Saturday, August 28, 2021

Satellite Thrills

 In October of last year, I managed my first confirmed OSCAR contact. OSCAR stands for "Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio". So far it's been awesome and heartbreaking, like everything else I do in ham radio, LOL.

First Pass Where I Made a QSO

My gear, a Kenwood TH-G71a and Baofeng GT-3


Things I've learned so far:

  • Weekend operations are a challenge. It's hard to hit the FM birds with a 5w HT and rubber duck antenna, even if the antenna is a "gain" antenna. Persistence and high angle passes are essential.
  • Don't forget to QSL! Lots of people are on LOTW, and confirming your contacts for awards is easy.
  • Move around a little. People like it when you activate different places.
  • The satellite community is an amazing group. They all know each other, and have been very welcoming to me so far.
  • Everyone gets testy when the birds get swamped. It helps to take a minute to listen.

 Projects I need to do for the birds:

  • Hand held tape measure yagi. I'm pretty close to achieving this. I've built a tape measure antenna for 2m before, and  have cut the booms, I have a tape measure, and need some dowel rods, and other odds and ends.
  • Really could use a Yaesu FT-818. Actually could use two ( the "Yaesu FT-1636" ) to work the linear birds. I especially want to work AO-7.
  • It would be nice if i could get my mobile radio working again to get 10w into AO-27. 

Here's where I've worked and activated so far:


it's pretty common for people to use a grid tracker spreadsheet to mark what they have.

So far, I've worked 3 countries (USA, Panama, and Mexico) with my HT's. I can't wait to work something else!

Thursday, April 22, 2021


I'm struggling with the where and when to post this. bear with me.... 

Today I am a special kind of tired. 

 Ever felt the pain of the day when the day begins? That's me right now. Over all, I'm pretty well rested. Got 6+ hours of sleep list night even though I'm on call. Didn't wake up once. I should feel good right? Well, I realized as soon as I woke up, I still have much the same work to do today that I did yesterday. 

It didn't get any less or easier, it's still there. 

It's the tired you get when you realize the work's not done. 

 It's never done. I'm just moving from one task to the next. I'm always expected to be certain things. We all are expected to be certain things. The labels I have on me weigh me down. Some I give to myself, some are given to me, all of them are mine and no one else's. 

You're this tired when you realize that the work is yours to do, and no one else's.

Contingency is an interesting concept to ponder and work with. On the one hand, nothing about my existence is necessary. I could have never been, or I could die tomorrow, and the universe can continue to exist. On the other hand, there's this work I'm doing raising kids, earning money, teaching others, hearing their concerns, all things that I have been called to do, but sometimes, I just want to embrace that contingincy. The world doesn't need me. I just want to feel rest. 

That's when the scripture comes in: 

I feel this tired when Hebrews 12:1 moves from being a memory verse at church camp to being the first verse in a page that convicts my efforts.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

(Heb 12:1-29) 

It's the tired that makes you thankful for grace. 

Deeply thankful for it. 

I can't sleep, exercise, rest, or share away this tired in me. I just need God's grace to help me endure. 


Father God, I am grateful for this unshakeable kingdom. I can rest there. Every day until I will bear with being tired. Tiredness and weariness in my bones can't compare to the rich peace you offer us in Christ. Please bear me over to that kingdom. In the name of Jesus I ask this AMEN.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

So My Best Friend and I did a Thing....

...we started our own PODCAST!
The Gravy and the Great Pumpkin, together again...
I'm pumped.

The name of the Podcast is "Turn the Light On".
We talk Faith, Jesus, Church, Evil Chickens, Logic, current Events, and we poke fun at ourselves and our culture.

Find and Follow us on Facebook:

Please subscribe!



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John 1:5

Thursday, July 2, 2020

itching for a QRP Radio Kit

I'm itching for a kit radio, something like an SW+ only better receiver performance. the QCX+ looks like it has potential, cost is right, features look groovy. It's not shipping right now though because of a supply chain snafu.

I'd like other recommendation too. Anybody got any newer designs they'd suggest?

Must Do QRP on 40m, 20m or both.
Must take a straight key.
Well documented
Optional: Built in Keyer

I'd really like a PFR3 and a RockMite in 20m.
I'm also interested in modern designs using Raspberry PI.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Several Points of Connection

Frontal cortex is overloading, so i'm trying to record this freeform.
picture a man frustrated with his morning because he's up on time, but others aren't they're not happy because the routine is off, but hey that's life right, try telling a five year old that's life.
it doesn't work
they're blocking progress, wife is frustrated, but functinoing, getting the others out the door, she's working at their school today. oldest is helping, you are working through frustration by physical activity. unload load function, progress, doing something. trashbag out and in, more coffee.
the mellow has been harshed.
wattaya do with a crying 5 year old  upset at the consequences of her action. I'm trying to be rational. I'm rational. I'm trying not to be angry. mostly it works. I'm just frustrated.
I don't want to be up either, well, that's not true, i do want to be up, but not like this.
i want harmony.
a phone call.
whoops, mixup at school, wife not working there today, instead she's coming back for the youngest.
pause, decompress, compress, reevaluate.
a brief exchange of words and Vision as she walks in gather's chicken, takes her off, a look, and she says "I want to be open, what if this happened for a reason, I was supposed to go and not work there"
flood of remembering:
Ester was there for "such a time as this"
each day has enough worry for it's own.
For such a time as this we are here now.
I'm overwhelmed, She's my helpmeet.
this is why.
cortex processes to next task.
less frustration.
still seeking home, but going to remember i'm here for such a time as this....

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Brief Emissions of Radio-activity

I'm cleaning up/packing up my shack in anticipation of replacement.
I should have been done by now, but I'm not.
In the mean time, I only have one working antenna on HF deployed right now, a full wave 20m loop, oriented vertically with the broadside facing North/South.
And it gave me some contacts recently thanks to a few sunspots.
20m is an easy band when the ionization is there. It's the band people most associate with DX. In about a hour and a half, I got 4 different countries on 20 using Voice (USB, 100w PEP). The day before I had 7 contacts with 7 different states, both from running a frequency calling CQ, and from searching and pouncing on a couple of callers.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

June 12, 1988

Every decision you make alters the course of your life. Some are more significant than others. What I ate for lunch today is probably insignificant, but it could be. I don't know. I can't know how significant something that trivial may be in my life. There are decisions, however, that are significant, and that I can make them knowing they are significant, that they will change me and affect me for the rest of my life.
Many of these significant decisions are choices that are constantly being made. For instance,  I choose every day to remain faithful to my wife and family. I choose to go to work, and i choose the route i take to get there. All of these choices can profoundly affect me,  and i make them knowing this. One choice i made,  i made a long time ago. It seems long ago at least, although, sometimes it seems like yesterday.
On Sunday morning, June 12, 1988, I made a choice. It is a choice I've made every day since. I chose to follow Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Christ,  promised to crush satan's head,  defeat death in resurrection,  and clothe me with His righteousness when I was baptized in His name.
It's a choice that has often sobering and dire consequences. It's a choice that is never not joy-bringing,  and peace-making. I don't fear many things others do but i am afraid for the souls of some.
Every day i choose LIFE in Jesus!
What a choice!