Watches, Warnings & Advisories for Sunflower Co.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

K5JAW Operating Notes - 2014 Week 4 (Jan 19-25, 2014)

On The Air: 
Twenty-eight new contacts were logged for 2014 Week 4, including some made while away from my home station on a work trip.

Monday, January 20, was a Untied States holiday, which gave me an opportunity to enjoy daytime HF propagation that I don't normally get.  A number of DX contacts were made, including a new DX for England. 

For the 2014 QSO-365 challenge, I'm up to 152 contacts logged from January 1 through January 25.  However, I did fail to make an on-air contact on the 25th, which is the first day this year I've missed being on the radio.  A confluence of personal and family schedules took priority over the hobby.  But that highlights the fact that amateur radio is indeed a hobby, and one that shouldn't interfere with other commitments.  However, January 25 was the date of the Capitol City Hamfest in Jackson, Mississippi, which I attended.  While no on-air contacts were logged, I was able to enjoy a number of face-to-face "QSO's" at the hamfest.  We hear so many voices on the air, it is always good to put a face to those voices heard.  So, even without an on-air contact in the log, it was still a good day.

Top 5 Distances Covered this Week
HA8IE - Hungary - 5460 miles
LY5A - Lithuania - 5160 miles
IW2HAJ - Italy - 5040 miles
OH4MDY - Finland - 4980 miles
G0DBE - England - 4315 miles

Countries worked: Bahamas, England, Finland, Hungary, Isle of Man, Italy, Lithuania, Puerto Rico

National & Regional
States Worked: California, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia

If you're around the Mississippi Delta and in range of the N5LRL Repeater 147.285+ 107.2Hz tone, join the Delta Amateur Radio Emergency Services Net on Sunday nights at 8:00pm local time.

Around the Station:
I was out for a good portion of the week on a work-related trip, but was able to schedule two meetings with fellow amateurs while I was away. 

The first was to have six DX QSL cards checked and verified for the Worked All Continents award.  Many thanks to John, KC5LK for helping me make sure everything was correct on the application, and for checking the cards.  The WAC application is in the mail, so now I wait!

The second meeting was to discuss two projects.  The first, and original reason for meeting with Frank, K4FMH, Assistant Division Director for the ARRL Delta Division, was to discuss amateur radio and MESH networks in Mississippi.  To keep from re-writing a lot that has already been said about MESH and ham radio, visit  The second topic of our meeting was to discuss forming a group to explore building an amateur radio repeater network and backbone across the state, with the goal of providing a statewide linked repeater network.  Certainly a laudable concept, there will be many issues to work through, including technical, procedural, legal, financial, and operational considerations.  However, I'm glad to be on-board with such an idea.  Hopefully, there will be more to come!

Active Bands at K5JAW this Week
2 meters - 5 contacts
10 meters - 1 contact
12 meters - 1 contact
15 meters - 1 contact
17 meters - 6 contacts
20 meters - 2 contacts
40 meters - 9 contacts
80 meters - 3 contacts

QSL Cards Received
KD0WRR - Colorado
KC4NJX - Tennessee

QSL Cards Going Out in the coming week
***Due to work and family needs, I haven't prepared any outgoing QSL's this week.  I plan to catch up this week!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

K5JAW Operating Notes - 2014 Week 3 (Jan 12-18, 2014)

On The Air: 
Forty-eight new contacts were logged this week, which isn't bad considering work schedules and less-than-ideal band conditions on HF in the late afternoons and early evenings.

The North American QSO Party (SSB) was held this weekend.  Normally when it comes to contests, I'm glad to dial around and answer CQ's to give other operators the points they're working for.  It's very rarely that I participate in contests as a true contestant.  For a few hours on Saturday, 1/18, I made about two dozen contacts for the NAQP.  Good luck to those operators!

I was happy to have a QSO scheduled with N4SAX in Florida, so he could complete his Worked All States award checklist.  If you need Mississippi, please get in touch with me, and we'll work out a schedule.  If you're in Oklahoma or Montana, I need your states confirmed in Logbook of The World for my WAS as well!

For the 2014 QSO-365 challenge, I'm up to 124 contacts logged from January 1 through January 18.

