Monday, June 26, 2006

Field Day

As expected, I really enjoyed operating on Field Day. I didn’t earn as many points as I had intended, primarily because I underestimated the amount of activity on the two meter band. I was able to make some extra points by making some CW contacts. I also failed to make the satellite contact that would have given us one hundred bonus points. There weren’t enough operators for my station on Saturday and on Sunday, it was raining pretty good and I didn’t want to stand out in the rain with the antenna.

The best part was that Alex wanted to be there the whole time! I had him there during setup, but dropped him off with my mom when I picked up Amy so she could spend some time there with me. When I brought Amy back after dinner, we learned that Alex was quite upset that I had left him, and wanted to go back with me. I wasn’t quite set up to have him there, but I figured, he can sleep on the grass next to the station and I could crash next to him when I got tired. That worked out great.

Sunday afternoon was a bit miserable; it rained, and rained hard for most of the day. Of course, we were taking things down, and really couldn’t stay under shelter the whole time, making it that much worse. The good part was, there was no lightning, and being on top of a mountain with a couple of antenna towers doesn’t mix very well with lightning.

The club’s score was 4914, we will have to wait and see how that ranks with everyone else.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Myspace this and Myspace that

What is up with people blaming myspace for their problems, particularly parents who blame myspace when something bad happens to their kid? As a parent, I look at it as my job to keep my children safe, and that is what, along with my wife, I will do.

Lets make a comparison with one of the latest news stories, where a 14 year old girl was sexually assaulted by a 20 year old she met on myspace. The girl and her parents are suing myspace for not protecting the girl. What if these kids had met at the local mall, would the mall be liable anything? I’ve never heard of a mall being sued because some older guy hooked up with an under aged girl, took her to his place and sexually assaulted her. In this case, the biggest problem is that this girl went out with someone she didn’t know, and her parents didn’t even know about it. Myspace had nothing to do with the sexual assault, it is a simple website. Did the guy talk to the guy on a cell phone, via AIM, or e-mail? Why no suits against those companies?

I have three sons and a daughter on the way. The kids won’t be going out with people that I don’t know and certainly not with people that they don’t know. Their online activities will be transparent to their mother and I. Kids, they don’t need much privacy, if they tell you they do, than they are probably doing something they shouldn’t be. I’m not saying I’ll be reading every e-mail they send or receive, but that is certainly an open option. The kids will learn early on that mom and dad will know about everything that happens on the computer.

Aggressive Negotiations?

I like that John Bolton guy, the US Ambassador to the UN.

"You don't normally engage in conversations by threatening to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles," AP quoted U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as saying on Wednesday in New York.

Somehow that remained me of a line from Star Wars Episode II

Anakin: When I got to them we got into aggressive negotiations.
Padme: Aggressive negotiations? What's that?
Anakin: Ah well it's negotiations with a lightsaber.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Coming Soon – Field Day

Another amateur radio club I belong to, the Mid Atlantic DX and Repeater Association is putting together a pretty big Field Day event. Ask 10 amateur radio operators what field day is and you will get at least 11 different answers. To me, Field Day is an operating event and contest that is performed in the field with no existing equipment or infrastructure. Of course, home stations can participate, as well as stations that exist in emergency operations centers, personal vehicles, or club hamshacks. MADXRA’s Field Day will be run in the field with generator power and we will bring in all of the equipment needed, including towers, antennas, radios, computers, and so on. It should be a lot of fun.

I’m setting up the stations for the 2 meter band and 70 centimeter band, 146 & 440 MHz. For 2 meters, I will have a great station, with a 14 element beam antenna with 13 dB gain, plus a 150 watt amplifier and preamp. I hope to make at least 100 contacts with that station. I will also have a digital station setup with a small beam to run packet on 2 meters. Two of the big bonus point items I’ll have in those bands is a satellite station, which we will use to make at least one, if not more satellite contacts, and an amateur television transceiver, camera and monitor. We were a little worried about the amateur television setup, that we wouldn’t have anyone on the other end to talk to, but I did find another club that is planning the same thing, and they should be in range.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Frederick Amateur Radio Club Hamfest

I just experienced my first hamfest as a club officer. It was quite an experience, I got to see a lot of folks that I don’t see very often, or that I’ve never seen, but talked to a lot on the air. I was a member of the club last year, but I didn’t make it to the hamfest, and this year, I’m the treasurer, go figure. It seemed to be well attended, the parking lot was quite full, but the count may have been less than last year according to some of the more experienced club members. The good news is, we got an article in the Frederick News Post. I’d link it, but they don’t keep them up very long. My first official act as treasurer was to deposit the proceeds from the hamfest into club checking account which I promptly took care of on Monday morning when the bank opened.

Monday, June 19, 2006

EBay Mix-up

I arrived home to find a package waiting for me at the front door. This was a surprise because I wasn’t expecting anything, at least not on that particular day. I open the box, and what do I find, but a Yaesu 2 meter amateur radio transceiver.

Now it was a nice surprise to get a radio out of the blue, but I figured something wasn’t quite right. Fortunately, the sender’s phone number was on the package, so I called and left a message. It turns out that the sender was someone I had bought a Morse code key and keyer from the day before.

I wasn’t expecting it so soon, which added to my confusion. It turns out that the key and keyer that I won was shipped to Washington state, to the person that won the eBay auction for the radio that I received. It should be worked out soon, the seller sent me a FedEx label so I could ship the radio to its indented recipient, and the person who wanted the radio should be doing the same with my package. It is a good thing too, because the key and keyer weren’t really for me, they were for the Frederick Amateur Radio Club station.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Amy’s Having a Girl

Does anyone read my site that doesn’t also read Well, if you don’t read Amy’s journal too, then you don’t know we are expecting our first daughter in October. With three boys running around, it should be a nice change. After the visit to the doctor for the ultrasound, we went strait to the outlets in Hagerstown and Amy got to shop for whatever she wanted. I thought she was going to spend more there, but she got a lot of clothes and didn’t even break $300 so a few days later we went to the Arundel Mills mall, which is sort of a mall / outlet mall in one building. In all, the closet is bursting with about $500 in baby girl clothes. It sounds like a lot of money, but she got a lot of clothes for that money, something like 70 different things, many of those were two piece outfits.