Summary of Summer 2018

Meteorological Summer is officially over. Here is a brief summary of Jun 1-Aug 31 in Stormstown, PA:

Number of Days Max T >= 90 F: 6
Number of Days Max T >= 95 F: 0
Max T: 91.3 – July 3, 2018
Min T: 43.5.0 – June7, 2018
Jun Dep from Normal: -1.0
Jul Dep from Normal: -0.7
Aug Dep from Normal: 1.3
Heating Degree Days: 131
Cooling Degree Days: 590
Jun Precip: 4.70 “, 0.84” above normal
Jul Precip: 9.14″, 5.68″ above normal
Aug Precip: 5.52″, 1.38″ above normal

August 2018 Weather Summary

August was a slightly warm month for temperature. The monthly mean was 1.3 deg. F above normal. There were only two daily maximums at or above 90 deg F. The high for the month was 90.8 deg. F recorded on August 29. The low for the month was 49.0 deg F, recorded on August 24. There were 17 heating degree days.

August was rainy, but lower than July, with over 5 inches of rainfall recorded. This was over 1.38 inches above normal for August and has contributed to a 9 inch surplus for 2018. There were 13 days of rain >.01 in, 9 >.1 in and 1 >1 in. Highest single day’s rainfall was 2.01 inches.

Toby’s Firework Anxiety

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Our Scotty, Toby Two, has had a rough few weeks. From June 24 until July 6, fireworks were launched almost every night. During the first few times, he would run to an enclosed space such as the laundry room, his crate, our dog’s toy box, or under a chair in my office. Now he looks for me and lies down in a dog bed next to me in my office or in the living room. Toby Two doesn’t like thunder either, and he exhibits the same behavior when a storm passes through.

Last October, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania rewrote the 80-year-old fireworks law, making them easier to purchase. That is what made it worse this year as far as Toby Two is concerned.

Scotia Rifle Range

Today I exercised my Second Amendment rights by going to the local rifle range. The Scotia Range is just a few miles away from my home. Scotia is a public range that is maintained by The Common­wealth of Pennsylvania Game Commission.

The range provides targets and push-pins but I brought my own. I, of course, brought my .22 semi-automatic rifle, range permit, ear plugs, safety glasses, and ammunition. A range permit costs $30 annually.

The range rules allow no more than three rounds in the magazine at a time. Therefore, I fired 18 rounds in groups of three: nine at 100 yards and nine at 50 yards.

It was my first time out since I was a teenager and, as you can see, I’m no marksman; especially at 100 yards.

100yards-1

At least I put two rounds in the black area and two rounds near the edges of the target. I did significantly better at 50 yards. Eight out of nine is not bad.

50yards-1

I need to work on my grouping.

After I was finished shooting I policed my brass. However, I noticed that not everyone did that courtesy. The ground just in front of the firing stations was littered with spent shells.

Measurement of the pH of Rain

Today, with precipitation in the forecast, I set up my mini-laboratory to measure the pH of the local rainfall in Stormstown, PA. First, I installed a standard rain gauge to collect rainwater.

pH-1

I calibrated my pH meter, prior to taking any actual measurements, using standard reagents of pH of 4.0 and 6.86. I used a pH 7.0 reagent to verify.

pH-2

After calibration, I waited for some rainfall and then collected my sample.

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It had rained 0.20 inches over the past two days.

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This was about 400 ml of liquid.

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I measured the pH to be about 5.15, which is in the normal range for rainfall but still acidic. It is not considered to be acid rain.

pH Scale

Antenna Wear and Tear

Stormstown is nestled in Halfmoon Valley. The valley is often windy, with the flow mainly from the southwest. The winds have been taking a toll on my outdoor equipment, mainly the flags and flagpole, and my G5RV HF amateur radio antenna.

Most of the damage has been minor. In the past six months, I have had to replace the dipole wires, resolder the ladder line connectors at the feed point, replace a section of coax due to a broken connection at the feed point, and replace two clamps and three sections for the collapsible mast.

During my latest repair, to replace the coax, I secured the ladder line with cable ties. That may reduce some of the wear and tear on the cables and connections.

I am a frequent check-in on the 3rd Region Net at 2100 UTC (3.918 MHz, LSB), and The Western PA Phone Traffic Net at 2200 UTC (3.983 MHz, LSB). My callsign is WX2DX.

nts_clInformation on the National Traffic System

If you’d like to send a radiogram, send me a comment.

Way Fruit Farm

Located near Stormstown, PA, The Way Fruit Farm has been operated and owned by members of The Way family since 1826. The market was built in 1958 and was expanded in 2009. 

 
Besides local produce, they also have milk, cider, soups, ice-cream, preserves, spices, baking supplies and more. There is also a bakery that makes fresh bread, cookies, cakes and pies. In addition, there is also a cafe and deli. Last, but not least, there is a small gift shop.

Spring Arrives in Halfmoon Valley

Happy Easter!

Easter-3Easter-2

At last, Spring has arrived in Halfmoon Valley. After a long Winter, temperatures have become more moderate with highs in the 60s and 70s. Forsythia are blooming and local apple orchards, Bradford pear, and other deciduous trees are leafing out. Farmers in the valley are plowing and planting their fields.
My outdoor activities are becoming more frequent, too. I assembled my wife’s gardening cart, and I installed a vertical HF antenna. My radio shack is now complete.
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