FREQ 300 #21: VP6R – Pitcairn Island

VP6R – Pitcairn Island – easy one call on 20 and 30M

Pitcairn Island is about twice as far as Hawaii, but its very much “garden variety” from the West Coast. With QRO I have it on 160 – 10M, meaning everywhere I have ever pursued with the DXCC program. SO, its not exciting from a QRO perspective.

HOWEVER, this being the bottom of the cycle and with a great team there and great ops – its fun from a QRP point of view. It also validates my assumption that going QRP could be what keeps me in the DXing game – and that is 100% for sure.

Looking at the upcoming DXpedition list, there are several DXpeditions coming up that I might be able to work – so I think the QRP train will keep rolling. I will watch the IOTA activity for sure – I enjoyed the two IOTA DXpeditions that I worked – Sledge Island off the Alaskan coast, and K7TRI off the Oregon Coast.

I like the combined DXCC and IOTA list thing that I have going – the combo is way more interesting than I had originally expected, and it does keep the interest in this hobby.

The Marching Dead

You Can’t Take it With You, But You Can Try . . . .

Erie Lackawanna Dream

The Erie Lackawanna Line – the train system that used to stop in my childhood town

The Erie Lackawanna line stopped its service to Newton, NJ around 1965 or so. I do remember the station closing down, being boarded up and then becoming overgrown. Unfortunately, they tore down the old station. The station used to be close to my middle school – a historic school called Halsted Street school, and its adjacent cemetery. We would walk through the cemetery every day to and from school, and at night after Boy Scout meetings. There was one tomb built into the side of a hill – in a solid rock – and the story was that someone went caving in the side that hill and they got buried alive – so they entombed them right where they met their fate. It was a middle school tall tale – but it sure was a good one.

RIP – Erie Lackawanna in Newton, NJ

Its funny how a memory can evoke all kinds of “dreamy” scenes . . .

Waiting for the Erie Lackawanna to return . . .

Sometimes we long for those things that have gone – even things that left us a long time ago.

The Erie Lackawanna went from NYC to Scranton, Buffalo, Cleveland and eventually Chicago

Newton Depot

Tree Planting Time

Japanese “Waterfall” Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum)

On Friday, I carried my camera with me to and from work, and took pictures of changing colors along the way to work, and after work I stopped into our neighborhood nursery, McDonnells. They have a fall sale, 25% off all plants and shrubs, and I looked at pretty much every tree they had left in stock. I took some pictures and went home. When I woke up yesterday, I decided that I’d go and get this tree – it really is a beauty.

Whirlygig at McDonnells Nursery and Garden Store

I also planted a 15′ Nyssa Salvatica tree (also known as Black Gum or Tupelo) in the backyard. It is also a beauty and we purchased it last weekend at another great local garden store – Orchard in Lafayette.

My reward for a day of hard work

It was hard work digging the holes – the soil is very dry right now, but the work was well worth it. I will take some photo’s later today – both trees fit in their new home like champs, and look great. They really do define the landscape, and I prefer trees to other plants for landscaping – or let the trees define the space and then very sparsely fill in areas with other small shrubs. I’ve learned to stay away from “clutter” – the quickest way to make a landscape look crummy is to over plant.

FREQ #20: 5K0K – San Andreas

San Andreas is regularly activated, it is a Colombian Possession in the Carribean

Being QRP, San Andreas is “good DX”. But like Pitcairn (VP6R) – the pileups are way bigger than normal since we are at sunspot minimum. My QRP strategy has been – and will be – to let all the big guns get their QSO, and then I call late in the game – when the DX is begging. That works like a charm.

UrbanBeam at sunset

Today’s QSO was on 17M – which is a nice surprise given where we are in the sunspot cycle. I did hear some DX on 12M – so the UrbanBeam does a pretty good job – I do think its a great “compromise” antenna – in fact – I think its better than a compromise.

What would be great though would be to kick some butt on 40M with 5 watts. I really do think I can do this – and so I am hoping I can swing the change to a 2 element 40M yagi.

OK – next up is Pitcairn – VP6R – its good DX QRP wise, otherwise its plain vanilla DX.

There’s Something About 40 Meters . . .

Radar Array at the Low End of 40 Meters

There are two things that would end my Ham Radio hobby – the end of CW and / or the end our use of 40 Meters. In fact, I’m truly at that point where 40M CW is the only thing I am really interested in any more. I don’t care if its DX or not, but DX gets higher marks – hi hi.

I will most likely sell the UrbanBeam and purchase a JK Antennas JK-402

I’ve been thinking about this for 6 months, and its what I want to do. Guess its time to make a move.

Dada, With a Side Order of Surrealism

I prefer the “surreal” image of a trees leafs turning colors to things that “man” does

Whenever I see the carnage that the current administration is doing – wrecking our democracy and leaving our allies to die horrible deaths, I take solace in nature. While man seems hell bent to destroy man, nature is there, quietly waiting in the background, and will take over once man rids himself of this mortal coil. Plants have taken over Chernobyl – there is a perfect example.

Some things in nature are so incredibly beautiful that they can stun you – make you feel like you are in a dream

This is a work of art – a pile of leaves in my driveway

“Driveway Masterpiece” – maybe a good album name?

So, while the news is so outrageously bad it doesn’t seem normal – I had the most peaceful bike ride commute to work today. If you take man out of the equation, the world will be alright.