Archive for the ‘travel’ category

April 2016 trip to American Sa’moa

May 17th, 2016

I had originally planned to make a maintenance and upgrade visit to my instrumentation in American Samoa in February 2016.  There are lots of advantages to February:  It’s cold here in W3, the ARRL DX CW contest is in February, and the phenomenon I’m studying is most active during the equinoxes.  I scheduled a 7-day trip that ended with the weekend of ARRL DX so I had the opportunity work through the weekend or play some radio if work went better than expected.

My flight had been booked out of Washington National (DCA) airport at 5:15 am Monday morning, which is the best possible time of day at the worst possible airport.  A snowstorm of unknown magnitude was bearing down on the mid-Atlantic.  And, around 4:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, I fell asleep on the couch.  When I awoke 90 minutes later, it rapidly became clear that I had a nasty stomach flu.  As my condition deteriorated further, I finally decided I didn’t want to be fighting that for the next 24 hours on 767s on my way to a foreign place where I wasn’t sure what kind of medical facilities I could access.  I cancelled the trip and spent the next 24 hours in bed instead.

The trip was rescheduled for three weeks later in March and I managed to get this itinerary out of BWI, which is much more convenient.  I loaded up my gear and went to the airport at 4:00 am.  My upgrade had cleared so I didn’t pay excess on my overweight and extra Pelican cases.  Hurray for small victories!  We sat at the end of the runway on the tarmac doing the preflight checks and the cabin lights started flickering intermittently.  And we sat, and we sat. And, we returned to the gate and sat some more.  I nervously refreshed the ETA on my phone finally watching the arrival in PHX slip past the departure to HNL.  I deplaned.

The agents tried to convince me that I could “just take the flight to Honolulu tomorrow.”  With some effort, I communicated to them that the HNL-PPG (Sa’moa) leg of my journey only goes on Mondays and Fridays and that I would rather be stuck at home for a week rather than a week in Honolulu.  So, I cancelled the trip for a second time.  My bags went to PHX and were delivered to my house the next day.  I rescheduled the trip for late April with a night in Honolulu on the outbound leg to avoid this bit of bad luck happening twice.

Two days before I left, my local contact called me on the phone to tell me that Tropical Cyclone Amos was bearing down on the island.  Fortunately, the hurricane dumped some rain and brought some winds but passed to the north of island.  The April trip went off without a hitch, although it was scheduled for four days (Monday night – Friday night) instead of the original seven.  So, I was hustling to get my work done and find time for radio.

I was vaguely aware that KC0W is also in KH8, but given my historical bad luck with this particular visit, I didn’t reach out to him.  In fact, he’s the one that contacted me once I arrived.  We met for breakfast at the McDonald’s in Tafuna one morning and had a nice long ragchew about radio and travel.  Typical hams.  I decided to focus on bands (especially 160) that Tom wasn’t on given my limited time on the island.

Fortunately, I had access to this mobile phone tower, which I use for my wireless networking for instruments as well.  So, I climbed up to check on the network equipment and put a pulley on the tower so I could raise and lower ham antennas safely after-hours when no one was around.


The tower is on the top of Cape Matatula, which sticks out of the northeast corner of Tutuila island.  It’s the bit of land jutting out in the middle of the photo below.  If you open the full-size photo, you can see the tower just at the edge of a rather precipitous drop-off toward the rocky shore about 1/3 of the way from the right-hand side of the frame.  Needless to say, it’s a great QTH with 270 degrees of saltwater view as I’ve mentioned before.  At sunrise and sunset, the middle and higher bands are open to EU, JA, and NA/SA all at once.  The pileups are thrilling but very challenging.


Here’s the radio setup from this trip:  K2/100, KPA500, WKUSB, and TRLinux running under VirtualBox on my Mac.  This worked OK, but the WKUSB would drop out every few QSOs and needed to be completely rebooted which meant that I had to unplug the USB cable and restart TRLinux.  Obviously, this worked when I tested it at home but I was not stressing it like I was in the field.  I’m not sure whether it was an RF issue or software/hardware.  In any case, I will probably be installing another Windows VM like I’ve used previously.


