K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities

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Sat Oct 19 2019 08:33PM - As those of you who have followed my streak for a long time know, I have never and never will make a sked with someone for the purpose of continuing the streak. I just wanted to make that clear because tonight Rob KN4IXU in NC wanted a sked to work me. Since he initiated the request for a sked, that doesn't go against my rule about not making skeds to continue the streak. It was a rough QSO, but we made it through my noise and QSB.

The weather was nice today with lots of sunshine and a high in the upper 60s. I got in a couple of good walks, and even Roscoe on his walks wanted to stay out longer than usual. It looks like the next couple days will also be very nice.

I did a little study on programming CVs with my new DCC HO setup today. That was the first time I used my programming track and the first time I changed a CV value. I stuck to the very basics and only changed the locomotive's programming number. I think next I'll fool with changing the bell and horn sounds and the acceleration and deceleration values. There's a lot to learn even with just the very basic things that can be done with DCC. -30-

Fri Oct 18 2019 08:52PM - A couple little things came up around 0000Z tonite and delayed my getting to the shack. I thought my string of 0000Z hour QSOs might come to an end. However before the hour was up, I wound up with a great QSO. It was a pleasant surprise to have my CQ answered by Lane N8AFT over in Columbus, OH. Diary readers with a good memory will know that back in the early part of this year or maybe late last year when I was getting interested in model trains again, Lane gave me a little Pennsylvania locomotive and tender. That was the first steam loco I ever had for my HO scale setup. It was really nice to visit with him again on the air.

Otherwise today I put the PL-259 connectors on my portable coax. When I was young it was always hard for me to install the PL-259s, especially tricky to solder the braid to the connector. You know what? I found today I haven't gotten any better at it over the years. But I struggled and finally got all four put on and checked out. It looks so easy in videos or in written articles, but it's not for me. Oh, and I don't really like the solderless ones, in case you're going to suggest that. HI

Today was also a sad day. With frost predicted for tonight, I decided to take out my garden plants. I got quite a few peppers, a few tomatoes, and a couple little zucchinis from the plants today. I decided to leave one Siberian tomato plant and cover it. It has a lot of little tomatoes on it. It actually almost died earlier in the year, then started up again even better than its first life. So I'll try to keep it going a while. Time now to go out and get my weather readings and check the Siberian. Maybe cover it a bit better. -30-

Thu Oct 17 2019 08:24PM - Will we ever see a solar flux number out of the 60s again? I don't seem to recall previous sunspot minimums having such a long streak of SFs in the 60s. I know we had a couple low 70s several weeks ago, but basically it's been all 60s for a very long time now. Except for two days, the SF has been in the 60s starting May 19th this year. Almost 5 solid months. Oh well, at least it hasn't been bad enough (yet?) to put an end to my streak. Tonight I worked W3TOP in MD on 80 meters.

Once again nothing out of the ordinary to report today. It was a chilly one with strong wind making it feel much colder than the actual temperature in the upper 40s. I even got out my winter coat for my walk this evening.

I did get a pack of 10 PL-259 connectors in the mail today. I'm going to replace some of my older ones, especially those on the coax I use for portable operations.

Speaking of portable operations, a week from today Mike and I will be heading to Pittsburgh to operate from the USS Requin again. That will be the first of our monthly 4th Thursday operations from there after we had to cancel the one in September due to Mike being under the weather. -30-

Wed Oct 16 2019 08:32PM - QRP/CW continues to work despite the extended lack of sunspots and "poor" propagation. It's now approaching 7 months since I didn't get my daily streak QSO in the 0000Z hour. I wonder just how "poor" propagation really is. I think it just depends on the band and the time of day more than anything. In my case the 0000Z hour always yields a QSO, most of the days it is on 80 meters, so don't neglect that band in the evenings. Some days, the QSO comes on 40, 30, or 20 in the 0000Z hour also. The bottom line is the only real reason you may not make a QSO every day is the lack of time to get on the air or not being able to be on at the right time on the right band. I still get a kick out of getting that daily QRP/CW QSO, even after 25 years plus of doing it. And it doesn't take away from my other daily activities more than an hour at the very most.

