Saturday, December 5, 2009

Is This Thing On???

so many distractions, so little time! the more fall-like/wintry weather here in northern california, combined with the holidays and preparation for the end-of-the-year sacrifice has put a crimp in my 'hammin', but i'm still licensed and still warm up the ionosphere from time to time...

so a few quick updates:

1. a few weeks ago i tuned around the ARRL SweepStakes and managed to tag about 10 QSO's... nothing much, just a chance for me to play around with the rhythm of contesting, mess with some antenna adjustments, and give some of the hard core operators one more station... so imagine my surprise when Scott, W6CT, from the Northern California Contest Club showed up at my home and knocked on my door... at first i assumed he was a local neighbor complaining about some interference but when he identified himself as a ham i assumed he was there to complain about my operating procedure (wink wink splatter splatter wink wink)... turns out he was there, much like Harvey Milk, to recruit me to join the NCCC! so i joined on the spot, because as i figure it, you can never have too many oversize engraved plastic badges with your name and call sign! haven't worked any contests under the club banner, yet, and am not sure if i'm going to be able to make it to the holiday luncheon/dinner/thing, but a well regulated militia being necessary to preservation of the hobby, etc. etc. etc... anyway, i'm glad to be member!

2. if you search a few posts below you'll see some photos and the write-up of my experience in launching a wire into a nearby high tree... as you can tell the highest point of the wire is, in fact, at the peak of the tree, but then it gets kind of caught in the closer tree and this makes the vertical portion shorter and causes the wire to flatten out a bit... from a radiation perspective this probably doesn't matter much (though spending so much time in the second tree may well detune the wire) but i was upset that i wasn't able to get a straight run from the top of the tree to the ground... i did try, multiple times, to untangle the wire from the lower tree, but it was in there good, so i figured i was sunk... then on monday of this past week i had a brain storm... what if i tied a second wire, closer to the ground, and hung a weight at the end of this wire, and then pulled both wires back up towards the top of the tall tree... once the second wire, and weight, cleared the lower tree, it would begin to sink and i could grab it and reroute the wire from the top of the taller tree... and that's exactly what i did!!! i couldn't have been happier at my cleverosity!!! so now i have a beautiful clean run from the top of the tree all the way to the ground... the next step is, i think, to replace the long wire with some kind of G5RV and use the first wire as a suspension with an insulator, so that the entire wire doesn't run through the taller tree... this will give me a nicely sloping G5RV type antenna located on my property about as far from any power lines as possible... the long wire i have up there now runs to a 4:1 balun and it seems to hear better on some bands (20m for example) than my buddipole vertical, but also hears more noise... i've been looking at reviews of the various G5RV's and am going to try and find one that has the best rating with the lowest noise.

3. the other big reason i haven't been on the radio quite as much (notwithstanding work, life, medical stuff, etc.) is that i've started up my podcast again. i am a talk radio host and took my show from KSCO to the internet back in 2006. this is a comedy/pop culture/current events/music kind of show that i would rate a strong PG-13 (sometimes an R) and is definitely not everyone's cup of tea... but we do have a couple of thousand downloads every week, and it fills a need to blather on about my life, the world, and how i see things, while laughing all the way, so if you're a howard stern/opie and anthony kind of fan, or don't mind the occasional raunchy/smart/funny kind of improv humor talk show, feel free to check it out... and if you're not, please don't and we'll all stay good friends!

4. i'm thinking there should be something else, but for the life of me i can't remember what... so that seems like a good place to stop.

enjoy the weekend and the happiest of holiday seasons!
de Robin (W6RDG)