Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weekend

We arrived home from Lake George yesterday.  I went to go pick up Sandy, our cat, from the place where we took her and Jesse to be boarded while we were away.  When Sandy got home, she was as upset as I was. She was looking all over the house for her "big brother".


They were real good buddies and it's quite obvious that I'm not the only one around here who has a bit of a broken heart right now.

The manager of Best Friends came over and explained to me that last Tuesday morning they found Jesse laying on his bed, which wasn't unusual at all.  He was an older dog and was no longer very active. They thought he was asleep and when they tried to wake him, well ......... he didn't.  The manager told me that one of her own dogs did the same thing.  He was old and hanging on and hanging on and waited until she and her husband were away to pass.  I don't know if it has any merit or not, but she told me that some dogs do that. It's like they want to spare their owners the hardship of seeing them pass.

This house is not the same without him, and I am definitely not the same without my pal.  The sun just seems to be a little bit dimmer than it used to be. And while I am thinking of Jesse, I'd like to thank all of you who left very kind comments or sent me an e-mail with the same.  I appreciate it and thank you so much - you're all in my prayers.

But life goes on, so even though I really wasn't in the mood, I decided to go to the Sussex Amateur Radio Club hamfest anyway - to at least take my mind off of Jesse for a while.  I got there at 8:30 AM, about a half hour after the doors officially opened.  I got there to a double line of cars, backed up, paying admission and waiting to get in.  When was the last time you saw THAT at a hamfest that isn't Dayton or one of the other true "biggies"?

It was sunny and hot and humid!  I was sweating just walking around at a leisurely pace.  I ran into Don W2JEK who I have worked so many times in various QRP Sprints.  I walked up to the table where he was selling stuff and shook his hand and said "Hello".  You could tell he was taken aback for half a split second until he noticed my call sign on my cap.  We talked for a bit and then I continued to meander around.

I noticed a lot of QRP stuff on the tables.  There were at least two HW-8s and one HW-7 that I saw. There were at least two of the Chinese/TenTec HB-1As and there were several MFJ QRP rigs for sale.  I will take it as a good sign for QRP, that when I made my last pass of the tables, all the QRP equipment seemed to have been sold and in the hands of eager, new users.

There was lots of other interesting stuff, too, including this:


A Martin Flash Bug, which is a brand that I never even heard of, before.  It looks to be in very good shape, too.  However, I didn't want to part with the $100 the seller was asking for.  I also saw this, which was not for sale, but was being demo'ed.


This is the E-APS - the Emergency Antenna Platform System.  It's a robot that will serve as an emergency platform for a VHF/UHF antenna.  You put the robot on a light pole in a parking lot, for instance, and then remotely control its climb until it's at the height you desire. It was designed and built by a team of young Hams from New Jersey including Devlin KC2PIX, Chris KD2CXC, Ben KD2DLM, Joe KD2CQL, Kyle KD2DWC, Gavin KD2DPN and Robert KC2WCQ.  This unit is not for sale, but plans and open source programming are available to anyone who wants to build one.  For more information you can go to www.wc2fd.com or e-mail for info at info@wc2fd.com.  It's good to see young minds with fresh ideas doing concrete things to make Amateur Radio better; and thinking out of the box, to boot!

I ended up buying two items.  First, I bought a handful of 3.5mm DC connectors.  These seem to have become the de-facto standard power plug for QRP rigs.  You can never have enough, so I bought some to have for spare.

The second thing I bought was an HT holder for my Jeep.  It fits into the cup holder of my Jeep Patriot. There's a twist ring at the bottom which allows the insert to expand so it fully fills the cup holder and stays in place without budging.




Before this, I had simply rested the radio IN the cup holder.  That was very inconvenient for looking at the display, hitting the search button, etc.  I'm by no means an active VHF/UHFer, but had recently started taking the HT with me to work again, as broadcast radio gets boring to listen to after a while (no offense to those of you in the industry). I still need to get my ICOM  VHF/UHF molbile radio installed in the Jeep by a professional, and this will carry me over until I can find someone good and reliable who can do that for me. Listening to the local repeaters and even chatting on occasion makes the commute more pleasant.

When I got home, I realized that today was "Scorch Your Butt Off". I had almost forgotten!  And what an appropriate day!  Because of the steamy conditions, I decided to not go far. I went to the Cotton Street Park, here in town ...... where I went for FOBB last year.  When I left the house, the thermometer on the back deck said that it was 92F (33C) but that sensor is in the sun and tends to read a little high.  I checked both WeatherUndergound and the National Weather Service.  Most local weather stations close to my house were reading 88F (31C), so that was the temperature I used for the exchange throughout. The humidity was a whopping 91%.  Can you say, "Ugh"?

There didn't seem to be too much activity. Either that, or the bands were crud, and it may have been band conditions as I didn't hear too much activity of any kind, anywhere.  My set up was the same, my KX3 and PAR ENDFEDZ hauled up into a tree.  I made a grand total of nine QSOs, and the only person I worked on two bands was Rick NK9G on both 20 and 40 Meters.  QSB seemed to be deep and fast on all three bands I worked - 40, 20 and 15 Meters.

I stayed until the water and freezer pops that I brought with me ran out.  When I got home, the temperature had legitimately climbed to 92F (33C).  Another thermometer that I had on the front porch in the shade gave me that reading, as did another check with WeatherUnderground. The humidity had mercifully dropped down to 65% percent, though. Still tropical, but not as sauna-like.  The bad news is that it is supposed to remain like this for the rest of the week.

Remember, if you SYBO'ed make sure to get your logs off to Rem K6BBQ!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

Owen said...

One comment about the cup holder mount: I had one of those until I went to install it one day, tightened it a little too much, and snap! Learned my lesson to not overdo it with the replacement. Good design though! Enjoy it.