Friday, May 13, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Hopefully, blogger.com is back among the living.  I couldn't post anything over the past few hours during the maintainance procedure that apparently went crazy.  Such is life.  Nothing is certain but death and taxes--my rather poor paraphrase of Ben Franklin's sage advice.

The past few weeks have been a real media circus in the radio station news room, with all of the natural disasters on the U.S. mainland, the reported death of Al-Qaeda co-founder Osama bin Laden, and the beginnings of the 2012 General Elections.  On Hawaii Island, the weather was the hot topic of the day, with Kailua-Kona, Oahu, and Kauai getting super soaked over the past few days.  All of the rain was helpful, but it won't make much of a dent in the ongoing drought which has gripped the islands for two years.  Even with all of the tropical showers, Hilo is still only gettting about 60 percent of its normal precipitation.  The Kohala, Ka'u, and Kailua-Kona areas are hurting for lack of water.  Cattle ranchers are especially hard-hit.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making disaster loans available to farmers and ranchers experiencing economic loss over the past year.  Now that hurricane season is fast upon us (01 June), we may get more moisture in the coming months.  Of course, hurricanes are nothing to mess with--so every weather blessing may have a dark side.

On the amateur radio front, hams in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee are doing a fine job of keeping communications alive in areas inundated by the Mississippi River.  From what I gather, this flood is one of the worst in recent memory.  Add this to the already damaging blow from tornadoes and you get a real mess that only time can resolve.

Compared to the ongoing emergency in the Southeast and fires in Texas, I have it easy.  Events have kept me from doing much on the ole Kenwood 520 and Swan 100-MX--just too busy to make many contacts.  Most of my free time has been spent restringing my 40-meter vertical and laying out a functioning ground system.  As mentioned earlier, tropical rains and vog (volcanic smog and haze) have done in my long-used MFJ mast.  It has been retired.  The new Jackite mast seems to stand up to the weather fairly well.  Whether it will survive hurricane season is anybody's guess.  When worse comes to worse, the under-the-house 40-meter loop can be pressed into service.  I don't use it much, unless I'm checking into a local or state net.  This "cloud warmer" does an excellent job for contacts out to 250-300 miles.  I use the loop primarily as an antenna for my Hallicrafters 62-A general coverage receiver.

Before I wrap things up for this week, I'll get all the materials, scripts, and programs ready for out station's annual Salute to the Graduates event on Saturday.  Each year Pacific Radio Group honors 65 to 70 students from 14 Hawaii Island High Schools in the areas of Scholastics, Athletics, Vocational Arts, Leadership, and Literay and Performing Arts.  We air audio vignettes on each student, hold a luncheon for the students and their families, and have a guest speaker congratulate the students on their accomplishments.  All told, the event is a positive alternative to all of the negative news dominating the airwaves these days.

Have a good weekend.   Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.