Friday, March 27, 2020

An afternoon ride into eternity

Off-topic by far but - can't help myself - I've been a Dylan fan since 1968 when I was a 7-yo spinning a 45 of "Blowin' in the Wind" over and over.

Released just yesterday, a 17-minute epic from Bob:
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The lyrics:

It was only a matter of time...

TC1STAYHOME: "This is a special event callsign for the awareness of COVID-19 pandemic".

I guess this will be a phone-only event. Can you imagine being the poor sot who has to send this call repeatedly on CW? And FT8 is not possible with this callsign.

As if we're not already overly aware. A unique callsign (like the YM of the event's administrator) would have made it at least useful for this weekend's CQ-WPX (Phone) Contest.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Monitoring 10m FM

With all of the activity lately on 10m I decided to see if my Flex was capable of that mode. I honestly didn't know because the band has been mostly dormant for the entire time I've had the rig and I've not had a reason to check.

To my surprise, not only will the F6000-series rigs operate on FM, they also allow all necessary parameters to be configured to allow operation via 10m repeaters.

As soon as FM is selected as the mode, a menu opens that allows setting the desired offset, offset direction, squelch level and CTCSS tone frequency.

Repeaters on 10m use a -100 kHz offset and usually operate on input frequencies (rx freq for you/me, the users) of:

29.620
29.640
29.660
29.680

Unfortunately, I was not able to key up any repeaters on any of those frequencies. That may be due to poor propagation at the moment or because 10m repeater operators have discontinued the use of their repeaters due to inactivity.

One of my most bizarre QSO's ever (25 years ago) was working a French station from my QTH in Connecticut, via a 10m FM repeater in Argentina.

Repeaters aside, the 10m FM simplex calling frequency is 29.600 MHz.

I'll monitor those frequencies from time to time and report here if any activity is sighted.
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Monday, March 23, 2020

Bicycle mobile?

My search for a cure for cabin fever has resulted in a drastic increase in the number of miles I ride my bike lately. While we are not confined to our homes here in Texas (Update: now we are, in Harris County), we are adamant practitioners of social distancing these days and, I have to admit - it's an easier-than-I-would-have-thought transition.


I'm still working but my schedule is such that I work only 4 days per week, leaving a lot of time at home to, among other things, exercise. But thank you, Netflix, for Babylon Berlin...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

KFF-3054 activation report

Yesterday's trip to Sea Rim State Park was a fun and well-needed excursion that resulted in good QSO's, both on and off the air. The sun shone only briefly at the very beginning, then cloud cover (and eventually rain on the drive home) ended the trip.

As expected, the higher bands were in good shape but, due to a contest, most of my time was spent on 17m CW and FT8.