2021-03-01 00:00:00 GMT-05:00TILL METEOROLOGICAL SPRING ARRIVES
Thu Dec 3 2020 7:34PM - Conditions about the same as last night. Tonight instead of CT9ABV on 40, it was W4TJE on 80 at 0003Z. Otherwise last night's description fits tonight pretty well.
I updated my LoTW and eQSL veries today. There was a big difference in numbers with LoTW way out ahead of eQSL, and I updated both the last time on November 24. It made me curious to see just how my LoTW and eQSL veries overall match up. I can get the totals quickly in my Microsoft Excel spreadsheet file, so QRX in a couple minutes. The LoTW total is 23,222 QSOs veried, and eQSL is 13,902. Wow, that's approaching double. The last time I totalled them was July 2019. LoTW had 22,228 and eQSL 13,516. That bears a bit more analysis since I have all my QSOs since 1963 on LoTW and since 1990 on eQSL which means there are about 20,000 fewer of my QSOs on eQSL. Something like 92,000 versus 72,000. Maybe I will figure what percentage of QSOs on both are verified. I did that in July 2019 and it was 24.4% on LoTW and 18.8% on eQSL. According to all those stats, LoTW is quite a bit more popular than eQSL.
Continuing on that theme, I wonder how you handle eQSLs. I log all received in my Excel log. I save each new band country from each different station. If I work, say K4BAI 20 times on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10, I only save one of the 20 on each band and archive the 19 others on the eQSL servers. I never print out any of the cards. I think it is sufficient to be able to look at them on my computer if I ever want to do so. Printing them out just doesn't seem the same to me as getting a real paper card actually sent to me in the mail or via buro, etc. Just old-fashioned, I guess, and proud of it. -30-
Wed Dec 2 2020 7:12PM - As I said when I got up off my chair at the key, "Well, that was quick." I'll elaborate in a minute after a little preliminary setup. I was a couple minutes late getting to the shack, and when I turned on the rig and listened, I thought I was in for another long ordeal getting my streak QSO. I only heard the usual net stations on 80, and when I went to 40, it was filled with furnace noise. I thought I'd wait out the furnace cycle, but then I noticed a good sized peak on the PX3. I tuned it in and it was someone working a Polish station. I thought it might be a Caribbean station left over from the CQWW DX Contest. I was close. It was CT9ABV probably operating one of the Madeira stations in the contest. I prepared myself to sit there for a while and try to work him since there was nothing else around. Surprise! On my first call I got K3WP 599. Being sure it was me, I sent my call twice and 599. He corrected himself and I had probably one of the quickest streak QSOs ever even with the repeat. I just looked up CT9ABV in QRZ, and it looks like the operator was DL5AXX whom I've worked many times from a few different countries. Actually 35 times from places like DL GD CU J3 PJ2 CT3. He's a superb operator.
Today I finished off my end of month / first of month chores delayed a bit because of the Christmas decorating with Jasmine on Monday. Actually I did most of the work on Tuesday and just mailed a couple checks today and took my Church donations to the Church Rectory. Then this morning I got a surprise package in the mail. It was a "Care" package from my health insurance provider with a lot of good items like a fever thermometer, pulse measuring device, battery toothbrush, skin lotion, sanitizing spray and lotion, an 83 piece first aid kit, box of band aids, and a few more things. All for free. Those items will come in handy.
I got to watch one of my favorite winter things today. S#$w melting. It got up to 37 and got rid of a lot of the white stuff. Good riddance! When I cleaned Bruce's van off, I'd estimate we got about 2 inches at most which was quite good as I heard reports of up to 15 inches in NW PA. Pittsburgh had around 6.5 inches. Seven Springs ski resort had 8, if I remember correctly. -30-
Tue Dec 1 2020 7:41PM - Well, one day of winter is out of the way and it was not a good one. The ugly white stuff got off to an early start this year. We lucked out at least so far with less than an inch. There are reports from other parts of West PA that got it much worse. Well, enough of that.
When Mike and I were in the CQWW DX test, we came up with a new description of something. When we would tune across the digital signal section of the bands we said we are now going through the haunted houses. Well, don't digital signals sound like the eminations of dearly departed ghosts? Or at least how movies and TV depict them. Not like the nice crisp sounds of Morse Code anyway.
A couple entries ago, I mentioned about switching antennas on receive for a better s/n ratio. There's a problem with that. Once in a while I forget to switch back to the xmit antenna. I did so tonight and the fellow I was working said my sigs dropped in QSB from 589 to 339. I explained to him what happened the next round when I was using the right antenna. It was interesting he was hearing me at all. I was on 80 meters using my 20 meters dipole. Anyway the bottom line is I did get my streak QSO after it was starting to look pretty grim as there wasn't much on any of the bands this evening. At least stations who weren't busy in nets or chasing DX, etc.
I'm just sitting here admiring the job Jasmine did on my Christmas tree and remembered I was going to post a picture of it. Let me get to that.
Looks even better in person. Maybe I'll see if I can get a better picture of it including a closeup of the manger scene under the tree. After all, that's the true meaning of Christmas. -30-
Mon Nov 30 7:58PM - This is end of the month day today and is usually a busy one. It is today also, but in a different way. I spent a good part of the day doing my Christmas decorating with the help of my neighbor Jasmine. We had a really good time and she is really good at design work and I think my tree is the best it's ever looked this year. I'll try to take a picture of it tomorrow and post it here.
As far as the bands go, they were rather poor again with the only lightly busy band being 80M. There was virtually nothing on 40, and nothing at all above that. I found my friend Bob NR8M on 80 calling CQ and worked him for the streak.
I'll cut the diary entry short here and get back to end of the month work. I think next I'll upload my November log to LoTW and eQSL and get that out of the way. It's a little more complicated this month with the QSOs from the CQWW DX contest to be included. -30-
Sun Nov 29 2020 7:22PM - We'll do the reverse of last night. Mike goes first, then I'll add my comments.
Good evening all. The day started out early with a bacon and eggs breakfast. Followed by hitting the airwaves to check what was going on with 15M. Well 15M was jumping with DX. We made out quite well on 15 today. Worked new countries (for this event) with 5 out of the first 6 entries. It was a nice steady flow of mostly EU stations. We stayed with it almost all day outside of a few breaks for John to check up on Roscoe and of course our dinner break which was from Vocelli's. We both had one of thier oven baked subs. Then it was back to the radio. We continued on until 23:30UTC when we couldn't find any one that could hear us. So we called it a day. John logged 107 QSO's and I logged 105 QSO's. We pretty much kept things even up until QSB and QRN started to act up towards the end. I better leave room for John's comments. So I will turn it over to him.
Thanks Mike, I always appreciate you helping with the diary writing.
You summed up the day very well with your comments so I won't repeat what you said, but I will add a couple things. One of the stations we both worked was F6HKA. As always Bert took the time greet both of us by name. I finally did work KH6LC at 2013Z Sunday afternoon. It wasn't easy like it usually it, but we made it. We also heard 4 other KH6 stations on 15 after that, but didn't work any of them. We heard no JA stations at all in the contest. There was one strong VK on 15 meters but he was S&P, not calling CQ so we didn't get a chance to work him. As I mentioned, I logged on paper and as the contest got further along, I was pestering Mike to see if we worked such and such a station on such and such a band. He logged on computer so he could do that quickly. I will have to wait a couple days to analyze my results after I enter them from paper into my computer. It shouldn't take too long. For that reason, I'm glad we didn't work all that many stations. Had conditions been really hot, I probably would have done computer logging.
Overall, it was a fun weekend as it always is when we get together. Next up, I'll be visiting at Mike's for a day or so near the middle of the month. More on that later.
Meanwhile, tomorrow should be another fun day. Jasmine is going to help me do my Christmas decorating. I've done it alone since my mother died in 2001.
Tonight it was an easy quick streak QSO from KN8CWO in the weekly SST event. I'm glad of that after sitting at the key most of the day from 1340Z to 2330Z.
I think that sums up the day between my and Mike's comments. -30-
Sat Nov 28 2020 8:11PM - Just like the contest, Mike and I are going to do a tag team diary entry. I'll work a station and then Mike will work the same station using our own calls, of course. For this diary entry, I'll write a couple paragraphs, then let Mike write his part.
Although it was a disappointing contest as far as results go, 46 QSOs for each of us, it was fun as always doing these contests with Mike. My personal highlights were as follows. Working Oliver OE5OHO, an old friend whom I met through my website and working him on the bands. This is the first time we've worked in several years. We paused in the contest for couple of personal greetings. I always enjoy that and appreciate it when the other fellow who is running QSOs at a fast rate will put on the brakes for a minute or so to exchange greetings.
Sometime in the past couple days Mike and I were talking about some ham radio related things and somehow the topic of working CO8LY came up. Maybe Mike remembers just how we got on the topic. Anyway we both agreed we hadn't worked CO8LY in a long time and hoped he was OK. Wouldn't you know it. I was tuning the contest (that's my part of the tag team), and found CO8LY and exclaimed something or other. Mike wondered who I found and I teased him along until CO8LY signed again and Mike copied. We were both glad to hear him and we both worked him, although conditions changed and it took a while for Mike to get him.
Since things were going slowly, I decided to forego computer logging and log on paper, something I hadn't done in a big contest for a long time. I enjoyed that and being a tag team contest, it was easy as I could write in the details while Mike was working the same station.
Some of my pipelines to various areas of the world where I can work stations easily were not working. I can almost always work Hawaii easily, especially KH6LC whom I've worked even on 80 meters. Today I never got as much as a ? from him on 15 meters, and still haven't worked KH6 in this contest. Also the same with zone 33 stations. Although I have worked a couple in the contest, many weren't hearing me at all. One pipeline did work well. I told Mike I can often work Finland easily in late afternoon, but we weren't hearing any OH stations until OH8X who happens to be an especially easy Finn to work showed up and I did work him easily after a couple tries, and so did Mike. I'm not sure of the propagation aspects of that, but it happens often even if the OH station is quite weak and not easy copy here so it's not a one time fluke, but some regular thing. The Finns will be among the very last stations heard from EU.
I've said enough, now Mike can take his turn.
