Category: Personal



Well, its another new year. As I get older, the years come faster and faster. The best part of my year is Christmas. That is when I have my whole family together and reminds me how much I miss having my daughters home, or at least near by.

Something new for me in 2018 is I am now the National Coordinator for the US program of World Wide Flora and Fauna. WWFF-KFF for short. Basically I am to promote WWFF in the US, coordinate the addition of new parks to the system, make sure logs get updated, and give out awards. The US is quite large and has a lot of members of WWFF-KFF so this is not a one man job and I have help with all of this. Actually, we have a team put together. If you want to find out more about it you can check out the WWFF-KFF web page.

My personal goals around ham radio include to activate at least 2 parks a month. That means I’ll need to make 44 contacts from each park. I’ll be combining my new hobby of camping with this. That way I have over 24 hours at the park to get my contacts. Also, if I pick a strategic campsite, I can drive to another close park and get another activation.

My other goal is to increase my CW speed to 20 WPM. Right now I’m at 10-12 wpm conversationally and 15 wpm if I’m just doing contest exchanges. I’d like to be able to hold a conversation in CW without having to write everything down. I am scheduled to go back to the next level of CW Academy in March/April, so we will see how it goes.

I have personal goals outside of ham radio for 2018 as well, but I’ll keep those to myself for now.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year and I hope to get you in my log in 2018.


Hurricane Irma Prep and she stops my streak

Hurricane Irma Prep and she stops my streak

Well, Irma has stopped my streak. If you don’t know it, I live in Central Florida and in the path of Irma. So starting Tuesday we took down my antenna garden (its not big enough to be a farm). The new R-9 vertical came down first and then Thursday I took down the Alpha-Delta DX-CC and yesterday the 2m j-pole came down and the tillable mast is tilted down. The area where the antenna garden normally is looks barren.

The geomagnetic storm hasn’t helped any either. I did try a little bit Tuesday to get a contact but could not put the time in with hurricane prep. I even tried Wed again and nada. But again, I didn’t put much time into it.

If you are wondering about my family and me during the hurricane, we are going to shelter in place. We have secured the homestead as well as we could, our weakest point being a picture window we couldn’t get the plywood to board up. We have a generator to run the well after we lose power (the powers that be say to be ready to be without power for 5-7 days at a minimum) and we have plenty of water and “hurricane food.” I even broke out the zombie apocalypse supplies in case they are needed.

I do worry out my daughters who will be exposed to the hurricane as well. Tiff, my oldest, is in Orlando so she looks like she is going to be far enough away from the eye where she may get tropical force winds. She has her “Harry Potter” room under her stairs she bunkers down in. Then there is Tori, up in Gainesville. She’s in a second floor apartment but the structure is cement block and if Irma keeps her current path she’ll get tropical force winds as well.

Over all, my family is as ready as we can be and amateur radio has taken a backseat to the immediate needs. I do derive a little comfort knowing that even if the power is out and communications is down I’ll be able to communicate with the outside word and get messages to loved ones through ham radio. I can set up my portable ops here at home if needed. Also, I have my portable VHF radios that the hams at the  EMS have who are backup communications to them so I’ll have constant updates to the county information and will be able to contact them as well if we have an emergency.

Well, in the words of REO Speedwagon, we’ll be “Riding the Storm Out….”

Going for a Record

Going for a Record

K3WWP – John. From his QRZ page

There is an amazing ham radio operator on the bands. His name is John Shannon, K3WWP. Besides being one of the founding members of the North American QRP CW Club and FISTS  member where he wrote articles for the monthly newsletter for over 20 years, he holds the “unofficial record” for  the most consecutive days with a QRP QSO (low power contact). He is currently at day 8,419. Thats over 23 years!!!! For 23 years, everyday, he has managed to make a CW contact using less power than a nightlight. You can see his current streak on his home page.

John is also working on another record. He is currently at over 1,620 days with a DX (International) contact. Once again, over 4 years! This guy is amazing. And at 72 years young he shows no sign of slowing down.

Besides making his daily QRP contacts, John also keeps up a diary online. Notice, I didn’t say blog. He was “blogging” online before it became popular. His diary goes back to April of 2006. It is his online journal of his ham radio escapades. It is something we can all learn from.

So, if you know me, you know I like goals to shoot for. Its one of the reasons I have all the certifications I received when I was working. Its why I like the NAQCC challenges. It why I like to chase DX and get that rare QSL card. I like to have a goal in front of me that I can go for.

Am I going to break John’s record? I highly doubt it. 23 years is a long time. Yet, Being 50 as of this Thursday, and starting now, I could break his record by the time I am John’s age! Yet, I was always taught to make my goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. So, my first goal is to have a CW QSO every day until the end of September. Including my current streak that would put me a 37 days. A far cry from 23 years but you have heard that old saying, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Well, that 27 days will be my first bite.

In all actuality, I do not realistically think I can meet or even come close to John’s record. I can, however, set a personal best and compete against myself.

So, here is to the first step in a journey of 8,419 steps.

Not a Good Radio Day

Not a Good Radio Day

Not a good radio day here for me. First, bands are band. There is a solar storm. Next, I’m waiting for a guy to come and find/fix out pool leaks. Finally, I’m still in a rental car as my truck has been in the shop for almost 2 weeks now getting a rebuilt engine put in (actually the second since the first one failed before I paid for it). I can get out and about but I’m not comfortable bringing Sam in the car since she sheds a lot.

I had a good meeting with my CWops Elmer last night. I’ve been stressed that my brain injury would hamper my code training. I told him where I was at and he said that is normal. I guess I’m overly sensitive on failure since my TBI. I also received a new set of paddles. They are inexpensive MFJ paddles (MFJ – Mighty Fine Junk) but they will work for the class. If I end up liking paddles over the bug or strait key I’ll get a better set. In fact, by the time the Orlando Hamcation comes around in February I’ll know if I want a better set and I”ll be able to try some there.

I’m going to try to go the the NAQCC West Central Florida (WCF) outing tomorrow morning. Its all the way at Anclote Gulf Park. That’s over a hour and a half away but I need to get out and see some people! I’m hoping this is a friendly group and is accepting of Sam and I.

Well, thats about it for today. I’ll try to play radio a little later today and hopefully make a few contacts.