Posted on November 22, 2017
I’m a day early, but had such a great day at work yesterday that I’m feeling thankful.
I thought yesterday and today would be very quiet and not much would get done with many people out of the office, but it turned out to be one of my most productive days and a day where my team solved two big problems.
While our politicians show us how not to be, I can count on family, friends and co-workers to show the positive side of humanity.
And I’m thankful for the comedians who make fun of the politicians, so it’s easy to stay focused on the good in life and laugh at the bad.
Posted on November 21, 2017
|AMSTERDAM & SAINT PAUL ISLANDS||FT5ZM|
|BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS||VP2V/SP6CIK|
|LORD HOWE ISLAND||VK9HR|
|NORTH COOK ISLANDS||E51MQT|
|PALMYRA & JARVIS ISLANDS||K5P|
|REPUBLIC OF KOREA||HL5IVL|
|SABA & SAINT EUSTATIUS||PJ5/N5WR|
|SAINT PIERRE & MIQUELON||FP/G3ZAY|
|SAN ANDRES ISLAND||5J0P|
|SOUTH COOK ISLANDS||E51NOU|
|SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS||RI1ANF|
|UNITED STATES OF AMERICA||AA7CQ|
|US VIRGIN ISLANDS||KV4FZ|
|WALLIS & FUTUNA ISLANDS||FW5RE|
These are 91 worked – and 89 confirmed. I have Antigua and St. Barts that I just worked, but need the confirmation, which will happen soon.
Looking back, that’s pretty good considering I have only been seriously chasing Top Band DXCC for the last 3 or 4 years, but before that used an 80M antenna with a tuner just because a DXpedition would be loud on 160M and on a whim I worked them. At the time I was participating in DXCC Challenge but I gave that up because it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
There are no EU, but I do have AF, NA, SA, AS, OC – which is pretty darn good for a small lot down in a bowl. The “big prizes” are VK0EK and FT5ZM.
Posted on November 20, 2017
This weekend is the CQ WW CW Contest, and its lining up to be a potentially great weekend for me and my 160M DXCC pursuit. Here are the entities that I need that will be on the air and that are (usually) easy (when conditions allow):
- Turks and Caicos
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- Antigua and Barbuda (I have this but my call was busted in the ARRL DX SSB Contest – and while its probably a good counter, I will go for a non busted QSO
- St. Lucia
- Trinidad and Tobago
Here are the one’s a little bit trickier, but I have worked others in this part of the world on 160M:
- J5T – Guinea Bissau
- Canary Island
- Cape Verde
So – there are quite a few more than the 9 that I need to get to 100, and the best part is that they will be active before and maybe after the contest.
It would be great to “sail into” 9BDXCC!
Posted on November 20, 2017
I’m not sure what it is – when I was 9 away from Honor Roll, I was kind of “annoyed”. I guess making over 300 ATNO’s made me feel I already was a “serious DXer”. Its kind of like that last semester at college – where you already have a job lined up and know where you are going and what you will be doing – it looms so much larger than being at school – finishing the last semester is a pain in the ass.
Top Band is not a band you can rush through. You can “sprint” to Honor Roll in 11 years easily – I did it with a very modest station and not so great QTH. Top Band has a way of forcing you to have patience – its almost impossible to know when you will have favorable conditions, and there are no prediction engines that even let you guess. I have had days where its is dirt simple to work a new one followed by months with nothing.
I’m surprised at how excited I am to only have 9 more to go before I get to 9BDXCC and DXCC on Top Band. I am actually enjoying this more than I did working the last 9 toward Honor Roll. I’m guessing because its a real achievement – and also that I have the patience to savor it instead of being in a rush.
I am not at all regretful that I rushed to get to Honor Roll. I’m very glad I don’t need BS7, P5, EZ and at least a handful of others – those could turn out to be once in a lifetime achievements.
Posted on November 20, 2017
I was pretty confident I’d get this one – mainly because these guys are great operators and they would be there until the end of the month. In fact, they already seem to be getting bored. now I also see many West Coast getting through.
The signal was Q5, but not as loud as I would have expected. Conditions have been really weird on Top Band lately – last month I snagged two very easy one’s in succession and they were loud – now its a struggle even to work the stuff that should be easy. But I even hear J5T, but not with that “confidence” that makes you jump in the pileup.
The best thing is to hear your call come back very clearly – quite often you don’t get that on 160M – at least not with the really distant ones. Of course, now that I have worked him – his signal will come up and it will be so easy it will be a joke. In fact, his signal is now rising to the point where I can hear him through the noise on the TX antenna.
Posted on November 19, 2017
This is an amazing and “hauntingly beautifully” album.
We had a fantastic bike ride today – 35 miles, which is just enough for me to be considered “serious”. All along the ride I was hearing this album – with several songs taking their place in my mind as I looked at stunning fall colors of yellow, gold, red, orange, crimson, rust and anything else possible.
Last week I wrote about Widdecombe in the Moor – and that was triggered by hearing “The Old Church Yard” by Offa Rex.
The ride goes from Orinda through Lafayette and to The Forge in Danville – where we had one of the best thin crust pizzas and an amazing hoppy beer by Fieldworks of Berkeley.
The air was quite “snappy”, but the sun and fall light was just gorgeous.
Oh – and before we left I got the 20M yagi positioned and ready to go up in its new place. Tomorrow is antenna day this weekend!
Posted on November 17, 2017
This is one of my favorite ham radio memories.
Jack, K6JEB, one of the nicest and fun hams I know, combined with another best friend, Peter, W6DEI and other Diablo DXers have helped me launch wires in trees. This is the Blue Spruce Tree that I just moved my 160M Inverted L top wire to, and the tree is more than 60′ tall, and its base is 10′ higher than the Inverted L’s 41′ mast, but to keep the wire from touching the tree – you have to go out from the boughs, which means you can’t go all the way to the top.
That launch is what got me to Honor Roll on New Years Eve 2013, and that launch was just after Thanksgiving. That launch was for a 40M dipole that ended up being 60′ at the low end, and 70′ at the high end, and which worked Monk Apollo, SV2ASP/A for the win!
So – now that I am again closing in on another big DXCC goal (9BDXCC and DXCC on 160M), I wax reminiscently about a tree and a wire!