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March
31
- Woke when still dark, eventually got back to sleep then up around 7:15am . .PCd a bit of this, still all aching and hurting and really not wanting to have to go walk in the wind and hint of drizzle this morning. .walked late - slowly actually feeling rather unwell! . . With the car off the road, and with today being the last day of the month, it seemed like a good idea to be ringing up today about getting a possible refund on my insurance and RAC cover. My (minimal) AA car insurance cost me 122.98 and runs until 5th July. On the phone I was told the refund 'would' have amounted to 32.35 - but there was a 50 cancellation fee! In short - I get nothing and may as well just let the insurance run out! Outrageous!! (And yes - I DID eventually find it mentioned in the small print on the last page of my policy booklet.) Buggers! :o( No refund on my 71.05 RAC roadside recovery cover either (runs out on 16th November)!! Rotten, rotten, rotten. :o( . . .sorted out some of the old car paperwork. More tearing up of a bunch of stuff for the paper recycling. . the postman delivered the antenna switcher I bought from e-bay. It 'looks' ok - I'll need to somehow test it to figure out if it REALLY is. . . finally got round to opening up the CTCSS tone board packet from America. The box was the size of a large book - the actual tone board inside was rattling around inside a big bubblewrap bag - it was the size of a large postage stamp!!! . . carefully read through the official Yaesu instructions about how to fit the thing, in a PDF I'd long ago downloaded, and then dared to get my screwdrivers out and give it a go. It really WAS pretty easy to fit. . Plonk the radio down upside down - remove eight screws and the bottom case - locate the two banks of empty sockets and plug the new CTCSS board into them - locate remove and discard a jumper socket (actually confusingly numbered differently on the circuit board, to what it said in the instructions!!) - unscrew the front panel, hinge it out and then locate the old 1750hz tone board plugs and disconnect them - tape up those now redundant plugs out of harms way - put everything back together. . Easy it may have been - but it didn't feel that way to me! Much at stake! I took it very, VERY slowly. By around 3:30pm I fired the radio back up and set up the frequency split and the CTCSS tone for the local repeater.(GB3TR located on Barton Hill, Torquay. Input 145.050 MHz, output 145.650MHz. CTCSS 94.8Hz). All a bit of a cumbersome fiddle on the 767 (but probably not 'that' bad if only I could remember how, without having to look it up every time in my downloaded PDF, on the PC instruction manual!). I gave a shout and finally - FINALLY succeeded in accessing the repeater, and even had a quick QSO with someone as a radio check. So - it works. Phew!! At last I can happily access the repeater from home on the 'main' radio. (Why I couldn't using the 'old style' 1750Hz toneburst will remain a mystery.) . as I type this, I'm waiting to test it on the local echolink node - but two guys are nattering on it - at length! - and I don't want to butt in. Just like waiting for a bus. Hours of silence - suddenly all in-use, just when I want to play with it to do my test! Hmmph. . . eventually during a lull in activity I got on to do my 'access' test. (MB7ITB - Torbay Echolink Gateway. Node No.257017. Simplex 145.2875 MHz. CTCSS 77Hz) Even had someone in Ireland come back to me and give me a radio report and a brief chat, so that was cool and proved the board was working ok. :o). . . walked a bit late. Felt cold in the strong wind with a hint of moisture in the air. . drank a glass of wine and ate corned beef, mayo, grated cheese and lettuce sandwiches followed by half a coffee cake. . awkwardly fell asleep in front the TV ('Question Time') on the sofa for an hour or so!! Woke feeling ugggh - staggered straight to bed around 12:30am. d
30 - Up just before 5am!!?? I think I mostly woke because I was generally feeling quite a bit of discomfort from aches and pains, and especially a lot of pain from my battered, bruised and blistered hands. . . PCd e-bay etc (it's the end of the 767 internal ATU auction later!!) over coffee, cigs and annadin tablet . . PCd this over more coffee and an annadin tablet . . walked early in just a hint of drizzle. Good timing. It started to rain pretty heavy just after we returned. . wow I feel tired. I think it's gonna take me the rest of the week just to get over the last couple of days. I haven't worked that hard in a while . . PCd this all morning . . Mum called to touch base . . shut down all the scanners so I could fully concentrate, set myself up with my usual two screens, shark bidder style, and settled in to await the end of the 767 internal tuner auction shortly after midday. Theoretically, this is the last major thing I am minded to try to buy for the 'forseeable' (yeah - right - I bet!) future. As such, I got all uptight, shaking, pounding heart and sweaty armpits about it. There can't be too many of those around any more - mine does appear to be faulty - I recently missed out on one - it was important to me that I should bag this one. Since the seller's website was advertising one for sale in a regular manner for 75 - that kinda gave me the absolute uppermost amount that I should dare to go anywhere near, if the bidding went high. (Jeezuz - I'm gonna end up with THE most expensive faulty 767 on the planet!!) . Several days ago one bidder had bid the minimum of just under 20 (+10 postage) , and it had sat there like that for almost the whole week. Five seconds from the auction end (fully expecting late high bids to go on) I put in a LARGE maximum bid, ABSOLUTELY intending to win it. Well - I DID win it - for 31 including postage - which I have to say, is for probably less than I'd imagined I'd end up paying. I can't say I'm pleased (because it'd been better if the one in the radio worked ok in the first place, for the money I gave for it!) but at least THAT is over and done with now. Apart from cheap little stuff, like maybe a different earpiece for one or other of the radios etc, I don't think I can spend ANY more on ANY of it for quite a while!!! My bank accounts are the lowest they've been in decades - and I STILL have a leaking roof!! It scares me - much. It ALSO scares me that I'm very soon gonna be opening that radio up to mess around inside it! (I STILL haven't even opened the tone-board box that came in the post from the States the other day!!) . . So - I've given up the car - next will HAVE to be another attempt on the smoking!!! :o( I really don't know that I can pull THAT off. :o( . Actually - where the hell IS the stuff I bought recently? I was kinda expecting at least the scanner by now!! <worry, worry, worry>. . .ate four pieces of toast and pate followed by chocolate . . napped until around 6pm . . walked . . TVd/guitarred the night away (despite my puffy, swollen, battered, blistered, very painful hands). . cooked and ate four burgers in buttered bread rolls followed by a large number of chocolate biscuits. . to bed around 1am. s
29 - Up just before 8am. Misty damp . walked. According to a dog walker, Princess Anne was in town again early this morning, visiting the newly built fish market building etc. Because of the mist, she'd NOT been able to land in her helicopter at the nearby playing field. She'd allegedly had to land at Exeter airport and drive in. (That explains the unusual driving around of police cars I'd seen from my window when sat at the PC for 'breakfast' coffee.) Selfishly, I was glad she hadn't been able to land locally. I'd have hate to have missed that if she had. . a quick coffee and then returned to the garden. Loaded next doors grass and all the remaining branches and tree trunk pieces from yesterday into the back of the car and then carried on cutting down more. Eventually called it quits on the one side of the garden and then turned my attention to the six foot or more tall fir tree in the huge plastic tub. Ended up having to just drag the whole thing and all of the earth (and stones and a couple of bricks!) out of the tub onto the paving slabs, because it was all 'pot bound'. Used the hatchet and tree saw to cut away all the soil and fibrous roots and finally had the tree added to the load in the car. Eventually temporarily put all the 'soil' back in the tub and dumped it up the top of the garden to sort out some other time. . attacked the privet bush which I cut down once before, but which has grown back up into a big sized bush again over the last couple of years, because I was unable to dig the root out. Eventually had all the branches cut up and filling a dustbin. The root-killing/extraction will have to wait for some other time. . left Bella at home and drove to the tip with the back of the car absolutely full, and two dustbins jammed in the front passenger footwell/seat again. Wow - that bag of next doors grass cuttings was SO warm! You could quite literally warm your hands in it! . .straight back to try and do a little