Sun. Mar. 8, 2020 – when they steal an hour from our lives…

Cooler, and hopefully rain free…

Yesterday never got as warm as predicted, and at least at the Ft Bend Fairgrounds, a gorgeous morning with a fantastic sunrise ended up a gloomy blustery overcast day.

I hope today is dry so that I can work on getting the driveway cleaned up and the hamfest stuff put away for another year. I need to clear space to bring home several tubs from my secondary location. They are far enough away that a local quarantine would put them out of reach.

I still am planning as if we weren’t going to WDW next week. Wife is still planning to go, as of Friday. Our school district sends an email every day that they are cleaning and following official state and city guidance. We’re so fukced. I didn’t prepare for the last 6 years to get this stupid bug now. If this were a book, no one would believe the prepper main character going to a swapmeet ahead of a trip to Disneyworld AT SPRING BREAK during a pandemic outbreak of a deadly disease. One of the most refreshing things about John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising is that when the family gets word, they ACT. Of course they then spend another month F’ing around in NYFC waiting for things to get untenable… unlike them, we don’t have a vaccine.

Please add hand lotion to your ‘last run’ if you don’t already have a good stock. My hands are RAW. All the wiping, hand washing, and bleach are brutal on hands.

Speaking of bleach, I literally washed my cash from the swapmeet in bleach solution. I’m waiting for it to dry to count it. It left the wash water tinged beige. Just saying. Wife is doing a cookie booth later today. FFS. And I’d like to wash that money too.

Aesop points out that it’s not just the number of sick people overwhelming the medical system, it’s the lost work time as 10s or 100s of thousands are unable to work for 3-5 weeks or more. That’s a BIG hit to the economy, as china will find out.

the common AB drug that is unavailable might be doxy… it fits the description. A little birdy told me they are working on getting production up in the US but it will be ‘a while’.

For some reason, the 5 extra deodorants I thought I had in the cabinet are AWOL. It’s always something you thought was covered.

Hospitals are already conserving PPEs, and NYFC is conserving firefighters by keeping them off possible Covid calls. EMS is F’d. I guess they hope to keep fighting fires, when they come, but have written off the EMS as a lost cause.

Consider hospital staffing levels when they lose a whole ER shift to quarantine every time some joker walks in with WuFlu unannounced. Rinse and repeat for a few weeks. Now break your arm in a fall…..

Did I mention I think we’re F’d? And we have more interlocking dependencies than China, so we have more breakable systems.

Keep stacking, and turn your clock forward for the time stealers.*

n

*the spring forward part is for real, the time stealing government flunkies part, not so much.

Sat. Mar. 7, 2020 – Hamfest today, also regional convention…

Cool, sunny, and probably windy.

Yesterday was gorgeous. Cool, breezy and sunny. I’ve got a bit of sunburn or wind burn from being out all afternoon. I’ll probably have worse by the end of today.

Spent the morning getting ready, taking calls, and having the roof looked at. Spent the afternoon hitting two storage units and my secondary location to get a bunch of stuff together for the hamfest. I’ll spend today standing in a parking lot selling a bunch (hopefully) and trying not to get sick.

Speaking of getting sick… get prepped. It doesn’t matter whether you think this is nothing or the end of the world. YOUR NEIGHBOR can get sick, and then you are confined to your home with no warning. Get some food etc in and be ready. Make your last run to the store and then step back from the edge.

Lots of people are getting sick. Telling me that it’s just every adult in my life and the kids’ grandparents who are the only ones seriously at risk ISN’T comforting BTW. It smacks of the arrogance of youth. Just saying.

And with that, I’m headed out. Wife and second daughter are at away camp. First daughter is with friends. I’m gonna go hang with one of my tribes.

n

And KEEP STACKING.

added- Divemedic has a disturbing anecdote — http://street-pharmacy.blogspot.com/2020/03/flash-we-are-being-misled.html Ask yourself how many others like that are in FL. Where they have a HUGE incentive to keep the numbers down.

Also this- St Cecilia’s Church is about 3.5 miles away. We have one friend that attends there but not on Ash Wednesday.

