Monday, May 23, 2016

Back in the saddle again!

Woo Hoo!

The tendinitis in my ankle still has me wearing my "boot". However, it feels good enough to allow me to hobble down the basement in order to get back behind the radio. So I was happy to work five NPOTA ATNOs this weekend!

I have 112 confirmed, with two of the five from this weekend. Once the other three logs are posted, I should be up to 115 confirmed.  What was even cooler is that four of the five QSOs were CW QSOs. I am so much more used to working CW pileups than SSB pileups. I manage, but I feel slightly like a duck out of water when using the microphone. In a CW pileup, I feel like it's just a matter of time, while in a SSB pileup, I keep my fingers crossed the whole time.

Next weekend in the USA is Memorial Day Weekend, which is the "unofficial" beginning of Summer.  It's my humble opinion that this will bring out a lot more NPOTA activations, with folks having vacation time, and/or wanting to spend their weekends outdoors, if at all possible.

The Activator bug is biting me again, causing me to itch.  I'm thinking that WR03, the Delaware National Scenic River is a possibility. Maybe Washington's Crossing Park.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least@

Friday, May 20, 2016

KX3 - now may be THE time to buy!

Wow!

Keeping an eye on the QRP reflectors, it seems that KX2 mania has seriously taken hold (and Hamvention has just barely begun!). If you don't mind having a "previously owned" (read ......used) KX3, then keep your eyes on QRP-L, the Elecraft reflector, QRZ.COM and eHam over the next few weeks.

I see a few guys are already selling off their KX3s so that they can purchase a KX2. Not sure if this will become a trend, or of the wisdom of it, but then I am not yet a SOTAteer, either. The additional size and weight of the KX3 are not sticking points for the type of portable ops that I do.  But for some, especially those who do long hikes, I guess it is a case of "smaller and lighter = better".

In any event, if you're looking ...... you just might find that for which you are seeking.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Elecraft KX2

To be debuted at Dayton Hamvention:


As Eric is scheduled to do a presentation at FDIM titled “Shrinking the Multi-Mode HF Transceiver”, this kind of fits right in, eh?

Right off the bat, I see a somewhat smaller rig - to my eye, not MTR sized, but smaller than the KX3. Two bands missing, 160 Meters and 6 Meters; and I'm sure a smaller price point. A Japanese Website (http://edcjp.sblo.jp/article/175341127.html) is listing $750 as the base price - not including tuner or any other accessories.

OK. Here's a photo from Facebook that puts the size issue in perspective. It IS substantially smaller than the KX3! In fact the KX3 looks like a monster compared to the KX2. Now I understand why this is offered "factory assembled" only.  This must be total SMD construction.


Very interesting. Ideal for the SOTA operator - maybe the LNR rigs were starting to cause a little diversification in the market?  As of right now, my KX3 is all I need and I personally don't anticipate a need ........ but ya never know. It would be nice to have one, though. Or even have one just to play with for a while.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dave Bell W6AQ - SK

From the ARRL Website:

Award-winning Hollywood producer and ARRL benefactor Dave Bell, W6AQ, of Encinitas, California, died on May 13. He was 84 and had been a radio amateur for 65 years. Bell had been suffering from cancer and was in hospice care. An ARRL Life Member and a former chair of the ARRL Public Relations Committee, Bell directed Amateur Radio Today and produced several other ham radio-related promotional videos and films, starting with The Ham’s Wide World, a TV documentary filmed in black and white.

“If I have a claim to fame in Amateur Radio, it’s probably that I produced the first television documentary about ham radio that got worldwide distribution, and then I made several others before I ‘retired’ from the ham radio film/video hobby-within-a-hobby and got busy making a living producing TV movies, specials, and documentaries for all of the networks including HBO and Showtime, and made a couple of theatrical feature films — Nadia and The Long Walk Home,” Bell recounted on his QRZ.com profile. He started TV’s Unsolved Mysteries, and he received an Emmy Award in 1985 for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special, Do You Remember Love. Bell chronicled his filmmaking and his Amateur Radio and professional lives in a memoir, World’s Best Hobby.

Last year, Bell and his wife Sam, W6QLT (she’s a quilter), donated a signed Andy Warhol print to the ARRL. The artwork — “Myths: Superman 1981” —sold at auction last fall for $150,000. The proceeds are being used to create “The Dave Bell, W6AQ, Endowment Fund” to benefit the League.

