Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Lull

I haven't even turned on a radio since the end of the ARRL DX contest. The strange part of that is I don't seem to miss it much. I guess the contest satiated my radio appetite. I wonder if that is common amongst hams who work many hours in a contest. Anyway, I've been content to work on other projects around the place, such as a roof extension to our outdoor shop area that will add about 300 more sq. ft. of covered space. 

Radio hasn't been totally ignored, of course. I have still been using RufzXP to improve call sign copy and, in fact, reached a new high score, both in points and speed (~6600 points and 36 WPM). I only get the highest scores when I take advantage of the F6 fill operation, which gives you one more crack at the call and if you get it right you get half the points. I don't like using F6, however, not because it is "cheating" in any way, but because it rapidly becomes a crutch and, I think, a bad habit. Instead, I try to just burn right through the 50 calls in a run and just have to grit my teeth a bit when I know I just missed an easy one and the code speed backs off 1 WPM. 


Also, we just got a "care package" of sorts, which had some radio-related goodies inside. We've found it's much less expensive to use a 3rd party bulk shipper for things from the States. It is about half the cost of sending stuff straight down here via the U.S. Post Office, which in itself is about half the cost of UPS or the other commercial shippers. The price of the bulk shipper includes all customs fees and taxes, too, so no hassles there. It means, though, that multiple items need to be aggregated and you must be patient awaiting your items. 

Anyway, in this case there was a replacement heating element for my fine-tipped soldering station, which I need to build the SDR kit I got a while back, and a new/used Dell 830 laptop that I'd bought online in November, and a few other electronic parts. The laptop is a dream machine even though it's a couple of tech-generations back. It has a big WUXGA (1920x1200 )screen, a Core 2 Duo 2.4G processor, came with Win7 (RufzXP runs fine on it, btw), and looks completely new. All, including shipping, for less than the cost of a new netbook. I'm gradually shifting all my apps and data from the P4 desktop PC in the house shack over to the new machine. 

In a separate mailing, my K2 firmware update chips finally came in. Let's hope they fix the tuning problem I was having. 

I'm quite sure it won't be long at all until I'm on the air again. The "itch" is starting to come back, but I'll probably wait until the new laptop is radio-ready.


4 comments:

  1. Good morning Casey, I too have not had to much radio time and for some reason it just did not seem there was time. Having said that I was not super busy really doing anything really....

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  2. Good morning again Casey, have not seen a post from your way for some time now....was just wondering if all was well?

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  3. Good morning Mike, and thanks for asking. Yes, the lull has turned into a drought for postings, but all is well. I just haven't had anything of note to write about regarding ham radio. Have made a few posts to A Dull Roar, but I've been so busy with other projects that radio has taken a back seat. That is about to change now as those other big projects (save one) are complete. Yesterday I was cleaning up the "shack" so I can dig out some kits I want to start on. Hope to have something to say about those soon. 73!

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  4. Great to hear Casey but I just wanted to check as you never know........I too have not been posting as much as I did seems work and home is keeping me tired up.
    73's to you as well!

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Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey

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