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January
31
- Up around 7am. . <9C in , -2C out. Wish the neighbours would turn their heating up!! . . walked the woods . . PCd and bit the bullet and went on-line to order a few meters of cheap Rg58 cable and enough PL259 plugs (10 of each RG58/213 and two BNC converters - enough to keep me going for the forseeable future) to enable me to make up various patch leads to 'temporarily' connect stuff up, etc. Actually ended up ringing up and doing the order over the phone, because their website appeared not to be amalgamating/reducing the horrendous postage costs!? The only winners in all of this are the bloomin' post office!! Eventually ended up spending another 32.92 inc postage! Assuming everything else works out ok (the e-bay seller let me know 'the' radio had been posted this morning - worry worry), I'm pretty much whittling things down to having to fully concentrate on an SWR meter - and antennae (the hard part for me!)! Spent all this money and still haven't actually anything to plug them into and receive/transmit off!!! Shocking! I MUST be mad!!! :o( The hardest part about the antenna thing for me is, I am absolutely determined NOT to have huge towers and masts and such like stuck up all over the place, and clanking around and terrifying me every time it blows a gale - which it so often does - much! (and even just managing to find a way up onto the roof to reach the chimney/TV aerial has so far eluded me!). I'm thinking some sort of simple, poorly performing, coax fed 'long wire/balun' type, up the garden out back? I know NOTHING about putting such a thing together!. . .PCd a bit of this . . ate four pieces of defrosted buttered crusts with a tin of mushroom soup, followed by a square of chocolate . . napped . . tu . . walked . . TVd . . PCd and kept watch on an e-bay auction that was due to end, upon which I'd placed a 3 bid a few days ago. It was for a 'broken' upright bagless vacuum cleaner - 'pick up only', from just a couple of (awkward) miles away! If the description was accurate, and based on my 'research' after having spotted it, I reckon it has a broken brush drive belt. Given mine is on its last legs, (and replacement belts for that one are around 7) it seemed like worth a modest punt. No one else bid - and I won it. Immediately mailed the seller via e-bay after the auction end, suggesting I'd pay cash on collection and requesting details of when and where to collect it. Sadly I've heard nothing back from them yet. :o( . . . ate four boiled eggs with four pieces of bread and butter . . TVd until bed long after 1am.
30 - Up around 8:15am again. . <9C in, -1C out . . .walked . . radiod/PCd, listening to the RSGB news and suchlike while surfing various websites. Actually found a rather neat one (java) which 'should' at some point help me try to re-learn my mostly forgotten morse code skills (if I can ever be bothered!). Downloaded it to my PC 'for keeps'. Shocking how many sites out there list all the letters of the alphabet and the morse code equivalent - but have errors in their lists!!! Imagine putting in the effort to learn it from one of those lists, only to find out you've got it all wrong!!!!. . I'd been watching an e-bay auction for a like-new, CB, 'Sirio Signal Keeper' (deaf as a post type) loft antenna for several days. It came to an end early afternoon. Figured it'd be an easy way of getting 'an' antenna onto the end of the CB I've got (and at least give me 'local' coverage). They are only around 40 brand new - and given the postage was 9.99 - I figured bidding anything over 20ish was being VERY silly. Right up to the last few seconds, the highest bid was 'only' 13.63, so I gave it a go. Three seconds from the end, I bid 20.02. I was actually suprised NOT to win it!!!! Someone else had put in a maximum bid of 21, two seconds from the auction end! He got it. In other words - I cost him 7.37! Bet he hates me! . . Felt pretty down today, and of course inevitably regretted all this (!) absurdly pointless radio nonsense! Why on EARTH am I embarking on all this! I've absolutely NO desire to talk to anyone for goodness sake!! I guess I'm stepped in too deep to stop now! :o( . . ate two cheeseburgers with mayo and chips mid afternoon . . napped . PCd and waited in for the end of yet another e-bay auction I'd been watching - for an old, in very poor condition, CB 'SWR/FS METER & MATCHER' (like I used to have in the past and practically gave away!)! My initial 99p type bid had been outbid some time ago. Actually manually incremented my bids upwards in the last half an hour or so of the auction, attempting to establish what the other bidder's maximum bid was. I wanted it - but it wasn't worth much, and I was NOT going to be sucked in, to bidding too high. As luck would have it, one of my 'manual increment increases' revealed the other bidders top bid was just 3 - so in the last few seconds, I upped my last bid by the minimum 20p. It REALLY is like playing poker sometimes! . I won it for 7.20 including (the 4!!) postage. A bit much really, thanks to the postage! (I just BET there are loads similar/better sat in peoples attics, unused all over the country!) . Part of my 'master plan'. Assuming it works, it 'may' encourage me to have a go at making my own (in-attic/deaf!) antenna for the totally seperate 'token' CB side of things, with the built-in matcher protecting the radio from the inevitable poor SWR etc. . threw up . . walked. Very cold . . .TVd in front the fire and ate multiple bowls of sugar-puffs again. . PCd while monitoring largely quiet frequencies - despite the single figure temperature in the PC/radio room! You know what - some of the equipment I'm amassing here, actually states it isn't for use in such low temperatures!! lolol. . to bed around midnight.
29 - Up around 8:15am . . 9C in, OC out and still pretty windy. . . walked in the harsh windchill. . . PCd monitoring radios. . There was a bit of to and fro communication via e-bay between me and the FT767 seller this morning. He says he'll be posting it Monday. I asked out of curiosity, if he had no objection, what 'offers' (3?) had been made on e-bay for the radio? His reply was "320 i declined 350 & 335 ". I suspected something like that. So THAT was the difference between me getting it and them not! Which of us will ultimately regret it more I wonder! . . . It isn't something I'm 'particularly' interested in doing, but I DID dabble for a while listening to aircraft while watching their flight paths on one of the 'live-ish' radar like websites. It WAS kinda interesting for a bit. Amazing how many people ARE into doing that in a serious way. A whole industry appears to have grown up catering for them, with expensive home radar stations (?) and computer programs etc, etc!! I suppose if money was no object - I would (together with my own AIS receive station!)? . . . Mum called to touch base and confirm she wouldn't be down because of her bad leg etc . . PCd monitoring radios for hours . . drank the last of the wine in the house and ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches with crisps . .napped until the alarm . .PCdthrew up. . . walked. Detoured via the store on the return for milk. Impulse bought a pack of Sugar-puffs! Haven't eaten those in years . . TVd . . ate multiple bowls of sugar-puffs . . PCd/radiod the rest of the evening away, until finally to bed around 3am!
28 - Woken by Bella barking just before 8am as the postman delivered a package. .turned out to be the expensive Palstar active antenna. True to the listing, it WAS in brand-new condition in an (original?) unopened plastic bag - BUT - oh no! :o( The screw-in telescopic antenna was missing! :o( . . . walked, preoccupied with building myself up to 'having' to contact the seller. Even this level of 'hassle with people' is EXTREMELY difficult for me to have to deal with. Almost easier not to bother for me! To be honest - at the end of the day, I never really did intend to use that box with the screw-in whip antenna (except just to experiment out of interest). I was fully intending to put a long-wire on it. But that's not really the point is it - and for ME, reducing it's potential eventual re-sale value like that, IS significant (especially I think, considering the 'high' amount I paid for it). . . PCd and surfed before eventually mustering up what it took, to mail the seller via e-bay with my 'grievance' - "Item I received is not as described: Although listed as new (hence my high bid), it is missing the 20" telescopic whip which screws into the holder on the top of the unit, required for use as an active antenna. Do you have this part to send me? I await your response." . Around the same time, I dared to e-mail the 'Palstar' company in the states, broadly explaining the position I found myself in, asking if it was possible to buy a replacement screw in whip antenna for the unit, and if so, how much (although I was pretty sure it wouldn't be). . . the postman delivered the Moonraker amp. Eventually unwrapped it. Wow - that really IS like new. Fitted the included 9volt battery and tested it out in front of both scanners. Wow - that works. Of course it increases all the background noise a bunch (and actually makes a nonsense of the s-meter level on the AR3000), but if you just use your ears - it REALLY works! Pulled in a bunch of stuff pretty much 'fully quietening' unlike without, and I may even have heard some stuff I simply wouldn't without. Main gripe I have is it seems to have a massive insertion loss when it's NOT turned on. That means actually removing it from the antenna lead when not actively being used - or else you don't hear much at all! Even though it's all on BNC sockets, that's a pain in the a**. .On the plus side, I've yet to look, but I'm fairly sure I may have a (wireless CCTV camera?) power supply knocking around that could just plug straight in and power that, rather than keep wanting to turn it off, worrying about getting through the batteries. . . My house insurance is due in a couple of days - and looking into that has been hanging over my head. If I did nothing, it'd automatically renew. The annual renewal premium was 259.70!!!!!!! Finally put in the effort to go on one of the comparison websites and it came back with quotes under half that! Bizzare thing was, the cheapest 'big name' quote was from the company I'm already with!? Phoned them up to ask why I shouldn't go elsewhere, was put through to their 'customer loyalty' (that's supposed to work both ways you b******s) department, and immediately they said they could do it for around 160 instead. With their cheaper website quote on the screen in front of me, I asked why they couldn't just do it for that. Whatever their response was, it was vague and unsatisfactory, so I instructed them to NOT renew my policy automatically - and then I went straight ahead and took out a new policy on-line, for 116.60! Shysters! . . PCd/radiod and actually had a very quick reply from the Palstar Company. If the speed of their communication (in response to my weird e-mail, from a foreign country, asking for help after a bum e-bay deal) is anything to go by, that's a pretty good advertisment for the company I reckon. Quite impressed! Their reply - "Actually the S0-239 input connector , random wing-nut and the screw-in antenna (top cover) are all connected in parallel. The screw-in antenna placed through the top cover is really a comprimize. The best reception is to attach a random length of plastic coated wire 20' or so and connect the wing nut under the S0-239 coax connector for best performance." Pretty much what I WAS aiming to experiment with after having read up on it. Oh well. Can't start suggesting I should get 'x?' amount of money back off the seller then. Eventually also had a reply from the e-bay seller . "The item is Brand New, it was still sealed in its original packaging, it does state on the listing that there was no box Etc with it. It clearly shows that item only on the images. If you are not happy please return it in its sealed packaging for a full refund." Ok - so I'm oversensitive and all that - but that strikes me as displaying a pretty shitty attitude under the circumstances (despite the eventual offer of a refund). What was all that about a box? I didn't want a box! Yes - it DID only show what I got on the image - but - like - if you're shown a picture of a car for-sale, and told it's brand new, you don't expect it to come without an engine do you? B******s! I'm not happy - but there seems little point in replying. I'm obviously not gonna get anywhere. As for the refund thing - in the middle of a 'dispute', I'm just not happy sending stuff back once I have my hands on it. Seems to me a greater risk of ending up with nothing AND no money! (and to be honest - I still want to use the thing - although can't anyway until I've bought a little cable and sockets and made up a patchlead and suchlike!). I guess I'll just 'take the hit' and keep it. Irritating to say the least. It's all a big gamble isn't it, this e-bay thing!! Never really gambled like this, all my life until now! . . ate mayo, corned beef