Some Reasons Why I am Staying Closer to Home – Ham Super Spreader Events?

There seems to be a maelstrom out there, and I for one am at the moment prone to sit tight.

After hearing that the Contest University (CTU) folks at Hamvention 2022 had significant numbers came down with COVID I was a bit skeptical how large group meetings were going to turn out.

Now that I am hearing reports that the Central State VHF Conference also became a spreader-event, along with reports from industry trade association attendees of similar spreader events outside of the ham world, I am doubly cautious.

When my XYL came down traveling to help her elderly parents move to assisted living, spending quarantine time in a dorm room sized suite on her own in Europe, my caution went up another notch. She reports isolating was more than worrisome, expensive and inconvenient, it was emotionally difficult.

When I came down with a second bout of the virus, with no traceable point of exposure unless you are willing to presume that some vaccinated people can be symptomless carriers, it further became time to rethink things.

The virus is not gone, and if you catch it you lose a couple weeks and maybe much more if your are unlucky.

The protective injections fail to actually protect us, and the mutating virus walks around acquired immunity.

So there is a new calculus in my life – will potential increased exposure of an activity be worth the risk of a couple weeks of sick and down time?

An awful lot of events are coming up short in the evaluation, as the benefits of participation are overwhelmed by the risk of more virus exposure.

I should mention that I really want to avoid becoming a typhoid-Mary, in that we assist those who are elderly and I exercise a two different places that some of the others exercising there have a greater virus risk.

I have canceled plans to travel to Dallas and St Louis for two separate business conferences that fall into the “nice to go, but not critical” category.

Decided to not plan on attending the W9DXCC, especially as one can bet that Illinois will return to requiring masks – adding insult to the exposure risk.

My scheduled Canadian hunting trip has been canceled, less so over the exposure risk once I am there, but more about the very slow recovery so far from my second virus sickness. I am certain I will not be fit enough by final go/no-go decision time to consider the hunt.

Now what AM I going to do instead?

Station time will figure into replacement activities, of course.

I had my little fishing boat updated with a new outboard motor, and there are plenty of fishing challenges to do!

With that same little boat, I think I will try my hand at doing some US Island activations with the KX-3 setup I bought from a cousin.

Both home and island QTH have antenna projects to be finished up.

I may do some actual travel, but for something much higher in value than conferences or ham events – as we may go to visit relatives/friends. Some of the visits we can drive, but one to England does have a lot more travel exposure to seriously reflect upon.

And otherwise I can shuttle between home QTH and island QTH, with minimal exposure.



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Battery Replacement in my RiserBond 1270 TDR

Frustration is taking your TDR out to a friends place to check his new vertical antenna installation and having it come up lame.

That the drive was 2-1/2 hours followed by a 1/2 hour ferry ride, “salts the wound.”

My TDR is an older RiserBond 1270:

RiserBond 1270 TDR

Inside the unit a sealed Lead-Acid battery lurks. Later RiserBond models use Metal-Nickle-Halide packs. But mine uses the old school battery pack:

Hawker Cyclon 6v 5.0Ah 0809-0012 Battery

When the TDR wouldn’t take a charge overnight, I had hoped I could run it from the wall-wart, but if the battery is too low the unit errors out after 8 seconds.

To get to the pack there is a fastener in each of the feet of the yellow-case. Two are screws and two are locknuts.

Remove those and gently tap the posts where locknuts were, to encourage the unit to drop out onto the heavy towel you put on your bench.

The battery is in a shielded box secured with four locknuts and the connectors are spade-type.

Ordered a new pack which should be here during the week. Fortunately this type of pack is used in certain medical devices, so it wasn’t hard to source.

The dead battery has been installed early summer of 2017, but as I did a little health thing that year, and then the TDR was put into a tote when we moved QTH in 2018. That is where it say unused long enough to spoil the five year old pack.

The previous pack had worked fine for about ten years, when it slowly stopped holding more than 15 minutes of charge.

Hadn’t seen the 8-seconds to shutdown error back then. So it was new when it came up.

Should be back in business when the battery replacement arrives.



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Doublethink inducing Cognitive Dissonance

and we did it to ourselves….

Duplicity and multiplicity of facts, pseudo-facts, emotional claim stakes, marketing and propaganda have led to many situations where more than one “truth” is being held out to the people.

As an example the use of certain PPE (personal protective equipment) as touted as an absolute necessity for health, when that equipment is scaled so coarsely that the hazard will never even know the equipment is in use.

So a false security feeling based on flawed mechanical engineering is held out as truthful, despite violating common sense and any specific engineering assessed results.  Emotive “facts” rather than reality-based facts.

So the individual is expected to believe this PPE is Good despite knowing that this PPE is ineffective for the promoted usage, which is a conflicting truth.

The human mind has an ability to navigate doublethink, to a certain limit.

But when the discord is either too great a stretch in that particular instance, or if so many discords are simultaneously presented, the mind enters cognitive dissonance.

This induces psychological stress, to which again each human mind has it own limits to cope with.