I only ended up making about 400 QSOs on this trip, which is way down from the approximately 3000 QSOs I made over the past two trips.  The combination of aggressive work schedule, glitchy keying, and poor 160-meter conditions (too late in the season, but I made a few guys happy), made it hard to get excited about operating a lot.  Furthermore, my operating position was located in a room with an air compressor nearby that would kick on every few minutes.  Even with the excellent Etymotic MC5 earbuds, it was still loud.  Enough complaining!  There will be at least one more trip out there under my present project and if KC0W hasn’t worked everybody, I’ll be there to give you all new counters again.  I just uploaded the log to LoTW before I posted this blog entry.  I have not responded to any direct QSL cards yet.

Making the Palm Mini Paddle Stay Put

March 1st, 2016


In my on-going quest to produce a lightweight yet good-performing kit of portable equipment to carry along on my exotic work travels, I set my sights once again upon the Morse keying paddles.  When I was a student, I carried what I had: a black-base Bencher BY-1.  This caught the attention of nearly every airport security screener and was obviously quite heavy, but it stayed put on the table (for the most part) when I aggressively worked a pileup.  A few years back, my wonderful, loving, and patient wife, solicited suggestions for Christmas gifts and I suggested a Palm Radio Mini Paddle.  (She’s grateful when I provide a link to a web site with a shopping cart in these situations.)

The Palm is really a joy to use and is extraordinarily lightweight, which is perfect for travel.  However, I’ve always struggled with how to keep it steady on a table.  I have the magnetic base, but that presupposes a ferromagnetic surface to which it will mount.  Since both the Elecraft K3 and K2 have aluminum panels, I can’t count on the radio.  I tried a variety of additional things, up to and including, trying to design a 3D-printed carrier that is akin to the Begali Traveler.  So, I shelved the project, only using the Palm key for casual portable operating when mass trumped long-term operating comfort and efficiency.  Good fortune happened upon me and I built this.

When I decided to add an amplifier (more on this in the future) to my portable setup, again pressure set in on the mass of everything.  So, I revisited the Palm Mini project.  I had purchased a number of mounting clips for the key (hedging my bets against the ephemeral nature of ham radio businesses); so, I set out to attach one to the K2.  I’d seen the photo of the base attached to the right-hand side panel of the K2 by the power switch.  But, I really didn’t want to drill holes in the panel, plus that puts the paddles too high when the tilt bail is raised (which is necessary to see the display).

So, I fabricated two strips of 3/16-inch aluminum plate (leftover from the hexagonal beam I built a few years ago) with a hole bored down between them to clamp on the tilt bail of the K2 or the K3.  There’s nothing particularly critical about the construction of it, although I used a Bridgeport mill to do all the cutting; you might be able to do it in a drill press.  I think I ended up with a #14 drill for the clamp hole.  I used 6-32 hardware because I had it on-hand and I like the bigger stuff.  I had to enlarge the adjustment slot in the Palm base to handle the bigger diameter.

July Greenland Trip

August 29th, 2015

Made a quick trip to Greenland for three days in July to work on some equipment there.  I did not get on the air due to work activities and operation of the incoherent scatter radar whose modulator trashes the HF bands if you’re close to it (i.e., same building).  A few photos, though.  These were all shot with an iPhone 5s, nothing fancy.

Pictures from KH8 (second trip)

March 1st, 2015

I made another trip to American Sa’moa (KH8 for the radio amateurs in the audience) to deploy instrumentation.  It was a tight timeframe but the instruments seem to work and I managed to make a few ham radio contacts as well.

Pictures from KH8/K8GU

October 8th, 2014

I don’t really have time to do a full write-up, but I made a “quick” trip to American Samoa over the weekend to plan a future scientific instrument installation and managed to get on the air for a few hours.  Here are some snapshots from my phone.

Latest Tinkering (or how Elecraft is taking all my money)

January 28th, 2014


On Christmas Eve, I was sitting at my in-laws’ kitchen table with the Small Wonder Labs SW-40 I built as a high school kid in 1998 listening to beautiful music and I got the itch to come up with a radio smaller (and less expensive) than the K3 to drag around with me when I go places.  My mind wandered to the NorCal Sierra, which was a featured project in ARRL Handbook’s of my youth.  I was able to come up with a draft version of that Handbook article on the web—pause for a moment and think how revolutionary that is—my in-laws don’t have an ARRL Handbook, let alone the one that contained the Sierra article.  I looked at the bill of materials and realized that I had some 70% of the parts in my junkbox.  This seemed like a good idea until I went searching for a PCB.

