PV Class of 1997 Reunion

Alright I couldn't get away just posting some pictures like I did with the Bell and Siren Dedication, I actually have to "work". Maybe then my former classmates won't think I'm some kind of bum lying around the house all day. It's true the Pascack Valley Class of 1997 had their reunion this past Saturday night. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go originally because I HAD graduated in 1998 (I was on the five year plan), but the class president twisted my arm! Well it was a good thing he did because I had a great time. Not only did I remember my dancing steps, I was great with names as well Once again I was "one of the gang" and it felt like old times.
Mom reminded to stay away from bring up Derick, a fellow classmate who had passed away in January, but you could definitely tell he was there in spirit. They mentioned him along with one of our former classmmates serving in Iraq. I was surprised to see our former class advisor, Ms Kosch there and Mr. Mingione (no relation to Chuck Mingione) I am a bit apprehensive about asking for assistance in getting food(a buffet could be a disaster for someone with Athetoid CP), but Nicole had beat me too it. When it was time to go get food she simply said, let's go get something to eat, we walked together and she made me a plate. I was once again reminded how many friend I had at Pascack Valley High School.
As with other events with friends the party continued at the Cornerstone over in Hillsdale. I geuss somethings never change! I hitched a ride with Matt Bisi, a long time friend who I wish I keep in closer touch and his wife. We met up with a few of the folks who didn't make it to the reunion.
Note:My friend Tighe sent me some of his pictures so I added them to my slideshow


My latest find

Ok for those who haven't been reading this blog I actively collect automobile license plates. Now this might seem like a rusted plate to you but it's a 1927 New Jersey County commercial plate used on county vehicles. It was mixed in with a bunch of plates my collect friend Marco picked up I am tossing around the idea of getting it resotred to a more recognizable condition!!


A simple interview/A cheater's website

The lastest issue of ScanningUSA came today and thee was an article about a webmaster and his North Carolina frequency site. The interview itself was conducted by the "SUSA Staff" which basically consists of a back and forth dialogue between the staff writers and the interviwee with a little introduction in the beginning. I have seen this format before and usually I shrug my shoulders and say "well ANYONE who can ask a question can write these kinds of articles", all you need to do is come up wit h the questions and let the person do the rest. Now I have done some interviews for papers before and felt this method with a bit beneath my writing talents, but it's better than nothing. I have to give them credit for asking some good questions.
I am always interested on what else is out there even if I'll never visit that area of the country. When I went to this website I was disappoint to find stuff copied of Radioreference.com. Usually the webmasters, like this gentleman, copy it all formatting and everything and dump it on their site. THe even leaves some of the links back to Radio Reference without actually crediting the site, really smart if you ask me I have said in the past copying information is one thing, heck even I "borrowed" a frequency or two for my own site, but I have reproduced it in my own format. This is just plain old laziness and I will more than likely just go to the source.
Now I have to give the lad credit he does have some original material, but like always it just lists the frequencies the way they appear on a commercial site like Cityfreq.com . No detailed descriptions, channel layouts or anything (except the ones copied from Radioreference)=. I wou ld have like to have seen what HE has in HIS scanners. this is always a plus!!
Despite my negative comments it is indeed a pretty nice site.; I has some of the "staples" of a scanner site like the banner for the Missing and Expoilted Children as well as some up-to-date weather information feeding it. Two items that go into the "plus column"
Check the site out at: http://policescanner1.tripod.com/


Happy Halloween!!

Alright so I'm a bit late getting this post together but I was too busy stuffing myself with leftover candy!! My friend Nicole (actually Pete's exgirlfriend) talked me into joining her and her two friends into this custome contest!The theme-- Alice in Wonderland the famous children's story. They had an Alice and the Chesire Cat, even a flamigo pocketbook and a tea set. My ensamble is a the King of Hearts of course Nicole had to to be my queen, for the night anyway. We arrived at the Cornerstone to find everything from gangsters to something out of mythical times. It was a fun evening that I will never forget.


