Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SAR K9 Training with Eagle Valley

Training with Eagle Valley is always interesting. Many different problems are offered. In this instance Stryder, coming back after a bout with an enlarged prostate and thus getting neutered, started working on three simple human remain problems and did an excellent job. Remarks that I got were that Stryder seemed in very good shape and was ever so happy to work. He had good finds and refind and was ready for more, which he soon got, as in a slightly larger area and again he excelled in all parts of the exercise. The last hide was cut short as I needed to go back to the classroom to get ready for my presentation on GPS, this time mostly forcussed on the Garmin 60CSx.

Later on Stryder had a building problem. We used the dorm building and trailers, all used and heated so the scent picture was quite complex and there was a lot of residual scent from a previous hide spreading around. Stryder showed some frustration but I could still read him as he did not have a strong source of scent, and in the trailer where I figured by his behavior the person was hiding, he even showed more frustration, as he could not find the exact location of the person hiding, so I took him out of the direct scent cone, then he went back and indicated, but he never saw Jana, the subject behind the shower curtain, the scent coming down along the wall, yet trusted his nose and he was right as it brought him within inches of the unseen subject. It was interesting for me to watch and see him work the problem out. Actually I now realize that Stryder has had very little previous building search experience and none in lived-in buildings, so for a first experience, it was indeed a very good performance.

While all that was going on, I also deployed my APRS system consisting of the Yaesu VX-8 and the Kenwood TH-D7ag and Garmin 60CSx GPS. THis was the first time this system was depolyed not at home and it worked well, although I was never too far from base. I did not activate my Kenwood TM-D700 to repeat the signals as there was no APRS digi within range. Hopefully one of these days I'll be in range of such a digi.

We ended the day by following an urban trail in the village of Hanckock. Long trail, with many curve balls thrown by the fickle nature of scent and conditions.

I skipped dinner with the team as I had to drive home and did not want to drive tired and late at night.

DXCC progress

Well, it was time to have a look at my logs as I noticed that I have 55 confirmed entities with ARRL's Log of the World (LoTW). In addition, I have QSL cards for another 20 entities, so I'm three quarters of the way there in confirmed entities.

Checking my logs, I found another 28 entities so now I'm busy printing envelopes and filling-in the cards so hopefully, I will get replies and will be able to submit my claim for the DXCC, award for contacts with one hundred different entities and/or countries in the world.

The ARRL DX Century Club Program

Once I get enough cards back to complete 100 entities, I will have to take them to a Field Checker to continue the application process.


Well the cards are slowly coming in. Seven were waiting for me upon returning from the trip to Panama. Then three more came on different days, and today three came together. One of the card I got was a return, addressee not known, but upon checking with QRZ, it appeared there was a problem with the PO.Box, so this card is back on its way to San Marino.

So for April 2nd, I have now 56 entities on LoTW, and 31 cards in hand for a total of 87 entities. Thirteen more to go and seventeen cards sent out that have not come back yet.

Well we are now May 10th and the score has improved but not yet there. I currently have 59 LoTW entities and 38 cards in hand, for a total of 97 confirmed entities. Three more to go...

May 14th, I'm getting closer yet with one more LoTW entity, so now it is 60 LoTW and 38 cards in hand... I worked a Grenada station on RTTY and this one is a LoTW user so I was really hoping to get a QSL. Well, it worked and now whether the card I sent for a previous contact in Grenada ever comes back is more academic, although I'd like to have it anyhow.

Well, I'll be giving preference to LoTW users by using programs such as LUQ which identify them and they will become just as attractive as rare DX stations. While the DXCC is a goal I'm about to achieve, I see it now only as a stepping stone to things bigger and better.

May 20th. I just got another LoTW confirmation, this time for Kenya so now I stand at 61 LoTW and 38 cards in hand for a total of 99 confirmed DXCC entities. Oh the wait for number 100 is going to be long...