Bell also produced The World of Amateur Radio, This is Ham Radio, and Moving Up to Amateur Radio. He directed the Amateur Radio Today video in 2002. The short presentation about emergency preparedness was narrated by former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD (SK), written by Alan Kaul, W6RCL, and produced by Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF (SK) and Bill Baker, W1BKR. Bell and Pasternak also created The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio in 2011, and he co-produced The ARRL Goes to Washington, also voiced by Cronkite. Working on his own, Bell filmed videos for the World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) events in 2000 in Slovenia (The Ham Radio Olympics) and in 2002 in Finland.

A DXer, casual contester, and a past president of the Southern California DX Club, Bell was a frequent speaker at Amateur Radio gatherings. He was named the 1984 Ham of the Year at Dayton Hamvention®, and, in 2003, the ARRL presented Bell with its first Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on films and videos about Amateur Radio. In 2011 he was named to the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame.

Heil Sound Ltd’s Bob Heil, K9EID, called Bell “one of the great ones.” Heil said Bell’s “great smile and laughter” and his “generosity to the hobby” would be missed, “but most of all, we will miss his spirit.” — Thanks to The Daily DX for some information

I've mentioned Dave's e-book "World's Best Hobby" several times before on this blog.  It used to be free, but i think now it can be downloaded from Amazon for a couple of bucks. It's worth substantially more than that, it's a good and entertaining read.

I hope W6AQ is up there with K2ORS, kicking back, quaffing a few and sharing some good stories.

Farewell, W6AQ, thanks for all you did for Amateur Radio.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!
  

Monday, May 09, 2016

Checking in

I know I haven't posted much lately, so I'll check in, even though there's not much to tell.  Work was busy as heck last week, so I didn't get the opportunity to go out to the Jeep all week during lunch.  Not that I really would have, anyway.  It's been rainy and cool. A very untypical May.

The cool and dampness brought on another complication.  When I was very young, I suffered a severe bruise to the Achilles tendon in my right ankle.  Whenever it gets unseasonably cool and damp for a prolonged period, I am prone to a bout of tendinitis there. And last Wednesday, it started.  I've been limping around with an Ace ankle brace and have been applying Icy Hot lotion (I smell like a moth ball!). It's more discomfort than anything else, a real pain in the .............ankle.  On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain is probably about a 3 or 4, and it's only when I flex may ankle in a certain direction.

I have been trying to avoid steps as much as possible to prevent hyperextending the ligaments and tendons, so that has meant staying out of my basement shack.  I did go down one time this weekend to work Joe N2CX who was activating Valley Forge for NPOTA.  That was my only Ham Radio activity for the weekend ...... which sucks, big time.

If past bouts are any indication, in about another week I should be back to my old self.  It generally lasts about 7 to 10 days and Wednesday will be a week.  I really need to build or acquire a portable magnetic loop antenna (such as an Alex Loop) so I can set the KX3 up on the dining room table and still play at my favorite hobby.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

KX3 - Buddistick Mojo is back

Now, for a limited time ....... considering how the sunspot cycle is dropping like a lead balloon through a pool of hot, melted butter.

But today was relatively decent.  I set up the Buddistick on the Jeep during lunchtime, hoping to hear or work a few NPOTAs. No dice, nothing heard, even though DX Summit said they were there. I did hear a few chasers on both 40 and 20 Meters. Not hearing the activators, I decided not to be a QRM generator to those who stood a decent shot.

So I went on up to 17 Meters where I heard MJ0KUC , the DXpedition to Jersey Island by the Charente DX Group.  Even though I have worked Jersey several times, I always try to honor the Jersey / New Jersey connection by making contact. The CW op behind the key was superb, handling the pileup deftly and expertly.  He was loud to me - 589/599 depending on the QSB so I decided to give it a shot.  I put out my call a few times and finally heard "W2LJ HI LARRY".

Talk about being surprised - no one else's name was being used!  Coming back to my desk, while I still had a few minutes of lunchtime left, I decided to Google "MJ0KUC" and when the page came up, the surprise vanished.  My expert CW op was none other than Bert F6HKA - it just had to be!  We have QSOed before multiple times, so when we hear each other's call on the air, we both exactly know who is behind the key.

That was so very cool!  Thanks, Bert, for the highlight of the day!