“Important Message from St. Cecilia Regarding Coronavirus:

Today, late in the afternoon, Harris County Public Health made us aware that an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus, attended the 5:30 pm Ash Wednesday Mass on February 26th here at St. Cecilia. Harris County Public Health also told us this individual received ashes and had communion in the hand; the person did not receive communion from the cup. We were informed that the individual sat in the last pew on the left side of the Church at this service. If you sat in the last 3 rows on the left side of the Church at the 5:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass, you are asked to contact Harris County Public Health at 713-439-6000. We also urge anyone experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus to seek medical attention immediately.

St. Cecilia has taken the following to help protect its parishioners:
• We drained and sanitized the baptismal fonts; it will not be filled for the remainder of the Lenten season
• We sanitized pews, door handles, and bathrooms
• We are providing hand sanitizers at all the church entrances

If you are unwell or uncomfortable coming to mass or in crowded places, please stay home and join us in prayer. In addition, please keep those who have been affected by the coronavirus in your prayers.”

Fri. Jan. 26th, 2018 Finally Friday

It has been a long week. Busy weekend of work and family ahead too, but at least the weather should be a bit better.

53F and mostly clear in Houston today. I took a look at my citrus trees and they don’t look good. Between the cold and being covered, all the leaves are pretty much shrunken and dried. I guess I’ll see if they recover in a few more weeks. I certainly hope so. The grapefruit I got this year is delicious.

It feels like we’re wrapping up winter, and getting ready for spring. I got the last of the Christmas stuff down and put away (didn’t want to do it wet). It’s unlikely we’ll have more sub-freezing temperatures. The yard and garden are brown and a mess, but we’ll soon see what we can get started on. I might just throw down some native wildflowers in the front yard flower beds.

This definitely feels like a time of transition… both in the natural world, in society, and personally. Transitional times are tricky. They are a time when the smallest influences can lead to big changes. I think they call for conservatism, balance, a ‘centeredness’, and being prepared to move in any direction either defensively or to take advantage of opportunity.

This is a good time to take a step back from daily strife, and re-evaluate where you are, where you want to be, and your plan for getting there. If there ever was a time to position yourself to move freely in any direction, this is certainly it.

nick

Saturday, 14 October 2017

09:06 – It was 54.5F (12.5C) when I took Colin out at 0625, mostly cloudy. Cooler weather is starting to move in. Our low temperature on Monday is forecast to be just above freezing.

I’m trying to get my application for ARRL Volunteer Examiner (VE) status completed and submitted. A VE functions basically as an exam proctor, keeping an eye out to avoid cheating, scoring the tests completed by license candidates, and submitting the results to the FCC. SPARC, the Sparta Amateur Radio Club, is currently running a training class for people who want to get their Technician Class license. There are a dozen students, which surprised me.

Administering the exam requires at least three VE’s be present. At this point, I believe SPARC has four VE’s. Unfortunately, two of them are related to some of the people who are taking the exam, which means they can’t be VE’s for that exam session. So I offered to become a VE.

At first, I thought it’d be easy. One of the current VE’s sent me the application form to become a VE with the Western Carolina VEC. I filled that out. All it required was my license and contact information and the names of three references. With their permission, I used the three VE’s who’d been examiners at my own exam. I submitted the form by email, and heard nothing. A week or so ago, one of the current VE’s sent me the VE application form to become a VE with the ARRL VEC (rather than the Western Carolina VEC).

That one requires a lot more work, including studying a 96-page VE manual and then completing a test. They say it’s not actually a test, but it sure looks like one. Then I have to submit all the paperwork and wait to be approved. I’ll try to get that complete and submitted in the next couple of days.

Of course, since I have only a General Class license, I’ll be qualified as a VE only for Tech Class exams. At some point, I’ll get my Extra Class license, which will qualify me as a VE for all three license classes.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

09:56 – It was 59.1F (15C) when I took Colin out around 0630 this morning, overcast and breezy. Barbara is cleaning house this morning. This afternoon, more science kit stuff.