In multiple conversations, both in person and online, people have started mentioning how they can see the psychological stress induced cognitive dissonance as people are expect to maintain a doublethink process on so many levels is causing.

The so called “fact checkers” reinforcing logically unsupportable positions for political reasons is aggravating the discord.

The squandered trust of institutions of society that formerly had been considered oracles of benchmark-grade statements, as they have been caught red-handed lying to the people doesn’t help either.

I have had highly educated and skilled people suddenly clutch to one side or another from a doublethink pairing, even if they knew that position was not truthful or factual. When you ask them they tell you that they simply have stopped caring I they “like” the position they are holding fast onto.

These doublethink afflicted people have experienced enough cognitive dissonance that they have retreated to emotional positions – clutching the baby blanket comforter of (il)logical thinking, rather than factual supportable positions.

It would be better if we could figure out a way to stop doing this damage to ourselves.



GlobalQSL ceased operating as Founders became SKs

With the passing of GlobalQSL’s founders the service ceased operation circa 2020.

Azar Hami 4X6MI and Paul Gross 4X6UU are both SK alas, Searching didn’t find obituaries or death notices

Hamm community forums suggest that Paul 4X6UU passed earlier and Azar 4X6MI continued on as his own health allowed until he died as well.

No mention of any successors and the website seemed to have run on as a “zombie-website” until its prepaid hosting expired.

GlobalQSL is no more.

Rest in Peace 4X6MI and 4X6UU.



More at the comments of


An Unusual QSL Batch

August 1st 2022 DX QSL card haul (was four envelopes)

The NIDXA W9 bureau (Northern Illinois DX Association) is awesome and fairly regularly I will get one their brown NIDXA envelopes with another batch of inbound QSL cards. (Link to NIDXA is

Each envelope contains roughly 10-11 cards, an amount sized to best manage the postal costs.

Every now and then I might get two of these brown NIDXA envelopes in a given day, or back to back on successive days.

Monday August 1st (2022) my inbound mail was unusual, as there were Four NIDXA envelopes!  Each had the typical 10-11 cards in them!  Woo Hoo!

The breakdown by country was:

  • 5 cards from Holland
  • 1 card from Belgium
  • 3 cards from the Ukraine
  • 5 cards from Japan
  • 29 cards from Germany

Quite a nice batch of QSL cards.

Other than replying to direct QSL cards received, I haven’t done a bulk DX QSL card print since well before the pandemic.

For my DX outbound I had been using GlobalQSL but they seemed to have shut shop during the pandemic.  I haven’t been able to find out the backstory, but with the modest credit I had with GlobalQSL I also depended on them for reference on to what date I had QSLed up to in my logs.

Once I figure out what date to start from and filter out domestic QSOs, I will to find a new service.

One that I am trying out is the Spanish QDure service – as they seem ready to handle the many thousand DX cards in arrears that I want to catch up on.  I’ve done 15,000 QSL cards as a trial order with QDure and will see how this works out.  As it turns out they will do Domestic QSLs for me as well.  Kind of curious how that works out, but it is worth the try!

Looking for any other suggestions where I can download my QSO data and have cards printed and sent to bureaus?



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Time Trappings – Getting Older in a Radio World

Missed a reunion over the weekend. Stayed away mostly about health, as the XYL shouldn’t go after her hairdresser came down with Covid and I rather suspected my once classmates would not be impressed with my relentless coughing on them, as I have that cough as part of the left over symptoms from my second Covid infection.

Lots of pictures were posted, including a memorial list of the 8-10% of the class who have already died. The rest of the pictures featured a pretty aged group.

Guess we all got old.

The minimal feedback so far is less “Topper” was played (sometimes call “Mine is Bigger than Yours” where conversation becomes a brag-fest) and a bit more of “I survived so far” was heard.

Looking over the pictures I realized that very few of these people have a current place in my life, and how tenuous any claims of involvement have become over so many decades.

That my education and career took me very far out of the local world, including a long stint overseas in several countries, perhaps increased the distance between us, but I would rather think it was more because each of those classmates filled their lives with people that mattered to them.

Yes, I hope that their lives have been filled with good people and meaningful experiences!

Even more I hope they have a good forward trajectory. Survival falls short of thriving.

I hope they have dreams, plans and wishes that will carry them forward.

Deeper reflection on Amateur Radio suggests that a lot of hams plateau, basically doing the same thing until old age trims their activities.

Something happened where consistency appears to have displaced “dreams, plans and wishes” in at least their radio world.

Oh sure, some tick off a few extra countries/band/mode combinations, and a very rare few head off to operate from distant places.

But many – maybe most that are actually on the air – end up doing Nets and increasing lower impact operating modes (like FT8, which as a confession I am running on the other monitor as I type this post… guess I am old too…) – they kind of “dry up” in terms of expanding and exploring their radio world.

What is an old ham to do?

Maybe it is time for new radio goals and objectives?

Personally, I’ve declared I am “In Transition” as I dig a bit deeper about what my radio “dreams, plans and wishes” really are.

I have two station building projects which I need to see operationally complete.

Beyond that work, I’m not ready to say. Not yet anyway.

What are your plans?