WTH is going on with my wordpress CMS. The front page is all jacked up. Ugh.
First post in far too long. In all my sites I occasionally threaten to “be back” but maybe, just maybe, I’ll follow through here. Updates:
- I am no longer a trustee of an amateur radio club. That was torn from me along with my evacuation from academia. The club K3GCC is now (and has been for several years) completely defunct.
- My GAP Titan DX antenna was all but destroyed by strong winter storms and neglect in the past few winters.
- My “shack” was my house’s spare bedroom. My son, Connor, was born August 8, 2019. The spare room became the nursery and my radio equipment swiftly evicted by my own hand.
- Well, I have become the godfather of amateur radio at my new employer. Want to know who that employer is? Fuck you.
- I have ordered and received a new GAP Titan and quick mount kit. I will be replacing the 80M capacitor with one that aims to provide coverage away from the crazy asshole SSB range in the 75M part of the band. I will instead be focusing on other phone frequencies as well as digital modes.
- I am evaluating possible ways to lay the new cable from the new antenna into my home’s basement. My ham shack will have to share space with my home office and (because I’m country enough) ammo reloading center.
- I attended Dayton’s Hamvention in 2022. I was underwhelmed but maybe that was my fault.
- My second antenna, pending NVIS specs, could be detailed “soon”
- I do have a vision for my new ham shack once the feed line(s) has(have) made it into my house’s superstructure.
- I have installed a 24kW whole-home backup generator. I could, on paper, run my home on emergency power for various ham drills and maybe even field day (though I hope to return to K3LR for the bulk of such days)
- I am sure that ARRL’s LOTW has reset due to my lack of activity. Eh. Their shitty perforated certificates mean very little to me. I will rebuild.
- It has been several years since I ordered my first QSL cards. I have many, many in reserve. However, over the years I may have lost my files for my family’s legit (awarded by Henry VI) coat-of-arms. That could be awkward.
I have been off the air for much of the last year, but there’s a good chance that will change soon. There is no noble reason for my lack of presence on the ham bands: it was lawn mowing. I still haven’t buried the coax running from my house to my antenna and in the past my landlord took special care when mowing the lawn to stop his zero-turn mower, move the cable over a few feet, and thus keep the lawn maintained without cutting the cable to shreds. Now that my wife and I have actually bought the house rather than rent it, the mowing has fallen to me. I am, apparently, more lazy than my former landlord. I disconnected the cable, coiled it up to the house, and went to town with my lawn tractor. Then I dragged it (my butt, not the cable) back into the house without reconnecting the antenna.
Mowing season is over, though, and the antenna is connected once again. We shall see how much I’m on the air but if I had to predict in advance, I will likely be on digital modes this winter. My sleeping schedule is out of whack and talking assertively into the microphone is more likely to interfere with my wife’s sleep, so the digital modes have a certain appeal. Will I get my act together in time for digital contests? We shall see…
I have taken some initiative today in adding new features to the site. The first, and most major from a “proper conventions” standpoint is that I have installed an SSL certificate on the server. This means that if you make an account to subscribe to my posts, your login info is perfectly safe. It’s really just about bringing things up to industry standard. A big shout-out to the people at Let’s Encrypt who are a free-to-use certificate authority, compared to the ludicrous $70+ a year other services want to charge.
The other new features are the front page’s propagation and maximum usable frequency infographics. Thanks goes to Paul Herrman, N0NBH for providing a technique to embed these graphics such that they update as new data comes in. The only downside to the images are that the default means of delivery leads to browsers giving security warnings on an HTTPS site such as mine. Some extra scripting fixed the problem, so I hope folks find the new resources a useful addition to my website.
We in grid EN91xe had some brutal amounts of wind last night! My shack’s base station is connected to a GAP Titan DX antenna which is 25 feet tall on its own. However, I mounted it to a 10-foot mast because of some recommendations I saw online, along with making it much easier to mow, harder for idiots to reach while transmitting, etc. So I have a 35-foot behemoth in the backyard.
I have guy lines to help stabilize the antenna because 35 feet makes for a very large lever should it start bending. The antenna and mast both have a small cross-section when it comes to wind, and using guy lines is technically optional, so I used some large tent stakes to secure the guy lines. Well the wind last night, for the first time since constructing the antenna, was so strong that one of the stakes was ripped completely out of the ground! In fact, the ground was so thoroughly torn up and loose from the stake ripping free that I couldn’t just drive it back in, I had to move the stake by about 5 feet.
I guess I will be looking for even sturdier anchors to drive into the ground. More alarming, I may need to move the quick-mount for the entire antenna in case it was loosened too.
As I try to catch up on my websites, I have to post about getting my WAC award. I should have been able to complete this achievement about 6 months prior but a DXpedition made me wait to finally confirm our communication because I would not send them about $50. So in my first four months of operation, I managed to contact someone on all 6 inhabited continents. Antarctica does not count towards the award due to its special circumstances.
I’m sure I still have much to learn, and can probably continue to tweak my equipment to get it set better but I can talk around the world already, which is certainly a good sign.
I get to have my first Field Day experience at the legendary K3LR superstation! More updates should be coming, I’ve finally started catching up on my web presence.
Unlike the others I’ve posted so far, this was not from the 10-meter contest. Rather, this was my first contact on HF. I got the courage up to actually try transmitting and as luck would have it, my signal was received over 3,100 miles away.
Slight irony having both “virgin” and “first” in the title, I suppose.