delara newsDelaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH VOL 36 NUMBER 11
Howdy from Joe’s Place!
Joe Papworth, K8MPWow, 2017 is winding down already. Papworth’s Principal still works. (See the January 2013 Delara News for a refresher)Except for the true Die-Hards, grilling out will have to wait until next spring. Swimming pools are buttoned up. Boats and lawn mowers are being winterized. Yes, cold weather is on the way.However, there is good news for Ham operators. Winter time usually means better HF radio conditions. As we approach the winter solstice, interesting things start to happen on the lower HF bands. Some paths are only open at that time of year.I still remember the first time I ever worked Japan via the long path on 40 meters. It was early in January so it was close to the solstice. We lived near Wilmington, DE at the time and I was working DX around sunset at the low end of the band. Delaware doesn’t have a huge Ham population so it was easy to generate a decent sized pile-up of Europeans who needed it for their Worked All States award. As I combed through the bunch of stations calling me, I heard JP1BJR. “That’s Japan!” I said to myself. I was shocked. The direction for working that part of the world is a little west of due north. And I had always worked them in the early morning, not at sunset. That was because from here to there is a dark path in the morning and 40 needs a dark or at least a “Grey” path for long skip. So how could we be we hearing each other at that time of day?Well, the first thing I did was complete the QSO. (My motto is “Work ‘em first, Ask questions later.”)Then I thought about what had just happened. The only dark or grey path at sunset would have to be via the long path which is a little east of due south. (i.e.180 degrees from the short path) That path is only open for a short time each winter, like 3 weeks or so before and after the solstice. The rest of the year it’s an all daylight path which doesn’t work on 40 for long distance communications. After that QSO, I started listening for Asian stations at that time of year. I have included scans of “Hal’s” QSL card for your viewing pleasure.As you will see, he was first licensed in 1932 so he’s probably moved on to the Happy DXing grounds by now.Fall and winter is also when the contesting season really heats up. By the time you read this, the 2017 CQ World Wide Phone Contest will be history. (Not to worry, I notified the contest team ahead of time)The ARRL Sweepstakes (CW and SSB) are both in November, along with the CW side of the CQ World Wide. The ARRL 160-Meter and ARRL 10-meter contests follow in December.Those are just a few of The Biggies. There are tons of smaller ones too. If you need a station, don’t forget about the Red Cross. Just make sure you coordinate things through the club to avoid a conflict.Well, that’s it for this month. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I think I’ll include a holiday blast from the past in the newsletter for your enjoyment.Here’s that QSL image: