The March Review?

Okay, I admit, this is sad. My last post was over a year ago. Since this is a radio blog you may be inclined to think I haven’t been doing radio, or building projects, or anyhing else radio, that would be incorrect. I have been doing a lot of radio,

Our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been a big part of things over the last year. As the amateur radio Emergency Coordinator for ARES/AUXCOMM here in Klamath County I am parallel to the CERT Coordinator though most of our active volunteers are involved in both so we have been working on division-of-labor concerns and coordinating activation, reporting, and assignments.

We also had some administrative changes with Emergency Management being reassigned under the Sheriff. So far it seems to be a good move. One thing I just found out about is an asset being transfered to CERT/AUXCOMM. We are getting an old ambulance to build into a mobile radio and CERT response vehicle. We have a trailer, but there are advantages to having a ready to roll vehicle with a giant generator at the front end. The story of this asset will develope over time. We still don’t have a timeframe for the transfer.

Rebuilding the KBARA packet infrastructure took up a lot of time last year. It has been running stable and continuously since my last post with minimal maintenance required. Our mountaintop sites weathered the winter season well and we are working on several new projects that rely in part on this packet infrastructure.

One such project is getting a full-featured Winlink amateur radio gateway up and running. The Civil Defense Communications Auxiliary, more on this in a minute, just installed a packet gateway accessible to much of the county. The gateway is hosted by the Sky Lakes Amateur Radio Association who’s assets are provided by the Sky Lakes Medical Center, relies on the KBARA packet infrastructure, and provides Winlink email access to the entire emergency communications community and the ham community in parts of northern California and southern Oregon. A great cooperative effort that benefits a lot of people.

The project is not completed this is just the first stage. Next up is adding HF access, and ultimatly forwarding email by radio-internet combinations or by radio only in emergencies. This project is a huge asset that covers a large area and fills a big need.

CDCA is one of my big projects. It was set up as a 501(c)(3) non-profit the Civil Defense Communications Auxiliary. Its purpose is to provide material and training support. The Sky Lakes Gateway Project is a good start. Many more projects too come.

Volunteer Examiner sessions have been sparse with only one session per quarter. I miss doing them more frequently.

One of the things I spent a lot of time on this year was getting authorized as an ARRL emergency communications Field Instructor and Field Examiner. This is primarily for ARES which has been going through a lot of changes this year. I recently qualified as a mentor/instructor for the ARRL’s online training for the EC-001 Introduction to Emergency Communications course. I have signed up to mentor for the first four two-month class cycles of the new program and am looking forward to the experience.

ARES/AUXCOMM is a big topic. The state of Oregon recognizes the ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service program statewide. Some counties have opted for other organizations like ACES or autonomous organizational structures like AUXCOMM. Within the county, Klamath has an AUXCOMM team but it is at the same time an ARES team. As I mentioned earlier CERT is also a big part of the mix because of the extensive crossover in personnel and assets. This wierd mix has also affected the writing of Operations and Training manuals.

After time and energy in both, I have turned focus to the Training Manual by creating a training matrix, then developing a program to meet the modular elements on the grid. Eventually, all of this will be written into a manual. From the Training Manual, the Operations Manual containing only procedural elements. When device specific or asset specific operations that require a check-out will point to the TM in an appendix. Once I get the base manuals written I will post them. This is a long-term project.

I still participate in the Nation Traffic System as a local net manager, Net Control Station, and participate in state and regional nets. 80 meters has been crappy over the winter so I have not been able to participate as much as I’d like. This has also curtailed a lot of my general HF operations, and limited Winlink radio access.

The poor propagation and a harsh reality exposed by the Fall SET (Simulated Emergency Test) was a major prompt to get a local packet and HF gateway, as well as up our game on the tech for the gateway.

One of the things I have been doing more of, particularly recently, is equipment R&R. I have a growing pile of radio gear to go through and reset, repair, document, determine what it is, or combine with other bits for operation. I love doing this but I have little bench space or time to dig into some of these projects, but I will find the time.

I ended my last post with “try not to wait four months”… okay it was 12 months. I promis to try and do better.

~Jon KK6GXG

A Year and A Half

Well it’s been over a year and a half since the last post, and a lot has indeed transpired. We did move to Klamath Falls on July 1st, 2017, and while we have been doing a lot, much of what we had hoped to do hasn’t happened yet. Radio stuff, of course, Tammy and I both started businesses, Zack is back in school, and so am I.

Emergency Coordinator appointment certificate

When we first got here, I started meeting folks in the local radio club. I ended up getting involved with the emergency communications system here in the county. By the end of 2017 I was appointed the Emergency Coordinator for amateur radio auxiliary communications. I also did a lot of work with the club on our repeater sites and helping establish the local packet radio network.

Back when I carried a firearm as a security officer in the 80s and 90s, I had two handguns and several rifles. Over the years I also found myself very interested in gunsmithing. About the time Tammy and I met I had divested myself of all of my firearms. Having left California, I wanted to start rebuilding my firearms collection. 

Taurus Millennium G2 9mm

When I bought a new handgun I felt it prudent to apply for a Concealed Handgun License. While open carry is legal, and people do open carry around here, when it’s cold and raining or snowing, the possibility of accidentally covering your sidearm is a real possibility so it only makes sense to avoid the potential problem altogether and legally be able to carry concealed.

Notary stamp and journal
ready to get to work

While working on radio stuff, I also started a mobile notary business. Along with basic notary services I got certified as a Notary Signing Agent to sign real estate loan documents. I have done quite a few loan signings and notarizations over the last year. I enjoy notary work. The business needs some expansion if I am going to make a real go of it.

One of the summer craft fairs

In other business news; Tammy started doing craft shows last year with her upcycled stuff and jewelry she has made. Up until now, all I have contributed has been minor cut this or tweak that and some display fixtures. I have plans to contribute more soon, but she has been doing well. She posts stuff for sale on her facebook sellers page and at the craft shows and the farmers market. We have the Christmas show season coming up but plan on making some changes next year.

Zack has been back in school, mostly because he enjoys it. We hope to get him focused on another degree at some point. We shall see.

To wrap things up I will touch on my also being back in school. Last spring I started looking for a reputable brick and mortar university with 100% online degree programs again. I was looking for a seminary program in particular. My goal is to earn a Master of Divinity. I have an A.S. in Aviation Maintenance Technology. Of course, I need to earn a Bachelors degree before I can enter a masters program.

I have been looked for an online seminary several times over the last decade and nothing ever seemed to work out. This time I found a program just before the summer term began. Liberty wasn’t what I was planning on but it worked out nicely. I am in my second term now. After this term, I have two more terms to complete my B.S. Religion.

Well, that’s the big catch-up for now. 

~Jon

The March Review

Since my last post was in October, it won’t be difficult to believe I have been busy.

Much of my time has been spent on radio stuff. I have however been working with Emergency Management in the Community Emergency Response Team.

CERT is a program designed by FEMA/DHS and administered at the local level by a sponsoring agency. In Klamath County, it is sponsored by Emergency Management. I have signed up to be a part of CERT, but the training sessions are infrequent and movement through the application process has been slow.

When I’m not working on CERT stuff I can be found working on Club or EmComm projects. With the club, Klamath Basin Amateur Radio Association, I have been setting up the packet network and learning as much as I can about packet nets, the hardware, and software associated with packet.

Packet has consumed much of my time the last few months between getting the infrastructure up and running, expanding it, and fine-tuning things.

Since moving up here I have not had nearly as many opportunities to participate as a Volunteer Examiner. I miss doing two VE sessions a month.  Recently I received an appointment as a Field Examiner and as a Field Instructor.  These appointments are for EmComm instruction and certification.  I am hoping to get some classes going which would increase the number of VE/FE exams.

The other major consumer of my time has been EmComm. As the EC I have been tasked with getting the ARES/RACES program running. Since there was nothing here in the first place, I have been starting from scratch. Getting the internal county administrative stuff has proven to take the longest.

Another huge time consumer has been writing the Standard Operating Guidelines and the Training Manual for the county’s ham radio program. While administrative things are still not finalized, the county EmComm program will be organized as an AUXCOMM program with ties to ARES for expediency in working with other counties teams.