and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and a square of chocolate . . napped until woken by a weird dream. (Bella and I were almost hit by a landing helicopter and both ended up cowering on the ground right next to it!??) . went back on-line checking e-bay listings and bumped into a newly listed FT767!! Yikes!! It was listed for 370 + 40 postage as a 'buy it now', or 'Best Offer'! (Sold as 'untested' - but allegedly used by a 'silent key' until a few months ago). Indications were that already three 'offers' had been made on it. Oh no! I SO fancy that radio. Despite its advanced years and resultant likelihood of breakdown, it's the only one in my sort of price range that's really leapt out at me as doing pretty much probably all I'd ever want (I think!?) - and there don't seem to be 'too' many changing hands. I'd only found ONE other advert for one elsewhere on the net recently - for 350, but pick up only - from miles away. (although - actually - strangely in the same part of the country(ish) as this one! Possible changed circumstances and the same one I wonder?) I'd even e-mailed them asking if it was still available etc etc, and tried to work out in my mind the horrendous logistics of potentially going to pick it up - but (thankfully?) I'd never received a reply to my mail. One other was currently on e-bay - listed as NOT fully working and requiring repair - with another day to run on the auction, and already up over 200!! . I figured it was crunch time. Am I serious about all this radio thing and my 'master plan' - or not! He who hesitates is lost? People were already making 'offers'. Offers? How much exactly would it be worth quibbling over - if you really ACTUALLY want one? Three and a half appeared to be the good going rate from the research I'd done. As for the enormous postage - well - I couldn't drive it for less - and OH the hassle and time it'd take (I'm not sure I'm even capable of such a drive these days - especially in my 'Noddy' car - and there's Bella too!). Agonised - MUCH (agaAIN!) - but VERY quickly! Checked my bank accounts, moved money over, sweated, shook - hit the buy it now button and promptly paid the full asking amount of 410 including postage!!!!!! I've bloody done it now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just like that! Jeezuz!!!!!!! What HAVE I done! :o| . . . walked in the freezing gale and played ball in something of a daze. Threw up. . . TVd/guitarred. Seem to be feeling oh SO uptight and frankly panicky! I just spent an awful lot of money (for me!). All that going without - all that self denial - all that stooping to pick up pennies in the street - all that going cold around the place - all that ecomony food - all that for SO long, just thrown away on a whim with the click of a mouse - just like that! (If I do without the car for a year, the cost of the tax and insurance would almost cover it maybe! And of course - ugggh - there's the smoking thing to revisit!!!) I feel a bit sick - and very much not myself! I haven't felt myself for quite some while now. All this year at the very least. It DOES show (here) doesn't it? . . radiod/PCd, half expecting to have received an e-mail from the radio seller, saying it'd been withdrawn or sold to someone who'd made an earlier offer or somesuch. There was NO such e-mail. Does that mean I really HAVE got it and it'll just turn up in the mail in a week? Blimey! I do SO hope it isn't a duffer and just an expensive paperweight! :o| I haven't the knowledge or money to fix it if its broke. I really will be devastated . . BB called. .PCd just a bit of this with the scanners scanning and amplifier amplifying etc etc. . Ugggh - another coastguard gale force winds warning! . PCd this until deep into early . ate a pie, banana and biscuits before to bed after 3am. s
27 - Up around 6:30am I think. . walked. Biting cold easterlyish strong wind. Well - I wasn't woken by a whistling bedroom window in the night. I think my fix has done the job - on that one at least. :o) New ball still with plenty bounce + strong wind to carry it = LOTS of running around for Bella. . returned Mums reminder ansaphone call . . coffee and cigs to recover at the PC/radios . . did laundry and pottered around just a little, starting the long haul of sorting out the big mess I'm now in around the place. No way do I want to clutter that room up with all the same old piles of junk. Gonna take some figuring out where to stash everything. . eventually drove with Bella to pick up Mum and drop her at the doctors before returning straight home, leaving the car out front. . shifted my 19"CRT monitor down into the unit in the living room beneath the TV, replacing the old 'slightly' faulty one (which I may try to give away on 'freecycle' some time - or more likely just dump at the tip! I've even read of people making long wire antennas out of the CRT tube windings! I could try that with the Palstar unit when it comes maybe? ). . eventually Mum called for her pick up . .left Bella at home and drove to pick her up and brought her back to see the new PC room etc. . . dropped Mum off and had a quick peek in 'dads' garage. Refused yet more money from Mum (!) and returned with a mains power multi adapter I suprisingly found in a drawer in the garage. . ate chopped-up Mum donated pork pies in oxtail soup . . weather forecast was all East or North Easterly up to a gale force 8 - and pletty damned cold. . walked. . PCd e-bay etc/radiod for hours until frankly I was sick of it. lol I look forward to the distant day, when I'm done with trying to assemble all the little pieces of the puzzle, and can just sit back and 'play' with it all! . . ate pie, crisps, banana or who knows what . . to bed around 2am or later.
26 - I should have eaten! Couldn't sleep. Lay there for a few hours in a weird, heavily dream-laden half sleep. Snuggled with Bella for a while before getting back up around 7am!!! . . checked e-bay listings and then walked . . PCd and radiod (listening to coastguard frequencies while watching the progress of the briefly heard rescue helicopter on the AIS website). . the postman delivered the BNC patch lead I'd ordered . .was just about to unwrap it and start playing when Mum called. She sounded all guilty asking if I'd mind driving her to the doctor tomorrow, because her leg was too bad to walk there. FINALLY she's asking for help! While I still have a road legal car, it's the least I can do!! . cut the long conversation short when a delivery driver turned up. Oooooooh - my new (second hand) monitor! . . VERY nervously unwrapped it and was delighted to see it was intact and in pretty good shape. Fitted the stand and quickly plugged it into the existing power and VGA leads and fired up the PC. Wow - it seems HUGE! I even got the tape measure out to check. It IS a genuine 19" screen. Turns out my old 19" CRT is more like a true visible 18"! Well I'll be damned. . quickly watched a bit of video etc, and as far as I can see, this new LCd with its good refresh rate etc, is acting much more like the quality of the old CRT. I can't fault it really - unless me being me, I try. There is I think a slight issue with the stand. I can't readily raise the height of the monitor on it for some reason - which would be required if I wanted to turn it and use it vertical. I'm not even fussed to try to sort that out, because I can't imagine ever really wanting to. The one thing that DOES bug me rather, is it doesn't sit 'quite' horizontal. There seems to be a bit of 'slop' in the stand which allows it to dip ever so slightly to one side. It would be almost impossible to notice if not for the horizontal slats of the blind at the window behind acting as a reference. Damn - ain't I picky! Experimenting with the built in USB hub etc can wait for some other time. Basically - I'm pretty happy (and coming from me, that says something!). :o) . . . connected the new patch lead, and a BNC T connector I already had, to the discone antenna in the attic, and then to both the AR-300 AND Uniden scanners at the same time. Any signal loss appeared to be negligable, and so far, no sign of ANY interaction between the two radios! That's better than I'd hoped. What that means is, I can run both at the same time, scanning and monitoring completely different stuff! Hmmmm - there IS something to be said for having multiple radios rather than everything in one, alla 'shack-in-a-box'. I wonder how far I can reasonably push the 'bare' signal coming off that discone? I DO have another T connector. Once I get another patch lead, I could even try running the VX2 at the same time aswell, and monitor a whole bunch of other stuff too! LOTS of ears! I love it! lolol . . PCd this (on the nice big screen, occasionally glancing past it at the view out of the window) while monitoring the local marine channels on the AR, and arbitrarily monitoring aircraft on the Uniden! All very 'geeky' and totally pointless I'm sure, but I AM enjoying it! :o) . . . ate a tin of spaghetti bolognese and some grated cheese with four pieces of bread and butter, and then a square of chocolate. . napped until the alarm at 6pm . . walked and then rushed back to get straight back on the PC and sit and wait for the end of two more auctions I've been tracking all week. I wanted them both (for use with the scanner(s)) - and WAS gonna get them!! One item was listed as new, the other like new - and from the photos, they clearly were. I'd done my research - brand new, one was around 100+ , the other was around 40. Given their condition - I figured if I bid high, and got them for anywhere below those prices, I'd be 'saving' money - so they were worth REALLY going for. . I bid 'high' , seconds from the auction ends - and I won them both, as I'd 'intended'! A 'Palstar AA30 Ham Radio Active Antenna' for 74.70 including postage, and a 'Moonraker MRP-2000 Aerial pre-amp and patch lead' for 26 including postage. . listened to the radios. Coastguard and lifeboat teams were out somewhere (out of range of my ears) all looking for - a lost dog! Good on them. . much 'chatter' from VERY local hams on 2mtres . SO, SO much has changed in such a short time. You don't even HAVE to keep a log book as a term of the licence any more!!!! And what on earth is this business about being all hooked up to the internet via repeaters and being able to DX to foreign countries on 2mtres - and even using a mobile phone!!!!??? (errrrr - exactly what IS the point of that? That's not even radio anymore? Weird!) . big storm moving in. Should be a test for my bedroom window whistle?. . TVd/guitarred . . ate corned beef and mayo sandwiches, crisps and some cake . . to bed around midnight. s
25 - Up around 6:30am . . PCd mostly adverts over coffee and cigarettes breakfast . . walked a little earlier than of late . .wow - good job I WAS up out and back earlier than usual. Around 9:45am the post office parcel driver delivered the CB. Looks in pretty good nick and turns on etc. Sadly, as yet without an antenna or meters or dummy load etc, etc, I can't actually test that it FULLY works and actually transmits. I confess I DID dare to just 'flick' the PTT on the mic to see if it indicated attempting to transmit - which it did. So - overall, as far as I can tell, I'm happy with that. . shortly after, the postman delivered the scanning directory CD AND YAYYyyyyyy - my reinstated radio amateur licence. I'm now officially G4WKA again. 23 pages of stuff to read through!!!! All that paper - no wonder they charged 20! You know - it's STILL possible I may just end up being 'a listener' , but it feels good to get that back under my belt again. I can even still remember how to happily 'dah dit' the callsign in morse. lol :o) . . Image of my new PC/radio room layoutthe scanning disc was nothing more than a bunch of text files of 'data'. A bit disappointing, but still of use - perhaps more so if I do something with it in Excel? We'll see. . . oh dear - pretty much PCd adverts the whole day away again, monitoring the local marine frequencies on the scanner as I did so, and NOT attending to bills and paperwork or sorting out the mess I'm now in around the place! . .I just LOVE this new room layout. VERY easy to spend MANY hours in here now. I've even 'almost' got used to the smaller monitor! (Although a bit of a squint if I back off and put my feet up - which I now can! Oh joy - no more thrombosis. lol) Can't wait to get the bigger one. Shame about the bulky old portable TV, but no way can I justify buying a new LCD one of those as well, given I hardly ever turn it on (especially of late!)! . . cooked and ate two burgers in buttered bread rolls with chips. . napped . . PCd . . walked in a hint of rain . . PCd yet more until gone 11pm looking at HAM radios mostly. Within the constraints of my budget and knowledge - I really can't decide what I 'could' be aiming for (second hand if/when available). Yaesu FT767 seems like a very cool job to me ('shack-in-a-box'), but they ARE getting rather old. I just don't know. . finally managed to force myself offline and PC a bit of this (which is getting SO behind, I just can't keep up! Not enough hours in the day!???) . . finally to bed around 3:30am or later!
