Sunday, August 31, 2008

Writer's block?

I haven't published an update in a few weeks, and I can only plead a mild case of writer's block. There are a few things that I though about, but I couldn't seem to get around to actually writing an entry. I figured that I'd just mention a few things quickly for now.

As a follow-up to my QSL Followup posting, I'm sad to report that my emails had a fairly poor result. I sent out about a dozen emails reminding folks of the cards that I'd sent and asking if they'd received my card. Of the dozen, a little more than half of those "bounced" because of an invalid email address. (For the most part, the addresses I found were from, though quite a number of people didn't have any email listed at all.) From the remaining half, I got exactly three replies: I got two from folks in the US, who both pleaded "busy life" (perfectly understandable) and who did indeed have my card (and SASE) and promised to send out a card in reply promptly. I've gotten one back from those two. The other response was from a fairly well-known Italian DXer to whom I'd requested cards from two  DX entities (TY, Benin, and ZP, Paraguy) for new band or mode contacts. He did confirm that he'd received my card and said he would send the requested cards out promptly. I received those two a week or so later, though interestingly they weren't in the Self-Addressed envelope that I'd sent. That's OK, at least he followed though.

I had hoped for a better response, and I must say that I'm pretty disappointed about the lack of response. I don't know if some of the recipients just don't QSL or perhaps have lost interest in the hobby, but I've always felt that even if for whatever reason you don't want to respond with a QSL card, it would be courteous to at least return my card (which won't cost anything; I've already paid the postage) and tell me why.

On another note, I still have not gotten my 6m beam up on the roof yet. I did do a bit more preliminary work, which involved getting some extra feedline up to the attic from my shack on the ground floor of my house, and making sure that I had all the parts and cables that I need. I just sort of never seem to get around to actually getting up on the roof. Hopefully I'll get around to it before it actually starts getting cold.

As for actually using the radio, I haven't made many contacts lately, but despite the just plain awful band conditions, I have managed to pick up some countries on new bands or modes. The most notable is my CW contact with Bruce, XW1B. Bruce and I chat fairly often via an instant messenger on the Internet, and as I mentioned a while back we'd been trying to work on CW for quite some time. Finally, a couple of weeks ago there was some good morning (my time) propagation to that part of the world, and we were able to make a (somewhat shaky, but definitely "good") CW contact. I'll finally get my CW and RTTY confirmation from Laos via Bruce, and I want to say publicly that I really appreciate his patience and help in making those contacts work.

In addition to working Bruce, the only really notable contact was A71A which I worked this afternoon on 20m CW, with CW being a new mode for Qatar for me.

One final note for today: I've had a few folks ask how my son Justin was doing with his recovery from spinal fusion surgery about six weeks ago. I'm happy to say that he's continued to improved, and now no longer needs the cane that he'd been using for almost two years to help him walk. He's got about another six weeks to go until he can stop wearing his back brace, but he's now walking around the neighborhood on a regular basis, which is something that the doctor said was the most important thing he could do for now. Thanks to those of you who've been asking.

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