Welcome to justinmattes.com

This was suppose to be the second part of an entry called "Musical Servers" but I waited until the final settings kicked it!! It all began when the host for Bergenscanner.com crapped out. I have a long history of relying on other people to do the "dirty work" for the radio website. After all my original scanner website was on Tripod, complete with annoying banners. Someone offered to move the site to a "real" server and register a domain name, hence the address bergenscanner.com, it wasn't even my idea. I went along with it not understandingf the dynamics of actually registering a domain. To make a long story short my "friend" (scumbagmaxiumus) fumbled it up and lost the server space and the domain name. I couldn't even renew it because my friend had the password and everything. Long story short some other company picked it up and I had to fight to get it back. Basically stealing the traffic be cause by that I actually did some hefty negotiating!!! Anyway I finally got "BERGENSCANNER.COM" in my own name and I finally CONTROLLED the entire site, domain and all!
Now what does this have to do with "justinmattes.com"? WELL after losing Bergenscanner.com a few years ago, I always wanted to secure "justinmattes.com". Also there's a small chance if I didn't it could be used for some "evil" purposes, look at whitehouse.com (only if you're 18 or older) During the last and hopefully final server change for bergenscanner.com, I decided while I was at it, I would register my own name and stick it on this blog. I also wanted to brag the I'm a true "internet guru". That doesn't mean it will be directed here forever, but I update this blog more than I do my old site on Tripod!! Besides Bergenscanner.com this is my pride and joy!!
P.S. The boring http://justinmattes.blogspot.com still works as well.


What it takes to get noticed

I read an article today on Mitt Romeny borrowing $3 to buy a coffeee. It ofcourse made light of the fact that the presidental contender for 2008 had a staffer buy him a cup of coffee. While I was reading this "earth-shattering" news it made me wonder if there's more dribble like this during the 2008 campaign season? Of course! This indeed is the me dia that four years ago plastered a stupid picture of John Kerry in a steril suite, complete with hood, all over the internet. There was an AP article on that too, I'm sure you can Google it. They say stories like these provide a humanistic approach to presidential races, after all pressidents SHOULD be everyday people. I wanlt to vote for a presidental canidate who I can see myself talking shop over a beer. However there are limts, something all news mediums, no matter what their poltical prefernce, do not comprehend. There's another problem, unless you're a political- news junkie (I am but I'm going into rehab on November 6,2008) you don't care about these little blips on the political news radar.


Better late than never


My dad called me from downstairs just now saying I had mail. I wasn't excepting a license plate, all my magazines for the month had arrived, so what could this possibly be? As soon as he handed me the envelope my eyes widened. It was a long lost QSL card from W7YES from Oregon!!! This was truly a rare contact that lasted all of thirty seconds, just enough time to exchange the correct QSL information and fade away into the airwaves. I was so exciting when I bagged the contact, I raced to get the QSL -out in the mail. After quickly typing and p rinting out one of my trademark cards, it was more than a pleasant surpri0se to finally get the card six months after I sent one out. I have commented on a few contacts I have made on PSK, but this one definite is one of the more rewarding QSOS since making my first contact a little over a year ago!!


Why we can't feel bad

By now you have heard Steve Fossett, the great aviator Steve Fossett is missing somewhere in the mountians of Nevada. What was suppose to be a simple scouting expedition for his next daredevil stunt has turned into another famous person gone missing mediafest. Fossett's air achievments have been extrodinary, I especially liked the last one he did, flying around the world nonstop in 76 hours. Maybe it's because the native Aussie has choosen the good o-ld USA as his launchpad for these achievments or maybe like countless other people I have a genuine interest in general aeronautics. Although there is a small part of me that is amazed people are horrified that his missing. I am concerned for his safety and hope he is found, although thre's a small part of me that scratches my head when I hear that people really are upset before we know what really happened in those mountians . Fossett was known for his attention to detail when breaking all these records. From an outsider's point of view his little adventures seemed a bit crazy but never stupid.


Shooting again

I have been practicing my photography a little more. Here is the Woodcliff Lake Fire Department Chuef's truck parked where else but outside Fusco's Market. The Fire Chief is busy in his store watching the Yankees get killed. He's making sandwhiches too, but the TV is always going in the background. That and a scanner to keep an ear on what's going on around town no wonder why I'm there so often!! It takes about any hour round trip however I usually chat for awhile before going on my merry way back home. I usally stop in a few times a week for a root beer and to catch up on the news around town. I also get a behind the scenes story about the lastest fire call. My goal has always been to photographer every fire chief's vehicle in the county. I shot the truck during the Memorial Day Parade but because it was moving, it didn't come out right. The difference on this shot was I had all the time in the world. My photography is getting better and at times I find it easier than writing.


