6/29/2006

Field Day Fingering 2006--aka N2SE back on the air Part I

Ok if you didn' t read last year's post regarding the Amateur Radio Field day go back and take a peek! Even though this wasn't my first Field Day, it certainly was the best because not only did I use my own radio, I got to actually stay up during the entire event instead of going home when the bands just starting to heat up. Over the past year I became real close friends with the 10-70's VP, Isaac,NJ3C, he's gotten me to the meetings this year ands has really helped me setup my base station right, though I'm STILL not finished! Anyway Isaac,NJ3C, knew this year he was going to try to get me to stay overnight, it's not like we sleep that much anyway!! So anyway I had my radio and arranged for a laptop, "borrowed" a table that was in the lodge and patiently waited as Paul,KC2CJW, built my station. Paul and Issac had an unspoken deal, Isaac would get me up there, and Paul would set me up. Well after a handful of tying different laptops to see if they worked with my radio, we finally got my station up and running. Now like I said last year I do PSK-31 which is radio done via the computer. It's a lot more complicated then IMingt because i t's done via ham radio air waves. Last year Paul did a lot of the grunt work , kind of the same as this year, but I was a bit more comforterale on my own. The weather was kind of cruddy this year so I setup shop inside which was a bit crowded because the ATV station was also setup right behind me. However I managed fine partly because someone was l ooking over my shoulder the entire time. I didn't mind in fact I enjoyed the company. Being in the lodge also gave me unlimited access to t he soda (alcohol-free weekened) and more importantly the bathroom. The only downside was I wasn't used to th e software to connect the computer to the radio, so that made things a bit "interesting"".
As for the contacts I didn't bump into my "friends" from Mississippi, KK5K, but I still racked up 70 contacts. Half of them were thanks to my one of my ham radio "mentors" Jerry,NO2T who decided not to put up his own station but just keep an eye on me. We both picked off a couple dozen stations before he went home around 1:30 am(remember this is a 24 hour event). Jerry and I were like two guys going hunting, we kept each other going, took turns at just burned up the airwaves as best we could.
When it was all said and done we had stayed up until 2:30 in the morning logging. By that time Jerry was falling asleep in his chair. We looked at each other and without saying one word, shut down the station. I did attempted to stretch my back, but the damage had been done. So I did the next logical thing, I made my way down the hill to Isaac's tent and unwrapped my sleeping bag. (Note to self: BRING A MATTRESS PAD NEXT TIME) Isaac was hot and heavy on CW so I just collasped on my sleeping bag.
I awoke promptly at 7:45 to find Isaac asleep so I got up as quietly as I could, well not really but he was dead tired so it didn't matter. When I got back up to the lodge I found Jerry already going. He went over to get yet until refill of coffee! We racked up another couple of QSO's and then decided to call it a day!
To think I'll be doinlg all again next year...........hopefully with a bigger bottle of Advil!!!!!!
73 for now

6/15/2006

Solve one problem with another

On a news website, one that is truly independent, two stories caught my eye. One was about Bush's "domestic spying program" and another was about how there need to be a crack down on illegal immigration. Both deserve all the attention possible as they do affect everyone in the country. I often remarked how ironic it was that the government is tryi ng to make it harder for us to keep an eye on them (i.e. more and more encrypted radio systems) while making it easier for them to spy on us (i.e. the Patriot Act). I am also up in arms on how some groups often go after these major corporations for breaking laws and then give individuals a pass when they enter the country illegally. By now you are asking yourself how am I goingf to connect these two totally different issues t ogether? The answer is simple, only put people living here less than five years under surviellance. I don't mean be secretive about it, I want the government to be very open and direct about this policy. Is this a "voilation of civil rights"? I don't think so because illeagal immigrants are indeed BREAKING THE LAW. They shouldn't be here in the first place, so why do they need their civil rights protected?
Ok so all illegal immigrants are supposed to be deported on the spot, but we all know this rarely happens, usually they are released to roam free throughout the country. This theory is designed to serve as a deterrant to make illegals see they ARE NOT WELCOME HERE! If they know in advance this is our policy maybe they wouldn't come here in the first place? I really don't care a bout a foreigner's civil rights if her or she doesn't have the common decency to come into the United States legally. I bet you Congress would really turn heads if the made this kind of proposal!

6/04/2006

Right Place, Right Time

The phone rang at about 9:00am and I hear my dad say one minute and walk up stairs. I automatically assumed it was for my mom, then the foot steps grew louder. "Justin, phone call", he said partly annoyed because he had to walk up stairs. Who could be calling me on a Sunday m morming? Jeff was in Connecticut, Sean never calls unexpectedly. It was Larry on the other end of the phone. Larry is another fire and scanner buff who takes me to some of the wet downs and parades, he was in Mahwah for work and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the Newark Fire Munster. I moaned yes and as soon as I put the phone down I hopped, more like stumbled, into the tub and raced to get ready! He pulled up, we packed the walker up and left.
We got there and the trucks were just starting to pull into the lot, kind of like an antique car show, but strictly fire apparatus. It was definitely OK by me!1 The lead truck was the Newark FD antique Mac truck. The license plate read Q/Q WTC343, a dedication to the three hundred and forty-three firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11/01. Kids were climbing in the hose bed to ride in the parade. I thought it was neat the Newark Fire Department let them do it. Larry half jokingly said, go ahead jump on! I didn't go for it, but peered in the cab. I saw this beauty at a few 100th anniversary parades and always dreamed what it'd be like riding shotgun.. Just then the driver of this piece of moving history stepped behind me. He said he couldn't fit me in the back, I couldn't climb up there anyway! I kept looking at the cab. The driver said, "go ahead hop in!", I looked at him for a split second and quickly opened the door and jumped in. Seeing antique fire engines is neat but actually sitting in the passenger's seat gave me goose bumps. The first thing I noticed was a brand new Motorola radio sitting on Newark's fire dispatch channel!! Of course I wanted to scroll through it to see what else was programmed in, but I didn't want to do anything to get myself kicked off the truck. I stuck to ringing that bell. People waved at me and smiled, probably thought I had been involved with the Newark Fire Museum for years. It was definitely a very nice surprise!
Larry stood on the corner snapping pictures of everything that looked cool to him as it passed by! I admit I directed him to a few nice shots. He go pictures of some of the older truck radios and the old plectron inside the museum itself!! I sometimes think that camera is glued to his head like the scanner is glued to my ear!
When all was said and done, both of us had a really amazing time! It was kind of sad to overhear the munster wasn't as good as in the past, but we had fun!! Now if you excuse me I have to review to new frequencies I picked off during the festivities! I can't wait to do it all over again next year!!!
P.S. For those who know about my "Top 100" the Newark Munster rates as #18

Larry took some amazing pictures you can view them here:
http://wetdowns.net/event-pics/2006/2006-newark-muster.shtml