One thing that has had some great forward movement is the NTS program I have been setting up. We started with a voice net on the basin’s primary repeater twice a week. It has been going well and we have built up a roll of regulars over a dozen with an average of 5-6 check-ins each net.

We recently expanded to a second net on the secondary repeater after the first net. Now we are adding a VHF packet net after the second voice net. I have plans to add an HF voice and HF digital net to the lineup soon.

My own participation in digital as of late has been centered on VHF packet and HF Winmor with Winlink CMS. Now that the station is functional for HF voice and digital, as are the VHF/UHF voice and packet stations.

The packet station is an Alinco DR135 and a KPC3+ USB connected to a second Diamond X50A. I keep the station on 24/7 with the radio set at 5 watts. Overall it has very low power consumption.  I have no trouble reaching the digipeaters and I have a regular visitor from Shasta CA checking in on KK6GXG-1. I have also been able to get all the way down to the bay area via several other digipeaters. I have made a few VHF connections to the Winlink CMS system as well.

The VHF/UHF voice station is a Yaesu FT-2500M connected to a Diamond X50A. The two antennas are about the same height and separated by about 15 feet. For repeater communication, I usually have the power down to 5 watts. I will bump it up for simplex if I need to.

The HF station is an Icom IC-718. I have the Hy-Gain AV-18VS vertical which I have been using for 40-10 meters. It will tune up to 80 meters, but the 80 meter wire NVIS I built is more effective for 60-160 meters. I have both antennas switched into an MFJ-945E tuner and on to the radio. I have been making regular 75 meter contacts from Canada to California and east to Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.

I have poked around on 40 and 20 meters but not much. I have been too busy with the NTS nets on 75 meters to go looking for anything else.

On the HF digital side, I have the 718 connected to a Signalink USB which works great for Winlink Winmor peer-to-peer and CMS connections as well as a wide variety of digital modes through fldigi.

I am looking for another HF radio to dedicate to digital modes, and I recently picked up a Kantronics KAM-XL which has VHF/UHF and HF ports that would allow me to set up access to my PBBS on HF as well as VHF and cross-band digipeating, but that’s for the future.

My next area of attention is to get an old KPC-3 connected to an inexpensive VHF/UHF radio I already have and install them in the truck for mobile packet access. I may be able to work out an APRS system while I’m at it.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll try not to wait for 4 months to update next time.

Until then…

73,
~Jon KK6GXG

Much Goings On

This first couple of months here have been busy. Building furniture, meeting new people, getting involved in the local radio scene. Trying to build the station up for HF operations.

Ham radio can be a lot of fun even as a solo practitioner, by that I mean working on your own projects. But the fun really kicks in when you are part of the larger community. There are opportunities to engage with fellow hobbyists and the community at large.

KBARA

The local radio club is the Klamath Basin Amateur Radio Association. I started off with the group as a VE for one of the clubs exam sessions and then a couple of events with the group, the Crater Lake Rim Run,  and a Safety Fair. We also had a work party up at two of the clubs repeater sites, Hogsback Mountain and Plum Ridge. The folks are very nice and I have been making a lot of solid radio contacts. Several of the members have been very encouraging in my EmComm endeavors.

The folks are very nice and I have been having a lot of fun. Several of the members have been very encouraging with my EmComm endeavors.

The Community

CERT

I have been in communication with the Klamath County CERT group for a while and have been to one of the meetings, with another one tomorrow night.

Some of the KBARA folks are members of CERT as well so I’m not walking in blind or friendless.

I have turned in my County Volunteer paperwork and I’m just waiting to hear back. So, I’m not a member of the team yet, but things were looking good after the last meeting. We shall see.

NTS

I have wanted to get involved with NTS for a long time. In August I got in touch with the Section Traffic Manager to find out what I needed to do to get a local net going. After a few exchanged emails I started checking in regularly with two of the big Section nets that cover the whole state and several surrounding states, Beaver State Net, and Oregon Emergency Net.

