I received, assembled and installed my new GAP Challenger DX last weekend. The day after I got it installed we got hit with two back-to-back windstorms and the antenna stayed up. Then, this week, we got hit with a winter storm laden with heavy, wet snow. I ended up taking down the ends of my G5RV as the weight of the snow on the wires had the SpiderBeam HD Telecopic mast that supports the center, bent completely over. But the Challenger DX faired quite well. I'm impressed with it's durability.

Performance wise, the jury is still out. Because of the weather, work and other factors, I haven't really been able to test it, although yesterday I did an SKCC QRP contact with a station in Mississippi and got a 559 signal report on 15m. I also got a 449 into Colorado the day before. Further testing is required.

Apparently its been a while since I updated this page, clear back in June of last year. Well, let's see, what's been going on in my world.

My CW learning journey took a setback the end of last year, right after the holidays I caught one of the bugs that's been going around, missed two weeks of work and was still battling it for another 3 weeks after I was cleared to go back to work. Didn't really have any interest in CW during that time. But I did the K1USN SST yesterday, for the first time in over two months. Only had 5 contacts for a score of 25, but I was running QRP and a straight key and having fun. Going to have to get back to studying, 2 months and I'm a bit rusty. Not that I was all that great to begin with.

I've been elected to the post of Secretary for my local radio club, Hualapai Amateur Radio Club.So, that's new. A new experience for me, interesting to see what happens behind the scenes. If you're not active in your club, I encourage you to get active. A club is only as good as its membership. What I've found is that you tend to get more out of a club than you put into it, but if no one puts anything into it, no one will get anything out of it either. So, please, I urge you, step-up, volunteer, help-out, your club needs you.

My DX Commander Classic came down again in another storm. This time it snapped inside the joint where the guy plate is. Callum, the designer of the antenna and owner of DX Commander was as surprised as I was. Between the wreckage of this pole and the wreckage of the first pole, I was able to make one complete pole. I've elected not to put the DXC back up as a permanent antenna. Its being relegated to Field Day and Vacation status. I've ordered a GAP Challenger DX to replace it. Meanwhile my Inverted-V G5RV is holding up fine and serving as my station antenna.

There's more out on the horizon, and I'm excited about what's in store for the coming year, I'll try to remember to keep you posted.

I've gone through and made quite a few changes to the web site. Mostly in the file structure, so you probably won't even notice a difference. I've also added a few graphs to the solar data page, just to make it look a bit nicer.

In other news, I've been taking the CW Academy Basic course since the beginning of May, which means that at this point we are over half–way through. It's been a lot of fun, and very challenging. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to study as much as I'd like, too many other things going on, but I can take what I've learned and work on it when I have more time. Hopefully over the summer.

Speaking of CW, I've added a CW section to the web site. I really enjoy operating CW, in fact I don't really do much other operating anymore, though i do the occasional SSB and, even more rearely, FT8. I plan to expand the CW section more as time permits.

God willing and the creek don't rise, as the saying goes, I'll be participating in this year's ARRL Field Day with the Hualapai Amateur Radio Club here in Kingman. I volunteered to be the Safety Officer this year.

Additionally, this year marks the first year that the club will be using electronic logs for Field Day. One of our members purchased the Field Day logging software from N3FJP, and I have it installed on the club's computer. I also purchased the software and installed it on my logging laptop. I have them configured to share the log database, so no need to consolidate the logs.

Last week marked the final week of the CWOps CW Academy Beginner class I was taking. I really enjoyed the class. We had a great instructor and learned a lot. I went from knowing just a few letters to knowking all of the letters and numbers and some punctuation. Now, that doesn't mean that I hear a morse code character and instantly go, that's an A. Sometimes, well most of the time, it takes me a second or more to process it. Instant character recognition is not a strong suit, at least not yet.

I've also made a few CW QSOs, not the cleanest, quickest QSOs, but QSOs none the less. Each one was a little bit better than the one before it, so I'm making progress, and I'm really, really enjoying it. The contacts I've made have been great, really supportive and patient.

If you have been thinking about learning CW, I highly recommend doing it, there's no time like the present. There are two great sets of instructor lead, free courses (there may be others, but these are the two that I'm aware of). One is done by CWOps, the CW Academy, and is a structured, almost like a traditional class, course. The other is not really structured at all, and is done by the Long Island CW Club. Which you choose is entirely up to you. It all depends on the way you learn best. I haven't done any to the Long Island classes, so I can't really speak to them, but, as I said earlier, I really enjoyed the Beginner class by CWOps CW Academy. Check them out, learn a new facet of the hobby, and have fun.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable New Year. It was nice and quiet at the home QTH, which is the way my wife and I like it. Only a few fireworks were heard, which was great for our dog. The XYL went to bed early, while I stayed up watching TV and getting over the flu, or whatever it was that I had had for the whole week prior, not fun being sick, especially during Christmas. But I'm doing better, although the XYL now has bronchitis, gotta love this time of year.

I just wrote a new, short, article on Signal Reports, inspired by an ARRL post on Twitter. It’s pretty basic, but hopefully you’ll find it useful. You can find the article here.

Let’s see, what’s new? Well, I have now upgraded my license to Amateur Extra, passed the Element 4 test on Oct. 19th. Once that was done, and the FCC showed the change, I subitted my application for Volunteer Examiner (VE). I got an email from the ARRL VEC last week saying that my application had “been sent to the approving area for processing”, so I’m thinking that I should be getting my credentials any day now. Which is good, my club’s regular testing is on the thrird Saturday of each month, so that’s coming up soon.

In other news. I did a quick and dirty ham–clock. Basically a dual clock, showing UTC time and local time. I can't quite seem to do the conversion in my head. You can find that by following this link.

Trying to find information about Amateur Radio Nets (what net, when, what frequency, what the focus is, etc.) requires bouncing around all over the place, and even that is no guarantee that you will be able to find the information you are looking for. So, I've been working on a solution to that issue. It’s called NETSdb and is designed to be a single stopping point to find information about the various Mateur Radio Nets out there. (This is no guarantee either, but at least it’s a centralized location).

You can find the intial version, and more information, by following the link below. It is currently a alpha version release, which means that the basic functionality is there, but it is not yet ready for “prime&ndashtime”. I’ve decided to go ahead and put it out there in the state that it is in just to see if there is any interest in this project, before I spend too much time on it. Even if there isn't much interest, I may just go ahead and finish development for my own use.

Quick Prop. Info.

Last Updated: 01 Apr 2023 0400 GMT
Solar Flux: 129
SSN: 61
K Index: 2
A Index: 21
Band Conditions
Band Day Night
80m – 40m Fair Good
30m – 20m Good Good
17m – 15m Good Good
12m – 10m Fair Poor
Aurora - Northern Hemi Band Closed
North America Band Closed
Europe Band Closed
Europe — 6m Band Closed
Europe — 4m Band Closed

More detailed solar information can be found here.

Solar Data Provided By: N0NBH

DX Cluster