Today was grooming day for Roscoe. He got a haircut, a good bath, and his toenails clipped which took about an hour and a half this afternoon. He really looks different now and seems to be glad to get rid of the extra hair. I haven't posted a picture of him in a while now. Maybe I'll take a picture tomorrow and post it.

I went ahead and ordered a LiFePo battery today. It's a 12V 6Ah battery like one that Tom WB3FAE has been using with his KX3 and he says the battery drain is very minimal. The one I have, as I mentioned, seems to drain very rapidly. Mine is a different kind of Li battery which may explain the difference. I'll find out in about a week or so when it arrives with its charger. -30-

Tue Oct 15 2019 09:05PM - It took a little longer to get my QSO this evening, but at 0016Z, WA2WMJ answered my 80M CQ and we had a 10 minute QSO. So the streak goes on.

Really not much else to talk about. It's sad to see the period of daylight getting shorter and shorter as the days go by. The decrease in daylight peaks at the autumnal equinox, but about three weeks later it still decreases rapidly. Then in early November we mess with the clocks and it gets dark not long after 5 PM local time. Very depressing. -30-

Mon Oct 14 2019 08:27PM - It wasn't our best parkpedition ever, but at least the weather was good if a tad chilly. 40 was the best band with about 16 QSOs, then 4 on 30, and just one on 20. I did get a chance to test my Li-ion battery pretty well with all the unanswered CQs I called. It dropped about 6 tenths of a volt in about 2 1/2 hours of calling CQ with 4 seconds of listening between each 3x2 CQ. I think that's quite a drop and I'm going to look for something that will hold its voltage longer. We did take a few pictures, but I'm not going to post any because other than a different park, they are pretty much similar to what I posted last Friday.

It took a little time to get my streak QSO tonight, but it was the first one I got via my CQ in about 8 days now when W8AJS answered my CQ on 80 meters for a 12 minute QSO. It was interesting that 30 meters had two strong signals from Colorado and nothing else that I could hear. Both were in rag chews so I couldn't try them.

Oh, up at the park today 20 meters was quite good with some strong DX. I tried to work a couple with no luck though. It would be nice if that is a sign of things to come, but I won't count on it. -30-

Sun Oct 13 2019 08:13PM - DX!! Yes, tonight's QSO was with XE1IM on 30M. An easy QSO and a quick one at 0003Z. That was good because now I can get my laundry done tonight so I'll have tomorrow morning free for final preps for our parkpedition. It should be a nice day with sunny skies and temperature in the low 60s.

We'll all three be using the QRPGuys vertical antenna. I didn't know what Ray had till he emailed a while ago and told me what he was going to use. I'm looking forward to working with Ray (and Mike of course). I hope Ray will be able to come here to my house for the nickel tour of my ham radio setup and also my model trains setup. He's never been here before. I hope we can work you tomorrow. It may be rough with the poor conditions of late, but I hope you'll at least give us a try and if you don't work us, email me and let us know you tried. Remember all three bands will be active at the same time. -30-

Sat Oct 12 2019 08:30PM - Of course a quick QSO in the PA QSO Party tonight extended the streak another day. Thanks N3AD in Lancaster County, who gave me his number 423 in the Party. I'll wind up with 1 QSO for the party. I just don't have the desire to seriously get into contests anymore. Now if I had a very quiet QTH like we had at Moraine yesterday, it might be a very different story. It is so quiet there that I was hearing Germany at around S1 on 30 meters at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. The noise level was less than S1 compared to my S9 here at home. Sigh!

I resoldered the PL-259s on my portable coax. When I was setting up yesterday I noticed a high SWR and in checking I found a bad connection in one of the PL-259s. I kind of twisted it around till I got a good contact which held the whole time we were there. I think it will be much better on Monday when we go to Kittanning Community Park. Here are the details of that parkpedition:

Date: October 14 (Monday)
Time: 1500-1900Z or so depending on activity
Location: Kittanning Community Park
Call: N3AQC
Ops: K3WWP (30M) KC2EGL (40M) Ray WA3PRR (20M)
Frequencies: 7041 10117 14061
Please try to work us if you get the chance. All three frequencies +/- QRM will be active simultaneously for these two parkpeditions.

