Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Boo Yah!

I received two emails from UPS that two packages are due to be delivered tomorrow. The first is the new console for my Ambient weather station. Here's what the current one looks like:

And here's what the new one looks like:

Not too much of a difference, eh? The important thing is that wifi symbol that you see in the little red square. The procedure will be to depress the wind and pressure buttons on the new console and wait for a "beep", and for that little wifi icon to start flashing, and I'll finally be able to connect my weather station back to the internet. A trivial thing, right? I can't tell you how much I've become accustomed to checking on weather data from home, no matter where I am, by just looking at my phone. The weather station still works fine, but not being able to access it remotely feels weird. I guess it's like that old song by Joni Mitchell - "Big Yellow Taxi".

"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't what you got 'til it's gone?"

The other package is an indoor HDTV antenna and signal booster. The gist of this is that I've just eliminated a substantial part of my monthly Verizon bill by ditching FiOS TV. There's so much free stuff offered via my Roku devices, but not local channels. You have to pay for those.  Want all your local channels? That's $77 a month from Hulu, $69 a month from DIRECTV, $73 a month from YouTube TV. It doesn't make sense to start paying for that all over again , just to another provider.

Heck, I live 25 miles (as the crow flys) from New York City. I figure that if I can work Europe from inside my house using 5 Watts and a magloop antenna then I should be able to pick up the local channels decently enough with an amplified indoor HDTV antenna. I did some research and ordered one from Channel Master. A one time purchase price of $50 and I should be fine. It will just be for watching local news and a few "real time" shows that the streaming services I connect to don't provide for free. We'll see how this experiment works! If it does work, I'll have to acquire one for the upstairs TV, but that can wait.

Last night, Amateur Radio wise, was just running the South Plainfield ARES/RACES Net and checking in to the Middlesex County Chat Group social net. No HF for me last evening. I did go on the FCC ULS site to see that our candidates from Saturday already had their applications approved. Jeremy KB3OPJ is now officially an Amateur Extra and our new Tech got his call sign KE2DCY.  What a difference from the old days!  Beating the dead horse, I'll mention again that when I passed my Novice test in November of 1978, my license didn't come until January of 1979. That the FCC can action on results from a test given two days previously is just amazing.

For kicks, I went over to the QRP Fox Hunt page and took a look at the season's results for the 80 Meter Foxes. Out of the 19 ops who volunteered for Fox duty, I came in 12th place, QSO total-wise. I didn't do as badly as I thought I had. I flat out expected to be in 18th or 19th place. Who knows, I may just volunteer again next fall.  The only downside to that is that I would have to download N1MM and use it during the Hunt as there's a real time Google Maps page available to the Hounds, where they can see their result pop up on a map as soon as the Fox logs them. I can barely chew gum and walk at the same time. Work Hounds at a furious pace AND computer log at the same time? That might be too much to ask from W2LJ. I'll have to give this some serious thought.

Lastly, the other day, my wife and son asked me what I wanted for my birthday, which is coming up in a few weeks. "QMX" immediately popped into my brain and I told them I had something in mind that they could split the cost on. When they asked what it was and I said "a radio", I did get two eyerolls. But what the hey? They asked! I told them that if they ordered it, that it would not be here in time for my birthday, (I want the assembled unit, not the kit)  but just knowing it would be coming was gift enough. I have to send some links to my son to get the ball rolling.

72 de Larry W2LJ

QRP  - When you care to send the very least!

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