This is not my Beautiful Wife

I’ve been chasing around all over the place this week looking forward to the weekend. Every couple of months my old Colleagues from FTA meet up at a pub near Leadenhall Market in the City of London, I haven’t been for more than 5 years. The build up to this has left me in a reflective mood thinking of some of the characters I worked with at the FTA. We had a great night and it was really good to see them all after so long. While they all looked pretty much the same, the topic of conversation has now moved to pensions, reitrement and moving out of London. The other thing was that when talking about the kids, they were all now grown up, Time flies, it has now been 9 years since I left FTA and it is now a completely different beast to the one I started at 20 years ago, still, nothing stays the same.


I have been pretty quiet but I am still keeping the CW up, I worked Michael in Germany tonight and Karl in Austria in the week.


The battle of the bulge is under way and I have taken up cycling again, I have a long way to go, but intend to keep at it.


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I love it when a plan comes together

A few months ago when me and the lad were up the boat having a few beers, we came to the conclusion that as a family we don’t really celebrate birthdays. At the time we were a couple of months off of Lesley’s 50th so we decided we were going to do something. It’s always been a little difficult as Lesley’s parents live 160 miles away and have a dog which has to be factored into any plans we may try to make, also Lesley’s parents are now in their 70’s.

The long and the short of it was we decided to, book the in laws including her brother into a local nice hotel and book a table for seven at a very nice restaurant and keep it from Lesley as a surprise, the kids managed to get hold of all her old baby photo’s and had a book bound for her by Photobox to be given to her at the restaurant. Despite a few near misses we managed to keep it a secret from Lesley she only realised when she saw her family at the restaurant. we had a great meal and a fantastic evening, we need to do this more often, seriously!


As usual I was looking at the back of my eyelids before the new year arrived, but I am looking forward to a good 2015, I have a lot of targets (workwise) for the new year and these are going to need some changes in my management style to achieve, I am really looking forward to the challenge though.

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54 times around the sun

Well this Sunday saw my 54th birthday come and go, I can’t believe I’m still here. It was a nice quiet weekend and the highlight was the kids coming round for the day and Toni brought with her, her new boyfriend Dan. He’s is a likeable lad and they seem very comfortable together, it’s really good to see Toni so happy. I for one am hoping this is going to last, I think he will keep her feet on the ground, and I also look forward to getting to know him better.

On sunday morning I got up early and took Alfie for a long walk, and was rewarded with an absolutely glorious morning

Misty Morning Oct 14I took this with my phone as I came out of Risdens wood. I really wish I had taken my camera.





We had a good walk and Alf was able to have a good running for the first times in a week or so due to him cutting his dinkle, the vet couldn’t stitch it so he had to be kept calm so as not to raise his blood pressure and start the bleeding off again

Afie Oct 14


Alfie posing in amongst the frozen scrub.





I have now told the club of my intentions not to stand for Vice-Chairman. I intend to do my own thing radio-wise, I will still attend the club, but as and when it suits me. I’m not surprised it ended up this way, it has more to do with me than anything the club has done. The HF bands were very active this weekend and I did hear a few distant stations, unfortunately there was such a pile up I never stood a chance. I’m not really into 599 rubber stamp exchanges but it would have been nice just to be heard on some far off island.


Very exciting times at work, I am now setting up another workshop for Wrights and all the grief that goes with that, it’s a headache, but a good one if you can understand that.


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25 years and counting

Well my youngest sprog is 25 today, happy birthday Toni, I wish you many more.


Over the past few weeks I have been going through the interview process with a vary large vehicle rental company. Suffice it to say that last week I received a job offer for the position of workshop manager. The job is a step down and a pay cut compared to my previous job but I accepted and put my notice in.

I wasn’t ready for what happened next, once the news got out that I was leaving the industry I received a number of job offers and my employer got straight on the phone to arrange to fly over to have a chat about what would make me stay. Without going into detail, I have now decided to stay at Wrights and look forward to some changes.


Radio activity has been quiet this week mainly due to all the other stuff that has been going on with work. But I am to get some contacts in over the weekend.

