,990. Just 10 to go for 90,000 QSOs. That is only counting my QSOs as KN3WWP and K3WWP. I also have other QSOs using other calls. Let's see how many I can remember offhand. WA3IXO (a second call I had in Pittsburgh for a few years while working at WPIT), KB3MQT, N3AQC, N3A (all NAQCC club calls), NY3EC (USS Requin), and K3MJW (Skyview). I think that's it. Total QSOs from those calls is 4,250. I've been a busy ham.

I've operated from several different locations with K3WWP and those calls. I've always lived here in Kittanning as my home base. However, I have operated from the following: My apartment in Pittsburgh, the Kittanning Community Park, Moraine State Park in Butler, Breezeshooters hamfest in Butler (2 locations), Skyview in New Kensington, the USS Requin, Chicora, PA (FD with WB3FAE and KC2EGL), Garretts Run (Tom Mitchell's former home - 2 locations including his house and some hilltop property of his). I think that covers it.

It's been a lot of fun, and continues to be as I approach 55 years as a ham on April 3. I did miss years over that span because of college/tech school and then work at WPIT. There are gaps in my log from 4/20/1970 to 6/6/1972, 12/4/1973 to 6/17/1981, and 9/23/1983 to 2/15/1993.

My interests in ham radio have varied over the years, but with one solid constant. That's my mode used - CW. All of the QSOs above save about 5 testing other ham's rig for them, have come via CW. I've also used QRP for most of my ham career according to the definition of QRP at the time. I'm not sure just when the definition changed. Some of my 1980s QSO may be QRO, but no more than 30 watts (INPUT power). Otherwise my interest started out just being a ham making contacts of any kind. DX caught my interest but I was never successful with it in the 1960s and I switched over to county hunting which closed out my first long period of activity in 1973. In the 1980s when I was active again, it was county hunting again for the most part. In the 1990s once again as I started up, it was a mix as in the early 1960s. Over a couple or so years, the DX bug started to bite and still has a firm hold on me today. I guess there is another solid constant that comes to mind as I write. I have always loved the excitement of contesting and have entered over 1,300 of them over the years. Although now I concentrate only on the big DX contests and our NAQCC sprints.

I enjoyed reminiscing over my ham career, and I hope you found it interesting also. -30-

Sun Feb 04 2018 8:08PM - A fairly nasty day today that could have been worse. We had more rain than s#$w with the temperature hanging around 34-35 most of the day, although as I glance at my CompuTemp it shows 36 now. However when it does go below freezing tonight, there are going to be a lot of slippery spots. I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere.

I went with my neighbor to Walmart this morning. I picked up a new Dust Buster to replace the one that quit on me about a month ago. I also got some potting soil. I plan to start my tomato and pepper seeds sometime this coming week. I was kind of discouraged last year when they germinated, but then put their growth on hold for about 4-6 weeks. So this year I'm starting them about 4-6 weeks later than usual to see what happens.

The usual band conditions this evening - lousy. No answers to my CQs at all, but I did find and work Dick N4HAY before we got clobbered by the TLC net.

Last night just before going to bed, I found and worked Mike F5IN on 80 meters. It took but a single call although I wasn't sure if he came back with K3WWW or K3WWP so I did repeat my call twice to be sure he had it right. He did. I guess I'll try later tonight again, and if no DX then, I'll be checking in the morning. Over the past couple weeks or so, I've only had to resort to the morning for my DX twice, so the evenings have been kind although rough. -30-

Sat Feb 03 2018 8:37AM - This entry is dedicated to great ops like Hannes DJ0SP who go out of their way to help hams, QRPers especially, to complete QSOs under adverse conditions. I, for one, certainly appreciate those efforts. It's ops like those who help me to continue my DX streak. I don't know if any of them might read this or not, but if any of you do, thanks very much.

Hannes took 3 minutes or so to be sure he had my call correct this morning under very adverse conditions. There was another contest besides the FOC going on, perhaps the F9AA cup? I tried to work a few of the stations in that after I figured out the exchange without being heard at all. Then I ran across Hannes not in the contest calling CQ. I called him and that began a progression of getting my call right something like this - K2? K3W? K3WWR K3WWW and finally K3WWP. A lot of ops wouldn't have stuck with me, but Hannes did.

What I say above also applies to many other top notch ops like Hannes. They won't give up until they get a call right.

So with that, the rest of my day is free for a couple other planned projects like a trip to WalMart, helping Bruce with some digital photos, trimming some hair on Roscoe, plus my other regular daily chores. -30-

Fri Feb 02 2018 7:39PM - Looks like another rough day for the DX streak. The only DX heard tonight was in the FOC contests and those folks don't work non-members like me. I could say more about that, but I'm not going to.

I'll check later tonight to see if I can find anything. If not, I guess it will be back to the morning and afternoon routine. I'm thinking more and more seriously about trying my best to make it to the 5 year mark of the DX streak on February 28, then perhaps voluntarily end it. I probably won't do that though as I'm pretty stubborn and will let other factors determine when the streak ends.

It even took about 20 minutes to get my regular streak QSO. Last night 80 was full of strong signals. Tonight only a couple strong ones and some weak ones. Sean KD2NEL did answer one of my CQs finally though. Our signals were both bugged by QSB though as the band seems very unstable. -30-

Thu Feb 01 2018 8:20PM - Well, tomorrow is the annual Groundhog farce. Wonder what the folks who celebrated Candlemas Day centuries ago would think of what their festival has turned into? It's a farce because the prediction the groundhog makes has no relation whatsoever to whether it is cloudy or sunny nor whether or not he sees his shadow. It's just a money-making carnival these days. Enough of that.

Once again a quick DX QSO this evening for day # 1,800. Tonight it was KL7SB/VP9 on 40 meters. I'm thinking there are already some stations setting up for the ARRL DX Contest later this month. If so, that will help in maintaining the DX streak. I hope I can maintain it at least 26 more days now and hit the 5 year mark.

I've got another DX tip now.

4. Don't be overly persistent in trying to work a station. When you find someone, analyze the situation. If it's a rare DX entity with an associated huge pileup, you will probably only waste a lot of time persistently chasing him, especially if he is not very strong. On the other hand if he is booming in well over S9 which does happen at times, you may be lucky to be located in a place that has the best path between you and the station. In that case, you can afford to be somewhat persistent as you may have a good chance to work him with a bit of clever operating. We'll deal with the clever operating in another tip. Otherwise if you hear a DX station who is not rare nor actively being sought by a pileup, you should be able to quickly assess the situation to determine if persistence is worthwhile. Generally the weaker the station, the less likely you will be able to work him. If you call him, and he doesn't acknowledge you with even a question mark, and goes on calling CQ without answering anyone at all, try perhaps a few calls and if you get the same non-results, move on. Maybe come back to him later. Meantime check out those other DX signals and see if you can work any of them. You'll learn with experience when persistence may pay off and when you know it won't. Persist too long with one station and you may be missing out on something else even better somewhere else. Persist too long and the band may change or die and you will have missed something good. -30-