The annual Straight Key Night is one of my favorite events of the year. It started out as a New Year’s Eve event (thus “night”), but officially it runs from 0000z to 2359z on 1 January. I made a handful of QSOs during the day using my J38 key (which gets used regularly, not just once a year) and my usual station gear. I’m still hoping I can resurrect my novice transmitter and receiver and put them on the air one of these years, but my rocks are all for the old Novice subbands, which have since been turned over to phone operators, so I’d have to find some different ones.
The end of the year usually brings enhanced propagation on the “magic band”, 6 meters. Reports charted at dxmaps.com showed a lot of sporadic-E and some F2 among some of the bigger guns on the band. I worked a few in the usual southern tier of states but had the most fun catching some as-yet-unworked grids via auroral propagation. I even made one or two phone contacts – sure, it’s hard to hear what’s being said, but speaking slowly and clearly, you can be understood. With aurora muddling things up, it’s important to slow down, both on phone and CW. I’m hoping the seasonal openings continue into the new year.
I was honored to receive the new Amateur Radio Service to Scouting Award at the ARRL Great Lakes Division Convention in August 2015. The award, as the name implies, recognizes those who have given service to Scouting through amateur radio activities. Some examples of this service include helping Scouts experience ham radio through Jamboree On The Air or other special events such as Kids’ Day; staffing a K2BSA operation; counseling the Radio merit badge; providing amateur radio communication in support of a Scouting event; or help establish an amateur radio station at a council camp. Here, I’m pictured with ARRL Michigan Section Manager Larry Camp, WB8R, receiving the award at the Columbus convention.