Sunday, December 17, 2006

Watching sky and Earth

With all the holiday parties, it has been hard to get any real work done. (Who knew I was so popular? {grin}) I was able to attend the Minuteman Repeater Association VE session this morning (more on that below) and get my MFJ loop antenna reinstalled. Testing it was somewhat problematic, though, as the HF bands were heavily affected by the erratic solar activity. Solar flares and coronal holes emitting high energy solar wind particles promise to keep conditions dicey for a while. Of course, I’m looking ahead and wondering if stuff like this will be active during our stay on Montserrat. We’ll be paying close attention to the solar conditions and the 27 day solar rotation.
We’re also watching conditions at the volcano by monitoring the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. While the Sun has been going a little nuts lately, it looks like the volcano is actually calming down a bit. That’s good news. Again, we’ll monitor this right up until we leave for the island (and then really watch it once we get there!).
I note something here and would like to give a nod of appreciation. Jeff Davis (KE9V) announced this week that he is suspending his blogging activities. His very popular web site and his fantastic podcast series Long Delayed Echoes still lives on. In fact, Jeff has removed all of the blogs and replaced it with a simple and elegant directory of his LDE podcasts (now up to number 36). If you have not given these a listen, please do so. I’ll miss Jeff’s blog. He kept it up for over two years, though, and that’s a lot. Jeff wants to move on, and we need to respect that. Just so you know, Jeff, if ever you pick up the blogging habit again, I’ll be there to read it! In the mean time, accept my thanks for the work you did. Well done.
One last point, a young man, Matt Williams (W1MAT) passed his Amateur Extra (element 4) test today. I was lucky enough to be working the VE session to see this happen. Matt is 12 years old and is an avid contester and DXer. Eric (KV1J), Matt’s proud dad, sat nearby nervously pretending to read the latest QST while Matt worked away on that very long test. No worries! Matt sailed through that test with flying colors. Matt, I hope to work you from Montserrat! Congratulations!


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