Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pssst...I'm gonna let you in on a little secret...

Actualy I'm gonna let the good folks at let you in on just how gullible we all are about some of the stuff we buy...

"7 High Tech Products And Their Cheap Ass Ingredients"

Thursday, July 23, 2009

20 Meters may have been weak but our contacts were STRONG

Despite marginal conditions on 20 Meters, tonights second edition of the American Preppers Radio Net was a complete success.

The Net had at total of 8 check-ins, from Connecticut to Texas, from Florida to Ohio, and points in between.

Here's the contacts of the 2nd. American Preppers Network Radio Net:
KI4HEE Bob SC Net Control

This is the second net done on 20 meters to date. It is expected that the net will be conducted on another band next week, which one, as yet undetermined. Check back to this blog in the coming days for an announcement as to what band the net will be held. It is being considered that the net schedule may be expanded to include different bands, different days, and different times to accomodate all involved.

We indeed like to welcome all who participated in tonights net, it wouldn't have been possible without you.

Also of note, the American Preppers Radio Net Blog was established today. The APRN Blog will be the central point of information for the Radio Net, providing additional net information, contact reports, as well as topics covering a wide variety of issues regarding conmmunications. Be sure to join the activities on The American Preppers Radio Net Blog.

Any comments or suggestions are indeed welcome, as time goes on, look for this net to become a intergal part of your American Prepper experience.

'73 Bob KI4HEE

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The second hobby took presidence today.

Too much of a good thing isn't good, or so they say. Whether the old saying is true or not, it's the reasoning I took this morning when I reached for a Fishing pole instead of a microphone. Today was better spent casting a spinning reel with Bass jumping nearby, than to huddle inside with a hissing radio, despite the allure of air conditioned comfort.

Long before I ever took up Ham Radio, I had always enjoyed the chance to go fishing. It's in my DNA. Some of my earliest memories include fishing. Our family enjoyed camping and fishing and there was always a brother, sister, mom or dad around who didn't mind taking baby Rob along to fish. Well, maybe they did mind...but heck with them, I was ready to go!

One of the primary reasons I took the plunge and bought a home here in Conway SC, wasn't necessarily due to any intrinsic value in the house itself, but rather in the fresh water pond making up half of it's backyard. If I'd had to, I'd live in a cardboard box... as long as I'd get a chance to wet a hook. Especially in my own backyard. And while the need may never come, there is a valuable food-source just steps from my back door.

I give my father credit in instilling me the motivation to acquire property with easy access to a fishing-hole. When he retired from construction work, he settled down and bought a small farm in Mississippi, one with two small ponds, one for Bluegill & Bass, the other for Catfish. The catfish pond was a cash-crop for him, harvesting fore-arm long Blue Catfish that tasted wonderful. But more than the food-source, the ponds gave him a place to de-pressurize from day to day life. He spent as much time as he could, between his many chores and projects, chasing fish he considered more pets than prey. Those who do not fish, will not get it, but even without catching a single fish, the time spent fishing is a peace seldom ever found, and it was there I often spent time home on leave from the Air Force, again, fishing. It was a true treat to get up, get dressed, walk down the field out back, and start fishing. A poor-mans Paradise. If ever I settled down and bought a place, fishing would somehow figure in.

So standing along the bank today, down back behind my house...with pole in hand, crankin' my bait enticingly, I was happy...thinking about my father.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday July 18, 2009 Contact Plots on 17 & 20 Meters

I started my day in the shack working 17 meters,a band I'd literally forgot.

It's strange how you get in a habit of working some bands but neglect others, only to realize late how much you've missed. This was the case for me today. 17 Meters was clear and quiet but with very clean, strong signals from all around the compass. This was a very pleasant day in the shack with very good qso's. I'm definitely wont forget to work 17 meters again.
After 17 had quieted down, and I had gone up to the house to make Momma supper, I switched over to 20 Meters at about dusk, just in time to catch some good propagation into Northern Europe.

Conditions made it good to get contacts with Scotland, Norway(My First!), Northern Ireland, Spain & Portugal. 56 to 58 Signal reports were returned, Robbie in Northern Ireland was Q5 here using only 50 watts into a SteppIR 3 element yagi.

Afterward, I realized I had been transmitting all this time on 20, with only 20 Watts...I had forgotten to turn it up after tuning up! I guess I might of busted some pile-ups if I had been working with 100 watts. Grrrrr...'73 KI4HEE

Friday, July 17, 2009

American Preppers Network Net # 1

The first-ever Ham Radio Net of the American Preppers Network was conducted on the 20 Meter Band on 14.228 Mhz. at 9 PM EST. tonight.

With David W4DMH in West Virginia serving as Net Control, and myself, Bob KI4HEE his able assistant, a total of 10 ham operators checked into the net, eight of whom learned about the American Preppers Network and it's Blog for the first time.

I wish to recognise the following stations as the first check-in's of the first net.

1. W4DMH David West Virgina
2. KI4HEE Bob South Carolina
3. W8BNL Tom Michigan
4. KE5SLV Phil Arkansas
5. N2SEQ Joe New York
6. KD8KFQ John West Virgina
7. N8TAH Kevin Ohio
8. K8DRP Daniel Michigan
9. W5RAW Ray Texas
10. W4VDW Kevin Ohio

TOTALS: 10 check ins 1 traffic

Congratulations to everyone who checked in and made this net possible. Look for more news here about where & when there'll be another American Preppers Network on the air.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bandits caught red-handed in my backyard!