Why PCB?  Well, I’ve done the dead-bug thing and it works great but it’s a pain to troubleshoot and unless you have decades of experience doing it, it looks like a Mexico City suburb, sprawling unpredictably in every direction with only the most tenuous connections to the core.  Since I was seeking a travel radio, I wanted it to be compact, easy-to-troubleshoot, and relatively rugged.  Due in no small part to the wishes of the Sierra’s designers (not coincidentally founders of Elecraft), boards are no longer available.  I looked into doing my own board, but if you don’t mix chemicals yourself, you’ve suddenly spent $150 on PCBs, plus the layout effort.  I toyed with making the board smaller (a win in several ways) by using surface-mount parts but even that was a non-starter since my junkbox parts are through-hole, requiring me to buy everything.

Astute readers can extrapolate what occurred next.  I went to the Elecraft web site to price the Sierra’s successor, the K1.  I had all but made up my mind to sell off some junkbox items and raise the capital to buy a K1 kit when something occurred to me:  fellow ham blogger Mike, VE3WDM, had recently moved to a smaller QTH and was offering a half-completed K2 kit for sale.  His asking price was only a little more than the K1 kit with some of the options I wanted and it was all-band.   The ad had been posted for some days by this point, so I fired off a sheepish e-mail to Mike asking if the radio was still available.  It was.  We sealed the deal and the radio made the somewhat tortuous ride (for us, not the radio—it sat in Chicago for two weeks) from his QTH to mine via the postal system.

I would not have bought a partially-finished kit from just anyone.  However, since this was Mike’s second K2 build and he was documenting it carefully in a blog, I figured it was a pretty safe bet.  So far, that is definitely true.

While I was eagerly awaiting the radio’s arrival, I redoubled my efforts to get a friend’s TS-930S off of my workbench, a task that involved replacing all 115 electrolytic capacitors on the cookie-sheet-sized “Signal Unit” board (similar to the K2 and K3 “RF unit”).  That radio still has low drive (it has ALC again and sounds like a million bucks), something I traced to a hard-to-find semiconductor that’s now on-order.  So, I gathered it up and started work on the K2 on Sunday afternoon.

Last night, I got it on 40 meters RX-only and peaked up the RX BPF.  Former K2 owner KL9A mentioned to me that it has some blow-by on strong signals but that he thinks it’s a pretty good radio.  I can confirm that based on my experience last night.  It sounds really really good on CW.

More on the build to come…including a look back at some troubleshooting of the BFO circuit.

A Summer Trip to Greenland

August 3rd, 2013


A professional colleague who is the principal investigator of the Sondrestrom incoherent scatter radar facility announced at a conference that they no longer had a scientific high-rate GPS receiver at the site for making ionospheric measurements.  I enthusiastically volunteered to ship them one that I had on the shelf.  She suggested that instead I should come install it myself and I found some support to do it (the National Science Foundation heavily subsidizes U.S. Greenland and Antarctic scientific travel during their respective summers, making this trip possible).  Therefore unlike my previous trip in the winter, this trip did not involve travel with the most perverse of arrangements flying to Copenhagen only to hop on another plane and fly half-way back to the States.  I set off for my second trip to Greenland, leaving Scotia, NY, early on Monday and returning mid-day on Friday.

On the past trip, conditions were really awful for radio with plenty of visible Aurora.  I didn’t really mind that because the auroras were beautiful, but with only a small chance of NLC/PMC (noctilucent/polar mesospheric cloud) sighting in the summer, I was eager for some good radio conditions to sate my appetite for other nerdy activities.  I set up the radio equipment almost right away the first evening to make sure that everything tuned up and immediately made 10 or so QSOs on 20-meter CW before heading to bed.

Instrument installation is always a hairy business, especially when you can’t just run to a hardware store, let alone going to RadioShack or calling McMaster-Carr.  Sometimes, everything works smoothly; other times it doesn’t.  In any case a flexible attitude (and some good old ham practicality) goes a long way.  Wind gusts of 40-50 mph (18-22 m/s) on top of the hill made for exciting work, but having a couple of helpers made it go smoothly.  Here is a photograph of the installed instrument on its hilltop (the box and green antenna on the right-hand side of the pole, which also held a weather station).

