I suppose this post is a little delayed, but I've been recovering. I think I may have slept a total of 10 hours all weekend, and I'm not as good at forgoing sleep as I once was.
In short, the MCRC station was great, and seemed to run pretty smoothly. I don't know the exact counts, but the CW station was somewhere over 900 contacts, and the SSB station wasn't too far behind, I don't think. At about 2pm Sunday there was a brief but reasonably intense storm that hastened our cleanup, but other than that, weather wasn't too bad, although humid and hot. I'm not a hot weather person, I'll take a cold winter over a hot summer any day, so that was a downside for me, but I suppose it could have been worse.
Some highlights for me were signing off my first radio merit badge as a counselor (congrats, Tim), logging for the CW station (I know a bit of morse code, but not enough at all for a QSO, so it was... educational), and trying to work some satellites. It wasn't the best weekend out there for satellite passes, but there was a decent AO-51 pass Sunday morning. Unfortunately, for some reason, I couldn't even hear it. I'd be a little more annoyed by that, but it did give me the chance to show another ham in the club how it worked, so that makes up the difference - I can try to work satellites any time.
Logging in the CW station was interesting. It doesn't matter how many times I've heard about how much intelligible a weak CW signal is as compared to a weak voice signal, I just didn't comprehend how true that was until I spent an hour logging for CW, then walked over and spent an hour or two logging at the SSB station. There's just no comparison - several times I'd hear a weak SSB signal come in and think "if this were CW, it'd be no problem to copy at all". It's given me a new and greater appreciation for the mode. It also had the side effect of me still hearing morse code in every random beep, squeak, or static I hear. My favorite examples are the ATMs around here that send "A" in morse code when the transaction is over. There's one letter I'll never forget the morse code for.
In terms of putting in time at the stations, I just logged this year, but I did manage to make somewhere around ten contacts on the GOTA station. I've now forgotten, but I think that was on 40 meters (it was either 40 or 20).
Lastly, but one of the best points for me, was the VE session they did Saturday morning. I've been studying for weeks, sometimes maybe more than was needed or even was helpful, but it paid off. The General exam I got was more challenging than any of the practice exams I remember doing, but I managed to pass with 32/35. The FCC site still shows me as a Tech, so for the moment, I'm KC8LPZ/AG. I guess this means I could start looking into some cheap used HF gear, but being that I still live in an apartment anyway, I'm in no rush.
I think next year I'd like to be a bit more ready, and try some satellite QSOs again, only more succesfully. I'd also like to see about doing something more with the scouts, maybe see if I can get a group together and do a merit badge mania style thing or something, maybe with a follow up meeting afterwards or before it (although I might be signing myself up a bit too much with that one, I'll have to think about it a bit). Other than that, I think it went very well. I'm already looking forward to next year.
I saw this site posted on the amsat-bb mailing list, and had to share: Live OSCAR Satellite Status Page. It looks to be a great way to see how operational the various satellites are, in more or less real time. I'll have to start contributing to this.
I was browsing through amateur radio blogs today, and saw this post by K0NR, which mentioned a site I hadn't noticed before by KC5VQD: callsignbytxt.org. I tried it out with my own call, and other than telling me I was 15 miles from myself (something the site warns may be wildly inaccurate), it was quick and worked perfectly. I've found myself writing down or trying to remember calls I'll see on license plates and whatnot, and this is a great way to stop forgetting them before I can look them up.
He's even nice enough to include a RESTful API, returning in JSON or XML. Beautiful.
When I worked at a store that sold firearms, I often heard the guys that worked over in that department saying that the people they'd most be cautious about forgetting to clear the firearm and things like that were people that used them daily or in their job - sometimes the things that seem commonplace and obvious sometimes lead us to miss things that we otherwise wouldn't. Never hurts to have a second look at practices.