Working on simplex

A few days ago I was listening on the national simple frequency, 146.5200 and heard a mobile station going over the Tappan Zee Bridge. I was intrigued because the c'allsign was from "3land" meaning the station was from either Pennslyvania, Delaware or Maryland. He said he was on his way to Vermont with his friend who was also a ham. The conversation was the usually chit chat which I have had before. However this time, as a person who is starting to acquire QSL card I was excited these two gentlemen were willing to chew the fat for a few rounds. It's also nice to see my radio can work simplex from that distance
Although it hasn't been the first time I have worked far away on this Kenwood has gotten into the city and even down to to Manahawkin in Monmouth County on simplex. Then there's a guy in the city who has linked simplexes on different bands. Pretty neat talking through a linked system. I was talking to a guy on 440 via a 2 meter link.
The RACES net I'm in twice a month also works on simplex so I get to listen into all parts of Bergen County and see how my rig does reaching them.
So if a ham out there is interested in meeting up on simplex, I monitor 146.520 all the time so drop ,e a call sometime and let's do some ragchewing.


Field Day Fingering 2007--N2SE Back on the Air Part II

Seriously I know I should have written this before the Huntsville entry because this was the weekend before Huntsville, but I needed to think about compose my thoughts. Since Isaac went back to Germany, Howie picked me up this year to make the trek up to Capmgaw Ski Lodge in Mahwah. I spent the night before packing up my radios and trying to figure out if I forgot anything.
Howie pulled in the drive at 9:30 am Saturday morning to find me still half asleep and woofing down some crumb cake. He actually left with out me, but a quick call on the W2PQG repeater brought him back. I threw my stuff in the back of his car and we were on the mountain a little after 10. Rocky greeted us with a laptop, note to self next year bring the USB driver.
This year I truly flew solo and got my prime spot in the lodge right behind the registration desk, which housed the ATV station last year. I also brought my old 2m/440 radio, so I ran the Field Day talk-in station as well. People usually have their same spots every year. I was outside two years ago when the weather was nice, but since I was staying overnight and didn't have a tent, staying in the lodge was the obvious choice. There was also a prime spot for the air mattress my mom had bought the Friday night before, so I was set. It was even somewhat dark back there so I did get some sleep! Although I saw more than a few people eyeing the bed, I kept worrying I would either wake-up somewhere in the woods or have an uninvited bedfellow snuggle up besides me also known as Rocky!!
The most frustration part of doing PSK is people use too much power aand I'm restricted to 15 watts. I was getting blown away by the PSK station in Ramsey, they were running at least 25 watts. However I did manage to work Oklahoma on a brief opening so that was very cool. I saw stations as far west as Washington State, but they faded into the RF abyss before I could even try to bag them.
Since this was the first time I had a camera with me, so I took some pictures while the bands were dead, which unfortunately was the majority of the time. I got some nice shots and managed to remember taken out of my own setup.
The weekend was a success and even though it rained at night, there wasn't any thunder or lightning. My setup once again was the little station that could, although it would have been better if the bands opened up a bit.
I have already marked out my territory in the lodge for next year. While this year was a real milestone in my book, there are still things I can improve. Hopefully the station in Ramsey will knock down their power a little.
Note above is a picture of Richard,KC2PYB and I at the keyboard


