Thursday, November 19, 2015

Work Parking Lot Portable

Tonight was the NAQCC Sprint, and I decided to attempt participation from the parking lot at work.
I didn't get any QSOs, didn't even manage to get out to the vehicle until after 10:15, but I did hear stations, and I called CQ NA a few times even.

This time, I reinforced an idea I've had in my head a while. If your antenna isn't set up in 5 mins, your risking time wasted. Next portable system will be like that. It may or may not involve a collapsable fishing pole. The other day I tried to set up my SLV in the parking lot, and the pole kept collapsing. I've been rethinking the SLV concept, and might make some modifications in the future. Last night I used my EFHW antenna. I didn't have a way to measure SWR, but every other time I've checked it out, it has been excellent!
I didn't make any calls, but I copied some fairly strong signals, and did manage to capture some spots on the Reverse Beacon Net.
Next time I'll try harder!

 All of these reports were sent from my SW-40 aka "The Killer Watt Radio"
I need a freqmite...
Not bad over all though, for a radio that was putting out less than 1.5 watts!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Testing, Gettin' My Shots, 50 QSOs.

Back to school!
I've already started taking tests, although the test I'm taking right now is a medical one. So far, so good. I also had to get a DTaP vaccine. I impressed the Dr by having all my old shot records. That's my Momma's doin' ya'll. She knows paperwork!

I'm nervous at the prospect of going back to school. I hope the classes I need are still available when my medical paperwork clears with the school. I'll be a full time student again, and it scares me a little. Calculus with analytical geometry here we come!

November tends to be a productive month for me ham radio wise. So far, I have 50 QSOs in the book. If I'm going to catch up to having an average of 1 per day, I'm behind, but seeing as how that I get on the radio in 20min - 1 hour snatches, I'd say I'm doing ok. I had 7 QSOs last night (including at least one new country!), and even got spotted on dx summit! If I had a better CW filter, I'd have more QSOs, I know I heard some DL stations, and a few others way down in the noise. Narrow filters and some headfones would have cleared that problem right up! When school starts, the ham radio stops, so I've got to get some contacts. I've got the next antenna post about the Skeleton sleeve dipole almost finished.
Soon it will be up!

never put your eggs on the same plate as a where you keep a one year old's eggs, she'll eat them all and just look cute.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Late Night Antenna Math

It's late, and I'm doing math, there ought to be a law :-)

I'm doing this partially because I want to know if I'll be able to study after work in the spring. How does my mind handle math in the wee hours of the night?

I'm not real sure, but I've been having some fun modeling some antennas!

Sometimes it helps me to see what the antenna looks like, then I can write down some numbers, and enter them into XNEC2C.
Main thing I've learned tonight is that you need to make sure you are running your wires the right way when you fiddle with their lengths!
I've included a github gist for this antenna below. 
***EDIT*** It should be noted that units in the file above are in Meters, not feet. Also: I think there's a way to go from XNEC2C to EZNEC, if you know something about the NEC Cards. I don't understand the process though.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hard Facts, Updates, Happenings, etc.

Life is funny.
I'm planning on going back to school almost 20 years after I went to college the first time.
I'm going to be a Phoenix at Florida Polytechnic!
I must be crazy.
Hopefully, once I start applying myself to the coursework, I will soon be rewarded with a BS in Computer Science and Information Technology with emphasis on Cyber Gaming.
There's a lot of math involved, I'm glad I bought a TI-89 at a pawn shop in Atlanta, back in the day. Buying one new would be PRICEY! Some of the books I'll be getting are pricey too.
I'm excited about it though. It will lead to other opportunities at work.

It's time for a different role here at the big Green P. Not that I mind what I do now, there's other things to consider. I've been in this role for almost 5 years, working nights. It's halloween, and I'm away from my kids, again. I'll be gone during Thanksgiving, again. At least this year Christmas is on a Friday, and I'm off on Fridays. The only way I'll be off on Christmas is if I'm scheduled off (Fri, or Sun) or I take vacation. I'm not complaining about the work. I'm pretty good at what I do, and it's challenging at times. I love it when something new breaks, and I get to help fix it. Especially when I'm the one who bird dogs the problem, and can identify the issue. Good problems like that make me enjoy my job. Sometimes people are what make it challenging. That's how I spell "annoying". Especially when something has the same problem over and over again. Times like that make me glad I know the Serenity prayer, thank you Uncle George (Drouet)! He had it on a placard that hung on a wall somewhere in our house. It was loose, so I hijacked it when I went to college the first time. I keep it in my radio shack now. Speaking of radio...

