Woke up this morning to the sound of rain falling. It’s 42F so no worries about the white stuff. Just gentle precipitation falling out of hopelessly gray skies. Makes it easy to justify a morning in the shack with a lot of coffee. I see where band conditions are supposed to be poor-to-lousy for the next 24-48 hours. Great. That hasn’t stopped some POTA activators from hitting the field. I just worked N8BB at a park in Michigan on 40 meters and now I’m listening to Brian, N1BS in Rhode Island working a pack of hunters. Signals are a little light, but still seem workable. Being the beginning of a new month I briefly considered doing something out of the ordinary, like doing nothing but —fill in the blank– for the entire month but I never came up with anything good so its just radio as usual again this month.

I’ve been trying to gather enough gumption to take on some year-end accounting, ham radio style. For instance, a quick review of my LoTW awards account shows that I have 47 states confirmed on 80 meters, 49 confirmed on 40 meters, and 49 confirmed on 20 meters. This seems some low-hanging fruit that, if picked, would yield another award, five band worked all states. I haven’t paid attention to my WAS account after earning the Triple-Play award and didn’t realize I was so close on another bit of wallpaper. I’ll have to do something about that.

There’s also some final bookkeeping to be done to complete my DX Marathon submission for 2023. This event has held my interest in DXing for two years and I look forward to another. I didn’t expect to even make the 100 entity threshold this year having been off the air for several months due to family issues and moving to a new location. Last year I managed to work 122 countries and 31 zones for a total score of 153. My goal this year was to improve on that considerably which didn’t happen, I’m currently at 104 entities and 30 zones. Less than I had hoped, but much better than I expected after witnessing the year fall apart like it did.

Bottom line, there’s always busywork to be done and I like that my lifelong hobby continues to hold my interest and keeps me busy. In fact, I think I’ll jump in the SST this afternoon. I can only offer the propagation gods a paltry ten watts of RF on the altar today thanks to the IC-705. That will just have to do, and honestly, it usually does.

On Injured List

The main display on my IC-7610 has developed a problem. A single column of dead pixels running from the top to the bottom about in the center of the display has appeared. It has no impact on the operation of the equipment, but it’s an annoying distraction and, given ICOM’s problems with this particular display, has me concerned it could worsen. Right now I’m trying to get in touch with someone to have them tell me where it needs to be shipped for repair. While the unit is long out of warranty, ICOM has been providing no-cost replacements for displays on 7610’s with certain serial numbers and mine falls in that group.

I guess we will see if the company lives up to that promise.

Because it still functions, I wouldn’t ship it back to the factory until after the upcoming CQ WWDX CW contest. That’s going to be my last best chance of the year to closeout my DX Marathon entry for 2023. Last year I managed to work 123 entities and went into 2023 with high hopes of working at least 150. I never came close as the summer episodes took me off the air for months and now here I sit, a week before Thanksgiving, with only 96 entities worked this year.

At this point I’d be happy with a hundred and look to 2024 for better results.

That cause was helped a little yesterday when I worked TX7L on 10 CW. I was beginning to think I might miss them too, but I got lucky. I understand they are just past the halfway point in their operation so there should be a few more opportunities to get them on other bands and modes though that won’t help me in the 2023 Marathon. I’m going to need a handful of “new” entities in the CQ WW DX contest just to get to a hundred, with maybe a few extra “just in case” entries and then the 7610 will be headed somewhere for repair.

With the main transceiver on the injured list for a month or two, I’ll have to move the IC-705 up in the rotation. I’m a grizzled enough QRPer that I look forward to that low-power challenge and the transceiver is a delight to use, especially with a decent antenna. I used to have an IC-7300 as a backup, but I got rid of it a year or so ago and haven’t looked back.

This temporary juggling of equipment has me thinking that I need to get busy selling off a lot of excess gear that has been idle in the garage for far too long. I hate selling equipment…