6/30/2005

When nobody wants to talk

A quote from a mailing list poster, "I have not received any RailScan group messages since 6-22 and I waswondering if anyone else is receiving messages? Perhaps there is just a problemwithmy account?Any help would be greatly appreciated."

Alright why in the world do people do this? Hint if you didn't do anything to stop getting e-mail chances are ipeople just do not have anything to say. It just bothers me when people start these discussions and it then goes way off topic because someone questions wether he or she is STILL ON THE LIST. The general idea of these mailing lists is to discuss a hobbby and to highlight news related to the hobby. Now I am just as guilty as the next person when occasional "off-topic post" but I have faith in the moderators to keep me and everyone else in line. Perhaps I would have reacted differently of the person guilty of posting an note like that if he added something related to railscanning at the end, but he didn't. The saddest part about it is the list is moderatored all the time!! Still this guy got through! I don't know maybe I also have too much time on my hands when I can take time out of the day to write about something so stupid!

6/27/2005

Field Day Fingering 2005--N2SE on the air

Alright that might sound gross but let me explain. For those non hams out there basically Field Day happens every last weekend in June where ham clubs across the nation try to make as many c ontacts as possible. This yearly activity has been around a lot longer than I have and it gets me on the air. Right now my entire ham station is in the crapper, it will be there for awhile.
Anyway like almost everything else in this world, the computer enhances everything 100 times over. There are all kinds of "modes" meaning different ways to transmit, there's plain old voice contacts, then there's CW (Morse Code for all you non-hams) you can even do Amateur TV stations on the ham bands. Getting back to the computer, PSK-31 (Phase Shift Key) is among the new digital mediums we are utilizing. Think of it as online chatting but using radiowaves instead of internet. I roped in contacts from a half a dozen states, even KK5K out of Alabama. Yes folks you never know who or what you'll find on the airwaves. Alright I have to mention I was up at a ski lodge as the Mercury hits 85 here, a perfect place to do some signal hunting. I drank a lot of soda to keep me going (in more ways than one I might add)!:

6/15/2005

Justin's Rules for Blogging

Please read this first:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/warningyourcleverlittleblogcouldgetyoufired

I am not saying I'm the autority on blogging because I have only been doing it for a few weeks. However I have written in public forums and have been exposed to every kinds of reaction to my writing known to man. People questioning wether I wrote something is probablly the worst feedback someone could get. So I take my writing, wether it be an article, a letter or even a quick e-mail very seriously. This is coming from someone who puts a greater value on the written word over the spoke one! It's easier to deny something you say, you can write it off as an emotional reaction. When you write something you can't take it back, that's it! People try to do it all the time, I have tried a few times. It never works because folks on the recieving end assume that if you put in the effort to sit down and compose a note, you mean ever word. Atleast I do, sometimes I throw a few things in for "effect' but usually I write from the heart but I also let my mind filter stuff out. You can be passionate about something without having it control your emotions. I used to be guilty of that, but you don't see any of the writing on the Internet, yeah like you would look for it anyway. Back when blogging first started "real reporters" scoffed at the concept. Now they are starting to be seen as competition. Here are some "rules" I made up (they are more like guidelines but it doesn't have the same ring):

1. Write like people read it. Yeah stupid but true. Ok it's yor blog but make people want to read it, show your opinion, but don't go overboard. While it's true you want to get your point across, you need to give something more juicy so they'll read moree

2. Respect the people who you write about. This is hard especially when it involves anything political, but even if I disagree with someone, I don't want to see them hit while they are down. People confuse hating a person and disagree with them. It seems the line that divides critizism and attacking is getting more blurred. This is something nobody likes, but everybody does it anyway. Folks need to get a clue attack the other side only gets you so far than people stop listening, AHEM Mr. Dean (had to write it)

3. Expect negative feedback even when you say something 'everyone SHOULD agree on' there is always some person waiting in the wings with rotten tomatos. Some of my best letters are crtizing other writers, of course the seldomly get published.

