Wednesday, December 29, 2010
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Time has flown by these last few months, hope you're enjoying the Holidays, and perhaps some DX. I haven't had the chance since my last post to check conditions, and where I used to check spaceweather.com every day, I didn't get around to it until last week (the day of the eclipse). Still moving stuff, and while we didn't have any snow - we did get a cold, windy Christmas!
Last week was slow, with very few calls but a lot of walk-in traffic. A virus had done something to wreck the boot record so the computer couldn't boot. My Boss had me type in two separate commands and it was back in business. I wrote those commands down and circled them on my scratch pad I carry with me.
Yesterday I visited someone whose Daughter had run a file called Xmas.exe, and shortly afterwards he was left with a blinking cursor on his laptop. After trying the usual stuff I was about ready to tell him I'd have to take it back to the shop when I remembered those two commands. I had a disk to get me to the system and ran the two commands and it booted to Windows fine. After the boot, I used the usual stuff to eradicate the Trojan. Good thing I wrote those down eh?
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
IT'S BEEN BUSY.....
On another occasion, Robin and I were out at a club (you'll read about it later) when she pointed out the woman in front of me, and the tag hanging out of the back. We couldn't understand why her husband hadn't told her about it, but the bugger for me was that I just couldn't ignore it. Once it was pointed out to me, my eyes were constantly drawn to it as if it were a giant ZIT. I spent the rest of the night wondering if I should discreetly tell her about it, or not.
From there we travel to my Dad's house where we made a long overdo visit. We combined general visits with a late Father's Day trip. My brother Glenn, in the first picture was getting ready to take a picture of Dad, Robin, and myself.
I had to get a picture of this poor fellow because he had a look on his face that just said "OH GOD, SOMEONE GET ME OUTTA HERE".
I found a scruffy looking fella in the "Meet the Breeds" section.....
(I think Robin liked "Scruffy" too.....)
About a week from Robin's Birthday, Glenn took us downtown to see the Broadway-across-America version of "Wicked", a humorous musical about the "TRUE" story behind the wicked witch of OZ. The sets were great, the costumes were great - and we had a great time.
Afterwards, we went to a really nice steak house, that had a great view of an outside garden. Mario, our waiter, was the one manning the camera.
YEP!! That's Pauly Shore on stage at a local comedy club. Robin surprised me with tickets to see him, and I guess I didn't really look that happy, but I've never been much for surprises, and the tickets were for that very night. Robin likes to surprise me, and by golly, I'm going to try my best to change, because she's so wonderful.
Oh - and yes, Pauly was pretty darn funny that night!
Her Birthday arrived, and she picked a popular Jazz cafe with live music to go to. It wasn't quite what we expected ($20 just to get in), and had a limited menu, but I can tell ya - those red beans'n rice were excellent (I got a second helping). The band was a bit late starting but once they did, all was well, EXCEPT, the stupid tag (mentioned earlier) on the back of the woman's dress in front of me.
Not quite last, nor least, we went out one Saturday night to see a Pink Floyd cover band. The place was crowded, but Robin got a great table and seats right at the edge of the dance floor. Like any amateur band, some guys in the group play really well, and others...just get by. We had a lot of food to put away and somewhere along the line I guess I went into a food coma.
Robin's Birthday week ended on a Sunday at her folks house, where everyone got together and sing off-key a rousing chorus of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY".
Robin met her friend Angie for the traditional Birthday lunch get together, and catch up on things that may have happened in the last six months or so.
And that's where my "What have you been up to lately Woody" ends. Liner Notes: We did see the movie "Inception" and recommend it to anyone who would like to see an originally conceived, intelligent movie that is a lot of fun, and keeps you thinking about it for sometimes afterwards. I'm working with the Publisher on my book, and it's going at a nice slow pace which allows time to think various options over. My Son Chris and his wife Ada came by for a visit during this busy period as well, and they're "expecting". If you haven't noticed, Sunspot numbers have been climbing (several days into the high 50's), so dust off those rigs you have stored in the closet - it's almost time!
WHEW!! The only thing left to say is 'NUFF SAID...
Sunday, July 25, 2010
SUNSPOTS KEEP COMING
It looks like we're slowly entering the next sunspot cycle as numbers continue to improve. Today's reading:
What this means to you - DX or "SKIP" conditions will become more frequent so those frequencies that have been somewhat dead in the last year (both HAM and CB) will start filling up as operators come out of the woodwork once they realize conditions are favorable.
PICTURE REQUEST - GOING, GOING......