We spent yesterday afternoon and evening at the local amateur radio club’s Field Day event. First time in more than 40 years I’d pressed the transmit button on a ham radio. It worked.

We had a hard time finding the park where the event was held. That’s not the first time that’s happened to me. For a small town of about 1,800 population, it can be hard to find things around here. When we first moved up here, I went off in search of the local LDS Church. I knew its street address. I found it on a town map. We drove around in circles looking for it. We could actually see it. I know it sounds stupid, but we couldn’t find any way to actually get to it. We even drove through the parking lot and loading dock area of a nearby factory. We spotted a driveway that was a secondary entrance but it had a steel gate lowered to block it. I still haven’t been to visit the place.

Yesterday, we knew that the park we were looking for was at the end of Trojan Drive, which is where the high school is. We drove around for 10 minutes or so looking for a park. No luck. Finally, we were sitting at the entrance to the high school driveway. We’d agreed that no way could it be up there, but with no other choice we drove up the driveway. Sure enough, there was an small access road leading off to the left, up past the athletic fields, tennis courts, and so on. So we headed up that road and eventually spotted a small drive branching off to the right. We took that, and found ourselves in a gravel parking lot, but with no obvious park facilities. So we retraced our route and continued up the access road. Finally, we spotted a shelter with a couple cars parked near it. If this wasn’t the place, I was thinking we should just give up and head home. But it ended up being the right place.

There were only three or four people there, but over the next hour or so more people showed up, until we had 20 or so adults total. Of those, probably a dozen or so were hams, with the rest being non-ham spouses. The average age was probably about Barbara’s and my age, although there was one 18-year-old guy and his 15-yo girlfriend.

There were six or eight rigs set up on the picnic tables. Everything from a home-made QRP rig that dated back to the 70’s to recent Icom and Yaesu base stations. Over the course of the day, different people were operating on 10-, 20-, and 40-meters, talking to other hams all over the US. One guy even ran CW for a while. And, of course, lots of us were active on the local 2-meter repeater.

The email said kids were welcome, so we took Colin along. He had the time of his life. Lots of new friends to pet him and share scraps with him. We kept him on a roller leash all day, just on general principles, but he was so well-behaved that we didn’t really need to.

I was pleased with the performance of the BaoFeng UV-82. It’s a PITA to program, but once I got it set to hit the repeater (with a lot of help from another ham), signal strength was excellent, even using just the stock rubber-duck antenna. The battery also did well. I’d charged it fully before we left the house. It ran for about six hours, at maybe 90/8/2 standby/receive/transmit, and at the end of the evening it was still showing a full charge.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

09:31 – It was 65.4F (18.5C) when I took Colin out around 0645 this morning, bright and sunny. When I looked a few minutes ago, we were up to 81.7F (27+C). Barbara is washing her car and doing other outside stuff this morning. This afternoon we do still more science kit stuff.

My Amazon order arrived yesterday morning, with a name-brand programming cable and a Nagoya NA-771 whip antenna for the UV-82. I plugged the cable into a USB port, connected and turned on the radio, and fired up CHIRP to program it. CHIRP didn’t see the UV-82. Ruh-Roh.

So I brought up a terminal and typed:

dmesg | grep FTDI

That returned the following, which told me the driver was installed and working.

[4329131.762676] usb 1-3.1.7.4: Manufacturer: FTDI
[4329131.765293] ftdi_sio 1-3.1.7.4:1.0: FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected
[4329131.765800] usb 1-3.1.7.4: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0

As it turned out, the problem was that my account wasn’t in the dialout group, so I had no access to ttyUSB0. That was easy enough to fix. I just added my account to the dialout group, logged out and back in, and everything worked as expected. CHIRP recognized that the UV-82 was connected, so I downloaded and saved a copy of the default channel programming. That was kind of weird, incidentally. It looked pretty much random.

I then attempted to upload to the radio that CHIRP template that had 99 emergency frequencies pre-defined. It blew up with ERROR in every field. Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, it did the same thing two or three years ago when I first tried to program one of my UV-82 radios. IIRC, the problem then was that that template wasn’t formatted correctly. It was in CSV format, which CHIRP expects, but there were errors in the way the fields were laid out.