The non radio parts of the day included eating. We went to Wendys to pick up dinner. Instead of going through the drive through we went in and ordered. We were out and on our way back to John's before the car that pulled into the lot infront of us was at the order kiosk. After dinner we set up John's telescope to introduce Jasmine (John's nieghbor) to Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the Moon. She really enjoyed it even though it was a bit chilly out. Then it was back to the radio to see if there were any stations worth hunting down. Unfortunately things were quiet just like last night when we started. All in all it has been a enjoyable tag team effort. We will head back up for some more radio fun. John just informed me that Orion is just above the hills in the east. Thats the sign of long winter nights apporaching. Thats it for me. Until next time de Mike KC2EGL. -30-
Fri Nov 27 2020 6:48PM - I am just sitting here with Mike, and I said, you know thousands of people around the world are waiting for the next 12 minutes to pass so they can get in the CQWW DX contest. Then there are many others who are going to wait a couple hours or more to get started when the initial rush of KW stations working each other subsides a bit. Also many others who are thinking no not another contest. I guess I'll have to use the WARC bands this weekend. More on our contest tag team effort in the next two days diary entries. -30-
Thu Nov 26 2020 7:52PM - I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and had a lot of things to be thankful for. I had both here. Bruce and I and Roscoe went to his brother's place for a great meal. Even Roscoe had his own full dish of food. Let's see, there was Turkey, Stuffing and Stuffing Balls, Mashed Potatoes, Yams, Noodles, Lima Beans, Cranberries, Gravy, Rolls, and I'm probably forgetting one or two things. As far as being thankful, I was going to make a big long list here, but I think I'll pass on that and you can be thankful you don't have to make your way through it. HI.
My QSO tonight was a 31 minute one with Adam NA4IE. I don't think we've ever worked before. He said he was off the air for a long time and just got back on about 3 years ago. I have been using my bug a lot lately and it's always a goal to see if I can go through an entire QSO without a sending mistake. I almost made it the full 31 minutes tonight, but I think my hand and wrist got a bit tired at about the 28 minute mark and three errors crept into my sending. Close, but no cigar.
One thing I talk about now and then is copying through QRN and QSB. I find one good trick is to switch antennas on receive. Many times a different antenna will give a better signal to noise ratio and make a signal easier to copy even though it may be weaker. I have an antenna switch that allows me to instantly scan 5 different antennas. A 10M sloping dipole, 6M attic rotatable dipole, 20M attic dipole, 15M vertical dipole, 160-30M attic random wire. Also another position on the switch that very loosely capacitor couples to the random wire. Often one position will really make a signal jump into easy copy although with time it may change to another antenna for best copy. A particularly good combo seems to be to transmit on the random wire on 80M, and receive with the 6M dipole. The signal drops way down, but the noise drops even further for good copy. Try it some time if you have trouble with QSB and/or QRN. You may be pleasantly surprised. Of course it doesn't work all the time, but does work most of the time. The more antennas you can try, the better chance of finding a good result. -30-
Wed Nov 25 2020 7:21PM - Another day with nothing special to talk about. I will be glad for the next 5 days when there will be some different things going on. I'll write about them as they happen here in the diary entries.
I didn't see much difference in the bands tonight. 80 was best, but not all that great. 40 only had a few weakish signals. I heard one weak signal on 30. On 20 I heard NG7M in Utah working Japan. I couldn't hear the Japan station at all. As for me, I worked AE8EA on 80 meters for the streak QSO. Not bragging or anything remotely like that, but now and then I sit there at the rig and wonder just how it is possible to work someone each and every day (mostly evenings) without all that much trouble no matter the conditions. I do have one great aide going for me, and that's my PX3 panadapter. Seeing what is happening on a large portion of a band and then tuning to check the peaks is very much a big time saving step in the process. Much easier than tuning back and forth, back and forth across the bands listening for a signal. It's so easy to just tune right across someone that way and not know they are there at all because you crossed them during a pause in their sending either for a space between words or even between letters if they are sending slowly.
I sometimes get questions asking for suggestions on making QSOs easier. My best answer would be get a panadapter. They are a tad pricey but well worth it. Of course the manufacturers are learning how important panadapters are these days and including them right in their rigs.
Besides that, strive to increase your CW speed. If you can copy perfect code at 40 WPM or faster, it will be all that much easier copying slower CW with QRN, QSB, sloppy sending, or other distractions.
Well, I got to rambling a bit there, so I'm going to quit for now and finish my other regular web site updates of my propagation page and the streak table on the main page.
Oh before I go, let me see what the Solar Flux was today. Still going up at 104 and the ionosphere not showing any storminess. Fingers crossed it stays that way for the CQWW DX Contest. -30-
Tue Nov 24 2020 7:46PM - 100!!!! yes 100!!!! That was the Solar Flux number today. Let's see when was the last time that we hit triple digits for a SF number. September 10, 2017 at 100 or roughly 1,174 days ago. Wow! I was wondering how to start off this diary entry when I checked the propagation numbers for my propagation page and saw the 100 there. That may bode well for this weekend's CQWW DX contest unless the sun gets too excited and causes some ionosphere storminess.
I got my quickest streak QSO in a while tonight at 0001Z when I found KF3B calling CQ and worked him for the first time in 15 years according to him which I'm sure is right. That was so quick after we ended our QSO I decided to call CQ myself and got a pretty quick answer from WA1WCC, the WCC commemorative ham station. There's a lot of info about WA1WCC and WCC on QRZ which makes very interesting reading if you've never looked there before.
Another chilly day today but no breeze to lower the wind chill temperature below the actual air temperature so it wasn't bad being outside. I helped Ange clean up some leaves from his garden for about an hour this afternoon. -30-
Mon Nov 23 2020 7:27PM - Despite a SF of 96, the bands sure weren't all that good this evening. Only a very few not very strong signals on 40, nothing on 30 or 20. So it was back to the only surefire band of late, 80. It wasn't that good either, but I managed to work Jim K8MPH again for our third QSO in the past 11 days. We had a 14 minute QSO with pretty much good copy all the way till near the end.
Let's see what else happened today out of the ordinary. I can't really think of a thing that doesn't happen every Monday. I mean doing the laundry and putting out the garbage. Not very exciting events, but necessary ones. HI
It was a cold day, not getting above 38 until the afternoon, and then only getting to the mid 40s with breezes that made it seem colder.
PS: Here's a picture of my newly painted train layout:
There's still a lot of things I want to do with it, but here is how it stands right now. -30-
Sun Nov 22 2020 6:07PM - Since in theory I should get a quick QSO in the K1USN Slow Speed Test this evening, I thought I'd just write the diary entry early since there was not much going on today except a shopping trip and the continuation of a couple projects.
My neighbor and I went to Walmart to stock up on breakfasts for Roscoe and also stopped at Dollar Tree for some dog biscuits for Roscoe. Then a stop at Family Dollar for some things for me. A little later I finished (?) raking the leaves in my back yard. They are pretty much all down now so I should be done with them except perhaps a couple little tweaks.
Early this morning before all the above I finished painting my train layout and later in the afternoon I put back all the track, bridge, buildings, signals, etc. I think it looks nice now. I'll be interested to see what Mike thinks of it when he comes here for the weekend. -30-
Sat Nov 21 2020 7:23PM - I figured this is an easy night with the LZ DX contest in progress, and it was. By coincidence I worked two stations with the same suffix, N5AW then S52AW for my only two QSOs before I quit for other things. Both were on 40 meters. I could have worked a lot more EU stations but I just didn't feel like it. Next weekend I should be more fired up for DXing with the CQWW DX contest and Mike being here for a tag team effort in that one.
I didn't accomplish as much as yesterday, but I did do a couple things. I did more painting on my railroad layout and now have a little less than 75% done. I'm debating (if one can debate with oneself) on whether or not to do some more painting this evening.
I also helped Ange a bit in burying the last of the fig trees for the season. I also did some more work on organizing some pictures on my computer. And that pretty much covers the day here. -30-
Fri Nov 20 2020 7:32PM - It was a busy day today. I probably can't even remember all I did, but I'll try. It started out this morning with another painting session on my train layout. Then after that paint dried, I had a couple more sessions later in the day painting the area around the tracks. I had to paint short sections, then prop up the track with popsicle sticks. After that dried, I moved the sticks and painted the area where they were. Now I'm close to having 50% of the layout finished unless I decide to do a second coat.
I also raked leaves today. I cleaned out a couple cellar window wells, my cellar steps, a corner where leaves gather, and quite a bit of my back yard. I'll try to finish the yard tomorrow. When I was younger, I could have done all the leaves in a short time today, but age takes its toll in slowing folks like me down. HI
Then I helped (mostly watched) Ange bury the next to last of his fig trees. We'll do the last one tomorrow. Up until a few years ago, I could outwork Ange even though he is 8 or so years younger. Age has slowed me down there also.
Then just a little while ago, I got my QSO from K8MPH on 80 meters at 0003Z. The bands (40 and 80) seemed in good shape and pretty active this evening. Mike said 20 was good today with DX also. I never got to check there.
Also mixed in were the walks with Roscoe, helping Bruce with a couple things, and making plans for setting up for Christmas. My neighbor on the other side of my house, Jasmine said she could help me do that on the 30th. -30-
Thu Nov 19 2020 7:29PM - Maybe there is day long QSB as I mentioned a couple entries ago. Last night I tried to work W9IK a few times but he didn't hear me well enough to get my call complete. Tonight I called him and got him right away. He gave me a 579 report. He was about 589 but QSB on both ends kept the QSO short at 7 minutes. Then while glancing at my log I noticed I hadn't gotten any QSOs from my CQs in quite a while, so since conditions seemed not that bad tonight, I thought I'd try to get another CQ QSO in my log. It didn't take long for Bob NR8M to answer me for a 6 minute QSO again plagued with QSB and QRN, but a QSO nevertheless.
It warmed up a bit today reaching around 60 degrees. It was a bit breezy though so didn't feel quite that warm. I did get a chance for a brief porch swing session with Roscoe though. I was going to rake leaves, but it was too windy. It's supposed to be calm on Saturday and still mild so maybe I'll do it then.
I painted a bit more of my railroad layout today and have about 25% or so done now. I hope to bring that up to around 50% tomorrow. -30-
Wed Nov 18 2020 7:23PM - Horrible conditions again tonight. You know, it's not using QRP/CW that is rough in making QSOs. It's the location here that makes it hard for me to copy other stations, even QRO signals at times. This local noise that is a constant problem. My furnace which makes QRN whenever it runs. My location here in the river valley. All of those make it a real challenge to find and copy someone when propagation conditions are not the best. It's frustrating at times to have someone copy my QRP signals solidly and I have to struggle to copy their signals. It's only because I've been using CW for 57 plus years that I am able to copy some of the stations I work, and still it is rough. OK, enough grumbling. I suspect if it was too easy, it wouldn't be as much fun nor as satisfying getting a QSO. Tonight by the way, it was N9ZXL on 80. I had trouble with the first round, but got pretty much solid copy the rest of the 7+ minute QSO.