Note the new op Ray WA3PRR. We're glad to have Ray joining us for his first (of many, we hope) parkpedition. PRR by the way stands for Pennsylvania Railroad. Ray is, like me, an avid railfan and model railroader. He'll be using a KX1 rig I've loaned to him. I'm not sure what his antenna will be. Mike and I will be using the same setups mentioned in yesterday's diary entry.

I played with and learned a little more about my HO DCC setup today. I tried running two locos on the same track. It worked but is a bit tricky because my layout is so small. Also I switched out the coupler on my DCC UP loco so it is now compatible with all my other rolling stock and it can pull a sizeable consist now. Over the next few days I hope to have time to learn more about programming CVs. -30-

Fri Oct 11 2019 08:33PM - It was a good day at Moraine State Park. Beautiful weather although a bit on the windy side which made it feel a little chillier than the actual temperature in the upper 60s. Among the three of us (K3WWP, KC2EGL, WB3FAE) we made around 30 QSOs which considering how dead the bands sounded was pretty good. A picture is worth 1,000 words, they say, so here are 8,000 words about our outing today.


Above antennas of K3WWP KC2EGL (the leaning antenna of Moraine) WB3FAE (antenna off to the right from the pole top)

Above L-R Bruce AA3LX (visiting) WB3FAE

A view of Moraine Lake

Hope you enjoyed the picture show as much as we enjoyed operating. Thanks to all of those who worked us. Seems like most of our QSOs were with those chasing POTA operations. We always get questions about our antennas and rigs. K3WWP and KC2EGL used KX3 rigs, PX3 panadapters, 17 foot verticals, Mike used a Begali paddle, John a Bencher paddle. Tom WB3FAE used a KX3 and I believe kind of a random wire antenna with a paddle. -30-

Thu Oct 10 2019 08:20PM - Another quick QSO at 0003Z, thanks to Tony N2ATB whom I've worked before a few times. That was on 80M. A quick tune on the bands above 80 showed very little at all.

I hope conditions are good tomorrow when we go to Moraine State Park for our parkpedition. Here's a repeat of the parkpedition info from a couple days ago in the diary: Time: 1400-1800Z. Frequency: 7041, 10117, 14061 all active at the same time. Call used: N3AQC. Location: Moraine State Park near Butler. It will count as a POTA activation (K-1387). Ops: K3WWP, KC2EGL, WB3FAE.

It was a busy day today. I went with my neighbor and his brother to Pittsburgh for my neighbor's doctor appointment. Everything went smoothly and well. We didn't get lost either driving to or inside the hospital. While waiting at the hospital, I read one of my DCC instruction manuals and have a little better handle now on how it works. When I got back home, I made up a programming track, but haven't tried it out yet. Maybe tomorrow around our parkpedition. I think I am going to really like DCC and probably will add a couple more DCC locos to my fleet. -30-

Wed Oct 9 2019 08:44PM - A quick QSO tonight just one minute after I sat down at the rig. I found KD8ZM calling CQ and we wound up with a solid 11 minute QSO on 80 meters.

My Digitrax DCC Starter Set arrived a day early today so I spent a lot of time playing with it. I've only used the basics so far like running an older DC locomotive with it, addressing a DCC locomotive, adjusting speed and braking, and other simple things like that. In the next few days I'll study functions, CVs, programming, etc. Should be a lot of fun.

Nothing has changed for our parkpedtion plans on Friday. The weather looks absolutely gorgeous. Hope to work you Friday. -30-

Tue Oct 8 2019 08:53PM - It's hard to believe at one time I could easily make 40, 50, 60 QSOs in our NAQCC sprints, and now thanks(?) to propagation and my constant S8-S9 or so local noise, I have to struggle to hear 1 station strong enough to break through the noise. If I can hear them, I can work them easily. The problem is hearing anyone. It's virtually impossible to hear any QRP stations now. Most all my streak QSOs are with QRO stations these days.

Tonight's streak QSO before the sprint was with Ulis K3LU in PA on 80M who was running the above mentioned QRO power at 100 watts.

It was just about a perfect October day with a high in the upper 60s, lots of sunshine after morning fog, and light or no wind. It was a keeper if we could just keep weather conditions.

I played with and learned more about my dcc locomotive that came yesterday and the Loco Genie (miniature DCC) controller that came with it. My full scale DCC Starter Set is now scheduled for delivery on Thursday instead of Saturday. I'm looking forward to that.

