Remembering Allendale

A little while ago I was reminded of a dark memory......the death of my grandfather a few years ago. It seems someone is losing their father the same way, and out of respect I won't mention who, don't ask. However upon hearing this news I remembered how my grandfather suffered throughout the holidays. I remember the last Christmas he spent with us, his spot on the couch was replaced by a medical bed. The pain patches and other medications were placed on the exact spot where "important papers" once occupied a glass table in between the couch and the TV. I vividly remember the way the house "felt" that Christmas. After years of joyous events that went on, weddings, baptisms and numerous holidays within the walls. It was the site where I had visited every Sunday for dinner, the smells only grandma's kitchen couldx make. Or during the summer when grandpa would grill outside while watching us swim.
I remember the basement...the grandkids "office space" my cousins and I went into a pretend business. Of course me being the oldest I was the boss. While I won't go into- details suffice it to say that basement was better than my own basement in a lot of ways. One year my grandparents got me a t oy drum set and my mother insisted it stay in THEIR basement
Now another Christmas Eve is upon us, for years we have had it at our house, even before Grandpa got sick. Although I have to admit sometimes I still go past their street with Sean and wonder about the family living their now. You know what kid have what roooms. If they are enjoying ther pool.. I hope they fill it with the love we did


They did nothing about it

You folks know by now I tend to comment on politics from a truly non-partisan approach and I definitely condemn the IL Governor, he evens LOOKS like a sleezebag from the picturs and videos I have seen. The guy virtually has zero allies, I mean even President Bush still has he Cabinet and a handful of Congresspeople defending him. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich can't expect even one ounce of sympathy from the people of Illinois, but they reelected him just one month ago. You can't honestly tell me that a month ago everything in the Land of Lincoln was great and that this came out of right field. I can't believe people can indeed be that blind. It amazes me that the parties have that much influence on people that they would blindly just retain the status quo. I would bet you the next election cycle the Democrats unfortunately retain control. However it has been documented that the Republicans have their own sets ofc ethical issues to worry about so they aren't free and clear of anything.
Secondly it amazes me how many people actually WANT Obama's Senate seat! To me looking at it from the computer screen in Bergen County NJ you couldn't GIVE the seat away, let alone sell it. Anyone claiming to clean up the corruption and already has ties to any government position in the entire state should automatically be DISQUALIFIED! I'm not saying all IL politicians are dirty, but perspection is reality. If you want to really improve the state's political image you get a vitural unknown figure, this time the idea WILL work! Polticians have never learned their lesson and the never will.
Third, and this is a reason why you NEVER TRUST POLLS and why POLLSTERS have no brains. 9% of people still think Blagojevich should remain in office. This begs the question who in the State of Illinois ARE these people:? They shouldn't be allowed TO VOTE!!!!


A chance encounter--Part II

Continued from A Chance Encounter---Part I
As we made our way out to her car in the back of my mind I had some major flshbacks from the almost nineteen year when I enter the Woodcliff School System. I thought about the times the kids used to tease m e on a daily basis. I thought ho no matter what I did or how much I tried I simply could not fit in. I had a couple of kids who talked to me but never "friends" just people who at least undestood my physical and emotional troubles enough to at least talk to- me. However the kids who were nice to me tended to be outsider s as well so I felt alone. I was never teased in public, well expect that one incident in the library very my manhood what question and to prove the creeps wrong I threw a chair clear across the room! The girls were worse, they just plain ignored me. Which to a socialable guy like myself is pure torture and emotionally crippling. There are so many horror stories over the eight years it would take about twenty-five parts to break them all down and I want to write them just about as much as you want to read them. Just imagine a nightmare for eight year playing continuously i n your head
Then there was Allison, a self-proclaimed rebel, by rebel I don't mean breaking school rules. By just aknowledging my existance besides just a stumbling body and weirf speech patterns, she automatically became m y "friend". Something that not a lot of the kids did. In days where going against the grain socially were unheard of in middle school, Allison took a risk that only now I could truly appreciate. At the time I admit the appreciation turned into an ill-tempted flirting on my part, which might have been a bit much.
Fast forward to present times back to the Cornerstone were Allison was sipping a mararita and I a Corona talking about our lives since the times of junior high. It turns out she met another Justin, I couldn't be happier for her. I clued her in on some of my travels and even my writing project. She talked about work and we both commented on our brothers getting married. I won't say it was like old times because the "old times" weren't "good times". We decided the Cornerstone was too noisey and drove down to Hoboken which gave us a good 20 minutes to talk. Of course like the blabbermouth I am I did most of the talking
The finals words she spoke were more directives than offers. She said she would like to stay in touch, and she meant it. Allison said she'd be calling me to hang out and I better come OR ELSE. That's definitely a request I plan on keeping!