4. Expirence sometimes helps. I can tell the bloggers who have been p ublished on paper and the ones who just decided one day to hop on the 'Net and fire away. Although getting printed might defeat your entire purpose of blogging, usually after getting published changes a writer's prospective. I started out writing a Journal, then progressed into articles and now have started blogging. Each a different medium, each has its good and bad points. All formats are good practice! When I started this blog I said to myself, oh no I'm back to the Journal. Now I'm starting to see the difference.

6/13/2005

Armstrong Tower Review

The first word that came out of my mouth was "WOW"! I have honestly only have said it a few times and meant it, this was definitely one of those moments. Anyone who has been on a hill- in Bergen County has seen this things and probablly 90% of the them say how awful it looks ! The problem with that comment is people who say it don't have a clue what the tower has done for all kinds of broadcasting, especially FM. When the World Trade Center collasped a lot of the companies that lost their antennas had back-up services at Alpine so they were back on the air in no time! I got an inside look at the repeaters used by Conrail and NJ Transit there were a lot of paging companies. It was a once in a life time oppritunity because like everything else after 9/11, security is definitely A LOT tighter!! FYI they call it both the Armstong Tower (named after the inventor of FM radio) and the Alpine tower!
For the people keeping tack I did bring the BC246T but didn't get that much action which was a little disappointing because I saw people walking around with VHF ht's! This is one o f the few time close call didn't work! Oh well!
Alright definitely one other highlight was meeting another one of my radios buddies up at the tower,. Now I don't use his real name because he's just knowned to every as KP. He's an engineer over at NBC and has access to all kinds of radio equipment. Like other companies NBC uses equipment oly once durig major events and then throws it away. So he had a scanner just lying around brand new and asked if I wanted it!! "Another radio" my folks said, but it's nice just to have one dedicated just for fire. I always sell my old radios and use the money to purchase new stuff. So for once I have two working base scanner going at once which is very cool! Thanks again for the scanner KP!
Not bad for a Saturday......... Although it could have been a LITTLE cooler!!!!!!!

Go to the Armstrong Tower Website

6/09/2005

The Oppritunity of a Lifetime

Man this is coool! I am going to a celebration marking the 70th anniversary of the first FM broadcast made from the Armstrong Tower in Alpine at 12 noon this SaturdayJune 11th!!! I am definitely bringing my scanner with me because the transmission will be on 42.8 MHz!! This is one of the best scanning oppritunities out there. People can also tune into the program o n a regular FM radio one 89.1!! It's so neat being on the site of the first FM transmission EVER!! For details click on this link:http://www.cscmgt.com/news/2005-04-11-armstrong-press-release.html

I happen to know Chuck Sackermann, the President of CSC, the company who owns the tower. So he invited me up there to witness the program and to see the tower up close!! Hey maybe I'll climb the tower also, justkidding guys and gals!!! So this Saturday if you listen in you'll hear "Justin and his mom are there!! OK maybe you won't but hey it's going to be neat anyway.
Alright enogh bragging and I am past my half an hour posting limit!!

Also see Armstrong Tower Review

6/03/2005

Parades and other things

Alright I sound like a little kid when I say this but I love a parade. Every few years a town hosts what they call the New York/ New Jersey Firemen's Parade in Emerson. You know they invite "every department" into this one town they march and at the end have this huge block party. Make one wonder what would happen if one of the towns had a really big fire. Now I have been on both sides of the line, a few year back I rode with Teaneck Box 54 and loved it! The one bad thing was my scanner went dead. Nice going on my part, I forgot the extra battery pack for my radio sitting on my desk at home. Oh well! This time I am totally prepared, extra batteries and all!! So if you are in the area, stop by, I posted all the info on Bergenscanner, including the route and the frequencies for the parade. I'll also write up a little review of the parade Who knows? You might even see my ugly face walking around(with my walker in tow). Free drinks to anyone who comes up to me and says they read this entry! I know I'm a geek but what can I do? Hey you won't catch me sleeping outside the movie theater just to be first in line to see STAR WARS. I do have some dignity! Take it easy!