All Things HF: December 2018

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year.

The past 30 days or so of HF band conditions have been whatever one wanted to make of them. Some bands were open, some bands were so-so and some bands were closed. There was some good DX to be operated 12 and 17 meters then the following day?nothing. Good openings into Europe were plentiful on 20-meters if you looked, listened and called CQ. We seem to be stuck in the doldrums of the minimum of sunspot cycle 24. The band conditions seem to be the main focus of our QSO?s these days.

I still continue to maintain a positive attitude when I sit down at my station that there is always something worth working out there in radioland. I make it a habit to turn on the station in the afternoon with the antenna beaming west to take advantage of greyline propagation?I am seldom disappointed. I also make use of my favorite DX spotting website (DXscape) which is a Japanese operated spotting system with excellent reporting of present DX operators worldwide in real time.

As the minimum of cycle 24 continues, and it will for quite some time to come, good old fashioned rag chewing will be the dominant factor which is really the backbone of what this hobby is all about. My feeling is that most of us active operators consider ourselves to be somewhat technically inclined so allow me to stray a bit from radio to the subject of robots.

Robots are dominant in the manufacturing sector. Robots build our vehicles with precision, they build the circuit boards in our radios. Robots do it all. I?ve been fascinated by robots since the early days when they were considered ?boy toys? and not respected self programing operational robot systems that have landed recently on the planet Mars. Sure, I?m building up to something here that I would like to share with you. I purchased an iRobot for me and my wife?s anniversary (mostly for me). The robot is the 900 series Roomba for cleaning floors and carpeting. This amazing robot leaves its docking station on demand then proceeds to clean the floors in every room all the while programing and reprograming itself with the use of an onboard camera that sends it photos back to the robots systems to correct or re correct its plan of travel. Should Roomba sense its batteries are getting low even though the cleaning job is yet to be completed?she heads directly back to her docking station for a recharge. When the batteries have been recharged, she heads directly back to her unfinished cleaning from where she left off. I am totally impressed, my wife is totally delighted and?that iRobot is scary as she returns to her docking station until called upon to clean the floors again. Life is sweet!

Remember to sit down at your station and call CQ because someone somewhere is listening, don?t disappoint them. The best 73 es gud DX from my station in Huntersville to your station wherever it is. So long for now and once again, Merry Christmas, Happy New year as Santa drives through the skies of our radio frequencies bringing joy to the world?de Bob W?ZPE

Leave a Reply