Lots going on. Significant? Maybe not. But lots of things.
I’ve been listening to a lot of code on the air. I’m getting better at decoding, which was much slower than my sending. It’s easy to send. You know what letters are coming up. Decoding? Sometimes. Not always. So I’ve been trying to get faster with that. Or at least lose my place fewer times.
I bought the Heil Proset-IC headset. Now.. I’m not much of a talker but when I do talk, I want it to sound decent. So, I’m rockin’ that. And I found out that the pedal to my wife’s Casio keyboards makes a GREAT transmit pedal. Pre-wired with a 1/4″ plug, baby! Oh yeah!
My DX-CC dipole, which has served me so well stapled to a wooden fence, is now up suspended 20′ or so in the air. If I can figure out how to move some branches, I can probably get another 5′ or so out of it. But right now, it’s a step up. The only problem is that I think the new altitude has changed my propagation. There’s a group I listen to (and sometimes join in) in the mornings and I have a tougher time hearing some of those guys until later.. usually right when it’s time for me to go to work. But, the upside is that I think I’m hearing farther better. Transmitting will be the real test. Oh.. I also replaced most of my RG-8X with LMR-400.
On the scanner front.. I bought ProScan for my Bearcat. I like the logging a little better than FreeScan and, being a signal hunter, that’s important to me. I just came in from taking my MFJ discone out of the bush I jammed it into and putting on top of a couple used 2x4s nailed together and leaned against the house. I took some old dipole wire I had and wired the 2×4 “tower” to the fence. It ain’t pretty but it’s up there. Eventually, my plan is to get a couple 10′ PVC sections and replace the 2x4s.
Haven’t been doing much digital lately. I haven’t forgotten it. But there are just so many hours.
As far as Worked All States.. I haven’t contacted MT at all and I have to confirm LA MI NV NJ OK SD and VT. I also have Hawaii, which I talked to but I have no expectation that it’ll be confirmed. There’s a QSO manager.. in another state.. not sure how LoTW knows that I talked to HI if my QSO is confirmed in Oshkosh… or where ever. That’s fine. We’ll just consider Hawaii untouched. I mean, it shouldn’t be hard to do it again, right? I’ve been slowing down on WAS though because I’d really like to get one using CW so I could qualify for the Triple Play. I think it’s more price money. (I’m kidding. I know there’s no prize money. It’s just a personal challenge.)
Satellites.. well, I’ve pretty much written off the idea of controlling my FT-736R by the computer. The support in HRD is nonexistent without a workaround that provides partial support. I have no memory management programs that know what to do with the 736. MacDoppler supports it but it didn’t really seem to act right. And.. perhaps the worse yet.. when I hook up the CAT cable, I get a low but definite hum from the receiver. Cheap cable? Maybe. That’s not so bad, I guess. Part of me wants to fully automate the satellite station but the other part of me wants radio without computer. So.. I’m not heart broken. It’s easy enough to tune manually. The part that’s concerning me now is that I’m not sure how to tune it for receiving UHF and transmitting VHF. I’m assuming you have to change VFO modes but it still seems wonky. And.. I haven’t been able to tune into an FM bird to check it. On the other hand, my UHF yagi is kludged into a bush right now so.. not quite time for disappointment yet. I simply don’t know.
I’ve got a cheap TV rotor in. Just waiting to get a ladder to get on the roof to install it (and my 2 mtr J-pole). I’ll fix the Yagi up to 20 degrees for now to at least get to the satellites. Later, this year, I’ll go for the Yaesu G5500. (hopefully before July)
But all in all.. slammin’ good time!