more. Turned my attention to the big dead hedge out front, and up on the short step ladder, cut away ALL the bits overhanging the pavement. Pushed on and cut more away from the garden side. To be honest, around about now, I quite simply ran out of energy. I just couldn't do ANY more. Even though that hedge is now clearly completely dead for some reason, and looks awful, it makes sense to me to leave what remains for the timebeing, to act as a barrier between the garden and the sharp drop to the pavement below. It keeps that part of the garden dog secure and saves me having to immediately start worrying about trying to construct a fence or railings or such. Having said that, I reckon a gold old fashioned privet hedge would do the job there nicely. I HAVE kept a couple of bits of self seeded growing privet in pots, just in case they will come in useful for that some time. . . left Bella at home again (I think she's starting to get the idea) and headed back to the tip - for the last time. On the way, the car in front of me drew my attention. Something like a wire or maybe the handbrake cable was drooping down beneath it, and when it went over big potholes and the suspension went on full compression, it was actually touching the ground.Flashed my lights, blew my horn and then leapt out at the next junction and rushed up to his window and let him know. He looked a bit shocked. lol He pulled over in a layby a little distance ahead, and as I passed him, he was laying on the floor and had located whatever it was and was fiddling with it. . through the busy queues of traffic and eventually arrived at the council tip around 4:45pm. Huh??? Oh NO!!!! It was shut!??? How can that be? I was told yesterday they didn't shut until 8pm! Drove in where I shouldn't have and collared a passing workman and asked what was going on. Turns out it was early closing today! FFS!!! Explained about the car MOT expiring troday and how I just had the two final bins full, and he directed me to park up and go have a word with the staff in the office. .parked up, went in and pleaded my case. (I hate to say it, but under the circumstances, if I couldn't dump that final load there, I'd be looking for somewhere 'appropriate' down a country lane on the way home, rather than have to take it back home and then be stuck with it all for evermore!!) Thankfully the staff accepted my grovelling pleas. I was told to park up nearby and one of them provided me with a big nylon bag to empty my bins into. Phew. WHAT a relief. . returned home and without ceremony, parked the car up for the last time for the forseeable future. I am now a committed pedestrian! :o\. . cleared up just a little and then finally unreeled the wire back down the garden and tied my antenna back onto the timber fence post by the garage as rain began to fall. Either the tie at the other end has stretched - or the wire itself has stretched(broken?!) - but it appears to be 'at least' a foot longer than it was, and I ended up with the end insulator actually strapped alongside the post!? Bit worrying that. I need to re-visit all that pretty soon. . EXHAUSTED!!!! Just sat around unable to move for ages. The garden looks awful - like a bomb has hit it! It's very much less attractive with all those trees gone, but I think I was right to do what I 've done. At least I can actually see the garage from the house now. Little point in having all that garden if you can't see it to appreciate it. Whoever planted those trees so close to paths and fences, lacked the vision of what they would become. Totally inapropriate. It may well be I'll want to in some way replace them in the future with smaller slow growing ones. We'll see. I'd VERY VERY much like to put a pond in on that level instead of that paving slab terrace. Imagine the amount of work THAT would be!!! And then of course there are those HUGE blossom trees that shouldn't really be there! Arrrggghh! . . walked carrying both the scanner and the VX-2, and both with the longer higher gain antennas attached!! With one in each bodywarmer breast pocket, it was embarassingly difficult to hide the ends of the antennas amongst the folds of my hoodie next to each ear. I must look a right geek/nutter walking about with aerials poking up either side of my head! I need to sew some little velcro pieces to my bodywarmer shoulders, to hold the antenna ends down so they are less noticeable and don't poke me in the eye when I turn, etc. . played ball in the mud before eventually ending up on my usual higher seat. The earlier rain and drizzle had cleared to a misty pleasant evening with even a bit of a red sky sunset between the clouds. Kept Bella on her leash tied to my belt, so I could just relax for a bit. Good job - only forty feet or so in front of us, an adult and a cute little baby rabbit appeared, nibbling the grass on top of the gun emplacement. Sat there for ages monitoring the scanner, and eventually heard an american station calling CQ via echolink. He called a couple of times but suprisingly no one came back to him, so I eventually fired up the VX2 and gave him a shout. K2PEJ mobile just outside New York, out going shopping with his wife and son, and actually transmitting via echolink from his mobile phone!! Chatted for quite a while. He even gave the mic to his wife at one point!!! (All rather stressful for me. lol) A bizarre experience again for me, given where I was, what with the rabbits on the grass just below, sea gulls, ducks and bats flying overhead as darkness fell, etc, etc, etc. :o) . . took a while to get back on my feet, but eventually wobbled home . .oh so, SO tired!!! Couldn't find the energy to 'do' food, so just ended up eating a packet of crisps, two pastry slices, banana and chocolate. . to bed around 11pm.
28 - Up just after 7am. Walked . . checked the car paperwork and confirmed the MOT IS out tomorrow - and the tax is due at the end of the month. Next door said he WOULD MOT it for me again, but he hasn't mentioned it since I asked, and I don't want to be a burden and hassle him about it - so I guess decision made. Given the cost of insurance/tax/mot/petrol etc, I AM gonna be taking the car off the road and giving it a go without for a while (at least). . . I've NO idea why I left it SO late, but I suddenly got a bee in my bonnet about clearing some stuff from the garden while I still have the ability to dispose of it by driving it to the tip. To be honest, I think having the energy to even contemplate it, was brought about by the recent warm SUNNY weather. It really DOES make a hell of a difference to my mood. . There are a whole bunch of poorly positioned, badly overgrown and half dead/brown fir trees in the back garden which are VERY much in need of being disposed of. It's a shame because they do look quite pleasantly green in parts, but other parts where they were crowded by various other trees and bushes I've already removed, have died and turned brown - and when that happens they NEVER recover. One in particular has grown far too big and was insanely placed right next to the fence between me and next door, and has been threatening to destroy the fence - never mind obstructing next doors garden path and threatening to destroy the concrete with its roots! All in all, there are FOUR large fir trees and various other bits and pieces that need to go!!! Very VERY slowly I am starting to 'maybe' get an idea in my head about how that garden should be more sensibly layed out. Because of the length of it and the way it slopes upwards in multiple little terraces, it makes NO sense to me WHATSOEVER to have anything 'tall' right in the middle of the garden - because all that does is make the whole rest of the garden behind it invisible from down by the house. . . . //. . cut down fir trees, cutting everything into car/bin sized pieces with the secateurs/loppers/saw. It takes a hundred times as long, but if you cut everything into small enough pieces as I always do, you can get enormous amounts into a very much smaller space and so make less trips to the tip as a result. Unfortunately, all that laborious hand cutting with the secateurs (ALL of it into pieces no more than 6" in length!!) guarantees VERY aching and blistered hands. :o( . . Bella heard the doorbell and barked as the postman delivered the tone board.Image of the garden during tree clearanceI'd have missed him if not for Bellas better hearing and barking and racing in. . . cutting down the third and biggest most difficult fir tree, another heavy cut branch landed on the antenna wire making it all droop badly! If that hasn't snapped inside the plastic I'll be suprised! Too late, I actually untied it and coiled it up out of the way and left it hanging on the pergola . . . . -/
I DID belatedly find the time to take a very quick photo at one point during the nightmare, just for the record. In the picture - with two already cut down, I'm part way through the big fir tree behind Bella. (The bush behind that tree, together with the fir tree in a pot just out of frame to the right, and the privet bush on the left all eventually went too!) /-