Again not much going on here today outside the usual routine. I did clean and lube my new Frisco 1501 locomotive and tender today since I have been running it a lot since I got it. I also did some test painting on the insulation board I'm using for my railroad layout. It seems to take paint well, so I'll probably paint the whole thing a base green color over the next few weeks or so. It won't be too easy since I plan to do only a portion at a time instead of tearing down and rebuilding the whole layout at one time. -30-
Tue Nov 17 2020 7:53PM - This had to be one of the worst evenings in a long long time for getting my streak QSO. It seems like there is day-long QSB if there is such a thing. One night conditions will be good, the next night bad. Tonight they were horrible. I spent almost 3/4 hour tuning 160 through 30 looking for a QSO. A couple stations I called got my call partially but never could get it all. Finally I ran across K3K a special event station on 80 and it took a long time even to work him. I stuck with him though and when he finally heard me, he stuck with me also long enough to get my call right. I really did want to work him because the special event was the 100th anniversary of KDKA taking to the airwaves. It's often said that KDKA was the first station to do a radio broadcast when it broadcast the Harding-Cox election returns in early November 1920, but there is a lot of debate over that mostly over what constitutes a "broadcast". I'm not going to go into that here, but it is interesting to research it with a Bing search on the Internet. Anyway the bottom line is the streak goes on another day.
Not much else going on today. I paid some second half of the month bills early today, and did a little shopping along the way. Did a bit of tweaking on my computer stand. Also backed up some computer pictures on a new flash drive. It was cold and windy today and also I saw an ugly site, some s#$W flurries. BAh, humbug! -30-
Mon Nov 16 2020 6:57PM - Just thought I'd get the diary entry started before I head to the shack for my QSO attempt. It was another chilly breezy day today. I spent most of the time inside again. I got quite a bit of cleaning done along with throwing out some "junk" for the garbage collection tomorrow. OK, off to the shack now. I'll finish this later.
OK, it's now 7:29PM, and I just finished a nice 21 minute QSO with Chris N8AI in Texas on 40 meters. That has to be the longest QSO I've had with Texas in quite a while now, and copy was solid both ways with some slow QSB at least on my end. I think we are seeing conditions pick up gradually as the solar flux is averaging out in the 70s and 80s most of the time now.
I gave my railroad track a good cleaning today. The first time I've done so since I went to the new O72 curves layout a couple months ago. Oh, I've been meaning to post a picture of the house that Mike and I built on Saturday, so here goes.
I think it came out good although we had a bit of a time getting it assembled. It definitely was not a 'snap fit' kit, and as Mike said, we really needed to glue it to keep it together. -30-
Sun Nov 15 2020 7:09PM - Not a lot happening today after the busy fun-filled day with Mike yesterday. Of course with the SST test this evening, a quick QSO was had with AD0AB in KS on 40M.
I can't really think of anything out of the every day ordinary things that happened today. We did have a few brief power interruptions this afternoon as a strong front went through with high winds. It all lasted only about 10 minutes at most before everything was back to normal. I guess that's about it. -30-
Sat Nov 14 2020 7:40PM - Now here's Mike to tell you about our day. Greetings everyone. I arrived at John's QTH around 9:15AM. We visited for 15 minutes until John had to take Roscoe out for a stroll. After he returned we went to work on his Plasticville O Gauge structure. The box said "snap together, no glue necessary, easy to assemble, for ages 14 and up. There's the problem. We do not fit the age requirment. Well maybe mentally we don't. We did use glue to hold it together because it kept falling apart on us. You would think that after 73 years they would have come up with a system that would snap together properly. Our second project was making cables for one of my straight keys and my Vibroplex 1944 Original Bug. After a little trouble with the very fine wires we were able to get connectors soldered on and tested out on John's KX3. Be forwarned, there will be a horrible sound on the airwaves as I try to operate with the bug. This will be frustratingly fun learning how to send with it. It feels like I am a brand new operator with it. Our third project was to detach a couple of PL 259's from a short length of COAX that I have and attach them to a length of coax to use at my QTH. We found that the PL 259's are soldered and crimped on so tight they feel like they are welded on. So that project is on hold until I find some new PL 259's. We then had a early dinner of a Vochelli's pizza. We had planned on a planet gazing session this evening. We wanted to check out Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. Mother Nature had other plans for that. The clouds rolled in and ruined that idea. John's neighbors Jasmine, Krystal, and Donna wanted to join us. We have tentatively rescheduled to the Saturday Nov 28 when I will be down visiting John as we operate a tag team in the CQ WW CW. We mixed in a train running session, and a couple of Sherlock Holmes hidden object games. All in all it was a good day. But then any day spent hanging out with John is a good day. Until next time de Mike KC2EGL. P.S. John was pacing back and forth as I was writing this He's getting even for me doing the same to him on my previous visit. -30-
Fri Nov 13 2020 7:22PM - I hope any of you who are superstitious made out OK on this Friday 13. Me, I'm not superstitious at all and Friday 13 is just another day to me.
It was a pretty good day. I got some needed (cleaning) work done around the house. The weather was OK, but the only time I was outside was when I walked Roscoe.
I thought I was going to have an easy QSO tonight. I found a strong CQ shortly after I turned on the rig. It was 4U75UN in NYC celebrating the 75th anniversary of the UN. He was operating split so I set up for that and called..., and called..., and called. He was not hearing me nor many others either apparently. Most of his CQs were going unanswered. I gave up on him after a dozen or so tries and moved on. Finally a few minutes later I found Jim K8MPH calling CQ on 80 and got him. We had a short rough QSO of about 7 minutes. QSB QRN bad on both ends very unlike last night's solid 31 minute QSO with WS1L.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow now and visiting with Mike for some ham radio and railroad projects. Maybe some astronomy too, weather permitting. Of course there will be a summary of the day here in tomorrow night's diary entry. -30-
Thu Nov 12 2020 7:39PM - The bands were good tonight. Well 80 was. I didn't get around to checking the other bands since I got a QSO just a minute after I got to the shack at 0003Z. It wound up being a 31 minute rag chew at around 20WPM about a variety of topics. It was solid copy both ways although sigs did fade a bit in the last couple minutes. The contact was with Chuck WS1L in northeast MA. He had a computer log and said that was our third QSO, the first since 2008. I'll see that when I update my computer log after I finish updating the web site. I only log on paper in the shack (except for contests when I take my laptop there) then transfer to computer later that evening.
My railroad building kit arrived in good shape today except for one thing. It was a different building than the one I ordered, just like the locomotive last week. It's a split level house instead of the church/cathedral which is fine since it is only one of the first buildings I got in updating my layout and probably would have gotten it later anyway. I won't unbox it until Saturday when Mike is here.
Quite a difference in the weather today. The high was 54 or thereabouts compared to 79 a couple days ago. You could tell it was that Canadian air that the cold front brought through last night. -30-
Wed Nov 11 2020 7:30PM - I hope you all did something to honor our Veterans and our current servicemen today. Thanks to all of those who have served and are serving our great country. I was going to fly my flag as usual today, but it was raining and I treasure the flag too much to have it get wet. As long time diary readers know, the flag was the one that draped my dad's coffin many years ago back in 1964.
I worked an appropriate station tonight for my streak QSO, K1USN in MA. The bands seemed good tonight with many strong signals on 40 and 80 although nothing on 30 or 20.
I was going through some old photo albums today with the girl next door, and it brought back a lot of memories. A couple in particular dealt with railroads. I was going to set them aside to peruse later, but I forgot. I think I know which albums they were though. One dealt with a cub scout presentation on the history of railroads. I honestly don't remember that, but the pictures are there. Then there were some pictures taken at Steamtown when it was located in Vermont. That was a lot of fun and it's always nice to have a teenager who is interested in such 'old' things.
My building kit is now scheduled for delivery on Saturday instead of Friday, but it has already departed the Pittsburgh area distribution center so it seems to me that Friday is still the more likely. Time will tell.
We didn't quite make the 80 degree mark yesterday. I studied it closely and had to concede it was more like 79 than 80. Still that's the latest in a year it has hit that high a mark and it's also a record for November 10 in my records dating back to 1959. -30-
Tue Nov 10 2020 7:33PM - Another rough night on the bands. No answers to my CQs, and no answers from those CQs I answered. Finally Jack N5DY in OK heard me calling on 40M and we had a short rough QSO which served to extend the streak another day toward the 10,000 day mark. Wonder if I'll make it? I'll have to succeed for 404 more days to do so. I'll try.
We nudged 80 degrees today. I'll have to examine the mercury thermometer closely at 9 tonight. It looked like 79.5 or .6 extrapolating on the scale when I looked at it this afternoon. If I do judge it to be 80, that will be only one of a very few times we hit 80 in November. Might as well check my Excel spreadsheet now for an exact number. I still well remember the first time we did it back in 1961. It was red and white day at Kittanning High School. Those are our school colors and everyone wore them that day. We didn't need any heavy coats or even any light jacket. OK, here are the 80+ days in Novembers:
80 2nd 1982 2004
83 3rd 1961
81 4th 2003
82 5th 2015
Close but no cigar 78 23rd 1979. The latest in the season for such a high temperature. Another day I remember well. The Chief Engineer and I were doing some work at the WPIT transmitter site.
My O scale church/cathedral was mailed today from Altoona PA so it should be here by Friday in time for Mike and I to assemble it on Saturday. It's one of those Plasticville Kits. If you are familiar with them, there won't be very much assembly work if I remember correctly.
Back to weather before I close. It looks like Summer is ending today. We'll be getting rain tonight and tomorrow, then the temperature goes back to normal in the 60s tomorrow, the 50s and low 60s the five days after that, then 46 a week from today for the high, give or take the usual errors in forecasting. -30-
Mon Nov 9 2020 8:52AM - OK, lest I forget (gee, that reminds me of a program we had on WPIT many years ago - Lest We Forget with Dr. Jack Munyon), back on track now, here's a picture of my new Lionel Legacy Mikado locomotive. As you see it's a Frisco 1501.
It's still running perfectly. I hope it continues that way.