After checking in to BSN and OEN for a couple of weeks I set up a local net, the Klamath Basin Traffic Net. Things are still very new and there hasn’t been much of a response yet, but that’s fine. It’s giving me time to work into it all.

I have had several opportunities to handle traffic from the net and I will start originating traffic once I work out a couple of issues in the station.

Skywarn™

I was hoping to get involved with Skywarn™ but the National Weather Service rep from Medford indicated that the local weather isn’t  that big a deal and the amateur radio presence in this area isn’t active or needed.  Without any support or interest from the served agency, there really aren’t many opportunities to serve. So, I guess I’ll just leave it at that for now.

The Station

There has been a lot going on with the station as well. After a couple of weeks of working the BSN and OEN with my low power, 5 watts, Yaesu FT-817 on the MFJ-1982LP end-fed antenna it was clear that I needed a bit more power to participate in nets, especially when the propagation conditions are bad.

I also needed to do something about the low power Baofeng UV-5R+ handheld transceiver I was using as a base station if I was going to be running a local net.

QYT KT-8900D

The mobile radio I have been using in the truck works very well, so it made sense to use the same radio for the base. This bumped me from a 5 watt HT up to 25 watts. The local net is running on a club repeater, and we do have a backup repeater as well and both have emergency power so 25 watts is fine for making contact throughout much of the southern part of the county.

The club has plans to link with other repeaters so we will have coverage throughout the county and beyond.

Diamond X50A

The homebrew J-Pole I was using would be okay, but it was limited to the 2 meter band and some of the repeaters in the area are in the 70 centemeter band. I needed something with a wider bandwidth and dual-band. Enter the X50A.

It was a simple task to swap out the twin-lead J-Pole antenna, which is now ready for my go kit, and put the X50 in its place. The X50 is also a commonly used antenna for amateur repeaters so it is reliable and can handle more power than I am putting through it.

ICOM IC-718

I mentioned the need for more power on HF. The solution that presented itself was an ICOM IC-718 that one of the club members wasn’t using and was willing to sell. The radio is rated to 100 watts which

The radio is rated to 100 watts, which has been helpful, though the last month band conditions have been crap making 5 watts nearly impossible and even at 100 it’s been difficult.

Initially, I only had the MFJ-1982LP antenna for HF that would cover 80 meters. The LP stands for Low Power, it can only handle 30 watts so when I first started using it I had to keep the power down low making it only a little better than the Yaesu FT-817.

Hy-Gain AV-18VS

The AV18VS is a nifty multi-band antenna that covers 10-80 meters. It uses a manually adjusted inductor to tune the various bands. Since the coil is at the base of the antenna, it’s not practical to get it way up in the air. In fact, it is intended to be used 3-5 feet above the ground. I have mine set at a little over 5 feet but it has a really good ground right under it.

It uses a manually adjusted inductor to tune the various bands. Since the coil is at the base of the antenna, it’s not practical to get it way up in the air. In fact, it is intended to be used 3-5 feet above the ground. I have mine set at a little over 5 feet but it has a really good ground right under it. In fact, it is intended to be used 3-5 feet above the ground. I have mine set at a little over 5 feet but it has a really good ground right under it.

It will likely be less convenient when the weather turns and we start to get snow. I plan on building some kind of hat to keep the snow off. I am still thinking that through.

Mobile

I have been running mobiles since July. I installed a QYT KT-8900D, a Midland MXT400 GMRS, and Uniden BEARCAT 980SSB CB when we first moved. Noone up here uses CB, but there is a lot of ham and GMRS traffic so I ended up pulling the CB.

I had always intended to install permanent mount antennas but it wasn’t practical at the time, which worked out well since I am driving a different vehicle than I started out with.

After getting the new (to me) truck in July I mounted a shelf that replaces the visors, the Vertically Driven Products Shelf-It. This works out great for holding radios and other stuff. We used to install these in all of the tow trucks when I drove tow.

I don’t use the visors, and with them mounted on the Shelf-It it’s hard to see traffic lights, so I just left the visors off.