Our parkpedition on Friday now looks like this pending final tweaking. Time: 1400-1800Z. Frequency: 7041, 10117, 14061 all active at the same time. Call used: N3AQC. Location: Moraine State Park near Butler. It will count as a POTA activation. Ops: K3WWP, KC2EGL, WB3FAE. Any updates will be here in the diary. -30-

Mon Oct 7 2019 09:10PM - One of the roughest QSOs in my streak came tonight. I must give public thanks to Bill KA4KSB for staying with me long enough to make a legitimate QSO. Some folks are real gentlemen and Bill is one of them. It took me sending my call at least 15 times before he could dig it out, but he stuck with it and did. He was about 559 here with a lot of QSB and the usual QRN. He gave me a 329 at first, then my signals got a bit better and wound up at 349 at the end. Thanks Bill.

Mike's camera was ready a day early so we went to Pittsburgh today to pick it up. We ate at the Oyster House in Market Square. It was great to get back there. When I worked at WPIT, we would eat there a lot. Or actually get take out orders to eat back at the studio. The last time I was there was probably in the late 1980s. I mentioned that to the waitress and she enjoyed hearing about it. It was Mike's first time ever eating there. He had a big dish of fish and chips. I had a huge fish sandwich with onion rings and coleslaw.

After we got home, I found my new DCC locomotive was delivered as promised, and I set it up and played with it for a while as Mike enjoyed watching me. It has a miniature controller with it, sort of a very miniature DCC. It was fun playing with it, but I'm really waiting for the full DCC Starter Set which is scheduled to arrive this Saturday or sooner.

I also heard from Tom WB3FAE today before Mike came. He wanted to know if we wanted to do a parkpedition later this week. I talked it over with Mike and I emailed Tom to say that Friday looks good. More details in tomorrow's diary entry. -30-

Sun Oct 6 2019 09:00PM - Yes, it's definitely 9:00. The 9PM whistle (siren) just blew as I was entering the time.

It took a little longer to get my QSO this evening. 0015Z when AA8IK in MI answered my 80M CQ. That's the first streak QSO via my CQ for a while now. There was quite a bit of activity on 80, but no one calling CQ, so I thought I'd give out some CQs and it worked.

Another day with not much happening. I cleaned out some pictures on my computer and worked a bit on my trains. That was pretty much it. It was a gloomy chilly damp day with some showers around. After the first 3 days in October being in the low 90s, the last three haven't gotten out of the 60s. I even dug out a blanket which I will put on my bed a little later. Sigh! -30-

Sat Oct 5 2019 08:10PM - My streak QSO went as I figured tonight. Namely working a CA station in the CQP on 20M. It was K6MR in Shasta County at 0007Z.

Other than that it was mainly a trains day. I added a couple of switches to my HO layout to make a shorter loop inside the bigger loop. That works fine. I also ordered a DCC ready Union Pacific Diesel as I would like to experiment with DCC. Of course in order to do that I also ordered a DCC starter set with controller, power supply, etc. Hopefully both will come this week. Then maybe Ray WA3PRR who has a DCC setup can give me some tips after our parkpedition on Monday the 14th. It should be a fun adventure with a new toy. HI. -30-

Fri Oct 4 2019 08:20PM - Mike and I had a good time today. The weather was great although a bit on the chilly side by comparison after the past 3 days of 90+ degrees highs. Today the high was just 67 according to my AcuRite remote thermometer. The camera shop was right in the heart of Market Square in Pittsburgh so it brought back a lot of memories of the days I passed through the Square while working at WPIT. We used to eat at the Oyster House in the Square now and then. It was good to see it is still there. Also good to pass within a couple blocks of both our studio locations in the Pick Roosevelt Hotel (where it used to be) and the Gateway Towers which is still there. We'll be going back on Tuesday when Mike's camera should be ready for pickup. Maybe we can walk around a bit then. We didn't today.

We stopped at Applebee's on the way home for one of their great meals. When we got home we watched some railroad videos before Mike left to head home. Earlier in the day we pretty much finalized our plans for our Columbus Day parkpedition on the 14th. Right now it stands at 1500-1900Z on 7041, 10117, 14061 using the NAQCC club call of N3AQC. Mike and I will start out on 40 and 30 and when Ray WA3PRR arrives a bit later, we decided to let him have 20 meters hoping it will be the best band since this will be his first time with us on a parkpedition.

