Well, I seem to find it hard to maintain a blog. Good thing I am not looking at this to make money. This is mostly just for my own purpose anyway. However, I really want to get back to maintaining it a bit.
The idiocracy of the modern world
Recently I heard that Charlie Brown, Roodalf the red nose reindeer and baby its cold outside are now considered offensive. What has this world come too? I mean, really? Are we that sad of a country that these things now hurt our feelings and should be banned. Is the new bumping NWA playing Dean Martins rendition of “Baby its cold outside” at max volume?
Many years ago, I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This was a great time and I truly enjoyed it. However, as with all things, life gets in the way sometimes. And it did with this big time. I had to stop training for a while and I always missed it.
I recently started back. I am calling this an official reset on my training. My goals now that I am older are more defined and reasonable. I want to achieve black belt status. I want to get back healthy and I want to complete my journey.
Well, it has been a while since I have posted
As it always seems, I can’t seem to keep up with blogging. I can do it for a while, but then it gets pushed for life events. I am going to get back to pushing myself, but not sure how long this is going to last.
Maybe what I should do is start blogging about some of my passions. I could use tutorials as a way to keep me interested. h
Happy New Years!
As a lot of people do I take the first of the year to meditate, refocus myself and set goals for the new year. I have often thought about keeping these goals in GitHub, but for now that will just live in reminders or Omnifocus. But the question is going to be what is this year going to be like for me?
I am going to focus on getting health this year. From mental health to physical health. All of this will be addressed. I have had a lingering thyroid problem that might be cancer. However, They can only do ultrasounds until it changes in size. I am going to keep focusing on this until it either gets better or we prove it is not harmful.
I have had back issues since a car accident. I have pretty much just ignored the pain and fought through it until this year. I am finally getting into physical therapy and working on fixing the issues. Just these couple of things will allow me to attack the next issue… my weight.
I have went from 250+ down to around 210 – 215 where I sit now. I am going to work to get to 200 even or blow by this time next year. This will improve my overall health and make my hobbies more fun.
Every year we have a chance to win a trip to presidents club. This takes places at different locations all over the world. So this is always going to be in my goals. What I am going to focus on is making this process less stressful. There are some things that I am putting in place that will allow me to bee stress free and productive. Mainly around seeing what is coming at me and clearing what I can quickly. I will likely write more about this as time goes on.
From the hobbies stand point I am going to continue to focus on shooting. I plan on refining my reloading proces and winning at least 3 matches this year.
From a Ham radio perspective, I want to compete in a couple of contests and do well in POTA and the Grid Chase. These will be getting lots of blog time.
Something I never payed a lot of attention to, but that is going to change that this year. The goal is debt free and house. What doo you guys do?
First Parks On The Air Activiation!
Today I decided to take the family out and do an activation. I initially wanted to start with something simple by just going out and making some basic contacts on my KX3 by Elecraft. This was intended to be a simple activation but turned in to a POTA activation.
Parks on the air lives at http://wwf-kff.com and from what I can gather is all about getting people out into the beautiful parks we all take for granted.
The basic idea is you pick a park you would like to go make contacts from. Take the family or friends. Hike out. Setup your station. Start making contacts.
But before those contacts start coming in you would need to register and tell people where you will be listening from. This spotting process is really easy and just pick an open frequency
I went live in KFF-0708 with my family. This is the Stones River battleground here in town. It is a really nice park and one we had ignored as a family.
While we were out we got a few flurries and 10 contacts. It was great fun while it lasted. I wish I could have stayed out and made more, but it was just too cold. I am really thinking about going to another park tomorrow and activating again. If I don’t, I will at least hunt those that have.
If you are into the hobby and haven’t done so please check out parksontheair.com and get in valved. If you are not and you see one of us at a part running a radio, stop and talk. We would be happy to teach you about the contacts we are making.
Home Antenna Problems
Right now I just have a G5RV in the attic. It really sucks!!! Do you guys think puttinga long wire over the house will help?
In today’s world, I think that many people forget the simple things. The experiences that bind people together and make those memories that last a lifetime. Most of us chase the money and possessions and forget the simple. This is the trap I fell into for a long time.
I have always valued my family and friends. I have always enjoyed their company and doing things with them. However, this was not a priority for me. It always worked and the next toy. I have changed this.
