Monday, April 15, 2024

Busy, busy, busy weekend!

And not all that much radio to show for it - oy!

Although I did get on Friday night for a couple hours after dinner to partake of the QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party, which ran from 8:00 PM to Midnight, my local time. There was a decent amount of activity, which was really, really nice to see/hear. I worked 17 stations - all QRP ARCI members. I mainly searched and pounced, but I did call CQ on 20 and 40 Meters, not so much to run a frequency, but to get an idea via the Reverse Beacon Network in order to see where I was being heard.

From the results tally so far, I'm sitting in the bottom third of the pack, which I half as much expected. If I had put in the full four hours, instead of just under two, I probably would have worked a lot more stations. When I decided to pull the plug stations from the West Coast started coming in on 20 Meters and I worked two from Washington state. I was beat because Friday afternoon was an experience in and of itself.

Recently, Marianne and I decided to drop Verizon FiOS TV from our Verizon package. Neither of us watch TV all that much, and pretty much everything we want to watch, we can catch on our Roku device - pretty much everything, expect for local channels. I'll be looking into getting an indoor HDTV antenna as the only thing I don't want to miss is "Jeopardy" and NYC is only about 25 miles away as the crow flies, so I should be able to get WABC TV rather easily. Dropping the TV portion of the bill reduced it .......... dramatically.

However,  when you drop the TV package, Verizon has to come in and install a new router, as that's how the TV portion is transmitted. When I called to make the service appointment, they noted that my internet connection was ancient, and they upgraded that and provided a new router free of charge.  The upgrade in internet speed is quite noticeable Not so much on my phone or laptop, but the data to my Hamclock set up in the basement shack is much faster and I get a lot less fewer drop outs/error messages..

The pain in the posterior aspect of all of this is that re-setting devices for the new SSID and password is akin to going around the house and re-setting clocks for the time change! I didn't have to deal with Cara or Joseph's devices as they're young and computer savvy, and I didn't have any trouble reconfiguring the laptop in the computer room, or Marianne's and my phones and tablets.

The "fun" part came when reconfiguring our Ring doorbell and chime. The instructions they give you on line are there all right, and complete - but they're not the easiest to locate. It's almost like operating the menus on an HF radio where there are multiple sublayers. I finally figured that out and got those working again. Reconfiguring the Rokus was quite easy, because as soon as the Roku couldn't detect the internet via the old SSID, it took you directly to where you had to reconfigure for the new one.

The real pain in the butt one was/is the weather station. I have an Ambient WS-2902. I managed to dig out the instruction manual to refamiliarize myself with the procedure for setting up the wifi connection. it's actually quite simple as you go to the Ambient Tool on your phone and go from there. And that's where things got interesting. My weather station has been out there and running since ........ it was either 2016 or 2017 when Marianne bought it for me as a Christmas gift. The current version of this model weather station is the WS-2902D. The Ambient Tool has gone away and has been replaced by the AWN app.

Not a problem, right? Just go to Google Play, download the new app and reconfigure the wifi, right? That's what you would think, but it turned out to be much more than that. I followed the instructions, which told me to press the "wind" and "pressure" buttons on the console until a little wifi icon popped up in the temperature indicator square. I tried that several times with no result. So I thought maybe I have to unplug the console from its AC adapter, wait a minute and try again. I did that - no wifi icon.

As they say, Google is your friend and I searched on "Reconfiguring wifi for WS-2902". What I found was that the AWN app will NOT work with the original WS-2902 and the old Ambient Tool is no longer available. I had changed phones since I originally installed the weather station, so the old app was not carried over to my current phone. The solution is that I had to purchase a new WS-2902D console. It will work with the sensor package, as that hasn't changed (except that I can now add some fancy new things, like soil moisture detectors and lightning detectors, which I chose not to do). It should be here within the week, and in the meantime the weather station is still working, it's just not reporting to WeatherUnderground and the Ambient Weather Station network for now.

Saturday was our monthly VE Exam session and we had two candidates, with one coming all the way from East Stroudsburg, PA. One got his Technician ticket and our East Stroudsbuger, Jeremy KB3OPJ upgraded to Amateur Extra.  After the exam session, I headed over to a clothing drive for HCT Technologies, the company that finances SPARC, to help with accepting bags of used clothes.

Sunday morning it was back to the clothing drive for a while and then into Plainfield to help out with our parish's Second Sunday Soup kitchen. I did manage to check into the St. Max Net on 80 Meters at 0000 UTC, but the QRN was horrific! The net usually lasts for a half hour to 45 minutes. It was over by 00:15 UTC last night.

Tonight, SPARC members who are also CERT members are going to show up at the monthly Boro Council Meeting. One of the Office of Emergency Management deputies is being promoted from sergeant to lieutenant and we want to congratulate him and show him our support.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP - When you care to send the very least! 


  1. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Good morning Larry, now that sounded like an adventure for sure and glad it all worked out in the end for you. Up this way the cable companies have it set up so if you have a internet/tv package and want to go to just to internet the price is more than the combo! They get you with a low combo package but if you want to drop the tv part the price actually goes up....crazy!
    Have a good week Larry,

    1. Hi Mike - just the opposite here with Verizon. We had the combo package when I signed on some years ago. They've since dropped that policy. I'm going to get two separate bills now - one for cell phone and one for internet (our landline is VoIP - so it's part of that). The two separate bills (minus TV) will still save us about $200 a month.