Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Dang lightning!

I took today and the rest of the week off so I can hopefully get my grass cut before the weekend and to get my vehicle prepped for the Missouri QSO Party. I have the lawn mower ready and then the storms hit. Lightning hit the power line about a 1/2 mile away. Power went out right away but the whole house generator took over. I started checking the house and radios for any damage. 

One of my sons said something went pop in the kitchen. I determined that the cordless phone was now dead but the phone line is still good. 

I did a quick check on the radios in the shack and all was OK. 

Power was restored about an hour later and I was happy with the limited damage but I knew some more might be discovered later. 

After dinner I went to the shack to chase some NPOTA stations and noticed that it logged the wrong frequency. I noticed that I no longer had rig control. I determined that the serial port on the PC was bad so I switched ports but still no rig control. I tried a different radio and it didn't talk to the PC either. I use the ICOM level converter box so I took it apart and changed the driver chip and yes, I had a spare!. 

Rig control has been restored!

Shopping trip for tomorrow:

Cordless phone system
replacement driver chips
Replacement PCI serial port card

Saturday, March 12, 2016

NPOTA chaser and Missouri QSO Party


Things have been quiet lately regarding NPOTA activations but I have been chasing whenever I get a chance. About twice a week I get away from the office during lunch to go to a park. There I wolf down some food while putting a 20m hamstick on the roof and power up my IC-706. I usually can snag at least 1 or 2 per lunch hour. Also taking Friday's off can be very good for chasing from home!
I am up to 61 confirmed with another 7 waiting on confirmation.


I have some plans for activations in the St. Louis area. I will activate the Ulysses S Grant house a couple more times. I hope to get to Wilson's Creek and the Ozark Scenic waterway at least once this year. I also plan to activate on the Trail of Tears Historic Trail at least twice. I may try for an activation at Fort Donelson in TN which could be a crazy day trip. The Lewis and Clark Trail appears to be one of the most activated NPS units so I may hold off on that one again until later in the year if there is still demand for it. 

Missouri QSO Party

Main focus for the rest of March is preparing for the MOQP. This event keeps growing each year and has become one of the larger QSO parties. I will be operating as a rover with the call K0E/M. I will be running around southeastern MO sitting on various county lines handing out points. My purpose to help activate counties and provide points to the other county activators therefore I stay mainly on 40 meter phone. If a fixed station or expedition chase stays on 40 phone I usually will find them. I go have plans to try 80 meters late Saturday night.

We are allowed to self spot which works well and after dealing with pileups from the NPOTA a state QSO will seem easy. I will have APRS running mainly for entertainment purposes after the contest. The trail I take looks like I an lost most of the time. Garmin did fail me a couple of times last year so a paper map will make the trip this year. Last year I drove over 800 miles in the 2 days of the contest.

On Sunday I take it easier and park on a 3 county line for most of the day.

Here is the link to the MOQP hosts W0MA.