A chance encounter-- Part I

It all started with a "reluctant"| trip to TJ Maxx with my mom in Westwood. We were nearby and she just conned me with "just a quick peek". We were roaming around and suddenly an old friend from Woodcliff Middle School walk through the doors......Allison. She was another member of the Wodcliff Lake Bunch that didn't go over to Pascack Hills. Now I won't going into complete details but th e switch was great for both of us. Neither she nor I really ever fitted in with the "Woodcliff Lake School" crowd, she moved to Park Ridge after grade school in Woodcliff Lake. (More about this in Part II)
So Allison and I moved on to bigger and better things. Now I can lie and say we all of sudden reunited at TJ Maxx last night, when the truth is we've seen each other on and off for years. We always promised we'd get together and catch up, but never did. So last night SHE suggested we go out for a drink. Of course given my past experiences with that line (with other girls), I was automatically skeptical, but she gave me her # and after dinner I dialed the number. Of course I got voice mail and left a message. A few minutes later I found a message on my Facebook page saying the phone line was busy (thanks Mom)! Anyway we finally connected and it was decided we go to the Cornerstone (what else is new). So of course I was very excited.
The music in the Cornerstone seemed louder than usual so she suggested we "move on"=.......to Hoboken! Now here's a sign of someone who knows a lot about me. Allison said we'd go to one bar and that I wouldn't have to walk far. I cautiously reminded her I knew my own limitations and assured her I was up to the task. So we got into the car and headed towards the Parkway. To be continued with A Chance Encounter--Part II


PV Class of 1998 Reunion

Alright followers of this blog must be doing a double take because about a year ago I wrote about the 1997 Class reunion. Well a little background. If you read the June 24 th you'll figure out I did high school in five years instead of four. Well both the Class of 97 and the Class of 98 made me one of their own so I went to two junior and two senior proms, going to two ten year reunions seemed like the natural progression. Besides Jeff has been wanting me to reunite with an old buddy Mike Miller, another PV alumni, and I didn' t want to disappoint him. I also worked hard those fives years to make friends and I wanted to see how everyone was doing
Ironically it was in the same place as last year so that was a bit of a downer. Last year I got a ride this year I had to rely on Mom and Dad's Taxi (a downer in itself.) Even though I would never convince anyone I got there 45 minutes before the event started just so nobody would notice they dropped me off. OK I screwed up the times AGAIN!
The reunion itself was a blur not because I drank too much but I did more listening than talking. Same old reunion crap, how have you been, do you know who got married, etc. Although my discussions about my traveling adventures sparked some interest. I forg ot to mention this site but I am c onvince if people want to findx me, I'm just a Google search away.
Lastly I missed seeing Lauren, a high school friend who I haven't seen in years. I really do miss her a lot especially around this time of year. I'm reminded the night before Thanksgiving in 199 7 when we went to a dance together. I haven't e-mail her lately either don't know why.
As my evening winded down I once again felt anxious in the beginning but soon after calmed down after a few drinks i n me1 For the record I probably will get roped into this again in another ten years
Unlike last year I didn't wind up going to the Cornerstone


1st Garden State License Plate Meet

I posted this to the ALPCA and Yahoo lists about the license plate meet that occured this past Saturday the above photos were taken by Jim Moini and Justin Mattes

Ok usually I'd come up with something very clever to say about this meet but all I can manage at this time is WOW! This day made all the hard work worth it. I swear Marco and I kept reminding ourselves this was our FIRST meet, I lost count 60 names in the log!! Despite the heavy rain at times, collectors came as far as Michigan and even Quebec to see what has been talked up for months. Advertising DOES WORK! I was VERY HAPPY to see Dave Kuhen on the slow but steady road to recovery. I want to say a th ank you to our auctioneer Ron Ridolph who did an excellent job, I promise I'll have a microphone next year!! Chuck Sakryd served as backup auctioneer and head sorter. Kurt Stentiford did an outstanding job as a solicitor for last minute donations while his dad Tim, editor of PLATES, did a tremendous job documenting the entire event on camera. John Northup did a great job showing off the upcoming improvements to the ALPCA archives!! Jim Moini not only got there early to help setup, he came to the rescue to drive me home to pickup forms I forgot, what else did you expect!! A hardy round of applause has to go to Marco's girlfriend Christy for book keeping (so glad we finally got to meet), my mom Mary for doing the last minute running around and last but certainly not least my brother Peter who- got the thankless job of helping clean up and driving me home!!
I do ask one last favor to the attendees, yes I am v ery demanding, the next time you see a Board member please thank them again for approving our region. It's a very simple thing but it means a lot to the Board to know they made the right decision!

