WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Radio hobbyists from across the continent (and even around the world) to converge on Plymouth Meeting, PA

I put this out on my hobby blog each year.

If you have an interest in almost any aspect of radio monitoring as a hobby (Shortwave, yes, but also long-distance A.M., F.M. & TV listening - DX'ing; scanning; satellite TV; pirate radio, and/or some amateur & CB radio), the biggest gathering in our region will take place March 1st--2nd at Plymouth Meeting. With the move from Kulpsville to Plymouth Meeting a few years ago, this annual fest is only 30---45 minutes from the Wilmington area; some people drive or fly in from hundreds of miles away. And we usually see DX'ers from other countries, such as Finland and Japan!

I'm afraid I'm not posting this in time for you to take advantage of the discounted registration fee, but if you'd really like to revive your oldtime radio hobby passio, I strongly encourage you to consider attending...


Posted at 7:45pm on February 12, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 11:13pm
Apologize for jumping the thread, but when can we expect the first butterflies here in Delaware? I figured this was the place to come and ask. And, are the first ones out always the Cabbage White butterflies?

Allan Loudell
Thu, Feb 14, 2013 6:13am

See my blogs from last spring (below).

Last year, I saw a Cabbage White (actually a European invasive species) March 12th, about two or three weeks AHEAD of schedule.

But if you'll recall, our previous winter was comparatively mild.

More normally, our first butterflies would appear in late March or early April.

The key is getting a few weeks - sustained - where the overnight low temperatures don't fall below freezing.

In specialized habitat - such as at Nottingham County Park near the Herr's potato chip plant in Nottingham, Pennsylvania, and rarely at Lums Pond State Park - a beautiful little butterfly from the family of whites, the Falcate Orangetip, can appear at about the same time. Although as a practical matter, I almost always see Cabbage Whites, even common Sulphurs, emerge before I see Falcate Orangetips.

Another group of butterflies - the Anglewings (Question Marks, Eastern Commons) and particularly Mourning Cloaks - overwinter as adults (yes, butterfly hibernation!).

If we have a warm snap - with temperatures exceeding 70 degrees - they can emerge in the dead of winter! They certainly emerge in the early Spring.

If freezing temperatures kill most butterflies and moths in the adult stage of their life cycle, how do individuals of this species uniquely survive? First, these butterflies do seek refuge in cracks and crevices where it may be a couple of degrees warmer. But that would be insufficient over a long subfreezing period. The adult butterflies actually freeze (becoming "butterfly-sicles"), but their "blood" contains glycogens, anti-freezing agents.

But whereas the Question Marks, Commas, and Mourning Cloaks overwinter as adults, the Whites and Sulphurs will have overwintered in the pupal stage (chrysalis), or depending on climate zone, a caterpillar may have emerged from the egg at the first hint of tolerable sustained temperatures, chomped away at its foodplants in the Mustard family, then pupated.

As I've discussed previously on this blog, we also have a class of winter moths; many other species fly as soon as temperatures moderate.

And to tie this discussion back to the original topic, hobby radio, several international shortwave stations have issued attractive Q.S.L. cards featuring butterflies and moths over the years, for example, Radio Taiwan International when it was still the Voice of Free China or Radio Taipei International, as I recall.

Allan Loudell

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