Over the weekend at KB6NU/WA2HOM: poor propagation and a jammed copier

Last Saturday was a real bust down at WA2HOM.

First of all, the weather’s been really overcast and rainy around here the past week or so. Saturday was no exception. We didn’t get a lot of rain, but it was overcast and dark all day.

Second, when I got down to the museum, I found that the relatively new keyer wouldn’t key the radio. I tried resetting the keyer, changing the keyer output (the WKUSB keyer has two different outputs), and some other things, all to no avail. Then, it occurred to me to change the batteries. I hadn’t thought about that right off because I could hear the sidetone OK. Anyway, changing the batteries worked like a charm, but I wasted at least 45 minutes goofing around with it.

As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered. The bands were so bad on Saturday, due to some kind of solar disturbance, I guess, that I only managed to eke out one contact.

Then, Tim, KT8K, showed up. No, that wasn’t a bad thing, but the weekend before, I’d been bragging about what a great station we had, with our three-element Yagi and all, and that he should come down and visit sometime. Well, of course, when he does make it down there, that bands were so dead, it wouldn’t have mattered much what kind of antenna we had.

Finally, just to add insult to injury, when I tried making copies of the brochure that I hand out, Getting Into Ham Radio, the copy machine jammed on me! This is only the second time that this has ever happened to me down at the museum.

Sunday, I fared much better. I pointed the beam southwest and made three really nice CW QSOs  with N5KY, KB5GXD, and KB0KIE. All three of them were just a few degrees of the beam heading, and all three had good signals. Morgan, KB0KIE, is just getting back into amateur radio and was a bit apologetic about his fist, but I told him not to worry. We need all the CW ops we can muster.

Sunday night, I got sucked into the RAC Canada Day contest. I got started late, and by that time, many of the contestants already had hundreds of contacts. That didn’t stop me from claiming and running a frequency for a while. I pulled the plug about 0315Z, with just over 1,000 points.


  1. Ned Davis says:

    Some days it is just better to stay in bed and let the experts, Mother Nature and her errant nephew Murphy, do their things and get it out of their respective systems. We just can’t win.

  2. Dave, N8SBE says:

    This week is the 13 Colonies Special Event. July 1-6, work as many K2A through K2M stations on as many bands/modes as possible. Last year, they made 65,000 contacts during the 4th of July week. There is also a special station in Phildelphia Hall, for a bonus. Google “13 Colonies Special Event” for details and how to apply for a nice certificate. I got on 40m phone last night, and the pileups were legend. The ONLY stations spotted on the DX cluster on 40m for a while were six or seven of the 13 Colonies stations! I ended up working 6 of them before pulling the plug at 1030pm local. It took about 45 minutes each to work each one through the pileups using 100W and a ground-mounted GAP Titan DX vertical. Then picked up another one this morning about 6am local on 40m phone. He was calling CQ and ragchewing with the occasional caller.

    We had a G3 class flare this past weekend, which pretty much shut down everything HF. The aurora was seen as far south as Kansas. By Sunday, the 6m folks on the east coast were working Europe via aurora, and having a blast. The HF bands have slowly recovered.

    • Dave, N8SBE says:

      I completed my ‘clean sweep’ of the 13 colonies stations, plus the Philadelphia Hall bonus station, on the evening of July 3rd, here in the midwest US. Just for ‘style points’ I made all the contacts on 40m phone, even though the organizers don’t have a ‘single band/mode’ endorsement. 8-)

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