Radio updates:

Here's the Situation at KG4GVL:

Any attempt I have made to release a post about the W3EDP antenna failed.
I've got about half an article written. I keep thinking I'll come back to it, but it hasn't happened.
Life happens. That's all I got to say about that for now.

QSO Wise:
My attempt to average a QSO a day, and operating at least twice a week is floundering.
I have no QSOs recorded in July, a smattering in August, none in September, and only some toward the end of October. I would like to think I am in the middle of a bit of renaissance, though.
Here's a little math to help explain.
On LOTW so far, I have 84 contacts for the year. That means I have 281 contacts left to make for the year to make my average of 1 per day. From the day after the last entry in my log book to the end of the year is 65 days, leaving me about 4.3231 QSOs per day to make my average. From the 26th to day, I've had some radio activity, so the average has changed, I just want everyone to understand where we are.

01 Nov 01:30 EST (was just 1:59, TIMEWARP!)
Recrunched the numbers based on my QSO count after my birthday. I have made 4 so far on 01 Nov. I didn't do as well on some of the days before, but I didn't truly understand how far behind I was either. I'm doing good over the course of the week, but my average QSO rate is up to 4.4333333/day if I'm going to average 1/day for the year!
***END EDIT***

The last entry in my LOTW logbook is for the 26th of October 2015. That was my birthday, any my wife graciously allowed me to pursue radio much of the day, until the kids got home from school. I was off that evening from work, so that helped too. I managed to make 9 contacts (10 counting the SOUTHCARS net checkin, it's worth getting a number just to check in on your birthday), all voice contacts, mostly on 15m, some on 20m. One was even a DX contact! Next year, I'll have to make a concerted effort to keep a theme. maybe do 13 contacts on 3 bands (I'll be 39), then change QTHs, or something like that. Of course, next year, my birthday will be on Wednesday. Not much happening in the middle of the week.
Maybe a QRP CW OPS contest or something.
I hope I'm not at work all night.
Night shift is getting old...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Learning, Loving, Laboring

I really want to talk about what I've been learning. It's hard right now, because I'm sure it would take a good solid hour to type everything I'm thinking all out. It's coming. I've been learning about enumerables in C# and .net, and some things are boggling my mind. I have however gained a new understanding of the beauty and readability curly braces lend to properly developed code. There's an important lesson in this chapter, I don't want it to escape, I'll comeback to this thought later...

Right now, I'm up late because I got home from work, ate a snack, and got to work telling my wife I love her in a way that makes sense to her. At least I'm trying to do that. I want to speak my love into my actions every day. It's not always comfortable, but it is often rewarding.

There's aspects of my job I love, and others I don't love. I try to adapt every shift to what's demanded of me, and to learn some tidbit that will make my job easier. What I learned tonight: If someone is determined to do as little work as possible, they're not checking to see if they make mistakes.
We'll see how that goes Monday.

I'm going to bed.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Just When Somethings Start Going Right....

Other things start going better, and the first thing you were working on starts getting put off.

I've got about half a post written for the W3EDP antenna. Usually I get an article done sometime during the month of May about the W3EDP, but I don't think it will be ready by tomorrow. Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary, so I think blogging will be low on the priority list of things to do. I'll get it done during June, before Field Day, because hey, the W3EDP would make an awesome last minute field day antenna for someone out there, and they'll need to know how to make it, and how other people have used them. I have, however, been fairly radio-active recently, last week, I had two days of QSOs, and I had 7 total QSOs, this week I haven't been as active, but that's because something has been consuming all my time.

I've been studying C# like mad, preparing for an interview to be held this Thursday. As of right now, I'm in virgin territory in my book, covering things I didn't get to when I first picked this up back in February. If I win this job, I'll have most evenings and weekends off. I'll be salaried, but hopefully making more money than I am now.

We shall see.

Other news:
Everyone in my family has been sick in May, and Murphy's law is in full effect. I'm kind of sick of May as a result. I've got two kids with strep, one with stomach troubles, and the baby had a cold. My wife had some issues, and is battling a head thing, as am I. Even the family vehicle has been sick, we blew a tire out and it will need to be replaced. Fortunately, it was one that was due to be replaced anyway.
The house next door, where I took the pictures of the Tillandsias got renovated. The poor house needed it, and the new owners worked hard on it. One negative though, is that the limbs that grew most of the T. setacea were removed. Because it is the least common bromeliad on my street, it made me sad. However, there are other colonies on the street, and I'm sure it will be fine.