So I next uploaded one of the default templates that’s supplied with the CHIRP package, which included FRS/GMRS frequencies. That one uploaded fine to the radio. When I disconnected it, turned it off and then back on, the FRS/GMRS frequencies displayed as expected. So now I need to bring up the emergency frequencies template in a text editor and figure out again what the problem is.

Friday, 23 June 2017

09:10 – It was 67.9F (20C) when I took Colin out around 0645 this morning, damp and overcast. Barbara is off to the gym and supermarket this morning. This afternoon we do science kit stuff.

I forgot to mention that our purple-top white globe turnips failed miserably. We knew they were best planted in autumn, but decided to try planting a row of them this spring. They apparently flourished, but last weekend when Barbara and Al were working in the garden they decided to dig one up. It looked fine, but when they cut it open it was full of worms. So were all the others.

So we’ll plant another row of them in September and see how they do. One of the local gardeners Barbara knows recommended applying borax to keep the worms away from them. We’ll try that.

Email from Brittany about my post yesterday. She and her husband started studying for their Technician Class ham licenses a month or so ago. They’re taking it slow and easy since the next exam session anywhere close to them isn’t until August. One of their neighbors is a serious ham, and got them started by giving them a tour of his shack and demonstrating how everything worked.

They were intimidated by the room full of gear, and figured that it’d cost them thousands to get into ham radio. When he told them that they could get on the air with a radio each for less than $100 total, they thought he was kidding. He showed them one of his throwaway BaoFeng UV-5R transceivers that was set up to hit the local repeater, and told them that it was a $25 radio.

After reading my post yesterday, Brittany and her husband decided to order a UV-82 for each of them, each radio with a spare battery, whip antenna, and speaker/mic. They also got a name-brand programming cable, and downloaded/installed CHIRP. They plan to have the radios ready to go on-the-air the moment they get their licenses.

 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

08:37 – It was 64.5F (18C) when I took Colin out around 0630 this morning, mostly cloudy. Barbara is off to Winston today to get a haircut, make a Costco run, have lunch with friends, and do some miscellaneous errands.


Ruh-roh. Lisa has hooked up with Jen and Brittany. These women are going to take over the world, I tell you.

I got email overnight from Lisa, CC’d to Jen and Brittany, congratulating me on getting my ham radio ticket. Lisa had been thinking about ham radio for a while, and asked me what she needed to do, on a budget, to get started. What to do, how to get licensed, what to buy, etc. As happens so often, she wanted to know exactly what I did because she intends to copy me. So, with the usual provisos that she is not me and what’s right for me isn’t necessarily right for her, here’s what I told her:

How to Get Started

First, go to http://www.arrl.org/find-a-club and locate the nearest ham radio club. Contact them and attend the next club meeting. Take your family along and let them know you’re interested in getting licensed. I’ve never met a ham who wasn’t friendly and eager to get others involved in the hobby. You’ll find the club very welcoming.

Find out if they offer classes for getting your license, and when and where the license exams occur. The exam for the entry-level Technician Class license and the second-level General Class license each comprises 35 questions from a published pool of 400+ questions. You don’t absolutely have to attend classes to pass your exam. Many people do so just by using on-line ham resources like hamexam.org, which has the question pool (with correct answers), flash cards, and sample tests.

If you’re interested only in local two-way communications–say within a 20-or 30-mile radius or within your county–all you need is your Technician Class license, and that exam is pretty easy to pass. If you’re interested in talking with other hams around the country or around the world, you’ll also want to take the General Class exam, which offers almost complete ham privileges. The General Class exam is harder than the Technician Class, but is still pretty easy.

Once you decide which license class each of you wants to get, start preparing for the exam. If you wish, you can buy the official ARRL study manuals for Technician and General Class, but chances are you’ll do fine just drilling on hamexam.org.

The tests are administered by a group of three Volunteer Examiners. There is usually a $10 per person charge for an exam session. During that session, you can take only the Technician Class exam if you wish, but if you pass that you can go on to take the General Class exam without paying any more. In fact, you can take all three, including the top-level Amateur Extra exam, at one session for the one $10 charge. You have to pass each lower level before you’re allowed to take the next level up.