Mike read last night's diary entry and emailed he'd be glad to help put my building kit together on Saturday. I hope it gets here on time like it says. It's only coming from Altoona, PA around 90 or so miles from here. Those familiar with railroads know that's coincidentally near the famous Horshoe Curve.
Barring something very unusual, that's the diary entry for today. -30-
Sun Nov 8 2020 7:19PM - With the SS still going on until 0200Z, it was again easy to get my streak QSO. I worked W1SJ in VT on 80 meters. I was his QSO Nr 1060.
Not much else to report again today. It's still late summer in November here. I see the AcuRite remote shows the high was 76 which may be a record or very close for the date. I checked the November maximum records last night and they are mostly in the low 80s and upper 70s for the first half of November. Oh, I might as well check again. Back in a minute. Just missed if the AcuRite agrees with the outside mercury in glass 'official' reading which I will get later. It was 77 on November 8, 1975. Two more days of this nice weather before it rains Wednesday and the temperatures drop back to normal after that.
With my new locomotive, which I will get around to posting a picture of it, I've decided to get some new buildings for my layout. Right now I have several different scale buildings and I want to make them more uniform. I started with ordering an O scale church/cathedral today which should be here by Friday. Maybe Mike and I can then put the kit together on Saturday when he is here. -30-
Sat Nov 7 2020 7:04PM - Natch a quick streak QSO tonight with the SS going on. Worked WT9U on 80 at 0000Z. He was up to 215 QSOs already. Although the SS was never a favorite here, I did rack up 537 QSOs in 1999 from 74 ARRL Sections. I had just gotten my first transceiver, a TS570D(G) two months before the SS. Before that it was a chore using separate transmitter and receiver. There's more details of that 1999 SS in the CONTESTING section of my web site - Stories section if you're interested. Just a couple more notes here. That was the first contest I ever crossed the 500 QSO mark, due largely to the TS570D. I set that as a goal and made it. I also set a goal at a Clean Sweep, but missed by 5 sections - NNY VI QC NL and MB. I did make a contest WAS. That was another goal, so I made 2 of 3 goals. Just so you'll be sure, when I got the 570, the first thing I did was hide the microphone in a drawer where it has stayed to this day. I also set the power to 5 watts output where it stayed as long as I used the rig.
Another beautiful day today, sunny and a high around 70 - 72 on my remote thermometer. I probably should have been outside enjoying it more but I had other things to do. I helped neighbor Bruce with a couple things. I also wanted to run my new loco some more to be sure it is going to behave well, and it has so far. It does drink up smoke fluid quite rapidly. That's the only negative I've found so far, and I can live with that easily. Of course the usual walks with Roscoe. Actually it's more like Roscoe walks me. HI I let him go where he wants to and follow along for the most part.
I really enjoyed the day with Mike yesterday and now I'm looking forward to our next project day a week from today. It will be mostly ham radio oriented as far as the projects go, but there will be a lot of railroading also. Then if the weather cooperates, we might have a star (planet?) gazing session in the evening. -30-
Fri Nov 6 2020 7:32PM - I'll be back in a minute after Mike adds his part to the diary. OK Mike. Good evening everyone. I arrived at John's QTH just before 9AM. Today was a visit with two goals. First was to deliver John's new Lionel Legacy Locomotive. And second was a coax project. The first objective was 100% successful. The second was completed 50%. I need to bring 2 connectors from my QTH for a second length of coax. It wound up being a busy day for us. I will let John go into detail. It's almost time for me to head north. So without further ado, here's John...
Well, I really don't have a lot to say which is one reason I asked Mike to do part of the diary. HI. As always it was a good day when Mike visits. After all the troubles I've had with locomotives lately, it looks like this one is going to be a winner. Just one thing. Instead of a SOO Lines loco, it turned out to be a Frisco loco. That was perfectly fine with me as I only picked SOO because it was the only one I could find when ordering. Other than that everything was perfect. Mike and I gave it a VERY thorough workout trying just about every feature the Legacy system provided. About the only thing we didn't try was a lash-up with another loco. I'll do that sometime soon. I love the whistle, the crew and tower talk, the perfectly smooth motion down to about snail speed up to 90 scale MPH, and just too many other features to list here. Now if it just stays this way, I'll continue to be delighted.
Incidentally Mike is giving me a dose of my own medicine pacing back and forth while I type like I do when he's typing.
The bands were busy tonight, but folks weren't hearing me answering their CQs until finally I went to 160 and snagged K8JD there. The next couple evenings should be easy to get my QSO with the ARRL Sweepstakes going on.
Of course Mike and I took time out to eat. We got something from Wendy's. I got a Baconator with Fries. Mike got a Pretzel Bacon Pub sandwich and fries. We also made some plans for doing a Tag Team effort in the upcoming CQWW DX Contest. Also plans for a project day a week from tomorrow, the 14th. More on that as the day draws closer. -30-
Thu Nov 5 2020 7:49PM - Despite the increase in sunspot activity and solar flux, the conditions were really poor this evening. I may have to switch my MO to getting on in the daylight hours on the higher bands as they should be getting better now. The increased solar activity is probably making the ionosphere more dense which is absorbing the lower frequencies I have been using in the evenings. I don't know when the SF was at 90+ the last time, but it was 91 today. I guess I'll go check my Excel SF file and see. Back in a bit. Well, it wasn't in 2020, 2019, or 2018. The high those years were 76, 82, 82 respectively. The high in 2017 was 183 on September 4. The last 90+ was 91 on September 28. That's 3+ years ago. Wow. Oh, I worked W4BTZ near Atlanta, GA this evening. He was copying me better than I was copying him through my QSB and QRN here.
Until I got W4BTZ on 80 at 0029Z I was afraid some of my time with Mike and my new locomotive tomorrow would be devoted to getting my streak QSO. We'll probably still check the bands as we always do, but with no pressure to get that QSO.
I don't know what time Mike is planning to arrive tomorrow, but it will be good to see him again and also to get my new loco. I just hope everything goes smoothly with this one unlike the past couple. At least unlike the very last one which was out of stock, this one exists for sure since Mike picked it up yesterday as I said.
I'm still not used to the time change completely yet. I still think when I finish writing the diary entry, it is time to go get my weather data, but that is still an hour away yet. It was beautiful today with a high at 70 with some high thin cirrus clouds, no precipitation and only a light breeze. Like we went back in time about 6 weeks or so. It should stay this way until next Wednesday at least. Hopefully well beyond that. -30-
Wed Nov 4 2020 7:23PM - Poor bands again tonight. I have to thank Harry KA1FXK for sticking with me long enough to make it a legit QSO. Copy was rough both ways, but we made it another day for the streak.
I got an email from Mike a while ago saying he picked up my locomotive from Hobbyspeed. Or as he put it in the email, "The Engine has landed. It’s sitting in the back of my vehicle." So I should be seeing it on Friday if all continues on plan. Thanks Mike.
Not much else going on today except that it was a beautiful day and Roscoe and I had a couple nice sessions on the porch swing. -30-
Tue Nov 3 2020 8:04PM - The bands seemed good again tonight, at least 80 meters which is the only one I listened to. I found KB8UMD calling CQ and we had a 19 minute QSO from 0003 to 0022Z. Good signals all the way both ends.
Tomorrow Mike picks up my train order from Hobbyspeed in Indiana. It's a SOO Lines 2-8-2 Light Mikado #4005. Not exactly what I wanted, but at least now I'll have a Lionel Legacy steam locomotive to play with starting Friday when Mike delivers it here. I'm still hoping for a UP 844 or a UP 4014 some day in the future.
It looks like Indian Summer coming up this week and into the early part of next week. It will sure be welcome after some cold days with frost and s#$w lately. Some sources are predicting a few days in the low 70s! That will be great. -30-
Mon Nov 2 2020 6:39PM - You may have noted in my streak table on the main page of the web site that my QSO last evening didn't come until 0128Z. There's a little story behind that. We had a power failure here last night and I was busy taking care of things related to that. Checking on the neighbors, getting some emergency lighting set up here, and so forth. I never did get on the air till about 0115Z or so. I connected the rig to my portable battery, and found out what I had suspected for some time. Without the noisy power lines, electronic crap, and other noise sources my QRN level was down to about S2 instead of S8-S9 as usual. The bands were full of sigs that may have been masked by my high noise level otherwise. It was great. I had a nice contact with AA9AA in Wisconsin on 80 for about 20 minutes. He was running 3 watts and was solid copy all the way. I didn't get a chance to check much more though as the power returned not long after our QSO ended. It still wasn't quite as quiet as up in the park with its near S0 noise, but still much better than usual of late. I guess the residual S2 or so noise was from emergency power sources in the neighborhood.
Today has been good so far. I won a prize in the NAQCC Anniversary drawing and it arrived today. I also decided on a train, and I think I'm going to order it after I get my streak QSO in a little while. It's going to be ordered from Hobbyspeed in Indiana, PA. I checked a little while ago to be sure it will be in stock. Brett at the store said there were two in stock so I should be OK. Then Mike is going to Indiana on Wednesday and he'll pick up the order for me and bring it when he visits on Friday for a project checking out his coax line(s) which suffered some damage in a bad wind storm on Sunday.
OK, almost time to head to the shack now for hopefully a quick QSO so I can get my train order in. -30-
Sun Nov 1 2020 9:40AM - October was pretty much an average month with a mean temperature of 54.9, 2.9 degrees above normal due mainly to a brief 3 day period around the 22nd that averaged about 17 degrees above normal. Precipitation was a little above normal at 3.55 inches or .82 above normal due to a heavy rain of 1.32 inches on the 28th/29th.
There were several daily records set due mostly to the warm period mentioned above. 82 on the 23rd tied the high record from 1963.
The highest minimum record was broken on the 21st at 54 and the 22nd at 57. Also 64 on the 11th.
The highest average was 70 on the 22nd and 66 on the 23rd, both records, the 70 tied 1979. Also 68 on the 11th was a record.
The least daily temperature range record was set or tied four times 6 - 19th, 7 - 20th, 6 - 27th, 3 - 29th.
Departure from normal set or tied on 4 days +14 - 11th, +16 - 21st, +20 - 22nd, +17 - 23rd.
Now I wonder what November will bring. It's usually a fairly wet month with low daily temperature ranges.