With school winding down, sickness, and new job opportunities, May has been an interesting time. June could be even more interesting.

I'll make sure to keep both eyes open.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Worked a Special Event Station, Other News.

Friday ended a very long week for me. I was a substitute teacher by Day Tuesday - Friday, and a Publix Data Monkey at night Monday - Thursday.

Fortunately, it ended on a high note. I got to make a fire with my kids, and we toasted smores, it's the standard big fun event at our house, and it was big fun. Somewhere in there, I actually got to do a lil ham radio too.

It's true what they say, you're never too busy for what you want to do. I've wanted to make sure I work radio at least twice a week, and while last week, I only got to do it once, did it I did, and it was a good station at that!

On May 7th, 1915 it happened, by April 2017, "REMEMBER THE LUSITANIA!" enlistment posters were up in America. Without getting too political, it's the ship the Germans sunk that Churchill (as First Lord of the Admiralty) thought would hasten US involvement in "The Great War". It took the US some more time than that to get involved directly, but it is a matter of historical record that we had bullets to give the British on that ship.

To commemorate the sinking, GB100MFA is operating out of Liverpool, England, the home port of the Lusitania, and so far I've managed to work them once on 20m CW. OP was good, but my CW was rusty, like as in there was some corrosion on the contacts for the key I had to clean off, and I had a hard time understanding him beyond the normal RST exchange.

Maybe I'll try to work him again later! Supposed to be a "SSB" station out there too.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back to Bromeliads, Making Sense of Knowing Your Place

Recently, I posted about three species of bromeliads:

all three Tillandsias covered by my blog are somewhere in this picture

They are all common in Florida, especially in the Lakeland area where I live. Bet you can find some in your neighborhood.
Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)
Ball Moss (Tillandsia recurvata)
Southern Needle Leaf (Tillandsia setacea)

Struck by their beauty, and in awe of how they lived, I listened for a deeper message. Sometimes, when you read God's word, you don't remember what you've read, until God shows you something He needs you to see, and then you will remember what you have heard or read.
These plants are not like other plants. They have a different place, and different food. Some plants live on the ground, roots deep in the soil. They have a job to do there. These plants live in trees, and their job is to be in that tree. When an air plant hits the ground, it soon begins to die. They have to stay above. People are like that, especially redeemed people.

Colossians Chapter 3 starts off like this:
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
We're called to set our minds on things above. We can't be down below. Just like air plants, we have to be in a different state of existence than the people who still live without Christ. To continue to exist as terrestrial plants means death for our Tillandsia, and so to, we have died in Christ and must live as something else.

Doing this isn't easy. It requires constantly pruning off that which wants to keep us down:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Notice that when we "put off" the old self, something new, by necessity, takes it place. Once we were rooted in the world, but when we take up the old, we must be anchored to something else. Let's remember that our anchor is to Jesus, and that we are 'being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator'.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Turtle Power!

The pureists will remind me we're talking tortoises here, and there are some important distinctions.

I do however, want to take time to remember ol' Cutshell, whom I haven't seen in a few years, but sometimes he(she) goes a few years without being seen. It would go from somewhere in our backyard to somewhere cross the street this time of year, had a cut on its carapace that looked like battle damage from a lawn mower. Cutshell was/is a survivor. Hope there are baby Cutshells running around.

Springtime Shell-ebration!It’s spring, which means gopher tortoises are out and about! After a winter of relative...
Posted by MyFWC on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ramble On!

Fly in week at Lakeland Linder Airport. Many folks coming in for that. I'll have to research the history of fly in week. There's going to be airshows, lots of personally own/flown aircraft, and my cousin is coming into town! She's a pilot and airframe maintenance mechanic to boot.

Lots of metal birds to look at, and not just the feathered ones for a change.

Speaking of birds, migration is at its peak in FL. Reports are filtering in from all over the state of moving warblers, tanagers, buntings, and other feathered beasts. I haven't seen a lot yet, but I went birding Saturday morning with the oldest at Circle B Bar, still working on that post. The peak was probably a week ago, but there's still a lot out there to see. Plus, breeding for the locals has begun!

