Winter Fades

It seems winter may be giving up and will soon flee to wherever it hides during these days of perpetual warming. We had some snow and a short cold snap in the final week of February, but now that March has arrived, the forecast for the next 7-10 days all show high temps in the 50’s (F). And if this spring is anything like last, we’ll be running the air-conditioning in a few weeks. We don’t really have spring here anymore, we leap right from winter into hot and muggy. I’m never pleased about these abrupt transitions, I enjoy cold and snowy weather, but the longer days and milder temps means I can get to work sooner on the antenna farm.

Being fully persuaded that Cycle 25 will be every bit as miserable as this current solar cycle, I suspect the low-bands are going to become our permanent home address so an Inverted-L antenna configuration seems a good choice. Given the arrangement of my lot, I’ll need to be creative with the ground radials, but I have a few ideas that should work. I enjoyed great results on multiple bands, including TopBand, with an “L” when we lived in North Carolina. Those tall pine trees made for great natural supports. Here, I’m going to have to install artificial supports, like the Rohn H50 telescoping mast.

Beyond the antenna work at home, the change in season should permit a return to field operations and I’m looking forward to that. I’ve no specific goals for this year, other than to get outside and take a radio every chance I get. We’re even planning some vacation time around travel to select State Parks and a lakefront cottage or two. It will also provide opportunity for portable antenna experimentation in the backyard.

That’s always enjoyable and the extra preparation makes work in the field a little easier.


Tossed Salad

I was out of town all last week and suddenly, it’s Sunday and I’ll be back to work tomorrow. Time flies and apparently, so will the snow later tonight. Forecasts say 4-6 inches of snow so tomorrow’s commute will be an aggravation. It still doesn’t seem like a weather episode that would trigger a winter weather advisory. Guess we will find out soon enough.

Nothing happened in the shack during my absence though the Diamond X-6000A antenna did arrive. I’m still waiting on the cable and some assorted hardware, but the plan to install this over the long Christmas holiday break remains on target.

While I was away a few things dropped online, most notably the 25th episode of TX Factor. It’s always interesting but is published infrequently, so I set a reminder to myself to watch when it does appear only to forget it until the next episode hits the wire. I watched right away this time around and especially enjoyed the interview with Eric Swartz, WA6HHQ from Elecraft.

The December 2019 edition of the 432 and Above EME Newsletter by K2UYH also hit the Web, as did the the latest issue of the the 144 MHz EME NewsLetter by DF2ZC. About the time I got caught up with those, the December edition of Cheese Bits, the monthly publication of the Mt. Airy VHF Radio Club and another must read publication showed up too.

With the to-do list growing by the day, I hate to take on another project right now. But installing a sky camera to capture falling stars and joining the American Meteor Society volunteer network is bound to get added to my list eventually.