Situtation with ScanningUSA

Alright this SHOULD be an easy fix.....but it's not!! My aunt got me a subscription to ScanningUSA for Christmas. She gave them my address but they sent the magazine to her house, no big deal I thought I would just e-mail them my address . That was back in Janaury, I have e-mailed them every month since NO REPLY AND THEY STILL SEND IT T O HER HOUSE!! The e-mails DO NOT BOUNCE, I just don't get a reply I called, she has called, NO ANSWER I have to go to her house every month to pick up the magazine. Can someone give me the magic trick to contact the subscription department over there?
Also th e magazine is ripped EVERY month?? I don't know what's up because when I buy it in the store it comes in one of those annoying plastic bags.! When they mail it out they don't use the plastic bags!!!
Bottom line I like their magazine but their customer service STINKS!! I will
continue to be a loyal reader, but maybe I won't renew my subscription because I really don't see the benefits?! I will buy it at Borders, in the stupid plastic bag!!!
An update: I finally dug back into my archives and dug out an old magazine with an old 800# and they gave me an e-mail to change the address. Hopefully this problem is s-olved. However if I wasn't a packrat, I never would have gotten th 800 # in the first place. This still does excuse them for not returning my e-mails to their main address! The should say "For subsscription problems call this number". Hey at least I wonn't have to ride my scooter over to my aunts house to pick up my magazine!! Not that I mind but it usually takes her time to fish it out of her mail!!


Huntsville Plate Hunting

Yes I made it there and back in one piece thanks to Tim Stentiford, I
can't begin explain how happy I was to get there. Tim, his son Kurt
(one of the kids running around the auction floor and won a junior award
for his display) and I had an incredible journey there and back. We got
delayed in Memphis Saturday night, but otherwise the flights were smooth
and we couldn't ask for better assistance at the airports. Although the
folks at La Gaurdia seem to forget the phrase "handle with care". Like
on family vacation my scooter became a luggage cart and Tim had so much
trade stock, it actually slowed me down, my dad is going to have to
remember that! For the record it was heavier on the way down than on the
way up!! As for Kurt he gave me a hand a couple of times, if he is an
reflection of the next generation of plate collectors, our hobby will
continue to grow. I saw something I never paid attention to before, such
a young man taking such pride in something. Sure Tim gave him a hand
putting that display together physically, but it was Kurt's idea,
that's what counts
The scooter worked out perfectly!! I was able to cruise the Covention
Hall with ease, although actually getting it out of the car Tuesday was
a bit of a trick! For the record I didn't knock any displays over and
everyone kept their toes, I think! Too bad it doesn't have a trip
counter or else I could tell you exactly how many laps I did around the
hall. One bad thing is I forget to print out a copy of my KC2GIK license
plate, we'll save that for next year! Although I bought an ALPCA sticker
I stuck on, so I am getting there! I need to give the scooter a good
cleaning before it goes back down the basement, but it held up well and
the battery never ran out before I got back up to the room! Yes Kurt
and Matt did beg to ride it. I replied with my best "uncle" impression
and said not this year.
People I never met came up to me and congratulated me on my
determination. You have no idea the feeling of not only accomplishing
something terrific, but to have others recognize the feat! The trip
couldn't have been possible without Rick K., who so graciously
split his room with me. . If I needed something,Rick was always a phone
call away . It was a huge leap of faith on his part because he had
never met me before. I am sure Rick held his breathe more than once as
I walked around, for the record I didn't fall once. Every night when
we got back to the room we pull out our lastest finds and reviw each
others stash. We went out to eat and just chatted about our families,
shared collecting stories and just hiad so much fun. Although it took
some time to get to know each other, by the time the convention
officially started, Rick and I had struck a friendship I will always
treasure. Above is a picture of us on the convention floor.
As far as plates I acquired I finally got a Vermont wheelchair and
managed to pick up a Virginia Fight Terrorism plate with a wheelchair on it.
That was very cool. This year at the auction I bagged the convention
plate #99 which was a total surprise to me. I didn't even to down there
with the intention of bidding on a low number plate. My paddle just
popped up when it was on the block!
I want to congratulated the officers and local members of ALPCA who
pulled together another wonderful Convention! As you
can read I had a great time. There were people coming up to me and said,
"Well if you can make Huntsville, you can make Salt Lake City" I just
turned and chuckled to myself..........little do they know!