Work, especially some recalcitrant Windows 7 issues (At one point, I was running Windows 7 in a VirtualBox virtual machine on a Linux machine and logging into the Linux machine from a Mac!), kept me pretty busy on Tuesday and Wednesday and I only managed a few minutes of operating on each of those days.  But, by Thursday, my schedule broke loose a little and I was able to operate for a few solid hours in the afternoon and evening.  I had no idea that Greenland would be so popular on 30 meters!  Wow.  That’s definitely the most intense pileup I’ve ever experienced.  Thanks for being patient.

There was some about S3 hash on 20 and 30 meters that the K3’s NR function would take care of but the NB function wouldn’t.  NR is not good for running pileups, so I often had to get the caller isolated to use NR.  On the receiving end, there was a lot of fast QSB, with a period of a few seconds (this is consistent with magnetospheric and plasmaspheric waves that impinge upon the auroral and subauroral regions.)  In any case, callers were up and down, often in the span of a call.  You all on the other end may or may not have observed the same from me.

Per usual, the setup was an Elecraft K3 and the GU Special vertical with 2x 1/4-wavelength radials for each of 20 and 15 meters.  Everything else was tuned by adjusting the length of the radiating section.  This is a substantial improvement in performance-to-size ratio over the previous station I carried in January 2012, which was a Yaesu FT-840, DK9SQ 10-meter telescoping pole, and a variety of wire antennas.  Below is a photograph of the GU Special deployed (it’s in the center, unceremoniously ty-wrapped to a wooden sign post sticking out of a barrel).  The diesel Toyota HiLux pickups are the most popular vehicle in town.  We gave a visiting graduate student lessons in driving a manual transmission.  Great vehicle to teach/learn on with lots of torque and low gearing!


Although I was unable to connect with them, we did drive past the OX2A/XP1AB site on Black Ridge that overlooks downtown Kangerlussuaq:

Thanks for the QSOs.  The log has been uploaded to LoTW this morning and QSL cards are ordered.  I never ordered cards after the last trip, so it will be a shared card with a photograph of the aurora.

RSGB IOTA Contest expedition to NA-140

August 3rd, 2013


I forgot my camera at home and my mobile phone battery died so there are no photographs of this adventure…

I first experienced the passion of those pursuing RSGB’s Islands on the Air (IOTA) programm(e) when I was active from Adak (Andreanof Islands, NA-039) in August/September 2012.  Matt, KB9UWU, and I made some tentative plans to do the 2013 RSGB IOTA Contest from NA-139 (Maryland State East, Assateague), returning to the site where he and W3CF had done the same contest over a decade prior.  During the planning stage, I cast about for the nearest IOTA groups to activate.  For the DC area, the easiest groups are surrounding the Delmarva Penninsula, NA-083 (Virgina State), NA-139 (Maryland State East) and NA-140 (Maryland State West).  We did not execute the plan to go to NA-139 and I had really given up on the idea of doing anything for the IOTA contest…

That’s when work interviened.  I scheduled a trip to Greenland (story about this to follow in a future posting) leaving late on Sunday of the IOTA contest weekend.  My wife Sarah had a cousin with a baby shower in Ohio on Saturday…so, we did the logical thing…packed her and Evan off to Ohio on a Saturday morning flight.  After dropping them off at the airport, I headed to the Eastern Shore for some IOTA action.

The principal mission for this trip would be to understand the difficulties in activating NA-140 and to make it widely available to the IOTA community because it is apparently rather rare (25% claimed, versus 19% claimed for Adak).

The station setup was simple and typical—an Elecraft K3 and an updated version of the GU Special.  The GU Special had just returned Tuesday from KL2HD’s KL7NWR expedition to NA-064 back in June (he had left it on the research ship until it returned to port, so technically, it’s probably visited some other rare IOTAs, too).

In order to avoid discharging the car’s battery, a mistake that could leave me stranded far from home, I lugged along a few SLA batteries to power everything.  I selected a couple of candidate sites using aerial imagery and ended up using my preferred site, which was very accessible to saltwater and the road, making it trivial to setup the radio in the car and
the antenna on the beach.  I now understand why NA-083 and NA-139 have much more activity—they’re close to civilization!  Nevermind, I love the middle of nowhere.  So, it was fun.