Discovered a wide area repeater network in FL:
Seems interesting, I can hit the local repeater with my $30 Radio Shack clearance (from 10 years ago) UHF special radio using a rubber duck. If you live near an interstate in FL, chances are you are already in a coverage area for one of these linked repeaters. Find out a local one, and give out a call. I've been trying to call every now and again, but haven't heard any activity on them yet.

FL has at lease one other repeater network, the NI4CE network, and I think there's some linked repeaters in south Florida too. It's important for an old hat like me to remember that repeaters are where a lot of the most important activities occur for ham radio, and repeaters introduce most new hams to the hobby. Be kind, be courteous, and always follow good amateur radio practices when using repeaters.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Attack of the Bromeliads Part 3, Revenge of the Needle!

This beauty is what really got me thinking about bromeliads:

Tillandsia setacea: Southern Needleleaf
This is Tillandsia setacea: Southern Needleleaf, and it has some of the most striking flowers out of something related to Spanish Moss I've ever seen.

T. setacea, showing seeding flowers
And this isn't when it's even all that pretty!
When it's in full flower, the flower is purple, I'll keep an eye out, supposedly this is the time when they bloom. Unfortunately, they've never been reported north of Georgia, and according to the USF Plant Atlas of Vascular Plants, has only been "vouchered" in Florida in counties south of and including I-4. There have been collections made in a few counties around Tampa, north of I-4.

Crimsoned triad breaks
Sending seeds into the wind
Planting in the air

From the underside
Of the Live Oak branch it grows
Needing only air.

I haven't found any information about commercial uses of this plant, nor have I found any folk medicinal uses. Mostly, it is pretty to look at, and scrubs the humid air under live oaks. That's not a bad lot in life.

There are a lot more different types of Tillandsias and there's even more different genera. In all there are sixteen native to Florida species, and there's two hybrids that occur naturally. One of the biggest dangers that they face is from an imported insect, the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil, Metamasius callizona. First reported in FL in the mid 1990's, the weevil quickly discovered that Florida's bromeliads are tasty. Many of the plants they feast upon have become uncommon or endangered as a result of their depredation. Fortunately for T. usneoides, T. recurvata, and T. setacea the weevil does not for now, find them tasty. The link above that describes the weevil problem also details a program started in 2007 to control the weevil population using a parasitic fly.

I've written these three articles on these common plants because I learned something while looking at them. Next time I'll share some interesting realizations I had while seeking flowers along the branches of a live oak tree.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Bromeliads are Upon Us! The Sequel.

Spanish Moss drapes and envelopes the trees. It's distinctly southern. However, many times, even in the same tree, there exists another bromeliad, Tillandsia recurvata known as Ball Moss, hiding among the limbs.

The plant is compact
Sending out tendrils and seeds
Sprouting from flower

Tillandsia recurvata

In the picture above, we see that Ball Moss is a compact plant, similar and color to Spanish Moss, and like Spanish Moss, is stringy. The plant itself, however, grows differently. Instead of resembling a chain from a barrel of monkeys, T. recurvata grows in a more "normal" plant like fashion. There is a central place where the plant attaches to a limb. You can also see how the seed stalk is long and curves out. This is a key indicator for know when you have Ball Moss and Spanish Moss growing together, if you are trying to judge from a distance. I gave a picture of a seedpod dispersing seeds from a T. usneoides in the last post. Notice in that picture, that the seedpod is very close to the plant.

Another note about the seedpod of this plant: The seeds often germinate right on the end of the stalk, so the plant looks like it's "walking" ie, sending out a tendril and cloning itself. Nope, it's sprouting from the seeds, straight out of the nest!

T. usneoides  and T. recurvata growing together
To the right, we see Spanish and Ball Moss growing together, and this is how I first discovered it, even though at the time, I didn't know what I was seeing. I made the error of thinking that the Ball Moss was a baby Spanish moss plant. Now I know better.

Top, bottom, left, right
Surrounded, the plant juts out
Sending seeds on stalk

There's a chance Ball Moss is good for something other than looking pretty too! A study in 2012 revealed that it could help in the fight against prostate cancer. Green Deane reports that it and Spanish Moss can be nibbled.

 On the left, I'm holding a Live oak leaf behind a seedpod so I could take a better picture of the wispy, feather like seeds.

And there's a seed head, fully visible. Now that I know what they look like, Tillandsia seeds are easy to find, I've found them on trees, my windshield, in bushes, and all sorts of places. One long range photography project I have is to track a seed as it grows.