Back to contemplating what locomotive I'm going to buy now. I'm having a problem finding exactly what I want. A lot come close, but have one little thing I don't like about them. I'll probably have to settle for one of those though. -30-
Sat Oct 31 2020 9:06PM - Whew, I'm tired out of doing one of my least favorite annual tasks. Turning my clocks back one hour, and remembering which ones are smart enough to do it themselves and which need my assistance. It's easy in the spring just moving ahead one hour. Now tomorrow I'll find out which one I forgot to turn or which ones should have done it on their own but didn't. Of course this year was even worse because the calendar pages had to be flipped also. I think that may have been the first time the calendar and clock change coincided, or maybe not since it's been a good many years now since the date of change was changed to the first Sunday in November.
The bands were really rough tonight. I guess all the ghouls and goblins were playing with the ionosphere. I did finally work K5EDM in AR after 27 minutes into the 0000Z hour. That was on 40 meters after I couldn't get anyone on 80.
Besides the clock changing, I did some other end of the month things today. I uploaded my logs to LoTW and eQSL this morning. I did my EOM financial work also. Now about all that is left is putting the October weather data into my Excel weather spreadsheets. I'd guess that October will wind up pretty close to normal as we had probably an equal number of warm and cool days and wet and dry ones. Probably the precipitation will wind up on the low side, but maybe not a lot. I'll know tomorrow as I think I'll wait till then to do that.
Another chore the next day or two will be ordering a new Lionel Legacy locomotive. Hopefully the third time will be the charm. No fault of Lionel the first two didn't work out. I'd still like to get a UP 844, but I can't seem to find any for sale. At least any new ones, and I'm not going to get a used one like I did the first time. If not that, maybe I'll open the wallet a bit more and get a Big Boy. Or maybe a Pennsy K4 loco, since that was my local railroad through here years ago. Or maybe something different altogether. Stay tuned. -30-
Fri Oct 30 2020 8:17PM - The bands seemed pretty good tonight although I didn't really need to listen all that long to get my streak QSO. It came at just past 0000Z when I worked WA7WKY over in Cincinnati, Ohio on 80 meters. After we chatted a bit, I shut down for the night.
Another not much going on day today. It was a cold breezy one and as it clears up and the wind dies down tonight, I suspect we might drop into the upper 20s overnight. It's right at 40 now as I type. They are predicting a bit of a warm up the latter part of next week, but before then, there is a chance of our first s#$w of the season on Sunday. Brrrr! I hate that.
I did a little work on the railroad today. I put down a road through the center of my big oval. I just used masking tape for now and probably will paint it black sometime to make it look like blacktop. I really don't plan to make a real fancy setup. I mostly just like working on the locos and running stock and running the trains. I will do a little with the scenery now and then, but not a lot. -30-
Thu Oct 29 2020 8:34PM - I always enjoy working folks whose call is similar to mine. I worked one tonight who in addition is someone I've worked several times over the years. It is Jim K4WOP. Just needs one dit to a dah and one dah to a dit to be identical to my call. I've only ever worked one other WWP. That was Clark (think that was his name) W2WWP. He's now a silent key. I'm curious now to see how often I've worked Jim and Clark. Yes, the name was Clark. We worked 4 times between 1994 and 1997, both from NY and NC. This was QSO #16 tonight with Jim going all the way back to 1965. So he's a member of my 50 years club of hams I've worked more than 50 years apart. Unfortunately I haven't been keeping up with my 50 years records. I'll have to work on that sometime. It will soon be 60 years if I make it to 2023.
Still another day where the weather liked the 50 degree mark so much it didn't stray far from it up or down, night or day. We got a good soaking rain today probably over an inch although I won't know for sure until 9 o'clock. Much too late to help the growing season, but better than nothing, I guess.
BTW, my QSO with Jim came on the first CQ that I called. So quick, it kind of startled me as I haven't been getting many answers to my CQs at all lately, let alone the first one I call. -30-
Wed Oct 28 2020 8:38PM - Same old story this evening with the streak. Hard to find someone to work, but I'm still keeping things going and still in the 0000Z hour. I'll have to check again to see how many straight days I've gotten the QSO in the 0000Z hour, but not right now. Tonight it took 12 minutes to find, work, and have a nice rag chew with Dick W2WC in an astronomically named place in NY - Halfmoon.
In our QSO, we talked about the KX3 which we both own, although he wasn't using his tonight. I see it is just past 8 years I've owned mine and used it 99.99% of the time since then. I built it on October 21, 2012. Actually Mike was there also lending some assistance, then I made my first QSO with it with him. It has really turned out to be a real treasure. By coincidence, W2WC also got his just over 8 years ago. We should have traded serial numbers, but I didn't think of that until just now.
I did some small things around the house today. I worked on my computer stand a bit, and I may have to continue tomorrow as I just noticed it is slipping around on the stand a bit as I type. I also did some work on my railroad layout, moving a bridge around and fixing the light in the caboose which had burned out. I also cleaned and adjusted the pick-up roller on the caboose. I also did some other things that were just minor ones and can't even remember them now.
It was another November in October day with the temperature hanging around 50 +/- a couple degrees all day and some light drizzle along the way. It looks like we'll get about an inch and a half of rain from Zeta, then get down in the 20s overnight for a few upcoming nights. Very sad to contemplate, but..... -30-
Tue Oct 27 2020 8:31PM - About the only thing of note today is the Solar Flux. It was 82. Now let me see when the last time it was that high. March 22, 2019 as far as I can tell in glancing through my Excel spreadsheet and that same glance showed only one day in 2019 it was that high. So hopefully that will be good news for propagation conditions upcoming.
My streak QSO tonight came from VE2CSI up in CQ Zone 2 on 40 meters. He was really booming in although I did have to repeat my call to get him. -30-
Mon Oct 26 2020 7:53PM - Almost time for the streak QSO. It was an interesting and somewhat busy day today. Being Monday of course, it was laundry day and I did that first thing this morning. I got caught up on some of my (regular) mail correspondence after that. Later in the day my neighbor girl brought me over a platter of lasagna which I'll have later. She visited for a while and we talked about her schooling. She said that one of her school projects this year would be designing a web site. I showed her my site and offered to help if I could. The project hasn't really gotten underway yet. She has all As except for one B so she probably won't need any help. HI.
After that my other neighbor cooked and ate some fried green tomatoes. I haven't had any for a while and they were really good.
OK, off to the shack now then I'll finish this entry later.
It's seemingly harder and harder to get my streak QSO as time passes, but still I am continuing to get it in that 0000Z hour. Tonight it took 21 minutes to find someone calling CQ and in between time getting no answers to my own CQs. It's hard to say if it is poor conditions, lack of activity, or my strong local noise that makes it difficult. Probably a combination of the three. Tonight it was Bryan KO4YB down in AL who got in my streak log when I answered his CQ.
I haven't talked about trains lately. That's because it seems they give me nothing but bad luck. I finally had to return my UP 844 for a refund which I got. Then I ordered a Pennsylvania K4 locomotive and the company sold the last one they had in stock shortly before my order. So another refund and more searching for another locomotive. Sigh! -30-
Sun Oct 25 2020 8:08PM - Of course, the SST test this evening provided a quick streak QSO, actually 2 of them as I wasn't positive the first station logged my call correctly so I worked an insurance QSO just in case. Conditions seemed about average tonight as they have been quite a bit lately.
Another cold or cool day today with a high of 55 which was better than yesterday. I helped Ange with some garden clean up, but other than that and walking Roscoe, I stayed inside most of the day. Well, my neighbor Bruce took me shopping early today, but I wasn't really out in the weather except to go from his van into the stores.
I rearranged my train layout a bit setting up some tracks to store my spare engines and running stock. It looks a bit more like a real train yard now. -30-
Sat Oct 24 2020 7:55PM - Just a short entry before I head to the shack for my streak QSO, hopefully. Conditions have been poor lately and also the bands have been quiet on the CW end. Maybe everyone is in the SSB DX contest, although why, I don't know. That mode has no appeal to me at all, but I have no objections to each having his own.
It was some 30+ degrees colder today than yesterday so no long walks or sitting on the porch. It just barely grazed 50 during the day today although the actual high probably happened sometime around midnight. Yes I see the high on my AcuRite remote was 63 then.
Well, time to head to the shack now. Till tomorrow's entry, very 73. -30-
Fri Oct 23 2020 8:46PM - Probably the last 80+ degree day of the year today although we have had a couple such days in November in past years. It was enjoyable to say the least.
The bands sure seemed empty tonight although the sigs that were there seemed quite strong as if conditions were good. I had a solid 17 minute QSO with K2IWQ up in NY on 80 meters. -30-
Thu Oct 22 2020 6:02PM - It was in the 80s today and while in my back yard, I was admiring what will probably be my last two roses of the year. I thought I'd take their pictures and share the pictures here in the diary. So...
Wed Oct 21 2020 8:20PM - Poor conditions again tonight as usual the past several days now. After listening around for about 10 minutes wondering if I was going to work anyone, I did find VE3BXG calling CQ on 80M and managed to work him although I got a meager 329 RST report and he was about 559 with his 150 watts. So the streak struggles on another day.
At least the weather was good today with a high in the upper 70s although we did have a few light showers along the way and some real thick fog early this morning. Roscoe and I sat on the swing a couple times enjoying the weather. Tomorrow morning he goes to the groomer for a trim, bath, and toenail (pawnail?) clipping. He should enjoy that. The groomer says he is one of the very best dogs that she works on. -30-
Tue Oct 20 2020 10:41AM - Every now and then I go through the pages of my web site looking for things that need or could use some updating. One thing I have always put off doing until now was updating info about the history of QRP. This morning I found a VERY long article discussing just when QRP evolved from 100 watts to 5 watts and also just when power measurement went from input power to output power. I have now inserted a link to that article (PDF) in my streak page. There may also be some other pages where I can insert the link. I'll check that out later. That's it for today's diary entry. -30-
Mon Oct 19 2020 7:11PM - I see Mike read my diary entry of a couple nights ago as he usually does. He read the bit about doing a tag team effort in the CQWW DX test in November and liked the idea so it looks like we'll be doing it. That will be fun. I get as big a kick out of him getting the QSOs as I do getting them myself. I hope conditions will be good that weekend.
I just did a bit of work on my QSL Routes page here on the web site. WM7D changed the lookup method a bit so I took his form down and now just link to the form on his home page. There sure are a myriad of different forms for doing lookups on the web nowadays and I don't have time to figure them all out.
