Second Half

The 4th of July was an interesting day around here. We were up early and at the farmer’s market where we picked up sweet corn, new potatoes, green beans and leaf lettuce. This was the first week of the season where there was sufficient produce available to make an entire meal from what we picked up there.

A little later we drove out to the lake for a long walk before the day got too warm. The place was packed with campers and boaters all reveling in the long holiday weekend and anticipation of the fireworks show.

July at the Reservoir

We got back home late in the afternoon and I fired up the rig to see if band conditions were reasonable. A long period of daily thunder has kept the feedline disconnected regularly and on those rare occasions when when the storms (thunder and solar)  have avoided us, the noise has been almost unbearable.

Doing a quick scan, I heard someone pounding out a “CQ” on six meters. I’d noticed the online chatter about several decent openings on ‘The Magic Band’ over the last few weeks. The problem for me is that I have no antenna for 50 Mhz. The tuner simply refuses to offer me any help on that band when feeding my zepp.

Necessity is a mother and I’ve learned that if I take the tuner out of the antenna circuit and back the power down to about 15 watts, I can transmit on 6 using the HF antenna without the transceiver complaining too much. I made a few dozen contacts that way last year while chasing the W1AW portable stations.

After making the necessary adjustments, I returned the call and had K1VMT in the log in a few seconds. Next in the log was VE2ACP and I was able to copy a couple other stations in the US northeast though I couldn’t work them. Fifteen minutes later, the band fell completely silent.

I switched to 40 to survey the bandscape and there was lots of action but most of it clustered around the 13 Colonies Special Event activity. I was able to put six of them in the log in short order but several seemed to be “missing”. I guess not all of them are using CW and I had no interest in pulling out the microphone for this event. Probably just as well since I wouldn’t have sent off for the certificate even if I had managed to work them all. Chasing paper is so last century…

Before I shutdown for the evening, I snagged F5IN who was launching a fat, juicy 40 meter signal into North America.

I hit the rack about midnight with the sound of fireworks fading into the night.

It’s worth noting that we are now more than halfway thru ‘summertime’. Not technically of course, but if you count summer as being Memorial Day to Labor Day with the 4th of July being in the middle, well, you smell what I’m shoveling.

We’re now offically in the second half of 2K15.

Author: Jeff Davis