. .it was HELL getting that big tree out of the ground. Two wrist-sized thick roots disappeared under the nearby path and paving slabs. Had to spend ages digging out around them and then hacking away at them with a small hatchet. Eventually managed to hack my way through them and twist and bend the main trunk of the tree out of the ground to be cut up further into heavy but car sized pieces. . filled the car and drove to the tip with the back full to the roof and two dustbins crammed into the front passenger seat and footwell. . back for a brief coffee and then did it again. Uhoh - at the head of the queue at traffic lights on the way back, I couldn't get the car into gear at the lights! They turned back to red with everyone stuck behind me not having moved. SO embarassing! (I've had that happen before. Turning the car off and then restarting it is the only thing that'll work. 'Electrically sensed' semi-auto?). . . chopped the remainder of the cut down trees into car sized chunks and left it all in a heap at the top of the garden for tomorrow. I was STILL working in the garden as darkness fell after 8pm! A LONG day of bloody hard, non-stop work - with no food!! Chatted briefly to the neighbour about the MOT and eventually agreed there was no point in him doing it until such time as I may decided to ressurect the car in the future. He'd recently sold his BMW motorbike on e-bay. I casually asked if the buyer had picked it up on the weekend as had been agreed. Sore point! Apparantly the winner of the auction had NOT turned up to pay and collect on the weekend as had been agreed - and he has subsequently refused further contact! What an utter B*****D! Felt SO sorry for my neighbour. I'd be psychologically in a seriously bad way if that sort of thing ever happened to me!! He asked me if I could find space in the car on a trip to the tip tomorrow for his grass cuttings. Of course I couldn't say no - but damn - that's half a car load!! That's gonna put added pressure on me tomorrow to get all done that I want! :o/. sat in the garden with a coffee before eventually mustering the energy to walk - feeling UTTERLY exhausted! . .on the way to BGdns, a large number (up to a dozen?) of Chinese lanterns were ascending into the sky and drifting off slowly in the apparant direction of Paignton-ish. Even called Mum on the mobile suggesting she(sis2) may wish to look out her window. As I entered BGdns, the large group of people who'd obviously been responsible, were just leaving in multiple vehicles. I may be wrong, but for some unknown reason, I formed the impression they were a funeral party. . sat with the scanner and VX2 radio after ball play, kindof in the mood to be playing with them despite being so tired. I DID call out on a couple of different frequencies, but got no response. It really IS quiet on the radios down here (or should I take the hint?)! Back home just after 10pm . . drank a glass of wine and cooked up four sausages, four bacon, mushrooms and a tin of sausages in baked beans and ate with four pieces of bread and butter . . BB called . . returned BBs call and touched base, struggling to stay awake. Big rain! Damn! . . to bed around 12:30am.
27 - Up late after 9pm - but after only a VERY few hours poor, dream-laden sleep!! Very summery feel to the day - walked down town for a change, around the harbour, and then on up to BGdns for the obligatory ball play before ending up sitting around in the sun listening to the scanner and VX2 for ages. SUCH a shame that the VX2 can't compete with the scanner in terms of its scan rate. Running both scanning side by side like that, the VX2 simply missed entire transmitted conversations. Having said that - there WERE occasions when it was actually quite 'useful' to have the VX2 stopped on a particular frequency, and still carry on scanning others with the scanner. lolol Playing with my 'toys'. lol . . . . almost forgot the hyacinth bulbs!! Wasn't in the mood but eventually got on my knees in the front garden and de-weeded the border all alongside the path. Dug out compost from the bottom of the compost bin (and actually made some much needed room in it by jumping IN it!) and dug that into the soil, before eventually getting the hyacinth bulbs in the ground alongside the path and in another border just below the front patio. So - assuming I'm still around, next year we shall see. Whilst messing around in the garden, I had a bit of a closer look at the front hedge at the bottom of the garden above the pavement. Well I'll be damned. It really has actually just up and died!!? When I bought the place, it was an attractive pale green covered in yellow flowers. Over just the last couple of years, it's gotten more and more tired looking, and now - bang - all of a sudden, it's definitely died. I wonder - it really seemed to start taking a nose dive with the first bad winter we had here. I suspect this last one with it's freezing temperatures has finally put paid to it. Well - that's gonna be a whole new problem to think about. Never mind all the work to remove it - what goes in its place? Humph! :o( . . ate Mum donated ham rolls, crisps and chocolate. . cut my hair and beard/showered . . walked with Sis2. The police helicopter was hovering low over the grove for ages, making a hell of a din. No idea what that was about. SUCH a shame you can no longer listen-in to them. By the time they eventually flew off to disappear into the mist over towards Paington, it was a great relief to have the peace and quiet back! . . TVd the last episode in the Brian Cox history of the universe series. Great program - but even with that, I am VERY critical of how TV has gone. Was it REALLY necessary for the licence fee payer to pay for him to go to South Africa to have a flight in a Hunter aircraft - just so he could, 'in passing' mind you, make reference to the speed of sound - while really explaining about the speed of light? They really DO throw money away. Much (most?) of that program (not including the cool new CGI) could just as easily be done with some cheap stock footage out of the archives, for next to nothing! Grrrr. . . ate Mum donated cheese and onion pastry slice, banana and cake. . to bed before 11pm.
26 - Up sneezing at 6am. Wow - first time I think since I've had her, that Bella didn't join me (eventually) up in the bedroom overnight. I presume she just stayed down on 'her' sofa in the living room. High time she decided to do that really - it WAS only a matter of time. Her sofa is far more comfortable than the pile of duvets on the bedroom floor - and my snoring! If she starts making that her habit, at least I may be able to reduce the amount of mud dust on everything in the bedroom - and not wake up sneezing perhaps?. Another thing worthy of not about Bella - there is currently an advert on TV (for who cares what) which includes the noise of a ringing bell. The first time Bella heard it, she barked and got all alert and hyper - and still gets alert and concerned even now, after having heard it many times. I can only assume it is similar to a doorbell in one of her previous homes! Funny little insight into her unknown former life. .Oh and one other thing. She no longer EVER accompanies me during the long hours I spend in the PC/radio room. She takes herself off elsewhere - usually her sofa. She HAS however learned the Windows XP logoff music!! REALLY! lololol Whenever she hears that music (and the PC shutting down) she comes racing upstairs all wagging her tail, expecting something to happen (usually either a walk, or titbits of my food when I've finished eating). Crazy dog. lolol . . walked early and posted the census form. Misty and cool with occasional glimpses of sun. . PCd a bit of this. .the postman delivered a letter from parcelforce. Would you F***ING well believe it. I just KNEW that was gonna happen to me (again!). I bet it doesn't to most! I bet most just happily slip through. That CTCSS board from the states which cost me 70.93 has been hit with an outrageous 13.34 import VAT levvy, together with an even more outrageous 8 Parcelforce 'Clearance Fee', whatever that little money making scam is! (They really could charge as much as they wanted couldn't they. Blackmail like!) I could spit! There's just no end to this 'money pit' I've dug myself so deeply into. :o( To have paid that much in total, just for a tone board is utter madness. I could have bought a whole different, higher powered radio for use on 2mtrs for that much! I feel sick - as I bloody KNEW I would. :o( Here are relevant extracts from the letter I received :- "Import Value Threshold: . . . for goods imported from non-EU countries, Customs charges do apply, these may include import duty, excise duty and import VAT. Goods with a value exceeding 18 (for commercial items including internet/mail order purchases) (the customs website indicates this has already or is soon reducing to a mere 15!), or 40 in the case of gifts between private individuals, are generally subject to Customs charges. Normally charges are calculated upon the declared value (plus shipping costs and postage for