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.


Back to A Big Chill


The temperature in Stormstown dropped 55 F from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. It was definitely shirtsleeve weather on Friday and now it’s a frigid 20 F. The low this morning was 5 F. Cold temperatures are expected for much of the week. High temperatures are expected to be above freezing on Thursday and Friday.

2017 Stormstown Weather Summary

2017 Data Summary

Overall, the year’s temperatures were nearly 1 F above normal. Precipitation was about 4 inches below normal.


January was 3.8 deg F above normal with a high of 64.5 F and a low of 6.5 F. Precipitation was about normal with 3.1 inches of liquid precipitation. About 4 inches of snow fell on January 31.


February was much warmer with temperatures at 8.6 F above normal. The high was 75 F and the low was 10 F. Precipitation was below normal at 1.6 inches. About 8 inches of snow fell on February 9.


March temperatures were slightly below normal with a high of 72 F and a low of 8 F. Precipitation was also below normal with 3.15 inches of liquid precipitation. It snowed on March 14. On March 8 the high wind speed for the month and year was 55 mph.


Much above normal temperatures this month. The high was 79 F and the low was 30 F. Rainfall was about a half inch below normal at 2.9 inches. There was snowfall on April 7 switch no accumulation. First thunderstorm of the year on April 27,


On May 1, a tornado watch was issued, followed by a severe thunderstorm warning. A strong line of thunderstorms passed over Stormstown. Minor damage was reported in Boalsburg. More activity on May 30 with a tornado warning and hail reported in Huntingdon County. Temperatures were about 1.5 F below normal with a high of 87 F and a low of 30 F. The last day of temperatures below freezing was May 9. Precipitation was 2.6 inches above normal.


A severe thunderstorm warning issued on June 15. Temperatures for the month were about 1 F below normal. The high for the month and year was 91 F and the low was 45 F. Precipitation was below normal with 3 inches of rainfall.


The temperatures were near normal. and as expected, had the warmest temperatures with a mean of 72 F. The high was 89 F and the low was 50 F. Rainfall was 1 inch above normal with 4.46 inches of precipitation.


The month’s temperatures were 3.3 F below normal. The high was 87 F and the low was 48 F. Precipitation was more than an inch below normal at 2.85 inches.


Temperatures were near normal this month. The high was 89 F and the low was 39 F. It was also a relatively dry month with just 1.37 inches of rainfall. This was 2.61 inches below normal.


October was quite warm with temperatures that were 4.6 F above normal. The high was 81 F with a low of 29 F. The first day with below freezing temperatures was October 17. There were 5.12 inches of precipitation this month, 1.78 inches above normal.


Temperatures began to drop in November and were 2.6 F below normal. The high was 64 F and the low was 12 F. Precipitation was 2.3 inches, nearly an inch below normal.


This was the coldest month of 2017. The temperatures were 3.3 F below normal. The high was 53 F and the low was 2 F. Christmas was indeed white, with enough snow to cover the ground. Precipitation was 2.2 inches below normal with less than an inch of liquid precipitation.

Carbon Dioxide Levels

The current level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is about 440 parts per million (ppm). The CO2 levels are officially measured at three “pristine” sites: Mauna Loa, HI; Barrow, AK; and Grimes Point, Tasmania. However, levels encountered in some of our day-to-day experiences are higher. OSHA set the acceptable level of CO2 in the workplace to 1000 parts per million. However, this is often exceeded in some office buildings, schools, and homes.

Each and every one of us exhales CO2 at a level of about 40000 ppm. It follows that in some poorly ventilated enclosures that levels of CO2 are above 1000 ppm. Some office meeting rooms are at 1900 ppm or more. Airliners in flight have levels around 1400 ppm. Cars with recirculated air can reach a level that is 4 times the acceptable level.

Effects of CO2 in the air:

• <150 ppm: all vegetation dies

• 400 ppm: background (normal) outdoor air level

• 400-1,000 ppm: typical levels found in occupied spaces with good air exchange

• 1,000-2,000 ppm: level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air

• 2,000-5,000 ppm: level associated with headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air; poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.

• >5,000 ppm: This indicates unusual air conditions where high levels of other gases also could be present. Toxicity or oxygen deprivation could occur. This is the permissible exposure limit for daily workplace exposures.

• >40,000 ppm: This level is immediately harmful due to oxygen deprivation.

This would explain why some people nod off during meetings and in class. The dangers of high levels in unventilated cars are obvious.

The efforts to make office buildings and homes more energy efficient have made them more airtight. This has caused the CO2 levels to increase within. The new LEED standards include air quality standards to mitigate the effects of high CO2 levels.

One double-blind study shows that high CO2 levels also have a profound effect on our cognitive ability (Allen et al. 2015). The study found that the decision-making performance of working professionals became impaired at high CO2 levels. Averaged across all metrics, performance was reduced by 15% at 945 ppm and 50% at 1400 ppm compared to the 550 ppm control.

The annual increase in carbon dioxide levels is about 2 ppm. At that rate, it would take over four centuries to double the current concentration. However, in reality, vegetation would increase and absorb more carbon. So, another way to mitigate CO2 levels is to introduce more plants inside office buildings, homes, and schools.


Allen, J.G., MacNaughton, P., Satish, U., Santanam, S., Vallarino, J., Spengler, J.D., Environmental Health Perspectives 124, 805 (2015).

Autumn of 2017: Weather Summary


Meteorological autumn has ended. Here is a summary of the fall’s weather in Stormstown, PA.

Overall, it was a warmer than average fall, especially during October. September was near normal, just 0.4 deg F above normal. October was much above normal at 4.6 deg above normal, even though there were 3 days with a minimum temperature of 32 deg. F or less.  However, November was 2.6 deg F below normal, with 23 days with a minimum temperature of 32 deg F or less. The first day with a temperature below freezing was October 17.

Precipitation was below normal for the most part, even though October was 1.7 inches above normal. The maximum single day rainfall was 1.91 inches on October 29.

Highest wind speed was 35 mph on November 19.

First Snowfall of the Season

First snowfall of the season in Stormstown, PA. The forecast today called for a chance of snow showers (60%). Instead, there was moderate snow, starting around 10 AM EST. Later, the flakes started to fall in clumps.

Air temperatures remained well above freezing for most of the day, so there was little or no accumulation in the area. However, to the southwest, in The Laurel Highlands, travel was affected significantly.