Thank you to all who attended and thank you to all who donated plates.
See you next year

Justin Mattes ALPCA#6748


The White House Meeting

Ok Ok Barack Obama and Joe Biden won fair and square so President
Bush and the VP Dick Cheney invite them for lunch at the White House.
Now for all the bad things Bush has done these eight years he still is a
gracious host. He shows Obama around the White House, they tour the Rose
Garden , Bush gives Obama his first ride on Marine One, even offers to
help= Obama move his desk into the Oval Office. For all the bickering
they've done this past year the day is pretty flawless and they finally
have made their peace
Meanwhile down to hall in the VP's Office Dick Cheney and Joe Biden
aren't quite hitting it off. Cheney is packing up his books, popping his
heart meds while Biden is seeing how he's going to redecorate the
office. They are constantly getting in each other's way and it seems
they'll start throwing jabs at any moment. Finally Cheney's done packing
and starts to leave the offices. Biden asks Cheney if there's anything
he could do for him. Cheney turns and replies "Would you like to go hunting??"

Time to replace those bumper stickers

This was just too funny NOT to post!!


Post-election reality

I am not back-peddling here, the previous post was written to make people think I would vote one way when I really voted another. People read what I wrote and assumed I automatically would for McCain, not this time. Like I did with John Kerry I took a long look at George Bush and even though I still don't believe John McCain is a "Bush Clone" I was concerned about McCain's health and I just don't know enough about Sarah Palin to trust her. So it wasn't a vote against McCain, it was a vote again Palin.. This country couldn't afford Palin as VP. That's why I voted for Obama! I voted against B ush the last time and I voted against Palin this time. Odds are McCain's people downplayed his illnesses.
Secondly I would like to put on the record that I partly choose Obama because he is a minority. That might seem a bit narrowminded but again while Palin said she would be an advocate for children with disabilities, I didn't hear the specifics that would have convinced me she would have made good on her promise. While that didn't "scare " me it left me wondering why she didn't play up her advocacy role more? I don't mean have her son tied around her hip 24/7 but she didn't say enough to convince me she'd be MY advocate.
Voting for Obama was a risk and people know I am a risk taker. It's a risk because who knows what lies beyond the bend. At first it didn't seem calculated but now it seems I voted with my brain and not my heart. I just pray I made the right decision.


A preview of Election Day

Question to the group: Are you tired of all t he election day coverage already? The good thing is it's finally over. Now I'm not trying to minimize the importance of this election, it is indeed extremely crucial. However if you haven't made up your mind, I appreciate your position, as a matter of fact I am one of you. In this campaign I always said I could never vote for Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton or Dennis Kusinich. I couldn't vote for them because not matter what they said, no matter how m uch they smiled, I couldn't trust them on one general issue......NONE OF THEM could bring the country together! They couldn't do it!
I was already to vote for Obama if Thomspson Romeny or any other Republican was nominated. At first glimpse he brought hope, new ideas, and supposedly a "new form" of politics. Obama seemed he really could unite the country and his handful of endorsements from some high prof ile Republicans made him seem viable. Obama did inspire me like many other people and I) was ready to vote for him......until all these associations came out. I could handle Rev. Wright, but the Bill Ayers thing bother me and it still bothers me. It bother me when people want to bomb our government, because, no matter what ANYONE SAYS we ARE A fair country. That alone brought Obama's stock down in my book. I still respect him, but I am not 100 % behind him.
Onto McCain, I like McCain, I always liked him, he's a hero. I have admired his willingness to go with his gut, and take the heat. When he announced he was running again I the experience and the insight to be a great leader. I also felt bad and still feel bad fo r him because he has been unfairly linked to George Bush. My answer to people saying he voted with President Bush 95% of the time was the fact of the matter is about 40% of the issues McCain sided with Bush, that was merely ceremonial and the Democrats voted that way too. McCain has been an outspoken critic of Bush since Bush go into office. So voting 95% of the time with Bush doesn't cut it with me. I just w ish he voted against the CAPS! Nobody's perfect.
There has been a lot of focus on Gov. Sarah Palin. It's a bit ironic that the VP canidate has just as much weight as the person at the top of the ticket. My good friend Marilyn Arons says Sarah Palin scares her, I am not that dramatic. The thing about Sarah Palin isd she says she would be an advocate for people with disabilities, I have yet to hear specifics, that scares me.
Finally let's take a look at Congress, now I'm sorry to say my district has two of the most pathetic Canidates I have ever seen.......Scott Garrett vs Dennis Schulmann. Big business's best friend versus someone who supports Hamas. Not exactly a choice. I am going for a third party in that category in protest!
My feeling was always one of balance. What scares me more than Sarah Palin is one party dominating all forms of government. The Democrats have had control of both houses for two years and have nothing to show for it. Yeah they can blame Bush, but I don't recall him vetoing anything major.
I will more than likely post a post-election review sometime Wenesday or Thursday!
Say tuned!!!!!!!!!!!


