Crazy Train

Welcome to the off-the-rails ride that has been the first half of 2020!

Of course the main topics are the global COVID-19 pandemic that has occupied more than a few cycles since February and now the nation-wide social unrest that has come about from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. There are of course the annual weather events, and now we are entering hurricane season, tropical storm season, and fire season. It feels like I have been on-call since March first and will likely be so until fire season ends.

The Last 15 Months

It’s all been mostly a blur. I am a full-time student online, I get the occasional side job, I go to a number of communications related county agency board meetings, I stay in touch with Emergency Management and CERT, I do monthly reports relating to EmComm, I work on various amateur radio infrastructure projects, and I try to move our ARES program forward. Generally the stuff I have been doing for almost three years now.

School has taken up massive amounts of my time as you might expect. Last spring I started using the shop space as an office. I need both a shop and an office so the space became the shoffice and likely will remain so as long as we are in the space we are in.

To make school and shop time more effective I have been working on a better layout of the space for several months. I finally hit on what I think will provide the greatest amount of usable space and keep it functional for both shop and office work. Of course this means moving just about everything in the shoffice from one place to another, which is currently occupied by something else that needs to move, and not to where the first thing came from. It is a cascade of I need to move this, this, and that, so I can move the other, and choreograph this ballet in less that 150 square feet of usable space.

The Shoffice Shuffle is planned in several stages. The second was the filing cabinets; clear a space, build a platform, place the filing cabinets and fill them again. Why the platform? I’m glad you asked. The best place for them has steps in the way. They only intrude 1″ but that’s enough for me to have to build an 8.5″ tall platform to allow both filing cabinets to go where they belong. The first thing to get done was clear out the closet, build new shelving, then put everything plus more back.

The whole project is like that, something need to be prepped before anything can be shifted, but stuff needs to be shifted before prepping. And it all needs to be shifted multiple times to make room for the next shift. Part of the plan was to get all of the large stuff, tool boxes, chests, shelving, that wasn’t already rolling on wheels. Mission accomplished. Now I can start shifting the big pieces of the puzzle.

Isn’t this a radio blog? What about radio stuff? First off, no. This is a radio person’s blog, not everything is radio. That aside, a big part of the shop stuff I do has to do with radio, so a working shop will mean more radio gets done. Another part is like I said above, everything needs to get moved. This includes the radio station. I have to disassemble the entire station, replace feedlines, rebuild the power system, relocate the radios, it’s a whole extra mess and I need to add in to the mix the 2.4 GHz EmComm IP networking stuff including exterior devices and at least two antennas.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, I am just very busy and a bit mentally taxed. I ended up taking the summer off from school to get all of this done. The vast majority of it needs to be finished before school starts up in August.

Another area I have been devoting a lot of time is Red Cross. I’ll go into more detail later. Enough to say, it has been time consuming.

Okay, I have rambled enough and not included any pictures so if you get this far, thank you.

Until net time, with pictures,