The other DX QSO of the day was with 9Y/K2HVN, Bill in Tobago.  QSB was tougher on this one, but we got the exchange completed, and I'm in the log.  From there, I spent another 20 minutes or so unsuccessfully trying to bust the 7Z1JA pileup for Saudi Arabia.  Again, the station was decently loud to me, but no such luck.  The Buddistick didn't have THAT much mojo in it today!

Truly, band conditions are becoming tougher and tougher.  The ease with which I was able to work DX for the past few seasons is rapidly disappearing. But, it's encouraging to know that all things related to Amateur Radio propagation runs in cycles, so the day will come again (someday) when DX with 5 Watts will become easier.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Broke the 100 confirmations mark today!

NPOTA, that is:


I actually have about 1/2 a dozen more that haven't been confirmed yet. According to LotW, those stations have not uploaded logs since their activations.  A few were a while ago, so I guess it's possible that maybe they won't.

While working a few today, it was extremely embarrassing and saddening to see so may out there have no clue on how to handle themselves in a pileup.  Guys ..... YOU HAVE TO LISTEN!

Throwing out your call sign ad nauseum without taking a moment to listen is the number one earmark of lid-dome. Seriously, if you send out your call ten times without taking a breath, how are you going to know if the activator is calling you back? By the time you've stopped sending your call, the activator has worked someone else and is calling QRZ again (and everyone else in the pileup has taken note of your call sign - you can count on it!). DON'T BE AN ALLIGATOR!  You know, all mouth and no ears! Throw out your call once - maybe twice max, and then open up those ear holes and listen!

Which leads to a second and related problem.  If you can't hear the station you are trying to work, you have NO business sending out your call, in the first place.  If you can't hear the station well enough to know that he's answering someone else - or worse, is in QSO with someone else; but you keep sending your call anyway ..... bad scene, man, bad scene.  You've marked yourself as a QRM generator and no one likes those. Don't rely on the Cluster. Just because DX Summit says Joe Ham is on 7.034 MHz at NPOTA NP256 ..... if you can't hear him, then don't even try.  It's a waste of your time and everyone else in the pileup is going to think you're an idiot.

Now everyone makes an honest mistake now and then, and that's OK,  But you can tell when someone has no clue as to what they're doing. And frighteningly, it seems to be becoming more and more common.

It's OK to be excited and enthusiastic. It's not OK to be reckless or use poor operating practises. Use common sense, read the DX Code of Conduct and you'll be OK.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you call to send the very least!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A few thoughts about RC08.

First, propagation was good that morning.  Here's an image from the Reverse Beacon Network showing some of the skimmers that heard me calling CQ:


Actual stations in California, Saskatchewan and Alberta successfully completed QSOs, so my reach was even farther than the skimmers would indicate.

Secondly, I was surprised by the local ambient noise level.  I was sitting at approximately the middle of a sand spit jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, and I still had an S5 noise level.  I thought it would be way lower than that.  There were a few weak stations that I know were trying their hardest to work me.  I apologize for not being able to dig you out of the noise. Even though the Hook is commercially powered up for the Coast Guard station at the tip, most of the National Park Service buildings along the length of the Hook were still closed as the "season" hasn't started yet.  The service buildings that were open were solar powered. I just expected less noise - certainly not S5 on 40 Meters. My ambient noise level at home is lower than that!


I came home with a sunburn.  It was sunny and there was not a cloud in the sky and I completely forgot, or paid no mind to the fact that the UV rays from the sun would be bouncing off the water to all directions. I was only out for about 90 minutes or so, and I got red.  No big deal, as it wasn't painful or anything like that, but something to keep in mind should I head back for a re-activation later this year. If I do go back, it will be in the Autumn, after tourist season is over so as to avoid paying for parking.  What can I say? I'm as cheap as any other Ham!

Lastly, it came to my attention the other day that Cheesequake State Park is actually part of the National Park System's New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail (AA17), so that's yet another NPOTA activation that will take place later this year.  Perhaps as early as next month.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

It was an NPOTA weekend .....

in more ways than one.

I worked about 5 or 6 new entities between Friday night and Saturday, so I am getting really close to my personal goal of working 100.  The bands have been good the past couple of days, after totally stinking during the middle of the week, so that was a good thing.

I have lived relatively near Morristown National Historical Park my entire life. I think I've been there once before NPOTA.  Yesterday, I decided to take Marianne and our dog, Harold up there for the afternoon, as dogs are welcome there.  It was a beautiful Spring day, Marianne had an extremely rare Saturday off; and I wanted to do something with her.  It seemed like a good opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous weather, walk the dog and get some good exercise in for ourselves. It's because of NPOTA that I discovered that dogs are welcome there. If I didn't see that while I was up there, activating the park, I wouldn't have known otherwise.

