Category Archive: Ham radio

Contact.

I had a nice QSO with an old friend and Masonic brother, W9ELF, this morning.  He took a moment to figure out who I was but once he did we had an enjoyable chat.  He told me that they’d started a radio club (W9IMH) for the residents at the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin, and that I could join as an associate member if I wanted.

He was coming in pretty well, hitting the 700 repeater from just south of Franklin on an HT.  I was impressed.  That’s about 30 miles from me and the repeater is just about exactly two miles north of me.

I wonder

if the jerk who keeps hammering the .700 repeater with static is aware that there are folks out there with direction finders who are going to find him if he keeps it up…and that there are some hefty FCC fines for interfering with radio frequencies.

Yawn.

This has been an interminable week.  Today should have been Friday.  It seems, however, that tomorrow, sadly enough, is actually Friday.

I’m sitting here listening out on 2 meters, 146.700 — the most popular local repeater — on the Yaesu FT-7900 “base station”, and 146.625* on the Baofeng UV-5R HT just in case someone decides to use it.  Most of the evening on .700 has been pretty much a wasteland…there’s a guy who spends a lot of time on there throughout the day who just absolutely drives me up a wall, and I figured out why — he reminds me of someone else I know who used to absolutely drive me up the wall, but worse.  Most of the other “regulars” seem to be off doing other things tonight.  Am I talking?  No, I’m lurking.  I don’t feel comfortable talking yet.

It seems like nobody uses the other 2-meter repeaters.  Lord knows why, there are a dozen of them listed on the Indianapolis Repeater Association website.  And the other thing that is somewhat irritating is that two guys who were sitting just a couple of blocks apart were monopolizing the .700 repeater this evening…I thought that when you were that close, you were supposed to go simplex and let other people use the repeater who might be too far apart to go simplex.  I guess their local conversation was important enough to be heard across 9+ counties, or so they thought anyway.

Someone opined this evening that there wasn’t much traffic even on .700 tonight.  Someone else stated their opinion that it’s due to the fact that the old hams are dying off.  I think that’s probably right.  It’s a shame we can’t get more people interested in old-fashioned amateur radio instead of Facebook, Twitter, and other Internet crap that rots your brain.  Including blogs.  Like this one.  And I think my brain just rotted a bit when I typed that.

Oh, but wait. You have to take a test to be a ham.  And if you don’t have a technical background, it’s kind of hard.  And there’s math.  Not much.  But there is math.

Internet:  No test, no math.  It’s a no-brainer.

FWIW I’m trying to get a friend of mine — who has a deep, long-term, abiding interest in emergency management, fire-fighting, and suchlike — to get a ham license.  I tried to give him my ARRL Technician book last Saturday, but he left it here.  He’d be a natural for ARES, damn it.

Enough yack yack from me.  Oh, and I finally got a call from Coal Creek, they’re sending my 1911 back with some basic repair done, and they wanted money.  Not too much; I’m happy.  I might have it back in time to take it to the range on Sunday, depending on whether priority mail gets here from there by Saturday.

Damn I need to feed the cats.  I am wifeless until Sunday, and that’s normally her job.

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* Edited 5/6/2013 to note that I actually don’t listen on the 625 repeater from home now, because I discovered that I can’t reach it from here with the Baofeng.  I ‘ve been listening to the 146.970 repeater instead, as it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from my house, and I can hit it reliably with the Baofeng.  Not that anyone seems to use the 146.970 repeater for much.

I did hit the 700 repeater with the Baofeng from North and Illinois last week during the ARES net, which surprised me because there was a ton of static in the reception.  I guess standing outside the west entrance of the Scottish Rite Cathedral doesn’t give one much of a shot at the repeater up north…maybe I should have gone up in the bell tower 🙂

Durn it.

I was thinking about attending the Dayton Hamvention, but unfortunately we committed to a wedding that Saturday and the Indiana Grand Lodge Annual Communication is the next Tuesday and Wednesday.  I think my wife would probably shoot* me if I made noise like I wanted to spend a day in Dayton right before that.  She may shoot me as it is, when she finds out just how expensive this little hobby is that I’ve gotten into…

Well, there’s always the Indy Hamfest in July.  But just looking at the websites, I’m sure it’s not the same, not by orders of magnitude.

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* “Shoot” being metaphorical in her case, although she did recently acquire a cute little pink pepper spray device that she’s already threatened me with.

No, we did not go to Bloomington for the Little 500.

The lady wife and I ran down to Bloomington last night so she could put on a training program at the Y today (it started at 8AM so we went last night to avoid her having to get up at 5AM today to drive down).  Stayed in a very nice Fairfield Inn on West 3rd Street out by US 37.  (When she set the date for this training, nobody seemed to know that it was Little Five weekend.  As it turned out, we barely knew Little Five was even going on, because we got in last night and were back out north of Bloomington before the race was over.)

It is flippin’ wet down there.  Many fields north of Bloomington just look like lakes.  It’s not as bad as it was a few years ago when there was a lot more flooding and the roads down there were completely closed, but still.

When we came back, we cut over to 67 at Martinsville.*  It was even worse over there; in some places I told Sally it reminded me of riding the train to New Orleans a couple of years ago and coming in around Lake Pontchartrain.  Looked just like the bayou in other places, where the water was up into the trees and nearly up to the road itself; if there had been kudzu, I would have been convinced.  We saw a couple of houses where you could fish off the back porch.

I spent most of the day studying for the Amateur Radio General exam so I can take it in June.  I took the little Baofeng handheld with me but could not get any kind of a signal at all.  I smelled a bit of a rat when I plugged in the earphone/mike that came with it, and the display went kind of crazy. When I got home and still couldn’t even hit the 700 repeater, I re-loaded my modded/saved configuration from CHIRP …after doing that the radio worked fine, so I have no idea what could have happened between Indy and Bloomington last night.

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* We cut over to 67 because there is bridge construction going on at IN-144 and US 37, which caused a 20 minute delay last night due to traffic cutting back from two lanes to one.  Can someone PLEASE let me kill all the fuckers who stayed in the left lane AFTER the sign that said “LEFT LANE CLOSED ONE MILE” and ran all the way up to the merge point?  Really, assholes, you aren’t going to get there any faster than we are.

 

Well, my ham license went through today

…but perhaps surprisingly, I don’t really have a whole lot to say.

Maybe after I listen for a while longer.  I did listen to the newsline and the ARES net last night on the 700 repeater.

Jewish Ham

I went down and took my Technician class Amateur Radio licensing test today, and passed it with (if I was reading the answer sheet upside down correctly) a perfect 35 out of 35.

So then they said, “Do you want to take the General?  It’s free!”  Like a dope, I said, sure, why not.  Didn’t pass that; got 25 out of 35, but considering that I’ve never even looked at the book or study guide for the General class license, I’m thinking that’s not too awfully terrible.  And I think I’m going to go take that one again in June.

So yes, I am (or will be when my license clears the FCC database) a Jewish Ham.

Thank you, I’ll be here all week.  Try the veal.

Of course, now I’m sitting here listening to the chatter on the 700 repeater and I’m wondering what the point is; the three guys talking are some of the biggest libertarian whiners I’ve ever heard.  I have nothing against libertarians but I do have a lot against whiners.

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