Category: amateur radio

Sat. Mar. 9, 2024 – non-prepping hobby today, then heading to BOL

Warm and moist, probably grey and overcast. Like yesterday. It was pretty grey most of the day. Some brief periods of sunshine, depending on where you were in town… and I got a couple. Still, no real rain either.

Did my auction stuff in the morning, then started on the errands. First was picking up the ham gear I won in an estate sale. I got a nice all modes, all bands portable radio. It’s 20 years old but still pretty desirable. Yaesu FT-817, with an antenna tuner, and an external speaker. My current plan is to use it at the BOL as a portable, from the dock. I’ve got to get a battery or 13vDC power supply set up, and some sort of antenna, but then I’ll be able to actually take advantage of the nice radio quiet environment, without having to wait until I can build out a whole shack. One of my non-prepping buddies gave me an old cushcraft R4 or R6 multiband vertical antenna, and I can mount that at the dock or on the dockhouse. I can run a wire dipole or inverted v or sloper for lower bands. I’m itching to get on the air up there, so the ham project might jump the queue.

I found an entry door at Habitat reStore for the BOL. That will get me through all but one of my door replacement projects.

I got a costco run in, although most of the stuff I buy wasn’t on sale this cycle. I did manage some OTC meds, and about 40 pounds of beef.

Seems like beef is cheap the last couple of weeks, so I’m a buyer. Australian lamb is cheap too. The price at costco hasn’t fluctuated much over the last 10 years, but it’s actually down a little bit at the moment. Great quality for the money, and a nice change of pace from chicken, beef, and pork. The boneless leg roasts are economical, tasty, and easy to cook. Modern lamb has a lot less of the “gamey” flavor lamb used to have, so if you haven’t tried it in a decade or more, you might be surprised. Chops and rib chops are awesome too.

Today I’ve got my non-prepping hobby meeting, where I’ll share with the board the work I’ve done so far on the website redesign and hosting move. They should be pleased, and if not, they can volunteer instead. Meatspace is important. Community is important. Getting out of the house and talking with real people is important. There are costs though, even if they are minimal. It’s worth it in my estimation to do some volunteering, to be known as a good guy, and one who is willing to help. You get a lot more help if you are known to help others. I might never need it, but I’ve already been introduced to a local group of hams, and met some good folks, sold stuff to them, and gotten a free antenna… nevermind that I’ve had the pleasure of the company of people who share many of my interests for these last few years.

Get out and join a community of interest to you. You never know where it will lead, and it will probably enrich your life.

Stack some friends and acquaintances…

nick

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Fri. Mar. 8, 2024 – another week passed without TEOTWAWKI. Hooray!

Warm and damp. Probably wet and overcast too. Might even rain. Yesterday was overcast most of the day, with some sun in the afternoon depending on where you were. Some people and places even got rain in the evening. Well, hard to call a few drops “rain”, but they did make the windshield wet.

Spent the day doing some domestic bliss- laundry, haircut, picking up stuff around the house… Spent the rest doing auction pickups. Same stuff as most days, except for the haircut. I did get a little bit of moisture from the sky on the truck as I was coming home.

Hit the HEB for some lunch stuff for the kids. Picked up some onsale prime sirloin, vegetables, and stuff to take to the BOL next week. There were a few things on sale but not many.

Today will be auction pickups, namely the ham radio I won last night, and some other things from the same estate sale. I’ll do some more poking at the hobby web site, as I’ll be demoing what I have for the group on Saturday. I didn’t get much done yesterday. So I’ve got some more to do tonight.

I watched the State of the Union address last night, and commented here as I did. Joe held it together longer than he has in the past, but the address itself was classic Joe, more government, more taxing, more fighting issues most people don’t care much about, and more blame for anyone but the career politicians sitting in the room. What I didn’t see was anything to unite the nation, to heal the rift between Right and Left, woke and conservative, sane and insane… I didn’t see any grand plan to make any significant changes, just more of the same, harder.

I don’t think that is going to work. I think we’re on the same path we’ve been on, and I think it leads to disaster for the nation, and a whole lot of dead people.

In short, keep prepping. Stack it high, in several places. Find the people you can trust. Be a trustworthy person. Get ready for change, lots of it, and most of it unpleasant. But know that just as there are still Romans in Rome, we’ll get through whatever is coming.

Preps will help.

nick

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Sun. Mar. 3, 2024 – a day of rest? Not likely…

Cool and overcast but hopefully not wet. Yesterday was supposed to be sunny and clear, but turned out to be overcast and cool in Ft. Bend county anyway. Which was nice. I still managed to get some sun color as I was in it for 11 hours… nothing like if it was sunny though.

Had a successful hamfest swapmeet. Grossed about the same as last year, but sold completely different stuff. Got rid of a few flip top bins. Everyone seemed pretty happy with pricing and several guys came back more than once. I had a good day.

D1 had a bad day. She woke up puking and ran a fever all day. Missed her “color run”. She’s feeling better today, but I haven’t checked her fever yet. I thought it might be food poisoning since none of the rest of us are sick, but the fever suggests otherwise. Hopefully it will resolve today.

