Monday, February 21, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Nothing like a seven-day work week to make one
appreciate a day off.  In the radio business, there
are really very few vacations, especially for the
one man news departments in small markets like
Hilo, Hawaii.  So, following the season opening
drag races over the weekend, I find myself doing
the regular Monday news shift.  To me, President's
Day is just another work day, and the day is filled
with all kinds of things to keep the mind busy.  Count
your blessings that you do not live in Libya, Bahrain,
or Yemen.  Young folks living in those countries
have a grim future--no jobs, repressive regimes, and
little social mobility.  It's sort of getting dressed for the
prom and having no date. 

Once the news day is over, I'll complete the required
transmitter and computer checks and head for the
little piece of paradise I call the "shack".  The oper-
ating position is really a small extra bedroom my
xyl and I use for storage.  The Swan 100 MXA and
related equipment occupy a corner of the bedroom
just below the window....convenient for the feed
line that attaches to the Drake MN-4 ATU.  Al-
though the space is small, it is comfortable and pro-
vides a necessary escape from a world gone crazy.
About the only thing left undone is installing one of
our old Computers as the digital interface to my
aging equipment.  The XYL has dibbs on the new
computer, since she uses it for lesson plans and
other teacher-related tasks. 

I've just completed an small upgrade on the 40-meter
vertical that launches my signal into the either.  The new
jackite fiberglass mast replaced an aging and weather
compromised MFJ mast that served me well for several
years.  In the coming days, I will add snake through a
few more radial wires to improve the antenna's efficiency.
My backyard is quite small, so  I will run the wire where
I can.  The current system uses 10 radials varying in
length from 16 to 30 feet.  This is not ideal, but the signal
reports are good enough for now.  When the antenna is
not in use, I can disconnect the vertical from the feedline,
something I always do when a storm comes across the
ocean or during times when the vertical is not being used.
I fashioned a home-brew swivel to lay the antenna flat
when I finish working the lower portion of 40-meters.
Besides being a safety feature, the reclining mast presents
a nearly invisible footprint for the neighbors.  Once the
xyl and I move to our property in the Puna District, I
can be a little more ambitious with my antenna projects.
For now, the arrangement works and I am able to enjoy
amateur radio. 

Well, it is just about time to close down the newsroom and
head to the qth for a sanity break.  This is a case of mind
over matter--with my mind it doesn't matter.  Enjoy the day
off.  Get on the air and have some fun.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.