Archive for December, 2012

Merry Christmas all!

December 24, 2012

My best wishes for a joyous holiday season to all readers!

I spent a few days in Ohio last week “working on the railroad” at my brother’s house. The Aetna & Baker City HO-scale model railroad was built by a gentleman near Columbus. When he passed away, his widow gave the layout to my brother, who did an excellent job of cutting it into two pieces then re-assembling it. I spent a few days organizing and cleaning it a bit, and fixing some problems. I have still pictures and video for you:


The Ohio State men have now lost 3 in-a-row to Kansas, as the poor-shooting Buckeyes were no match for the Jayhawks in Columbus Saturday. The loss streak includes regular-season meetings the last two years, and the national semifinal game last season. The Bucks are a bit too perimeter oriented for my liking. It could be a rough year with as tough as the Big Ten is.

The Kentucky men had easy wins over Lipscomb and Marshall but travel to Louisville Saturday. It will be an upset if the Cats win.

The Kentucky women had a road trip to southern California and came back with wins over Pepperdine and UCSB. The Ohio State women went to the Pacific Northwest, and lost at Washington State 62-55. But the trip ended up break-even with a 65-60 win at Gonzaga.

Radio Activities

December 13, 2012

I’ve had the good fortune to be able to spend a good bit of time lately on ham radio, my favorite hobby. In addition to both the SSB and CW Sweepstakes last month, I also operated the CQ Worldwide CW contest, at QRP power levels (5 watts). December brought the 10-Meter RTTY Contest, very popular in only its second year. This past weekend I operated the ARRL 10-Meter Contest, operating both SSB and CW at QRP power levels.

Nobel Prize winning physicist Joe Taylor, K1JT, the inventor of the digital mode called JT65, also recently introduced JT9, which is optimized for the 160-Meter band and the very low frequency bands below the AM broadcast band that some hams are getting into. I have made a couple contacts with JT9, but in general the lower bands are not my cup of tea.

I use a Morse Code trainer called RufzXP in order to increase my speed in receiving callsigns of other stations. I made a video that demonstrates the program and you can view it here:

Christmas Activities

December 13, 2012

Bonnie and I have been particularly active this month doing “Christmas things”. It’s fun to get out and about and celebrate the season.

For lights, we always visit “Southern Lights” at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. After doing the “drive through” of the displays of millions of lights, there are indoor exhibits to see, including extensive model railroads provided by the Bluegrass Railroad Club, and a petting zoo. Videos of these are here:

I was not aware of it, but there is a giant cavern under the city of Louisville called, not surprisingly, the “MegaCavern”. It is the location for “Lights Under Louisville” which is also an extensive display of Christmas lights.

It’s been a big month for house tours for us as well. A couple that lives on Chinoe Road in Lexington has thrilled local residents with their decorations for years. But this year they also opened their home for tours in support of the Foster Care Council of Lexington.

This past Saturday we traveled to nearby Versailles, Kentucky for a Christmas Open House. Six homes, three historic and three modern were all opened for tours in support of a charity that supplies shoes to needy children.

To all readers, please accept my best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

55-Game Home Win Streak Broken

December 13, 2012

John Calipari had never lost a home game in Lexington, but that streak (54 for him, 55 for the team) came to an end as the Baylor Bears came to town and hung a 64-55 loss on the Cats. This came came after a 64-50 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend. So, Kentucky has fallen out of the Top 25. The next big game is December 29 against archrival Louisville.

The Ohio State men visited Duke and played well, but came up on the short end of a 73-68 tally. The Bucks are currently ranked #7

The Kentucky women have done fine since the early-season blow-out loss at Baylor. On December 2nd the Cats came from 14-points behind to win in Louisville 48-47. This past Sunday, Kentucky easily handled Middle Tennessee State, a team that has beaten the Cats twice in recent years. Kentucky is currently ranked #7

The Ohio State women endured a 57-54 loss to North Carolina in Chapel Hill the same night that the men lost to Duke, and are 6-2 so far, good for a #20 ranking.

Football Wrapup

December 13, 2012

Ohio State finished the regular season undefeated with a 26-21 win over archrival Michigan. The Wolverines took a 21-20 halftime lead in Columbus, but the defenses dug in in the second half. The Bucks shutout the Wolves, and sealed the win with two field goals. Due to being on probation, Ohio State was not eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship game, or go to a bowl.

As expected, Joker Phillips was relieved of his duties as Kentucky head coach after a 2-10 season. Mark Stoops has been hired, and he is bringing what I think is a strong group of assistants in. Stoops was defensive coordinator at Florida State.

Alabama is the obvious favorite to beat Notre Dame and repeat as National Champion. But Notre Dame improved dramatically during the season, and often the “underdog” has an advantage in such a high-stakes game.