The bands continue poor but once again with the PX3 pointing the way, I found and worked N3NMP on 80 meters starting at 0007Z. QSB ended the QSO after just a couple rounds, but at least it was good for another day in the streak. -30-

Thu Oct 3 2019 08:35PM - It will be good to see Mike again tomorrow as we make a trip to Pittsburgh to visit a camera shop and then have a meal at Applebee's. Then our next get together should be Columbus Day for our annual parkpedition for NAQCC anniversary month. One of our new West Pa Chapter members Ray WA3PRR just confirmed a little while ago that he will be joining us there. That will be his first parkpedition and maybe one of his first portable operations. He'll be using the KX1 that I loaned to him. That should be fun as usual.

Another day with not much else to talk about unless I just go over all the everyday things that go on here and that would get boring. We did have our 3rd 90+ degree October day this month today, but that will come to an end soon. In fact it is getting windy right now and I think the cold front is about to go through which will mean a high in only the 60s tomorrow and the next few days as we get back to normal October weather. -30-

Wed Oct 2 2019 08:23PM - When are band conditions ever going to turn around? Are they ever going to turn around? The pretty much regular pattern here of late in the evening has been nothing at all heard on 40 that is strong enough to break through my noise on that band no matter which antenna I use for receive. 40 has the worst noise of all bands. 30 also pretty devoid of signals most evenings although an evening now and then will have some good signals. I can lower my noise on 30 by using my 20 meter attic dipole for receive on that band. 20 is pretty much the same as 30, having a good evening now and then, but not often. The noise is tolerable there and I can use the 20 attic dipole for xmt and rcv. 17, 15, 12, 10 are pretty much dead all the time even though my noise is lower on those bands. I really never listen in the daytime anymore and those bands could be open at that time of day. That leaves 80 as the band on which I get almost all my daily QSOs lately. I can get a pretty good S/N ratio on that band using one of my other antennas (6M dipole, 10M dipole, 15M vert dipole, 20M attic dipole) for receive. It seems to vary each night which antenna works best. Most often it is the 6M attic dipole though that gives the best S/N ratio although both noise and signals are very low level. That's a pretty good description of my situation here. Even with that, the streak goes on proving that you don't really need great propagation or a great noise-free location for CW at QRP level to make the contacts. -30-

Tue Oct 1 2019 08:23PM - A somewhat busy day today with a trip to the bank and a couple other places. Then helping my neighbor to get settled in a few times today. We're getting things pretty much in order again after his long hospital stay. And of course walking and feeding Roscoe. Also watching him while the visiting nurse was there.

The bands are about the same tonight which is poor, but still with the PX3 I was able to find and work AE8EA in OH on 80 meters for a short 4 minute QSO. That's the first time I've had a QSO that lasted less than 10 minutes in several days now. Actually since Sep 22 except for one 8 minute QSO on the 28th.

Mike and I are going to Pittsburgh on Friday. Not ham related though. He needs to take his camera to a repair shop, and after that we'll have a meal at Applebee's. Then we should have some time here for a few ham or railroad activities. -30-

Mon Sep 30 2019 08:45PM - It turned out to be every bit as busy a day as I anticipated, and I'm on the tired side right now so I'll keep this short. Everything I listed in last night's entry did happen today plus some other things. It was nice to get a quick streak QSO this evening at 0007Z. It lasted 17 minutes for a nice rag chew. Thanks Dick W2WC on 80 meters. I like his QTH name of Halfmoon or Half Moon, NY. It would be nice for someone who likes astronomy. -30-

Sun Sep 29 2019 08:18PM - Looks like I made it through the geomagnetic storm this weekend and also finished another calendar month of the streak as well. Both thanks to KG4CNZ in KY on 80 meters whom I found and worked just two minutes into the new day at 0002Z.

I'm doing my laundry tonight in anticipation of a busy day tomorrow, being it's the end of the month. Also my neighbor (Roscoe's owner) is coming home from a hospital stay and I'll be helping him get settled back in his house. I bet Roscoe will be glad to see him.