What to Buy

Again, I’ll emphasize that what I recommend here isn’t best for everyone, but it’ll certainly get you started well.

⊕ Transceivers are available in hand-held versions (called HT’s for handy-talkies), mobile versions designed to install in the dashboard of your vehicle, and base station versions that are designed to sit on a desk or table at home. Nowadays, most hams start with an HT, and many never use anything else.

HT’s are available in a wide range of prices. Name-brand units (Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood, etc.) are generally quite expensive ($150 to several times that), and are limited to transmitting only on amateur radio frequencies. No-name Chinese models (BaoFeng/Pofung, etc.) are much, much less expensive (typically $20 to maybe $70), and can transmit across a broad range of frequencies, typically 136 to 174 MHz and 400 to 520 MHz). That range includes the amateur 2-meter and 70-cm (440 MHz) bands, but also includes many other services, such as FRS/GMRS, MURS, Marine Band, Business Band, etc. Many experienced hams dislike these programmable HTs for just that reason, while most preppers love them, for just that reason.

You might think you couldn’t possibly get much of a radio for a quarter to a tenth or less the price of a name-brand model, but you’d be wrong. A $30 BaoFeng HT has specifications (power output, sensitivity, selectivity, etc.) very similar to a $300 Icom or Yaesu.

There’s not much difference in terms of construction quality, either. One guy on Youtube torture-tested a $30 Chinese HT. He froze it, baked it, drenched it with a hose, and ran over it with his truck. Each time, it kept on working. Finally, he drenched it with gasoline and set it on fire. When the fire finally burned out, the case was charred and melted and the rubber-duck antenna was just a naked coil of wire. And it still worked. Note that he tested the UV-5R, which “feels” like a consumer-grade radio. The UV-82 “feels” a lot more like a commercial/industrial-grade model.

In fact, the commercial model of the UV-82, the UV-82C, is widely used by government and NGO emergency services agencies and volunteer groups that work with them. The only difference between the C model and the regular UV-82 is that the former costs about $60 rather than $30 and is a Type Accepted Part 90 device. It has had keypad access to VFO disabled, so new frequencies can’t be input from the keypad. These units have to be programmed with a computer and cable.

So I have no hesitation in recommending these radios for new ham operators, particularly those on a budget. You can buy a $30 model and use it as-is. If you want to accessorize it, you can spend another $10 or $20 each on things like a spare battery, a battery eliminator that let’s you plug into the cigarette lighter socket in your car, a AAA battery adapter that lets you use AAA alkalines or NiMH rechargeable, a good whip antenna, a speaker/mic, and so on.

So, what specific items do I recommend for getting started on a budget?

BaoFeng UV-82 HT – buy one or more of these. They run about $30 each. Assuming all of your group are getting their ham licenses, buy one for each of them. You can use them legally on the 2-meter and 70-cm ham bands to communicate directly between units (simplex mode) or with local repeaters (duplex mode) to extend your comm range over probably a 50- to 100-mile radius.

BaoFeng programming cable – The UV-82 has 99 programmable channels. You can program it manually, from the keypad on the radio, but it’s much easier to use a programming cable connected to your computer. This genuine BaoFeng Tech cable costs about $20, but it Just Works. Don’t make the mistake of buying one of the cheaper clone cables for $6 or whatever. They use an obsolete chipset that requires old drivers that screw up your computer. The cheap cables are nothing but headaches. You only need one programming cable no matter how many units you need to program, unless you just want a second one as a spare. (two is one …)

Download a free copy of the CHIRP software (available for Linux, MAC OS, or Windows) and use it to program your radios. You can also download various templates for CHIRP that include groups of 99 useful frequencies. Here’s one example, which includes a useful set of frequencies for preppers.