commercial items). Parcelfarce Worldwide Clearance Fee: If we receive a parcel from overseas, we will pay any Customs duties and taxes on your behalf to UKBA. However, we will require repayment of these fees together with our clearance fee, Parcelforce Worldwide charges a clearance fee which helps cover the cost of additional handling, administration, collection of monies and provision of facilities for Customs clearance packages.". . .with absolutely no choice in the matter (which I would argue, calls into question the 'legitimacy' of the clearance fee at least!), I went on-line and paid up. Earliest 'release for delivery' was next Tuesday! (If I'd elected to have it delivered on 'a' Saturday, they'd have charged me ANOTHER 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????) Well - that's set me up in a foul, FOUL, angry mood for the rest of the day! :o( . .sat in the summer-like sun in the front garden playing with the guitar for a while. Next door emerged intending to mow his lawn so I took advantage of the opportunity and asked if I could maybe have some diggings from his garden before he mowed them all away. Grape Hyacinth bulbs was what I was after. My entire property here bizarrely has not a single one. Back in Bristol, I meticulously seeded strategic parts of the back garden all along either side of the path with them, and it was always a pleasure to see them emerge around this time of year, heralding the coming summer after the long dark days of winter. Almost zero maintenance, they just sit in the ground and then suddenly emerge to look nice and blue and green in early spring. Everones gardens for miles around are full of them and yet I haven't any. Well - I have now. :o) Ended up with probably only a couple of dozen, but that should be enough to set the ball rolling. FINALLY. :o) Left them in a bucket in the back yard to be planted some other time. I DO have just a couple of daffodils in the ground here and there. I suspect in the fullness of time, I may actually seek to buy a few more bulbs from somewhere to add to them. All stuff that just kinda sits in the ground and takes care of itself is what I'm after - not the nightmare of potted stuff and things that need constant care and watering, which is what I inherited here (although just about everything in alll the pots HAS now died). I'm stuck with an absurdly large collection of pots, mostly just dumped up the top of the garden out of the way/sight. . . Mum and Sis2 called in with the paper and food donations, for chats mostly in the sun in the front garden for ages . . ate Mum donated pork pies, crisps and chocolate. . napped . walked and sat around in BGdns for ages . . TVd . . touched base with BB . . had a major 'guitar frenzy' - for hours . . PCd/listened to radios until somewhere around 4am before eventually to bed. Clocks changed this morning, so that's more like 5am isn't it?!!!! :o( s
25 - Up before sunrise around 5:30am - actually woken by an overpowering unpleasant smell eminating from Bella!?! Second time I've experienced that odor from her!?? I'm not gonna worry yet. .That's messed up my day then - feel woozy and ready for more sleep at the get go! . . PCd e-bay lists and then this. . walked a little earlier than I have for a while. Really very summery out . just approaching BGdns, the car that had just passed me suddenly veered around something in the road up ahead. It was a blackbird. Something awfuly not right with it - but it was still alive, all beak agape and looking very unwell. Rushed out into the middle of the road with Bella, in front of oncoming traffic and managed to easily pick it up - without getting hit by the big 4x4 which had to veer around us! I assume the bird had been hit by something. It didn't look actually too damaged - but it looked as though it wouldn't be around for long nonetheless. Awful sad. Popped it over a high wall into the brambles on the edge of the allotments, for it to meet its end there rather than be squished all over the road by the next passing car. Very sad - on such a nice day particularly. :o( . . walked the woods and beach and encouraged Bella to swim for her ball quite a bit (closest she'll ever get to being bathed). . PCd etc while carrying on with sorting out my accounts. Loads of little e-bay bits and pieces to account for again! Balanced - eventually! . .did a 10 including postage 'buy it now' on a recently listed two way antenna switch on e-bay. (Yet another one of those things I used to have and practically gave away when I sold everything!). . . set myself up to bid for another UBC3500XLT scanner on e-bay (because sooner or later, one way or another, I AM gonna HAVE to buy one that ISN'T faulty, just to finally have what I want and be able to put my tortured mind to rest on the subject!) - but it went in the last few seconds for more than I was willing to pay. SUCH a shame they don't make exactly that scanner but WITH some VHF/UHF transmit ability. . . some window sales guy called at the door. Turned out he also represented a cavity wall insulation company (175 fixed rate) - so I reluctantly dared to give him my details for a surveyor to call me back some time. If I do nothing else before next winter - I think I DO need to get THAT done. The draughts that come through the house via the cavity really are quite astonishing. With the back door open, I've even had 'whistles' in the living room (adjacent to the new windows where the capping/silicon over the cavity has seperated just slightly in the ferocious sun! Grrrrr!)! Whenever it is windy out (which is of course most of the time here) it IS noticeably colder in the house! :o( . . PCd a bit of this, waiting for the end of YET another UBC3500XLT scanner e-bay auction. Funnily enough, over only the last week or so, it appears that a couple of retail outlets have gently started to chip away at the cost of those scanners BRAND NEW. Given my recent bad experiences with everything second hand on e-bay, and in particular the 'festering wound' which having bought that faulty one has caused me 'psychologically' kinda, AND given that Mum gave me a gift of 200 specifically for the purpose of buying a NEW one - I HAVE been leaning towards buying new! One of the e-bay companies selling them, appears to be doing that thing of pulling in customers by listing brand-new stuff in auctions, at just a 'little' below the going price everywhere else. It was THIS type of listing that I set myself up to bid on - with every intention of winning it, and putting paid to the festering wound it has become to me! With only a small number of other bidders, three seconds from the end of the auction, I bid high (although still somewhat below the new price anywhere else) - and I DID win it. Allegedly brand-new with a guarantee for 164 including postage. The cheapest I've found them anywhere else is for around 181.50 - with 'most' retailers charging around 200, so in theory that was 'ok'. I can't wait to see how THIS is gonna somehow backfire! It's just bound to somehow isn't it! :o( . . uhoh. Bella appears to have developed a bit of a limp from this mornings ball play! . . ate a trio of tuna, mayo and lettuce rolls followed by a little chocolate . . napped briefly. . walked. In spite of her limp, Bella acted as usual and even played ball as usual (I probably shouldn't have let her!), so I assume it's just a bit of a sprained wrist. . PCd the evening away. Filled out the mass of paperwork which was the government census form. Took a while - and the longer it took, the more angry I got about being legally forced to do it! Thankfully, only half way through all the mass of pages, it suddenly became apparant nothing else applied to me and I was done. What a waste of time and money all THAT is! Seems to me, there was SO little real data actually in it when completed, it wasn't in ANY way worth doing. It didn't even ask about pets or - anything! . Spent a good couple of hours trying to get the printer working again, after having not been used for at least a year or so. (Mostly because - I feel obliged to reply to the letter from LBs parents - even though it's now been WELL over a month!!! I just couldn't countenance the prospect of hand writing a reply. It's gonna be a difficult one for me to write, and I know it WILL take MANY hours/days (with mostly ending up looking blankly into space and just thinking about things for hours) for just a few inappropriate lines!! I'm gonna HAVE to do it on the PC.) Predictably, the printer did not want to print, despite replacing all the expensive ink cartridges and doing test print after test print and nozzle clean after nozzle clean, using up all the ink and paper in the process!! ARRGGGHHH!! Why is it ALWAYS thus with me and printers? Feel as though I've spent a good portion of my life (both at work and at home) battling with the f***ing things! I eventually just had to give up and am destined to repeat the entire nightmare YET again tomorrow - and tomorrow, and tomorrow - never mind trying to type the actual letter!!!! :o( . . ate a banana and bowls of cornflakes before to bed around 2am.