Forget Joe "the plumber" ......here's Justin "the writer"

Alright I had to jump on the bandwagon basically because I am ticked that some "plumber" , who it has proven to be not even registered to vote, is get all this attention over taxes, while the health care issue takes second fiddle. Now OK both Obama and McCain have talked about other issues plenty, but they haven't found one "every day American" to represent all the people concerned about health care, energy,education the environment or any other issue. The candidates talk about everyday Americans and they throw out names and cities like people actually know who they are talking about. Each candidate tries very hard to humanize this race and they both are doing the best the can, but it's not good enough. Of course they can't talk to every single American, bust from what I'm seeing there's not enough of a cross section. The media loves sound bites, no matter whether on TV, radio, newspapers or th Internet (God help you if you ONLY get your news on the Internet, whether it be the DailyKos or FoxNews.com ( for the record I visit neither), Joe gave them just that very thing. He's s famous over night, even I'm writing about him. However if you read the other entries in this blog regarding current events you'll find I rarely praise anyone in the mainstream news (the two glaring examples are Peter Jennings and Rosa Parks. Ok there are a few more examples.
My first reaction was please you can't find one average American that isn't so "average"? Now you do a Google on this guy he's everywhere, all the news shows, newspapers, BLOGS. He's not the best man to represent me. Like I said there are some reports this guy do-doesn't have the intention of voting for the record this will be my FOURTH presidential election. I STILL HAVE no idea who is getting my vote
Ok I admit I had my fifteen minutes back when I was fighting the medical malpractice caps (ironically both Obama and McCain have similar stances on this particular issue), however the difference is I gave a voice to kids who, because of someone else's mistake, couldn't speak for themselves. I was all over the papers and TV. You know what happen=ed?? Those supporting med mal caps called me the "trial lawyers puppet" when all I did was defend the rights of kids. I wish someone out there in the political arena would hear my story! It isn't going to happen.
There are other issues I would have loved to discuss with the candidates, including the state of special education today, something only touched upon briefly during the debates and was a footnote out on the campaign trail! Candidates say family is off-limits, I couldn't agree more. However it piqued my interest to find out Sarah Palin has a young son with Downs Syndrome (correction thanks to mom). She said she and John McCain will stand up for the rights of people with disabilities. I wish I could have asked her a follow up question........ you know since I have a disability! I am ALWAYS RESPECTFUL to women!
Some people might applaud this post others might say have made a drastic turn to the left, I can assure you my INDEPENDENT beliefs are firmly intact. I still am for CLOSED BORDERS.' I still think English should be the official language of this country. I would never tell a woman what to do with her body. My definition of gun control IS using both hands! A good education is a RIGHT not privilege! Most importantly I still think flag burning is the least effective way to show you're dissatisfied with the government!You can choice the best positions from both sides and I will pretty much agree. No this ISN'T flip-flopping, it's called COMMON SENSE!!