Now you will find me taking more joy in hunting with friends and family. You will find me reading with my Son. Holding my wife’s hands. Experianing time and closeness. Talking about topics of interest.
This makes me smile.
DMR D-Star C4FM YSF oh my
When I recently started back into ham radio I was really excited about the VHF/UHF digital modes that are linked to the internet. The promise here is you can talk with your friends across the country on your local repeater. Or you can keep in touch with your friends from your home repeater while in another country. However, there is a bunch going on that makes it hard for people to get there heads around the digital modes and which radio to get.
The first mode we will take a look at is DMR (Digital Mobile Radio). DMR is an open standard and gained popularity with commercial applications with companies like Motola. The radio uses talk groups (TG) and there are tons to chose from.
Since DMR really got it start in the commercial world where companies would take orders for organizations and configure several radios at once and configure the talk groups for those radios. Once the radios made it to the HAM space, this programming became more difficult.
To program a DMR radio, typically, you need a code plug. Once you have made a code plug, you can use it to easily program hundreds of radios. This does not lend itself to HAM radio operations in emergency operations.
There is a major plus to this technology. While you can get expensive Motorola and Hytera radios, most are inexpensive radios made in China like the TYT. In fact, the MD-380 is under a hundred dollars and is almost the standard in HAM radio for DMR.
- Cheap radios are available
- Voice quality is good on DMR radios
- VERY active community
- Code plug downloads are made available by many repeater operators
- Code plugs can be hard to make for people who are new
- Mostly UHF repeaters so range is an issue
D-Star was designed for HAM radio in the late 90s by the Japanese Amature Radio League. D-Star is the first digital radio mode that was specifically developed for amateur radio. Currently, the radio options are limited to Icom and Kenwood being the only radios using D-Star at the moment. D-Star uses reflectors that that repeaters can link to. The user can transfer a repeater to a reflector to temporarily communicate on that reflector.
Since the radios used in D-Star primarily made by high-end companies, they are of great quality. Most are extremely simple to program and easy to use in emergency operations. However, in some locations, it can be hard to find a repeater for D-Star since they are expensive.
D-Star also has messaging and data abilities. You can send pictures to people using D-Star as well as set up a radio-based network. All of this makes D-Star really attractive option. Lets also not forget that the voice quality is amazing as well.
- Great audio quality
- Lots of reflectors
- designed for amateur radio
- Quality of radios very good
- Expensive when compared to DMR
- Few radio manufacturers
This one is the newest playing in this space. It was created by Yeasu and is currently only offered on their devices. This is not as bad as it might seem since they have lower cost units. This makes access to this technology much more approachable. Than D-Star at the moment.
There are some major drawbacks. One is that since it is new there are fewer users on the reflectors. However, I think this is changing quickly since Yeasu is pushing and several repeaters in my area are switching over quickly. The other problem is that while they will implement the Fusion/C4FM portion they are not implementing the Wires-x and that limits the ability to reach and link with other repeaters.
The major pluses here is the data speed and voice quality. I think these sound phenomenal! The modes also auto switch from DV to FM as needed.
- Inexpensive radios available
- Growing fast, but not DMR fast
- Great data speeds
- Great voice quality
- Designed for HAM radio
- Not as many repeaters available today
- Some are not connected to wires-x
- Only one company making radios
These newer digital modes make it easy to talk worldwide for people with a just general license with outstanding voice quality. The downsides are what to choose. Currently, my hope is that Yeasu/Fusion/Wires-x will take off more than it has, but I still have an Icom with D-Star as my main radio.
The best thing to do is buy what you have the most repeaters around you. You might also get a hotspot to augment the repeaters. This basically makes a small lower powered reporter that will follow you. I might decide to do a hotspot comparison later.
Progress on the 500 words a day
Recently I have started the 500 words a day challenge. I started this to force me to create and dump my thoughts. This is designed to be empowering and force the creative juices flowing. Since I have started I have put in a lot of quick work on this blog, but even more, work has been put into other things.
The main thing has been my journal. I now take time to write in my journal every day, mostly at the end, to self-reflect. This has allowed me to find areas that I have fallen short in productive and personal relationships and take steps to fix those.
The area that has not gotten enough attention from my part is my movie. I really want to finish writing this. Not because I think a studio will ever make it, but I just NEED to finish it. I need to find a little more time to work on this more as time goes on.