Much to our surprise, when we got there, we found out that a Revolutionary War re-enactment was taking place:






The highlight of the day was when one of the re-enactors came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. He pointed to the American flag that is embroidered on the left sleeve of my jacket and he said to me, "Kind sir, a question, please. It appears that you have a United States flag on your coat; and yet there are so many stars?  Certainly more than 13!"

I answered, "It's a long and sometimes bloody story, and I don't think we have time to go through it all, but I would like to thank you and your fellow soldiers for giving birth to the finest Nation on Earth."

He chuckled, and I chuckled at our impromptu time travelling scenario. In the end, it was great NPOTA day, even though this one didn't involve Amateur Radio.  So hats off to the ARRL for reminding me about some of the really cool places that there are to visit around my QTH.

In the evening, I decided that I would go out early Sunday morning to activate Sandy Hook, which is part of the Gateway National Recreational Area - RC08.





I used the Jackite pole and my homebrew mast holder and the PAR END FEDZ 40/20/10.  In a little over an hour, I made over 40 contacts on 40 and 20 Meters.  Bext DX was Alberta, Saskatchewan and California.  Not bad for 5 Watts, and if at all possible, the PAR will be my preferred antenna for future activations.  

I would have stayed longer, but I had somewhere to go with my daughter Cara, so I made due with the time I had.  It was a bit brisk while I was there, but it was sunny and clear.  If you click on the bottom photo, you just might be able to make out the New York City skyline in the distance, on the horizon.

Sandy Hook was my third activation, and I hope to do at least two more in New Jersey - the Pinelands and the Appalachain Trail in the Northwest part of the state.  When we go up to Lake George this Summer, I also hope to spend one day at Saratoga and activate HP42 while I'm in the neighborhood.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Never heard Heard

I saw on Facebook this morning, that many were thanking the VK0EK expedition for the ATNO and were thanking them, in general, for a wonderful DXpedition. I would suspect they have gone QRT.

And I would guess I'm in the minority as I'm not in any of their logs.  In fact, I never even heard them decently well enough to work them.  There were a couple of times that I could tell they were on a given frequency, but they never loud enough that I would be able to hear my own call come back to me, on the off-chance that they would have heard me.  It didn't seem right to just add to the QRM.

Am I disappointed?  You're darn tootin' I am!  Working VK0EK would have been an ATNO for me and I sure as heck would love to have them in my DXCC tally.  But I'm not depressed about it.

It all goes back to that post a few weeks ago about balance.  Yes, I do not have Heard Island as an entity worked. However, the sun is still shining, the birds are still chirping, our solar system is still plowing its way throughout the galaxy.  I still have to go to work tomorrow and earn a living.

And while I didn't work them, and life goes on, I still applaud their effort.  It's not easy to go to a remote island near Antarctica, and brave the elements and hardships to provide the rest of us Amateur Radio ops with a bunch of excitement and fun.

Thank you Team VK0EK - even though I'm not in your log - thank you for a job very well done, indeed!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

A popular misconception

I saw this on Facebook:

Along with this comment:

"Why do we always congratulate the QRP operators...?!?! The ones who REALLY need congratulating are the guys/gals who smash the headphones to their head, desperately trying to make sense out of the distant RF they're hearing to make the QSO. The "skill" in QRP operation is not so much the operator employing it, but the operator trying to pull it out of the mud!"

So let's examine this for a bit ..... is this true?

A lot of times ..... yes.  A lot of time the credit should go to the stations that pull out our sometimes weak signals. And for these times, we offer a hearty "Thank You!"

However, there's a popular and stubborn misconception, or premise here at work here, if you will:


"QRP = Weak Signal"

Many times, this IS the case, but many times IT IS NOT.

This is where propagation and band conditions come into play, my friends.  And if you've spent any time at all on the HF bands, you would know better than to make the above statement, because a weak signal can be produced by any station. It's not necessarily an indicator of how much power they're running.

Many have been the times when I've had problems pulling a 100 Watt or better signal out of the muck. This could be due to the fact that the station I was trying to work was in the skip zone, the band on which we were working was only "so-so" that day, or for a plethora of other reasons.

