Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I have been in the doldrums for the past few months. Between finishing my degree, illness, and just not having a whole lot of time, my ham radio exploits have suffered. I am not quitting the hobby, but I have been forced to cut back on it due to not having enough hours in the day. But, I am planning to get back into it as soon as I can! I really missed being in the Virginia QSO Party this year. It is the first year for a while that I have not participated, but I just did not have the energy.

Won't be long, however, for this sabbatical. Then I will be back with a passion!



Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's catch up time....

Well, I started working on getting caught up on things. Processed the envelope of cards I got from the bureau this week. There were no new ones, but I was able to get a few more cards for the countries that I needed additional bands for. I also started getting the information that I need to get some cards made up for QSL requests that I have received since the VA QSO Party. With Allyson's cancer, I got behind and never got the opportunity to get caught up. Now, with this week off, I hope to get caught up. I also have about 2 pounds of cards still waiting for me at the bureau, but they need me to send them some more envelopes. I hope to do that on Monday so that I can get the cards here and see what else I need. I am trying to use LOTW as much as I can, but I do like having the paper cards also.

I also want to do a little radio also this week. I will look on the cluster to see if there are any good DXpeditions going on in some countries that I need. So, who knows, my totals may benefit from this time off.

I have 8 weeks of class coming up starting on January 18th. Then, I will just be waiting for graduation in May. So, my plans are to do some contesting and DXing on the weekends until I switch over to the dayshift in July. Of course, in Jully, there is the IARU HF World Championship that I did not get into this year.

I am really missing Larry, W3MGL. It is not the same talking to him on the phone every night and not seeing him once a week like I had when he was here. But, we are planning a road trip to visit him hopefully in the spring. Hr is trying to get back on the air, so hopefully we can get some contacts in our logs over the next few months.

Well, hopefully I will be able to do some more ham stuff over the next few months.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I just realized that it has been over a year since I have posted anything on here…..
Let’s see what has happened during the past year:
My wife developed cancer and had it removed
I have inched my way to the last class for my degree with graduation in May 2010
Transferred from midnight shift to day shift
Work never decreases, only increases
My daughter broke her leg
I made my first trip to Dayton
I was inaugurated as president of the Virginia chapter of NENA
PVRC won the gavel for Sweepstakes
My elmer W3MGL moved to PA and left me to fend for myself
And I still got into a few contests!!!
As I am on my winter break from classes, I am hoping to get caught up on some QSL work along with ham reading, getting caught up on this blog and getting some time in the shack to play radio.
In January, I am going back to midnight shift for 6 months with my weekends almost all free (only have to take off Sundays to play in contests that way).  I am hoping to get back into some more contests during this time as long as my class will allow.  Of course, the class ends just prior to WPX!!!
More later!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

2008 Sweepstakes

Well, another one in the books. It does look as though I will not be taking home first place in the section this year, unless something changes. One of my fellow PVRCers, Ed, will take the crown this year for Virginia. That makes it a much easier fact to accept knowing that at least PVRC holds the title.

From all indications, it appears that we had a very good showing from PVRC for this contest. I would love to see us taking the gavel back this year!!!

It's all over now but the waiting.......

Go PVRC!!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

I am still alive!!

For those who may be wondering, I have not dropped out of contesting. I am finishing up my degree and I have only 3 semesters left.  I am doing all I can to graduate with honors, and so far it seems to be working OK.  I am rewarding myself for doing all of my homework by contesting on the weekend.  I have missed all of October’s contests with the exception of CQ WW DX (SSB).  I did not do as well in the contest this year as I did last, but it was fairly close.  The conditions were terrible and I was happy to just score as high as I did this time.  It was a real slugfest, but fortunately the last day was much better conditions.  I will send more about this later.  This is just a reminder to everyone that I have not become a Silent Key…..

Friday, July 18, 2008

IARU HF last weekend

I didn't do as well as last year, but I got close.....As usual, my goal is just to beat last year's score. Toward the end of the contest, it looked like I had a pretty good chance to meet my goal, but it was just not to be. I was less than 20 Qs short, but the multipliers are what killed me, along with a string of 1 pointers instead of the big money Qs.

I didn't think I would ever hear anything more than zones 7 and 8 for the first half of the contest. I was working anyone I could, but the one pointers kept my score from going anywhere fast. I was wondering if I had fallen into a black hole and my signal could not get out. Conditions finally began to change and started racking up a few new multipliers and some more QSO points. Europe was late coming in and didn’t last long on 20. There for a while, I thought I might make more contacts on 40 than 20, but 20 remained the band for Qs, just not points.

The odds were against me from the start. Just a week before the contest, the G5RV came down in a storm. With no antenna, I was not going to make many contacts. Fortunately, I was able to get it back up somewhat close to what I had before on Friday morning, so at least someone would hear me. It is not up to where I want it, but at least I was going to get out.