24 - Snuggled with Bella then up in the sun before 7am again . . .PCd this . . walked. Bella fumbled her tennis ball after only a few throws and lost it over the cliffs. Damn - that was a fairly newish one that still had a bounce! . .PCd/scanned a bit but felt oh SO tired again . .Long overdue - ordered a USB programming lead for the VX-2 from e-bay for 8 including postage. It's SUCH a fiddle to load up memories etc, getting one of those leads sooner or later was inevitable. I need to get more serious about exploring that 'handie's' possibilities and limitations. It's just SUCH a complicated nightmare to remember how to do anything with it. . . ate early the rest of last nights rice and soup concoction with four pieces of bread and butter followed by biscuits. . napped for several hours . . PCd and put in a good couple of hours sorting out accounts and paperwork. Actually spent most of that time just laboriously tearing stuff up! Lots of the old paperwork records I've had to keep for years have been replaced by new streamlined systems, so it all can now be thrown out. One of those rare ocasions when a shredder would have been VERY useful! . . walked . . TVd (Channel4 show about the mechanisms behind the recent Japanese earthquake/tsunami). . cooked and ate a big fry-up of four sausages, four bacon, two eggs and mushrooms with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a few squares of chocolate. Ate in front the TV while watching Question Time . . TVd BBC4 show about the nature of the universe until to bed around 12:30am. Actually - that last show had me almost grasp something I'd never realised before. Because the universe is so huge - the photons of light from extremely distant stars/galaxies/objects haven't yet managed to travel the extreme distance to reach us - and because the universe is expanding at an ever increasing rate, that light may NEVER reach us. So - when you look up into the night sky, not only are you seeing lots of 'old' light from stuff which may no longer exist - but you are also NOT seeing light from loads of stuff which does. If we WERE able to see all that other distant stuff, apparantly the sky at night wouldn't be particularly dark!! Mindboggling.
23 - Seasonal image of Bella and daffodilsSnuggled with Bella for a bit (until she rolled over and fell off the bed!) and then up shortly before 7am. Sunny again. Been proper nice spring weather for a few days now. Funny radio propogation conditions of late on the marine band. Not only am I regularly picking up french coastguard stations on the scanner (and even a french taxi company elsewhere), but also Jersey coastguard (just) this morning!! That really shouldn't ordinarily be posssible from here, with my limited antennas etc. . .walked in the hazy sun. Had a bit of a proper go at taking a couple of photos of Bella. VERY hard to get her to lay still for more than a couple of seconds, and even when she does, given her colouring, it's SO difficult to get a decent picture of her which doesn't just end up with her being a dark featureless silhouette against the background (irrespective of the light conditions!)!! . . PCd a bit of this . . . reluctantly got back under the floor and had a go at just gluing in a couple of noggins between the joists below the inner alcove in the kitchen diner.(I'll 'retro' screw or nail them, some other time.) Things did NOT go well and it took me an age to just to get the shortest piece to fit in the uneven gap! As soon as I'd finally got them wedged and glued in position, I had to give up. I just wasn't in the mood for such hard filthy work. . guitarred a little. One of the strings on the guitar is about to break. :o( . . got cleaned up and then PCd a bit. Keeping an eye on the e-bay listings as usual, it appears the retailer I'd found on-line which was advertising having an internal atu for the 767, has actually listed one for sale by auction on e-bay! Guess I'll be keeping a watch on that for the next few days then!. . PCd/listened to radios for a few hours . . someone sent me a link to a youtube spoof of the Brian Cox Wonders of the solar system program. I have to confess - it DID make me smile. :o) I even breifly watched another. (Wonders Of The Solar System Spoof / Wonders Of The Stoner System) :o) Aside from the amusement (given my little experience of editing videos) - imagine how much time those must have taken to compile! Remarkable. . Listening to the scanners like I have been much of late, and SO often getting 'hooked up' during a scan and listening in on the local echolink conversations, I ended up getting a bit of a bee in my bonnet about wanting to prove that my little VX2 handie could access the local Torbay node. Ended up charging the battery and pawing over the PDF manual on the PC and setting up appropriate frequencies and CTCSS access tones in a couple of the memories before walking. . walked around 7:30pm taking the VX2 and speaker mic with me. Played ball as usual and then sat on my usual elevated (night/no rain) seat and gave it a go with the radio. (MB7ITB - Torbay Echolink Node. Node No. 257017. Simplex - 145.2875Mhz. CTCSS tone - 77Hz) Oooer - my first EVER shout on echolink (VERY nervous - not least of all because I can't recall peoples callsigns seconds after I've heard them unless I write them down - and of course sat there in the dark I couldn't!) !! Pretty much line of sight to the echo node across the bay, I accessed it no problem. Bizarrely (so it seemed to me, not being used to this new-fangled internet-linked echolink concept of potentially worldwide on VHF ) I ended up having a brief conversation with a radio ham called Mac (NN4NC) in - wait for it - North Carolina, USA!!! Felt like a VERY strange experience - because of where I was while doing it. Hard to convey the scene and atmosphere - deserted BGdns in the pitch black in the cool of the night, overlooking the bay with all the distant lights twinkling on the sea, lit up trawlers coming and going, the clear moonless sky full of stars and occasional flashing aircraft, owls hooting in the trees, rabbits foraging around, Bella layed next to me - and on a mere watt and a half ending up talking to someone in North Carolina (coincidentaly where Sis2 comes from of course). He spoke of the 80degree heat - having turned his air conditioner round to pull in some cool air at night - and just sitting down to a meal etc. It's a whole different ball game being able to do something like that out and about, 'portable' like I was. Maybe I CAN see the attraction of 'echolink' after all. (In fact - wouldn't setting up a full blown HF station on the breakwater one day, be a crack for someone!! 'DXpedition'! lolol In fact - the more you think about it - the more attractive the proposition. I HAVE heard not long ago, a 'special event' amateur station transmitting from a lifeboat station to raise funds. Imagine the local amateurs getting serious about something similar during the local 'lifeboat week'. Just imagine getting 'official approval' and mounting an enormous HF beam on a rotator on top of the minitaure lighthouse at the end of the breakwater. Ooooooohhh - that'd be SUCH an 'event'! Imagine the photo opportunities and 'pile ups' on HF! The local HAM club really should try to do that!! lololol). . touched base with Mum/Sis2 just to say what I'd just been doing, and remark on how funny I should end up speaking with someone from North carolina where Sis2 had just come from. Small world innit'.. . drank a glass of wine while cooking up a pot of rice, chopped turkey pieces, tin of chicken soup, chopped onion and some garlic salt. Ate with four pieces of bread and butter followed by biscuits and chocolate. . to bed around 11pm. a
22 - Up around 7am. Sunny. . walked and returned via town for a quick look in just a couple of charity shops and then to pick up the packet from the post office. The latest pair of cheap shoes. . . headachey and not up to doing anything much, despite the summery weather. . .PCd this while sucking annadin tablet and scanning the military air band looking for more active frequencies to include in my future memory scans. .Actually ended up pausing for ages (deep into the afternoon) on 248.025Mhz listening to a real buzz of activity. I have to assume it was a ship because of the strong signal and the bits and pieces I heard - but I could see no sign of anything likely shown on the AIS map. The air controller was female and oh SO conscisely doing the business and commanding the complex dance of the male pilots. Overheard such snippets as "Downwind, port for DLP . . Ships head windspeed one zero . . . Merlin, Appache, Sea-King and Lynx in circuit. . . Descending below deck height" etc, etc. Assuming that WAS a ship - and given this country no longer has any aircraft carriers, what on earth HAVE we got which would have had all THAT lot going on all at once I wonder? It really WAS like a busy airport! Fascinating to a geek like me. lol . I wonder - 'HMS Bulwark' perhaps? Eventually spotted her on the AIS, way off over by the Isle Of Wight, kinda going in circles. If it WAS her, STRONG signals for so far away. Actually - how about 'RFA Cardigan Bay'? She was mooching around south of Plymouth which I guess is closer?. . awful headachey ALL day! . . . walked sucking YET another annadin tablet. It could easily have been some metal bins or fishing gear being moved around in the harbour, but from somewhere, 'just' audible occasionaly I could hear a hint of a deep booming noise in the misty distance. Really almost sub-audible - like distant thunder. Could it be that for the first time I've actually heard some 'live firing' from the distant naval firing ranges? ('Straightpoint' range near Exmouth is it?) I'd really like to get my hands on some 'proper' sea charts some time, to try to figure out actually where these places are. I HAVE attempted to look up such info on the net before now, but have come up empty handed. I'm not sure the noise from such places would actually carry this far. . .cooked and ate bacon and chips followed by a slice of Mum donated sponge cake . . fell asleep sitting on the sofa for half an hour or so!!!!! To bed soon after waking, a little after 11pm. aaaa