24 - Up around 7am . . . walked . . TVd briefly . . the post office parcel driver delivered the power supply I'd won. Nervously unwarpped it and then plugged it in with the multimeter across it. All looks ok (as far as I can tell) - and pretty damned good nick too! Really IS almost like new. Quite happy with that - although it WAS a bit of an 'impulse buy'. The way I'm going, it's liable to end up in a cupboard for the forseeable future. I seem to be very much leaning towards proper 'homebase' type equipment in what I'm looking at, with built-in power supplies, rather than semi-mobile stuff needing a seperate supply. . .got back to work on finishing-off the counter-top wall brackets in the PC room. . temporarily propped the still banana shaped worktop up on blocks on the landing, and put my heavy metal filing cabinet and metal trunk full of equipment on top while I worked! . removed the stud wall side bracket and cleaned it all up with a wire brush on the drill in the garage before drilling the top screw holes. Fitting it back in situ on the wall did NOT go well! The outer wall appears to be made of crumbling dust and I had MUCH difficulty in getting the wall plug to grip! Eventually screwed it all in despite the crumbling walls!! . to avoid the same problem on the other side, I left the bracket attached to the wall and cleaned it up and drilled it in situ, before then getting a quick undercoat of paint on them both. No point in wasting time waiting for the paint to dry so I eventually hoisted the worktop up into position. Still pretty banana shaped, but I figured I could live with it, and it would probably improve once I'd put the screws in underneath and 'pulled' it down flat onto the brackets. . It DID improve, and ended up looking despite its overly long unsupported length, as though I actually maybe WOULD be able to get away without having to prop it up underneath. If I can possibly get away with that, it'll be so, SO cool! I'll be able to 'scoot' along from one bit of equipment to another in my wheeled computer chair, enable Bella to lay under there as she so often seems to want to, will have plenty of unobstructed leg room (exactly what I do NOT have in that awful corner PC unit I inherited) and, dare I think it - could even put that leather footstool I bagged at the car boot sale under there for when I want to relax and listen to radios and such! Ooooohhhh this really could work so well!!!!! . . Moved the PC equipment over onto the worktop and set it up with the small 15" LCD monitor, to fullly test out the concept. Oh wow - I like that! I like that a lot! Actually ended up just messing around there for ages, getting a feel for my 'home'. Even sat and watched a couple of my own old music videos, just to test the performance of the LCD monitor. Without doubt, it doesn't seem to have the smoothness of the old CRT - but I can live with it. In fact - damn - I can't possibly put that huge old CRT in its place. It'd just ruin the spacious feel of the new 'desk' . . surfed e-bay etc, and at length, just went straight ahead and bought a second hand 'buy it now' monitor I'd found newly listed!!!!!!!! A 19" 'Dell UltraSharp 1908FPb Rotating LCD Monitor w/USB' (with a cosmetic scratch to the REAR of the case - not visible in situ so who cares - and not widescreen, but I don't like widescreen for the PC) for 64.99 including postage. I sincerely hope that IS a good deal!! Worry, worry. . . walked . . dismantled the old PC desk - roughly - with some glee. When I'd mentioned my plans, Mum had suggested I should sell it (despite the fact I'd already modified it by losing one upper wing, so as not to obstruct the window). Well - there's a reason it was left behind by the people who sold me the house! Taking it apart (necessary to get it out!) was a bugger - and at least two fixed studs formed part of the fixings, which HAD to be just torn out of the laminated chipboard, inevitably causing damage! All in all, it definitely isn't sellable - and may actually be of use for making up some shelves or some such in the future? Well see - I care not. HATE the damn thing! . . . PCd and radiod, enjoying having leg room MUCH! I really REALLY like my new 'desk' - and I haven't even started on tidying up cables and working out the best places for everything. That will evolve over time. I LOVE having the PC up top like that. SO much easier to play around with the sockets at the back etc. The footstool works a treat - and I can even position the chair beneath when I'm not sat there, so that the spring mechanism puts some upward pressure on the underside of the worktop, to maybe help counteract any hint of the warp which may or may not remain. . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate four sausages and four eggs with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate . . TVd until bed around midnight. d
23 - Up around 8am . . straight onto e-bay to sit and wait for the end of an auction I'd been watching for days. I really am VERY embarassed to admit this one - and even briefly dabbled with the idea of not mentioning it here - but I couldn't do that could I! It was an auction for a second hand CB radio of all things! <shudder> !!!! A 'Euro 8000 Base Station'. I bid to win it - and I DID win it - for 50 including postage!! Why on earth would I want such a thing? Well - it's all part of my 'radio shack' cunning master plan. I can't imagine I'll particularly ever want to be using a CB ever - but I don't want to discount the idea. Seems to me, since you no longer require a licence for them, you may as well have the ability to communicate with whoever may be using them. My master plan fundamentally is aimed at ultimately getting hold of some sort of (expensive!) all modes, all(ish) bands amateur radio. That of course would enable transmission on the 'legal' CB bands, BUT - doing so wouldn't actually be 'legal'. More than most, particularly with regard to radio stuff, I'm hyper-sensitive about 'being seen to be' legal in what I do. Remember - back in my youth in the illegal CB days, I was prosecuted and convicted of illegal instalation and use of a radio transmitter - and the expensive equipment (Yaesu FT101ZD Mk III FM ) was confiscated and destroyed by order of the court! SO - as a first (cheapest) step towards my goal of building up an all bands capable 'shack'/station, I figured, get hold of a fully UK legal CB (as legal 'cover' for what I may ultimately actually wish to do). So - I bid on and won the CB, which I'd researched and decided probably did the job, and looked nice enough, AND didn't need the extra clutter of an external power supply. Its just a first, not too critical, not too expensive step. . . walked late . . attempted to listen to the GB2RS RSGB news on the scanner, for the firsttime in years! Bizarrely there doesn't seem to be any 'local' coverage, so I ended up trying to catch it from out of Bristol on 40mtrs I think it was!!! Disappointingly I could 'just' hear it being read, but couldn't make out what was being said. . e-bayed and bought a buy-it-now BNC patch lead for 2.20. . .started work up in the garage on fashioning some wall brackets out of the angle-iron I'd salvage from next door's little scrap heap. Tried to make best use of the limited amount I had, and using a hacksaw, files and the angle grinder, I eventually managed to make a matching pair of L shaped brackets, to screw into the two corners of the PC room either side of the window . . screwed the first one to to the stud wall side. Had to make another screw hole on the long, stud-wall side, to ensure it was firmly anchored to one of the hidden main upright timbers in the wall. Worked out ok-ish (although that stud wall really isn't particularly strong in itself!) . . . had to mov the PC unit and all the equipment and masses of stuff into the rear corner of the room so I could reach and work on the opposite wall. . mounted the other bracket. . .dragged the big length of oh SO heavy worktop, dog walker G had given me last year, out of its storage place in the conservatory, only to find it'd warped a little in the damp atmosphere!! Damn, damn, DAMN! And it'd warped 'downward' like a banana, - EXACTLY what I didn't want. Warped or not - with the PC room walls all now butchered with brackets, somehow I was going to HAVE to make it work if I possibly could. Measured up MANY times, and then with the end propped up on the conservatory step out in the garden (and Bella safely shut in), I used the circular saw to do a test trim (to see what damage it'd do to the actual surface edge). Didn't go badly so I pushed on and did two more cuts (to lose the rough ends) and had it to the required length. HELL of a struggle to get it upstairs and sat on the brackets! Oooohhhhh - I think that'll work! :o) . Used the remainder offcut angle-iron to fashion two more short, straight brackets for mounting on the outer wall, immediately either side of the window. . ran out of time and energy, so inverted the worktop and placed a bunch of heavy stuff on top, in the hope of the warp easing down as it aclimatised to the drier atmosphere in the main house. . . walked - quickly. . straight back onto the PC to catch the end of another auction I've been watching for days. A 17" Dell LCd monitor - actually being sold locally, with all proceeds going to the dog rescue centre at Ipplepen! (I'd already e-mailed asking if local pickup was possible - to save on the postage and enable me to bid higher. Pickup WAS ok from Totnes.) I fancied having a prod at this one for a new main monitor, to replace my HUGE old 19" CRT - particularly now I was aiming at changing the PC room 'desk' and wanted the monitor directly in front of me on the narrow worktop, in front of the window. Unfortunately, e-bay appear to have recently changed their bidding screens (damn! Just when I'd got used to my two screens, last minute 'shark' bidding thing!) and despite trying to bid an amount which probably WOULD have won it, somehow I messed up in the last few seconds and I missed out on it! :o( Bugger! . . PCd for ages - including looking at all the other monitors that were going. On balance - maybe it's just as well I didn't win that monitor. I'd really rather have a 19" like I'm used to, rather than have to downsize - and the response time on that particular 'old' LCD was really quite poor. Also - some of the 19" monitors I've been looking at even have pretty neat USB hubs built in, AND the option of getting a 'soundbar'. Boy - would all THAT work nicely for me in its intended new position! I need to do more research on all that and maybe go for a more fitting alternative whenever one crops up at a decentish price? Yet MORE money I'm likely gonna spend all of a sudden!!!!!!!! YIKES!!!!!! . . ate ham, mayo, cheese rolls and then some cake. . struggled to stay awake until bed around midnight.
