Thursday, June 2, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

Now that the Memorial Day festivities are over, it's time return to the "real" world and all of its troubles.  For a newsperson, strife and uncertainty are the basis of continuing employment.  Sad to say, good news really doesn't amount to much in world focused on immediate gratification, irresponsibility, and power.  I suppose this trend is not new--human foibles have been used for centuries to advance all kinds of political, social, and religious agendas.  Once in a while, I will include a humorous "kicker" in some of my newscasts to break the doom and gloom that seems to dominate the current news scene.  After shifting through 10 to 12 hours worth of generally negative stories, it's a real pleasure to run into an uplifting tale. 

I ran across such a story when I read an ariticle by Jim Key (NT2 F) entitled "Q signals for Baby Boomers".  The story can be found in the 02 June 2011 edition of eham.net.  I enjoyed the article, although some of his observations hit painfully close to home.  Sometimes, it's good to laugh at one's own shortcomings--this gives you some sense of perspective.  Reaction to Jim's article was mixed, ranging from chuckles to outright criticism.  Strangely, I get the same reaction when I air a humorous story from some of my wire services...it seems people are really getting on edge these days and have shut out the benefit of laughter.  I'll admit that there isn't too much to chuckle over, but we must learn to stop taking ourselves too seriously.   About the only thing we can change these days is ourselves.  For me that means living simply, staying out of debt, keeping a low profile, keeping my life private, and staying close to my family and immediate neighbors.  Amateur radio gives me an opening to the world without my workplace baggage tying me down.  It's  hard to compartmentalize one's life, but one must do it for sanity's sake.  When I'm done with my assignments in the newsroom, I leave the office behind and head for home, knowing the routine will return soon enough.  I value my private time with family and friends and the "de-stressing" that amateur radio gives me.  I still get a thrill of talking with someone over the air, propagation notwithstanding.  Working with home-brew projects and antenna designs keeps the mind sharp and the fingers agile.  Add to this mix some physical activity, good music and art, reading from real books, and maintaining a stimulating hobby and you get a certain kind of satisfaction and fulfillment that keeps you sane.  But what about excitement, you may ask.  Well, based on my past military career and the obvious excesses of youth, I've had plenty of "thrills and chills" to last a lifetime.  I've "been there and done that".  Right now, I tend to favor a more contemplative approach to my private life and can do without the excesses and attractions of the current decade.  I don't reject technology or progress, but each device is only a tool to an end.  At my place of work (a broadcast station), I have all of the technical toys one could ever hope for.  So, when I get home, I prefer to downshift and enjoy a slower pace.  Since my QTH has marginal tv reception and quirkly cable service, I usually keep entertainment equipment at a basic level.  The local library has plenty of DVDs and CDs to check out, so the XYL and I never lack for movies.  The home stereo system works well with all of the audio stuff I've accumulated through the years.  We read a lot and spend a few hours a week at the library--cheap and satisfying.  I get enough excitement at work, so I don't need to bring the world's problems home with me.  Every life is different, so what I follow may not fit into your needs and desires.  For me, a simple life is appealing, cost effective, and refreshing.

Amateur radio provides a welcome diversion from the daily grind.  Whether it be contesting, moon bounce, chasing DX, or just plain ragchewing, the hobby can add another dimension to your life.  The same can be said of many hobbies.  The important thing to me is to have another way to expand your knowledge and meet others in a non-confrontational setting.  Who knows...we might even learn something about ourselves.

So, while it's hard to leave the pressures of our daily routine, you must break away every now and then to refresh the mind and reaquaint ourselves with a world that was beautiful long before we walked erect.  Amateur radio allows me to be myself.  I greet each contact as a new adventure.  With that said, it's time to close the news studio, head home, and fire up the old Kenwood 520.  Adventure awaits (depending on propagation, of course)....Elsewise, it's time for me to get that "job" jar from the shelf and make my better half believe I have a real use around the house.  I have a feeling that the long-overdue repair to the screen door awaits when 20-meters folds into noise.  Have a good day....Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.