Yesterday I finally got around to installing the NMO mounts in the roof of the truck. I installed three, one for the QYT KT-8900D, one for the Midland MXT400 GMRS, and a third possibility for the Yaesu FT-817 so I have a mobile HF rig. The only mobile HF antenna I have right now is for 6 and 10 meters. The nice thing about NMO antenna mounts is that they are easy to cap off and use later.

Below are some pics of the NMO installation.

Having the mag mounts on the roof with feedlines crushed through the window gap is just ugly, not to mention it does horrible things to the feedline.

Construction always starts with a bit of demolition. In this case dropping the headliner. I only needed to pull down one side so that’s what I did. It required pulling the Shelf-It out and removing the door trim pieces around the entire door as well as one coat hook and the cab light.

Here I have the back mount installed already and you can see the two 3/4″ holes for the other two.

It looks like quite the mess, but it’s really pretty simple. The white jar on the left is Chemplex silicone grease to coat the weather seals on the connectors and antennas or caps. Clockwise, the punch tool with a box open-end wrench and Allen wrench cuts the holes, in the large bag is a mount with cable just like the one just to its right. The small bags and black cap in the center are covers for the mounts when no antenna is attached. On the rag are needle-nose and slip-joint pliers to tighten the mount down. The brass disk is the installed NMO mount.

Three antennas installed. The front left is the dual-band ham antenna. The one on the right is for GMRS. The stubby one in the center is also a dual-band ham antenna I wanted to check out, a little performance comparison. The NMO mounts are much cleaner than the old mag mounts. I can still use the CB or any other radio that I can get an antenna with an NMO base. My CB antenna does. The advantage is I can move antennas or radios easily.

My apologies for the blurry picture, the camera kept focusing on the near headliner. The radio on the left is the QYT KT-8900D and the one on the right is the Midland MXT400 GMRS. The mics and cords stow on the shelf and there is plenty of room for more radios. I used the holes in the headliner from the visor clips for cables coming out, power on the left just behind the GMRS radio and antenna cables just to the left of the center hump.

Things Upcoming… too much to go into, how about some keywords.

Pi TNCs plural, radio go box, more homebrew antennas, homebrew filter cavities for a repeater, much more digital mode…

Until next time, 73,
~Jon KK6GXG 

The Move Is Done

Well, sort of…

We are here in Klamath Falls, Oregon now. We started the move July 1st and I was making runs all July. The old place was officially vacated July 31st. August was the slow unpacking of boxes and the beginning of several furniture building projects. I have built 6 bookcases; 2 of them 40 inches tall, the other 4, 70 inches tall.

I still have a number of things to build like the DVD cabinets that will hold our 1000ish movies and TV shows. I also have a lot of storage containers to build, think apothecaries drawers. Lot’s and lot’s of them.

You can see why I haven’t posted in a while. I have made some upgrades to the shack, well the mobile, the shack is looking rather minuscule right now.

I have absolutely no bench space for shop stuff or electronics. The station is occupying a puny 1 sq.ft. space across 2 shelves, but, I actually have an HF antenna outside! The MFJ-1982LP endfed is up. The feed point is about 15 feet up on the mast my 2m roll-up J-Pole is attached to and the rest of the antenna is supported by 2 31 foot Jackite poles and 20 feet up into the Ponderosa Pine in our front yard.

So far 80 and 40 meters have been kind. The net controls have had to work me pretty hard, but I have been getting through. I have been heard as far away as Victoria BC Canada, La Jolla California, Somewhere in Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada. Not bad for 5 watts.

The power on the base, my Yaesu FT-817ND, needs a boost now that I am putting together a local NTS Net. I need to make the Local to Section hop on HF more reliably and not make control work so hard. The local net will be on one of the club repeaters.

I have also moved forward by getting involved with a local active club, the Klamath Basin Amateur Radio Association. I have already done two events and a VE session with the club since we got up here. Also in the mix is getting started with the Klamath County CERT program.  There is some early work on getting an ARES/RACES group together. All kinds of fun going on.