No SASE required

Alright if you're a ham you know the deal with QSLing. Usually the deal is when you make a contact eac h ham sends out a QSL card, paying the postage and everyone is happy. There's no better way to end a contact than to recieve an envelope in the ma il with your callsign on the front. It is a thrill that never get old, at least to me. It's not really a secret that for me qsling is a bit tricky, just like everything else physical in my life. I have to carefully load the evenlope into the printer lining it up just right while hoping it doesn't get jammed. Sometimes when printing the QSL itself the p=aper gets stuck. Also because the printer is downstair, my broke awhile ago I deal with my dad ask "What are you doing down here?" or don't mess anything up! So when individual hams say they require a SASE I really frown becaus the extra hassle is worth much more than a postage stamp. It also occurs to me some hams are just plain lazy many that do require a SASE also tend leave out a piece of information like the full frequency, NOBODY transmits on plain old 7 MHz!
The one exception to the SASE rule is of course when contacting special event stations. I fully support them requiring SASE and do send those out ethusiastically! Although again the effort is still the ssame for me anyway. Even worse is when the special event stations don't reply EVEN WITH A SASES. I worked a Special Event station out of West Virginia over a year ago, I sent them a SASE THE DAY AFTER the event and still no reply. I checked and the QSL manager doesn't have an e-mail. Now I can careless about the cost of the stamp, but I still need West Virginia confirmed on 20 meters! Is that fair??


Hilghighting comments/reader stats

The entry on June 24 th highlighting a journal I was working on back when I graduated high school has gotten some pretty spirited feedback. No doubt since the PV Class of 1998 Reunion is coming up noext month and my fellow classmates have definitely Googled "Pascack Valley High School 1998 10 year Reunion" or something along those lines and they stumble upon This Journal Entry. Now two of my former classmates have dropped me a note which makes me want to continues just writing random thoughts.
I know entries around here tend to drop off every now and then but I think maybe I'll keep this updated aa bit more now that I know people actually read this blog. As outlined in the original entry one of the main reasons why I started this blog was to get instant feedback. It's also the reason why I added the Feedjit box on this page just for me to track the traffic and make sure I'm not the only one viewing this blog.
That's why I finally got justinmattes.com, because this is where I want people to really find this spot on the web. Maybe thjere's a potential publisher out there looking for new material. There might be an young person with a disability looking for some encouragement. I know it sounds a bit arrogant but hey. So keep the feedback coming and I'll try to stir things up.


2008 Grip Dip Results

An interestting e-mail arrived in my inbox this afternoon. Mixed in with the usual stuff about license plates and lighthouse come the Grid Dip results. This was the first PSK contest I actively participated in meaning I sent in my logs. It wasn't really to score points, but just like everything else on ham radio I decided to just go for it. Imagine my surprise when I found out 28 QSO'S was good enough to takeFOURTH PLACE in my category!! I wasn't even trying to compete but I just wanted to see what happened!! There were three operators ahead of me, N3FX,N5PFW and W4EEH, respectively. All of them are serious contesters, so it was a real honor to be on the board with them!!

I also would also like to add that I have been expanding my police scanner site to be more inclusive of ham radio. The direct link page is located here:KC2GIK's PSK-31 Webpage

Below are some links off of Bergenscanner.com to my logs for not only the Grid Dip but other c ontests as well.


KC2GIK's PSK-31 Webpage

KC2GIK Grid Dip Log

2008 TARA Grip Dip Results


CQ Lighthouse--N8ET/mm

A few weeks ago was the annual Lighthouses on the Air Event. In previous years I just listened to the contact on SSB mainly because I was only working QRP. Combine that with my speech contacts would be impossible!! Now I have been a member of the ARLHS for a few years, but haven't had that much success with lighthouse contacts. Usually when people activate lighthouses there's a massive pile-up. Fellow members of the ARLHS have tried to work me but band conditions have been iffy. Then the end of June Bill,N8ET announced he was going to activate some lighthouses on Lake Michigan from his boat Wings. Everyone one was excited, me included. Some of the sharper members realized this might be my big chance, as it was I had been striking out the last few times people have gone out to activate. One of the Jim,KA3UNQ, was just as determ ined as I was for me to make a lighthouse contact on phone! I heard Bill for a few minutes and decided to wait for a clearing. Finally the bands cooperated as much as possible, I just dropped my call and prayed.Bill only got my parital call, I tightened up and belted out my call again, I could picture Bill adjusting his squelch and volume. Finally after my fifth tried, I heard the best three words imaginable, "Is this Justin?" I squeezed the PTT as hard as I could and with all the strength I had left belted out the letters, "Q", "S","L". I had my first multiple lighthouse contact on 20 Meter Phone! Since he was in sight of three Michigan lighthouses, I got all three in one shot!!! As soon as the QSO was over I ran, ok stumbled, downstairs to find my mom. My eyes glowing as if I just hit a double blackjack in Atlantic City.
I wanted to write this entry that very day, but I decided to hold off until the QSL card arrived in my mailbox to prove this fantastic feat! My hats off to Bill N8ET who had the patience and the ears to help me pull this one off.


