As the old joke goes .......
First, a little background. We have put up a baby gate in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room since Harold, our Beagle, came to live with us. Even though he has passed the one year mark, he still has a lot of puppy in him. By that, I mean to say that he chews ..... a lot! He has the run of the back yard, the family room and the kitchen. The living room and the rest of the house will become available to him as he grows older and becomes less of a chewer. In Jesse's case, that came around about his second birthday, so I am expecting that Harold will become calmer as October 2014 approaches.
Anyway, earlier this week, I was taking dinner plates from the kitchen to the dining room, and I snagged my right leg on the baby gate. I mildly twisted it, but really didn't feel anything at the time. The next day it was fine. Two days later? Whoa, Baby! My knee was sore, then that got better, then my hamstring was sore and that got better, and now my calf is the sore spot. I sure don't heal like I used to when I was younger! I gave in and bought a heating pad on Thursday on my way home from work. That has helped a lot and today has been the first day since Christmas Eve that I have been walking without a noticeable limp.
I had planned to spend today on my fanny and not do much of anything - just rest the muscles in my right leg and apply some heat on and off throughout the day. Then this afternoon, my little eye spied out the rec room window and I saw the wire from my 88 foot EDZ was all kinds of droopy. What the hey?!?
I went outside to discover that the Dacron antenna rope holding up the center insulator had broken. The antenna was still in the tree, but had dropped about 10 feet. Not a good thing, especially as I am scheduled for 40 Meter QRP Fox duty this coming Tuesday night - New Year's Eve. It seems you can always expect trouble when you least expect it.
The weather was nice here today - sunny and in the low 50's (about 11C), so I began looking for my antenna stuff. I found the pneumatic launcher, and the mason's twine that I use to pull up rope - but where's my Dacron antenna rope? I searched the shack high and low for almost a half hour and couldn't locate it. I know it's hiding somewhere here in plain sight - but I still can't find it. All I was able to locate was some Nylon rope that I use for tying various things. This rope is not ideal for antennas as it stretches over time, but with daylight starting to wane, it's any port in a storm.
After one or two failed attempts, I got my line through the tree. The pneumatic launcher worked like a charm. One time I forgot to open the bale on the fishing reel, so the projectile launched just fine, but the fishing line broke and stayed put, while the little projectile soared like an eagle. Once I remembered all the steps, I got the line up and through how I wanted it.
At this point, I have to give big kudos to my son, Joey. He gave me a hand with this project today, and if it weren't for him, this repair job would definitely have taken longer, and perhaps have not been accomplished at all. Thanks, Joey - I owe you a big one!
So my 88' EDZ is now back in the air, with temporary rope support, a few feet higher than it was. I will have to purchase some bonafide Dacron antenna rope (if I can't find what I thought I had) and re-do this some weekend in the near future. Of course, all the weekends from here on out until April with probably be sub-freezing and snowy!
I did get on the air tonight to hand out points to the Stew Perry contesters on 160 Meters. The W3EDP loads just fine on 160 Meters and with 5 Watts, I have been working up and down the East Coast and out towards Ohio and Michigan. Not bad for 5 Watts and about what I expected from last year's contest.
But I think I'll head upstairs now and apply some more heat to this old, aching calf muscle. And to think how I used to chuckle when my Mom used to tell me, "Don't get old!"
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!