Once we got up here I started work on the mobile. The Baofeng UV-5RE+ was not cutting it on 2 meters. I upgraded from 5 watts with a crappy little antenna to 25 watts with a QYT KT-9800D dual band mobile radio and an ANLI DC-124H TriBand antenna.  Much better performance. Also in the mobile, I installed a Uniden BEARCAT 980SSB Single Sideband CB and a Midland MXT400 GMRS radio. There is hardly any CB traffic up here, but surprisingly, there is quite a bit of GMRS traffic.

For a 2 meter base, I have been using one of the 5 watt handhelds attached to the homebrew 2 meter twin-lead J-Pole I built a while back. Now that I am getting hooked up with CERT, I think I should pull the J-Pole out of the PVC and use it as a portable roll-up. I also need a little more juice for poor weather conditions so a 2 meter base upgrade was in order. Another QYT KT-9800D mobile radio and a Diamond X50A dual-band base antenna should work nicely for VHF/UHF. Those will be incorporated into the station by the end of the week.

As for the HF side of the station… I need to poke around for something around 100 watts, which will require an antenna upgrade too. The MFJ-1982LP is only rated to 30 watts. As long as I keep the power down I should be able to use it for a while. That will still give me a 6 db power gain over the 5 watts I am pushing now. Anything should help. The section nets are on 80 and 40 meters so I will need an antenna that covers at least 10-80 meters. 100 watts should be more than enough for my needs.

Oh, one other thing, I finally got my Skywarn ID number, now I need to find a net for Skywarn. I haven’t found anything in southeastern Oregon yet. I’ll keep looking.

Anyway, that’s the status update for now. Look for an NTS page to be added to the site soon.

73,
~Jon KK6GXG

Steps in a northerly direction

The desire to homestead has been rolling about in the brain for quite some time now. Last year we made a move to buy some property, which motivated us to actually move up north from the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose to be precise, to Klamath Falls in Oregon.

After a few trips up, we finally decided it was time to get off our duffs and get up here. After spending months looking for work and rental properties it was clear that for things to move forward we would need to be in Klamath Falls. To that end, we made some appointments to look at rental properties in town and set up a three-day trip.

We were fully ready to make more trips if we needed to, but the Universe smiled on us and we found a good fit property wise and property owner wise. We paid the deposit before coming home. When we got back to SJ we paid the first months rent.

Our last day in SJ is July 31. Our first day in KF is July 1. The month overlap will allow Tammy to keep working at the apartment complex we work and live at while I transport our stuff to the new house, with some help from Tammy and Zack. I have planned for five trips, but I have made room for more if it looks like we will need it.

We are all looking forward to being in Oregon and have a lot of plans to get out and explore our new city, county, and state.

More to come as things progress,
~Jon

The Move Is On!

The move is most definitely on, things happened quickly and we put down a deposit on a rental house while we were up in KF two weeks ago!

We have been packing since early April so most of our stuff, aside from consumables and the essentials, are packed. I will be making a number of runs up to the new house in Klamath Falls, Oregon (CN92de) beginning July 1st.

We decided to buy/build a trailer rather than rent a truck. The cost will work out about the same but in the end, we will have an asset, not just a receipt.

This weekend, June 24-25 is trailer build time, so another Field Day goes by unobserved… Sad about not getting the new FT-817 on the air for FD, but the move takes precedence. The good news for radio is that I have a place to set up a 136′ multi-band horizontal end-fed with the mast just a few feet away from the shack’s new location.

Also in radio news…

When I designed my QSL cards, we were already looking at relocation sites in Oregon so I designed a card for California and a card for Oregon with the intention that I would only have a couple of minor changes to make once we found a place. With any luck, in a couple of years when we find our permanent landing zone it will be in the same Grid Square. If not, it’s an easy fix.

 

 

 

 

Since I design my QSL cards myself, I use VistaPrint for the printing. I get a high-quality stock and finish, it’s economical, and I maintain complete control over the printing.

Another early prep purchase was my VE/Callsign tag. Moving to a new Division, I figured I would be a good idea to get a badge with the new division on it.

I get all of my badges done by The SignMan in Baton Rouge, LA. I have nothing but great things to say about Rick. He does an excellent job and the customer service is top shelf all the way. I am not affiliated with the shop or Rick in any way, and I buy my stuff at the regular price, I just love the quality, speed, and work ethic. You will too I’m sure.