CQ California/TARA "Grid Dip"

This past weekend was the TARA "Grid Dip" which is a PSK contest where you try to get as many Grid Locators as possible over a set period of a few days. It is one of the contests designed for PSK only so there's a lot of action. Like the repeaters if you do enough PSK-31;.
For the first time I intentionally stayed up late (besides Field Day) for radio purposes. After awhile I saw KJ6P callsign calling CQ. Like a few other contacts from far away at first I couldn't believe it but then the signal got stronger. As a laugh I answered and would you know it he saw me!! Unlike my Orego n contact I made last year this was a very quick QSO/. Quick or not it's stil- a nice contact and he was as edgar to get my card as I was to get hard card. The day it arrived in the mail I whipped out the old digital camera and snapped the above picture! Of course it took a few more days to actually post it on "Mattes's Madness", but you know how my writing patterns can be a bit unpredictable


Seeing Salt Lake

The first day of the convention I do more gabbing than buying, this year was the same.Activity on the floor was brisk,, I didn't make the parking lot meet or whatever you guys call it but I did make the line up Wednesday morning. A thought about those who gripe, or think to gripe, about high entry #'s. I don't really see the difference. Maybe it was just that I didn' t look hard enough but for the first hour I saw more people talking than trading. I don't think I bought my first plate until towards the end of the first day! I didn't hand out as many fliers as I had hoped but people just said I have the information already. I gave the stack to Jeff "Faz" to put on his table, hopefully he handed out a few. My heart did stink a little when upon entering the hall I saw before me a wheelchair run before me. It was a beautiful display, I just wish it was mine. I didn't catch who did it, but if you're on the list congrats
The Welcome Reception was again very well-attended, i t was great seeing some old friends and hearing them say "You made it!". That slide show Dick Yourga put together was amazing. Even collectors who don't collect older plates should watch this slide show because it documents the humble beginnings of the club to the great (and they are ALL great) conventions of today! If you see Mr Yourga (still can't call him by his first name) please ask him for a copy of it, certain worth a look. After the reception the usual gaggle of collectors assembled in the hotel bar to trade stories. Like in previous years I mainly listened probably because I am fascinated about what other conventions were like. However as you can read have my own stories to tell.

Finally I couldn't end this without mentioning my folks. Yes I know all our parents have helped us most of our lives, but my mom and dad really have made the best out of what they had. People that think I have determination should realize my folks have been with me every step of the way. Of course I don't alway show my appreciation the way I should, but I guess that's human nature.


Field Day Fingering 2008--N2SE from Campgaw

Yes it's the Monday after the last weekend in June, that means it's time for Field Day Fingerings 2008!! Once again I transmitted with the 10-70 Repeater Association from inside the Campgaw Ski Lodge in lovely Mahwah New Jersey. The past three years running I have been doing PSK-31, but this time with my new Yaesu FT-897. Believe me it made all the difference In the world! Like every other year Rocky had to struggle with the computer not noticing the interface right anyway but with a bit of trouble shooting I was running by the traditional 2:00 start. This year my co-pilot was Tim,KA2A (yes I love that call too. Now if we can only get him to get ham license plates) who was jumping on my station every time I got up to stretch which unfortunately was quite often. In the end though we both roped in quite a few stations.
There were two major pluses this year, one I had the FT-897 so I was able to bust through some great interference and second, unlike in previous years, I really honed my skills with the macros over that last few months while working from home. I was just more comfortable about operating and felt I really have become an old hand at Field Day. One of the easier ways to get contacts is not only calling CQ which is the best way but also following other folks calling CQ. I hooked a few just when they completed a contact I jumped. The macros did save me a lot of the times and I only typed in the log entries.
Probably the best thing about this new rig is you can truly "grab and go" The new USB interface does make things easier in the long run, when the right drivers are installed!! I can honestly say the Field Days from my point of view have consistently gotten better over te last couple of years.


