Archive for April, 2006

Tropo opening Saturday morning

April 24, 2006

VHF/UHF communications are usually “line-of-sight”. Transmitters and receivers don’t necessary have to be “visible” to each other, but the curvature of the earth causes VHF/UHF signals to not be receivable more than a few miles from the transmitter site, depending on how much power is being used.

But, sometimes the troposphere (the part of the atmosphere where our weather occurs) causes VHF/UHF  signals to be bent back to earth over a much longer distance. That happened Saturday morning. A station in Seymour, Indiana running about 20 watts was able to easily access the amateur UHF repeater in Lexington, and we had a nice conversation.  That is probably 100 air miles away, and is much farther than the normal communication distance for a repeater system such as the one we have here.

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Entry for April 24, 2006

April 24, 2006

We had a busy, but very enjoyable weekend.

I couldn’t talk about it until now, for obvious reasons, but my sister-in-law arranged a surprise 40th birthday party for Andy Saturday night, at a country club where he plays golf. Bonnie and I sat with a long-time friend of Andy’s (and his wife) from when he was a kid. It was fun to get caught up on their lives over the years, as well as reminiscing about when we were kids.

Saturday morning we had a get-together with our Miata club. It was sort of a “Spring cleaning”, and several cars were there, getting washed and tidied up from winter. One member who is a car care guru buffed one of my fenders that was pretty nasty,  and got it looking like new. We also went for a drive out in the country which is always fun. We then drove to our hotel in Columbus and got ready for the party.

Sunday morning we visited my young nephews, then went over to Andy’s shop, which Bonnie had not seen before.

There is a large flea market between Columbus and Cincinnati. After driving past it dozens of times, we decided to stop in, as the weather was perfect. We didn’t buy much, but it was interesting to walk around, get some exercise, and look at the junk for sale.

We got to travel with the top down much of the time, although it was a bit chilly.

Happy 40th Andy!

April 18, 2006

My brother celebrates his 40th birthday today. He awoke to find 40 pink flamingos in his yard. Happy Birthday, Andy!

The Blue Jackets’ first game of the 2005-2006 season was on my birthday, and the last game of the season is on my brother’s birthday. Perversely, if Columbus loses to Dallas tonight, they will finish in the bottom 5 in the NHL standings, and will be eligible for the lottery for the number one draft pick.

The stock market is way up today as of this writing, showing how it often moves just the opposite of what one might suspect. Surging oil/gasoline prices, an unpopular president, high interest rates and the Iranian nuclear situation are no match for the bulls stampede today.

Entry for April 17, 2006

April 17, 2006

I went home a little early Friday afternoon, and got to enjoy some great weather. We put the top down on the Miata Friday night for the first time this year. We went to Paisano’s, our favorite Italian restaurant here in town.

Saturday was another great day. After attending a sunrise Easter service yesterday, I waited for clouds and rain to m0ve out, which they did about 1 PM. I put the top down and headed to Bonnie’s house for a family get-together. I had a nice visit with Bonnie and her daughters.

The Blue Jackets split a pair of games with the Blackhawks. One more game this season, against Dallas Tuesday night.

Entry for April 14, 2006

April 14, 2006

We got over 80 degrees yesterday for the first time, at least on my thermometer anyway. I took the plastic off my air conditioners and got everything running.

After losing in Dallas, the Blue Jackets came home and beat St. Louis for the fifth time this season out of the 8-game series.

I hope everyone has a great Easter!

Entry for April 10, 2006

April 10, 2006

Bonnie and I have returned from a nice weekend in Ohio. We took the “new” car, and I really enjoyed driving it. Got pretty good mileage, too.

On Friday night, we saw my twin niece and nephew in their high school’s presentation of “The Pajama Game”. On Saturday, we  got to visit with both my brother’s and sister’s families, with the exception of my brother who was out of town.

My sister-in-law thinks she will have the baby in early May, which is not long from now!

Saturday night we headed to Nationwide Arena for our second hockey game of the season. Columbus lost to Detroit both Friday and Saturday nights, but was competitive in both games.

Entry for April 05, 2006

April 5, 2006

Congratulations to the Florida Gators and all their fans. Their run through the tournament was probably a surprise to some. But, it really shouldn’t have been a surprise, as they looked great early in the season. Many championship teams have a slump mid-season, and then recover. The talent was there all along. In any event, I was glad UCLA didn’t win :-).

Also Monday night, for the sixth straight time, the Blue Jackets gave up the first goal. In fact, the Predators  scored just about a minute into the game.  The final score was Columbus 3, Nashville 1. The Blue Jackets have won six in-a-row for the first time in franchise history. Up next: two games in-a-row with Detriot. Bonnie and I will be in Nationwide Arena Saturday night for the second game of the pair.

I just got off the phone with an old railfan friend of mine. We used to work together, but now he is an electrician. I only get to talk to him once or twice a year.  Whenever he is driving around town and sees a train, the thinks of me and calls. I have done virtually no railfanning since 9-11. Even looking at trains from public property can raise the ire of some law enforcement personnel. There is a lot of worry about terrorism to the transportation infrastructure.

Attitudes toward railfans may be in the process of changing, though. Many in the rail industry are coming to realize that railfans can be a big help. We sometimes see things that the railroad and law-enforcement authorities need to know about. We are an extra set of eyes looking for safety-related and other problems.

Entry for April 03, 2006

April 3, 2006

I was rooting for George Mason and LSU Saturday night, so I went 0-for-2 :).  After a tournament that had seen a lot of close games, both national semifinals were blow-outs. I guess I will pull for Florida tonight. It would be great if Kentucky could catch up to UCLA in number of national championships in my lifetime :).

The Blue Jackets have won 5 in-a-row. In all 5 games, the opposition scored the first goal. Columbus can’t make the playoffs this year, but hopefully this end-of-season momentum will carry forward into next year.

Saturday was a beautiful day here. I spent all day outside detailing the Miata, and I mowed grass for the first time.