The seed, over time
Becomes a whole new plant
Making seeds itself

Part three involves a new-to-me Tillandsia that has very showy flowers.

Friday, April 10, 2015

It's the Bromeliads! They're Everywhere! pt 1.

Hide your wife!
Hide your kids!
This post is about air plants!

I want to highlight three plant species, all members of the same genus, Tillandsia. You find them on live oaks and bald cypress especially, but they also reside on many other tree species. They don't (usually) hurt the trees (we'll talk about the worst case scenario), but instead they simply live on the bark of the trees they inhabit. These plants need a "perch" not dirt, and it just so happens that live oaks and cypress trees serve as the perfect perch because they excrete certain minerals the Tillandsias sp. need to survive.

All three species shown in this post are common species. You can find them all over Florida, and I found them all in the same live oak. We'll handle them in the order that I discovered them in my area. Each plant deserves its own post.

First up:
Tillandsia usneoides: Spanish Moss.

Tillandsia usneoides
This plant surprises most people by being a bromeliad. Pineapples (Ananas comosus) are bromeliads too! True story, Spanish Moss is a cousin of the Pineapple. It's also the most widespread Tillandsia in the USA. The latin name refers to the superficial appearance it has with a lichen genus, Usnea. to tell them apart, understand that Usnea lichens have a solid white inner core, if you try to pull a strand apart, the white core is visible. In Spanish Moss, the core is black. They are both stringy, but with Spanish Moss, I always think of monkeys in a barrel, the plant is a long chain. With Usnea, it's more like a tree trunk with branches sprouting out. There's always one main trunk. When you have both in the hand, the differences are very apparent. When you look at them across the street, they start to look similar. Lichens don't have flowers though, and bromeliads do. While the flower of T. usneoides is nothing particularly spectacular, it's one of those flowers that grows on you  and leaves you saying "so that's what that flower looks like!"
T. usneoides flower

T. usneoides flower

 A green glint on grey
Catching bright morning sunshine
Glowing small flower

Not big nor showy
They open along the chain
Hoping for pollen

T. usneoides seeds

Ripened flower's seeds
Cast forth on the wind seeking
A new place to grow

 Early in Florida's history, Spanish Moss found its way into the mattress of many pioneers. While people, for the most part, no longer use it as bedding, the Seminole bat (Lasiurus seminolus) among other bats uses it as a daytime roost. When I see Spanish Moss, I instinctively know I'm supposed to be there. It's a sign that the air is clean, free from pollution (especially the pollution that causes acid rain), and that the weather doesn't get too cold. The way it hangs on trees suggests a wise elder, and I've spent many moments pondering the wisdom the grey adorned wood has to offer.

 In doing research on the Tillandsias common to the neighborhood, I came across some useful links that I've posted at the bottom, I hope you enjoy learning about them as much as I did.
Also feel free to share a haiku about the Spanish Moss in your neck of the woods.

Florida's native bromeliads:
How to know when you've got Usnea:
A list of Tillandsias:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Plodding Forth....

The meat of this post is as follows:

First, I've managed to work stations 2 days in the last five on my radio!
6 QSOs total. so over one a day, still! I broke the streak using voice on 15m, and kept the trend alive using CW.hopefully, I can continue to do well. I realized last week I went all March without a single QSO.

Secondly, I'm going to be doing some posts about epiphytes (air-plants), namely some local native bromeliads, namely Tillandsia recurvata and T. usneoides. There's another I haven't identified yet. We'll get to that later, lots of pictures coming! Likely a haiku or two, perhaps some straight up verse. If you grok what I'm dropping here, I got close to them, and understood their being. For a moment all was as it should be.


There's much gurgling going on in my brain. Something is effervescent and building just beneath the surface of my consciousness. There's a connection to be made between the moral decay amoung individuals, the increasing authoritarianism exhibited by the state, and the increasing desire of society to utilize state authority as a bludgeon for what it considers to be the evil of the day. When things coalesce, there will be a good chance that what I postulate will offend and chagrin many people I love. I hope you'll bear with me, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

***EDIT 09 April 2015***
worked a VK2 today on 20m CW!
took the compost to the compost heap, drilled some holes in a box for my eldest child's science project, then turnt on the radio. took about five minutes to make sure I had their call right, and then call the station myself. very FB OP!
I need to work a lot more stations to bring the average up, but I did accomplish my goal of working stations on two separate days this week!

working on my Tillandsia post. Pics are on the computer, and I've been typing the background. Hoped to have it up today for my Dad's birthday, but I had to take a car tire to the shop and hop around a bunch, before I came to work.

