QRZ Logbook

Friday, August 7, 2009

My daughter's getting closer to getting her license + other tidbits to catch up on

Just an FYI, my older daughter, Lauren, has finished studying the question pool, and is now working on taking the practice tests on QRZ.com.

I'm also going to post about my trip to Iowa from June and installing my radio for that trip. They should be posted early next week.

I'm heading to Dayton, OH this weekend for a wedding, so I may be able to make some QSOs while in the area. I'll only be up for the weekend, so there won't be much time to enjoy the trip.

I wish I knew what was up with FARA. Their web site is dead (has been for several months) and when I tried a couple of their repeaters last month going to Iowa I couldn't raise them.

BTW: It looks like the Mt. Mitchell repeaters got a 1-year reprieve from the radio station that wanted to kick them out. It will hopefully give them enough time to either relocate the repeaters to another tower on the mountain, or convince the land owners that amateur radio is worth keeping around the mountain.

I was talking to a ham in Chattanooga 2 weeks ago who told me that several repeaters north of there between Chattanooga and Knoxville got evicted from their towers after a SNAFU involving a new owner of the towers and the contact information being lost. One of the stories I was told is that the Park Service was even cut off, and within a few minutes of going off the air, a Park Ranger arrived at the tower site and demanded to know what was going on. The hams who were running one of the repeaters cut off were also there, and witnessed the Park Ranger threaten the tower climber with arrest if he did NOT restore service ASAP. The tower guy didn't know what to do, because he got an order to remove the equipment, and was gonna go to jail if he did.

Sometimes I wish amateur radio had that kind of clout.

It looks like they got things cleared up with the Park Service real quick. However, the amateur repeaters (as many as 10 or more if I remember) are still off the air until a new contract is worked out.

It also looks like the English Mountain repeater came back to life recently. It had been taken off the mountain several years ago after a tower collapse that forced the land owner to require a fence, insurance, and other amenities that basically forced the repeater off the mountain. The repeater's owner, Sam Kirby, WB4HAP, passed away unexpectedly in 2007, and the future of the repeater was in even more doubt. However, Tim Berry, WB4GBI came through, returned the repeater to English Mountain, and once again, the activity is making a renaissance.

It may not match the activity of it's peak in the late 90s, but there's only one way to know for sure.

And what the heck is up with Radio Shack dropping "Radio"? Is it just for advertising, or permanent? I have money on this being a marketing test, to see if the public responds in waves to the impending onslaught of advertising and marketing in advance of the Christmas season, and if even remotely successful, "Radio" will be permanently removed from the name of the store.

It will probably work the same way Subway did those $5 footlongs. First they were "for a limited time" then it became a constant fixture on the menu due to the popularity of the promotion.

To me, it really ceased being "Radio Shack" when it stopped selling ham radios, focusing on scanners and CB radios instead. Hams are people too, dammit! Then they concentrated their market towards satellite TV and radio, cell phones, RC cars, and batteries. They did score with SAME weather radios, but now most any store sells them, and for less.

They did earn points when they had PL-259 barrel connectors and an 8-pin mic plug I needed to solder up a mic to my ill-fated FT-5100 radio (more on that in a future post) but overall, you ask an employee a technical question, and unless they're a ham themselves (and a few are), you get the deer in headlights routine. Any more it's hit-or-miss with your question. You got questions, they got answers half the time...

Off to bed, and off to Dayton.