Since last I posted I have had a few developments.
Firstly, one of you readers, our own WB0YLE, sent a spiffy Kenwood transceiver. Another is sending a mic. An antenna (and a tuner would be a good idea), and key should be on the horizon. Almost there.
Meanwhile, I made a contact (with the same guy who sent the Kenwood) via Echolink (you must be licensed to use it.). He has made his Echolink available to us. WB0YLE-R or 554286.
Nextly, I had heard from a woman religious, whom I believe to live a somewhat hermetical life, that an Italian priest near to her is also a ham. I have an indirect email contact with him.
Also, a layman here in the Diocese of Madison made an interesting proposal. He offered some equipment and expertise to help create a station, which could even be the diocesan station, for the purpose of a) teaching school kids about amateur radio and even b) creating a Catholic Net between dioceses which might be useful if, quod Deus avertat, there might be some sort of TEOTWAWKI event. It would be very interesting to have, say, a provincial net that might provide services if, quod Deus averruncet, things broke down. I am led to ask: Is there a Catholic Ham presence in your diocese?
And then there’s my Juicebox. I have a Juicebox from Hardened Power Systems (tell them Fr. Z sent you) that isn’t cooperating. It is a selfcontained portable power unit, with a solar panel for recharging (and a wall plug) unit that lives in a .50 cal ammo can. It has usb ports, Anderson powerpolls, cig lighter style plugins, etc. This is how they describe their newest model (not mine): “On a single charge, the JuiceBox R2 can do any one of the following: Charge a typical laptop seven times Charge a Smart Phone 60 times Charge a Cell Phone 90 times Run an I-Pad® for nearly 120 hours Run a portable radio for weeks Run a GPS for 170 hours Run a desktop fan for 25 hours Light up a campsite for several nights).” There is a internal compartment into which you can slide a foldable solar panel that will under normal circumstances charge the unit. That said, mine sat long enough without use that it discharged to the point that I couldn’t get it to charge. I contacted the company. They said to charge it from my car battery and, if possible, also plug in the solar panel, since they are on the same bus. I tried it for a while and the meters came back to life. When I have my next longish car trip, I’ll haul it along for a charge. Gotta have that portable power!
One of you readers sent a simple Baofeng handheld. I have it fired up as well. It contacts the repeater easily. Then again, I’m on a very high spot and the repeater is just a stone’s throw.
I’ve started doing a little Morse code practice and I’ve cracked the books for the Extra exam. If nothing else, the Morse will be helpful for tapping messages on the pipe that runs through our cells in the Priesterblock or flashing mirrors to our resistance units. Not only that, Morse is … well… it’s part of the whole radio thing!
Dot-Dash by Dot-Dash
(Before anyone asks, “But Father! But Father!” with a confused liberal gurgle, “What’s next? Don’t you put all your time into hating Vatican II?” Next… perhaps EMT courses? They are offered at a nearby college. Between providing coms, laying down suppressing fire, or absolving sins, tending to people’s physical wounds could be useful. It seems to me that stopping serious bleeding is pretty helpful in a pinch. Why not be a “multitool“? Take it beyond basic CPR. I still need to contact a doc here who can coach me on suturing. I’ve practiced a bit, but… To Do List.)
You know… come to think of it… fathers of families, mothers of families, should know all these things too! No?
Not entirely unrelated, I had to replace a UPS yesterday. The uninterruptable power source (UPS) I was using for my TV monitor and related stuff up and died on me. I swiftly obtained another (UK HERE), somewhat more capable unit.
I can’t stress enough how useful these UPS gizmos are. They are essentially a surge protector combined with a battery which is kept charged. If there is a power loss, the battery, without interruption, continues to supply power for as long as the battery charge lasts. That can give you time to shut down equipment properly, if it is longer power outage, or continue to work if it is brief without the outage screwing things up. It also protects from the inevitable surges that occur. I have used UPS from different companies, but the one that delivered also the best customer service, by far, has been APC. I have a couple big ones that power and protect my desktop and monitors. They come in different sizes (physically and in terms of plugins and volt ampere output power capacity). If you do anything important with electronic stuff and you don’t have these… rethink your strategy. I have read accounts of a UPS saving the memory of an embroidering machine, of powering a small fridge that cooled a person’s meds during a regional black out… etc. Frankly, for the later, I’d want the Juicebox, too! When I was overseas in Rome and accessing my network and Slingbox, etc., back in these USA, UPSs kept my network going even though the current at the fabled Sabine Farm was erratic. I used remote network power switches to recycle equipment, but that’s another pot of stew.
Anyway… take stock, friends, and make a To Do List.