Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

June Wrapup

July 3, 2018

My primary antenna for 20, 15 and 10 meters broke during Field Day last June. I finally found somebody willing to climb up the tower and fix it for me and he did a good job. So I am able to operate those bands once more. For 2018 I operated Field Day from home as I commonly do, using battery power and 5 watts of output. In 9 hours I made 234 contacts, of which 199 were on CW.

We are in a hot spell right now and expect a heat index of 100 on the Fourth of July. I am not planning on any cookouts or fireworks displays so will be happy to stay in the air conditioning.

Six meters has continued good, and I’ve been able to work a lot of new grid squares using the FT8 digital mode. FT8 was designed with six meters in mind, and it works great.

With the antenna fixed I was able to operate the 13 Colonies special event for the first time in a couple years. I got 12 of the 13 in two hours Sunday. After a lunch break, a nap and a break for passing storms, I caught South Carolina to complete the sweep of all 13 colonies.

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April/May Wrapup

June 5, 2018

There has been quite a change in the weather since my last post. We had a lot of snow in early April, then we had the warmest May on record. I love Spring, but we didn’t have much of one this year.

The Blue Jackets once again exited the NHL playoffs in the first round, after taking a 2-0 lead in the series against Washington. As I type this, the Caps are up 3-1 in the Cup series against Las Vegas. So they could well win it all.

There is not much else going on for me sports-wise at this time of year in the “off season”. I continue engage in a lot of ham radio activities, especially the FT8 digital mode. The six-meter band (50MHz) sees some nice band openings this time of year, and the 2018 summer season has been good so far.

Two-Out-Of-Three Ain’t Bad For Villanova

April 5, 2018

The Villanova Wildcats looked mighty impressive in winning their second NCAA basketball championship in three years. I am always suspicious of a team that relies so much on the three-point shot. But Villanova was skilled in all phases of the game and Michigan’s vaunted defense was unable to stop them.

The Ohio State women won the Big Ten tournament and had the first two rounds of the NCAA on their home floor. But a solid MAC team, Central Michigan, blew out the Buckeyes in the second round.

The Kentucky men were also conference tournament winners but lost to Kansas State in the regional semifinals of the NCAA. Ohio State lost to Gonzaga in the second round.

The Blue Jackets have two games to go but still haven’t clinched a playoff bid, due to the tightness in the Eastern Conference standings. Tonight Columbus plays host to Pittsburgh, with whom they are tied with identical 45-29-6 records. The CBJ could end up second in the Metropolitan division, or could actually miss the playoffs depending on how several teams do as the regular season ends.

For those of you familiar with the GlobalTuners web site: I recently replaced Lexington #2’s equipment (an Icom IC-706) with an ICOM PCR-1500. This allows tuning over a broader range of frequencies. The PCR-1500 also features DSP noise reduction and an automatic notch filter. Check it out at http://www.globaltuners.com/receiver/406-Lexington-Kentucky-2

Tourney Time

March 2, 2018

The Kentucky men started out February with a rare 4-game losing streak. But suddenly, the Cats righted the ship, and finished the month on a 4-game winning streak. The final regular season game is tomorrow at Florida. The Cats, Gators and Arkansas are tied for third place in the league with 10-7 records. So, tomorrow’s CBS-televised game will go a long way toward breaking that tie. The SEC tournament is next week.

The season is over for the Kentucky women as they lost to undefeated Mississippi State this afternoon in the SEC tournament in Nashville. The Cats finished 15-17, the first losing season in awhile.

The surprising Ohio State men just missed a share of the Big Ten title. Michigan State won the crown with a 16-2 conference record. The Buckeyes inexplicably lost twice to Penn State, and finished the season 15-3. OSU takes on Penn State for a third time tonight in the Big Ten tournament.

The Ohio State women wrapped up the Big Ten regular season with a 13-3 record, one game ahead of second place Maryland at 12-4. Today, the Buckeyes had no trouble with Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament. OSU will be hoping for a #4 seed or better in the NCAA, which would allow them to host their first and second round games.

The Blue Jackets are currently holding on to the second wild card spot in the east, with 69 points. They are currently out west, where they lost to Los Angeles 5-2 last night. Tonight they will take on Anaheim. In February, the Jackets had a streak of 3 games with over 50 shots-on-goal in each.

During February I upload a bunch more old videos to YouTube. See them at https://www.youtube.com/KU4A

January Wrapup

February 1, 2018

I hope all readers have had a good start to 2018.

The new year didn’t bring much relief for the Kentucky women’s team. The 4-game losing streak I mentioned in my last post extended to 8 in-a-row before the Cats picked up a road win at Florida. Since then, UK is 2-2 heading into tonight’s game with Auburn. Kentucky has looked much better recently, and may be able to finish above .500 for the season.

I had a good seat in Rupp Arena on December 29 for the UK men’s 90-61 win over arch rival Louisville. As the new year began, Kentucky is 6-3 in the SEC, tied with two other teams for second place behind 8-1 Auburn. January also saw the Cats pull off a big road win at West Virginia which was, quite frankly, an upset.

Up north, the biggest surprise of the season has been the Ohio State men, who stand at 10-1 in the Big Ten, just one game behind 11-0 Purdue. The Bucks were unbeaten until last week’s 3-point home loss to Penn State. The Lions hit a 35-footer at the buzzer for the win.

The OSU women are fourth in the Big Ten at 7-3 after three losses in-a-row mid-month.

