Friday, April 17, 2009

Some interesting ham videos

Herman Munster Calling CQ

This is not exactly me but at least he's using phone, and a radio far more advanced than the one below:

Spark Gap Transmitter - Ham Radio

Holy smokes, you could very well say that as the fumes of ozone can be quite overbearing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cushcraft MA5B back up

Well, it took some time, for the weather to break and for me to get all the parts I needed, have a plan on how to get the antenna back up, prepared all I thought I needed to do then have Steve up here to give me a hand, well I think he did most and I gave him a hand. Anyhow. it all went according to plan till one small part snapped... But between both of us, we overcame that difficulty and even strengthened the mast by inserting parts of the old one into the new one. The mast went up and then the antenna. By then winds had picked up. Well I live near the top of a hill... Finally all got done and off the roof we went.

Back down there, I took out my trusty Brunton SAR compass and checked the antenna alignment. I could not do that accurately from the garage roof as I was too close. Well on the lawn I found that we were off by about 2 degrees on a +/- 2 degrees compass. I believe that this will not be a problem at all. Heck, my rotator program is not that accurate either...

Well, down to my shack where I tried the Cushcraft. Well, it works just as good as before. Even got a new one, Cyprus, almost immediately.

What makes a ham very happy? A good antenna working up there sure does!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

QSO with LU4GW from Trelew Argentina

Sometimes a short QSO in a contest becomes much more meaningful than a few more points or a multiplier. This happened to me with the short contest QSO with LU4GW, Jorge Omar Gallego from Trelew, Argentina. This was not my first QSO with Argentina, but it rang a bell. Trelew, I remember the name of that town! Why? As a child, been raised in France, I read books by Antoine de Saint Exupery and especially my favorite, Vol de Nuit or Night Flight in English. And Saint Ex wrote about Trelew in this book, a wonderful passage that I believe inspired me in becoming an amateur radio operator, years later, many years later. It is just after that LU4GW QSO that it all came into perspective. I found this passage on the web, did not like the English translation they had so I translated it on my own.


Commodorio Rivadavia doesn't hear a thing anymore, but a thousand kilometers from there and twenty minutes later, Bahia Blanca catches a second message.
"-descending... Entering clouds".
followed by two words in an undecipherable text arriving at the post of Trelew:
"-Seeing nothing..."
That's shortwave. You hear it over there, but here we remain deaf. And then, for no reason, everything changes.
This crew whose location is unknown, already appears to the living as out space and time and the blank sheets of the radios logs seem to have already been written by ghosts.
Have they run out of fuel or does the pilot play his last hand to the breakdown: finding the ground without crashing?
The voice from Bahia Blanca orders Trelew:
"-Ask him"

The wireless radio listening post looks like a laboratory with nickel, copper, gauges and a network of wires. The night watch operators in white shirts are silently bend like over a simple experiment. With their dainty fingers they touch the controls and search the magnetic sky like dowsers of a gold-lode.
-"No answer?"
-"No answer!"
Perhaps they are going to pick up a sound that might be a sign of life. If the aircraft and its running lights climbed towards the stars they could possibly hear the chant of that star. Seconds pass, really flowing like blood. Are they still flying? Every second reduces the chance. The flow of of time seems to becomes destructive. Just as twenty centuries, affect a temple, make its mark in the granite and transform the temple into dust and here, centuries of usage conglomerate in each second to threaten the crew.
Every second takes something away. Fabien's voice, Fabien's laughter, his smile. The silence is gaining ground. An increasingly deep silence, falling on this crew like the weight of a sea. Then somebody notices: "One hour forty. Last drop of fuel; it's impossible that they are still flying".

And peace sets...

A taste of bitterness and insipidity surges to the lips, like the end of a journey. Something comes to an end, of which we know nothing, something rather distasteful. And the same gloominess that hangs in closed factories can be felt among the nickel and copper veins. All this equipment seems heavy, useless and abandoned: the weight of dead branches.
All that's left is waiting for dawn.
In several hours all of Argentina will emerge in daylight and these people remain here like on a shore with a net that is pulled, ... slowly pulled, and nobody knows what the catch will be.