This afternoon, I helped my friends Jim, W7FPX and Larry, W7LB, set up a new Cushcraft MA5B beam on Jim's roof. It's a nice compact little antenna that can work on 5 bands (10, 12, 15, 17, and 20 meters). Here is a picture taken late in the afternoon, just before I hoisted it into the rotor. It was great to see Jim again, it wasn't too long ago that he was a member of a small group of us that would take telescopes out to dark sites for observing sessions.
I had some other ham radio fun today as well, I worked my first-ever RTTY contact during the ARRL RTTY Roundup. I wasn't making a serious contest effort but I did decide to use the contest to learn how to use my DM780 software to operate RTTY. I was successful in getting it to work, although I must admit that I think PSK31 is a superior (and more efficient) mode. But it's all part of the fun to try out new operating modes. I made 10 contacts in the contest and will send in my log to help for checks against logs of the more serious contesters.
I also made one Kid's Day contact with my two younger sons. They talked to a 13-year old in New York, she is already a General class licensee.
It appears that NASA identified a sunspot a few days ago with reversed magnetic polarity from the previous cycle, indicating the start of the new cycle. This is exciting news for us hams!