I am hoping to get the FT-817 rigged up for mobile use in the next few days so I will be able to work mobile on 70cm, 2m, 6m, and 10m over the many long drives to OR and back. I will post frequencies on the contact page and in a sidebar element.

Along with adding a Remote Pilot certificate to my FAA credentials, I added a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) license grant to my FCC credentials. The new license is WQZJ382. At present, I only have a single handheld GMRS radio (Garmin Rhino 120) but I have plans to add a Midland mobile to the vehicle and one at home once we get set up in Oregon. Most likely a couple of handhelds as well. I am also entertaining the possibility of a repeater.

Well, that seems to be it for now. Until next time…

73,
~Jon KK6GXG

Still looking for my voice…

After nearly a decade you would think I’d have found my voice for this blog. Having changed the focus so many times doesn’t help much I suppose. Personal blog, business blog, aviation focus, woodworking focus, I mean, really… how many times have I twisted this thing into something I needed/wanted at the moment? I’ve lost count.

I don’t know if I will ever know what my blog voice is. I do know, I need to write more frequently if I ever want to find that voice. March 28th, 2018 is marked down on the calendar as my 10th Blogaversary. The family and I have a lot of big changes in our lives taking place between now and March. I am hopeful that I will at least have a whisper if not a voice by then.

Big changes? First and foremost, we are moving. Not just across town, to another state. I say this because I have always lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. 50 years and the only time I wasn’t living in the area was a six month period I lived and worked on a job-site in Stockton, less than two hours from here. In fact, the family and I have been living in the same apartment for over 21 years.

Beginning July 1st, we will be in transition to our new-to-us house in Klamath Falls, Oregon. New town, new state, new house, new jobs; big changes. I haven’t lived in a house in 40 years, Tammy hasn’t lived in a house in almost 30. I am very excited about these changes. We want to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle and getting out of the multi-million populated urban sprawl and moving to a city of fewer than thirty-thousand people is a great start. We will be looking for our forever-homestead after we get up to KF and have had a chance to get to know the area.

Another change for us is the earnest desire to get outdoors and go do things. Sightsee, hike, canoe, just get out in nature, which will be interesting since none of us have lived in an area it snows, or rains a lot. It will take some time to acclimate to the area and its weather.

So you can see, there will be a lot of subject matter potential for the blog and writing in general. I am not making any commitments right now, but I would like to see myself post at least 500 words at least once a week. That seems like a reasonable goal. I am also looking forward to more interesting photographic subject matter to be included in the posts.

Along with all of the changes in lifestyle and location, we are hoping to make a few changes internally. With all of the out-and-about, we will be working on getting more physically fit, and tuning into the new, smaller, less frantic world around us. One of the reasons I don’t go out much anymore is the crush of people everywhere we go. I have to tune out so much background noise just to get from point A to point B. When you think about it, it’s easy to see why people seem to have lost their sense of self-preservation. They tune out so much around themselves, they just don’t see or hear it coming.

When you think about it, it’s easy to see why people in urban areas seem to have lost their sense of self-preservation. They tune out so much around themselves, they just don’t see or hear it coming. The density of it all accelerates the environments natural selection, adaptations, and migrations. An interesting idea for a sociology hypothesis… later.

My only regular outing is going to Volunteer Examiner sessions for Amateur Radio license exams on the first and third Saturday of the month. On more than a few occasions, I have not left the property we manage between VE sessions. If I don’t need something or have been asked to help someone, I would rather just stay on-site. My current density adaptation is to isolate/insulate when possible.

Not healthy, physically or otherwise. Socializing has followed the same lines, aside from the internet, I only see the folks at VE, or chat with other hams on the radio. Radio will still be my main social outlet, but I am looking forward to participating in things with actual people, not just internet friends or disembodied voices.

Any way you slice it, there are some big changes in store for our family. I for one am looking forward to some change with open eyes, mind, and arms. Klamath Falls… bring it on!

Until next time,
~FlyBoyJon

Here’s to new adventures

The bag is empty, no cats here. Our move to Klamath Falls is now eminent!

