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.