22 - Up around 8:30am . . . walked late . . PCd e-bay etc. . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for brief chats etc. Explained as best I could and showed her my recent aquisitions. It's true to say, for reasons I don't fully understand, my recent 'retail therapy/spending spree/radio obsession' thing HAS given my mood something of a lift and given me 'something to aim for' kinda. I'm really not too sure where this has all come fom all of a sudden - but it's really got hold of me at the moment, to the exclusion of pretty much everything else!!? I think I've spent far too long kinda standing still with all my old 'crap', worrying about the future (always!) and not daring to spend any of my savings 'just in case', etc. The economic crisis thing, and the fact that my savings are now diminishing because of the low interest rates etc, has had an affect on this 'standing still' position. On top of that, my increasing age and declining health and people dieing all over the place , has very much reinforced the realisation that in a very real sense, I probably haven't got much time left!!!!! Life IS short! It 's VITAL I find 'something' I can get SOME 'pleasure' (relative!) from (in between bouts of depression - which WILL of course continue and inevitably overwhelm me with the utter pointlessness of WHATEVER it is I do!). . from an early (CB) age, before I 'fell out with it', I DID get 'enjoyment' out of the radio thing - recently playing with the scanner has apparantly re-awakened that. In a funny way, (at the moment) it seems to me that all the events I've endured in the last few years, and my increasing reclusiveness and TOTAL lack of desire to engage with the world in a way most 'normal' people do, and the fact that my lifelong friend the TV has deserted me and turned into unwatchable dumbed-down gibberish intent on trying to sell me stuff I don't want - has actually made me more likely to find some interest amongst the squeaks and squawks and pointless chatter of the airwaves, as a way to pass time! Somehow now, I just seem to have more 'patience' for it, than I did when I fell out with it. It's all a bit weird and hard to explain - but I seem to be on a bit of a roll with it - and I DO intend to keep rolling with it (while it lasts?) despite the impact on my bank accounts and future security!! Having said all that - I AM struggling with spending money like I am. I feel so, SO guilty and nervous about it - and as a result, am trying to be oh SO careful! (Hence the HUGE amount of time surfing adverts and doing research, etc, etc. I CANNOT afford to make a mistake. When the money is gone, its gone - and whatever I've got when that happens, will pretty much HAVE to last me 'the rest of my days', like it or not!) It would appear, I'm in the process of making some fundamental changes to my way of life here!!??? (If tomorrow or in a day or week or so, I suddenly return to my more usual 'down' state - I am TERRIFIED I'll regard all this spending as a huge mistake!) Blah blah much - and more! . . . anyway - my current 'enthusiasm' for building up (to use the ridiculous vernacular) a 'radio shack' , seemed to be appreciated by Mum. I think she was delighted to see me with a bit of 'get up and go' for a change. She spontaniously announced that she'd brought some money for me to spend on 'things', and handed over 100 in cash!!!!!!? I put up suitable resistance, but as ever, she was having HER way - so thank you very much - again! Now - I haven't totted it all up yet (and may actually deliberately NOT do so, for fear of enciting regret and a downard spiralling mood), but I think it's fair to say, that given the money Mum gave me for my birthday, and christmas, and 'spontaneous' other 'gifts' along the way - she has pretty much funded most if not all of what I've recently bought!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bloody hell Mum - nice one. :o) . . .drank wine and ate four sausages, two eggs and chips followed by a little chocolate . . napped . . walked . . .TVd/guitarred/radiod/PCd the evening away. A full set! lol :o) . . ate Mum donated pork pies, crisps and chocolate . .to bed around 3am or later! ds
21 - Woken by noisy Bella earlier, snoozed on then up around 8am . . -2C out again. . walked late. Eventually carried on down town (past the seal struggling to eat a big fish) and then toured the charity shops before eventually returning to tour e-bay. .the sma to bnc adapter I ordered arrived in th epost so I can now attach the VX2 directly to the discone antenna downlead (although the thick RG213 low loss cable makes it a bit of a handful). I'm gonna want some short RG58 patch leads I think, so I can experiment more fully - and some frequency list, and, and!!!! . . tried to PC this, but it was tough with so much else to do and so much to search and listen for. . while PCing this, around 15:19, radio traffic between Brixham (and Portland) coastguard and Rescue106 the rescue helicopter, detailed an ongoing incident near Salcombe. A female diver had been caught in the propellel of a vessel and was possibly gonna need transferring from lifeboat to lifeboat and then airlifting to hospital!!! Jeeze!!!! (It soon turned out her wetsuit appeared not to be 'cut', she was on the ILB with a possible broken leg, and was gonna be shore landed so the helicopter was not needed). . . ain't radios and having 'big ears' marvellous. I want bigger ears! lolol . . ate liver pate sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and chocolate . . napped until the alarm . . walked late . . radiod, PCd and e-bayed for many hours. Downloaded excel spreadsheet band-plans/frequency lists etc from the RSGB website, to start trying to get a grip on what is where. Also ordered a 'UK SCANNING DIRECTORY (JAN 2011) Scanner Frequencies CD' from e-bay for 1.68 including postage, in the hope it'll assist me in figuring out what is where and what I'm actually picking up etc. . Well - despite its SERIOUS limitations, the more I use that little AR3000 radio 'toy', the more I like it. Even managed to pick up some (high power) amateur SSB transmissions this evening, which made me feel much better about it. Considering I was listening on the 80mtr band (I 'think' it was), and don't have an antenna for anywhere near such frequencies, that seemed pretty ok (although the background noise and interference on HF is SO bad on that radio, it's still of some concern to me. I'm not convinced is JUST about no suitable HF aerial). . .ate a tin of oxtail soup with four pieces of bread and butter and then some chocolate after 2am!, before eventually to bed.
20 - Woken by noisy Bella around 8am . .walked the woods . . TVd briefly recovering from the walk with coffee etc. . I was just about to start messing around trying to figure out how to mount the discone in the attic when the postman delivered the two lots of sockets I'd won/ordered. Wow - right then - nothing stopping me from getting on with it!! . Image of a loft mounted ROYAL DISCONE 2000 antennadragged the extension lead up to the garage and then worked at cutting off a short piece of old floor rafter, and excavating a large hole in it, into which I could wedge one of the short aluminium poles I'd scored from next door - all to act as a short mounting/mast to screw across the rafters in the attic. Time consuming but all went ok and I eventually had it screwed in place, pretty much in the middle of the attic, with plenty of space all around it. . surfed and looked up how to fit and solder N-type and BNC sockets (because I've never done one before). Sat at the PC desk and gave it my best shot on one of the N types. Turns out it's hardly rocket science, albeit a lot more fiddly than the old PL259s I'm familiar with. Took me absolutely AGES - but I was learning and didn't want to make any mistakes. Went 'okish' in the end. The next time I do it, it'll be LOTS quicker. Tested I had no shorts with the multimeter (although I WAS pretty confident I didn't) . drilled a 'temporary' hole in a corner of the PC room ceiling and threaded the cable down before then fitting and soldering a BNC on the end. Another check with the meter and all was ok. . constructed the discone antenna up in the attic and eventually had it all tightened up and clamped to the pole with the cable screwed on and hey presto - ready to tidy up and then actually plug it into one of the radios. Took all day, but that worked out ok. . alternately listened to the Uniden scanner and AOR radio on the new antenna for a bit. MUCH improved reception. Getting a pretty full signal off the HAM Torquay 2mtr repeater now (and even some input signals), whereas on the whip antenna(s) I was lucky to hear it at all. Yep - quite happy with that. Money well spent. Imagine how much better it would be up on the chimney, outside - or with a wideband pre-amp (which I eventually DO want to buy - AND some other sort of antenna specifically for HF of course!)!! . . whilst playing with the radios, I was watching an e-bay auction come to an end. For an old Dell 15" LCD flat panel monitor (to replace the faulty old 17" CRT and maybe use RIGHT next to me in the living room - once I've built a wooden alcove unit to suit (to put the PC IN!), matching the one I built for the TV/stereo etc equipment in the window bay. If I can pull that off, I also at 'some' stage, fully intend to route an enormous 'lossy' patch lead down from the PC room, out of sight under the floorboards etc, so I can also plug into the scanner antenna down there for an occasional bit of squelched listening while watching TV etc!!!!). It was 'local' and I'd checked beforehand that I could go pick it up if I won it, to save on the postage (and remove the risk of it being damaged in transit). (Postage was around 5). Did my usual double screens 'shark', bid-to-buy thing, three seconds from the auction end - and I DID win it - for 21 (NOT including postage). They HAVE gone cheaper (and for bigger) on e-bay, but still I didn't think that was too bad. Rather than immediately pay as I usually do, I mailed the seller with my phone number for making pick up arrangements. He soon phoned and yayyy - tonight would be ok. He gave me some complicated instructions on how to find the village he lived in, which I imagined I could 'maybe' just about follow - before then having to call him on my mobile (which I HAD earlier charged just in case).

-//unfinished//-

. . Something wrong with the corroded car door locking mechanism! I couldn't get out!! Had to open the window and reach out to let myself out!!!. . . headed out in the car with Bella following the guy's directions down some winding pitch black country lanes. . . slipped on black ice!!!!!

Pulled into what turned out to be the local youth club car park and gave the guy a call on the mobile. He knew exactly where I was and said he'd be there in five minutes. . briefly walked excited Bella around the car park just a little. Poor thing - I wonder if she thought she was going to a new home?

Did the business.

. . LONG way home !!! It really would have been easier to have just had the damn thing posted to me! The petrol I used was certainly more than the postage!! .

-//unfinished//-

stopped off at BGdns and walked Bella and played ball in the freezing temperatures (plenty of ice underfoot!) before eventually carefully returning home to unload. . fired up the monitor on the living room PC. Seems to work ok. Boy what a cute little thing! I'm SO behind the times! It's the first 'anything' I've owned in LCD flat panel style. Wow - that is SO preferable to a huge old CRT type! I should have waited and got a bigger one - to use as my main monitor in the PC room!! lol IF I go ahead with that wall to wall counter top across the window, desk idea, it really would make ALL the difference (and sadly will actually probably be a definite requirement, because of the narrowness of the worktop!)!. Blah blah blah. Anyway - I now have a lot of work on my hands building/changing stuff. It'll all have to wait for a while. . . drank wine. Ate pizza and chocolate . .radiod . . to bed long after 2am. d
19 - Up around 8am . .11C inside, -2C out . . walked. . dish washing chores all morning. . mum called in the middle of things - at length! . . ate chicken soup and four pieces of bread and butter . . yayy - the postman delivered the AR-3000 radio. Nervously unwrapped the badly dented box - but happily it was still in one piece. Signs of 'well used' wear on some of the front panel, and the serial number has been erased from the rear!!???? (I wonder - was it once 'stolen'? Why else would that have been done!!!! :o( ) . . played radio. Who WAs that woman from South Africa, talking on some sort of radio-phone to her grandad? lolol Dunno why she bothered. I don't think he was really capable of even using a phone from what I heard! . I have SO much to learn about what frequencies are used by what and who! I really have forgotten EVERYTHING I once knew! I couldn't even tell you what the HAM bands are anymore! . . . eventually napped. . walked. Detoured and returned the long way via the local store for some supplies, only to find they had none of what I went there for - again. The number of times that's happened!! Drives me nuts every time. . . played with the new radio for hours, with it just sat either on my lap or on the arm of the sofa down in the living room. I dunno - the jury is still out on whether or not I'm 'happy' with it (or if indeed it is actually working as it should! The HF bands are a noisy mess! I've yet to hear ANYTHING on SSB!!!???) Having said that, one has to appreciate that in the past I had 'proper' dedicated (Yaesu) HAM radios worth LOTS - with some big antennas - rather than something like this AR-3000, which I rather (perhaps wrongly?) consider more of a - um - dated, scanner 'toy'? Nevertheless, it does seem to 'mostly' do what I wanted - on VHF for sure. On balance - (certainly given MY money situation) despite it's obvious dated limitations, having got my hands on one, it's hard to see me EVER parting with it, even if I get 'other' radios. It's gonna be interesting to see how it performs on the discone when I get that up. . . ate a five egg cheese omlette with a crust of bread and a square of chocolate. . to bed around 2am.
