Friday, November 28, 2008

Coming of Age

First ..... don't forget that this weekend is the CQ WWDX Contest! If you're a new (or not so new) QRP DX'er this is one of the prime weekends for you! If you've never QRP DX'ed before, than you should be able to tally up 20 or more countries worked with ease this weekend (conditions halfway co-operating). If you're a not-so-new QRP DX'er you can still try for some countries you've never worked before. A small bit of advice ..... don't get discouraged if you don't make many contacts the first half of the contest. This is when all the big guns take care of their business. Second half, though? Some of these foreign contest stations will be begging for points and will go out of their way to listen to even less than 599 signals. This is where you can shine!

Secondly ..... believe it or not, since I have been on the Internet, I have always had a dial-up account. Hard to believe, eh? I'm one of the few people I know who is still on dial-up. However, that is soon to come to pass, as I'm in the process of changing Internet providers.

The bad news is that my current ISP account ends this month; and my DSL service won't be ready until around December 12th. So, for the next two weeks (approximately), I will be without any Internet service. Which means no more posts for a bit. I know I haven't been posting with great frequency, lately; but I don't want any of you thinking I have disappeared altogether, either.

See you in a few weeks!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

The times they are a troublin' ! The economy seems to be in the dumper, half the country is elated by the recent election results, while the other half is distressed. People are losing jobs and so far in the NorthEast, it's been a cold Winter (which officially doesn't even arrive for another month!).

But this Thursday, there will still be a lot to be thankful for. God Almighty has still blessed this country with innumerable gifts, for which we should all be thankful.

Maybe it's time to look past the material world and take stock of the spiritual. Our riches lay not so much in how many cars we have; or how big our houses are; or even how many "toys" we have; or even how many radios, antennas and other Ham goodies we own.

Our riches lay in the love of family and friends. Our riches lay in our ability to spend TIME with each other - not money on each other. Our riches lay in our ability and willingness to give our time and talents to those less fortunate than we.

These are the things that last, this is the treasure that will not rot or tarnish. So when you gather around the table this week for your big turkey dinner, BE thankful for the material things you have; because after all, all of that really belongs to God - He just lends them to you. But more imprtantly, be grateful for the family and friends that make "you" what you are - because God has given those to you also. It is a good thing to humble ourselves every now and then and bow our heads and give thanks to Him who gives us everything we have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

73 de Larry W2LJ

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Could not allow the day to pass

without offering all military veterans a big and heart felt "Thank You!" Thank you for your service; and thank you for your sacrifice. America is what she is; and owes her greatness to all of you.

To the families of those who made the Ultimate Sacrifice - I can offer no words that express the deep gratitude for your loved one's actions. Please know that we care and that we remember and that we pray.

Today, I found something on the Internet that I want to share in honor of Veteran's Day. This article was written by Tom Purcell and appeared on The Catholic Exchange Website. This article is titled quite simply:

The Tomb of the Unknowns

Hurricane Isabel struck Washington, D.C., hard that night.

It was Sept. 18, 2003. I lived in Alexandria, Va., at the time. I rode out the storm reading a book and enjoying a glass of wine.

At the Arlington National Cemetery, just a few miles from where I sat, the sentinels who stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns were having an entirely different experience.

The Tomb of the Unknowns was established in 1921. Three of its chambers contain the remains of unknown soldiers from World War I, World War II and Korea (a fourth chamber had contained the remains of an unknown soldier from the Vietnam war until DNA technology determined his identity).

Only the finest soldiers are selected to guard the Tomb. The sentinels are specially trained soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). They watch over the Tomb 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As each solitary guard paces before the Tomb, his movements are precise, his dress impeccable.

Each guard’s dedication is made clear by the Sentinel’s Creed:

My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted.

In the responsibility bestowed on me never will I falter.

And with dignity and perseverance my standard will remain perfection.

Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements,

I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability.

It is he who commands the respect I protect.

His bravery that made us so proud.

Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day alone in the thoughtful peace of night,

this soldier will in honored glory rest under my eternal vigilance.

Which brings us back to Hurricane Isabel.

For the first time in the Tomb’s history, in preparation of a potentially dangerous storm, the commanding officers established a contingency plan.

The sentinels were free to withdraw to safer positions under the Memorial Amphitheater arches or inside the trophy room should conditions become life-threatening — positions from which they could still maintain their mission watching over the Tomb.

But none would leave.

It is a solemn duty to march before the Tomb, after all. The sentinel’s meticulous ritual is an outward display of gratitude and remembrance for the sacrifices so many have made for their country — particularly the unknown soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

By guarding the Tomb with eternal vigilance, the sentinel validates the words of the soldier’s prayer:

“It is the soldier who has given us our freedoms. It’s the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It’s the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It’s the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to object. It’s the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial….”

And so, as Hurricane Isabel struck — 24 trees would be uprooted across the cemetery and three headstones would be crushed — each sentinel took turns standing his ground.

There really was no other option. How could a sentinel retreat to safer ground in the midst of a dinky hurricane when so many others have given so much more?

It’s true the hurricane could have been plenty worse than it turned out to be. It’s possible that life-threatening severity might have caused the sentinels to, for the first time since they began guarding the Tomb in 1948, maintain their mission from safer ground.

Though I doubt it.

We’ve just come through a wrenching political season — some folks are jubilant at the results, whereas others are deflated and even worried — but despite the disagreement over policies and politics, I’m confident America will do the right thing over the long haul.

I’m confident America’s best is yet ahead.

I believe this because virtue still lives in America. Honor, sacrifice and duty are still alive and well.

If you don’t believe me, pay a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery and stop by the Tomb of the Unknowns.

It is one place where American sacrifice, duty and honor are on full display 24 hours a day every day of the week.

The End

Rest in Peace, brave soldiers - may God's Holy Light shine upon you.

73 de Larry W2LJ