I configured the antenna for 20 meters and launched a few CQs on CW.  It took a while to get a run established, but after that the pileup was pretty much non-stop for about 3 hours.  I even worked some JAs, which was pleasing considering that NA-140 is very rare there and I was not QRV during the peak hours for JA.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t rigorously tested the batteries beforehand (except for one) and only one (the one I tested, of course) of the five performed well.  One performed acceptably and was relegated to running the inverter for the laptop once the battery warning came on.  Even the “good” battery sagged under load at 100w transmitter power.  So, I cranked the K3 down to 50w and let it rip.  That was enough to produce a commanding signal in Europe, with RBN Skimmers showing my signal peaking at 47 dB SNR with many hits in the 30s of dB.  As Matt said when we talked after I returned home, “I have trouble getting those kind of numbers with a small beam and the legal limit!”  Verticals on saltwater rule.  End of story.  Hearing was a different issue as there was some line noise and the occasional passing boat, who provided more QRM in the audio range than the RF range.

My pileup thinned out a little bit around 2020 UT and I was exhausted.  Evan didn’t sleep well the night before and that didn’t help anybody else sleep, either.  Plus, it was hot, even with the nice breeze and pleasant temperatures.  If all of that wasn’t enough, the battery in my mobile phone had discharged, the battery in the laptop was nearly dead and both the K3 and the inverter began
throwing low-voltage alarms.  It was time to pack up.  Fortunately, the GU Special deploys and stows in 15-20 minutes, so it wasn’t bad.

I ended the three-hour window with 215 QSOs and 11 (!!! that’s what you get for CQing the whole time) island multipliers, all on 20 meters.  I’ll take it!  Thanks for the QSOs.  I just ordered cards today and they should be printed and ready to send by mid-August.

Review: Array of Light (3rd Edition)

July 9th, 2013

My friend Matt, KB9UWU, eggs me on to buy things.  Sometimes I listen.  Sometimes I don’t.  But, eventually he wins me over and I’m usually happy with the purchase (e.g., K3 and Hex beam, although I built the Hex from scratch, which reminds me that I owe the blog a discussion of that).  I like to think that I let Matt be the early adopter and then pick and choose based on his experience.  He convinced me to buy a copy of N6BT’s book Array of Light.  Here’s my review.

If there’s anybody that knows antennas in the amateur community, it’s Tom Schiller, N6BT, the founder of Force12 and now owner of N6BT Next Generation Antennas.  He’s also a member of the very successful Team Vertical contest team, who have revolutionized DXpedition and contest expedition antenna systems by replacing trapped tri-band Yagis like the TH-3jr(s), TA-33jr, and A3S, with arrays of verticals located at the water line.  Schiller’s work has been nothing short of revolutionary so I had high hopes for the book.

My copy, like every other copy, is signed by the author.  It’s a good-quality laser print and has the same spiral binding as the Elecraft manuals.  The book is a loosely-edited collection of articles and clippings that read pretty well in series.  But, it’s bear to skim or go back to find specific things unless you’ve read the whole thing cover-to-cover a couple of times.  But, that’s pretty easy to do because Tom is a good storyteller.  My only other complaint is that there are a couple of places where I think Tom has drunk his own Kool-Aid regarding the efficiency of his antennas, especially “linear loading.”  This is a topic that I need to revisit with a pencil and paper study at some point because there is a lot of misinformation floating around about traps, linear loading, and “multi-monoband” antennas.  It’s not clear to me that anyone has sat down and really examined this in a methodical way.  It was disappointing that he quoted numbers like “greater than 99% efficiency” without going into more detail about the efficiency of a full-size antenna versus the linear-loaded one, etc.  Of course, this is difficult, but it’s something that always makes me a bit skeptical.

Array of Light is worth the price of admission for a couple of reasons—the first is the stories and the second is the antenna designs.  I’m a big proponent of not reinventing the wheel on most of my homebrew projects and this book is sure to provide some proven designs to work with.  Especially if you want a good discussion of practical antennas for DXpeditioning and contesting I think it’s a real winner.