21 - Up around 7am feeling pretty achey all over. Foggy out . . walked the woods, sucking an annadin tablet. . . slow getting going on anything but eventually mustered the energy to break up all the rubble from under the floor and spread it out in the potholes in the lane. .really should have got back under the floor to do more noggin work and identify any other more pressing problems, but I just couldn't face it. At least the floor in Bella's corner now feels rather more sturdy. . just pottered around doing mostly nothing, before briefly sanding-down and getting a fresh 'one coat' layer of white gloss paint on the metal lid of the old miniature dustbin, in which I keep Bella's currently in-use sack of 'complete' dry food. Had that old dustbin for MANY years - in fact I think it 'may' even have once belonged to grandma! Way, way back, 'before dogs' in Bristol, I once had a small bonfire of personal papers etc in it, and my coating of white paint (on the lid especially) was pretty much destroyed as a result. Bizarrely, I've just put up with it like that ever since!! In much more recent times, despite how it looks, it's actually ended up residing in the inner alcove in the kitchen for convenience because I dip into it twice a day for Bellas meals. (An empty tin's volume of dry for breakfast after walking, a tin's volume of dry PLUS a tin of meat for her evening meal after walking.) Anyway - living there, it needs to not look SO grotty, so I've roughly slapped a coat of white paint back on the lid at least. The floor in that alcove creaks a bit when I walk on it, so that needs looking at, although I'm hopeful just a noggin or two will be all that is required to resolve that. The floor in the rear alcove beneath Bellas food bowls, where I did the work yesterday, DOES appear to feel firmer and has stopped moving and no longer sags or creaks when I approach it, so I figure that'll probably outlive me now (although I DO wish to return to it at some point and insert more noggins, just to firm it all up and strengthen it as much as possible). . did laundry and got it all out on the line in the grey haze for just a few hours . . Missed the postman at some point and tomorrow will have to go to the delivery office and pick up a packet - again. . . ate four pieces of toast and Mum donated pate, and then a Mum donated buttered fruit bun around 1:30pm . . napped for just a couple of hours. Woke from heavy dreaming around 5pm. . . PCd a bit of this . . walked with Sis2. Listened on the scanner as navigation warnings were put out about a shipping container allegedly seen adrift near Branscombe/Beer! Funny coincedence - I'd only recently read a news article about such things. I couldn't believe what I was seeing when I read it. "Each year, an estimated 10,000 shipping containers fall off container ships at sea. Although many of these containers float at the surface for months, most eventually sink to the seafloor. No one knows what happens to these containers once they reach the deep seafloor." Incredible! Outrageous!!!!!! I LOATH mankind! REALLY! :o( . . TVd/guitarred .Bizarrely actually ended up watching the 'parliament' channel for a while, because all the MPs were debating the military action/ no-fly-zone in Libia, prior to voting about it. Funny how they debate and vote AFTER we're already all committed to doing it! I initially was pretty against this country YET again getting all mixed up in something that isn't really our affair (except for the oil interests of course!! SO wrong!!) - but after having listened to a lot of those speeches, I confess I probably would have voted Yes with the majority. (Also watched a bit of a fascinating program about the role of the new 'UK supreme court' thingy.)I suddenly got a bizzarre 'sense' of what the future of mankind 'could' perhaps be, and what position this funny little messed up/mixed-up country could be taking in that. High ideals - but SO hard to be able to see that, considering the quagmire of ignorance, religion, greed and corruption which seems to consistantly overwhelm all else. It's all way above my head, and well beyond my lifetime. . . . ate bacon sandwiches, buttered fruit bun and plenty chocolate and then bowls of corn flakes . .to bed around 2am. as
20 - Up around 8:30am . .walked . . desperate not to have YET another day drift by, feeling down and having acheived nothing, I somehow mustered the energy to force myself to get under the kitchen-diner floor with the intention of clearing out all the rubble down there, to enable me to get in to the frighteningly cramped space and have a proper diagnostic look at the creaking floor. The movement of the floor in the corner where I've got Bellas food and drink bowls, does appear to have maybe got a little worse since I did all the alterations and got rid of the old heavy fridge freezer that used to be sat in that corner. Left Bella barking at neighbours in the garden and got to work under the floor overheating in thick padded overalls and dust mask (trying to ignor panicky feelings of claustrophobia!).. Once having squirmed my way on my belly to the bit of underfloor in question (three bricks high gap?), I then had little choice but to reach out and 'embrace' the piles of rubble and dust (and the obligatory mummified dead rat), and just pull them all towards me to enable me to then handfill the buckets I'd dragged in with me. Horrendous filthy hard work! At length - after having HAD to take a couple of coffee/ciggie breaks along the way - I had the dozen or so buckets full of rubble and debris , dumped in a big spoil heap up by the garage and the area under the floor 'mostly' now clear (except for layers of much chocking, fine dust). . squirmed back into the deepest most innacessable corner with an old flat butter knife, and confirmed that I could slide it in beneath at least two of the joists in that corner where they enter the brickwork of the wall. When I did the opening in the wall between the living room and kitchen diner, I discovered some pieces of old packing slate in the brickwork where an old doorway had once been. I've been keeping those old bits of slate for just such a reason. Cut pieces into useful sizes and then returned under the floor and hammered a couple in beneath two of the joists to firm things up. At pretty much the same time, I cut a piece from all the 'reclaimed' timber I've had stored in the garage for the purpose, and glued in a noggin between a couple of the offending joists. Back up in the kitchen-diner, unfortunately the slate-packing did NOT appear to have worked on the joist nearest the outer wall!! To cut a LONG story short, it turned out that the offending joist had in fact at some point in the past been wet in the wall with rising damp, and had actually rotted away!! Scraping away with my butterknife, all the rotted timber just turned to dust - leaving it just hanging in mid air, held in position by nothing more than the ends of the thin tongue and groove floorboards!!! YIKES!!!!!! No wonder that floor had been drooping when walked on! How on earth it supported the weight of that old fridge freezer is beyond me! What to do?!!!!!???? . thankfully the joist timber right up to where it entered the wall, wasn't in bad condition, so there seemed little choice but to build a new brick pillar immediately beneath it! Hadn't planned on doing all THIS amount of work all of a sudden!!! . . Hard, HARD work - but I got it done eventually. Unfortunately the bit of plastic DPC I cut to fit between the top of the brick pillar and the joist, shifted as I wedged the last brick in, so a bit of it'll quite possibly rot again in time - but I'll be long gone by then! . . all finished up and utterly utterly exhausted by somewhere around 6pm. .The trouble with working like I do with stuff like this - I'll go without food all day, work until the job is done and I'm battered bruised and utterly exhausted - but then, I always have to muster the energy to go walking the dog for a couple of miles immediately afterwards! Ugggh! . . . walked - filthy and exhausted. Could very easily have just fallen asleep on the seat in BGdns!! . back home after 8pm to find an unintelligible anspahone message from Mum. Called her back only to find she apparantly had a badly leaking outside tap!!!!! Left my half drunk coffee and quickly put my coat and Bella's collar back on and dashed up with Bella to have a look. The water WAS indeed gushing out pretty badly, but a quick close examination with my torch revealed it wasn't in any way as bad as I'd feared from Mum (and Sis2s) description. Looked to me as though it was just coming from the attached hose. Pulled the hose off and found the water was just pouring out of the tap. I turned the tap off - and unexpectedly, that was that! Somehow they'd got all confused and had the tap turned on full, and the old hoselock fittings just couldn't take the mains pressure and had been badly leaking. Women!!!! lolol WHAT a relief all round! What a bloody day this turned into!!!!!!. . returned home as a very large looking, impressive full moon was rising low in the sky . . showered . changed trousers! Worthy of note because all of a sudden, after having lived in nothing else for years, I've inexplicably worn-out TWO pairs of my indestructable black combat trousers all at once! That's a bit of a blow. The left leg on one pair has worn away to almost nothing (?? Bella/lead?), and more irritatingly, the zip has failed on another pair which otherwise actually have a lot of wear left in them (I do NOT intend to waste my time trying to swap the zips! My limited sewing skills do NOT extend to something as complicated as that!). That's bad news. Guess I'll be e-baying looking for replacements soon then! :o( . ..TVd the latest epsiode of Prof Brian Cox's EXCELLENT series on the history of the universe on BBC2 while drinking a glass of red wine . . ate a trio of salami, mayo, grated cheese and lettuce rolls, crisps, banana and chocolate . . to bed at 11:30pm.