18 - Woke earlier, snoozed on, until up around 8:15am. Wow - it's not raining! . . walked under the first clear blue sky for a while. Felt chilly, but hardly a breath of wind. .didn't hang around - must make the most of the still, dry weather. . popped out into the lane and grabbed the bits of rusty angle iron next door had agreed I could have from his heap of discarded scrap. I have it in mind to maybe make up some wall brackets from it, to screw to the walls of the 'PC room', upon which to mount the kitchen counter top dog walker G gave me last year, or whenever it was. I can't quite make up my mind, but I think I'm actually leaning towards having a go at actually hanging it across the window - to act as a wall to wall 'desk'!!!!! Ever since I moved in here and turned that room into a kindof office, I've wanted to be able to sit at a 'desk' and look directly out of the window, instead of being crammed into the awful, AWFUL corner PC unit thing I inherited with the house. . . TVd/PCd briefly before finally biting the bullet and setting the ladder up out front, to have a look at the 'howls-in-the-wind' bedroom bay-window frame. Given he hasn't called me back, it seems obvious the window guy has no intention whatsoever of returning to sort out the mess he's left me in with it. Bit of a struggle to get my short two-section ladder up at it's fullest extension, propped against the protruding roof of the bay! Extended out so far, it was worryingly flexible and wobbly, with me stood more or less at the very top!!!! . Image of 'howles in the wind' poorly finished UPVC window framewell - there ya go then. I bloody thought so! From the noises I've been plagued with from that corner of the bay frame just below the roof, I'd reasoned out that it was pretty likely the top of the PVC caps over the aluminium uprights hadn't been siliconed shut in some way, and the wind blowing across them was creating a noise like the noise you get by blowing over a bottle, etc. Turned out that was EXACTLY what I found on the top of THAT corner (and on close inspection, a couple of the others weren't 'fully' sealed either!!). After digging out the hardened end plug (carefully covered over with plastic the last time I used it), the bit of silicon left in the tube I bought last year was still useable. Ended up with a big blobb accidentally squirted onto the back of one hand as the pressure in the tube was released, so I just climbed up the ladder with it on the back of my hand and pushed bits of that into all the gaps I could find with my finger. I found LOTS of places that needed it!!!!! That's bad isn't it! In fact, the closer I looked, the more I could find to fault!! :o( Oh well - you get what you pay for - I'm stuck with it aren't I. Whoever torched that guys van and car - well - it just MUST have been a disgruntled customer mustn't it! . in the middle of doing my finger siliconing, a courier arrived to deliver my 10mtres of coax cable! Had to scoot down the ladder pretty quick, with Bella going crazy at the gate. . Eventually called it quits and got the ladder back down. Well - I have every expectation that window frame will now NOT howl the next time we have some serious wind. VERY pleased to have finally got that done. . put in a bit of time out in the street with the secateurs, trimming off some of the overgrown hedge, just to make sure it doesn't snag any tall passers by (potential litigants?). . ate grated cheese sandwiches and crisps. Interrupted just after starting to eat, by another courier calling to deliver what turned out to be the discone antenna. . finished eating and unwrapped my deliveries. All appears to be in order. (Some assembly instructions for the antenna would have been appreciated!! Boy - is it much smaller than the image I had in my mind!) Left it all untouched for tomorrow. There's no rush. Can't connect it up to anything until I receive the BNC plugs.. . . walked in the near freezing temperatures under a totally clear, star filled sky. . briefly popped out and checked with next door I could have the two short lengths of aluminium pole I'd removed from his scrap pile. I figure they 'may' be of use as aerial masts in the attic . . I'm getting carried away here!! Ended up having a quick look on e-bay as has become my habit, checking on the radio-communications auctions ending soon, and ended up kinda 'impulse' bidding on a power supply!!! To be honest, I HAVE been looking at 13.8V power supplies (cheap, nasty CB ones mostly) a fair bit of late, because sooner or later, one way or another, for something or other, I absolutely AM gonna want/need one. Trouble is, they are SO heavy, the postage always makes it absurd - especially when the CB power supplies are all SO low current (3/5 amp typically. Any bit of HAM TX kit worth its salt needs a good 40amp, and they are so, SO expensive and sought after, I can't even consider it at this stage! I'm not yet THAT commited to getting serious about all this, despite how it may appear!) Anyway - with only five minutes to run on the auction, I spotted a 'SPA-8100 10/12A switch mode psu' without 'too' high a bid on it. Quickly surfed and researched it a little, satisfied myself it WAS worth a 'prod', and set myself up with my usual two screens, ready to do a 'shark-like', 'in-the-last-three-seconds' 'go-for-it' bid. Damn it all if I didn't win it - for 17.50 including postage!!! Asuming it genuinely IS "hardly used like new" and in working order, I think I'm quite happy with that. They appear to sell for well over 50 new (+ postage, etc)! The cheapest new on e-bay was 59.95!! Yep - fingers crossed that's a reasonable deal. Funilly enough, I particularly like the feature of it also having a 'cigarette lighter' style socket on the front. I can envisage how that could be quite useful. (Funny coincedence how I retrieved and salvaged just such a plug and power lead, from the hedge out front when I was trimming it earlier! Someone (no doubt 'youths' from next door) had somehow thrown one in there and just left it. I figured it'd come in handy some time! I have another somewhere. lolol) . Generally speaking (despite the odd 'hickup' - with the missing VX-2 power supply in particular) I 'think' I'm kinda doing ok so far, in not paying over the odds for what I'm going for. Even the 'high' price (170.99) I paid for the AOR3000 doesn't look 'quite' so bad when you consider 'www.radioworld.co.uk' are trying to sell a second-hand one for 350! - yeah - right - get real! It DOES feel as though I'm throwing my money around rather (Oh my god - it is SO easy just to go click, click and spend, spend, spend!!!) - but it ISN'T as carelessly as it may appear I hope. Theoretically - so far - based on what I've seen on e-bay - it 'should' be possible to punt everything back out there if I chose to do so, and not make 'too' much of a loss at all (and who knows - maybe even a tiny profit on a good day!!!). (Of course, as with everything - if I wasn't 'a recluse', and was able to get involved with clubs, and people, etc etc, I'd probably get a whole bunch of alternative stuff second-hand at a fraction of the amount I'm having to spend. Such is the cost of being the way I am with all things. :o| ) . . surfed more e-bay 'radio' ads (all of them?!) for hours - and YES - I HAVE put a watch on several more things of interest to me!!!!!!!!! I'm DEEP in the 'poverty-trap' here! . . PCd this until early. . forced down a handful of biscuits before finally to bed after 2am.
17 - Woken around 7:45am by Bella barking as the postman delivered what turned out to be the VX2 microphone. Wow is that small! It IS like new and works 'fairly' well, although with my now poor hearing, that radio overall, seems rather quiet to me! . . walked in the rain . . PCd and did paperwork and eventually completed the several pages of 'Ofcom' application form for getting my radio amateur licence back. . left Bella at home and popped up the post office to photocopy my old City and Guilds certificate for inclusion and then got it in the post . . ate a pastry slice and chips . . ended up back on the PC on e-bay, trying to sort out what connectors I'm gonna need to hopefully get that aerial connected up. Ordered a twin pack of male RG213 BNCs for 12.98 including postage. Damn, their expensive! . Shark bid on an auction and actually won it. Assuming those connectors are the type I want (Never having used any before, I'm really not sure until I start trying to connect them), I actually got a VERY good deal! :o) '5 x N type connector for RG213 (Solder)' for a mere 4.04 including postage!!!!! That's a snip! About the price anywhere else just for one! . . . walked. Misjudged the weather completely and ended up doing pretty much the whole walk in the rain, without any leggings on. Got cold and wet - AGAIN! :o( . . TVd . . BB called . .ate chicken and stuffing sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate. Lost half a rotten tooth - but NOT the front one I've been expecting to come out!!!! . . TVd until bed around 1am. s
16 - Up around 8am . . walked in the continuing gale force 7 ish. Dry at least. . . PCd trying to get to the bottom of what else I need to get the scanner antenna system up and running. It's always seemed to me that 'just' buying a radio is the easy part! Its always the aerial that's the hard complicated nasty work and most vital piece of any setup. . In the past, all I've ever known was PL259 sockets on the ends of coax. Everything I seem to be ending up with at the moment seems to be orientated towards BNC sockets instead? I've never wired up a BNC socket, so am a little nervous about 'the unknown' and spending all my money on going that route for everything - especially considering how expensive the damn things are! Nevertheless, from what I've been reading on-line, and because both scanners are fitted with them, it does seem I really have no choice - in order to attempt to make the most of whatever poor signal I'm likely to get from an in-the-loft antenna. . while PCing and reading up on a bit of this and that, I had the scanner running next to me and at one point was listening to the coastguard helicopter (CG-106 out of Portland) on a training flight communicating with the local coastguard station, while at the same time watching it's unfolding route on the AIS website! Extraordinary what ya can do these days. . interrupted by next door knocking at the door (I almost didn't hear him - Bella didn't!?). He handed me a tray of 'surplus' eggs and then offered to have a look at the squealing car belts (yayyyy - at last!) . . got the car out and then left him to drive it into his workshop. It must have taken him all of five minutes to tighten both belts and that was that! Did the trick nicely. Knowing what your doing makes all the difference doesn't it! I haven't a clue, and without being able to get a Haynes manual for that car, I'm pretty much never gonna be able to do anything on it myself! . . I AM currently dabbling with the idea of actually having a go at doing without it completely. All the MOT and tax/insurance etc is gonna be due 'soon'. I've hardly used it this last year (squealing belts and cost of petrol!). Makes no sense at all to be spending all that money on it, just to have it sat there like this. (Just one year without would easily cover all the radio s I'm currently spending!) I'm not sure yet. Trouble is - you just KNOW that as soon as I can't use it, 'something' would come up where being able to, WOULD be utterly vital! Sods law. . back to the PC for hours more and at length, eventually bought a SMA male to BNC female adapter for 1.57 including postage and then 10 metres RG213 HIGHSPEC coax for 17.50. I still need to source at least a couple more connnectors, before I'm done and 'may' be in a position to put all the pieces of the jigsaw together when it all arrives. It's all quite a s investment (for me), and doesn't even address the issue of requiring a whole nother antenna for picking up the lower HF frequencies on that other radio I've just bought (which IS allegedly in the post already)!!! One nightmare at a time thank you! . . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps, banana and biscuits . . napped until around 6:15pm. Woke overheating badly. . walked. . PCd this . . .-/unfinished/- . Cant recall!
