Dah Dah Dah

Allotment, Family, Florence, Orient, Radio

Flippin hell! a month has passed since my last blogpost. I sit here writing this after I have just booked ferries and hotels to make a road trip to Florence to visit my daughter before Christmas. The last time I went the return leg was through France, this time around I am going to go back up through Germany, but stopping in Karlsruhe on the way back. I had some fun times in this neck of the woods in the eighties. I won’t be visiting Westendorf this time as the family I normally visit will be away for December.The main difference between this trip and the last one is that I will be going out alone but coming back with Toni. She has been headhunted by a company in London so she is winging her way back home with me. I’m sad that she never stopped in Italy, but the offer she has had is very good and she will be able to get her own place when she settles down.

Allotment

Things have quietened down on the plot now. Last week the people with the stables next door delivered 6 cubic metres of manure. So I have been spreading this all over my now, mostly barren, plot. The Autumn raspberries fruited and I had some, but the frost took care of most of them. My Kale and Brocolli are still doing well and I have some cabbages on the go as well, but apart from that it is all quiet up there at the moment. We also had some good news this weekend, we took the plot over in June and we soon noticed that we had never seen anyone on the other half of the plot. I expressed an interest in the other half should it become vacant. Other plot holders told us that the tenant had not been near or by for over a year, but they had seen him around the town so knew he was still about. Anyway to cut a long story short we have now been told we can have the other half, although we can’t start on it until the paperwork is done. The plot had two apple trees and a pear tree on it, these have since disappeared once word got out that the previous tenant had given up. I am not really bothered about this as while the fruit was very good, the trees were planted a bit higgledy piggledy. This now makes it easier to plan out the whole plot.

Family

We had some good news, Lesley has worked either Boxing Day, Christmas Day or both for the past 13 years. This year she has them both off! This is great news for us and to add to that Toni will be home, I think we have the makings of a great Christmas.

Leyton Orient

The O’s are now getting lots of media attention for all the wrong reasons. Our form so far this year has been abysmal, we have only won one game at home this season so far, we are also on our third manager and it isn’t even Christmas yet. The sad thing is that from 1968 to 2014 we have had 12 managers, Francesco Becchetti took over in 2014 and we have had 8 managers. Morale at the club is at an all time low and the atmosphere in the stands is becoming toxic. We are playing Blackpool today and there are some planned protests, so it’s going to be fun. The O’s are in real danger of dropping out of the football league for the first time in its history. We currently have another Italian manager, who hasn’t worked since getting Sampdoria relegated 5 years ago. The man doesn’t speak a word of English and we regard it as another puppet manager just like the other Italian managers we have gone through. One of the concerns that has come out of recent rumours and radio interviews is that the Chairman is picking the teams for the matches, not good at all. We have also seen our favourite and most loyal player let go (just outside of the transfer deadline which stopped him working till Christmas) much to annoyance and bafflement of the fan base. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen next but you can’t help thinking that with that big lump of prime real estate that is the ground, there may be a plan to force Orient into the Vanarama so that they would have to sell the ground to survive. I will go on supporting the O’s wherever they end up, but it shouldn’t have to be like this.

Radio

The bands have been very flat as we trudge through the low part of the sun spot cycle. I did manage a CW contact with a station on the Island of Minorca (Javi EA6ALW) but I couldn’t hear the Serbian or Ukranian stations he worked before me. The conditions are very odd to say the least.

I haven’t been to the radio club since before June, so I will show my face next week at the AGM. I’m not sure why I have a lack of interest for the club, considering three years ago I was there every night and at every event and maintenance day. It may be that there are only a couple of member who I have anything more than radio in common with, it could be that I grew tired of listening to the people who do bugger all for the club moaning about the way the club was run. It could be the fact that once you’ve heard the same jokes and banter a couple of times it wears a bit thin. I will go next week, I will also re-join again, but I don’t have any plans to be a regular visitor.

Right that’ll do for now.

Message ends—————————————————————————————–va

 

72 DXCC’s and growing

Cycling, Orient, Radio

The weather is on the turn and at last I feel like summer is on the way. Work has been up and down of late, but nothing new there I hear you mutter. The less I dwell on this the better for all parties involved.

Radio

Radio keeps getting better and better. Yesterday alone I added 4 new entities to my list. First off I was delighted to a Japanese station, followed very quickly by a Libyan station, some time after I managed a closer station, but nonetheless elusive (for me), Crete. After this excitement (this is what passes as excitement when you’re my age) I went back downstairs for dinner. I went back on the radio and after working a few stations including Ken K3WW, I worked what I thought was another US station which turned out to be the US Virgin Islands. A very good days work. My target this month is 31 stations, it is the tenth of the month and I am already on 23 stations, so I am quite a bit ahead.

Election

This week saw the general election come and go, I have to admit to having an interest in politics, so I followed this closely. It was a result I don’t think anyone foresaw and I think it will be remembered for some time to come. The one thing we have now that we didn’t have at the last election was Twitter, unfortunately the moans and groans are piling up and I think because of the medium it is being listened to, it’s sad really because once again the noisy minority will probably be appeased to shut them up.

Leyton Orient

Well, it happened, my team have been relegated to the 2nd (4th) division. I managed to get to their last home game of the season against Sheffield United, which they managed a 2-2 draw, but it shows that the team are being poorly managed, I won’t go on about it, plenty of people have. Roll on next season!

Cycling

My fitness is slowly coming back and I am enjoying being back on the pushbike.

That’ll do for now.

Message ends——————————————————————————–va

 

Panic in Detroit

Radio

Radio

I have managed to squeeze a fair bit of radio time in over the past couple of weeks. Of note is the fact that after managing a QSO with India earlier in the month, I managed to top that last week with a QSO with a station in Hong Kong! Feeling very happy with two new DX entities, I didn’t think this could be topped, until Friday that is when I managed Cuba, all in all Arpil will go down as a good month, as of this evening I have worked 27 stations on the key this month, I am on target, for once!

Today (Sunday) saw the Cambridge repeater groups rally in Foxton, I haven’t been to this one for a couple of years so I made the effort this morning to go. This is quite a small rally when compared to the old Wood Green rally and Dunstable Downs, but you can still manage to find some gems. I cam away with a new Hi-Mound key and a battery box for when I work portable, a reasonable day in the end.

I tried the key out but it will take some adjusting before I can get used to it.

Not much else to say this week.

 

Message ends—————————————————————-va

My body is a cage

Cycling, Radio

After a very busy March April has been a little more sedate, the cycling is going well and I can feel my fitness coming back although it is still quite a way off. I am currently riding at weekends and I am managing around 20-25 miles per weekend. I am still only using my hybrid bike, I prefer the gear ratios on the road bike but its a means to an end.

Radio

The sun has been busy of late firing flares into the solar system, and as any radio ham will know, this causes disruption to the Ionosphere. Radio uses the Ionosphere to bounce bounce signals around the globe. So of late the airwaves have been a bit flat. I have managed a few contacts but tonight I went into the shack and after working a Dutch station on 40m I switched to 17m and heard an Indian special event station, I managed to get back to him straight away. Straight after I worked him I switched to 40m and worked a station in Montenegro. So tonight I have worked two new countries on the key.

The weekend is here and I need to make some plans.

 

Message ends——————————————————————va

Life is Good!!

Alf, Boat, Radio

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.

Morse/CW

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.

UKAC

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.

Boat

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.

Happy Days!

 

Message ends—————————————————————va