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.

July 2018 Weather Summary

July was a normal month for temperature. The monthly mean was 0.7 deg. F below normal. There were only three daily maximums at or above 90 deg F. The high for the month was 91.3 deg. F recorded on July 3. The low for the month was 49.1 deg F, recorded on July 8. There were 37.9 heating degree days.

July was very rainy with over 9 inches of rainfall recorded. This was over 5.5 inches above normal for July and has contributed to an 8 inch surplus for 2018. There were 15 days of rain >.01 in, 13 >.1 in and 3 >1 in. Highest single day’s rainfall was 1.23 inches.

Stormstown July 2018 Weather Data

Digital Amateur Radio

There is more to amateur radio than exchanging callsigns, signal reports, and the weather. One popular segment of amateur radio is the digital modes.

Besides the high frequency (HF) radio, and a PC with a soundcard (most have them), the main piece of hardware is a sound card interface. I currently use The Rigblaster Blue (shown at the top right in the image below).

Station

It uses Bluetooth rather than audio cables to connect to the sound card on a PC. The Rigblaster Blue has a through microphone cable so the regular microphone may be used when not using the digital modes. An audio cable is then connected between the line out of the radio to the line in on the Rigblaster Blue. The final connection is made by pairing Bluetooth on the PC to The Rigblaster Blue. Then changing the sound card settings to the Rigblaster for input and output audio. There are other sound card interfaces available such as the Signalink.

I first started with PSK31, which is a highly-efficient data mode that lets you work long distances, even when you can barely hear the signal. PSK31 stands for Phase Shift Keying 31 baud (or 31 bits per second/bps). The characters are formed by changing the phase of the sound wave, not by using different tones. Once I got my hardware setup, as well as configured one of the available software programs (I use DigiPan), I was making regular contacts with Asia and Australia.

I recently set up my station to us WinLink 2000 with the RMS Express software. As many of my friends know, I can send and receive e-mails and National Traffic System (NTS) radiogram messages over the air, rather than use The Internet.

RMS

During disasters or other emergencies, radiograms are used to communicate information critical to saving lives or property or to inquire about the health or welfare of a disaster victim. Routine messages are regularly sent to test the system and for operator practice.

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.

Penn State Concerts

One of the many advantages of living near Penn State are the concerts and performances available at Bryce Jordan Center and The Eisenhower Auditorium.

Tonight I attended a performance by Gordon Lightfoot at The Eisenhower Auditorium. Last year, my wife and I attended a night of illusions at Bryce Jordon Center. Years ago, when I was a graduate student at Penn State, I attended a lecture by Carl Sagan at Eisenhower.

Bryce Jordon was built to be a basketball venue. However, it also serves as the venue for Penn State’s commencement ceremonies, as well as for State College High School. Other events include rock concerts, monster truck rallies and trade shows.

The Eisenhower Auditorium is better suited for events such as the aforementioned Gordon Lightfoot concert, orchestras, lectures, stand-up comedians, plays etc.

As far as tonight’s concert goes, Mr. Lightfoot still has it, despite him showing his age. Some of his songs we’re abridged, but he performed The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald in its entirety.

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.

Summary of Spring 2018

Meteorological Spring is officially over. Here is a brief summary of Mar 1-May 31 in Stormstown, PA:

Number of days Max T <=32 F: 1
Number of Days Min T <= 32 F: 40
Number of Days Min T <= 0 F: 0
Max T: 88.1 – May 26, 2018
Min T: 17.0 – March 11, 2018
Mar Dep from Normal: -3.0
Apr Dep from Normal: -5.4
May Dep from Normal: 6.1
Heating Degree Days: 758
Cooling Degree Days: 141
Mar Precip: 2.05″, 1.5″ below normal
Apr Precip: 3.57″, 0.18″ above normal
May Precip: 3.85″, 0.62″ above normal