Many have been the times when other QRPers have literally blown the cans off my ears with their 5 Watt signals (N9NE comes to mind, on a regular basis). So in the end, you really can't "'judge the book by its cover", nor make assumptions about the station based on the loudness of its signal.

The station that's pinning your needle just might be a QRPer, while the station that you can barely hear may be running a kilowatt.  It's all in the antenna, the band, and the ionosphere, and how all these elements are interacting at the moment.

So what's the lesson to be learned?  

1) Don't be afraid to try and work the weak ones.  I have been guilty of this myself.  There have been instances where I thought "Oh, this guy is never going to hear my 5 Watts!", only to find out that he was running 100 Watts, or better ........ but for whatever reason, he was hearing me much better than I was hearing him.

2) Propagation is not always reciprocal. (This is #1 in reverse.)  Just because the station you are hearing is 20 dB over 9 doesn't necessarily mean you will be heard equally as well at their end.  There may be a high background noise level on their end that you don't know about.  Yes, it IS frustrating as all get out, but don't beat yourself up because the "loud one" didn't hear you. Sometimes, it just works out that way.

3) Power is relative, but it's not an absolute. So as I've said so many times before, you should just forget that you're a QRPer. You're just another fish in the Amateur Radio sea. A smaller fish for sure, but just another fish. And sometimes, just sometimes, the smaller fish gets away with snagging the bait and swimming away to play another day, while the big fish gets snagged by the hook and ends up on the dinner plate.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Friday, April 01, 2016

Hanging it up

After 11 years of blogging about Amateur Radio, QRP and CW, I've come to the conclusion that everything that needs to be said has been said.  I've run out of ideas and new ways to express the old ones. 

So with this blog post, this will be the end of "QRP - Do More With Less".

It's been a good run and I'd like to thank all of you out there who have been faithful readers over these past 11 years, but I think it's time to hang it up.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!























April Fool!
Didn't think I was going away that easily, did you?  Naah, I enjoy this too much and will keep on going, the Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Isn't that horse dead yet?

Yet another thread on QRP-L on why the Yaesu FT-817 is better than the Elecraft KX3.

Sheesh!  Haven't we beaten that horse to death yet?

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.  Different strokes for different folks. Either way, I thought we all outgrew those "My Dad is bigger than your Dad" arguments when we were about 7 years old.

Give it a rest, already, it's getting old.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My log book experimentation obsession - has it come to an end?

Let's see if I get the timeline straight ..... things get fuzzier as one grows older!

For the first 15 years or so of my Amateur Radio career, I used the "ol' stand by" ARRL paper log books for logging my QSOs.  I think everyone did - well, log books, I mean.  If you didn't use the ARRL ones, you probably used giveaways that used to be handed out as promotional items by Yaesu and Kenwood, or perhaps you just used a regular spiral notebook or loose leaf in a binder.

About the mid 80's, I discovered Log-EQF and used it for several years.  It was fast, intuitive and did not require much in the way of computer processor power. It was a DOS based program with a UNIX look and feel to it.  It was great because the comments space for each QSO was vast, and my log book became sort of a QSO diary in addition to recording the essential QSO data. The fact that it ran great on 80286 and 80386 machines was icing on the cake.

As Windows developed and became more popular, Log-EQF transformed into Win-EQF.  I thought that with the transition to becoming a Windows based program that the developers would update the look and make it appear more like other Windows programs. Sadly, they kept the UNIX appearance and I guess I'm shallow - but I wanted something that was more aesthetically pleasing.

So I purchased a copy and switched over to AC Log for a while.  I did that based on the raves everybody was giving it (and still do). Having a a junker computer at the time, the program would hesitate on me as I tabbed through the data entry fields.  The biggest glitch would come when I tabbed from the last "normal" field to one of the custom fields that I had renamed "Rig/Ant".  The program would freeze up on me for about 3 or 4 seconds before jumping to the custom field.  Not sure what that was (as I stated above, it was probably due to not having enough processor power or perhaps not enough RAM installed), but it drove me mad, particularly while trying to simultaneously log and carry on a QSO.

So while I kept using AC Log, I kept looking for alternatives. Here were my three main requirements:

1) The program had to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
2) The program had to be relatively easy and intuitive to use.
3) The program had to work well with my less than state of the art computer.
4) The program didn't have to be free, but that would be a bonus.