***EDIT again 13 April 2015***
Jim in MO AF0F on 20m CW!
Need a lot more, will take schedules.

Also, two Tillandsia posts are up, and I'm working on the third
 Tillandsia usneoides
 Tillandsia recurvata

Monday, March 30, 2015


The 5 month old in the house is too dang cute ya'll.

New Years Resolution update:
1. Average QSO count of 1 per day: waaaaay behind. I'm trying to get into the habit of going to bed earlier, so that means no radio. Because most of my operating has been at night, post midnight local time, I have less time for long stents radio.

2. Two days of radio activity per week. Also, haven't had time for this. Trying to make more time, but I've got a lot going on right now, and need time for physical activity more than radio time though.

Haven't even uploaded QSOs from this year to LOTW yet. UGH.
My strategy is to renew resolution #2 first, get two days of activity. Even if only for one QSO. I'm keeping my CW skills up by whistling license plates while on the way to work, and also random texts. It helps, but not much.
Progress report due next Monday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Awesome Blog Post Goes Here.

This post is not really awesome.

I had a great idea last night at work, and thought, "I should write this down, because it's got the start of something great! This is awesome!" and then these jobs started, and I had to monitor them and well, it's complicated. My cosmic train of thought totally derailed, went into hyperspace, and is currently involved in a life or death struggle against the Shadows.
Stinkin' Shadows and their shenanigans. 

So pretend that this post tells you all about the wonders of learning something profound from the color of flowers, because that's all I can remember.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Encapsulation, Abstraction, Inheritance and Polymorphism

These are the things that make objects in computer programming languages.
Encapsulation: The object's internal properties are kept hidden from outside the object.
Abstraction: The object possesses a way to handle its internal data.
Inheritance: The process by which a specific class is created using an already existing class.
Polymorphism: the capability of one type of data to be used like it's another.
I've been studying this so I can learn C#. Right now, I'm studying virtual members, and learning about how C# uses them to specify how a specific action may be different for a child class as opposed to the parent class.
It's been a long time since I've devoted this much concentration to one subject. There's a heavy temptation to branch out on something else, but knowing this stuff will make me more valuable to the company where I work. The book I'm studying is divided into 24 chapters, and carries the convenient title "Teach yourself Visual C# 2010 in 24 Hours". This title mocks me. It takes me about three hours to go through a chapter. I'm learning a lot. There is a certain amount of beauty in the way C# is written, and also some frustration. the syntax for instantiating a new member of a class is hilarious to me. As is the requirement for non-necessary parenthesis. I don't mind the curly braces. There's a certain snap to the appearance of code that has curly braces. I've always liked seeing them.

I need a way to make what I'm learning real to me. Working on the book projects are one thing, I need a project to do something useful.
I'll need to do some thinking on that. Iterators are still a couple of chapters out.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Longing for Westernesse

I need to shave, get ready for work, pick something else up, but something running loose in my head right now and I have to get this out there.

There's a fine line between loving and accepting, and how you understand that could very well affect your your soul.

No more time to expound. Can't elaborate. Just don't want to loose that thread.
Do you understand the difference between loving something and accepting it? Do you know when to apply each.

furthermore (this is related in one of those random clear to me, not so clear to others ways), what if the telos for the whole English language and grammar was to ensure that for the perpetuity of this existence that sun would sound like Son? Do you see the lessons there?

I did it, got shaved, to work on time, and picked something else up. I even dumped out the compost onto the compost pile.
I need to think some more on the difference between love and acceptance. There's something about holiness there that can't be grasped by the non-Christian mind. There's also something deep about loving someone without accepting their behaviors. I love a lot about myself, but there's a lot of things I don't accept, I guess I need to start by defining acceptance.
To Be Continued.... I got some insomnihacking to do.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Learning to Code in C#

Sorry I might have a boring post or two over the next little while,
I'm learning to write programs in C#.
yeah, I'm going there, I have to, it's what the development teams use, so it's important to know it if I ever hope to do something besides press the L button.
I have to concede the following:
1. So far, learning C# has been painless. As a language it makes sense. So far. That could be because I'm using a good book for learning C# ("Sams Teach Yourself: Visual C# 2010 in 24 Hours"), or because I know it's so important to learn it, but I don't care. I can write code and enjoy it using a Microsoft language.
2. I'm really enjoying Visual Studio. Yeah, I said it. It's useful, keeps me focused more on the logic of what I'm doing and less on the syntax. True, I'm still writing a lot of semi colons and curly braces, but other times, I start writing stuff, and intellisense really helps me write it quicker.
So yep,
I'm not giving up on Linux, or UNIX, but I have found use for Windows too.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Keeping the QSO Rate Up

