Archive for February, 2012

Undisputed champions

February 26, 2012

The Kentucky women earned an undisputed SEC title today by beating Mississippi State 76-40. It is the first conference championship for the Cats since 1982. I doubt if I even knew Kentucky had women’s basketball back in those days! Up next is the SEC tournament.

The Kentucky men had a difficult time with visiting Vanderbilt yesterday but won 83-74. That clinched an undisputed SEC title for the guys. The Cats remain undefeated in conference play with two games remaining, with Georgia and Florida.

A disasterous day for Ohio State. The women lost at Nebraska 71-57, and finish the regular season a full two games out of first place. The men lost at home again, this time to Wisconsin, making for 5 conference losses.

SEC Champs!

February 24, 2012

The Kentucky women won at least a share of the SEC regular season conference championship with some help from Arkansas. The Cats held on to beat visiting South Carolina 53-50 on Senior Night last night. Fans said goodbye to Crystal Riley, Keyla Snowden and Amber Smith. Thanks for the memories, ladies.

In a big upset, Arkansas went to Knoxville and beat Tennessee in overtime. So, the Cats are all alone in first place in the SEC. The final regular season game is Sunday in Starkville. UK can win the title outright with a win, but it won’t be easy with the Mississippi State coach retiring.

The UK men trailed for most of the game in Starkville Tuesday night but won by 9. With a three game lead with three games to go, the guys are also assured a regular season title. Right now I think they would have to play very poorly to lose any of the remaining games, and they are in high gear as we head into the post season.

A home loss

February 16, 2012

The Ohio State men lost to Michigan State 58-48 on Saturday. It was the first home loss this season for any team that I follow, and broke a 39-game home win streak by the Buckeyes. The main problem in that game was extremely poor shooting. This was after an 87-84 home win over Purdue in which OSU had its worst defensive performance of the year. The Bucks bounced back and won at Minnesota Tuesday night 78-68. Looking at the standings, Ohio State and Michigan State have 3 losses in the league.

The OSU women have lost 3 conference games on the road, the latest a heartbreaking 66-65 set back at Illinois. The Bucks did manage to beat Purdue 80-71 in Columbus Sunday afternoon. There is a logjam at the top of the Big Ten standings as Penn State, Purdue and Ohio State all have 3 conference losses.

The Kentucky men are still ranked #1 and are running away with the SEC regular season.

The Kentucky women are all alone in first place in the SEC despite losing two in a row. A 61-51 loss at LSU got the ball rolling. After that was a disasterous trip to Knoxville resulting in a 91-54 thrashing. If the Cats will stand strong for the remaining 4 regular-season games, they are conference champs.

The Blue Jackets went 3-2 since my last post. As the trade deadline approaches, there is even talk that Rick Nash might be traded. He would have to agree, as he has a no-trade clause in his contract.

Men shifting into high gear

February 5, 2012

The Kentucky men are defending their #1 ranking with easy wins over Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and South Carolina. Anthony Davis has already set a new SEC record for blocks in a season. The Cats are one-and-a-half games ahead of second-place Florida, and have two games coming up with the Gators. The upcoming two games with Vanderbilt will not be a walk-in-the-park either.

After home wins over Penn State and Michigan, the Buckeyes went on the road and beat Wisconsin in the Kohl Center for the first time since 2000. With two Big Ten losses, the Bucks are ahead of Michigan and Michigan State who have 3 losses each. But of the remaining games, there is one against the Wolves and two against the Spartans. So, much more work remains.

Losses for the ladies

February 5, 2012

After wins over Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Ole Miss, the Kentucky women lost their first conference game this afternoon in Baton Rogue to LSU. I didn’t get to see the game, but the Tigers are tall while the Cats are not. Next up is a visit to Knoxville, where Tennessee will be looking to avenge their one-point loss to Kentucky in Lexington in January. Kentucky is still one game ahead of the Vols in the loss column. If they can sneak out with a win, they restore their 2-game lead. Otherwise we have a tie.

After beating Illinois and Indiana, the Ohio State women traveled to Minneapolis last weekend and lost to the Gophers. Nebraska, Purdue and Ohio State all have two losses in the conference. The Buckeyes will play both of those teams one more time so the standings will likely change quite a bit before the regular season ends.

The real utility of JT65

February 5, 2012

Since the holidays I have been playing around with JT65, a fairly new digital mode used on the ham bands. JT65 uses very low data rates. It takes about six minutes for a simple exchange of signal reports. But it has the advantage of outperforming other modes in low signal-to-noise ratio situations.

Until today the contacts I had made with JT65 were with stations that could have been worked using other modes. But this afternoon I worked a station in Indiana on 12-meters. I was running about 25 watts to a wire antenna.

On the higher amateur bands such at 15, 12 and 10 meters it can be difficult to work states that are nearby. Generally on those higher bands, if the bands are open only distant stations are heard (for me, California, Washington, Oregon, etc.). There is a huge “skip zone” which is the area between the stations you can hear, and those that can be worked directly via ground wave.

Generally the way for me to work a state like Indiana on the higher bands is to be lucky enough to catch an intense sporadic-E opening (intense ionization of the E-layer of the ionosphere) in that direction. It is not “rare” but it is uncommon, and you have to be patient.

Today I have heard a number of “close in” states on 12-meter JT65, most of which I had never heard before in many years of operating that band. So far I have only been able to work the Indiana station, but with luck I will work a bunch more in the near future.