Other stuff

One of the things that has come out of my recent attempt to jump ship is that I have only had 4 days holiday this year. After talking to Lesley we have agreed that I need to make sure that I make the most of my time off. So this Friday I took a day off and me and Lesley went to Southend, a place I used to go a lot when I was younger but haven’t been to for years. I was quite pleasantly surprised to see that Southend has managed to keep going and doesn’t look too tired when compared to other resorts such as Margate. I managed to get a plate of Jellied Eels on the seafront and was content to eat these looking out at the pier. The eels were good. me and Lesley finished the day by having a bag of chips in the car while parked on the front, happy days.

A trip to the boat is beckoning, I have a week off shortly and am looking forward to a few days R&R in Norfolk


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Can anybody here me

Well I ended last week on a high with my contacts made during the 2 metre contest and everything was looking up and I was really looking forward to the 432mhz contest.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation. more like leave it the last minute and see how it goes. On Tuesday night I went out to the shack in the hope to improve on my 70cm results. I fired up the Icom and listened to see if I could hear anyone warming up in the ten minutes before the contest started. I was surprised to hear no one. 8pm came and scanning through the 70cm band and nothing, I turned the rotator and scanned the band but absolutely nothing, in desperation I tuned to 439.550mhz where a few locals have a net on FM, ah I could hear someone. The only problem was I was only getting around a S3 which for a station less than two miles away was not right. With that, I shut the station down and shuffled off back in doors to consider my options. Suffice it to say M0PHO did not provide an entry for  432UKAC on the 8th April and I am gutted.

The rest of the week flew by my right han man at work was off last week and I have to say he was sorely missed, but I’m hoping he had a well deserved rest.

My radio activity has not been good this week at all, with only two morse stations worked all week and that was from G6UT.

Sunday I took the 70cm beam down to try to get to the bottom of the deafness problem. After a lot of buggering around I managed to get the beam down, and while I was convinced the problem was with the beam itself I thought I’d connect it direct to the radio and get Pat to hold it while I got a radio check from a local ham (M3JHQ). Prior to removal of the antenna I received a signal 4 and he received a signal 2. Connected direct I received S40+ and he received likewise. There for the problem must be in the original feeder.

There is no contest this week so to speak, well only 4m and I am not set up for that, this should give me time to get the antennas sorted.

Walking Alf back from his walk today and I came across some Goldfinches near the back of my house, in all the years I fed the birds I never once saw a Goldfinch visit, its a bind having cats and while I would not harm them I look forward to the day I can start feeding them again.

That’s all for now


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February already

Well 2014 is picking up a pace with January already out of the way. The rain continues and there is hardly fields in the local area that are walkable, apparently it is the wettest January since records began. We also have more forecast for next week, so the way things are going I doubt we’ll see any snow this side of December.

My radio activity has been a bit quiet this week mainly due to work commitments, but I have set myself the task of having 28 CW contacts through February, one per day. As I write this I am already two behind. I aim to catch this up next week.

I have decided to turn my old shack into my electronics workshop. My new shack doesn’t ave enough room to house all my radio equipment as well as my test equipment. So today I have been sorting out my office/workshop, the main driver for this was the vintage radio I bought last week from eBay. It is a C1948 Etronic medium and short wave valve radio. There is nothing like a valve radio set from the hum to the glow you get from the valves through the back. I have been after one for some time but I kept getting pipped at the post. The chap selling the radio was about ten minutes from my workplace so I managed to save a tenner on the postage, which meant I could go a bit higher on the bidding. I am very pleased the set it has a lovely sound and is in full working order. I was a bit concerned at first because I couldn’t tune the radio below 900KHz. I was a bit disappointed because I like Radio four and this is around 750KHz. I moved the radio upstairs and after a fiddle with the wire antenna and in came radio four as well a a whole raft of other stations right to the bottom of the band. The radio likes it better upstairs and I can’t wait to listen to Sailing By, BBC4’s closing down music. It’s a shame the World Service no longer play Lilly Bolero.

We had an EGM at the radio club on Friday, the main bone of contention was whether or not we should allow non-members to the club AGM’s. It was decided that there should be a change to the constitution not to allow non-members to attend. We had a good night and most of the talk centered around a member who had decided to leave the club but also left some derogatory comments on his QRZ page. Most of the guys present were quite upset about this as this particular member had a lot of assistance from various members to help him gain his full license. He is expected back at some stage but I think there will be some discussion about whether or not he should be welcomed open arms.The lads were getting ready for a trip to Canvey Island Radio Rally, I went last year for the first time, but in all honesty I thought it was quite badly organised, so didn’t fancy it this year, I also don’t need any radio equipment so thought I’d give it a miss.

Saturday saw me spending the day with my daughter looking for a car. We covered a lot of mileage and after a few lemons we managed to find a cracking little car out a Little Canfield (nr Stansted Airport). The car is in very good condition for its age with very low mileage and Toni fell in love with it straight away. We were under a bit of pressure because not long after we turned up to other people turned up to look at the car, both very interested. We took the motor for a spin and it ran very well so rather than shop around and come back to find the car sold Toni decided to go for it and promptly paid for it. I felt sorry for the other people who wanted the car but it has happened to me before so it was nice to be on the winning team.

I’m going to take a day off next week, probably Friday to go to the boat to replace the fuel lines, I should have gone today but Lesley had other plans.

An old friend of mine is working in Harlow next wek and there are plans to meet up for a couple of beers in the week, I look forward to that.

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Wet Wet Wet

This month has to be the wettest I can remember, I’m not basing this on any recorded empirical evidence, it just seems that all the fields and green areas where I walk Alf are completely waterlogged. The road I use to leave Harlow on has been more or less impassable in a normal car for a week or so. I am a little cautious about this as I managed to bugger an engine on my company car three years ago on this road due to flooding, so I don’t want to do this again. Luckily I have my old Land Rover discovery and I have no problems going through most flooded roads in this area.

Work last week was painful to say the least, I have never had so many staffing issues, at one point last week I was five men down. It gets stressful running this short of men (all off for genuine reasons) and it got to the point where we were only repairing VOR’s.

Anyway next week we have a few more bodies back and things should get easier.

One of my goals for January was to have 31 morse contacts on the radio and while I may be a little way off that target I did manage 5 this weekend. It is becoming much easier and my confidence is building. I have had an offer of a loan of a receiving antenna from a local ham. The reason being is that the noise floor on 80m for me is excessive in the evenings, I think this may be due to a plasma TV, but all the same 80 metres is off limits for me in the evenings. The idea is that you listen through one antenna and transmit on the other, the listening antenna is a loop and is less susceptible to noise and interference. I’ll do a bit of research and see if my radio will support a listening antenna and may take Roger up on his offer.

I dug the 897 out this weekend with a view to do a bit of portable. I never managed to get out in the end due to lack of planning. I fell short in two areas, firstly I have 10 metres of coax which connects to my Pro-whip antenna, I used this with the 817. I had forgotten I used this when I set up my new shack. Secondly, power! I had forgotten to sort out a battery to take with me, I did get my hands on a very good heavy duty motorbike battery with a 13 amp hour capacity. I have put it on charge but it wasn’t ready Sunday morning. I’m not sure if the 13Ah is going to be man enough but experimenting is what the hobby is all about. So the plan is to try the radio out this coming weekend although it may be from the boat in Norfolk.

In other news the pooch hasn’t been to well this week with an upset stomach so a trip to the vets was in order, a load of pills and £200 later he seems to be on the mend. With my workloads as such last week he wasn’t able to get the exercise he normally gets but he more than made up for this the weekend. He has been out with his buddies and it always lifts my spirits to see him chasing around with his mates.

I have had a taste lately of why I don’t get involved in clubs…….in the main its people. I have absolutely no understanding of depression, when someone tells me they are off work for depression I just think to myself, pull yourself together! I had a brother who suffered from “depression” and I felt at that time it was a load of crap and up to now I haven’t changed my mind. The way I see it is that both my Grandads served in world war one, both were badly injured and had to be discharged, one had his house bombed in WWII, and neither to my knowledge pulled the bedsheets over their heads and said “fuck it! I’m depressed”. I think depression is just a con for some time off. I know I’m probably being harsh but I’ve never been around anyone with “depression” that convinced me that anything was really wrong apart from being fed up.

Rant over!

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