QRZ Logbook

Thursday, September 10, 2015

My Tennessee QSO party activity (or what should've been!)

Well, I *WAS* supposed to participate mobile during the Tennessee QSO Party this past Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, the stars bounced out of alignment and a number of things conspired to prevent my quest from being fulfilled.

Just after work on Friday, I felt an "itch" in the back of my throat, which became the late summer cold I've been contending with all weekend long and still am fighting off. I was awake most every night trying to sleep, and too tired to stay awake during the day. But couldn't rest because my throat felt like it hot coals were embedded in my larynx and lying down made it worse.

Needless to say, talking hurt and not talking made the pain only more noticeable.

Fast-forward to Sunday morning. I got a text at 9am asking when I would be heading up to Morristown to meet my friend Jim to operate mobile. I texted back that I was recovering from a cold but I was getting better and wanted to get up and get mobile.

However, Jim couldn't have me around because...well...I was sick!!! The reasons are many but they made sense and I was extremely bummed out, because we'd been planning this for months. All gone to hell in a handbasket.

I eventually got out of bed and got on the radio and tried calling "CQ TNQP" on PSK31, and was met with about as much enthusiasm as a fox in a chicken coop. I finally made one contact after putting myself on the DX Cluster, basically announcing that I'm out there if anyone cared. Another station tried to reach out to me, but it was in the middle of a sneezing fit and when I finally took care of it they were gone.

I did get on voice - albeit unenthusiastic - and called CQ and worked several here and there on 40 meters, which seemed to be the main band to work on this day. But most all the bands were dead until late in the afternoon heading into the evening. Someone even put me out on the cluster and I became a hotspot right as my throat began to feel the effects of talking over several hours. Perfect timing, again!

Overall, I made just under 100 contacts. It wasn't my greatest showing. But I probably would have had way better success had I not gotten sick to begin with...

It seems I have a history of this happening when contest time appears, no matter which I want to work. One Field Day event we did at Melton Hill Dam, the day it took place, my voice was lost due to allergies, and I pinched a nerve in my shoulder blade area and moving my neck hurt tremendously. But, I had to stay because the group was using my callsign (I was the only extra class licensee at the time) and I had to stay in order to allow us to use the full allotment of bands to operate. To make matters worse, I checked into the Tennessee Phone Net to relay some bonus points (no one else apparently wanted to help!!!) and they couldn't hear me...BECAUSE I HAD NO VOICE!!! Imagine both my frustration as well as the receiving station trying to hear me, as well as all the other stations (im)patiently waiting their turn...

There's always next year, I suppose.

ULS Still Down (to the surprise of nobody familiar with government)

In case you weren't aware, the FCC took down the ULS site for upgrades and it was expected to be offline for the extended labor day weekend, but, since this is the federal government we're talking about, it turned out about as well as you would expect.

From the ARRL:
“Over Labor Day weekend, a dedicated FCC team worked day and night to complete major IT upgrades,” the FCC’s Chief Information Officer David A. Bray, said in a statement. “This work included physically moving more than 200 different legacy servers out of FCC's headquarters to a commercial service provider.” This move — a cost-saving measure, Bray explained — ran into trouble when it was determined that additional cabling was needed to complete the transition. “Unfortunately, this delayed completion of all of the system upgrades — even with the FCC team working around the clock throughout the holiday weekend,” Bray explained.
For now, attempts to log in to the ULS to look up callsigns (or apply for a vanity callsign for free!) is met with "page cannot be displayed" errors or a continuous "loading" action which will eventually time out.

It should be back online today, but I'm not holding my breath for it.

Only time will tell.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tennessee QSO Party this Sunday SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!!

It's that time of year, again, the Tennessee QSO Party is about to happen, and this year I'm going to be doing it a bit different.

Most times I've operated from home during the party, however this year, I'm tagging along with a couple of friends and we're going to go mobile, operating along county lines to work stations and hopefully make a lot of contacts and points. We'll be using my callsign (K4HSM) during the event.

Jim, N4UHZ, Chuck, K4KKH, and I are going to hit the road in Jim's truck and gallivant across upper East Tennessee to make as many contacts as possible in the course of the 9 hours that the contest is active (Sunday, September 6, 2-11PM Eastern Time, or 1800z Sunday, September 6 until 0300z Monday, September 7, 2015) enjoying the views and the camaraderie as we trek across a few of the highways and by-ways of Tennessee.

I will be trying to update our progress via Twitter (@k4hsm) and I hope we'll be talking to you on the air!

The rules and such are here.

We'll try to operate from Hamblen, Grainger, Hancock, Claiborne, and Hawkins counties, and perhaps Greene, Jefferson, and Knox if there's time. We'll be mainly on voice but if we can get digital to work (PSK31) we may get that going as well. Jim's got D-Star but we're not sure how it will work, since no repeater QSO's are allowed.

Wish us luck!