15 - Up around 7:45am . . walked late . . sorted out just a little paperwork. Mum called to touch base . . . PCd e-bay and eventually bit the bullet and finally ordered an aerial for the radio(s). A 'Royal Discone 2000' for 36.95 including postage. Funny thing was - turned out to be the same seller as I got the recent portable aerials for the scanner and handheld from! I trust the slight 'hickup' I had with all that, won't be held against me! . it is my intention (assuming I haven't misjudged the sizes) to sadly mount that antenna INSIDE the attic! (If I can't ever afford to have it converted and have a room up there, I may as well fill it with antennae!) What with living in a valley aswell, I know it's gonna be pretty deaf - but no way can I face attempting to have it up a pole or on the chimney stack outside. Aside from my inability to actually gain access to the roof here, it just gets too much of the stormy weather for me to contemplate it. I remember back in Bristol when I had them up a scaffold pole on the back of the house, how every time it was a bit windy, I'd always be worrying about the aerials and would be able to hear them 'clanking' around. THIS house definitely suffers much harsher winds. No way can I live with that sort of worry hanging over my head these days (nor would I wish to be so 'noticeable'!). I'll accept the compromise and suffer the poorer reception by having an aerial safely in the attic. . briefly had a prod at filming the police helicopter as it hovered out front for a bit. Dunno why I always have to do that when I see it - but bizzarly I do! lol . . listened to the scanner much of the morning. At some point someone had fallen somewhere (well outside of my eavesdropping range over past Torquay I think) and the coastguard teams and ambulance had been called etc. . drank the last glass of white wine from the bottle and cooked and ate a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, followed by chocolate. I actually stopped eating part way through and rushed back up onto the PC to check on the close of an auction I'd been keeping watch on. A 'collection in person' (from just over in Torquay!) auction for a 17" flat panel PC monitor. It'd been sat there listed for just 15 for days with no bids - then just one person put the bid on. I figured if it was gonna go for around that price, I may have a go at getting it. My reasoning - if I could get my hands on a flat panel monitor (rather than the current old faulty CRT), because of it's small footprint, with a clever bit of moving stuff around in the living room, I could maybe set the no.2 PC up right next to where I sit and effectively use it as a laptop! . got myself all ready in 'shark mode' with two screens up all ready to leap in at the last moment and snap it up, when all of a sudden with only a couple of minutes to run, a second bidder emerged immediately pushing the bid up to 30! With admirable restraint, I 'folded' and immediately turned the PC off and returned to my pizza. Shame - disappointing. Just as well - I'm already very fully stretched with my spending plans for this radio thing!! . . . napped until woken by the phone ringing (no message left) around 6pm . .Sis2 called to touch base!!!! She 'seems' to be 'better'. Time will tell methinks. :o| . touched base with Mum briefly . . walked late. . PCd(looking at antenna cable and connectors)/monitored the scanner/TVd/guitarred . . ate soup with four pieces of bread and butter. . TVd until bed around 2am. d
14 - Up around 8am . . checked watched e-bay listings (nudged up my bid on the microphone auction due to end while I'm out walking) and then PCd a bit of this . . walked in the drizzle yet AGAIN! :o( Played wet ball on the beach . . TVd . . PCd and yayyy - I'd won the microphone auction for 9.89 including postage! That ain't bad (assuming it works and is all in good nic etc.) :o) As far as I can see, the absolute cheapest I could get that actual branded Yaesu MH-34 mic elsewhere (from a Hong Kong type supplier!!) would be 19.40, so I reckon that's an ok gamble. . . PCd a bit of this. I'm wrestling with myself about another radio I'm watching on e-bay. Just a receiver - and it's gonna go for BIG money (200ish?) - but I am so, SO tempted. The auction ends around 3:30pm. Dare I dare I? (in the full knowledge I already FULLY intend to invest 'at least' 100 in setting up some sort of scanner antenna (in the attic of all places - because the weather here hits the house so often bad!!)) Why for goodness sake? What IS the point in ANY of it!! Why on earth DID I buy that mic? Arrrrgggghhh. I just want it all to end! :o( . . . Ate knife-cut chunks of ham sandwiches dropped into a tin of oxtail soup, followed by a square or two of chocolate . . nervously back to the PC to check my bank balance and then make a final decision about the radio auction I've been watching for days. Set up a couple of screens in 'mean-it/shark mode' and sat waiting for the end of the auction, changing my mind more than once about what the radio 'could' be actually worth - to ME, rather than anyone else. My heart was absolutely POUNDING, my hands were shaking and I felt really quite sick!! Almost 'panic attack' stuff!! Foolish or not, I eventually settled on a maximum bid of 175 NOT including postage, and tacked on another 50p just to beat anyone bidding the same amount (although I doubted anyone but me would be stupid enough to pay THAT much for it! Plenty have gone for lots cheaper I think.) Well - good or bad, foolish or not, I hit the bid button three seconds from the end of the auction and - I bloody won it!!! Damn! Or is that goodoh? 170.99 including postage for an AOR A-R 3000 - and I will now undoubtedly repent MUCH at my leisure!! NOT a good deal I don't think - but with luck (as far as I can tell), it 'should' do pretty much all I want for the forseeable future, until such time as I really get a grip on whether or not I want to get 'seriously' into radio again. (None of this changes the fact that I STILL intend to spend yet more money on sorting out some sort of antennae set up (and now too for it!).) At the end of the day, (assuming it is in good order and remains so) they ARE reasonably sought after, and it 'should' be easily re-sellable for not 'that' much of a loss. . Right - now I need to delete all the other 'watches' I had going on e-bay, and try to force myself to get serious about selling some of the stuff I have laying around, to help pay for it - but not yet! I think I need to go lay down and try to recover!!!! :o| . . napped until the late alarm . . walked and played muddy ball - without getting rained on mostly, which seems worthy of note at the moment given all the rain we're getting day after day. . TVd/PCd . . drank a glass of wine and cooked and ate two cheese and mayo burgers in buttered bread rolls followed by some chocolate . . to bed around 2am. d
13 - Back up around 8am . . walked in the drizzle and played ball on the beach. Damp, damp, damp!! :o( . PCd largely e-bay yet again. . . round and round in circles with my down mood oscillating wildly!! One minute I really want to get back into radio stuff (just listening mostly) and am prepared to spend a big wadd of cash (several hundred!) on the idea, and then the next, I am overwhelmed with the utter pointlessness of the idea and in particular how dreadfully precarious is my financial position/future. Oh HOW I wish I'd never sold all my old kit. Whoever I sold it to, whenever it was, got a HELL of a bargain!! I can't hope to amass anywhere near that sort of stuff EVER again - but then again - why the hell do I want to????!!!!! What on earth is the point - in anything! Arrrrrgggghhhhh!!! I really would be better off spending that sort of money on prescription charges and get back on the anti depressants - long term! I am SO unable to just 'function' at the moment (I'm literally just managing to walk Bella and then sleep! NOTHING else!) - I REALLY AM seriously considering it (although the actual reality of having to go to see a doctor and request it, puts me off as much as the side effects and cost!). What a pathetic failure. How can I even dare to think about talking on a radio again. What the hell would I have to say to anyone - whilst desperately trying to avoid any reference to what I'm 'actually' like!?! :o( . . put in quite a bit of time with the programing software and the scanner attached to the PC, and modified the banks of frequencies I monitor into a little better order. At last, I'm slowly starting to get a slightly better understanding of that scanner I think (with the exception of permanently setting the display backlight option, which seems to have a mind of its own each time it's turned off and back on again!????) . . drank a glass of white wine and cooked and ate a Mum donated pizza and then some biscuits. I had to eat the pizza with a knife, because I can no longer bite pieces off with my few remaining rotten, wobbly teeth. Happy Bella had to have all the hard crusts I couldn't manage. :o( . . napped until the late alarm at 7pm . . walked and played ball in the mud. Threw up! . . Mum called to touch base and update me on Sis2 . . TVd/radiod before eventually ending up back on the PC trawling through and researching many e-bay listings (radio stuff mostly) yet again. . . ate a bowl of co-co pops, banana and biscuits before to bed gone 2am.
