Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hoot Owl Fun

With a much improved right leg, I was able to get down to the basement shack quite easily for the Hoot Owl Shoot Out this past Sunday evening. It was nice to get on the air after being absent for quite a while. I made seven contacts in the allotted hour, two with good ol' reliable Don W2JEK on both 40 and 80 Meters.

The QSO with Don on 80 was the only one had there. The rest were all accomplished on 40 Meters. I heard some very faint signals on 20 Meters at the very beginning of the event, but nothing that was copyable.

Given the crummy band conditions and the fact that we're in the armpit of the solar cycle, one hour was probably plenty for the shootout. But I wish there had been another hour. Even though there was a lot of calling CQ between sparse replies, I still had a ton of fun.

When you're away from the hobby for a while due to circumstances that are kind of beyond your control, it's a blast when you can finally get back into it. We (it would probably better to say "I") take Amateur Radio for granted, knowing that we can go to our shacks at just about any time and jump on the air.  When you can't for one reason or another, it's like that line from that song from the 60's - "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got 'till it's gone?"

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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Memorial Day 2018

I went to my local grocery store yesterday to do the food shopping for the week.  On my way out to the parking lot, I saw a member of our local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, selling paper poppies to raise money for disabled veterans.. I stopped, took a buck out from my wallet and handed it to him. As he took the dollar bill from me, I smiled and said, "Thank you for your service". He looked at me straight in the eye, and he answered me, his voice a bit choked up with emotion. "Thank you," he said, "I never got to hear that 52 years ago when I came home from Viet Nam." He held out his hand, and I took it in mine and we grasped each other's hand very firmly.

This weekend, in the United States, we honor and remember those countless brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our nation. From the grassy fields of Lexington and Concord. to the rocky mountains and valleys of Afghanistan, so many gave everything so that the rest of us back home could continue to live in freedom and liberty, without fear.

While we pay tribute to and pray for those departed souls this Memorial Day weekend, should you by chance see someone who served our country in any branch of the military, and had the good fortune to be able to return home ........ a smile and a "Thank You" will go a long way towards paying a debt we can never adequately repay.

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

Friday, May 25, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend in the USA always coincides with the QRP ARCI Hoot Owl Sprint.

And I see that according to the rules, it's now called the "Hoot Owl Shootout" and the event has been shortened to only one hour.  This event has always been one of my favorites as we never travel anywhere for this "Unofficial Start of Summer" weekend. And to devote one hour on Sunday evening doesn't seem to be a hardship.

After my hiatus from being away from the radio - I am really looking forward to this. I hope there's a decent amount of activity.

Da Rulz can be found at http://www.qrparci.org/contests/147-hoot-owl-sprint

Hope to hear you on the air!

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On the mend

This blog has been silent for the past few weeks - quite frankly because I was kind of out of the loop as far as Amateur Radio was concerned. About a month ago the dreaded tendinitis flared up in my right foot again (old dog walking injury).  In order to keep pressure off the toes, I over compensated when I would walk, which unintentionally caused undue stress to my calf and hamstring muscles.  Needless to say, the tendinitis went away a lot quicker than the injuries I caused to my leg muscles.

The pain got so bad that I briefly considered a trip to the Emergency Room at the hospital; but opted for a regular office visit to my primary care physician.  A prescription of muscle relaxers seems to have done the trick and after about a week on them, I am almost walking normally again.

If any of you have never experienced a hamstring injury, let me tell ya - it's NOT fun! The muscles were so tight that every time I tried to bend my knee I felt like the muscle in the back of my thigh was either going to snap or tear.  When my doctor examined my leg, he told me the hamstring felt like it had a knot in it.

So what does this all have to do with Amateur radio?  A lot.

It was too painful to go downstairs to the basement shack, so I avoided the shack like the plague. And to be honest, walking around for the most part was such a pain that I didn't even feel like setting up the KX3 and magloop in the living room.  I was just so pre-occupied with discomfort that I literally had the air let out of my balloon for close to a month.  The routine became go to work, hobble on home, eat dinner, and then go to bed early to elevate my leg for as long as possible.

But now that things are starting to resemble some kind of normalcy, I hope to start bringing the KX3 to work with me for lunchtime QRP sessions as soon as next week.

It's amazing how you can lose interest in even your most favorite things in life when your brain is busy dealing with the nerves in your body telling it that something is wrong.

The only bright side that I can think of is that I didn't purchase Hamvention tickets for this past weekend.  I would have never been able to deal with all the necessary walking, and it would have been massively depressing to have the tickets in hand and then not be able to go.

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