Not much radio time was consumed last week. The WX was bad too so the XYL and I spent our holiday by going to indoor places. I lowered the tower last Sunday because the wind became a bit too strong and I knew the days after I wouldn’t be active. Yesterday I cranked it back up although I didn’t get on the air anymore. This morning I hung out on 80m. Currently there is no 160m or 40m antenna in the air so 80 is the place to be. I hear a loud XR0Y. But loud is bad. Yes, loud is bad. When a real DX is loud, even the guys with bad antennas hear the DX and join the pile up. I have a mediocre antenna, so when the DX is weak and I can just copy it , the guys with lesser antennas are not in the pile up. And there are not really a lot of stations with BIG antennas around. So this time the DX was loud and it drew a crowd. There was not a real mess on the DX frequency like we witnessed lately. The occasional simplex caller followed by the DX cops’ serenade and the mandatory carriers now and then. The QSX was big and soon I couldn’t be bothered anymore. Off to call CQ myself.

I worked a couple of Texans, a K3, a K9, and a real K6 from California. Before my sunrise there was as weak ‘…L1…’ calling me. Weak with an L? ZL1? Let me turn the beam away from USA to ZL… oh wait: no yagi on 80m. ZL1AIH is worked with 549 report. He was louder last weekend so conditions aren’t as bright as that morning. But today was before my sunrise and ZL peaks just after my SR. Anyway ZL on 80m becomes too easy HI. Just kidding, it always amazes me. Then W7HPW calls in with an S7 signal. Quite loud from W7 is rare so I ask for his QTH. Turns out he’s in Utah. I guessed it was a new WAS on 80m but I wasn’t sure. I did check my LotW account later and sure enough: Utah is a new state on 80m. I also miss UT on 40m… To close the series of DX another ZL1 called me. Ten minutes after my sunrise, with an S8 signal. But there was a sudden and short local QRM so I had a hard time completing the call. Soon enough the QRM vanished and I could copy the ZL1 just fine. Nice harvest again on 80m.

I went to listen to XR0Y again. He was even louder now but was working a lot of USA. I heard those in the pile up and they were loud too. Since there were a lot of NA-EU spots on 160m, I realized I need to start building the permanent version of the test setup I build (read it here). So QRT I went and off to work on the antenna. The ‘suspension assembly’ is finished and the ‘feedpoint assembly’ is almost ready. But it started raining so putting it up and trying to get the wires to resonate will be done later. Other than that, there are some other things that I was wondering about or that caught my attention.

Given the bad weather this week, I uploaded all pending logs to eQSL and LotW and processed a dozen ‘QSL direct’ cards. There was a card that came in from Arizona on November 3 for a contact made October 29 on 17m. The operator put his card in the mail that same day. That should be the fasters turnaround DX-ON5ZO-DX for a direct QSL ever.

Scott W4PA announced his resurrection on the CQ Contest reflector. He’s going to WRTC next July. He quit contesting a year ago (read the story here) and suspended his blog. I liked his blog. It was about hardcore contesting and he had some interesting things to tell. I thought he would have returned sooner but apparently his disgust was rooted deeply. We all go through those periods but it seems the stronger you are involved, the harder you need to get away from it all if that day comes. Speaking of his blog, I clearly remember his posting the day he decided to take his entire QSL card collection to the dumpster. He said that many people consider this blasphemy, and it is indeed a drastic measure. I’m not up to the point yet where I would throw all my cards into the paper shredder but now I can relate.

I got a request in the email to help a local ham to make his Signalink USB interface work with N1MMLogger. I don’t know the guy, I don’t know his setup, I don’t know the device. A request for help on the N1MM-reflector yielded no results. Zero replies. So I did some Googling myself. I answered the ham that I conclude that it should be possible if he has the right cable to connect the interface to his rig. I must say the manufacturer’s website offers poor support and almost no practical information. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the fast, extensive and to the point support for the microHAM products?

The bad weather made for some wondering and thinking. I’d like to go to the Friedrichshafen ham fair again. ON4CCP offered to go this year but we couldn’t match the agendas on such a short notice. Both our jobs got in the way. I was there in 2005 and 2006. But it’s a long drive and I hate driving a car especially that far and that long. So that got me thinking. Could I gather enough people to fill up a touring car (coach) for a hit and run visit? Leave overnight on Friday, visit FH fair on Saturday, maybe attend the BCC banquet on Saturday night and leave overnight to return on Sunday morning. I sent the proposal to a Belgian ham reflector and a few individuals. So far replies have been scarce. I need to be sure I can get 20-30 people on the bus, preferably 40. Then I can address travel companies to see of it is possible at all. We’ll see what gives.

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