CHIRP templates are stored as simple CSV files, which you can edit with any text editor. You might want to edit the template mentioned above to remove some of the less useful frequencies (like the PMR446 group, which are kind of the European equivalent of the US FRS/GMRS frequencies). You can then use those free channels for 2-meter and 70-cm ham frequencies that are popular in your area for either simplex (direct unit-to-unit) or duplex (repeater). Programming frequencies, mode, etc. is very easy once you look at the CSV file. Pretty much self-explanatory.

The UV-82 itself comes with a charging base, battery, and rubber-duck antenna, which is all you really NEED to get on the air. I consider the programming cable and CHIRP almost a necessity, so I also included it above. There are also several optional items you might WANT. Here are the most popular ones:

Nagoya NA-771 replacement antenna – this 15.6″ dual-band whip antenna costs about $17 and is a direct screw-in replacement for the rubber duck antenna included with the radio. It is much, much more efficient and effective than the standard antenna. Using it can easily double the effective range of your UV-82.

⊕ BaoFeng BL-8 7.4V 1800 mAh battery – you’ll probably want a spare battery for each of your UV-82 HT’s. Battery life is good on the UV-82, but if you ever need to run your HT’s 24×7, spare batteries for each are critical.

Buy the Nagoya-branded antenna and BaoFeng-branded battery, and buy them on Amazon from BaoFeng Tech or BTech (same vendor), which is the authorized US distributor for BaoFeng. Do NOT buy them if Amazon is listed as the vendor. Amazon and its third-party vendors are both notorious for shipping counterfeit products. The branded units from BTech/BaoFeng Tech cost about the same price Amazon charges if they’re selling them, and BTech doesn’t charge sales tax to most locations. Amazon ships it, but BaoFeng Tech is the seller.

BaoFeng battery eliminator – this $16 item has a cigarette lighter plug on one end. The other end looks just like the UV-82 battery, and slides onto the HT in place of the real battery. You’ll probably want at least one or two of these, and maybe one for each radio or at least each vehicle, if you plan to use them a lot in vehicles. Once again, buy these from BTech or BaoFeng Tech as the vendor.

BL-8 AAA battery – another $16 item that’s basically just an empty battery housing for the UV-82. It lets you use AAA alkaline or rechargeables. Interestingly, this adapter requires only five alkaline AAA’s but SIX NiMH rechargeable AAA’s. That’s because the real battery is 7.4V. Five alkalines is 7.5V, which is close enough; six NiMH’s is 7.2V, which again is close enough. But if you put six alkalines in this adapter, it’s delivering 9V, which is too much. The UV-82 apparently continues to work, but it won’t transmit. That’s why this adapter includes a dummy/spacer battery, for when you use alkalines. Again, buy these only from BaoFeng Tech or BTech as the vendor.

⊕ Finally, if you can find it, you might want a clone-and-copy cable. I bought one of these from Amazon back in 2013 or so but they’re now listed as no longer available. Like the programming cable, they have a two-prong connector on one end, but instead of having a USB connector on the other, they have a second two-prong connector. That allows you to connect two UV-82 HT’s directly together and transfer the programming from one unit to the other. The only reason you’d use this is if you don’t have access to a working computer to program units directly. And, if absolutely necessary, you can program units directly from their keypads. So this is definitely an optional item.

So this is what I recommend, in the sense that this is what I actually did and bought.

 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

09:56 – It was 62.6F (17C) when I took Colin out around 0700 this morning, mostly cloudy. Barbara is off to the gym. We’re working on kit stuff this afternoon.

Barbara brought home a “Herd Starter Kit” from the golf tournament yesterday. It’s a small plastic bag that contains what looks like four Lima bean seeds with black spots on them. But the label assures us that if we plant them properly and keep them watered they’ll produce four heifers to get our herd started. No instructions, alas, on when and how to pick them or how to save seeds to ensure an ongoing supply of cows.

As I was looking up my own ham radio license in the FCC database yesterday, I had a thought. I started checking to see if various PA novelists were in the database. Franklin Horton is, although the FCC thinks he lives in Huntington Beach, CA. Chris Weatherman (AKA Angery American) is, under his real address in Umatilla, FL. Steven Bird is, also under his real address. I was surprised that Konkoly isn’t in the database. Nor is Forstchen, Akart, Craven, Mann, nor numerous other PA novelists.