Also tomorrow I should be getting a new motor for one of my HO locomotives. I won an Ebay auction and tracking says it will arrive tomorrow. So I hope to add my Chattanooga Choo Choo to my fleet of running HO locomotives again. -30-

Sat Sep 28 2019 08:30PM - At first listen to the bands this evening, I got a bit worried. I didn't hear anything on 40 through 20 except some RTTY signals in the ARRL RTTY DX Contest. On 80 it was just the usual net stations. I thought the geomagnetic storm was going to do me in, or at least end my six month plus streak of getting my daily streak QSO in the 0000Z hour. However it only took 4 minutes to find and work KA8MNP in WV on 80 meters. In fact we had a fairly solid 18 minute QSO. Once again proving that if you can find someone (tnx PX3!!) to work, QRP/CW/simple wire antennas will do the trick pretty much no matter how bad conditions are.

Not much else to talk about today. Summer returned for a final (I hope not) curtain call with a high of 87 along with pretty high humidity. Tomorrow should be the same and even possibly a bit warmer. -30-

Fri Sep 27 2019 08:30PM - A little tough getting a QSO this evening. I answered 3 or 4 CQs with no luck, then called CQ myself for a while with no answers. Finally I found and worked Bill K4GDR in Atlanta, GA on 30 meters. Copy was a bit rough both ends but we made an 11 minute QSO out of it.

Not much going on today. I went shopping to get some dog food for Roscoe. Also took a couple nice walks and did some shopping for myself. We had our lowest temperature since spring when it got down to 45 degrees this morning around 8AM. That's from my Computemp remote unit. It should be close to what I'll find in my mercury in glass thermometer later when I check my instrument shelter around 9 o'clock. -30-

Thu Sep 26 2019 02:19PM - Just to let you know, Mike was not feeling well enough to drive to Pittsburgh today so we had to cancel the subpedition until a later date, probably October 24, the next fourth Thursday.

I might have more for the diary later in the day. -30-

Wed Sep 25 2019 08:23PM - Another 0000Z QSO tonight that turned into a 21 minute rag chew at 20 WPM or so. Thanks to John WB4OFT in NC on 80 meters. I've not had a QSO on any band except 80 meters since Sep 15. The higher bands are pretty much covered by my local QRN that prevents a lot of sigs being heard if they are there. I've been thinking of getting a small loop antenna for receiving to see if that will help with the noise. I never seem to get around to doing it though. Probably would be easy now that I use Ebay. I'll have to look and see what is on there.

Don't forget to look for Mike and I from the USS Requin tomorrow (26th) from about 1400-1800Z on 7041 or 14061 using the sub call of NY3EC. Art from the sub will send you a nice QSL with a picture of the sub on it if you work us and request one. Use the QRZ entry for NY3EC for info. -30-

Tue Sep 24 2019 08:52PM - A little more elaboration on the previous diary entry. When I say that saving time is important, it is, but not to the extent that I don't enjoy a good long rag chew when the opportunity presents itself. What really takes up time without anything to show for it is tuning around looking for a QSO. That is where the PX3 really comes in handy. Also calling endless strings of CQs with no response is time consuming. Again the PX3 helps out there also. As you well know, many stations do not know how to or bother to zero beat. Without the PX3 that means tuning the RIT after each CQ looking for a response. Now with the PX3, a simple glance at the screen shows if someone is calling off frequency. Then you can tune the RIT to the frequency and see if it really is an answer or just a coincidence. It's a really helpful device in many ways.

Speaking of rag chews, I had a great one last night with NV3N. We chatted about this and that for 42 minutes at around 20-21 WPM. Then I heard him again tonight and we had another 24 minute chat about the same speed. That was absolutely enjoyable and not a waste of time in any way, shape, or form.

I forgot to mention that on the sub Thursday we will be using the sub's call of NY3EC. Hope to work you. NV3N says he'll be listening for us. -30-

Mon Sep 23 2019 07:38PM - I want to elaborate on my PX3 statements of the previous diary entry. I neglected to mention the biggest advantage of a PX3 although it was inferred in the statements. That is, the time-saving factor. As I get older and have fewer years left to spend on this planet, I find that time becomes more and more valuable. The less that I waste, the better. The PX3 has probably saved me countless hours in the years I've been using it. It is just so time-consuming dial twirling listening to hear signals. It is so time-saving looking at a display screen to see where the signals are, then tuning right to them in a flash.