Top 5 Distances Covered this Week
HK3C - Columbia - 2250 miles

AE7KI - Washington - 1730 miles
KD7ATL - Nevada - 1480 miles
K1NYK - Connecticut - 1145 miles
N2CJO - New Jersey - 1000 miles

Countries worked:  Canada, Columbia, Mexico

National & Regional
States Worked:  Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia

If you're around the Mississippi Delta and in range of the N5LRL Repeater 147.285+ 107.2Hz tone, join the Delta Amateur Radio Emergency Services Net on Sunday nights at 8:00pm local time.

Around the Station:
This month has been one of the most active months I've had in a very long time.  I'm trying to keep up with sending domestic QSL's out on a weekly basis.  I've found that bracketing my station operations into a week (based on UTC time, which means the week ends on Saturday evening, local time), helps me keep better track of the comings and goings of QSL cards.  I haven't yet decided on a good timeframe for sending international QSL's out to the Bureau, but think I will do those on a quarterly basis.  That idea may change, depending on the volume of international contacts I accumulate.

Speaking of QSL's, I've made the determination that for stations I've contacted during contests, such as this weekend's North American QSO Party, I won't initiate a QSL.  However, if those stations send one, I'll be happy to return the courtesy.  I'm not trying to be a QSL snob here, but you can quickly burn through a stack of QSL cards for a lot of contest contacts.  It's just a practical matter, to me.

What do you think?

Active Bands at K5JAW this Week
2 meters - 10 contacts
10 meters - 1 contact
17 meters - 2 contacts
20 meters - 21 contacts
40 meters - 7 contacts
80 meters - 7 contacts

QSL Cards Received
KC8JFP - Ohio
KA2UFP - New Jersey
KG4RWO - Florida
KA3VFW - Pennsylvania
KI4NSP - North Carolina
KD8RFQ - Michigan

QSL Cards Going Out in the coming week

Sunday, January 12, 2014

K5JAW Operating Notes - 2014 Week 2 - Jan 5-11, 2014

On The Air: 
It's been another productive week on the air, despite being back at work.  I've found some time to be in the shack each evening for local and statewide nets.  Between those, I've had time to spin the dial and pick up a few contacts for my QSO365 count.  You can keep up with my monthly tally on the K5JAW 2014 Operations page, which is also available in the tabs at the top of the blog page.

17 meters has been friendly for daytime contacts.  At night, 40 meters has been more challenging.  The 40m band has experienced quiet periods each night, but then it will open for about an hour before closing down again.  Even in those narrow windows, contacts have been light on signal strength.  However, I managed one DX contact to Bosnia-Herzegovina on 40m SSB.  20m has been unusually quiet as well, but there was a ray of sunshine with an opening to Namibia late one afternoon.  I'm chalking all this up to recent solar activity disturbing the ionosphere, and hope that it will return to normal soon.

Top 5 Distances Covered this Week
V5/DJ2HD - Namibia - 8032 miles
E77DX - Bosnia & Herzegovina - 5370 miles
CU7AA - Azores Islands - 3421 miles
N6VI - California - 1604 miles
CO8LY - Cuba - 1305 miles

Countries worked:  Azores, Bahamas, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cuba, Mexico, Namibia

National & Regional
States Worked: California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia

If you're around the Mississippi Delta and in range of the N5LRL Repeater 147.285+ 107.2Hz tone, join the Delta Amateur Radio Emergency Services Net on Sunday nights at 8:00pm local time.

Around the Station:
Not a lot new at Station K5JAW this week, aside from getting a couple of hours each day for some time on-air, between work and other commitments.  I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of new DXCC stations, including Bahamas, and Namibia.

For my ongoing QSO365 effort, I'm doing pretty good, with 76 contacts logged from January 1 through January 11.  I know that pace won't hold throughout the year, but I'm pleased with the start.

One thing I've learned is to not worry about poor band conditions.  Get on and call CQ CQ CQ CQ!  Nobody will call you if you just wait.  Jump on and put some CQ's out and you will get a reply!

