Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Molasses in the Winter

That's how slow it's been on the radio front. It just seems like so much other stuff keeps cropping up. I still haven't begun work on my SoftRock SDR and that's bummed me out.

I was really looking forward to the ARES meeting tonight and making some 2M antennas. We like to give the folks some practical exercises to keep them learning and involved. Unfortunately I've been sick the past few days. I stayed out of work again today but other than some stuffiness felt well enough to make it to the meeting. As luck would have it, though, I'd lost all track of time since I'm not in my normal routine and I was sitting on the couch when I realized the meeting was starting. :-(

Exciting, isn't it? That's about all I have to offer today. But I felt the blog needed an updated.

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 4th Wrap-Up

Thought I'd post more than I did from the campsite but it just didn't work out.

So far portable radio communication isn't working out too well for me. I did setup the go-box using my EE-3 antenna on the 12' pool pole about 6' off the ground. I was able to hit two repeaters but didn't hear any traffic.

I was disappointed again with the P1. No matter what I did I couldn't get the SWR down below 16. I tried adding another base rod but that had no effect. I got disgusted and pulled it down and replaced it with the Buddistick. Within minutes I was on the air at 1.6 SWR. Unfortunately the wife and kid got back from the shower and dinner was ready before I could make some contacts. I did hear some QSOs but that's about it.

I'd hoped to make some late evening contacts but the thunder and lightning was threatening so I pulled down the antennas. Of course as luck would have it we didn't get any rain. :-(

So far I'm feeling more confident about the Buddistick than I am the P1. I still have to give it some more tests but I don't feel I can take the P1 out w/o an analyzer. I think if I get the taps set on the Buddistick I should be good to go. I'm looking for something to take hiking so I don't want to lug more than I have to.

Of course, this also means I need to pick up the 817 or 857. I don't see carrying my 718 out into the woods.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Camp set at Gold Head SP

As expected I got off work early but we left for camp late. We hit a little (hard) rain on the way down but the tarp protected stuff pretty well.

I had my first tick within 10 minutes and the chiggers are out. Should be fun. :-)

We got here too late to setup the radio. I'll do that in the morning and hopefully will be able to check in to SouthCARS. That'll be a good thing so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Well, we'll be hitting the FL Trail tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed that the wee lad manages ok.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Birthday Update

Well, things went well yesterday. Da boy kicked things off by calling me (with Mommy's help) and wishing me Happy Birthday. He's a sweet little bugger. When I got home the family went to dinner and back to our house for cake and gifts.

My wife took a cake decorating class and surprised me with a camping themed cake. I'll post a pic later but for now I'll just describe it: chocolate icing with green grass; graham cracker tent; pretzel/icing campfire; and two big pretzels and a fruit roll-up making the hammock. :-D It was pretty cool.

So how about the loot? I did pretty good.

Light My Fire Meal Kit (Red)
Light My Fire Spork XM (Lime Green)
GSI Telescoping Spatula
Basic Illustrated Camping
SAS Survival Handbook
Jetboil Pot Support
Jetboil Coffee Press
White 32oz Nalgene Bottle
1 can stove fuel
And $70 in Dick's gift cards!
I also got a cool little keychain flashlight that's actually a wind-up!

Of course I got the Katadyn the day before.

Time to go camping!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday!

w00t! That's right, it's my birthday!

I don't have much to add that's radio-related, but I did get a nice gift in the mail yesterday. I opened it early because I thought it was something I'd ordered myself. When I cracked the tape, though, I saw that it was a Katadyn Hiker Pro water filter that my brother had sent me. This is going to be perfect (and very needed) when I make my end-of-summer hike through the Ocala National Forest in Sept. It's going to be hot and humid and water will be critical. This will ensure I'll be able to resupply the hydration bladder and water bottles when they run low.

I was so excited when I opened it I went right to work putting it together. I have to say it was very simple and went together quickly. However, there is a foam piece with a hole through it that I can't find any info about. I'm assuming it's another prefilter but I'll have to read some more. I don't recall seeing any mention of it in the documentation. The instructions do say to pump the handle a few times to wash out the carbon dust. Holy cow that was nasty. Oddly enough it was a milky white color instead of the black I expected.

Once assembled I went over to the retention pond behind my neighbor's house. Sure, I suppose there could be fertilizer runoff or whatever that the filter wouldn't protect me from, but I was anxious to give it a shot. The water was kind of brownish and I had to shoo a mallard away from my watering hole. :-) As I pumped the intake was stirring up the silt on the bottom. When I got back to the kitchen and checked the glass, it was crystal clear water that smelled fine. I drank a liter and I'm still here today so I guess it worked. I checked the filter and pre-filter and there was fine dirt/silt on it so it did it's job.

So my first impression is a good one. Looking forward to trying it out in a more natural setting this weekend. Thanks brother!