Then I started looking up people who have prepping websites. Lisa Bedford (Survival Mom) is in there, as is Pat Henry. There are ten Creekmore listings, but none of them for M. D., nor is Rawles in there, nor several others that I’d have expected to find.

Being a good boy, I’ve played by the rules. I haven’t keyed the transmitter on any of my 2-meter/440 handhelds because I wasn’t yet licensed. So now the next step is to get these things programmed and working. The BaoFeng programming cables are a PITA. Supposedly, the name-brand ones just work, with Windows or Linux, because they have a current chipset. The cheap ones, including the ones supplied by most BaoFeng vendors, use an older chipset. If you try to use the cable under Linux, it just doesn’t work. If you try to use it under Windows, it downloads an old driver that screws up your Windows installation even worse than Microsoft screws it up to start with.

I do have one of the official BaoFeng cables that does work, but it’s buried downstairs behind stacks of furniture and other stuff. So my choices at this point are to wait until I can get to it or to program this UV-82 manually with the local 2M repeater frequencies.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

07:52 – It was 59.0F (15C) when I took Colin out around 0620 this morning, damp and overcast. Barbara had to leave at 0630. She’s volunteering all day at the charity golf tournament that benefits the Wellness Center.

Well, it’s official, or will be when it shows up in the FCC database, probably later today. I’m again a licensed amateur radio operator, after a gap of 40 years. And, for the first time in my 64 years, I failed a test.

Since the FCC had completely forgotten about me, I had to start by taking the Technician Class exam. I blew through that in about eight minutes, at which point the examiners handed me the General Class exam. I blew through that one pretty quickly as well.

After she graded the General Class exam, one of the examiners said I’d passed it as well, congratulated me on doing so, and asked since I’d aced both Technician and General if I wanted to try taking the Amateur Extra Class exam. At first, I demurred. The other two guys who were taking their GC exams had already finished, it was already 2030, and I said I didn’t want to hold them up. She and her husband, the second examiner, assured me that they weren’t in any hurry, as did Sam, the third examiner and the guy who’d taught the class. So they talked me into it. I hadn’t even glanced at the Amateur Extra material or test questions, so I knew going in that there was a very small chance I’d pass. But what the hell, why not try it? So I did. And failed it. Oh well.

As I’ve mentioned, the only one I cared about was the Tech exam. I don’t intend to use anything other than 2 meters and 440, so that’s all I needed. The only reason to get Amateur Extra was if I wanted to qualify as a Volunteer Examiner who could administer tests for all three classes. And I may still do that at some point, but I’m happy for now with what I have.


I started seeing this message a week or two ago on the conservative sites Hotair and Townhall. The message is identical on both sites.

You are seeing this page because ads cannot be shown

Ads allow us to pay the content creators of this site.
Why is this happening?

One of your browser extensions is blocking ads or scripts
How to fix this:

Which ad block extension do you have installed?

Adblock Plus

Click the red octagon with “ABP” on the upper-right hand corner of the screen.
Select Disable on to allow ads.
Refresh the page.

AdBlock

Click the red octagon with the hand on the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
Select Don’t run on pages on this domain to allow ads.
In the “Don’t run AdBlock on“ dialog box, select Exclude. The AdBlock icon changes to a “thumbs up” image.
Refresh the page.

I’ve unbookmarked both sites because they don’t follow my acceptable site policy, which simply stated is:

o It is unacceptable for any site to run any type of ads whatsoever under any circumstances whatsoever.

o It is unacceptable for any site to interfere in any way with the functions of any ad-blocker, popup blocker, or script blocker.

o It is unacceptable for any site to use a paywall to limit access to some or all of its content.

o It is unacceptable for any site to require any form of registration, including even an email address, and whether that registration is free or paid, to access the content on that site.

o The only acceptable form of monetization is for a site to implement a micro-payments system that allows users of that site to pay a clearly-defined and readily-visible amount for each article or page that user views. Breaking articles into multiple pages to increase the cost to users of viewing an article is unacceptable.