W and D2 should be home in the early afternoon. It will be good to have the pack together.

Today I still have to return the trailer and put some unsold items back in storage. That needs to happen in the late morning. I’d rather sleep, but needs must…

Then it will be on to the list of stuff…

Like always.

Still, turned some stuff into money that will be better spent on different stacks. Take a look at your situation, and if you are thinking about selling stuff, do it. People are definitely running out of money.

Stack while you can.

nick

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Sat. Mar. 2, 2024 – at the Greater Houston Hamfest today…

Weather should be sunny and clear with a high of 80F. I’m hoping so, but with some breeze to keep it cooler. I did throw a popup canopy in the truck, but dunno if I’ll have time to set it up. I usually don’t.

Did all my running around and dropping off yesterday. Loaded a small trailer and the truck. Truck is a bit less loaded than past years. And as I’m writing this, I’m remembering something I didn’t load. I’ll get it first thing in the morning.

The Hamfest is a good time, and I never even get inside. If there is one in your area, I definitely encourage you to check it out. And if you are in Houston, or technically Rosenburg, see if you can find me in the parking lot swap meet.

It’s pretty unlikely I’ll check the site or update until I’m home, so y’all behave!

Today I’m stacking money and real life connections. Give it a try!

nick

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Sun. Mar. 19, 2023 – Headed back home, stuff to do there too

Cold this morning.   40F or less.   It stayed cold all day yesterday and the sun only poked through for a short time in the afternoon.  Whatever today ends up being, if it doesn’t rain, I’ll be happy.

Got some small stuff done.  Finished weed-wacking my property and the HOA lot.   Picked up trash along the shore and the community dock.  I hate litter and it doesn’t take long.   Put up another flag pole holder.   Lot of visible patriotism up here.  It’s nice to see.

Helped stand up a 50ft antenna tower and learned a few new things.

Our guests had headed home while I was out, but they had a good time.   It was nice to have people here to share with, and nice to see D2 having fun with a friend.   If it was just a bit warmer, it would have been even better.   Can’t control the weather, I’m not a Bildeburg after all… 😉

Today will be wrapping up everything, getting ready to head home.   If I can cut the grass again, I will.    Some of it was so long it basically got flattened rather than cut.   I don’t want to leave it long for next visit.   There are a couple more smaller projects I can get knocked out too if I’m motivated.

I will say that cold HURTS.   My fingers, knees, nose, ears, and lower back are always sore in the cold.   Still as Kurt Cobain said, the pain lets us know we’re alive.   This weekend I was ALIVE.

Stack up some meatspace people and skills.   Build relationships while people are still open to them.  They won’t be if things get bad, and who you know, and who knows YOU will be very important.

nick

 

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Sat. Mar. 18, 2023 – meatspace baby

Cool, but clear.   Damp, well that’s a given.  Cleared up yesterday and dried out a bit.  I was able to do some work in the sun in shirtsleeves, but it got chilly when the sun went down.

While it was up though, I got some work done.   Got the remainder of the grass mowed.   Got the loose deck boards screwed down on the dock.    Installed white and red rope lights around the edge of the dock.   Put them between the slats on the benches.   Standing, you see them and they mark the edge of the bench and the dock, seated, you only see the glow cast under the benches, but it’s enough to move around, and know where the edges are.   The red is specifically for any astronomy nights.

Spent some time repairing two of my patio heaters.   They wouldn’t stay lit, which suggested thermocouple issues.   Cleaning with a fine sandpaper is usually enough, and that worked on one unit.    The other turned out that the t-couple nut was loose.  Tightened that and it worked fine.   Just in time to provide some much needed heat for movie night.

Found a few minutes to sight in the finder scope on my wife’s 8″ dob.  Unfortunately last night was overcast.   Maybe tonight it will clear up.

Couldn’t do the annual service on my mower because I still haven’t brought a complete tool kit up here.   I needed a socket driver extension to get to the wheel and oil drain bolts.  Oh well, next time.

I finished my mowing anyway, and then did the HOA lot next door.  Part of the community, solid citizen, all around good guy, that’s me.

Speaking of which, I’ll be headed to a not quite a neighbor’s house on the lake this afternoon to help with an antenna tower raising.   More meatspace, more networking.  More finding my place.

Go forth and help someone.  Stack up some community.  We’re all gonna need friends, come the day.

nick

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Wed. Mar. 15, 2023 – groundskeeping… or gas powered slaughter, chlorophyll edition

Cool and dry, a bit windy.   Probably.   Houston was nice, with patchy overcast.   The BOL was sunny and patchy clouds with occasional local showers.   And chilly.   55F by the water last night.

Got the truck loaded, and made it to the BOL.  Met some people in the community (local ham club) where my feeling that everyone here knows everyone else was reinforced 10x…   The LEO knew which house we own as soon as someone said “Bob Johnson’s house”… and the lady sitting next to me has kin on my street.    The guy I’m going to help with his tower lives on the other side of the lake, near where we first were looking for a place.   If we were British the phrase “Are you local?”  would be heard…  and if things go badly I’m sure I’ll hear “y’all ain’t from around here  are you?”