My twin ham radio resolutions for this year have been:
1. to average 1 QSO a day
2. to operate twice a week.
So far, I'm doing decent, I'm down 3 QSOs right now, but that's because I had a couple of days when I only had time to make one QSO.
Goal 2 has been pretty easy to keep
Other things I'm exploring in the world of Radio:
Microwave transmissions.
So far, I've only made CW QSOs. Use the code or loose it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Can Feel it Deep Down, Waaaaaay Down.

Gonna be up late, I can feel it.
Writing features out for a rails webapp that will help me track my blood pressure.
I'm using a spreadsheet now.
It's taunting me. I bet my father-in-law would like something like this. Login, record some metrics, send to Dr.
Will be that simple.
It's 5 columns of data, a user, a date/time, 2 columns for the blood pressure, one for the heartrate.
It's coming together.
now to follow through.
I bet I don't sleep much.

Watch my twitter feed and this post for commits.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ham Radio New Year's Resolution

I made one new years resolution about ham radio. My operating habits during December greatly influenced the wording

I, KG4GVL, do resolve to do my best to operate a minimum of twice a week, with the goal of averaging one QSO per day for 2015, or may the Wouff Hong find me as I sleep.

I've tried the whole "QSO once a day" thing, and that quickly became work. I managed to go somewhere around two months with a QSO every day, and many days it felt like I made the contact because of the commitment, not because I enjoyed the QSO. Time is a precious commodity in our house, and I don't have a lot of it to operate radio. In December, I managed to operate a handful of days, spending about an hour of time at a time (sometimes less), and had a blast running stations that were calling CQ. I even managed to call CQ a few times my own self and snagged a few new countries. Part of that I realize was propagation, but I've learned through the years that it don't matter how well propagation is if you don't get on the air. Plus, the maxim "RF gotta go somplace" is a reality. When you QRV, the signal goes somewhere, and the RBN network is a testament to how well some bands do under what would normally be considered marginal conditions. I really enjoy operating when I can get several QSOs at once.

Other people have made their resolutions too, one of the coolest is to build a project from your birth month/year issue of QST. I didn't see much in that would really work for me in the October 1977, but if anyone has an extra issue that they'd let me peruse, I wouldn't mind. :) I do have an October 1953 issue of QST that looks pretty interesting, and I think it has part of a 222 MHz project that would be pretty neat to construct, if I could find the parts to construct it.

Also doing some investigating into ham radio with microwaves. If the kids ever get their license, I think they'd get a kick out of building stuff they can use to bounce a signal off a satellite, or even the moon. The local library has a copy of The ARRL UHF/Microwave Experimenter's Manual and while some of the math inside seems complicated, the projects/ideas inside seem pretty straight forward.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Je Suis Toujours Tout Seul

When you are the father of four little girls, certain truths become rapidly apparent. Some things you just know, some things you have to learn. One thing that has revealed itself over time is that no matter what you do to prevent it, one of them will get the itch for pop music.
The two common reactions to this tragedy are:
1. Deny it is happening.
Denying your child likes pop music will alienate her, and disengage you from her life, this is unacceptable, and will drive you nuts eventually.

2. Embrace the crazy.
learn the words, learn the music, sing along, and find yourself doing Just Dance 2015 on the Wii. The trick to not totally falling off the deep end is finding some song that doesn't completely stink, and specialize in being the best at it. That will make you cool. For Just Dance 2013, I chose The Chemical Brothers "Hey Boy, Hey Girl". I could get 5 stars out of 5 on that one 4 out of 5 times. Just Dance 2015 I believe it will be Dead or Alive "You Spend Me Right Round". As a kid, one of my friends and I would sing this song in the line for water in the 2nd grade. First time I did the song on Just Dance, I got three stars. That's a sign folks.

The crazy I've embraced it.

There is one primary drawback however. Embracing the crazy means that sooner or later, you'll find yourself waking up, pouring a hot cup of coffee, feeling really optimistic, and whistling Katy Perry.
That's just not right.