Tuesday, 25 April 2017

09:59 – It was 45F (7C) when I took Colin out at 0740 this morning, gray and blowing drizzle. We’ve had about 7.3 inches (18.5 cm) of rain since Saturday morning. Things are a bit soggy at our place, although there are no standing pools of water in the yard. Elsewhere around here there have been roads closed due to flooding and some bridges under water. Rifle Range Road, where the Alleghany Rifle Association shooting range is located, is under water, as is the bridge adjacent to the range.

While we were watching TV Saturday evening we heard a loud crash that seemed to come from the garage. I ran out there to check, assuming one of our shelving units had collapsed. Nothing looked out of the ordinary. Barbara checked the front porch and back deck. Nothing. I went downstairs and checked every room and closet. Nothing. So we decided there must have been a car accident out on US21 or something and thought no more about it.

Sunday, Barbara pushed the button to open her garage door. The garage door jammed after rising about an inch. First thing yesterday morning, I called Shaw Brothers, which has become our go-to place for any kind of repairs we need. If they don’t do it, they have someone to call who does do it. They called their garage door guy down in Elkin and he showed up about 1330. It turns out the big door spring had broken, jamming the door in position. He did a temporary fix to the spring, but said it wouldn’t last long. He’s going to pick up a replacement spring and come back in the next couple days to install it.

We commented to him that the house was only about 10 years old and that the original owners/builders had generally done a top-notch job. They didn’t chince out on materials or finish until they ran out of money towards the end of the project. They ended up installing low-end Frigidaire appliances (hawk, spit) and we wondered if they’d also cheaped out on the garage doors and openers. He said no, that they’d installed top quality stuff, but that garage door mechanisms and openers were rated for X number of cycles and that under moderate to heavy use ten years was about average for them before they needed major maintenance. My garage door is the one further from the entrance to the house, so it’s probably gotten much less use than the one where Barbara parks. He checked it over as well, WD-40’d all the springs, cables, and rollers, and said we should be good to go as soon as he replaces the spring on Barbara’s door.


After dinner yesterday, Barbara and I went to the first class for the General Class ham radio license. Besides us, there were three people at the class. Sam, who’s the instructor, is an Amateur Extra licensee who’s been active since 1978. He mentioned he’d been born during WWII, so he’s probably in his early 70’s. The two other guys, Todd and Charles, are in their 40’s or 50’s. Both of them hold Technician Class licenses, which they’re looking to upgrade to general.

We’ll meet three more times over the next two or three months to cover the rest of the material for the General exam. The test is administered by Volunteer Examiners. For a General Class test, there have to be three examiners who hold Amateur Extra licenses. Sam is a VE and there’s one other Amateur Extra guy locally who’s also a VE, so they’ll have to bring in a third Amateur Extra VE to have enough VE’s to administer the exam.

I told Sam that I’d have to take the Technician Class exam before I could take the General Class exam because the FCC has no record of my original license back in the 60’s. That’s no problem. A candidate can take one, two, or all three exams at one session, so I’ll do both at one time. In fact, I may just go ahead and take all three. If I pass the Amateur Extra exam in addition to the first two, that’d give us three Amateur Extra licensees locally. I could easily then qualify as a VE, so we’d have enough locals to administer exams without bringing in someone from outside.

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