Active Bands at K5JAW this Week
2 meters - 12 contacts
17 meters - 11 contacts
20 meters - 2 contacts
40 meters - 14 contacts
80 meters - 6 contacts

QSL Cards Received
EA4LU - Spain
IZ5DKJ - Italy
EC8ABQ - Canary Islands
OH7UE - Finland
UR8MH - Ukraine
P43E - Aruba
PY3ED - Brazil
PJ2/DF7ZS - Curacao
WB4U - North Carolina

QSL Cards Going Out

Sunday, January 5, 2014

LOTW Study

How many of you amateur radio operators utilize the ARRL's Logbook of The World (LOTW)?  I've been using it for a few years now, and occasionally I'll take a look how well my QSO's are being verified.  If you're not familiar with LOTW, it is a database managed by the ARRL where users upload their radio logs.  One user's logs are checked against all other users, and when QSO matches are made, a Verified QSL is credited to both operators.  As of this writing, there are roughly 548,000,000 QSO's in the LOTW database, with about 81,370,000 QSLs verified.  That means about 14.8% of all contacts uploaded to the LOTW database have been verified and credited to their respective operators.

Have you taken a look to see how your QSO's are doing, number-wise?  I'm showing about 33% verification, which is well above the average.

But I wanted to know more about that 33%.  What type of operator uses LOTW more than others?  Is there a trend among LOTW users that I could identify and use to guide my station operations to improve my LOTW rate of return?

Well, here's what I found, based solely on my QSO's.  Your mileage may vary:

Overall QSL/Verification Rate: 32.71%

Verified QSLs from Digital Modes: 55.50%.  This comes as no real surprise, as digital mode operators are quite naturally more comfortable working with computers.  However, there is a bit of counter-intuitiveness to this number: I would have expected it to be higher.

Verified QSLs from Phone Modes: 9.11%.  This includes SSB, FM, and AM modes.  I have zero confirmations from FM, so this has skewed the verification rate, as I have quite a number of FM contacts logged.

What about verifications per band?
  • 80m - 20.31%  (Digital 14.58%, Phone 5.73%)
  • 40m - 43.30%  (Digital 36.08%, Phone 7.22%)
  • 30m - 66.67%  (30m is digital modes only)
  • 20m - 44.32%  (Digital 37.22%, Phone 7.10%)
  • 17m - 22.50%  (Digital 7.50%, Phone 15.00%)
  • 15m - 38.89%  (all were from digital modes)
  • 10m - 26.67%  (Digital 20.00%, Phone 6.67%)
So where are the users from?
  • United States - 31.55%
  • DX - 37.55%
I'm slightly surprised that DX stations have a slighter higher verification rate than US stations do.  This could be due to the higher verification rates reflected in DX-friendly bands, as opposed to the 80-meter, 2-meter, and 70cm bands, which tend to be more localized.  When I deduct the total number of QSOs from those bands, the US verification rate climbed to 53.65%.

Have you taken a look at your QSO vs QSL rate?  What trends or patterns have you found in terms of bands, modes, or locations where you receive higher verification rates?  Has that information changed how you operate?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

K5JAW Operating Notes - 2014 Week 1 (Jan 1-4, 2014)

On The Air: 
I've enjoyed a great week on the air, thanks to leave time taken from work.  25 contacts were recorded for 2014 Week 1 (Jan 1-4, 2014).  Note: I'm using UTC time to mark the weeks.  Therefore, Week 1 ended at 6pm Central time on Saturday.  I'll keep a running tally of the year on the K5JAW 2014 Operations page, which is also available in the tabs at the top of the blog page.

***Sneak Peek for an upcoming blog post: Have you looked at your Logbook of The World verification rate lately?  I did a study on mine, and found some trends that may be useful.  Look for the results to be posted Sunday afternoon, January 5, 2014.

Top 5 Distances Covered this Week
SP7VC - Poland - 5200 miles
YV4KW/1 - Venezuela - 1900 miles
W8YCM/6Y5 - Jamaica - 1300 miles
W100AW - Connecticut - 1100 miles
KD2DZR - New Jersey - 1050 miles

Countries worked:  Poland, Venezuela, Jamaica

National & Regional
States Worked: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

If you're around the Mississippi Delta and in range of the N5LRL Repeater 147.285+ 107.2Hz tone, join the Delta Amateur Radio Emergency Services Net on Sunday nights at 8:00pm local time.