Ten years ago-June 24,1998-PVHS Graduation

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my high school graduation......and the "unofficial end" of the Journal. I had always thought the 1998 Pascack Valley High School graduation ceremony would be the last entry but t he different big events happened, and I had to write about them. Then I started this blog which is a bit more of a relaxed format. Now I could go into the different friendshipsI had and still have o-r write about the events that made my high school year memorable, but that's in the Journal and in my autobiography. Instead I wanted t o highlight my thoughts of THAT DAY, kind of a reflection piece so here is the one journal you'll ever see on Mattes's Madness. If there any 1998 PV alumni reading this entry, PLEASE COMMENT

June 26,1998

For the first time in along time I feel the urge to write! This has been a crazy couple of days that I won't soon forget. First of all, I finally got out of high school for good,that's a big accomplishment. One of the biggest moments of my life and it was flawless! Roaming around the ym just before the ceremony I must have sweated a gallon of water! It was so hot all of us were trying anything to keep cool, from stepping out of our gowns, to going to the water fountain for last gulps of water. Seeing the camera flash and people smiling as I walked down the aisle gave me some kind of power I thought I could never have until now. Maybe it was just the fact everything worked out ok with a lot of effort from two peoplpe that helped me every step of the way.
There was something a bit more special that helped, climbing those stairs by myself! It was exactly what I needed to do at the end of five long years. When the people clapped and cheered when I walked up on stage, it gave me a power that I never thought I could possess agin! Man it felt good getting up on that stage without help. The main thing is I can finally say I made my mark on Pascack Valley High School! A mark so strong that it was emphasized by each clap and cheer walking up the steps. I feel it was the greatest accomplishment since learning how to walk and opening my mouth up for the first time to talk!


Trolling different bands

Let me preface this by saying my first HF rig bit the dust right after Field Day last year. I couldn't even usx it for Lighthouses on the Air!! So I was off HF from the end of June until a few weeks ago when Isaac visited from Germany and we hooked up my Yaseu FT-897 I bought of Mike,W2MLS, in December/. Unlike the Patcomm which is a dual band QRP rig, the FT-897 is an all-band, all-mode radio, in other words my first "real" HF rig!! So of course with this new fllexibility and a lot more power. I tried 10 meters when Isaac was here and managed to pick up a station from of all places Hillsdale,NJ which for those who don't know is the next town over. Talk about your major DX!! Although I also bagged Georgia on 10 Meters and a few guys on 30 Meters
It's just something different some new. I would compare iit to fishing in different waters. My old rig I only had the two bands which is the equvilant of having two streams to troll. with this new rig, I can explore deeper waters and go after bigger fish. That's just not longer distances but with the old rig I was only limited to 20 and 40 which meant I was jumping over th e semi-local stuff like New England and upstateNew York, although last year there was a local band opening. Now with the different bands I can hop around a little and troll the big waters!! So keep an eye out on the waterfall for this fisherman looking for his next catch!!


California Trip 2008

Well since Natalie wanted a report I figured I would kill two birds with one one stone and write something here and just drop her the l ink to this entry. We had ten days of relaxation, a little less sun then we hoped but it was great to finally see my Uncle Matt, Au nt Shannon and little Tess out there instead of them flying to New Jersey. Even though I went out with Chris a few years ago, this trip we did it all. A trip to Universal Studios, a drive upto wine country and swimming in the Pacific Ocean.
Mom, Dad and I flew out on a Wenesday so that gave us two days before Pete and Chuck joined us. Also Shannon was on a business trip in Germany so my folks and I spent some time with the newest edition of the family, my soon-to-be 2-year old cousin Tess. We took her to the park where I got to sznap some shot of her playing on the swings, and the slide she must have went down that slide more than a dozen times. I felt more like an uncle help her up those stairs and making her laugh
I think the highlight for me, besides visiting with the three of them was visiting Point Vincent Lighthouse. As you might have figured out Pt Vincent is the first ligthhouse I visited on the West Coast. It's also the first lighthouse I have shot on my own, very exciting indeed. Although it was a shame that we couldn't climb it which is a shame.
I actually got together with another license plate collector and long time friend Jeff Minard. He picked me up Friday for lunch, it just so happens his sister lives in the same town as Matt and Shannon so he knew the area well. We ate and discussed the upcoming license plate covention in Salt Lake City, yes I am going! He also gave me a license plate book he sells. The one bummer is I didn't get a picture with him. Oh well maybe next time
The second half of the trip was spent about two hours north in Santa Barbra, the southern tip of California wine country. We visited a handful of wineries and visited the famed Hitching Post II restraunt
To mark the occasion I have included yet another slide show above this entry. Enjoy th e pics and if you have a second drop me some comments.