And that's probably my diary entry for tonight unless I work something really exotic for my streak QSO later. -30-
Sun Oct 18 2020 8:57PM - Time to get my temperature in a couple minutes. I had an interesting time last night getting my temperature. There was a skunk in my back yard and we stared at each other about 7 or 8 feet apart. No problem though as I just went about getting my temperature and he (she?) went about digging for roots or grubs. I don't know how he got in as he was big and there is a fence all around my yard with only small openings. Hope he's not there tonight or if so, things go like last night. I'll find out in a couple minutes and come back and finish the diary report.
No sign of my black and white visitor tonight. I did tighten up a couple of suspicious spots in the fence today. Maybe that helped. We'll see.
I had another 3 QSO evening working IL in the ILQP, then answers to my CQs from NY and MO. Also I had another station call me whom I couldn't copy, but later found out from his email that is was my friend Gene AA8MI. I never heard any of his call, and only heard my call twice in separate answers.
OK, got to update my index and propagation pages now before time to take Roscoe out. -30-
Sat Oct 17 2020 7:56PM - It should be a quick streak QSO tonight with the NY QSO Party going on. If so, I'll try some CQs away from the party frequencies and look for a rag chew QSO also.
That went according to plan with a bonus. I worked W2GN in the NYQP at 0001Z. Then called CQ for about 10 minutes and just as I was about to quit, I got an answer from W8FV down in NC for a short rag chew before he had to quit. Then the bonus when I worked DK9PY in the WAG contest on 40 with a single call. When I was seriously into contesting, the WAG was a favorite and in 2013 I made 106 QSOs in it. Working DK9PY gave me a bit of a taste for working DX and I'm looking forward to the CQWW DX the end of November. Maybe Mike and I can do a tag team effort in that one? -30-
Fri Oct 16 2020 8:34PM - I think we're settling in for winter conditions on the bands already. It seems every evening that 40, 30, and 20 get worse and worse and I wind up on 80 to get my streak QSO. At least I am still getting it. I worked VE3CSI on 80 tonight, but it took a while to get my right call across to him. Then later I called CQ and got an answer from I think a N8?WV, but never could copy his call and never got enough to make it a QSO. Sigh!
To top it off, the weather isn't getting any better either. It's a sad time of year. I took my screens out and put in the storm panes today also. Can't wait till spring in about 134 days or so. But wait a minute, I don't want to be wishing my life away like that. I'll just have to put up with poor conditions and weather and enjoy the many other good things in life. -30-
Thu Oct 15 2020 8:23PM - A sad day today. I put my garden to rest for the (excuse the language) winter. I harvested a nice collection of peppers and tomatoes to keep me going for a while. Not as many as other years, but enough. I also cut my grass for hopefully the last time until spring (now that's a good season).
The bands were good again tonight, but not a lot of activity. I got a rather quick answer to my CQ from someone who seemed to be in a contest or sprint as he only gave me RST ST NAME and some kind of club number. Oh well, it was sufficient to keep the streak going for another day although I would have liked to chew the rag a bit. -30-
Wed Oct 14 2020 8:28PM - The bands seemed a little better this evening. I even worked a DX station for my streak QSO, TI5/N3KS on 20 meters. Then I called CQ on 40 and worked K0ZK up in Maine. I hope things continue to pick up.
I went shopping with my neighbor to get some breakfasts for Roscoe and a couple other things. Then I went out later to get some food for myself. I also went for a walk this evening just before dark. Also Roscoe and I sat on the swing for a while. I guess you can tell from that it was a pretty nice day. Mostly sunny with a high around 70. It's supposed to be even a bit warmer tomorrow. I won't complain about that. -30-
Tue Oct 13 2020 8:54PM - Horrible conditions again this evening. It was a struggle to get my streak QSO, then even more of a struggle to get a contact in our NAQCC sprint, but I made both goals eventually. KC1BMD on 80 for the streak, and WB1GYZ on 80 for the sprint. Both were just above my high QRN level.
I think if I were much younger and had the chance to do it, I would look for some sort of isolated QTH where the noise level was down around S0 or S1 instead of S9 as it is here. Actually up in the Community Park it is quiet like that so there probably is some place not that far away where I could get away from this noise, but still I'm too old to be thinking of pulling up roots and moving so I'll just have to live with the noise. It hasn't ended my streak yet, but it has diminished my participation in our NAQCC sprints and other QRP contests as well unless I do them portable from the Park. -30-
Mon Oct 12 2020 8:29PM - A very cold day for our parkpedition today, but we stuck it out for just under 3 hours getting very cold with few QSOs before we gave it up. We each made about 7 QSOs. I'm speaking of Mike and me, of course. It reminded us of Columbus Day 2009 when we really got frozen out and left after just about 90 minutes. The wind was ferocious really lowering the wind chill. Without the wind it wouldn't have been quite so bad.
Before and after the parkpedition we played some Sherlock Holmes games on the computer. We also boxed up my UP 844 locomotive to return it for a refund. It just never did run quite right. I hated to see it go, but it was just too frustrating to keep it. Now I hope to find another one somewhere that runs better.
We also had a very good pepperoni, mushroom, and onion pizza this evening. I'm sure that's no surprise to those of you who know us.
This evening it was also very hard making QSOs. I had to really struggle to keep my streak intact. It again took over 20 minutes as it did last night to finally work someone, KM4CU in FL on 40. -30-
Sun Oct 11 2020 8:42PM - That was very strange! I thought since I was busy doing my laundry and other things, I'd just grab a quick SST QSO for the streak. I turned on the rig and the first station I heard was John K4BAI. I thought oh boy, this will be even quicker than I thought. Not so. I chased John off and on for about 15 minutes and he never so much as heard me at all. Extremely unusual as John always hears me and he was quite strong. I started to think something was wrong with my antenna, but all looked fine. I tried 3 or 4 other stations with the same negative results. Do I have my VOX off? Nope, it's on. I abandoned 40 and went to 80. The same thing there at first but I eventually did get K4RUM in the SST there. Looking back, I think 40 was in long skip as stations in UT and NM were booming in, but not hearing me either. Oh well, at least the streak is secured so I don't have to worry about it when Mike visits again tomorrow.
The latest weather forecast looks like we will be able to head to the Community Park. We're shooting for a 1500-1900Z time slot and hope to operate around 7041, 10117, and 14061, two frequencies at a time to be determined by conditions and activity. We'll be using N3A/3 as the call. Hope to work you. -30-
Sat Oct 10 2020 7:23PM - It was not the usual good day with Mike. Nothing to do with us or our friendship. Just with things that happened.
We had a good breakfast supplied by me and prepared by Mike. Then when we ran my train, it started acting up the way it did when I first got it and as it did yesterday. I still don't know what the problem is, but it seems to be something with the RailSounds/Control board despite installing the battery which seemed to cure it earlier.
After some Sherlock Holmes computer games, we started putting up our setup for the PA QSO Party. Setup went very smoothly and quickly and we waited for the contest to start.
We used SE call N3A today. When it did start at 1600Z, I immediately worked N3VZ and thought it might be a good day on 40 meters. However it was downhill from there and things started to drag. It took 17 minutes more to get #2 and #3 which I got from my CQs. The rest of the 1600Z hour gave me only 7 more contacts, most S&P. The 1700Z hour gave 9 QSOs, 1800Z just 4, and 1900Z only 4 also. That made only 27 QSOs in 3 1/2 hours. That's when we shut down. Mike had an even worse time on 20 meters. Skip was too long to hear PA and he wasn't hearing any out of state CQs. He only made 3 QSOs total. I'm not sure but I think those were from his CQs. At one point, even his antenna didn't cooperate and the mast collapsed down into the lowest section at one point in the contest. Hopefully things will go better on Monday when we do our stint for the NAQCC Anniversary celebration. We operated from my front porch today and may have to do the same Monday if we get rained out of going to the Kittanning Community Park.
Getting close to 0000Z now when I should get a very quick QSO from the PA QSO Party unless things go like today. At least tonight I'll be using K3WWP instead of N3A so I can work those stations I worked earlier with N3A if necessary. -30-
Fri Oct 9 2020 9:21PM - And now here's my friend and ghost writer to do tonight's diary entry.
Good evening eveyone. I arrived at John's place around 9AM. John immediately introduced me to the new addition to his model railroad. Needless to say I was very impressed. Actual scaled model trains are a thing of beauty. After running his new addition for a while, John decided to re-arrange some of the electronic components of his layout. After that he did some smoke testing to make sure everything was running properly. We did run into one minor issue. His new locomotive doesn't run properly when his hand held wireless controller's battery is nearly out of juice. No worries, eveything ran fine after a quick recharge. Afterwards we tried our hand at a Sherlock Holmes hidden object game. We picked a couple of tough ones. After a few failed attempts on the second puzzle we decided to grab a late lunch/early dinner from Wendy's. Then back to the hidden object game. Followed by checking the bands. Tomorrow we will be opeating in the PA QSO Party. We will set up on John's front porch like we do during field day. And on Monday we will operate from the Kittanning Community Park for our annual Columbus Day operation for the NAQCC Anniversary Event. We will be quite busy radio wise the next few days.
Until next time de Mike, KC2EGL 73 -30-
Thu Oct 8 2020 8:38PM - Took a while to get my streak QSO tonight, but finally got an answer to my 80 meters CQ at 0017Z from VE3PYG. QRN and QSB cut it to 10 minutes, but at least it's in the books for another day.
Speaking of another day, tomorrow is a Mike visit day so that will provide some different things to talk about here in the diary, I am sure. Even more so considering he will be here Fri, Sat, and Mon. The weather should be good for some outdoor things. Of course railroads and ham radio will top the activities, but we'll find other things to keep us occupied also. So stay tuned to the diary the next couple evenings, and beyond also, of course. -30-
Wed Oct 7 2020 8:42PM - I've made over 90,000 QSOs in my ham career, actually 92,031 using K3WWP, and using N3A, N3AQC, and a few other calls, the overall total is 5,266 + 92,031 = 97,297. I bring that up because I just want to say I enjoyed every one of them, be they contest QSOs, 599 TU DX QSOs, long rag chews or any other classification into which you can put them. Every once in a while though, there is one that stands out just a bit from the others, mainly because you learn quite a bit about the person you are talking to. Tonight was such a QSO talking with a Navy veteran about the ships he served on in a 27 year career, mainly submarines. I wondered if he ever served on the Requin, but he hadn't. A couple he mentioned were the Polaris, Abraham Lincoln, and a Sturgeon class sub. I'm not going to repeat the whole QSO here, but you get the gist of it, I'm sure.
