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W4TJE USA flag USA

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I go by my middle name, JACK, but will answer to anything.

 

With Cycle 24 working its way toward oblivion, it's time once again to dust off the old sunspot bottom list. When 70% of these have been checked off, Cycle 25 will have begun.

Anecdotal evidence of a Sunspot Bottom

1 You decide to take up other forms of aerobic exercise, like bowling.

2 You discover the internet has other uses than for dx packet spots.

3 Your children no longer refer to you as “that guy who lives in the basement”.

4 The ARRL starts a suicide prevention hotline for QRP’ers.

5 You get excited when you hear a pile-up for a W6.

6 You call the W6.

7 The W6 doesn’t hear you.

8 Your radio club changes its name to Sunspot Cycle Grief Counseling Center.

9 You blame it all on Al Gore.

10 Someone starts the rumor that new sunspots have been sighted, in the hope that if enough hams start to repeat it, it will come true.

11 You start listening to the local 2m repeater.

12 Your boss notices that over the past few years, you have gone from most sick days taken to least sick days taken.

13 You finally get around to filling in that 2000 Census form.

14 You start going to church again.

15 You watch the A52 dxpedition video, just so you can remember what a real pile-up sounds like.

16 You actually put more money into your retirement fund than in your new equipment fund.

17 You clean up your shack for the first time in 11 years.

18 No one even bothers to submit a score for the state QSO party.

19 You remove the sleeping cot from your shack.

20 You and your spouse start going to bed at the same time again.

 

Anecdotal Evidence that a New Cycle has Began

 

Approximately nine to ten months after the sunspot bottom has occurred, you and your spouse will welcome into the world another harmonic (see #19 and #20). Shortly thereafter, your new equipment fund will become baby’s college fund (see #16), and the sleeping cot will be moved back into the shack (see #19).

 

The picture above was taken as I was finishing up some fine tuning on my most recent project: A new tower with a duoband yagi for 40 and 30 meters. This project began in earnest in Feb 2016 with trees being cleared, and has taken most of my free time in the months since. But finally, in October, with the help of many friends, and one very good tower man (K4ZA), a dream that started when I was a teenager finally became reality. The yagi is only 70 feet up, but with the winds here, I didn't dare go any higher. It has 4 elements for 40 (dual drivers), and 3 elements for 30. To this point, I have been astounded at what I can now hear.

RECOMMENDED READING: THE ART AND SKILL OF RADIO-TELEGRAPHY, by N0HFF (sk)

For cw ops, this book should be required reading. It is evident as you read this, that Mr. Pierpont poured his heart and soul into this book. It is at the same time a history of morse and a how-to manual. I just wish I had bothered to read it sooner. I probably would be much further along with my cw than where I am today. For anyone interested in improving their cw skills, please, read this book.

 

 

 

W4TJE, QRV from the blue ridge mountains in southwestern VA, alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway on a mountaintop at 3000 feet.

Please note, I DO NOT USE THE BUREAU. If you need a card, send a card direct, and I will send one back direct, or simply send an e-mail asking for a card. I will send you one. I was first licensed in 1977 as WD4HRM, and held that call until being vanitized. The few awards I have earned include 15m WAZ and the Combat Action Ribbon. I am a member of the ARRL, CWops (1577), A-1 Operator's Club, QCWA, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Round Knob Baptist Church.

The elevation at the shack is 3000 feet with a nice take-off in most directions.The picture in the upper right corner was taken in my woods by my motion activated wildlife camera. It is a young, black bear standing upright. After moving here in 2006, the station is finally mostly complete. I'm qrv on 160, 80, 40, 30, and 15 meters, mostly cw.

 

 

 The shack consists of Icom, Ten Tec, and Alpha. I love the challenge of working cw, but it will never come naturally. So have patience if you work me on cw. But I do love it. I also particularly enjoy working longpath on 15m, as well as talking to my buddies most weekends in Europe alongside longtime friend N4LA.

The picture above was taken on 18 July 2015, from Sugar Run Mtn, VA, for a SOTA activation. The SOTA ops are a blast, combining mountain hiking and ham radio. It's a wonderful combo, and a great way to get out of the shack. For these ops, I run a KX-3, usually with a mini paddle by GHD strapped to my leg. My sending is often atrocious, so congrats to anyone who can hear the weak signal and even weaker fist. So far during this season's SOTA activations, I have encountered numerous deer, 6 bears, 2 timber rattlers, a drunken blonde on horseback offering to share her "colorado kool-aid", an appalachian trail hiker wearing only boots and a jock strap, and N4LA. I'm not sure which is scarier.

I cannot say enough positive things about that KX-3. It is the perfect radio for portable ops.

 

 

I have been fortunate over the years to have had a few articles published in ham radio magazines. Unfortunately, most of my articles have been rejected. Read the list below and maybe you will see why they were rejected. I hope you will see the humor in it. #'1 and #2 were rejected because the articles were too short to be published.

1 "Ethical Contesting"

2 "Friends I Have Made in Pile-Ups"

3 "My Antenna is Bigger Than Yours", A Freudian Study as to Why Some Hams Feel the Need to Brag about their Antenna Size (credit to K2XX)

4 "How Are You Tonight My Friend?" ,The Wit and Wisdom of the 75m DX Window

5 "Eye Candy", A Voyeur's Guide to Field Day

6 "We Were Here First!", Social Interactions on 75m

7 "Up, Up, Up You Lid!!", The Fascinating Life Stories of the DX Cops, the Real Heroes of the Ham Bands

8 "It's Time for my Pills", A User's Guide to 40m Phone Nets

9 "Radio Face", A Pictorial Profile of Hams

10 "Where's My XYL?", A Statistical Analysis of Divorce Rates Among Contestors

11 "Hamfests, The Real Key To Our Nation's Economic Recovery"

12 "Where Did Everybody Go?" One Ham's Solitary Quest to Revive the Novice Subbands

13 "Top Band QRP, and Other Useless, Non-Productive Projects"

14 "I'm Sorry I Screamed/Contesting with Kidney Stones, A Volatile Combination" ( credit to KJ6GLX, obviously one very dedicated ham)

15 My personal favorite, "Get Out of My Shack!!", What to do When Your Elmer Turns Abusive

My next project is a murder-mystery/suspense novel. It's about an amateur radio operator who is deranged. He decides to eliminate the pile-up competitors. The novel will be entitled, (are you ready for it??) "SILENCE OF THE HAMS".

73 de Jack W4TJE

8496467 Last modified: 2017-12-06 18:29:12, 9167 bytes

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