As long as we can fit in, it will all be good.

Gonna work really hard on that.

And stack some stuff.   Lots of stuff.

n

 

 

 

 

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Sun. Mar. 5, 2023 – sleeping in, if my back will let me

Another cool but damp day with clear skies would be nice.   Yesterday was gorgeous.   Sunny, breezy, temp was perfect after a chilly start…

I need to unload and re-stack the stuff that didn’t sell.  Some will not be returning to inventory.  Some will be going on ebay.   I sorted as I packed up, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Wife and D2 will return from their back packing trip later in the day.

Hamfest was a lot of fun.   I like talking to people, running a line of patter, and selling stuff.  I don’t know what official ticket sales looked like but it felt a bit sparse.   The swapmeet area wasn’t well filled out either, which worked ok for those of us that were there.

Several people commented on the cost of living increasing a lot lately.

People were buying smalls for the most part.  I didn’t really see people buying new radios, or big ticket items.   Several people brought their young kids and there were some middle or high school kids too.  Ham radio is a ‘dad’s day out’ thing, even if most of the kids were girls.

Didn’t see as many people who looked like narco trafficantes this time.   That’s a plus.

My best sellers were rack shelves, load bearing vests (mesh tactical vests with molle attachment points) and pistol holsters.   The shelves were a no brainer, but the tactical and gun stuff sold better than I’d expected, and I’m glad I brought them, as the fact they sold means there was an audience for them.

All in all, it was a fun day for me, and most of the attendees seemed happy too.

I’m sore and beat up, with a bit of a sun burn, but I’ll live.

Today will be putting stuff away, returning the trailer, and  nursing sore muscles and skin.

Wherever you buy it, keep stacking!

n

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Sat. Mar. 4, 2023 – join me at that Houston area Hamfest…

Cool and windy, but sun should be out and it should warm up later.   I’d be happy with a repeat of yesterday.  I think I might bring some sun screen, just in case.

I got my Dr appointment done.   Signage sucked, and I ended up being late, but I found it eventually.  Started by heading to storage and loading up the pickup.   One of the weirdest things I have is 9 spools of 12 gauge wire, 500ft.   I bought it for about $20/roll, and it is up to $109.   It is good for home-made antennas, as well as regular electrical wiring.  Even if I discount it for a fast sale, I’ll make good money on it.   I’ve got thousands of dollars of high end point to point 3.3ghz wireless networking too.   IDK if anyone will have the deep pockets, maybe a club… but it sure would be nice to move a couple of them.

I added zelle to my phone so I could get paid for the bigger items.   I’ve already got paypal, and the wife has venmo so I have some sort of way to receive that too.

I found almost everything.   Somewhere, there are a couple of bins of motorola radios that I just couldn’t find.   I found some just not the ones I was looking for.  Oh well.   Found some stuff I didn’t know I had too, so there is balance.

I REALLY REALLY don’t want to put all this stuff back away…

So come out to the Rosenburg Fairgrounds and check out the hamfest.  $15 entry at the door, and there are door prizes.   I’ll be in the parking lot swap meet area.  If you have been paying attention, you should be able to figure me out.

Go out into the world and stack some stuff.

nick

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Fri. Mar. 3, 2023 – busy day today

Cooler, and hopefully clear.  Rain is supposed to have passed us by in the night.  It was overcast, threatening rain, and we did get a bit of light misty drizzle in the evening yesterday.   By 11pm we were getting a little rain, but nothing like the straightline winds that were predicted.

The BOL got heavy wind and had power outages in the area.  No idea what really happened until we hear from the neighbors, or someone shares on the local FB group.

Did some errands a preparation for the Hamfest yesterday.  Most of the afternoon got eaten by a trip to the bank to deposit a check though.   The check was too big to use the self deposit feature in the app.   The nearest branch is 10 miles away, on a rainy day, around the time schools get out and people start going home… so normally  heavy traffic as well as weather related crashes.   Joy.

Since I was delayed anyway, I swung through a regular Goodwill store on my way home.   Stock was low, but I did find a book and a couple of DVDs.   I really went in for pants, but didn’t find anything I liked.   It happens that way sometimes.

Hit my storage unit on the way home for two table tops, two CB radios, and a bunch of antennas.  Today I’ll be piling up all the stuff I’m loading on the truck and trailer for the swapmeet.   Gotta pick up the trailer first, then hit another location, then back home to rearrange and load.   I better leave early and come home late… and NOT spend a bunch of time on the internet with my friends.

I’ve got a Dr appointment at 11, which will complicate all the other stuff.  Couldn’t get it earlier and get it out of the way.

There will be some ‘playing it by ear’ today.

The Hamfest swapmeet is a great example of the secondary economy.   There are people who make their living (or part of it anyway) by traveling from show to show and selling directly to the attendees.   For locals, it’s a great way to get a bargain on gear, meet LMIs, and avoid CC and paper trails, if that is something you worry about.

In any case, get out and buy something, then stack it up!

nick

 

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