mardi 10 janvier 2017

You know you are really getting old when.....

My USA amateur license is coming up for renewal this year. That fact put me to musing over the "license-type" official documents we update for ten years or more. And if it may be the last time we do so.

So, maybe a last time for my USA ham license; a last time for my French resident ID card scheduled for next year; USA driver's license next year maybe for the last time. My passport was renewed in 2016 so some nine years to go.

Probably something else that hasn't come to mind.

Hey, I'm not depressed. Life is like a coin. It has two sides. A head and a tail. Life and you-know-what.

I managed to jury-rig my Argonaut 509 into operational mode having sat in a box for many months. Delicate condition but functioning. So nice to have a QRP-only rig that is larger than a package of cigarettes.

One very difficult QSO into the USA NE. QRN and weak signals.

Picture taken in New York City a few years ago.


Back again

I have decided to bring back the blog. I have a bit more time now to comment on activities. The blog will also act as a sort-of log of QRP contacts. DX, naturally but also more interesting continental contacts.

Stay QRP if you can.

vendredi 7 octobre 2016

Back in France

Actually back a couple of weeks now. Spent 15 days in the old home town in upstate NY, essentially visiting brother and sister. Mom passed away one year ago and dad several years earlier. Sister has early-stage dementia and I spent most of the time with her, doing what I could. Had several nice visits with my brother. We raised a pint or two. He has the same cardiac condition as my YL. Both have defibrillator implants.  It wasn't really a vacation and I didn't want to be away from my YL more than two weeks.

Returned to poor conditions on the bands, though there have been a few "good" days recently.

I put my QRP rigs away and don't expect to use them again. The FT-857 is back on the desk and will most likely be my operating rig for the duration of my radio hobby days. I don't expect to be active for the next positive solar cycle. Run 30 to 50 watts...on 20 meters as usual.

Had a couple weak reports into the east coast of NA. The other day, a good one from Mass, but it took 50 watts to do what 5 did a year or so ago. The low end-fed antenna doesn't help.

My operating times are spotty and generally take place when the YL is having a nap or out of the house.

I will update the blog if anything exciting happens. I do read the blogs of old friends.

73 de Dick

mercredi 20 juillet 2016

Still here

It has been a very long time since I put anything in this hit-and-miss blog. Fact is other responsibilities have taken priority over the hobby. So, I have been pretty inactive. When I do have spare time, I spend it reading. I have developed a great interest in Victorian and Edwardian mysteries. Also, first-person 18th, 19th, and early 20th century travel non-fiction. That and more.

QRP CW  on 20 meters has been my radio activity, switching between the FT-857 and FT-817. Calling CQ has been pretty ineffective, especially as my wire is now seasonally covered by oak-tree leaves. Not to mention frequently poor propagation.

Exception this morning was hearing and contacting  5H3PM in Tanzania. A first for me.

samedi 23 avril 2016

Did anyone work a Marconi Day station?

Did anyone work a a Marconi Day special event station? I am restricted to 20 meters and cw at that. Signals were few and most not very strong. I listened for stations signing with an IMD suffix. None heard. Hard to believe there were none on the air. Certainly one of the most significant radio days deserving  SE status and participation.

lundi 18 avril 2016

New operating hours

It has become evident that late night operating is more effective on the 20 meter band. At least in my case. Last night after 2300Z I worked 6Y5WJ in Jamaica, and HT7AAA in Nicaragua. Running 30 watts, I received 579 reports. As my YL is in bed at that time and far removed from the transmitting antenna, I could run a bit more power, but won't. Some day I will try one of the digital modes and keep the transmitter on as much of the day as possible. For now in the cw mode, just a bit of late night operating.

The extra chores now required of me during the day makes late night operating my new schedule.

vendredi 15 avril 2016

I went to the Dark Side

Using my FT-707, I tried making contact at five watts, then ten. No luck. Went to 30 watts and raised PV8ADI, and PY6ML  Only 559 reports which still required the higher power.

QRP cw DX getting more difficult as time goes on. Especially with marginal 20 meter wire antenna here.