The morning started typically with Buddy, my faithful watchdog and part-time footwarmer waking up first, stretching, and standing up at the foot of the bed to gaze out the window. His sudden and continuous growl made me look to see what he had spotted.

There they were! Bandits! Caught in the act, eating my figs!

The bush was loaded with figs, just ripening up, and a Momma Raccoon with her three kits were helping themselves!

Faster than you can say, "GO GIT'EM BOY!" I swung out of bed, fumbled into some clothes and hunted for my shoes...Buddy patiently waited while I gathered myself together.

Without opposable thumbs, he's still unable to figure out how to turn a doorknob...that's my job. But eventually, I got the door opened, and out he went like a flash, barking to beat the band.

Momma Raccoon, the ring-tailed ringleader, was already out of there at first sign that the jig was up, I caught a glimpse of her with one of her kits, ducking down into the undergrowth of the Waccamaw River swamp on the edge of the yard, with Buddy in hot pursuit. To my surprise, when Buddy dove into the underbrush, a second kit sprinted towards the same brush right behind him.

For a moment, there was just sounds of underbrush getting trampled but eventually Buddy emerged, with a look of satisfaction, he fended off marauder's from his domain, unaware that a third kit was still up in the fig bush, wisely staying above the fray.

Back in the house, I grabbed a colander, and went back to pick some figs for myself. By then the kit was long gone, escaping to the woods to join Momma Raccoon and his siblings.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

07/14/09 10 Meters was "Timely"

Great conditions on ten meters made me spend quality QSO time on a band I don't often visit. But since the start of summer, some magical openings have happened on ten meters, and tonight was no exception.

Tonight's Contact Plot shows you can just about set your watch by Ham Radio. Virtually every station lies along a straight line, practically a dead match of Earths greyline.

Tonight's contacts run a beeline from New Hampshire, all the way to Oklahoma, all made between 8:30PM & 10:30PM EST. Every one had 10 over S-9 signals, and at the same time, New Hampshire & Oklahoma were sounding equally loud, with very little fading up until around 1:30 UTC.

Being inside that time frame, and along that straight arrow track, you can just about visualize the greyline of sunset marching across the globe from east to west. And with Google Earth, you can see how similar tonight's plot, and the actual greyline actually is.

It was fun. And I really was surprised to have "armchair" copy QSO's from stations running as low as 25 watts. I don't think anyone was working with more than 100 watts, and my little 100 Watt "peanut whistle" Yeasu 857-D was doing great.

My regards to everyone in the contact plot, to me, it truly was a awesome night of 10 Meter Ham Radio.

Monday, July 13, 2009

07/13/09 40 Meter QSO's

Despite the snap crackle pop of atmospherics due to the rainstorms across the region, I gathered quite a number of good contacts from the deep south into the central midwest. Checked into the North American Traffic & Awards Net on 7.195 and logged several stations including good signals in Texas, Indiana & Oklahoma.

Early this morning I made my first 40 meter contacts in AM mode. All in all, a very good day with Ham Radio. 73 KI4HEE

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Contact Log for Sunday, July 12 2009

I'm going to try to post the results of my contacts on Ham Radio on a continual basis now that I have Google Earth able to plot the stations I work. It's a good way to depict the scope of coverage that is on Ham Radio.

Tonight's activity was all on 40 Meters, there was one DX contact: Martin OE3WMA in Austria was 57 copy into South Carolina & he received me 57 as well.

The Catch of the Day...

Right in the middle of my work in the backyard, something seemed to compel me to stop what I was doing, grab my fishpole, walk down to the pond, and cast out a line. On the second cast came this...

I've been catching a couple of "big'uns" each weekend since spring, but this ol'lady Bass is sure the leader of the pack.

She had made lunchmeat of the rubber lizard lure and danced twice out of the water trying to spit the hook out, it was a real thrill.

A couple of snapshots with the cellphone camera n' back in the water she went. I cast a couple of more times but figured I had caught my limit for the day n' went back to the yard-work.

The moment of fishing-zen was over...

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's confirmed...I'm a computer junkie...

Time for some truthful self-admittance...I'm experiencing some serious "jones" while my precious HP Touchsmart Notebook is in the Geek Squad shop getting a new keyboard.

Note to self...I'll never try to catch a notebook as it slides off it's precarious spot on a chair onto the floor, with a glass of iced tea in my hand ever again.

Some thoughts on all this...

I've scoffed at buying extended warranties... but in this case, it was the smartest thing I've done in a while in buying the Geek Squad "black tie" protection plan when I bought my notebook. It was money WELL spent.

How do I know I'm hooked? ...I'm posting this using a 10 yr old laptop that's slower than frozen snot, taking up the whole friggin' day to load a page...n' I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread...but I'm getting by...barely.

6 YEAR UPDATE: Jan. 2, 2015
Life hasn't changed, except the jones now is Apple Products, as in all things Apple. It's seamless, & fun!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'll be signing autographs in the lobby after the matinee...

The Myrtle Beach Herald ran a good article covering this years field day...somehow, the "face that's made for radio" got in the article.