I trust that Santa Claus was kind to you this holiday season. I didn't get the new Elecraft K3 I promised myself, but I did enjoy a wonderful break from the classroom and my former responsibilities as a newsman at Pacific Radio Group. This has been the first time in many years that I didn't have to rise and shine at 0230W and drive through the darkness to Hilo. Although my former role as a broadcast journalist (and I use that term very loosely) was a thoroughly enjoyable job, I now relish time at home with my better half, working for my local community as a school teacher, and, finally, getting to spend some more time with amateur radio.
Presently, I'm preparing to dive into the ARRL's "SKN" (straight key night) on New Year's Eve. This should be a fun event with little of the contest pressure that dominates other events. About the only thing old I'm bringing to the effort is myself, my trusty J-38 key, and the old Kenwood TS-520 and the venerable Swan 100-MX. In order to create the atmosphere of my former novice days, I will run less than 75 watts, use a straight key, and erect my first novice antenna--a 40-meter inverted vee. I wish the old Heathkit HW-101 was still in the shack, but I foolishly let it go many years ago for reasons I can't seem (or don't want to) remember. This year, the accent will be on fun and laid back operating. The ARRL is asking for logs and recommendations for the best "fist" heard on the air. This event will mirror some of the old "novice roundup" days where any contact was cherrished. Early in my novice days, I was fortunate to have the long-lost HW-101 as my prime rig--I really enjoyed this boatanchor. Perhaps, I'll find another one someday. The important thing is to enjoy the event with what you have on hand.
I still have the 130-foot "long wire" running through the backyard and into my neighbor's garden. I'll probably use the wire for some contacts. I'll have to take it down before he returns from a mainland trip. The standby 40-meter loop under the house will be pressed into service for local state-wide contacts. This NVIS antenna does a great job on state wide HF nets.
Have a good, safe, and sane New Year's Eve. One of the reasons I want to enter the SKN is to keep myself off the roads on the festive evening. When I was working full-time at the radio station, I had a few close encounters with drinking drivers--not a fun experience. So, just take it easy this weekend.
Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM (Russ)
Laupahoehoe, Hawaii--along the beautiful Hamakua Coast.
P.S. And yes, that fearsome picture peering from a previous post is yours truly...none the worst for wear after more than six decades on this planet. My computer connect is quite slow in this rural area of Hawaii Island, so uploading pictures of anykind is a major project. Happy Holidays!.