The Zombie Shuffle

I participated in a CW QRP event! Why not? It was actually a pretty good time.

The event: The Zombie Shuffle

The whole purpose is just to have fun. They are not looking for speed racer code operators and everyone is welcome.

The exchange is the best:
(1) RST
(2) your states
(3) a Zombie number, which is east to get. Or you can just use your area code.
(4) your Zombie name. This is the best part. You can just pick your own Zombie name being as creative as you want.

I had a total of 13 contacts (that’s pretty spooky in and of itself). Some of the fun names I worked were: Grim, Creepy, Gorigor, The Thing, Itt (as in Cousin Itt), Elvis, and Booger.

Fun stuff.

What’s Going On In The Shack

The big news, we finally completed some antenna maintenance. A few years back I hung a dipole up in the trees on the north side of the house. The weather took its toll. The line holding the center point had disintegrated, dropping the middle about ten feet. The east leg also lost its anchor and was resting on some branches. A sad situation.

This time I used heavy support line on all three support points. I also used my CSV19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher, which worked great as always. I need to some finishing work, but I hope the antenna is good for at least the next six months.

What I will try to do, if I get the time and the weather cooperates, is place pulleys up in the trees I normally use to secure the ends of the dipole. I am also going to try to put up a 260 feet dipole and see if I can mess around with 160M… of which I really have had little experience with.

Progress is being made with the Morse code. I have written before about my winding path in learning the code. I had a good time this past summer on our camping trip making Morse contacts from the mobile (while parked) and using a J-45 leg key.

J-45 leg key

In the shack I have been making my way through the different levels of the SKCC (Straight Key Century Club). I had joined the organization way back in 2007, not to long after SKCC was established, but had not done too much with it. When I finally embraced the idea of using a straight key, I used my SKCC membership number to gain experience by taking part in QSOs with other SKCC folks (you almost always hear the CQ SKCC on the CW subbands). I would exchange numbers but never tried to work through the membership levels (Centurion, Tribune, and Senator). I did not want to spend a lot of time messing with extra logs or any type of additional paperwork. Then I discovered the SKCC Logger, a custom designed piece of software that will take your existing logfile and process the log for the appropriate data needed to submit for climbing through the ranks.

Although I am not able to get on the air everyday, I try to get on five days out of the week and log three or four Morse contacts. Before I get on air, I put in about ten to fifteen minutes practicing receiving and sending. My end goal is to reach a proficiency level of 20 words per minute. And I define “proficient” as being able to hand copy text without error for one minute. I need to take a look at ARRL’s Qualifying Runs and see when I can see where I am at.

To take the new dipole for a spin, I spent part of the last two weekends participating in OMISS nets. OMISS is a worked all states net. Last weekend was the 40M net, this weekend I tried 80M. I had not participated in a net since early 2020. The net controllers and participants are always great. Last night on 80M I ended up having a ton of contacts with some great reports, convincing me that the new dipole is doing the job.