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Monday, July 21, 2008

Live from San Diego

One of the things I always wanted to do was visit the West Coast and touch the Pacific Ocean. I honestly thought I wouldn't have that opportunity anytime soon in my life. Especially these days with gas prices and skyrocketing fares on travel really put that thought in the backburner of life.

That infamous "rainy day", we keep saving for always comes sooner than later, so trying to save up for a big trip usually ends in trying to keep my house, car, kids, or me tuned up.

So I come into work one day and get called into my boss's office. My first reaction is typically "what have I done NOW?" to warrant a trip to the principal's office. Needless to say my reaction to "We may have to send you to San Diego for training" was a shock to the system.

I won't bore with details, but I'm in the home stretch of a nearly two-week stay in San Diego, specifically La Jolla (pronounced "lah-HOY-yah") north of the city, next to the golf course Tiger Woods recently competed against Rocco Mediate, bad knees, and the odds to win the US Open. I took a late night walk Friday night on that course over to the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific and watched the ocean. Absolutely amazing.

Emotionally and mentally I'm exhausted, though. And I still have 4-5 days to go before I can head eastward on that jet aeroplane. The fact I have been away from my wife and kids has really taken a toll on me. But I suppose it takes this kind of event to realize what's important in my life, and my wife and kids are having it just as rough. It always breaks the heart to hear your kids cry because they miss daddy.

The California life is definitely unique and a place I recommend visiting at least once in life. The thing is, I may be coming back out here again real soon.

I have seen the vast scope of San Diego in the relatively short time here. I've witnessed beautiful sunsets, amazingly beautiful weather, amazingly beautiful women, fog and more fog, parasailing without a motor, the San Diego Silverman, expensive prices, wonderful Italian, Mexican, and fast food, a nude beach (no, I did not strip), a gay pride parade (NO, I DID NOT PARTICIPATE!), the San Diego Zoo, and a trolley tour through many parts of the city.

I arrived last Monday, but it wasn't until Friday night that I took out my FT-530 Yaesu and tried to scan the area for repeaters. 2 meters is a bust. I can hit some repeaters on Palomar Mountain, but can't tell if anyone can hear me. No one answers back. I tried a repeater link system on 448.900 (An unusual repeater pairing for me to experience) and could not get in. It is either toned to where I cannot get in, or I'm just not making it. They have a nightly "late-night" net at 11PM Pacific which has a trivia question quiz and I participated by sending the NCS an email with my trivia answers. I sent an email detailing my plight for not making it in to the net and my answers. I got a one-word response: "OK". Not exactly friendly, if you ask me. He did ask for internet relays and gave his email address, and I did oblige. Too bad he didn't give me the courtesy of a "welcome to California".

This net also apparently has a QRMer who is disrupting the net. He did it Friday and Sunday nights (he's doing it now as I type this but he never does it when I hit the recorder) and it sounds like he's a regular occurrence.

He sounds like Jack Gerritsen, who was in Los Angeles, CA and was a problem during maritime emergency nets, but didn't have any real actions taken against him until the Coast Guard got involved. However, last I heard he was serving 7 years.

It would be nice to have at least one QSO before I leave San Diego, but the odds are not in my favor, as I can't seem to hit any repeaters. I'll keep trying, and see what happens.

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