I think I downloaded and tried just about every freebie and/or demo logging program out there.  Some worked great, but didn't have the features I wanted, while others had the features I wanted, but didn't work on my computer. I settled upon three different programs - Ham Radio Deluxe, the DX Labs Suite and Log4OM.

The DX Lab Suite is about as complete as they get. If you want a feature in a log book program, "It's in there!" as the old spaghetti sauce commercial goes. The problem was that so many bells and whistles came with a steep learning curve.  This program takes a long while to become comfortable with and I never did. 

Log4OM was easy to use, easy to set up, pleasing to the eye and full featured.  You would think this would end up being my choice, right?  Well, it did - but not right away. For a while, it came in second.

For a time, I went with Ham Radio Deluxe, back when it was run and maintained by Simon Brown. It had everything I wanted, was relatively easy to use and pretty intuitive, and was very easy on the eyes. It was free, but I was sending a donation to Simon every now and then for all his hard work.

Then he went and sold the rights to it.  HRD became a commercial product and I even bought the rights to it for one year.  Improvements were made and it ran well on my XP computer. Then I bought a laptop which had Windows 7 on it, and unfortunately I had some trouble getting HRD to work correctly.  Eventually, I got it working just fine, until one day when Windows went and updated on me. The next day, all my previous efforts went for naught  and all went kaput in my HRD world.  I started getting all kinds of new errors and lo and behold, my year's worth of support had run out, and I ran out of patience (which has never been my strong suite).

So I went back to Log4OM, my second runner up, and I'm so glad I did. In addition to being easy and intuitive to use, there were several other things about it that made me additionally happy about the change.

1) It installed, quickly, easily and without a hitch.
2) The interface between Log4OM and LotW and eQSL are so simple, even I was able to figure them out.
3) I have since upgraded to Windows 10 and have had several windows updates and Log4OM keeps on ticking like nothing has ever changed.
4) There's actually a comprehensive User's Manual available on-line that you can download to refer to any time you need it.
5) There's a forum at the Log4OM Website that Danielle IW3HMH and Terry G4POP monitor and you actually get answers to questions. And they'll even incorporate suggestions and features into future releases of the program, if they deem it worthwhile.
6) Their DX Cluster tab is the bomb!  If you hook up your rig to the program via CAT control, you can enable the program so that as you change bands, the Cluster will display spots only for the band that you're currently on.  Other software programs probably offer that feature as well, but Log4OM does it so nicely.

I have been a happy Log4OM user now for a couple of years and an so happy that I'm not even tempted to go and look at "new kids on the block" when they pop-up from time to time.

And to answer any skeptics out there, no, I don't receive any consideration or kick-back from Danielle or Log4OM for relating my experiences here,  I'm just a happy, very satisfied user and am hoping that others can be, too. And I intend on being a happy, very satisfied user for a long, long time.

As for AC Log, it works quite well on my current laptop with no issues. I use it for keeping the NJ2SP log, as many other members of the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club use AC Log as their primary logging software and I can easily share the file with them. For personal use, Log4OM has features that I like that AC Log doesn't, and I like those features too much do without.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

They're still up!

My antennas, that is.

After yesterday afternoon and last night, I expected to wake up to find my W3EDP at ground level and my Butternut HF9V bent at 90 degrees somewhere along its length.  In retrospect, my fears were probably silly as my antennas withstood Hurricane Sandy with nary a whimper, but ...........

Last evening, as I lay in bed, struggling to fall asleep, the winds were howling, and I do mean HOWLING. Not an exaggeration, they were dong their best to imitate a freight train passing underneath our windows. But, thanks be to God, both antennas are still up, working, functional and never the worse for wear.  Dodged another bullet - whew!

I find myself in somewhat of a quandary.  I e-mailed my buddy, Bob W3BBO about this.  I see all the posts on Facebook about the Heard Island DXpedition. All these people seem to have worked them on so many bands and with so many different modes.

I just can't bring myself to even bother trying.

It's not that I don't need them.  Working VK0EK would be an ATNO for me. Never worked Heard Island before,  It just seems, that for some reason or other, I just don't feel like jumping into the fray.  On the other hand, Yosemite National Park was on 20 Meter SSB last night, I spent close to half an hour unsuccessfully trying to bust that pileup, before they faded into oblivion. So it's not that my competitive instinct has disappeared. Not sure what my problem is.

I'm sure whatever it is, that like everything else, it's cyclical and one day I'll be jumping into the DXpedition pileups with both feet again.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!