19 - Up around 8am . .walked. Sunny and warm and Bella was well behaved. A VERY different day to yesterday's appalling down mood. . sat in the sun in the garden for a bit before then doing the mountain of dishwashing chores. . vacuumed a little . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats etc. . ate Mum donated pork pies, crisps and cake . . napped until just before 7pm . . TVd . . walked late with scanner and coffee and sat around for ages. . guitarred/TVd . . PCd (trawling e-bay listings)/listened to radios until early. . PCd just a bit of this . . . ate a chicken and mushroom pastry slice, crisps, banana and jaffa cakes before eventually to bed around 3am or later. a
18 - Up around 7:30am . .walked..pretty much a repeat of yesterday, unable to do anything and actually feeling really VERY down!. . listened to scanners etc. . . I'd recently recieved a letter from the council advertising cavity-wall and loft insulation, free to the elderley AND people on a 'low income' this time. (Their definition of 'low income' was something in excess of triple what I scrape-by on!!!) Rang up hoping to finally actually qualify for something, only to be immediately told (because I'm not elderly or on any benefits) the scheme had allegedly run out of funding and the best they could do would be to pass my details to various companies and add me to a waiting list in the hope further funding would become available. Uhuh. It all smacked to me of being a council sponsored con, in order to just feed customers to the insulation companies! So - once again, people all over the place are getting stuff for nothing - but not me. That did NOT improve my down mood. In fact I got very very down indeed. Just suddenly seemed overwhelmimgly as though absolutely everything I have ever tried to do has turned to absolute shit. The years of work on the house in Bristol all for nothing. Every pathetic attempt at a 'romantic relationship' fruitless and doomed to spending the rest of my days in increasing solitude. Stump up all that money for new windows (for only the second and probably the last time in my life) only to end up with a load of draughty, whistling, cheap crap. Try to do the 'nice' thing by taking on a rescue dog only to end up with an ongoing hyper/ADHD nightmare. And of course all the recent duff radio purchases. Blah blah blah. Yep - got pretty down about everything today. Everything and more. 'Not being Japanese' does NOT help when in such a mood! :o( . .hardly caring if it never worked again, I dared to dismantle (as much as I could) the faulty scanner, hoping there would be an obvious dry solder joint or some such. Pointless. The internals had obviously been constructed by a machine. Everything was in micro-miniature on a couple of soldered together circuit boards, with absolutely no means of further disassembly or getting anywhere near ANY of the soldered pins. No way would it be possible for ANYONE to 'repair' any of it. Eventually put it all back together. Still works as it did, so no further harm done - but a complete waste of time and effort - which all I do, always seems to be right now. . . Over the course of the last day or so, one or other of the 'youths' from next door was out in their front garden doing some gardening. For reasons best known to themselves, they spent a lot of time 'de-weeding' in the vicinity of the hedge which divides our two gardens immediately below my windows and front patio. Over the last few years I've wrestled much with that overgrown mess, and only a few months ago had put in a lot of effort in trimming it all (both their side and mine) down to a reasonably manageable height and into a reasonable(ish) shape, such that with this year's spring and summer growth, it would finally start to look like a proper joined-up sloping hedge down the entire length of the garden (despite much of it just being brambles). Well - all that painstaking work has ended up being for nothing. Whichever young idiot it was who did it - inexplicably they chose to remove so much of the brambles and hedge, that a big now suddenly exists in it between our gardens. Nothing remains of some old original 'chicken wire' type fence other than a bit of bent, screwed-up eyesore wire laying on the mud there. In short, the garden is no longer DOG secure! I can never now safely leave Bella out there unattended - unless I suddenly get serious about putting in the money and HARD labour to cut back the whole massive hedge and construct some sort of new fence between us. Not content with that - they appear to also have reached into the middle of the hedge and cut out a big section of it, which grew mostly towards MY side (their side remains intact and neatly hides the large void they've now created). In short - MY side now looks an atrocious f***ing mess!! I have to look out on that every day for evermore now! Yes yes yes - if that's all I have to worry about in life then I should think myself lucky - and yes, it 'may' well be mostly growing from their side - but it's still REALLY irritated me. It was just so, SO stupid and unnecssary! Just one more thing to get pissed off about. . . turned to drink and ate a pizza . . napped . .threw up . . walked and had a real hard time with Bella, constantly pulling on her lead and being exciteable and hard to control as always. Returned home, fed her and then shut her in the living room and took myself off up onto the radios/PC, very much just needing some time away from her - and her me too I think!!! :o( . . Heard a couple of people chatting on CB frequencies and actually dragged the e-bay bought CB out for the first time, and connected it all up to the long wire and CB matcher etc, and dared to butt-in on their conversation to get myself a radio check on it. They were over in Paignton which suprised me. I appeared to be getting out 'ok-ish', considering the inappropriate antenna and all. It came as absolutely NO suprise to me AT all, that (at the very least) the loadspeaker on the CB unit appears to be faulty and in need of replacement!! FFS! :o( Chatted with them for just a bit nonetheless. Wow - when was the last time I was on CB? That's a LONG time ago! Had real trouble chatting without using my amateur callsign - and not having decided upon a 'handle' (which just seems so silly to me these days. The first CB 'handle' I ever used MANY years ago on AM was 'Speedbird' - derived from the British Airways aircraft callsign I think-because I was 'into' aircraft. I then years later evolved into 'Ripper'. That didn't go down well with some people because it was around the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders!! That wasn't why I chose Ripper. It was more of a play on words in my mind, kinda based on my name. Short for Terry, people called me 'Terr'. If you tear something, you rip it - hence Ripper!! lolol)!!!!!! . . Ended up chatting on 2mtrs to the local amateur until around 1:30am! Did a lot of moaning about this, that and everything, and ultimately ended the conversation feeling a little 'unloaded' and less down. . .TVd the news and ate a couple of bananas and then four pieces of toast and pate . . returned BBs ansaphone call and touched base . . to bed around 4am.