With 58 points, the Blue Jackets are hanging on to a wild card spot for the playoffs. 32 regular season games remain.

I have gotten to spend a good bit of time repairing some of the antique radios sitting around here.

We had some bitterly cold weather in the first half of January. But things have moderated some.

Best Wishes for a Joyous Holiday Season

December 21, 2017

Since my last post, the Blue Jackets went 4-3 and fell out of the lead in the Metropolitan division. A couple of those losses were real stinkers. One bright spot is that the power play (currently last in the league) improved dramatically in last night’s 4-2 win over Toronto.

The UK men have a big game against UCLA coming up on Saturday. Ohio State plays North Carolina on Saturday after having won 3 games easily since my last post.

The Ohio State women had 3 fairly easy wins since my last post, but the UK women have lost 4 in a row. It looks like it will be a tough year for the Cats, who haven’t yet beaten a ranked team.

I want to extend wishes for a joyous holiday season to all readers!

A First Look At Basketball

December 6, 2017

Basketball season is about a month old. All the teams I follow are doing reasonably well.

The Kentucky men had somewhat of a “slow start” in that they did not look impressive against weak competition early. But the new freshmen have already improved a lot, and the Cats are 7-1. The only blemish on the record is a 4-point loss to Kansas. For the first time in many years, I made it to Rupp Arena for a game the other day, as UK blew out Illinois-Chicago 107-73.

The Ohio State men have looked much better under new coach Chris Holtmann. They lost two of three games at the PK80 tournament in Portland, Oregon. The Bucks were no match for perennial-power Gonzaga. In the fifth-place game, OSU fell to Butler (Chris Holtmann’s old school) in overtime. Then in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Ohio State lost at home to a good Clemson team.

But the start of the Big Ten season gave us a pleasant surprise. There were two conference games in early December. The Buckeyes opened by routing Wisconsin in Madison. Monday night in Columbus, the Bucks were behind Michigan by 20 in the first half. Then OSU mounted an incredible run and won 71-62.

The OSU women are 8-2 and nationally ranked, with losses to Louisville and Duke. The Kentucky women haven’t had quite as tough a schedule but are 8-1 and also nationally ranked, having only lost at Baylor.

On The Outside Looking In

December 6, 2017

Ohio State’s win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game put the College Football Playoff Committee is a tough spot. Clemson, Georgia and Oklahoma were pretty obvious picks for the first three spots. For the fourth spot, they had to choose between Alabama, a one loss team that did not win its conference, and Ohio State which did win its conference, but has two losses.

Am I disappointed that they took Alabama? Not really. Ohio State suffered a blow-out loss at Iowa that really demonstrated the Buckeyes’ inconsistency this year. Alabama is still Alabama. Their only loss this year was at Auburn, a good team in its own right.

If the Iowa loss had never happened the Bucks would have been in the playoffs.

Kentucky finished the season 7-5. Not surprisingly, they were no match for Georgia. Then they turned out to be no match for Louisville either, despite having a team of similar quality.

The Blue Jackets are one point behind New Jersey at the top of the Metropolitan division standings. Columbus has looked pretty good in most phases of the game, except for the power play, where they rank dead last in the league at a miserable 8.6%.

Last night in Nationwide Arena, the Devils and Blue Jackets met for the first time this season. New Jersey came away with a 4-1 win. The teams meet in New Jersey Friday night. Columbus needs to at least make a game of it.

A Roller Coaster

November 6, 2017

With a 9-4-1 record, the Columbus Blue Jackets are tied with New Jersey at the top of the Metropolitan division. No real complaints about their performance. If I had to single out something, they collected only 4 standings points in a 4-game home stand in the last half of October. But the boys are getting a lot of shots on net. In fact, they have one of the longest streaks of games with 30 or more shots in NHL history. Saturday night they came from two goals down in Tampa to send the game into overtime. They lost a shoot out but I’ll take a point on the road about anytime.

Football has been a bit of a roller coaster. Ohio State folks were demoralized after the home loss to Oklahoma early in the season. But then the Buckeyes rallied from 18-points down to beat previously unbeaten and #2 ranked Penn State. But this past Saturday, OSU was destroyed in Iowa City 55-24.

Kentucky fans started the season hopefully (as they always do) given a relatively favorable schedule. The usual loss to Florida (31st straight) has become even more disappointing as the Gators have turned out to be a sub-.500 team this year. Saturday, Ole Miss came to town with a sub-.500 record and won 37-34, scoring a touchdown with 5 seconds left. A 6-3 record is not bad in the history of UK football. But the “woulda coulda shouldas” make the season still somewhat disappointing.

FT8

October 8, 2017

I’ve made lots of references to the ham radio digital mode called JT65 in this blog. But over the summer, it pretty much got replaced by a new mode called FT8.

Operationally, it is very similar to JT65, but four times faster. So, instead of a one-minute transmission cycle, it is 15 seconds. Activity has been brisk. It seems as if a lot of inactive hams are getting back active with FT8, and there are a lot of new hams on the mode as well.

The software for FT8 is WSJT-X. WSJT-X has been around awhile, but you have to get the latest “development” version to get support for FT8. I have not found any issues with the latest release whatsoever.

Weak Signal Propagation Reporter (WSPR) has been around for awhile. But I had never played with it until recently. WSJT-X supports it, so I thought I would give it a try. I’m running 5 watts into a Gap Eagle vertical that handles all the bands 40 meters through 10 meters. My station is typically running WSPR when not being used for something else.