Around the Station:
Check out the American Radio Relay League's Centennial QSO Party that is taking place all year in 2014.  I was very lucky to work W100AW for my very first log entry for 2014.  Ten minutes later, I logged W1AW/4 operating in North Carolina.  Before the week was over, I managed to make contact with W1AW/8 in West Virginia.  W1AW will be operating portable in every state throughout the year.  You can find their schedule here.  In addition to W100AW and two of the W1AW portable operations, I logged one Division Director (N5ZGT).  If you're keeping up with the Centennial Points Challenge, that's 325 points logged in very short order!

As a side note, if you are interested in the ARRL Centennial QSO Party, I've found that ARRL officers and appointees are very receptive to your contact for points.  N5ZGT was a pleasant contact, as was W100AW.  I heard ARRL President N3KN, but couldn't make it through the pileup she had going.  Kay was a pleasure to listen to, as she was very patient and gracious with all the stations trying to work her.

Active Bands at K5JAW this Week
2 meters
15 Meters - 1 contact
17 Meters - 15 contacts
20 Meters - 5 contacts
40 Meters - 4 contacts 

QSL Cards Received
None received

QSL Cards Going Out
KT4QW - Two contacts this week.  Great on-air visit!
W8YCM/6Y5 (Jamaica)

Friday, January 3, 2014

QSO365 - My Way

Well we've rolled into a new year, with a clean slate to make of it what we wish.  A number of other amateur radio station operators have taken on a challenge known as QSO365, in which they set a goal of having at least one contact logged for each day of the year.  For the ones that have tried it, they report it is a challenge to find time each and every day to make a contact.  Work and personal schedules certainly take priority over hobby-time, but they've done it, and reported good results beyond just logging contacts.  They've become better operators during the process.

I've considered doing a QSO365 challenge before, but knowing how my schedule can be, I've not pursued it.  For the most part in 2013, my amateur radio activity was limited to local 2-meter operations, and occasional 80 meter state and regional nets.  I basically took the year off from the bulk of High-Frequency operations.  There was no real reason, as I take the hobby in phases.

Since I've been on leave for the holidays, I've been active again this week on the high frequency bands, and have decided to take on a modified QSO365 challenge.  I'm committing to logging a minimum of 365 contacts this year, with the goal of trying to log at least one per day.  I already know that my work and personal schedules will have me away from the radio for days at times, so I'm planning to make numerous contacts during the times I can be on the air.  I'll "bank" those contacts for use when I know I won't be available for air-time.  As I mentioned before, QSO365 is more about becoming a better operator, not just logging daily contacts.  I want to spend more time in the hobby than I've given it in the past, and this goal is the means to that end.

Since January 1, to the writing of this entry, I've logged 18 contacts on HF, as well as continued participation in local and regional nets.  In that, I'm particularly proud to report my first contact for 2014 waw W100AW, the American Radio Relay League's special event call sign for their Centennial QSO Party, celebrating the League's 100th year.  My second contact was none other than W1AW/4, the one of the ARRL's portable operations that will be visiting every state in the nation this year for their centennial anniversary.  I was lucky enough to make both of those contacts in a ten-minute timeframe.  W1AW/8, another ARRL portable, is also in the log for 2014.

If you'd like to schedule a contact, feel free to look me up on and we'll set a date.  If you're working the ARRL Centennial QSO Party to build up points, I can offer you 12 points on my call for being an ARRL Emergency Coordinator.

I'll be posting a new set of Operating Notes later this weekend, reviewing the week's on-air activities.  Until then, 73 de K5JAW.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Weather Review

With 2013 now in the books, here is a recap of weather events for the year in Sunflower County, Mississippi.

Event-wise, 2013 was relatively quiet as compared to the past few years.  97 weather advisories were issued for Sunflower County, compared to 98 in 2012, 144 in 2011, and 131 in 2010.  Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Wind Advisories lead the chart from year-to-year.  You can find a chart at the end of this article listing the events for each of the four years 2010-2013.

2013 was also a very wet year, compared to a 30-year average.  64.73 inches of precipitation was recorded at CoCoRaHS Station MS-SF-1, located on the north side of Indianola.  This is 10.70 inches above the 1981-2010 average of 54.03".  January was the wettest month of the year, with 10.94" recorded.  For the year, precipitation was recorded on 122 days in 2013.

Here is a chart of monthly rainfall:

Here is the previously referenced chart showing the number of weather events for each year 2010-2013: