Friday saw my annual visit to the nurse, except that I have missed three appointments. So once we got the bollocking over she went on to read my results, advantage Honey. She was very surprised to see my recent blood test results. My HBa1C and fasting tests were down considerably on the previous results, she said I don’t know how you are doing it, just keep doing it. I have to say the biggest factor in my success is the Paleo diet. 20.5lbs lost so far.
After my visit with the nurse I was quite pumped up so I got home, cracked on with work and got finished by about half past two. Me and Alf then jumped in the car and set off for Norfolk.
You may remember that on my last visit my water pump failed on the boat. I ordered a replacement on ebay, this turned up and was the wrong one, so I ordered one from ASAP a very good boat parts suppliers in Beccles, like an idiot I went by the picture on the site and not the blurb and when trying to fit the pump on Friday night I noticed that the impeller was larger than the original pump and would not fit the engine.
Norfolk is like going back in time, and don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is frustrating at times. ASAP the biggest parts suppliers on the broads doesn’t open on Saturday. I then spent the whole morning driving around Norfolk visiting boatyards trying to locate a replacement pump. I eventually found one at Thorpe at Kingfisher Cruisers. Really nice people!
Problem No 37!
I got the pump back and fitted it to the boat only to find that the impeller seemed to be snagging when turned by hand, not something you want when the engine is driving the pump at 1000rpm. So on closer inspectionit turned out the impeller was 80 thousandths of an inch to wide. I then spent the next 2 hours taking with a fine grinding wheel taking metal from the outer edge of the impeller. Eventually I managed to fit the pump and it turned freely. So I topped the coolant up adding anti freeze to the mix and started the engine up. The engine got up to temperature pretty quickly which is never a good sign. You guessed it, I had an air lock, this was borne out by the fact that I had no hot water from any of the taps. After a great deal of faffing around which involved getting burned I eventually got all the air out and managed to get some hot water. I had intended taking Alfie for a walk on the beach but unfortunately by low tide the rain was bucketing down, I had had a bad day and decided to go home, which we did.
The HF bands have been rubbish lately so I haven’t done any radio worth talking about.
Back to the boat again next Friday.
This weekend I took a trip to the boat, I was very surprised to note that this is only our second visit of the year. In my mind we have been up about 4 times, however when I looked in my diary the first trip of the year was 3 months ago. The boat didn’t look too bad considering and once we had loaded her up I started her up, the engine hadn’t been running long when I noticed the temperature was up at about 90c. This is very high considering the engine had only been running 10 minutes, I felt the hot water tank and it was cold, not a good sign. I then checked the header tank and that was empty. In the ten years we have had Martha I have never had to top the coolant up. After some frantic checking I found the water pump had actually rotted through, this may have been a consequence of putting fresh anti-freeze in last year or it may have been the fact that the pump was probably 15 years old. I was dreading taking the pump off for fear of having bolts breaking in the block, but my fears were unfounded as the pump came out no problem. I have ordered the new pump and will be making a trip next week to fit the new pump.
A tranquil Sunday morning at the moorings
Sunday morning I left Lesley asleep on the boat and set off for an early morning drive around the broads. I came across a nice church near Barton and had a walk around the graveyard. I always find this an excellent way to think, no distractions and as soon as you start feeling sorry for yourself you remind yourself that all the bodies under the ground would probably swap places with you in a heartbeat.
I took the 897 up to the boat and my new Hi-Mound key, the conditions were rubbish. Coupled with that there was a great deal of interference on all bands. I have had this before sometimes it pulses and runs up and down the bands and sometimes it’s a constant buzz. While mooching around on Sunday morning I came across this place:
Neatishead Radar Station
I am pretty certain this is where my interference is coming from. So no QSO’s this weekend.
All in all a good weekend
I had another four day week last week, I have to admit I am enjoying them. We took Friday off to visit the boat, we haven’t been up there since November last year, we were lucky because we had a very mild winter and Martha was in pretty good shape because of this. We also had a partial eclipse on the way up, unfortunately it was so overcast we never manager to see it, we just noticed how dark it got. By the time we got to Stalham the cloud had gone and we had a beautiful sunny day with a temperature around 13c. The boat was in good shape so there wasn’t much for me to do except play ball with Alfie, no matter how I try I cannot wear this dog out, he even had a swim. We had a pleasant evening but by the time we went to bed the boat was being blown about a bit so I didn’t sleep very well. The weather was miserable on Saturday so we had breakfast and set off for home.
Sunday I went back out on the bike, it is still a struggle but I did push it a bit more, I managed 8 miles which is still bugger all compared to what I used to be able to do but I have to work on my fitness first. I am getting used to the bike and I have to say the brakes are the best I have ever had on a pushbike, they are discs front and rear. I managed to burn 675 calories which will help. The plan this week is to do a midweek ride, or at least a turbo trainer session. I am feeling a bit better on the bike and hope to keep this up.
I dusted the road bike off today and can’t wait to give that a blast when I drop some more weight.
I’ve been pretty quiet on the radio over the past couple of weeks but I did manage a QSO tonight with Miguel (EA2CFR) near Pamplona in Spain.
It’s been a busy couple of weekends.
Last weekend me and the son went up to the boat for the weekend, we even took Alf with us. Alf absolutely loves the boat and is on the go all the time while we are up there, the plus side is that he normally sleeps for two days when we get back home. I had to go to the boat as I needed to top up the anti-freeze, we lost some coolant back in the summer when I had a hose split on us on Barton Broad. We had a good weekend and enjoyed an indian meal cooked on the tiny cooker we have on the boat, I’m always amazed at what we can do with that oven.
It won’t be long before we are covering the boat up for the worst of the winter.
I am now officially off the committee of the Harlow Radio Club and in January I will no longer be a member for reasons I don’t want to go into here. I may go back again, but not for at least 12 months.
The move back into my loft office has been successful and I am even sleeping better, the thought of all that radio equipment sitting at the bottom of my garden in a wooden structure did worry me. I do have some RF problems in my new shack and I find that 40 and 30 metres give me less problems. I will try some alternative earthing to see if I can alleviate the problem. I had a good day yesterday and managed 6 contacts 2 USA, 3 French and a Swiss station. I am still way off my monthly target but thats not a problem.
It’s been a few weeks since my last post and this is mostly because for the first time in ages my personal life has been busier than my work life, this is not to say work hasn’t been busy, its just that I seem to be making a bit more of my personal time.
I am now easily averaging 30 CW contacts per month and the majority of these are foreign stations, I am really becoming comfortable with this mode. I have now had 122 contacts so far this year and I have set myself some new goals regarding CW and that is to acheive 200 contacts by 1st October and 300 by 31st Dec. Again I think its a tall order but achievable. We’ll see how that goes.
I missed the 2 metre UKAC this month, which is a first for me, but I did manage to score a few points on the 70cm contest the week after, but I still don’t have the patience to pick a frequency and stay put, this is clearly the best way to pick up the numbers but I just don’t seem to be able to stay with it. So I managed 16 contacts which is about where I’ve been for the past 6 contests.
We have managed to get up the boat almost every weekend for the past six weeks. I still have problems unwinding, but worrying about at home or worrying about work at the boat, I still know where I’d sooner be. I have just come back from Norfolk after another cracking weekend, we never went out, but had a great time on the moorings, we also took a drive down to Ranworth, one of our favourite places to visit on the boat. We stopped, had a coffee and watched the world go past. Alfie managed to have a couple of swims and I have never seen him so worn out. On Sunday morning I always cook cheese on toast for breakfast and Alf actually snored while me and Lesley ate our breakfasts.
We are up again next weekend and I am looking forward to taking Martha out.