To view some of my pictures click on the link below:

Justin's ALPCA 2007 Convention in Huntsville, AL Pics


What a difference a year makes

Last July I composed a single entry mentioning I couldn't attend the ALPCA Convention in Ontario California. Between my granfather passing away in Feburary and my brother getting married, it was too much to ask my parents to take a four day trip out to the west coast. That trip was supposed to be my third Convention because I knew they wouldn't go down to Huntsville Alabama this year. Who would? The biggest obstacle this year was there isn't a direct flight to Huntsville from any of the three major NYC airports. Second the hotels aren't cheap, so collectors usually split a room, which the agreement usually is renewed every year.
A collector from North Carolina said last year that he was driving to Huntsville and would give me a ride and share a room with me. I presented this to my parents and they still felt there were too many unknowns. First of all we never met the guy and the prospect of going on the road with him was going over like a fart in church.
So I was halfway there. I just needed to figure out a way around the changing planes. In steps in Tim, the editor. Even though he lives in Connecticut he's going to depart from LaGaurdia. Aha! Problem solved.
Alright my mom still isn't totally comforterable with the idea but she is helping me put the finishing touches on the trip. I can tell you one thing, this will be a trip for the record books!!!!!!!!!!


Memorial Day 2007

Every year Tri-boro (Montvale, Park Ridge and Woodcliff Lake) has a parade that altenates routes, this year they started in Woodcliff Lake and ended in Montvale. So I decided to ride down to the Montvale firehouse, on Memorial Drive to catch some shots from another angle. Well I kind of accidently shot their antique firetruck while it was passing the street sign for Memorial Drive. It's a pretty decent shot even though I cut the back of the truck off a little!! (Side note: This picture got published in the June 4th edition of the Pascack Press)


The Editor Strikes Back

Back in Feburary I had picked up on fellow ALPCA member Jon Upton's ramblings about how it seemed the last couple issues of Plates Magazine seemed to have a heavy dose of the Editor's articles. He wasn't the only only because te April edition of Plates Magazine arrived over the weekend and it seems another member, Mitchell Magursey, is disappointed there aren't more articles about United States license plates, which isn't true because in the last few years I have represented my home state of New Jersey pretty well with a plate article on NJ ham radio license plates and the NJ Meadowlands license plate, respectively. I also have another article in the works as you read this entry. None of the seventy two other members who live in the Garden State have written anything about plates in our state. As a matter of fact the entire issue is moot, because Tim has said on more than one occasion that he is always looking for material.
I pointed out Tim has been a writer's dream in my eyes because he has published all three articles I submitted and has nutured my writing more than another other Editor who has accepted my work( To get an idea of what I'm talking about read the previous post Editor's Duties. As I said in my last post people who critize Tim's editorial expertise don't have the proper insight to cast judgement. Mitchell Magursey is a perfect example because in the ten years I have been reading Plates Magazine (formally the ALPCA Register)I can not remember one article Mr. Magursey has submitted. I could be wrong!!


New camera, new kind of post

Alright I know this isn't the best picture to try this out but I just took the digital camera outside the other day for the spring thaw. Hopefully this will lead to other phot essays but for now this is as simple as it gets. Yes I live on Carnot Ave and after passing this sign almost everyday for twenty nine years, it was time to aknowledge the sign. So here it is the sign. I could have used a better subject however this is an unconventional blog so you folks get a street sign. Don['t worry I'll post more pictures in the future and they'll be a lot more interesting than a street sign. However I wanted to test it out before I get into more serious subjects!!
With the weather getting nicer I plan to do a little experimenting. Maybe this is yet another direction I'm taking this blog.........Stay tuned!


We make things easier

In the old days of police scanners, you would have a set number of channels in a set number of banks, a 200 channel scanner would have 20 channels in 10 banks. This required s ome planning because you couldn't possible fit everything you wanted in one bank. Some channels in some banks where left empty because some counties or towns have more frequencies thaqn others. There where time you didn't want to scan the entire county at once.
The days of banks and channels are over, which is a good thing, if you know how to use it! Uniden's new line of police scanners, the BC246T, the SC200 and now the new 996T has a feature called DYNAMIC MEMORY which enables the scanner to hold more information because not is wasted. It doesn't have the traditional channels but rather groups that allow memmory to be adjusted. It's like having multiple scanners in one unit! Now I have to admit at first I didn't know about this new way of programming a radio, but after I got used t o it I don' t know how I did without it ! I learned how to program the scanner by trial and error. Plus I use a computer to program it, which actually also made me understand the memory layout better!!
I joined a mailing list for the scanner and learned a lot of little tricks to make the scanner more enjoyable. The problem sometime is many people ask the same things ove r and over hoping someone will spoon feed the information for them! Asking questions is fine, expecting people to spoon feed the informati on to y-ou gets to bke annoying to all those who have heard the answer a million times before!


