As it slowly turns to Spring and warmer weather in NJ, it has become relatively comfortable once again, in the W2LJ basement shack. I can go down there for extended periods of time without freezing, as the ambient temps have returned to the 60s.
Last night, 40 Meters was positively jumping! And it turned out to he a rich Fox hunting environment. I was able to work both Jim N0UR and Wayne N4FP within the first 15 minutes of the hunt. The Propagation Princess smiled on me last night, and THAT hasn't happened in a very long time. It felt good. There were so many missed pelts this past Winter season that I was beginning to doubt my equipment, my antennas and my skills - each at one time or another.
Rather than run upstairs, I put some more time into my DSO138 Oscilloscope kit. I started it on Sunday and I've been doing a little bit every day. So far, I've gotten all the resistors, diodes, switches and RF chokes in. If I get home early enough from tonight's South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club meeting, I'll get the capacitors in.
After that, there's not much more to it. I should be able to complete it by the end of the weekend, if all goes well. After that, I think either my 4 States Ozark Patrol receiver, or my 40 Meter QCX kit will be next.
Oh, and by the way, that Mustel G600 microscope came in mighty handy last night. One of the components soldered into the DSO138 circuit board last night was a mini USB connector jack. The pins on that thing are entirely way too tiny and close together. I thought that there was no way I was going to be able to get that thing soldered in without creating one or more solder bridges. After I finished making the last solder joint, I brought out the Mustel and gave the solder pads a good look at ultra high magnification. No bridges!
You may be thinking that the kit building season is traditionally Winter. Not for me. I try to limit my time down in the basement when it's uber cold. Not only is it uncomfortable; but it's bad for the arthritis I have in my hands and my ankles. When I want to operate in the Winter, I either turn on a space heater down there; or I resort to operating from the living room using my magloop. And that's not a bad alternative, actually. It's definitely not as nice as using my outdoor antennas. However, if someday Marianne and I decide to sell the house when we retire, and we end up in some place that doesn't allow outside antennas - the magloop will provide a suitable, stealthy solution. It would not be the death knell of Amateur Radio for me.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!