But not quite "GONE". If you have pictures of yourself, or shack from the 60's/70's during the CB boom and still would like to have them included in my book, please e-mail me.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
MY TOP TEN PICKS OF: CB EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEVER RUN OUT OF SEEING ON EBAY
Sure, there's more than 10, but I tried to stick to things that were at least 30 years old, and most, but not all were bid up to unrealistic prices (as if they were "rare"). So here are my picks:
- Astatic D-104
- E.F. Johnson "Whiteface"
- Turner Plus 2
- Turner Plus 3
- Courier 23
- Lafayette HE-20
- E.F. Johnson 250 Anniversary Base
- Midland 23 channel AM Mobile's (any of 'em)
- CB SAMS
- Realistic TRC-30
Of the ten items listed, I think it's a tie between the D-104 and the CB-SAMS. The Astatics will always sell for more than they're actually worth, while the SAMS will linger until a law is passed banning the sale of paper items - there's just too many of them out there.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Monday, July 05, 2010
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
CB Ham Coax Cable. 18'
RG8X (Mini 8) Coax Jumpers
Made From High Quality Belden Cable
Hand-Soldered Amphenol PL-259's
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
ANYONE REMEMBER THESE?
I remember quite a few, if not most of the CB and related equipment from the olden days, but I guess I was sleeping in '68 when Radio Shack sold this strange - yet innovative product called "CB SLAVES" (ed. - could be a movie eh? 'Nuff said).
I guess they never really took off, and I've never seen a pair for sale, but if you had these back then, let me know what you thought of 'em! (click on the smaller image to get a readable full size ad).
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
[RAY-DEE-OH ZOM-BEES - 1.Elitist 2. To look down upon. 3. NOS, or bust.4. Picky]
I came across this thought the other day while perusing some equipment ads on a popular website which sells used HAM gear. Some ads had pictures, others only with descriptions. Most of the advertisements having pictures allowed you to click on them to allow you to see it all up close and I found myself mumbling stuff like "Hmmm, scuff mark", "Scratched bezel", or, "Looks more than only 3 months old to me". Suddenly, I realized what I'd been saying to myself, and fervently began to look for bite marks on my body! I didn't see any, yet still I wondered: "Had I become a Radio Zombie?"
But then, slowly but surely, steadfastly and fashionably, Zombism attacked from within the shack itself - yes, we were slowly becoming aware of regular bathing and grooming, and...cleanliness. We slowly turned into Radio Zombies, demanding only NOS looking gear which would be fastidiously stacked, arranged, photographed, and displayed on a web page for all to see. If you have a used rig for sale (today) that is sans original box and scuffed up a bit from Field Day use, you can hang it up right there - it will be a tough sell.
I owned an ICOM IC-725 for a time, and it was butt ugly. Beside numerous scratches and dings, it was missing the power button, forcing me to come up with a variety of creative techniques in powering it ON, then OFF, while using it mobile. Rough on the outside, yet tough where it counted. When I did sell the rig, it wasn't an easy sell but finally I found someone who was just happy to get his first HF rig. Perhaps his first shack was like my first shack - a piece of wood for the table, cut to the width of a small closet, supported by cinder blocks. It wasn't pretty, and it wouldn't make the cover of a magazine, but it served it's purpose. I've tried to maintain the same "if it works, use it" attitude throughout the years. Maybe one day in the future, I'll have a shack decked out with new looking rigs & other various gear, dusted and arranged perfectly on an expensive desk......nah, just kidding.
See the first definition of a Radio Zombie - it's "Elitist". These are the guys that (usually) are found on various HAM group websites quick to point fingers and slur a fellow HAM with their smarmy term General "Light" or HAM "Light". I don't know who came up with the term (used for new amateurs who weren't required to take and pass a code exam), comparing it to beer (REAL beer tastes good; LIGHT beer is not as good) but it's been picked up by similar minded amateurs that seem to look down upon the new breed of Amateur Radio operators who became a HAM after the Morse Code element was dropped from the exam. They're also quick to talk about how hard it was for them years ago with stories that started off with something like: "....in the olden days I had to do 5wpm on the way to school, and 15wpm on the way back", so any other HAM prospect should do the same.
If it weren't for the influx of all the new hams this past decade Amateur radio in the US would be facing the prospect of losing frequencies due to lack of use (and declining membership). The smarmy guys attitude is a slap in the face to those who have recently joined the ranks. Many HAM radios newbies probably wouldn't have become HAMS at all if it weren't for the FCC dropping the code requirement - not because it was too hard for them, but because it was of no interest to them. To the new tech savvy breed of Amateurs taking a code test to gain a foothold, or, further privileges, would be akin to someone taking their first drivers license test and having the person in charge say "Okay you've passed the written exam, but before you taking the driving test you'll have to demonstrate your ability to handle a horse and buggy".