I really never thought I would ever use something like a panadapter, but I am now just so glad that I have and use one. In a parallel to that, I never thought I would ever buy anything via the Internet unless I could write and mail a check for the item. In another concession to saving time and also effort, earlier this year I started using Ebay mainly for purchasing things for my model railroad. Now I use it for other things as well. For example I got a LiPo battery today and am now charging it up. Using Ebay, I no longer have to travel long distances to a store to buy something, again saving a lot of time. You see, in this small town, there are very few stores that handle items that I want or need, and it is necessary to travel a good many miles to find a store that does handle the items.

I wonder what is the next to change because of my age. Maybe I'll wind up getting a car and start driving again for those trips to the grocery stores. Nope, I don't think so. I get way too much good exercise walking there and carrying the heavy packages home.

As far as the Requin trip on Thursday goes, I think we'll shoot for starting our operation shortly after 1400Z and will concentrate on 40 and 20 meters around 7041 and 14061. We can only use one band at a time because the Requin has only one antenna. We'll try to figure a more detailed schedule and post it here in the diary probably on Wednesday evening.

Off to the shack now. Hope the PX3 can find a quick QSO for me so I can do some other things I still need to do before bed time. -30-

Sun Sep 22 2019 08:40PM - Working the ham bands without a panadapter is like trying to find a dropped coin in a totally dark room. The PX3 has been an invaluable aid in keeping my streak going during these dismal sunspot minimum days (evenings). There is so little activity on the bands it would be easy to just tune across a band without hearing anything at all even though there were 4 or 5 signals active as you tuned. You just tuned across them as they were between sentences, words, or even letters. The panadapter eliminates that problem as it shows at a glance just what is active on a band. All you need to do is tune to the frequency of one of the peaks on the display to find out who it is. Hopefully someone calling CQ or just ending a QSO so you can then call them.

Summer took a final curtain call today with a sunny hot 90 degree blast with humidity thrown in for good measure. Now we enter into a 3 month preamble to w#nter if you go by astronomical seasons, and not meteorological ones. That way we're already 22 days into fall.

I talked to Art WA3BKD of the sub USS Requin a little while ago and it's set for Mike and me to operate the Requin this Thursday the 26th. Art also said if it works out OK, he'll take us into the Science Center and show us the workroom where he works on maintaining the model train display there that Mike and I saw when we visited the Center several days ago.

More details on the subpedition in a couple days here in the diary. -30-

Sat Sep 21 2019 08:04 PM - Yes, as expected, the NJ QSO Party gave me a quick streak QSO at 0001Z. Thanks to KE2D in Mercer County

I got the HO motor I won in an Ebay auction a couple days ago. I installed it, and after making a new draw bar from a plastic jar lid to replace one I broke a couple weeks ago when I was examining the loco, I put it on track and it runs nicely. It's a Union Pacific 4-6-2 Pacific type locomotive. UP did have quite a few Pacifics in their steam fleet, but I don't see a #4073 on the roster which is the number my model carries. Oh well, I like it anyway.

On the next to the last day of astronomical summer, it felt like summer today with a high of 89 and higher humidity unlike the last several days this month. Still nice to be outside though. -30-

Fri Sep 20 2019 08:15PM - I was watching the ISS at 8PM and didn't get to the shack till about 0004Z. However it then took just about 15 seconds to find and get VA3SB into my log on 80 meters for a super quick streak QSO. Three more days and it will be six months that I got the streak QSO in my log in the 0000Z hour each day. That's quite a statement for QRP/CW, I think. You have no excuse for not getting on the bands and working folks even at this low point in the sunspot cycle. Unfortunately I think the dead sounding bands are due more to the lack of activity than the poor propagation conditions. Fire up the rig and get on the bands and prove me right.

The record is still broken and skipping. I mean the phonograph record that is the weather of late. For the ?? day in a row now, it has been ideal with sunny skies, mild/warm temperatures, and low humidity. The grass and plants need rain, but I don't mind making them wait, and wait, and w.... for it. I don't mind at all.

