Month: September 2017

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….”

Rag Chew

Rag Chew

In ham radio a long conversation is called a rag chew. I’ve had my 3 first real rag chews on CW this week. Each one lasted 20+ minutes and I was able to copy the code fine. In fact, I had a harder time sending the code then copying for some reason. Probably because I was going “off-script.” I usually have a little script I follow for each contact and I was sending just what came to mind including weather, radio and antenna type and family info. It was a blast!

Its a great start to the week because tonight is the unofficial start of CW Ops class. We have a shakedown tonight to make sure our Skype works, mics and headsets work, and of course, we have out keys set up right. I’m looking forward to this as I really like CW and would like to send and receive at 15 words a minute.

The streak is now at 15 days!

Its Been A While

Its Been A While

It’s been a few days since I updated my blog and QSO count. My DX streak did end early. Conditions Thursday were just awful. I was able to keep my QRP QSO streak going!

I just had my longest and best QSO on CW. Thank you to Mike, K1OV, who was very patient and sent slowly. I have two notebook pages of copy from our QSO! We went for almost 30 mins. That is a long QSO for me, especially using CW. My sending was actually worse than my copy tonight. I was able to copy his code quite well but my fist just wasn’t there tonight. I think it might be because I’m switching between the keyed and the bug.

Overall, I’m happy with my CW progress. Monday we start CW Ops training. that is 8 weeks of “intense” CW training where we meet 2 times a week via Skype with an instructor. Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading and 73!