But before you slap a "HAM-LIGHT" sticker on my car, let me tell you that I passed my code test back in the 80's and yet I don't feel the slightest twinge of elitism towards those who didn't have to take the exam. Personally, I like cw, but I recognize the fact that not everyone does and they shouldn't be looked down upon because they came to the dock after the CW boat sailed. The ones that do feel that way, seem to think that the CW test helped weed out the bad seeds, but from what I've heard (when the code test was mandatory) on EXTRA portions of the band, morons have no problem learning Morse code.
They also forget to mention those who, while not having taken the CW exam to get their license, chose to learn it anyways. At times it's hard to believe that I'm still hearing this nonsense, yet other times I'm not, because this "If I had to do it so does he" way of thinking is across the board; in your job, hobbies, and life in general. For those of you, who like me, bear no ill will to our new Amateur friends please remember that sometimes, the parent has to sit the oldest child down and tell them that just because he had to take out the garbage every night when he was 8, doesn't mean his younger sibling has to do the same thing now....
Times, circumstances, and rules, all change! 73, Woody
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
WHICH "USED" WOULD YOU BUY?
Years ago there was either "NEW" or, "USED", followed by "REFURBISHED". "NEW" is basically the same, although you'll see a second version of it when it's described something like: "Brand NEW in the box blah-blah-blah radio! But, I opened the box to check everything out, and take these pictures. Oh! and don't mind the stain on the owners manual or slight scratch on the cabinet because it happened during my brief test of the rig".
"USED" however is a really crazy category! I've tried to write down the variations as I run across them, but I'm sure that there are some mutations of "USED" I haven't seen in the wild yet, but here they are:
- Briefly used
- Gently used
- Slightly used
- Partially used (??)
- Used, but needs a little TLC
- Used. It's not really used but the box is open so I'm calling it "used".
- Used once.
- Used. Have owned for a year and only used it 5 hours.
- Used, or? Estate sale find (pass)
- Used -almost NEW.
So..........which "USED" do you buy?
Monday, June 14, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
"THE ENEMY BELOW...."
A few of you might remember the WWII movie "The Enemy Below". It's one of the movies that I like to watch occasionally, starring Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens (directed by Dick Powell). Unlike other WWII films, this one boils down to one man (Mitchum on a Destroyer escort) and Jurgens (in a U-Boat). Each commander has to anticipate the next couple moves of his opponent, or, he and his ship lose (kinda like a game of chess), the classic "cat and mouse" battle.
This scenario has been adapted several times on TV shows, one of them being "Star Trek". I don't remember the name of the episode but it had to do with the Enterprise vs. a Romulan ship. Kirk was getting the crap blasted outta the Enterprise because the Romulan ship was using a cloaking device, so he steers his crew into some area where sensors on either side would make them both blind, thus pitting the captain of each vessel into a duel-of-wits. Once again, like a Chess game, each captain has to figure out his opponents next moves so he can win. So where am I going with this? good question....
Chasing rare DX is very similar to this. Not only do you have to move to the other stations receive frequency, but you want to anticipate his next frequency shift so that you can beat the rest of the madhouse trying to make the same contact. It's easy to practice,just find a station doing the split frequency and as he shifts his receiving frequency, pay attention to each one because many times you'll figure out the method to his madness and predict where he will be on the next shift and then the shift after that. It can be a band you don't even have the right antenna for - as long as you can receive him, you can learn, play the game, and when you're chasing some rare Dx - be prepared.
For example: The other day on six meters I heard some DX faintly in the background. I couldn't quite get the callsign (his English was so-so, as was my Spanish) but he would call on .125 and end with "listening on .xxx". I'm pretty sure that a lot of the stations trying to get back to him either didn't hear that part, or understand it's significance because they were creating a mini-pileup on .125. You'll hear similar things on the lower bands, many times when a rare call is used. They transmit on one frequency and listen on the other, sometimes moving the receive frequency up or down every so often. So, give it a shot and practice. There is no down side, and the up side is making contact with a station you need without 1,000 watts...
Monday, June 07, 2010
MAKE EACH DOLLAR COUNT
These days, money is tight and if you want to purchase equipment it pays to shop around. A recent post of mine addressed new equipment and accessory purchases but what about "USED"?
Sure, there's Ebay, but there is also QTH.COM, or, HAM dealers that sell used or consignment gear (i.e.- HRO). I perused their list today and found an ICOM SP-21 external desk speaker in excellent condition for only $60. You'd pay at least $20 more on Ebay. Looking for a dual-band HT? How about an ICOM T-90A for $165? Surprisingly, I also found a Kenwood TS-50 for only $385! Nothing about that TS-50 is a real surprise except for their description:
What is surprising in the description is "transmits on CB". I don't think I've ever seen that from a HAM store listing. Ebay - YES, HAM store - NO. How do you feel about that? [lemme know].
I make it a practice to check used/consignment listings at least once a week and I've found several deals that were too good to pass up, and maybe you should too - you might save enough money to buy a new desk mic, watt meter, or other accessory.