He called a bit of a slow CQ, maybe 15WPM or so, so I answered him with my straight key since I don't send too well at speeds below 17 or 18WPM with my bug or paddle. I had no idea he was an ex-Navy man. You could tell though after listening to his near perfect CW for the whole QSO. Anyway it was nice having a full QSO on a straight again. It's been a while now. -30-
Tue Oct 6 2020 8:38PM - 80 seemed quite busy tonite with not a lot on 40. I worked K4JJW easily on 80 meters at 0004Z. Then I tried a few CQs with no luck.
Not much else going on today again. A couple walks and running my train pretty much covered everything. -30-
Mon Oct 5 2020 8:31PM - There seem to be more special event stations than ever active this year. Well, it has been an unusual year, to say the least. I worked another one tonight - N4F in FL. Let's see just what it was for. OK, that explains the CQ NFPW. It's for National Fire Prevention Week. A very good cause. See the QRZ listing for more interesting info.
Kind of a quiet day today with nothing out of the ordinary going. It was chilly with a high of around 60 and 49 right now. I did get in my usual 2 walks though. I'm going to have to move up my evening walk a bit as it is getting dark much earlier each day. I hate to see that, but I can't do a thing about it. -30-
Sun Oct 4 2020 8:22PM - An easy quick QSO in the SST from VE2FK Claude in QC. I tried to get a follow up QSO, but I couldn't, so the SST QSO stands as the streak QSO.
I did a lot of running of my UP 844 today and it performed very well with just a couple minor glitches probably due to operator error more than anything else as I'm still getting used to the Lionel Legacy controls with a steam engine. I am pretty much used to them with my diesel, but there are some differences.
Here's a little better picture of the 844 compared to the one I posted the other night. I can still do better though, and I will get a still nicer picture sometime in the near future.
It's a real beauty and my photography doesn't do it justice (yet).
Mike and I will be having most of the upcoming weekend together. On Friday it will be mostly a train day. Then perhaps a stargazing event Friday night. On Saturday we'll do the PA QSO Party using N3A probably from the park. On Sunday, Mike has other things to do. Then he'll be back on Monday to operate N3A/3 in the NAQCC Anniversary Week festivities from the park. More details as the days draw closer. -30-
Sat Oct 3 2020 8:34PM - I figured I'd get an easy QSO in the CA QSO Party tonite. Wrong. 20 was pretty much closed by 0000Z, and I got an answer from a CA station on 40, but he couldn't get my call right. So I discarded that idea and called CQ on 80 instead. I got a pretty quick answer from Jerry N3EMZ in adjacent Westmoreland County here in PA. We had a nice 18 minute chat.
I haven't said much about my new Lionel Legacy UP 844 loco that I got last Sunday because it's been frustrating. It ran well, but the RailSounds were intermittent at best when they worked at all. Well, tonight I think I fixed the problem. The tender has a connection for a 'back up' 9 volt battery that is supposed to kick in when the loco passes over a bad or dirty section of track. I took the tender apart tonight, found the connection, installed a battery, and I've had two good running sessions since then with everything working fine. It seems the Living Legend (UP844) lives again. I hope the fix is for real and lasts. It's a real beauty of a loco, as is the prototype out in Cheyenne. Just as a reminder, it's the only steam locomotive that was never retired by a Class 1 railroad. It's been on the Union Pacific active roster ever since it was purchased in 1944. The 44 number is only a coincidence not connected with the year. The locomotive was the last in a group of 45 FEF Northern locomotives purchased by UP numbered 800 through 844. -30-
Fri Oct 2 2020 8:29PM - It was a special event station for the streak tonight. W5T in TX on 40. He said something about a hurricane special event. Let's see what QRZ says. It just says a special event operating October 1-14, 2020, recognizing the impact of hurricanes on the Texas Gulf Coast. They certainly deserve something for all the blows they've taken there.
Another day with not much going on. It was too chilly to spend much time outside but I did go for a couple walks. I also cleaned out my garden leaving only 2 tomato and 2 pepper plants. The rest weren't going to produce any longer so I removed them when the weather is still decent rather than freezing later after they died off completely.
I got an email from Mike telling about two new QRP operating events. I'll pass it along verbatim in case you are interested although the events are this weekend so it's last minute news.
"Good afternoon John.
Larry from NJQRP posted information about these two events.
I have applied for a number for both events. I doubt that I will be home in time to operate all of peepers event. Peanut Power Leaf Peepers
Both numbers are good for eternity. We can put this on our schedule from now on.
It would make for a nice weekend of radio to mix in with other activities."
Thanks Mike. GL in the events. Since they are QRP it will be hard for me with my strong local QRN to work anyone here at home, so I'll probably pass on them. -30-
Thu Oct 1 2020 9:30AM - For the many of you who show an interest in my meteorological records, I present some September stats from my records.
Monthly stats and departures from normal:
Ave Min: 54.5 +2.2
Ave Max: 77.9 +2.3
Ave Mean: 66.2 +2.3
Prec: 1.62 -1.79
A bit on the warm side and quite dry, but no monthly records were set or tied except those that happen most every September like number days Max 32 or less (0), number days Min 0 or less (0), etc.
Min of 38 on the 19th ties 1982 and 1995.
One interesting stat: The Min was 38 on four straight days from 19th through 22nd. That doesn't happen very much with the Min. More often with the Max.
And that's it for today unless something really important or interesting happens later. -30-
Wed Sep 30 2020 8:29PM - I worked an interesting station for my streak tonight. It was WW0WWV. As you can tell from the call it is connected to WWV in CO. In looking up the station in QRZ, I see it is what they call WWV 100 + 1. The 100th anniversary plus 1 year. Last year they had such a great time and such a big turnout, they decided to do it again this year, but at a lower level of activity due to the virus. I may have been the first QSO they made as I worked them at 0002Z and they started at 0000Z. It took a few repeats for them to get my call so that used up about a minute or so. Could have been another station sneak in ahead of me. That was on 40 meters, BTW.
Of course this is the end of a month day, so I spent most of it doing all my EOM tasks. I'm almost done. About all I have left now is to enter the September weather data into my Microsoft Excel Weather spreadsheet. It looks like it will be around Min 53.5, Max 77.5 and Mean 65.5 for the monthly average. That's about 1.5 to 2.0 degrees above normal. Precipitation should be well below normal. I'll mention the real figures in tomorrow's diary entry. Now time to move on for tonight. -30-
Tue Sep 29 2020 9:16PM - This will be a short entry tonight as it's almost time to walk Roscoe. I had 3 bug QSOs tonight so I got a workout on the bug and got a bit sloppy near the end. It was a lot of fun though. I had a tough time getting started and didn't start the first QSO until 0030Z, the latest in a long time now. Actually not much else to talk about today anyway so it's a good night for a short entry. HI -30-
Mon Sep 28 2020 8:41PM - Where does the time go? It will very soon be October. I hope the winter months pass as quickly as the summer months did this year.
The bands seemed to be not very active this evening. I had to go down to 80 to find my streak QSO in the name of Bill VE3AUI. We chatted about 16 minutes, solid copy both ways. I see more and more 80 meters QSOs sneaking into my log. If it is like last year, before long the vast majority will be on 80 with some 160 thrown in here and there.
Today was probably our last nice day for a while as it is predicted to be wet and cool the next several days. I took advantage with a couple walks and sat on the porch swing with Roscoe for an hour. -30-
Sun Sep 27 2020 8:47PM - Well, the 844 arrived about 12:30PM today, naturally when I was out walking Roscoe. Everything worked out though and Roscoe even got a couple treats from the FedEx man. The 844 ran well for a while, but then developed an intermittant/erratic problem in the sound board somewhere. There are some things I will try to see if I can fix it. If I can't, I have the option of returning it to the seller within 30 days. It runs very nicely, it's just the sounds that aren't working as they should sometimes.
Here's a picture I took quickly after I got it unpacked and set on the tracks. I'll try to get a better picture sometime.
Tonight I got a QSO in the SST sprint, and came to the conclusion that it is too easy to get a QSO in the SST. I will get one if available, but I'll also try to get a second QSO after that like I did tonight. I worked K1ZTE on 40 via my CQ with the bug, and we had a 21 minute QSO before the band suddenly changed. I used the bug all the way. We are contemporaries, having both been first licensed back in 1963. I was just going to talk about changes since then in ham radio, but that's when the band changed and ended the QSO. -30-
Sat Sep 26 2020 8:40PM - A couple interesting things today. First working backwards, my streak QSO came quickly in the ME QSO Party from K1OT on 40. So I thought I'd try some bug CQs on 30. I haven't had any QSOs on 30 for a while now. However tonight I got an answer to my CQ from AJ1Y in MA, and almost a full 30 minute rag chew followed. QSB ended it around 27 minutes as AJ1Y faded completely from S8 to almost nil and never came back up. It was good to get something on 30 again though. I've always liked that band since it became available in the 1980s, but I don't hear much activity there now. Any time I listen or watch the PX3, I hear (see) 2 or 3 signals at most, and nothing all that strong.
A strange thought popped into my mind as I was using the bug. It reminded me of watching a steam locomotive vs. watching a diesel locomotive. With the paddle and diesel, there is really very little to differentiate between them being used and just sitting there. With the bug and steam there is a lot more motion going on when they are in use, the paddle lever and weight swinging back and forth or the driving rods on the locomotive going back and forth and round and round. Well, I said it was a strange thought, didn't I? HI
In late afternoon I got a phone call from FedEx confirming delivery of my UP #844 locomotive tomorrow and telling me to be sure to be available to sign for it. That followed up on some disappointment early today when the FedEx tracking seemed to indicate the package was taking a step backward, going from Indiana to Chicago. Mike also was following my tracking and being familiar with package delivery, routing, etc. he also thought that was strange and he guessed I wouldn't have it until Tuesday from that tracking info. Tune in tomorrow to see what happens.
Earlier still today Bruce asked if I wanted to go shopping with him. He also was going to the bus garage to do a bit of work on his school bus. I said I didn't really need anything, but I would ride along and see if I did see anything in the store. I did find some vitamins on a BOGO sale and stocked up on them for a good savings. I also then got a close up look at the school bus.