He HAD to resign

Well it's official the disgraced Elliot Spitzer finally resigned. When the news broke Monday people from both sides of the aisle called for him to= step down. Unlike the Clinton scandal the Governor did have a handful of supports, I have to question their devotion to the state of New York. Spitzer broke the law, period the end. Who would want to support the highest law enforcer who broke the law? It's just unbelievable.
From what I hear the irony that Spitzer was known as a tough on crime guy is now asking for a light sentence. I don' t think that should fly. Honestly I really think they should go harder on him because he was truly leading a double life. Priding himself on being tough on corruption when it turns out he was just as corrupt as the people he prosecuted in his early career as a District Attorney and Attorney General. People can forgive lapses in judgment, but people can not and should not forgive hypocritical behavior.
Just a few comments on the Lt. Governor. Of course one of the first things I picked up on was the fact he is blind. This makes his the second Governor of NY that has a disability, the first of course being Franklin D. Roosevelt. It just seems like a very interesting twist! Besides that I have no knowledge about the man. I wish Governor Patterson


2008 Presidental Campaign --My Style

I have never endorsed a canidate on here but there 'sw a first for eveything. As a self-proclaimed political junkie I have been glued to the election of 2008! Now many want to peg me as an extreme right or left winger depending on the atmosphere, but I am and alway will be an independent. I voted for John Kerry in 2004 not because I liked him, although I admmired hisa courage. My vote was against Bush and to correct a mistake that I made four years earlier. As you might have read on the Internet I was involved in the medical malpractice debate=. Since Bush was totally for the insurance companies and wanted to cap damages on medical malpractice lawsuits, I voted again him. Kerry wasn't any bargin, but I would rather die then vote for a third party. Bush won anyway and continued to flush the country down the toilet.
Now here it is the beginning of the next election cycle and with it comes a fresh set of canidates. I was originally secretly rooting for Rudy Guiliani and definitely felt my heart sank when he bowed out. The Republicans who said he wasn't conservative enough obviously forgot the beating they took two years ago during the Congressional races. For the record I did indeed vote Democrat, again more to punish the Republicans than anything else.
So Rudy's out and McCain is in, the die-hard right-wingers are cringing!! I like it when the fringe of either party starts to get nervous. Now the medical malpracticee issue was fortunately one of the few McCain rebuffed traditional Republican stance. While he was not openly supporting victims he wasn't standing o n the Senate floor open ly calling for caps on non-economic damages either. I always felt an Ex-P.O.W. knew the meaning of "pain and suffering" and thereford couldn't go along with restricting our rights. It would be the ultimate hypocrocy. Good thing the maverick of the Senate lived up to his name
I also like McCain because he's definitely his own man. Even though he is a Republican, he has pro[ven himself to be able to work well (some might say too well) with the other side of the aisle. Now Barack Obama promises he can unite the country, honestly I can see how. He's not reaching out like McCain. McCain has not been afraid to point to Bush's many flaws, however Obama can't point to one time when he's reached across the aisle. I met Mr. Obama on one of my many trips to Washington and was impressed by his wisdom at such aa young age. As much as I like him I feel he isn't ready to be President. He can't really point to any big accomplishments yet. I just don' t know why someone with plenty of time to run for President of the United States wants to run NOW.


The end of an era--Tri-Boro radio signing off

I purposely didn' t post anything in January because I wanted the first ramble of 2008 to be radio related. The 10-70 Repeater VHF contest was a few weeks and I did use my brand new Yaesu and made a decent amount of contacts. However instead of rehashing another contest, I decided to wait until another big radio event to break in the new year. As of a little while ago Tri-boro Dispatch has been disbanded and now the dispatching services for Montvale, Park Ridge and Woodcliff Lake are handled by Ridgewood Emergency Services. Now this has been in the works for over a year, talks, debates and other political wrangling I don't care to discuss. After all this today it became a good deal, well actually it was in testing mode all week. Not only were all Tri-boro's channels were active, but every unit in the Tri-boro area was coming up on the air introducing themseleves. I wish I could get a copy of the tapes!!!!!
The dispatching has been taken over by Ridgewood otherwise known Central Dispatch. Along with Montvale, Park Ridge and Woodcliff Lake Ridgewood dispatches Glen Rock and New Milford.

For the record as I'm writing this entry, I just heard my FIRST Woodcliff Lake Fire call dispatched by Central Radio!!