12 - Woke around 7am, snuggled with Bella for a bit then up around 7:20am . . .walked in the drizzle. Played ball on the beach to avoid the mud. Succeeded in losing the ball! Carelessly threw it at some rocks and it bounced and disappeared down into a gully. . lost a ball . . . TVd but mostly PCd the day away again, looking at radio stuff mostly, but somehow just getting more and more depressed as I did so. Why on earth am I bothering?!! I'm hardly gonna suddenly have anything to say to anyone ever am I! :o( . . . recieved the amateur radio licence application form in the post. Pages of it!! That'll wait . . ate a bowl of stew and four pieces of bread and butter followed by many biscuits . . TVd/PCd/snoozed-ish on the sofa for a bit . . reluctantly walked in the rain and mud. Threw up - much! . . TVd briefly, listened to the radios and then PCd the night away until deep into early before bed. Put a bid on an e-bay auction for a microphone to suit the Yaesu handheld. I've had every intention of getting one of those eventually, ever since I got the radio. Been looking at cheap chinese alternatives from Hong Kong - but this advert (bizarrely from someone just a few miles along the coast?) was for a 'proper' more expensive Yaesu branded one. Sadly because of that, I know it WON'T go cheap, but hard to resist 'having a prod' at. When I finally sell that radio on, from what I've been seeing on the net, having such 'proper' accessories will definitely make it more saleable and the overall investment/loss won't be 'too' bad. s
11 - Up around 8am . . .walked . . .dabbled with the idea of trying to get the ladder up to the howling window, but I have a feeling it isn't going to reach (now I can't rest it on the cill), and it was still rather blustery so I just couldn't face it. Phoned the window guy and left a message, saying I was sorry to read about his misfortune and asking him to come round with some ladders to sort out my howling window frame. (Do I actually really expect him to do so? No. He did not return my call.) . . sat around/TVd/PCd the day away feeling oh so VERY down! . . Had a look on the net and eventually confirmed it IS possible to privately pay to have a canine DNA test done on your dog! Amazing how things have advanced in just my lifetime! For around 75, they would do a test and come back with what breeds may be in your dogs mix. If I had money to burn, I absolutely WOULD do that, just to finally have an answer about just EXACTLY what Bella really is - because I'm not at all convinced she IS a GSD - and everyone I meet always asks and theorizes. . I'm in pretty big trouble with one of my lower front teeth. It's been hurting for ages of course (kinda get used to it after a while, although it can 'wear ya down a bit' on occasions) but it's now become SO loose, I can't put anything anywhere near it without it moving and hurting even worse! I no longer have a useable 'bite'. I've tried getting hold of it and pulling it out, but as yet to no avail. It's getting me down - more than I already am! :o( . . walked. .A small, local, kinda 'private' housing estate appears to have been having a problem with its electric supply (the electric company has had workmen and equipment there for a couple of days). All the street lights were off and a big container sized deisel generator was running by the garages, presumably supplying power to all the houses. The reason I mention it - over the top of the enormous foot diameter type exhaust pipe coming out of the top, was a big hinged metal cover to keep the rain and foreign bodies out (like you used to get on some big US style trucks). With the engine running and the strong wind blowing, the heavy metal cover was constantly bouncing up and down with a LOUD clanging noise! Can you imagine what it would be like to try to sleep through that?!!! Oh my god - those poor people in the nearby houses!!!! (If it'd been near 'shattered nerves' me, I would have had absolutely NO choice but to go out in the wind and rain under cover of darkness and try to climb up on it and silence it in some way!) . . sat around after ball play, smoking, drinking coffee and listening to the scanner for quite a long while. It's so SO hard for me to actually determine if I really AM wanting to spend some money on getting back into radio, or if it's just a passing obsession, that my 'depression' will soon consign to just another waste of time and effort. Having said that, for some strange reason, I DO seem to get a bit of a kick out of listening to that scanner, still. Sat there in the gloom watching the lights across the bay, it DOES add something to the emptiness - there WAS something mildly entertaining about hearing a call from a lynx helicopter out of Yeovilton, with four people on board heading for the Teignmouth coastline on a navigation training excercise (what an amazing life some people have!) - and then soon after seeing the distant lights on it as it flew across the horizon across Lyme bay. Kinda 'voyeuristic'? - but I just like knowing as much as possible about what's happening in front of me like that. .Got back minutes before the rain started . . TVd . . drank wine and ate stew, bread and butter and some chocolate . . TVd until bed before 1am. d
10 - Up around 7:30am . . .walked in the wind . . TVd . briefly adjusted the front door slightly, in an attempt to improve the hint of a draught that was getting through in the VERY strong winds. I think there may even be a hint of a whistle coming from it - but maybe from a region under the cill rather than actually through the door. . messed around with the scanner, gently trying to list some of the frequencies being used locally that I can actually hear stuff on, so I can eventually program them in to banks of switchable memories. There is a limit to how interesting it is listening to the local taxi and skip hire companies!!! lolol Having said that, it's more interesting than half of the TV channels these days! . Mum called to touch base . . PCd. Received a reply about the antenna. The guy seemed to be getting all funny about the mail I sent!??? "dont get angry bloody hell mate 10.00 IS OK " I didn't think the mail I sent him particularly suggested I was getting angry? Promptly paid him 10 via paypal and mailed him thus, just to try to keep things civil: "Sorry if I appeared to be 'angry'. That was NOT my intention. I'm old fashioned and just not good with 'making offers' on stuff - and didn't want to have to make the time to re-package and post it back etc. I have just made a paypal payment of 10 and trust we are BOTH now happy. Sincere Regards. T :o)" . . the forecast heavy rain arrived early afternoon! . Drank the Sis1 donated miniature bottle of white wine and cooked up a big pot of stew with some defrosted 'dog food' pork. Ate a big bowl full with four pieces of bread and butter. . tried to nap but just couldn't sleep through the whistling noise coming from the top of one of the uprights of the bay window frame!!! Grrr. :o( . got back up and aimlessly PCd . . walked late in the storm. Pouring with rain and blowing a gale. Utterly horrendous walk! Played ball just a bit to keep Bella happy, from the shelter of one of the gun emplacements, depsite the rain and mud. Oh SO glad to get back home - feeling not so good!! The walks don't come much worse than that! . . TVd. . ate a ham roll, banana, mini battenburg cakes and some chocolate. . messed with the scanner a little more and bizarrely ended up listening to some local amateur chatting about all manner of nonsense on one of the CB frequencies! . . to bed around 12:30am, after the rain had stopped and the wind had finally eased enough to silence the window whistle.
9 - Up just before 8am . . . walked the beach and woods etc. Some guy was stood on the beach with a bicycle - looking at the rubbish that had been piled up there (collected up by someone from the masses washed up on the beach). There was something about that guy. Made me feel very uneasy for some reason. My 'mor-nin' greeting, was I think, ignored. . played ball with Bella on the beach and in the water for a bit, before heading off to sit for a cigarette in the woods as usual. As I sat there smoking, throwing Bellas ball, that same guy came walking along next to his bike, carrying a large piece of tree over his shoulder, with some old fishing net all wrapped around and draped over it!??? I tried to make a bit of silly conversation again, but to no avail. I can't put my finger on exactly why - but I have to admit, he 'scared' me! (Got me all up tight, imagining he could well be some sort of homeless schizophrenic at large in the woods - ready to club to death some innocent dog walker who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!!! Ok - so I AM no lover of my life and AM pretty much done with it - but I still have a preference for how I may leave it - and by the hand of another, IS my worst nightmare!) As he approached, he suddenly detoured towards me, making for a lesser used path which ran up CLOSE behind where I was sitting!!! Funny thing was - Bella appeared to be just a little peturbed by this too, and as he passed her, she reached out and gave his trousers a gentle 'touch' with her teeth. She's only done such a thing a couple of times since I've had her - and I WILL not tolerate it! (No matter what other undesirable behaviour I will try to work around - nipping people is absolute NOT gonna happen!) I verbally chastised her much, held her nose in my dominant growling disapproving manner, and apologised to the guy. He DID say something along the lines of its ok as he carried on behind me. . a short while later, from up in the woods, there was a lot of crashing and banging! . as we walked along the path, almost out of sight on an elevated section of the woods off to our right, the guy was doing something weird and trying to break up some large tree trunks!! (Making a shelter perhaps?) I was VERY glad to get out of there and carry on with the rest of the walk, eventually ending up back in sunny BGdns for a sit around for a bit! . . PCd and messed with the scanner, yet again with GREAT difficulty, trying to get to grips with how the damn thing works. It seems SO incredibly complicated, it's put me off really starting to 'explore' what else I may be able to eavesdrop-on with it (other than the marine frequencies I've pretty much stuck to so far)!!!! . . PCd this . . ate a Mum donated chicken and mushroom pie, crisps, a couple of mini battenburg cakes, biscuits and a couple of squares of chocolate . . napped late . . walked in the near zero temperatures. Another nice clear quiet evening of many stars. The calm before a couple of weeks of wind and rain according to the forecast. Much ball playing, coffee and cigs. Eventually back home after a good two hours out again . . TVd . . ate ham rolls, crisps and chocolate . . to bed around 1:30am.
8 - Up around 7am . . PCd a bit reading some of the local newspaper website. Oh myyyyy god! There was an article all about 'A' - the guy who installed my windows. Someone has set fire to his works van and private car, outside of his house! All gone up in flames!!! Poor devil. I guess now isn't a good time to call him about whistling windows then! (Wonder who he's upset and how?! Someone else losing sleep with whistling windows maybe? I don't suppose for one moment the police have the resources to bother getting to the bottom of it, but it HAS occurred to me that all his 'recent' customers could get a knock on the door and have to answer some questions about where they were whenever it actually happened! Ummm - hey Bella - I need an alibi! lolol) . . .Image of HMS Tyne (P281) moored off Brixham breakwaterwalked and played ball as usual. Dabbled with the cameras just a little. River class offshore patrol vessel 'HMS Tyne' (P281) was moored up in the bay. With a little crowd of sailors all assembled for ages on the port bow, it looked to me as though they were having trouble hoisting the anchor. (I imagine that's the brightly lit (unidentifiable) ship I've seen anchored thereabouts at night recently. No sign of it on the PC on the AIS map, but for obvious reasons I guess. I think I caught the tail end of it reporting its mooring-up on the scanner the other day. A female voice - politely responded to as 'maaam' by whoever took the call. ) Eventually walked on down through town and up to the vet. Only a couple of people in the waiting room was a pleasant suprise. Popped Bella on the scale while we waited. Around 29kg still - despite my very definitely over feeding her to try and fatten her up (I'm still feeding her the same as Sally - who was MUCH bigger!). I guess that is just her 'normal' weight no matter how much she eats, despite her appearing to be a very 'slight' bag of bones to me. We are SO similar!!!!! Skinny and 'damaged'! lol . eventually in to see the lady vet (who I 'think' we may have seen once before in Totnes). Bella started to get understandably very nervous shut in a small room with a stranger poking and prodding her and listening to heartbeats and such, and I had to hold her still. She WAS nevertheless VERY good. She obviously didn't even feel the quickly administered ('full' - because her history is unclear) booster injection as it was popped into the fur at the back of her neck. Soon back out to pay the 36.80. Ouch! . . walked back via town and a tour of the charity shops. Picked up three window-sided steel containers for the kitchen for a mere 1.50. One of the lids has a slight dent, but other than that, very useable. Apart from the addition of the windows on the side, they are very nearly identical to the expensive trio Mum bought me for my coffee, sugar etc. Given I already have some, it seemed a bit silly buying yet more, but at that price I just couldn't resist. I think I only bought them because of how horrifyingly expensive the ones Mum bought were! I'll find 'something' to put in them - rice, gravy bones for Bella, etc - or maybe actually swap them with the ones by my kettle, so I can immediately SEE how low on coffee, sugar etc I am? . . all in all, Bella's behaviour all morning (walking to heal, dealing with other animlas in the waiting room and seeing the vet, etc) was notably pretty damned good. :o) . . PCd a bit . Made a decision about the antenna and replied to the seller, in what will hopefully be viewed as a 'take it or leave it' tone! "I would be willing to pay you 10. If this is unacceptable, I would expect you to pay me 2 to cover the postage and packing, BEFORE I return it to you. I await your decision." . . . Mum called in briefly with the paper and food donations etc . . ate Mum donated pork pies, crisps and a little chocolate . . napped . . walked in the +2ish temperatures. A quiet clear evening, very dark to start with, before a crescent moon appeared low in the sky. A breathtaking star filled sky with occasional high flying aircraft flashing. Sat around with cigs and coffee for ages before eventually heading back, late. . . TVd nothing/guitarred the evening away . . ate ham, cheese and mayo sandwiches, crisps, fruit loaf and chocolate . . to bed around 2am. saa