The Birthplace of the Wind

September 4th, 2012

I recently had the good fortune (Sarah and some Alaskan friends might question the use of the adjective “good”) to spend about 10 days on the Aleutian island of Adak for work.  In the midst of preparing for the trip, I learned that my fellow travelers Kevin, KJ4OAP, and Nathaniel, W2NAF, were planning to bring ham gear.  Of course, I was as well, so we ended up with quite the merry bunch of hams on Adak.  I don’t collect IOTAs, but I know it’s popular.  So, I checked out Adak Island in the IOTA directory—NA-039, Andreanof Group.  Fewer than 20% had claimed it, so it’s not super-rare, but not super-common, either.  I was assured by at least one friend that we would be very popular, especially in Europe.

One of the first things you notice about Adak when you get off the plane is the wind.  In fact, the locals call Adak “the Birthplace of the Wind.”  It’s actually quite poetic considering that the winds are so strong that you don’t leave furniture outside and that the houses shudder with typical gusts.  I experienced 75-mph gusts and 60-mph sustained winds during my short visit alone.

Adak is probably best known as the forward base from which the U.S. conducted its counteroffensive against the Japanese invasion of Attu and Siska during World War II.  It also played an important role during the Cold War and although the military left some 10 years ago, it retains much of the infrastructure including heavy machinery, a port, and a large airport.  The population shrank rapidly from a peak of just over 6000 in the 1990s to around 150 today.  Just before the military (principally Navy) pulled out, they were in the process of building new base housing.  The housing was completed nevertheless and so there are literally dozens if not a hundred homes that have never been occupied!  Some of the others have been converted into a small hotel (this is where we stayed).

The economy is heavily dependent on fishing and fish canning right now.  However, the locals are excited about the possibility of becoming a logistics hub for oil and gas work in the Bering Sea.  In fact, the aircraft I came out on (An Alaska Airlines 737-400) had an unprecedented 60+ passengers on it because executives from an oil company were coming to check the place out.
Alaska Airlines operates “regular” flights twice per week.

Due to a fiction of time zones, Adak is only one hour behind Anchorage, despite being some 27 degrees west.  So, sunrise and sunset are both very late in local time.  It is also very far south, about the same latitude as Vancouver.  Although I arrived at 6:30 pm, it was still light out for almost another four hours.  So, I quickly put up the vertical on 20 meters just before sunset.

While we were putting up the vertical, Nathaniel met Jeff, KL2HD, who happened to have flown in on the same flight as us and who also happened to have his office and station across the street from my apartment.  Neat.  He works for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and they have field sites throughout the Aleutians.  They use HF to communicate with their camps.  So, he just plugs into a well-installed folded dipole to do his hamming.  Have you ever seen a folded dipole installed between two (yes, two) Rohn 45 towers?  Intense.  Wind.

Due to our work schedule (8-10 hours per day plus meals), I often did not manage to get on until 0500 UT at the earliest, and sometimes even later.  But, when I did, I was greeted with a roaring pileup of the “deserving.”  This elicited a little bit of mail from my East Coast friends about getting on the air earlier.  It turns out, however, that for most of the trip, 20 and 17 meters were open to the entire U.S. until 0630 UT.  Both the skimmers and the QSOs bear this out.

Why yes, I did get a new radio to replace the FT-840.  More on this in the future.

It was pretty apparent that I had a lot of callers who couldn’t (for a variety of reasons) copy me.  European friends reported a total lidfest on their end the first night I was on the air, although I learned a lot about pileup control on this trip.  I have great respect for the “real” DXpeditioners who do this from the rarest locations.  This was tremendous fun, though, and I enjoyed working each and every one.  Thank you for calling!

There was one night on 17 meters that I CQed dead air for almost a half hour, making just two QSOs with stateside stations.  And like a switch, the Europeans came in over the pole.  It was incredible: I made 300 QSOs in 2.5 hours that night…mostly Europeans and Japanese.

Oh, one more photo…this is one of our rental vehicles on Adak.  No, your ARES group cannot buy it.  The siren and lights don’t work anyway.

So, I got home on Monday and Sarah is amused by the amount of fan mail (QSL cards) the trip generated.  Speaking of QSLing, the log has been uploaded to LoTW and has already generated about a 25% return rate.  If you worked KL7/K8GU, you can get a nice photo card by sending an SASE or SAE+green stamp to my callbook address.  I also use the bureau.  To this point, Kevin and Nathaniel and I have been planning to share a card.  They are still there for another week (so, if you missed me, you still have a chance for NA-039) and then we will figure out a card and order them.  So, it will be a few weeks until cards can go out.