I knew I was in trouble when I had to work overtime the night before the start of the contest. I got home only two hours before the start of the contest. Work this week was a bear and I had worked lots of overtime, so I had no time for testing prior to the start of the contest. I only got the contest set up on my laptop during a break at work on Friday night. The N3FJP IARU logging program installed easily on the laptop. The N3FJP programs are great to use, but unfortunately they don’t support all of the contests that I participate in, so I am going to have to add another arrow to the quiver. I was considering going with N1MM to get used to it, but it would not work right with Vista. (I don’t like Vista very much and this just gave me another reason to like it less) I chose to go with N1MM as an alternate logging program so that I will be more used to it when I finally get a change to play in the big show at W4MYA’s. So, unfortunately, software testing would have to occur another time. I did run across a couple of instances where some RF got into the external keyboard for the laptop when I was operating on 10. But other than that, everything seemed to work fine.....except propagation.

Due to the lack of sleep and bad band conditions, I never could get any good runs going. I did have a couple of periods where I was able to get a good rate (for me) going, but they didn't last long. S&P did not do any better for me. The Europeans just weren't making it to me on 20 the way I would have liked. I did find myself drifting off a couple of times before recovering and hitting another dose of caffeine. I was disappointed by the lack of Europeans on 20 and above. Of course, it was not their fault!!! I kept looking up on 20 throughout the night hoping for an opening to somewhere besides South America (I had worked all the South Americans I could hear) and snagged a couple of Australians. I had to get up and take a shower about 4am (0800 Z) to get me back into the game, but from what I heard, I didn’t miss anything.

I have had a good run for a couple of years being first place in the class in the section (thanks to N2QT doing so well last year!). It looks as though Mark did it again this year in a big way! All in all, it was fun. I had not had a chance to do any contesting for a while (since April) so it was good to stretch my legs. Unfortunately, I would have liked for it to be a better effort. But with all of the factors working against me, I am pleased with the result. Mark (N2QT) sent me a nice note the other day complimenting me on the job that I did with just a G5RV. I had never really thought that much about it. I guess I am like the little ankle biting dogs. I don’t have as much bite as I think I do, but I do want to run with the big dogs!!!

With next semester coming up, I have scheduled my classes around contest season……Am I a fanatic or what??? I have a very hard class coming up the first part of the semester. I will finish up 2 weeks before CQ WW DX. Then, the next class may or may not be too bad from what I am seeing. I am taking a gamble, but I am going to reward myself with a contest or two by getting all homework done before Friday night!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Getting caught up.....QSLs

Since I started classes in January, I have received 3 envelopes from the incoming bureaus. Needless to say, between those and the envelopes I have gotten since the Virginia QSO Party, I had quite a stack to deal with. Add to that, my computer has been dragging.

This week, in my first week of no classes in some time, I decided to catch up on some radio things, such as QSLing. I split my computerized logs into years so that they would process faster. It is definitely not a problem with the N3FJP logging program, but my computer. Once I got the log split, then it was on to handling cards. I got all of the incoming cards done and am now looking at printing up cards to reply to those.

I have a bunch of DX cards that I need to print up and send to the bureau, but I will get to those after the IARU World Championship this coming weekend as I plan to add a few more DX contacts!!!

What happened to me????

Well, the answer I went back to school to finish my degree that had been put on hold since my divorce. My wife, Allyson, is very supportive of this endeavor and I am very blessed to have her!!! She has been running interference for me and doing a very good job of compensating for my shortcomings around the house.

So, let's get caught up.......

First....The tower is still in my back yard, on the ground. I have a few weeks before the next semester, so I am putting forth a concerted effort to get the base poured during this time. It is my goal to get it finished prior to CQ WW DX, if at all possible.

Contesting, has been occurring, but not as often due to my class demands. I did get first place in Virginia for single operator, phone only, low power in the Virginia QSO Party. I did get into the Florida QSO Party and I think that I broke the phone only record for Virginia. I also participated in the Helvetia Contest and the Nebraska QSO party (my first time).

I am still working on improving my operating position and hopefully will be in great shape next year in this area. I want to build a good size desk to hold the equipment and to organize things better.

We are organizing a local chapter of the PVRC in the Williamsburg area and will hopefully have our first meeting soon. I am looking forward to getting more people involved in this part of the hobby.

I was re-elected as president of the Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio Club and have a number of goals for the club this year, including gaining members and regaining those who have fallen away.

Field Day for the Williamsburg club this year was a lot of fun. I did not operate as much as last year. I had a lot of offers, but chose to "share" the fun. I did not want to appear to be a radio hog. Of course, it was tempting to get on there and run for 24 hours, but that would not be fair to everyone else. But, the hours I did operate were fun and I am looking forward to kicking the CW station's butt next year. We had more Q's but they beat us on score....Next year, we will take away their bragging rights once and for all (especially, if we can train up some good phone operators in the next year).

Next semester, I must admit, I do have one tough class that will take a lot of time, but being the hard core contester that I am, I have scheduled that class to finish up prior to the start of the "major" contests in October. I am hoping that after that class, things should be easier (contest wise!!).

Those are the major high points over the last few months.....More to come later.