A quiet weekend (for a change)

Quiet radio-wise. It hasn’t been quiet at all on the WX side. We had a "modest storm" passing overnight from Friday to Saturday. Modest but still a storm. I couldn’t sleep because of the noise the wind makes and the stress that implies. Will my tower and antennas survive? I’m pretty confident about the tower but the antennas? I spent the night processing that shoe box of incoming QSL and hit the couch at 3 AM with the TV on so that the audio would mask the wind. I awoke at 5 AM by a rain shower hitting the west side of the house. The wind was incredible. At about 6 AM I went upstairs to the shack to look through the window. Man, what was that? The yagi’s elements were almost folded back. A snapshot would have shown a sort of Moxon rectangle! The wind settled by noon but was still strong enough. Everything has survived except the WARC dipole isn’t exactly parallel to the yagi’s boom anymore. It’s not that bad – I can’t even tell which one moved and which didn’t. But if you look closely… I like to have everything perfectly aligned to perfection so one of these weeks I’ll tilt over the tower and take a closer look to see what’s up and how to fix it. A quick test with a 100W carrier shows no noticeable change in SWR so everything seems to be working. Each time there has been a storm, which is quite a few times in the last year and a half, I tell myself it’s the worst I’ve ever seen. But this weekend truly was the worst…

My DXCC endorsement sticker arrived. There have been 200 DXCC officially confirmed in CW. Thanks to LotW. I think I’ve got another few dozens of confirmed entities to get credit for in the QSL card boxes but to look for those in the pile?

I received a mail from a US ham asking about my experiences with the HyPower loading coils for my 160m shorty dipole. My answer bounced because my ISP’s mailserver is on his ISP’s (ComCast) spam blacklist. The procedure to unlock the IP address is pretty obnoxious. I don’t even know if I succeeded. I had the same with a LightBand (WorldBand) address but to unlock that was pretty simple and had immediate effect. Measures against spam are fine but there are practical limits. I also received an offer from another US ham to become my QSL manager. While I appreciate his offer and do keep whining here about the amount of QSL, I think there are stations that do need this service more than I do. Some weird DXCC’s spring to mind where the "QSL buro" is either non-existing or not working properly. Now that Global QSL entered the scene my biggest problem (sticking labels and sorting cards) is gone. Speaking of QSL, this comes from the VP6DX website:

Late yesterday, Feb 21, the Ducie Island expedition submitted over data for over seven thousand VP6DX contacts to the ARRL robot. These contacts were with over 900 stations whose owners made financial contributions of at least five US dollars to the expedition through Feb 24.

If you grant me the liberty of interpreting the above quote in red, it seems that you can "buy" an early upload of your DX contacts to LotW. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I even like the idea. Probably the VP6DX logs will end up on LotW anyway, just like the N8S logs gave me credit for Swains Island. But if you need a quick confirmation – buy it. The more common ways (QSL direct to manager or via the "buro") are still an option but the modern means offer the opportunity to get the job done in no time. VP6DX not only brought me a new DXCC since I missed the previous expeditions and not only did they have good signals into EU but also they seem to have a refreshing new way to use LotW. Usually I include a few US$ when I apply for a rare DXCC’s QSL card. I get quite a few direct cards myself and I consider this a good way to give something back to the guys spending big bucks to bring us new and rare DX. However lately the trend is that there are "online QSL application facilities" on the DXpedition’s web site. That means: fill in the form and you get your cards. No need to send yours. That implies: no Dollars to add. Sponsoring through PayPal becomes more and more popular except PayPal gets a small percentage of our contributions. But in the end I still prefer this to going to the post office hoping the cash will arrive and you’ll get a card in return.

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