Archive for December, 2006

Be Prepared for this Scouting Award

December 28, 2006

The Scouting 100 Radio Award is awarded for contacting Scout stations during 2007, the Centenary year of Scouting. This is an International award, available to any operator – it is also available on a listener basis, with the same requirements as the operator award.

Objective:
To help celebrate the centenary of Scouting through the medium of radio. To help publicise the Centenary, and to provide radio amateurs the opportunity of gaining another Award. Although not intended for profit, any surplus made will go to support Radio Scouting in developing countries.

Duration:
The Award will begin at 00:00:01 on January 1st 2007 and finish at 23:59:59 December 31st 2007.

Bands and Modes:
The Award is available through all bands and all modes, within the terms of the individual’s radio licence. The Award is also available through Echolink and IRLP modes. The Award can be endorsed for any special modes or bands ie ‘All satellite contacts;’ ‘all QRP contacts,’ etc. Activity for the Award should be focused around the Scout frequencies.

Requirements:
Stations are required to contact Scout and Guide stations to count for
points as follows:

* Each ordinary Scout station counts one point.
* Special Event Scout stations count 2 points.
* The World Jamboree, Gilwell Park and Brownsea Island stations count 5 points.
* Your logs should be verified as accurate by 2 other local radio amateurs.
* Normal log information is required with the following additional information: Name, Scout details and age of the operator of the station you contact. Your age should also be submitted when applying for Awards. Female operators send `YL’ as their age!

Website:
The Award is supported online by a website – full details of the award are available at http://www.scouting100award.org. An Honour Roll of Award holders will also be published on the website.

Contact: info@scouting100award.org

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Post Christmas Wrap Up

December 27, 2006


Christmas was good to me. I received a NorCal 40A kit along with David B. Rutledge’s The Electronics of Radio. Together these items make up a basic analog electronics’s course and my hope is to build the kit and learn more about electronics and radio.

Notes from the budding brewmaster: The final bottles of my first batch of beer were actually quite good. It worked out to the following: 2 weeks in the keg, 2 weeks in the bottle, 3 days in the fridge. Very tasty. Also – I’m sticking to regular white sugar for the carbonation.

I’ve also been spending way to much time playing Age of Empires III on my laptop.

I need to get in the radio room, tidy up, catch up on logging in a stack of QSL cards, and prepare for Straight Key Night.

News & Notes

December 10, 2006

Last night I went out to the seawall at Fort Monroe to see if I could see the Space Shuttle Discovery as it headed away from the Kennedy Space Center towards it’s link up with the International Space Station. I was out on the fishing pier, scanning across the Chesapeake from Norfolk to Virginia Beach just before the launch time (2047 Eastern). I had my PRO-548 monitoring the 2M repeater up in Gloucester where WB7URZ, Randy, was giving out a running commentary of the launch to those of us trying to catch a glimpse “Main engine start, she’s on the way”. I was quite cold and the wind was strong, biting my ears and exposed fingers. Word was passed – Discovery was on her way. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for…. a streak of light? Crackling over the scanner was Randy saying he didn’t see anything and another ham also saying he wasn’t see anything either. The wind was consistently sapping my internal heat… I saw lights from a helicopter, lights from aircraft… the stars… the constellation Orion was above Virginia Beach. I turned and started walking back towards the truck. Then I saw it…. a bright dot of light, moving from south to north about 10 degrees above the horizon…. moving fast! The scanner crackled, “I see, do you see it?!”… “Cool”… the bright dot continued it’s movement, flickered, and diminished in brightness. “She just dropped her external engines….” And across the horizon, getting fainter, the dot continued.

Other news… I tried my first bottle of beer from my first attempt at brewing. I had four bottles in the fridge that have been cooling, one I had added brown sugar, two I had added white sugar, and the last was half and half. I forgot to label what was what. I pulled out a bottle and brought it over near the sink. Wasn’t sure what would happen… would it explode with too much carbonation? I popped of the lid slowly… I could hear the carbonation being released. That was a good sign. It didn’t explode. I poured the bottle’s contents into a glass… it looked like beer. Light golden in color, slightly cloudy (like the book said). Not much carbonation. A little bit of bubbles on top, but not much. I tasted it. Cool, beer-like. But not quite right. I took the glass and sat down. I looked at the color… the color was good. I smelled it. Slight vinegar smell (which the book said meant that something got dirty during the process). It kind of had more of a hard cider taste. My guess is that this bottle had all brown sugar. I’m going to try another beer today and see if the experience is different. I also want to mix another batch of a different flavor and get it going.

No hamming….

December 5, 2006

I haven’t been on the HF bands for a while. No CW, no DX Packet Cluster, nada. I’d like to get some quality time with the CW paddle.

The weather station is down – not sure what’s wrong.

My 2M packet station is partially working. The TNC is hooked up to yet another old computer that I moved out to the garage. But the wireless network connection out to the garage is hit and miss…. so I’m going to try to set up a bridge to extend the network out there.

I have been prepping the W4V Veterans Day Special Event cards and certificates. I plan to finish up the cards and should be able to print the certificates out tomorrow. All should be in the mail on Thursday.

Beer update: The total fermentation time was two weeks. I bottled the first batch on Saturday. I varied the amount and type of sugar. In 1/4 of the bottles I put 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 regular sugar. In another 1/4 of the bottles I put all brown sugar. The rest of the bottles got the regular sugar. We’ll see what kind of difference the sugar makes. This Saturday I’ll put 4 of the beers in the fridge for conditioning….. then 4 more the next week, etc. I have another batch to start fermenting… probably this weekend.

Went to the eye doctor today and was diagnosed with keratoconus in my left eye. At first I thought that meant that my eye would bulge, possibly pop out and/or bleed… but it’s actually not too bad. Keratoconus, or KC for short, is a thinning disorder of the cornea that causes distortion and reduced vision. The biggest short term impact is that I have to get hard contact lenses. I do need to start taking better care of my eyes.