Last week we put down a deposit on a nice little 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in the Altamont area of Klamath Falls. The original plan was to live in town for a couple of years while we build on the property we purchased back in June 2016. Over the course of the weekend, there was a rollercoaster of ups and downs emotionally but in the end, we were very happy with the results of the weekend.

The property we bought in 2016 is not going to be a good fit, but we have worked out the details and it looks like we won’t loose any money, or very little at any rate. We still have the capital we invested over the year to invest in another property a little farther down the road. Once we get established in KF we will start looking for a property for our forever homestead.

Back in April, we made the commitment to set some target dates for moving and finding work. The advantage of setting those dates was having targets to aim at. With a target in sight, we started packing the non-essentials early on to distribute the chore of packing. Last weekend we planned to go up to KF and look at a couple of rental properties with the hope of at least getting to know some of the realtors and property owners in the area. Actually finding a place was only secondary.

The Universe was smiling on us and we found a great little house with nice neighbors and a great property owner to boot. So, we came home renters for the first time in over 20 years. It’s been a very long time since either of us has lived in a house and nearly as long since we rented. Anyway, you look at it, we are in for an adventure.

Once we got home, the Universe continued to smile as we purchased a trailer kit and a bunch of accessories and paying several hundred dollars less than expected. I also was able to round up everything I needed in short order. The trailer is a lot like the one I purchased as a kit about 25 years ago after coming back to the area from rebuilding a house in Stockton. The assembly was about what I remembered with only a few changes. I got the entire frame up and structurally completed in two days. One more day and I should have it road ready with all of the electrical.

Next week I plan on wrapping up the electrical and getting started on the box which should only take a day or two. The good news is, I don’t need to have the trailer finished until June 30th. Come the first of July I will begin making trips up to the house. We will be all moved up by August first, which is good since that is when we need to be out of our apartment.

One of the things I am very much looking forward to is having a good radio antenna up for HF radio. I am also looking forward to having some room for woodworking projects. Who knows, I may even get to an aircraft build some time soon. I don’t know how all of these things are going to work out, but I am confident we will move forward in our goals.

Until next time,
~FlyBoyJon

In the works

Mid May, two months since the last post. What have I been up to?

Of course, I have been doing the regular VE sessions, but other than that… Packing. Lots of packing. We have been planning on relocating for several years now but time has finally arrived that we are moving forward pun intended.

We don’t want to move in the winter and we don’t want to wait another year so… we are gearing up for a move sometime soon. One of the best ways to get ready is to start filtering through all of the stuff that has accumulated over the last 21 years we have been here.

As we shed truck-loads of stuff we just don’t need to Savers and Goodwill, we have been packing up the things we can do without for a few months. Having a bunch of other stuff on the brain, the ham shack, or most of it anyway, was one of the first things to get boxed. So for now, no electronics lab. Nearly all of my test equipment is boxed up. We are up to 40 boxes, filtering and packing more every day.

Lest you think I’m ignoring radio, I have been gearing up to be more active in ARES, RACES, NTS, Skywarn, and CERT by taking a lot of FEMA/DHS classes that are prereqs for various organizations. I am also scheduled to take a BLS class in two weeks which includes CPR, AES and more. I want to add a variety of EmComm instruction to my growing list of classes offered in the near future so I am ticking down the long list of prereqs and associated training.

In a somewhat side related area, I also recently acquired my Remote Pilot certificate with Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems rating. Basically, a commercial UAV pilots license in addition to my commercial airplane pilot certificate. This will allow me to do aerial photography and inspections for pay with a UAV/UAS. And what might I be taking pictures of and inspecting, radio towers???? Possibly.

Anywho, I wanted to post an update so you didn’t think I had abandon radio or the site. I just don’t have a lot to post about other than classes and ratings. I will be doing a mobile install of my FT-817 with a quad-band antenna sometime soon so I will plan on posting about that soon. I may also be posting some short subject videos in the near future as well.

Til next time, 73
~Jon KK6GXG

Amateur Radio, Emergency Communications, Traffic Handling and more