Finally a letter from Windstream said they are dropping all personal web pages. That doesn't really affect me since I already dropped my site from there after switching to Cahaba Internet to host my web site, leaving just a small forwarding page on Windstream. After November 1st, even that forwarding page will be gone. You can still always find my site here on k3wwp.com though. -30-
Fri Sep 25 2020 8:38PM - It's always nice to run into an old friend, be it in person, email, or ham radio. Tonight it was ham radio as I ran into Tom KA2KGP, a friend made several years ago via involvement in the NAQCC. We've worked many times on the bands and also met in person several times at various hamfests. We had a nice long chat although it was cut a bit short by QSB and QRN. I again used my bug for the whole QSO.
The railroad layout work went smoothly with Mike today. Only a couple quickly solved very minor glitches. Thanks Mike. He took a couple pictures of the new layout. Let me find one of them, and crop it to show here to compare it with the picture I posted last night.
You'll notice mainly the much broader curves with the O72 track compared to the old O31 curves. All my locomotives and rolling stock seemed to like the more open curves and all ran much better, I think. Other minor changes involve getting rid of the switches, although I probably will replace them someday with new O72 switches. Also the relocation of buildings and accessories.
I got some good news today. My #844 locomotive is scheduled for delivery via FedEx on Sunday, moved up from next Friday to Monday, now to Sunday. I sure hope that is correct. I have had some deliveries from FedEx in the past that didn't quite turn out as expected.
After Mike and I finished the railroad layout, we did some other favorite things like ham radio where we both worked 9A/IZ3NVR on 20 meters, some computer games, and of course eating, today a meal from Wendy's.
Later in the day my neighbor Jasmine brought me over another nice meal. After I finished that, I had my regular of late evening walk, stopping for some groceries. -30-
Thu Sep 24 2020 8:35PM - The past couple evenings, I've been using the bug to call CQ. Tonight I used it for a full 20 minute QSO with NZ9R on 80 and I was pleased with how well I did. I didn't feel any rust at all on the fist, even after not using it for a full QSO for probably 4 or 5 years, maybe longer. I can't really check since I don't note what key I use in my log. Anyway it really felt good to use it again. I think there will be more bug QSOs in my future.
Another thing in the future, namely around October 2, will be the arrival here of a Lionel Legacy Union Pacific's Living Legend FEF #844. I went ahead and ordered it today.
Continuing with the future theme, tomorrow Mike will visit and we will tear up my old railroad layout, then lay down a new one with O72 curves for the #844 when it arrives, and any other future locomotives that require the broad O72 curved track. There still might be a Big Boy in my future.
Before I close, here's a picture of my current layout which I took today so I can remember how it looked.
With the new layout, I hope to organize things better, and get some buildings that are nearer to true O scale as well as some other scenery, etc. Maybe even mount it up on a table some day. Stay tuned for developments. HI
Oh, the nice weather continues here with a 45 minute swinging session with Roscoe and a long walk early this evening. Should be the same way through Sunday before some needed rain comes along. -30-
Wed Sep 23 2020 8:24PM - For the first time this month, I made more than one QSO per day. After a quick 599 TU QSO with K1CX (wonder if he was a special event call or something, I'll look in a moment), I tried some more bug CQs as I did last night, but tonight I got an answer after just a couple minutes from N4PIR in NC. Copy was rough, but we did exchange some info about my streak and my web site along with rig and wx. Don't see any special event for K1CX, but it is listed in QRZ as a call for the Elitist Contest Club. OK.
My garden friend Ange took me up to visit my relatives' grave sites in our local cemetery today. I hadn't been able to get up there much lately since I don't drive and it's a long walk up a very steep winding road. So I thanked him for that and helped him do a bit of work in his garage.
I sat on the swing with Roscoe two times today. We've got to get in as much of that now before the nasty weather comes. I also walked quite a bit enjoying the nice weather.
Late this afternoon I got a good spaghetti dinner from the girl next door. We talked a while about how her school is going and some of the things she is studying there this year.
I think I've pretty much decided that I'm going to go ahead and order the Union Pacific #844 locomotive tomorrow, although I could always make a last minute change of plans. I wish there weren't so many different locos that I like or that they were less expensive so I could get a few of them at one time. -30-
Tue Sep 22 2020 8:44PM - I got a quick QSO for my streak tonight from Fred N9BSO in St. Louis, MO on 40 meters. So I thought I'd fool around for a while on the bands after that. I called CQ using my Vibroplex Lightning bug. Other than making a quick QSO with it in the bug category each month in our NAQCC sprint, I hadn't used it much at all for at least a couple years. I must say, it felt good to use it again, and I did very well in my sending with only one or two sloppy letters. For many years I thought I could never use a bug after using a keyer for so long, but it didn't take long before I could switch seamlessly between bug and keyer. The only problem tonight was I didn't get a single answer to my bug CQs in about a half hour of sending. Oh well, at least my primary goal of getting the streak QSO came easily.
Our string of nice days continued today and it looks like we have 4 or maybe 5 more coming before a string of showery days comes along according to the AccuWeather outlook. So Roscoe and I enjoyed about a 50 minute porch swing session today. I took a couple walks early this evening before it got dark around 7:30PM.
Other than that I did some house cleaning and ran my trains to pass the time. I also did some more thinking about which locomotive I'm going to buy. At the moment, the Union Pacific Northern #844 is at the top of the list. The UP Big Boy #4014 is a close second. If you can "admire" a locomotive, I do admire the 844 for being the only steam locomotive that has never been retired by a Class 1 railroad. It's been on UP's active roster since it was delivered in 1944. Until the late 1950s, it had a job delivering freight and passengers. Since then it's been excursions and other special events like double heading with the 4014 for the Golden Spike 150th anniversary celebration in May of 2019. Of course, the 4014 is very special itself. It was retired for many years on display in California until it was restored a few years ago and now joins 844 as the UP's two active steam locomotives. -30-
Mon Sep 21 2020 8:10PM - DX!! Not the most exotic, but not a W/VE station, so that's DX. The first DX in just over a month since I worked CM2XN on August 19. Tonight it was David XE1XR on 20, the 41st time our signals have crossed paths. It took a couple calls till he heard me, but then a solid brief QSO ensued.
Today we bid goodbye to astronomical summer on a chilly note. For the third day in a row now it's been more like mid October than September with a low in the upper 30s although we almost made it to 70 late in the afternoon. Another good day for walking though, and I again took a couple pretty long walks stopping off for some groceries along the way.
Nothing else of note today and it should be the same way the next 3 days as well until Mike comes to visit to work on upgrading my train track. I'm looking forward to that and then being able to run whatever locomotive I decide to get that can run on O72 curves. Still haven't decided. -30-
Sun Sep 20 2020 8:24PM - I'm going to forget how to rag chew. Eight of the last ten days, my streak QSO has come from a contest or a special event station. Just a quick TU 599 ** type of QSO. Tonight it was KM4FO in the SST contest.
We're continuing to get a preview of late fall weather here with lows in the 30s and highs struggling to make it to the 60s. I've added a couple blankets to my bed and kicked the furnace up a notch to take the chill off. I also replaced most window and door screens with storm windows. Really now, it's much too early to be doing all that, but......
It's actually good walking weather in the afternoons though, and I took a couple good long walks today. -30-
Sat Sep 19 2020 9:04PM - My new track arrived early this morning. However it will be until next Friday before Mike is able to come down and help me do the upgrade. I could do it myself, but it's always nice to have a second set of hands and a second brain, especially since one set is now 75+ years old. That will give me time perhaps to decide which Lionel Legacy Locomotive I want to add to my collection. With the O72 curved track, any locomotive should be able to negotiate the curves now, so my choice is no longer limited. Except for the price, that is. HI
As usual of late, 40 meters is the good band with very little heard on 30 or 20 in the 0000Z hour. Tonight it was an easy QSO with K2DSW in the Iowa QSO Party.
It was more like early October today rather than mid September. The low was 38 this morning and it topped out only in the low 60s. I wore a light jacket just about all day, inside and outside. -30-
Fri Sep 18 2020 8:40PM - A somewhat unusual QSO tonight. I heard VE2CSI calling CQ and answered him. He came back with just a 599, so I sent 599 PA. He said 73 and that was it. I didn't think he was anything special, but a bit later he sent Zone 2. He apparently was giving out QSOs from relatively rare CQ Zone 2, hence the short QSO. If I used spots or other such news, which I don't, I probably would have known. I think that takes a lot of fun out of ham radio. Anyway, it was a QSO and continued the streak another day.
I did work on my Santa Fe F3 diesel today. The commutator was really dirty so I gave it a good cleaning along with the brushes and brush holders. It still doesn't run as well as it once did many years ago, but it's better than it has been lately.
It was a cool breezy day today. Good for walking, so I took a couple walking shopping trips and got some items that were on sale to stock up on the groceries a bit. I didn't do any swinging with Roscoe though as he doesn't care for the wind and the breezes were pretty strong at times.
My Lionel track is due to arrive on Monday, but it may come tomorrow as it left the Pittsburgh mail center early this morning. We'll see. -30-
Thu Sep 17 2020 8:05PM - I could just refer you to yesterday's diary entry for tonight's entry as today was pretty much the same as yesterday with a couple changes. For the third out of the last four nights I worked a Rte. 66 station for my streak QSO. Tonight it was W6P in St. Louis, MO on 40 meters.
Now it's been one more day since my Lionel track shipped, although USPS tracking doesn't show any progress from yesterday.
It was another nice fall day today (it is meteorological autumn now since it started on September 1) and I took a couple good walks and sat on the porch swing with Roscoe for almost an hour. I thought about going fishing when I walked by the river. It seems that ever since I got my lifetime fishing license a few years ago I kind of lost interest in fishing. Maybe I'll get enough interest to go before the weather turns bad this late fall. Probably not, but who knows.
I also ran my trains quite a bit today. I may have to work on my old Santa Fe F3 diesel. It was running poorly today, but all the others ran just fine. -30-
Wed Sep 16 2020 8:20PM - Once again the Rte 66 Special Event stations provided me with a quick streak QSO at 0001Z. This time W6M in KS. 40 had a lot of activity again tonight with virtually nothing to be heard on 30 or 20.
My O72 track was shipped today from Hobbyspeed in Indiana, PA. I ordered enough to make a full 6 foot diameter circle. Then I already have enough straight track to make it into a 6 x 8 oval. After that I'll decide what I want to add to it in the way of scenery, buildings, sidings, etc. No hurry on that. First I want to get a Lionel Legacy steam engine, be it a Big Boy, UP 844, Pennsy K4, or something else all together. I also like the UP 3985 Challenger, NKP 765, SP 4449, NS or N&W 611, and a few others. -30-