Nostalgia police scanning

Alright even though I have written mostly about my ham radi hobby, I have been into scanning longer. I bought my first scanner, the Uniden BC55XLT, when I was fifteen with the money I earned from my first job doing data entry. It was bottom of the line, even back in those days, but it was $100 which was the cheapest scanner at the time. The BC55XLT on has 10 channels and it can't do anythingv like trunktracking, alpha tags, recieve all the transmissions my other scanners can do today, but at the time I bought it I was happy to hear my local police and fire departments. A few years after I realized I needed more than 10 channels to even hear all the local departments in the county. So I asked for another scanner for Christmas and the 55XLT was giving to my brother which hhe lost on Cabbage Night, but that didn't matter. I have since owned and sold scanners to help fund upgrade to my radio shack.
Over the weekend Isaac and I went to a hamfest. While I was looking for and I found a microphonle for my HF rig, I always keep my eye out for other stuff. I was going through some junk when I found a BC55XLT. The guy wanted $25 buckks, which doesn't seems like a lot for a radio I spend $100 on ten years ago. I looked at him and said $15 knowing that he'd come back with $20. Isaac, my ham buddy who drove me sighed and I walked away with the scanner. The scanner is worth it, not because of what it can do, but because it represents the beginning of what is turning out to be a life time obsession!!


Transmitting from different locations

It took me a bit longer than usual to write this post but I have been busy with other "projects" so I have a good excuse, a few weeks ago, which became a little over a month, a group of hams got together at the Woodcliff Lake EOC for the January VHF contest. It wasn't the best setup, b ut when had a 2 meter, 6 meter and 440 setup, both CW and phone. The 10-70 hadn't participated i n this contest before and since I had access to the EOC, it turned out to be a windy day which was made even worse by the artic bitter cold. We setup inside the senior center which is actually a huge room, it was perfect! I helped log, snagged a few contacts myself. I even managed to make some good use out of the digital camera I got for Christmas. Below is a link to a photo gallery we set up on the 10-70 website as well as the ARRL VHF Contest Soapbox!



You have to hand it to them

Ok you have heard it by now, these two nutcases planted "fake bombs" around Boston to promote a show on the Cartoon Network. The devices obviously caused a scare and they were arrested for causing a public scare, and a few other c harges which I don't remember or care to lookup. The question is what kind of reactions do these idiots excpect out of the public? Trufully only druggies and other idiots would think of this is funny or a joke. I think they planned the entire thing. They knew they would get caught. They knew this would be on every major network around. The court case will be broadcasted on every nework.

So if I'm so against giving these guys the publicity why am I writing about them? Well there are a lot of issues that I never write about because I don't feel they are important. However I never pass up calling people complete idiots! Although now that they got their five minutes of fame, some idiots are actually going to tune into because of this stunt. So the real question becomes who are the real idiots?


Editor's Duties

Alright for those who have been following this blog for awhile, you have known I write about my hobbies, namely license plates and radios. The editor of t he Plates Magazine has come under fire for prioritizing his articles over other contributors . He had the two major articles this time while people who had submitted material to the magazine had seemed to be overlooked. To be fair when complaints surfaced I was first to pipe in that most articles for a bi-monthly publication take a little be longer to appear. I think the people who are complaining write for a hobby and lack the knowledge of the writing business, meaning they just write whatever their heart desires. They have no real idea about why a word count is important or why one article seems to get laid out better than the next. I am not discouraging them from submitting articles to the magazines. However I don't think they read like a writer. I mean they read the articles, extract information and come away learning something.
Jon Upton, a fellow member of ALPCA, rightly critized Tim for inserting too many of his own articles into the magazine. I don't deny Tim seems to favor his own articles instead those of other collectors however Jon has to remember serving the club does have a few "perks". Also Tim is hungry for material.

To see Jon's take on the issue check out his comments on his site at:

Note:Jon did indeed update his comments on February 3rd so you might want to rearead the column.