“Older Things”

It will be exciting to see what happens in 2020 with the solar cycle . . . Cycle 24 is getting long in the tooth . . .


Cycle 25 is on its way for sure – its just a matter when we turn the corner on Cycle 24. The graph above has the three possibilities – and it looks as though 2020 will let us know which of those tracks we will be travelling on.

I’ve been quite happy that even with the sunspot cycle at minimum, I can still hear VK / ZL / JA daily and also several EU stations. All of this has been on 40M – so I am still hearing DX in a way that keeps me turning on the radio. If I still had all of my Ham Radio Eggs in the DXCC Basket – I would be very frustrated – I haven’t worked an ATNO since VK0EK.

I think I will try QRP DXCC and also QRP WAS for a nice “easy going” set of awards to chase. It will be a very casual affair – and will be driven for my newfound love of my Single Lever Begali keys.

I still marvel at the fact that this Grande Olde KWS-1 Transmitter is 100% responsible for:

this and


I started going down a nostalgic path trying out a few Bugs and other keys, and by wiring up the Begali Intrepid as a single lever paddle for the KWS-1 – my “happy accident” has led for me to sell all of my other keys – even my beloved K3ZN dual lever paddles, and now I only have 3 keys in the shack – the HST III, Sculpture Mono and this Begali straight key:

As far as 2019 trends here at KY6R – besides completely updating my shack – which I love more than ever – I’d rank these Ham Radio activities as the “stars of the show”, and in this order:

  1. Re-learning CW with Single Lever Begali Keys
  2. Learning how to use a Signal Generator and an oscilloscope while working on the KWS-1
  3. Getting “hoodwinked” into getting the Gold Dust Twins restored, on the air and operational
  4. Completing a restore of a National SW-3 and listening to it daily with AM radio station KPIG – what a joy
  5. Getting another AB-577 – the first of which I never should have sold!
  6. Getting into QRP – something I did try just before I got into DXCC Chasing back in 2001 – but which has just been a thought that I have carried in the cobwebs of my mind since about 1998 or so . . .

OK – its been a huge Ham Radio year for me. I just wrote that using my Jack Kerouac wannabe “stream of consciousness” writing style, and I find it interesting that hoping to work Bouvet was eclipsed by these other things.

We are almost into August – the 8th month of the year, which means we are only 1 month away from the 4th quarter. WOW – time has sped by – and thankfully I came out of the rough first quarter unscathed and like a champ. As bad as the first quarter was for me – I learned a very valuable lesson at work – and how to better deal with the way that IT has changed. I also learned that – like being on a plateau when trying to lose weight – never, ever give up – no matter how frustrating things get. In both of these things I have risen out of the ashes of what could have been a failure and both have ended up being a phoenix rising. In fact, at work yesterday I had full validation and even vindication from something really shitty that happened to me at the end of last year at work – and how the work I am doing is now the #1 Priority at my new job – preparing the company for CCPA – the US version of GDPR. Talk about a complete turn around. The moral to that story is that I was just about a year and a half ahead of management as far as corporate data management is concerned. In retrospect – that has always been the case I guess.

Speaking of patience and perseverance . . .

Don’t get me wrong – I sure hope that 3Y0I does make it to Bouvet this year – even with it being at the bottom of the cycle. If this fellow ever gets back to me about those 3 or 4 AB-577 extension tubes – I will have the UrbanBeam up to 65′ – a half wave on 40. And you never know – I could also have a real “wild hair” and end up with 2 elements on 40M before the year is done.

Going back to the beginning of this blog – we are pretty much already at rock bottom of this solar cycle. I believe that if 3Y0I does make it – my only chance to work them will be on 40M.

At my age – I feel I have just enough time left to snag Bouvet and Glorioso, but while I am waiting – look at all of the fun and education that I have had just this year in Ham Radio. The issue isn’t my age – its the fact that I think we are past “Peak DXCC”. You have no doubt noticed that there just aren’t many announcements regarding Top 10 DXCC activations. Contrast this with 2016 – where there were about 5 – if I remember right.

Its very important to try new and different things in this hobby – even if its “Older Things”.

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