Saturday, December 9, 2017

I have not been blogging lately or writing much at all.  I’m sure we all get distracted by other things that catch our interest and also loose track of time.  I have been on the air plenty but just haven’t written about it.  One real reason is because the Bluetooth keyboard broke that I use with my iPad.  That is my main creating tool.  I have a laptop, but I only use it for contesting.  Typing on the iPad screen is not very accurate and has not got the feel a of a real keyboard.  Though not ham related, I am excited about my recent keyboard replacement.  I went for a Apple magic keyboard.  This keyboard is nice because it is full size.  My last one had smaller keys and was universal for android or apple.  It worked for a couple years and I got very used to throwing in my backpack with the iPad and taking it wherever I went, but now it won’t connect to any of my apple products.  Maybe it is due to updates to Apple’s software.  I’m not sure but I figure an Apple keyboard should work more years and pair up with any new iPads I might get in the future.  So with that I hope to record my ham radio activities more often and maybe write more in general.

Yesterday I had the pleasure to make a QSO with Sue N3SC in Venice FL.  Venice is not rare DX like .... well... Venice Italy, but I’ll take it in these band conditions.

I was using 5 watts as seems normal these days with me.  The 1.5 watt SW+ is more frustrating lately. My local CW friends were discussing with me that they have found 40 meters to be very quiet this week in particular.  I have noticed this as well.  The few QSO’s I made during the week were very short and not easy to find.  I don’t usually follow band conditions.  My friend Brian KB9BVN always tells me someone somewhere can hear you.  That keeps me calling CQ longer and does seem to result in a QSO even if not a long distance away it is always a friendly person using CW.

Last night I was using my MFJ 9040.  I really enjoy this radio for it’s minimalist aspects.  It is a lot like the SW+ but it also has AGC and mine has the internal keyer and 500hz filter.  Both I installed and was worth the investment.  I called CQ and quickly Sue replied.  She was using her Icom 718 and an old straight key.  What was extra special was that Sue let me know I am the first QSO she has had in a long time.  She didn’t mention how long, but it sure felt great to welcome someone back on the air.  I hope she enjoyed the 20 minute QSO and continues to find enjoyment in the fellowship of other CW operators.  

Venice, FL is a nice place.  As Sue said the temperature is always nice there.  It is called the “City on the Gulf”.  Located in south western FL.  Venice Island is located there which is accessed by bridges over artificially created intracoastal waterway.  It has an offshore coral freer and Caspersen Beach along with Multi-use trails.  It would be a fun vacation spot and popular with retirees escaping the cold of winter.