7 - Up around 7:30am . . walked in the pouring rain. Actually walked the beach and oh SO muddy woods despite the weather! Bella appeared to be in a weird VERY hectic mood, swimming and chasing squirrels and her ball pretty much non stop!!! Detoured back down to the local beach on the way back through BGdns, just to 'dunk her' and get some of the layers of mud off! Ended up getting a bit dunked myself when I misjudged one of the waves at the bottom of the steps! The tide was in. Ended up with very wet feet - and pretty wet overall, not least of all because it was 'fairly' mild out and I was wearing far too much and sweated buckets! . . TVd . . briefly cleared up some of the mess of fallen leaves in the back garden in a rare break in the rain. . PCd a bit. . around midday the postman delivered my SMA antenna. Immediately messed around with the radio and to my suprise actually found someone chatting on the local 2mtr repeater! Surpise because I've spent a fair amount of time since getting that damned radio, listening to the repeater, and haven't yet heard anyone actually chatting on it! The new antenna sadly, predictably didn't seem to make for 'much' of an improvement on the signal strength I was receiving, but by wandering around the back of the house and waving it around, it appeared to be maybe just a little bit better. I couldn't resist! Shaking with nerves, I dared to press the transmit. "Break please gentlemen". lolol Even though I don't have a current licence, I dared to use my old callsign and blundered into their conversation asking for a radio check (FINALLY - just to check it works!). It did! :o) Flustered as I was (and all up tight, not wanting to get in trouble for 'illegal use of a radio transmitter' - again after all these years!) I couldn't manage to mentally process what call signs or names they gave me. I just wanted in and out real quick. Funny thing was - just from my name and callsign, whoever I spoke to (somewhere local just across town) recalled that I used to live in Kingswood!!!!!!!! BIZARRE!!!!! Said my '73s' and got off as soon as I'd got what I needed from them. lololol '73s'!!! lolol Yeah - I'd forgotten all about all that sort of ham-radio-language nonsense. IF - IF I actually DO start getting back into all that HAM radio stuff, it's gonna be like starting absolutely from scratch for me! I can't remember ANY of it (except maybe just a handful of letters in morse-code? Uhuh - that'll be useful in this day and age! lolololol) . . went on line and then phoned up 'Offcom' to see about 're-activating' my old callsign and getting a current licence. Because it's been so long, I can't do it on-line - and it will cost me 20! :o( I asked them to send me the required paperwork to do it. . .so - what of the antenna I was wrongly sent? If I was ANYONE else, I'd probably just keep it and wait to see if the seller kicks up a fuss and demands I send it back. Instead (because it DOES fit and work on my scanner - albeit poorly) I sent him a mail via e-bay - "Correct antenna as ordered finally received today. Thank you. Rather than put us both to the inconvenience and cost of me sending the unwrapped BNC antenna back to you, I AM willing to purchase it IF you would consider a suitable discount. I await your reply. Regards. T" So - we shall see. . touched base with Mum and relayed the e-mail message I'd received from the friend of Sis2. She is thankfully allegedly 'better'. . .called the vet asking about an appointment to get Bella's booster jabs done. I may well head over to their open surgery at the local place in the morning. Damn - apparantly there is VAT charged on that! Should have got it done before the new rate came in! :o( . finally got round to hand-writing a note to the micro chip people, advising of her change of keeper and enclosing a 6 cheque. (Re-used an unfranked second class stamp, carefully unpeeled from the envelope of one of the Christmas cards I received! lol Cheapskate!) . .ate two sausages, two bacon, two pieces of bread and butter and chips . . napped late. . walked late. . touched base with Mum. She'd spoken with Sis2 . . recieved a reply from the e-bay antenna seller - but NOT the sort of reply I wanted. "glad you received OK What price do you have in mind". Can't stand it when people play silly buggers like that and kinda start 'haggling'. I do NOT haggle! Just say a bloody price and I'll say yes or no for goodness sake! Grrr. :o( . . TVd while messing around with the radios as a big storm battered the house and 'wailed' around the bedroom bay window! :o( I need to try to get up there with the ladder to figure out why it's making that noise. As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the actual opening windows!!? I suspect a bit of sealant is missing from something somewhere. On close inspection of some of the plastic down at ground level, it DOES suprisingly appear that things have 'moved'/contracted a bit with all the cold weather we've had! . . ate bowls of cornflakes before to bed around 1:30am.
6 - Up around 7:30am after literally a couple of hours sleep at most. .walked in the pouring rain. No sign of last nights moored ship. Played muddy ball just a little, from the shelter of one of the gun emplacements before trudging back. All in all - cold, wet, muddy and most unpleasant. . TVd . .fried two sausages, two bacon, a piece of bread and some potatoes and ate big with a couple of pieces of bread and butter eventually followed by a square of chocolate. . TVd ( old black and white 'Jane Ayre' film). . napped early until around 4pm. . . PCd a bit of this . . walked in a break in the showers . . TVd/guitarred . . ate mayo, cheese and ham sandwiches with crisps followed by biscuits . . to bed before 1am.
5 - Up around 7am . .walked in the drizzle. Got back just before the rain set in proper. . TVd . . did laundry . . around midday the antenna I'd ordered off e-bay turned up - or not. Didn't take long to confirm it was NOT what I'd ordered. The listing said it was an SMA male fitting. What arrived was a BNC male fitting. FFS! YET again I'm let down by others incompetance. I feel like just giving up - i really fucking do . . pretty promptly caved in and ended up smoking a cigarette. So much for giving that up then. . . cooked and ate fried potatoes, fried bread, two sausages, two bacon, two eggs and half a tin of sausages in baked beans followed by a couple of slices of fruit loaf. . napped . . walked and played in the mud. Some big unidentifiable military ship festooned with lights was moored in close off the Breakwater. Such ships seem to have a very distinctive whine to their generators. Must be deafening on board! . . guitarred/TVd/smoked . . ate a whole Mum donated battenburg cake . . . TVd/PCd until the early hours, chain-smoking all the while 'as usual'. I think that pretty much made-up for all those I missed out on these last few days of pointless hell. Received a reply to my short note of complaint, from the e-bay antenna seller. "sorry i have had a look in the box there is a couple of bnc in there ?????not what i order....i will send you right one tomorrow". s
4 - Broken sleep then up around 6:45am . .according to the news there's supposed to be a partial eclipse of the sun this morning. It's cloudy! . . . walked the woods, beach, etc. Bit of a mistake that. The whole route was just a big churned-up, muddy mess! Got in a bit of a state. . stopped at the store for milk on the return and ended up also buying two packs of going cheap/out of date sausages. Cooked and ate two sausages, two bacon, two eggs and half a tin of sausages in baked beans with a thick piece of buttered bread crust around 10:15am. All well and good - but - quite honestly, a few cigarettes would have been preferable to me!!! :o( . . PCd for hours and eventually finally balanced my accounts for the first time in three months or so! No small job, what with all that e-bay/amazon 'buying frenzy' I'd been engaging in! . . TVd . . layed down for around an hour but couldn't sleep . . walked and played ball in the mud. . Mum called to touch base . .drank the last glass and a bit of the red wine-in-a-box . . TVd . . ate Mum donated chicken and stuffing slices in bread rolls, crisps and chocolate. . to bed around 11:30pm. d
3 - Up around 7:35am . .PCd a bit of this . . walked in full rain gear in the rain. Played ball on the local beach a bit rather than in the mud. Got drenched as usual in my not at all waterproof waterproofs! . . just TVd/PCd another day away. . ate ham, mayo and cheese sandwiches and a bag of crisps followed by a huge amount of biscuits. . napped until the alarm . . walked. Didn't hang around and hurried back to watch the first of a series of live star watcher type programs on BBC2 which I imagined would be good. Oh my god - WHAT a dissapointment. Seemed to me like awkward, jazzed-up, dumbed-down nonsense - and just exactly why DID they feel it necessary to have someone reporting live from Hawaii, when a minimal bit of stock footage would have been more than ample to make their rather unecessary point? Also - why was Jonathan Ross in it at all? I trust he didn't get paid for that!! All in all, I was terribly disappointed - and only 'just' managed to force myself to sit through the rubbish. Who's in charge of such rubbish at the BBC? They really have totally lost the plot haven't they. What an awful waste of licence fee money all this nonsense was!! There IS a reason I haven't rushed out and bought a new TV (despite the VAT going up to a breathtaking 20% - as from tonight is it?). It's because TV has become so, SO appallingly dreadful and really DOES seem to be getting worse and worse! . . ate muesli and slices of Mum donated fruit loaf stuff . . to bed around 11:30pm.
2 - Up around 7:15am . .PCd a bit of this. . walked in a hint of light drizzle. Back via the store for milk, and picked up a going cheap/off loaf of bread . . ate a couple of pieces of toast with jam . TVd . . vacuumed just a little . . PCD a bit but ended up just feeling too confused to actually achieve anything other than just aimlessly surf a bit. . ate a tin of oxtail soup with five pieces of bread and butter followed by many chocolate biscuits . . tried to nap - maybe managed ten minutes or so, but then couldn't, so ended up getting back up. . . actually watched most of the film 'Iron man' that was on TV. I seem to recall it had a lot of publicity when it came out, so I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. I guess it was all about the effects. . walked late after the film. Encouraged Bella to sit on the seat with me for a bit. As she made to get off, she got her rear leg caught between the wooden slats of the seat!!! Blimey - the way she screamed, you'd have thought she was being skinned alive! Scared me to death. Thankfully, despite the awful noise etc, once I'd managed to get her out of it, she appeared to be unharmed and then set about ball chasing as normal. Phew! . . TVd. . ate christmas cake . . restlessly TVd - occasionally biting and cutting away at 'irritated' fingers!!. . ate a packet of crisps and four more pieces of toast and jam . . to bed around 12:30am. Experienced a lot of 'visual disturbance' today. Seeing little flashes of points of light where there weren't any - that type of thing.
1 - Up around 7am . .PCd a bit of this. . walked the woods, played ball in the mud, etc. . . did dish washing chores. . Mum called in with the paper and food donations, for chats etc. .drank a small amount of wine while cooking chips. Ate a Mum donated chicken and mushroom pastry slice with chips followed by biscuits. . napped eventually, with difficulty, until the alarm at 6pm . .walked with coffee. . TVd the evening away. . ate ham, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches with crisps and then some chocolate. . to bed around midnight. Well - that was a dreadful day!! Felt up tight, short tempered, angry, confused, and disorientated (to say the least!) ALL day! The 'confusion of my thoughts' was the worst thing, and SO severe, it was even difficult to attempt to hold a conversation! I'd stumble over words and end up talking apparant gibberish. That or just angrily end a conversation half way through a sentence, because I'd lose my temper at having to attempt to explain something, and just see no point in continuing! The focus of my mind just felt 'splattered'!
Today I did NOT smoke.
A half-hearted token gesture forced upon me by government taxation rather than a free desire to do so, so obviously doomed to failure!
Tomorrow I think I probably SHALL smoke!!! :o(
d
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