I took another concession to age today and ordered a small Li-ion battery for my portable operations to replace the much too big and too heavy SLA battery I've been using. It should be here next Thursday and I'll hook it up to my PX3/KX3 and see how long it lasts before it needs recharging. It's 12V and 9800mAh which is about half my SLA as far as Ah. Perhaps I'll have to get a second one and have one each for the KX3 and PX3. That will still be much lighter and smaller than the SLA. I don't see the weight listed, but it's 5"x2.5"x1" in size. I'll have more info when I get it. -30-

Thu Sep 19 2019 08:48PM - I had an interesting few minutes just a few minutes ago. Huh? Oh, I worked an old friend I haven't worked in quite a while - Tom KA2KGP who tail-ended a QSO I had with K3OS on 80 meters. After the QSO, I came to the computer just in time for the closing bell on an Ebay auction, and I won! It was a replacement motor for one of my HO locomotives. Then the third item fizzled out or never showed up. There was supposed to be a very bright apparation of the ISS rivalling Venus in brightness, but clouds ruined that. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad.

Yet another in a long string of perfect September days. It was a bit cloudy as I mentioned above, but other than that it was perfect. The kind of weather you wish you could store somewhere and bring it out on those cold s^%$wy days. I cut my grass this morning and just generally enjoyed the weather as I have the past several days now. We should have a couple more nice days coming up also. -30-

Wed Sep 18 2019 09:13PM - I did a couple things today I haven't done for a while. I made more than one QSO in our NAQCC sprint. I actually copied a few stations in the sprint as conditions were good enough to bring QRP signals above my horrendous noise level. Also a neighbor told me he was going to watch the International Space Station around 8:00PM, so I watched with him. That's the first satellite I've watched probably in a few years now.

Another picture perfect September day today. Ideal for walking and just being outside. Supposed to continue that way for at least a few more days now.

I got some traction tires today for one of my Lionel locomotives, and the pulling power increased dramatically after installing them. Now it runs pretty much on a par with my #736 and #2037. -30-

Tue Sep 17 2019 08:09PM - After our POTA activation yesterday, my QSO tonight was with a POTA station in NY - N4ZN at K-2116. Somewhat ironic, I guess.

That was a lot of fun yesterday. Thanks to Mike for writing the diary entry. It's always nice to operate with Mike and Tom WB3FAE. Now we have another Tom who seems to be quite interested in our WPA Chapter activities - WV8TG. Hope he'll be active and replace some of our chapter members who seem to have lost interest for whatever reasons. Next up for the chapter is the first of our regular fourth Thursday operation at the sub USS Requin in Pittsburgh. Right now that looks to be just Mike and me at the key, but maybe some other chapter member will respond. The two Toms are going to be away that day. Ironically if I heard correctly, both will be going to Maine, but on completely different missions. WB3FAE hopes to activate a POTA park or two while up there.

It was another in a string of nice September days with warm temps, low humidity, sunny, and no rain. I think May and September are two of the nicest months in this part of the country. The only bad thing about September is it means wi$#3r is coming. On the other hand, May heralds the approach of the best season of all, Summer. -30-

Mon Sep 16 2019 04:07PM - And now heeerrrresss Mike!

I arrived at John's QTH shortly before 1200Z. We chatted a bit before John took Roscoe for a walk. Roscoe likes it when I am visiting. He runs straight for John's porch knowing that I am sitting inside with a few treats for him. After Roscoe's walk we headed out to Moraine State Park for a Parks On The Air activation of Moraine State Park. We were joined by Tom WB3FAE and Tom WV8TG who is the latest to join the NAQCC Western Pennsylvania Chapter. We logged 27 qso's added to the log. It was a beautiful day for a Parkpedition. And the veiw was quite nice as well (see photographs below). We packed up around 1700Z and headed back to John's QTH. John took Roscoe out for a walk shortly after we got back (yes he got more treats from me. Its the only time he likes me. Otherwise he wants nothing to do with me).

We will check out a railroad video or two before I head north back to my QTH. As usual it was a great day visiting John. Next visit will be the start of our monthly activation of the radio room on the USS Requin on September 26th.

Until next time, de Mike KC2EGL 73.

The three ops busy making (trying to make?) contacts

KC2EGL (L) and K3WWP (R)


K3WWP (L) and WV8TG (R)
No, that thing protruding from WV8TG's headphones was not being used. It was just there.

View of the lake 1

View of the lake 2

K3WWP's vertical antenna