Friday, June 10, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The news day is just about over at KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM.  A truly busy day was had by all.  The arrival of direct United Airlines service to Hawaii Island began Thursday night--an event covered by our radio station.  Hilo hasn't had consistent direct service to Los Angeles and San Franciso since 1983, so this is a big deal for those of us on Hawaii Island.  In the past, those traveling to the U.S. mainland from Hawaii Island had to fly first to Honolulu and get a connection from there--adding more time and delay to the entire process.  I hope the service can continue for a while--our visitor industry needs a boost, now that Japan's troubles have put a real dent in our tourist industry.  For an island that has few industries, any "burp" in visitor arrivals can ripple through our fragile economy.  In years past, we had an extensive sugar and cattle industry, but most of that is gone--a victim to cost and intense foreign competition.  So, anything that keeps our visitor industry moving forward is good news.  Who knows what will happen these days?  With the economy being the way it is, nothing is certain.

Of course, our problems in the central Pacific are minor compared to the suffering experienced by those living in "tornado alley" or in areas ravaged by flood and fire.  I haven't seen such extremes in weather for many years.  I'm proud of what fellow amateurs are doing to facilitate communication and welfare in these hard-hit areas.  The recent ARRL letter has a good review of what services amateur radio operators are offering to relief agencies and the Salvation Army Satern Network.  For these folks, "Field Day" has an entirely new and realistic meaning.  You can find out more about field day sites and activities at arrl.org.  I would recommend going to a field day site near you, if only to see what can be done under less-than-ideal circumstances.  As mentioned earlier, one can always run a home station under emergency power and operate as a 1-E station.

My modest antenna farm is back to normal following a bad thunderstorm last Saturday, 04 June.  The old MFJ fiberglass mast in the back yard that supported a 40-meter vertical took a lightning hit.  Fortunately, I disconnected all cables from the mast and grounded the vertical at a 8' ground rod.  Previously, I disconnected the tuned counterpoise as well.  All of my household electronics, phone, and appliances were disconnected before the storm, so they escaped damage.  The QTH was unscathed.  Everything worked once power was restored.  This time I was lucky.  I should have pivoted the mast to ground level this time around--a task I normally do as a matter of course when I finish operating for the day.  That task just slipped my mind.  I won't make that mistake again.

Have a safe weekend...it could be worse--we could be organized.  Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.