About Me

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Taylorsville, NC, United States
Hi all. I am age 62 and was happily married to Irene for 27 years until her untimely death on March 24th, 2012. I have 3 children, 2 sons, 1 daughter, and 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, My hobby and favorite past time for 27 years as of October 16, 2023 is "Amateur Radio", better known as Ham Radio. I make friends all over the world using voice, digital, and International Morse Code. CW (Morse Code) is my favorite mode!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Well, It's About Time!

      It's been almost two years since I last posted to my blog so I hope everyone will forgive me for my absence. Ever since my dear wife Irene passed away back on March 24th, 2012 I just haven't been the same and am just now getting so I'm dealing with losing her. Irene was the best thing that has ever happened to me my entire life and she spent 28 wonderful years with me and we raised 3 fantastic children together. When she passed away we had only 1 grandchild, but now I have three!
A grandson who just started school this fall and one granddaughter who was born on April 2, 2013 and another granddaughter born on April 23, 2014. Every time my son, who is a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, deploys, I get a new grandchild when he returns home! LOL!
      So what's been going on with me as far as amateur radio? Well, I've been doing a lot more DX chasing the past 2 years, no contesting, just hunt & pounce or using the Reverse Beacon Network or DX Watch to spot them. Last count I was up to 115 DXCC entities, not all confirmed. I use eQSL, LoTW, and ClubLog to confirm QSOs with. I no longer use the ARRL Outgoing QSL Bureau. I really like the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) the best for DX chasing because it finds the stations as soon as they call CQ, many times before a pileup has started. I worked E51NOU on South Cook Island just this week thanks to a RBN spot and there wasn't a soul around when I got him my first try! Not long after that someone posted him to DX Watch and the pileup really built up fast once that happened. I like using RBN with the receive stations filter on the website set to post only stations heard in ITU zone 8 which is where I'm located. Works great and is, in my opinion, one of the best kept secrets in amateur radio, especially when compared to any of the DX cluster or DX spotter pages.
      I have also been into working a few digital modes over the years with Feld Hell a.k.a. Hellschreiber and PSK31 being my favorite modes, but now thanks to computer issues I'm off the digital modes for the time being. After I installed last months Windows Critical Updates it messed my computer up and many others as well from what I read on a recent ZDnet article. It caused my computer to reboot while the updates were still installing which is a big no no when installing updates! Microsoft admits they goofed, but that doesn't help me any! I wound up having to do a clean install of Windows 7 (64-bit) and start over. Well, mostly, I was fortunate enough to have a backup to install all my app data and photos from plus I back them all up on cloud storage via Google Drive and Dropbox as well. I highly recommend using Google Drive over Dropbox because as I found out you can only recover Dropbox photo backups by right clicking and then left clicking "save as" one at a time for every single photo while with Google Drive you can download the entire folder of photos all at once! Much much better! Anyway, back to digital, after the reinstall of Windows 7 I now have 2 new problems! Both of the comports on the small board in the left back corner of my Dell N7010 laptop have stopped working and about a week later my wireless network adapter quit too! I'm using a old external USB wireless network adapter for the time being. The 2 comports that stopped working were the ones I used for digital! One of them connected to the CAT (Computer Assisted Technology) port on the back of my Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V and I used it to run Ham Radio Deluxe and Digital Master 780 through. I also used the other comport to run a West Mountain Radio Rigblaster M8 digital interface to get the audio into and out of the rig. The CAT port one only controls the rigs frequency and PTT while the Rigblaster delivers the audio. I know that the Mark V has a built-in digital interface accessible via the Packet jack DIN plug port on the back of the radio, but I already had the Rigblaster wired up and working from my previous HF rig and my favorite saying, especially when it comes to computer stuff, and learned over time the hard way, is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Anyway, until I can get my comports working again no digital modes for me! It's not like I worked a lot of digital anyway, but I like knowing I can when I get ready to so that's a priority on my get fixed list! I do CW more than any other mode on amateur radio as it is and has always been my most favorite mode!
      In other news, I recently attended the Shelby, NC Hamfest again on Labor Day weekend with my good friend since high school, W4WWF Dale. Dale pulled a huge camper to the Cleveland County Fairgrounds and we made a 3 day event of the hamfest. Shelby Hamfest's slogan is "the granddaddy of them all" and it is as far as the biggest hamfest in the entire state of North Carolina!
No comparison to the Dayton Hamvention which I was fortunate enough to attend for the very first time in 2013 thanks to another great ham friend W8LEW Lou! Lou offered to and did pay my way to Dayton including round-trip airfare, lodging at the Springhill Suites at the Marriott, and even my ticket to the Hamvention! I thought I'd fall out of my chair when Lou emailed me in fall 2012 and offered to do that! I made it! I finally made it to the Mecca of Amateur Radio, the Dayton Hamvention! I have posted a slew of photos from both the Shelby Hamfest and the 2013 Dayton Hamvention if you would like to see them.
      I have much more to talk about, but I'll save that for my next update which, if I can keep the schedule, I would like to start posting a update to, at least every 2 or 3 weeks from here on out. Thanks a lot for reading my blog and be sure to sign my Guestbook! Until next time very 73 from KU4GW Cliff in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwest North Carolina (Alexander County - Grid EM95iv).