17 - Up real late around 9am!!! . . .walked in the spring sun . . .gave Bella a bone in the garden . . tried real hard but couldn't muster the energy to do - um - ANYthing, despite the warmth and sun!! Feeling pretty down I guess. :o( . . wasted the whole day away (again!!) and just ended up on the PC listening to the radios ALL day - and gradually oh SO slowly, building up mostly the list of military air frequencies worth keeping an ear on! transferred another bite of my savings over at some point during the day, and then went online and ordered the new Piexx toneboard for the 767 direct from the US. $111 including postage - which worked out at 70.93 apparantly. :o( Fingers crossed. Probably take ages to get here (and THEN I'll have to fit it!) - but no bad thing kinda. At least it should prevent me spending any more money on the 767 (for the timebeing!). I HAVE seen an advert online for a replacement internal tuner - but I'm determined not to spend YET more right now (a decision I may well regret when it's no longer available!). . . . walked and briefly popped into Mum's on the return to see Sis2 and let her meet Bella. Bella got all nervous and barky at seeing a new unexpected face in Mums, and despite arming Sis2 with a couple of gravy bones, she actually made to 'nip' her (leg) on two occasions!!!! Fear agression again/still! Living with her really IS an ongoing nightmare! :o( . . TVd and drank a glass of wine and got a bit tipsy on an empty stomach . eventually ate a tin of microwaved stewed steak with four pieces of bread and butter followed by half a coffee sponge cake . . TVd (Question Time) struggling to stay awake. To bed around midnight. d
16 - Up around 7:30am . .I seem to recall having had dream laden broken sleep - and believe it or not, I was dreaming about the faulty 767 ATU for goodness sake!!! . . Mum called to say Sis2 was in the country . .Checked e-bay listings and put in a minimum bid on another pair of lecoqsportif trainers that were going cheap because no-one wants them. (Listig due to end while I'm out) . . walked, played ball and then carried on down town and back to the post office to pick up the 767 2m module packet. Treated myself (and a mouthfull for Bella) to a 1.50 large sausage roll. Fatal eating something like that. Just made me desperate for sleep again!! I have to wonder if this thing about eating and then feeling 'woozy' and unable to resist the need for sleep, has some sort of 'medical' cause behind it! The only way I can function through any length of hours, is NOT to eat!!. . messed with the radio and fitted the 2mtr module. Well - I haven't spoken to anyone with it yet, but as far as I can tell using the swr/power meter and dummy load, whistling on SSB, etc, etc - it does 'appear' to work as I think it should. Time will tell. (The negative side of that positive looking outcome, is I'm probably gonna send off to the US for an expensive CTCSS tone module now, so I can make full use of the repeaters!!) The little 2.99 N type to PL259 antenna socket converter arrived in the post too, so at some point I'll have to 'have a poke' at 70cms with THAT module now also. . I'd won the auction for the white with grey side panels, size 10, lecoqsportif trainers - for 4.49 including postage. :o) (My winning bid was actually just 99p - as always, the postage on top spoiled the deal.). . god I'm SO tired and 'fuzzy'!! Only just gone midday, nice and sunny out, and I have LOADS to do - but I'm just gonna HAVE to go lay down!!!!??? . . . couldn't sleep and ended up getting back up and then eating mum donated pate with four pieces of buttered toast, a banana and a little chocolate . . napped. .touched base with Mum (and Sis2) to confirm Sis2 had safely arrived . . walked tu. . TVd/guitarred . . PCd/listened to radios for hours until deep into early . . ate a trio of grated cheese, mayo and salami rolls, crisps and a little chocolate before soon after to bed around 4am!!! aas
15 - Up around 7:30am . . PCd a bit of this. . walked and then carried on down town for a tour of the charity shops. Bought a bunch of burgers in the butcher and then a new variable-nozzle garden hose end (mine died after being left out and freezing in the winter. Same with Mums so bought her one too. Only 3.50 each) and some cheap solder (only a 1) at the excellent 'cheap tools' table in the undercover market. . picked up the packet from the post office. The last pair of shoes I'd bought off e-bay. Once again, they are cheap and won't last long, but they're very ok for the money. . returned home (feeling really rather unwell!) only to find I'd missed another delivery, and will have to do the same walk back to the sorting office over again tomorrow! Humph! :o( . . gave Bella a bone out in the garden. . . should be getting on with stuff, but ended up just sat around feeling really not good at all. All headachey and ready for sleep again already!!?? . . mustered the energy to PC a bit of this. That did NOT improve my headache! . cooked and ate four burgers in buttered bread rolls followed by a little chocolate . . napped for a couple of hours but woke still feeling headachey and not good . .guitarred in the conservatory around sundown as Bella barked at neighbours and gnawed on her bone some more . . walked. Stopped in at Mums on the return and fitted her new hose end . . TVd/guitarred/PCd the evening away and eventually started to feel a bit better than I had done all day. .ate a banana and buiscuits before eventually to bed just after 2am. aa
14 - Woke around 7am, snuggled with Bella and up shortly after. . put bed linen laundry on. . walked . .managed to get the bed linen on the rotary line, 'just' beneath the long wire antenna. (I'd moved the wire up just a couple of inches when I re-tightened it the other day.) That wire needs altering to be even higher away from the washing line, but I can 'just' get by with it at that height for the meantime. . ummd and ahhd before eventually deciding to do a run to the tip in the car, rather than have all the hassle of trying to burn stuff (and inevitably alienate the entire neighbourhood - although it doesn't seem to worry half the people in town who do it). With only a week or two to go until the MOT runs out, I STILL haven't quite made my mind up about the car. It IS likely I'm gonna be taking it off the road so save the s of tax and insurance. (Or should I keep it on the road for as long as it doesn't need repair? Dunno which is the best thing to do. If I lay it up and don't use it, it'll quite probably never go again will it! And I just KNOW - as soon as I don't have it, I'll need it for some vital reason. Just can't make my mind up!!!!) Blah blah blah - anyway, at the moment it's still legal, so I guess I should make life easier and use it while I can. (Silly thing is - the less I use it - the bigger is the 'mental block' to doing so and the greater my nerves about 'going out' in it! Took me AGES to persuade myself to 'just' drive to the tip!! Loaded the car up to bursting and managed to get everything that was ready to go, stuffed in for a single trip (three dustbins and MANY dog food sacks full, filling the back of the car to the roof preventing use of the rear view mirror, and a couple more bags in the front passenger seat!) . . left Bella at home and drove to the tip . . .shifted stuff around in the garage and pottered around for ages, tidying up a little and just trying to make enough space to be able to actually get in there! . tidied up some more in the conservatory and filled the wheelie bin up. Still LOADS of junk ALL over the place!! I need to start getting far more ruthless about actually throwing away all the old stuff I've been hanging onto! . . out back for ages, I missed the postman calling at some point, and will have to go collect whatever it was from the sorting office tomorrow morning . . drank a glass of wine and cooked chips. Ate chips and a pastry slice followed by buttered fruit loaf slices while watching the news from Japan of more nuclear power plant explosions and the threat of multiple melt downs!!! :o( . . napped . . walked . . guitarred/TVd the night away . . 'browsed' and ate a pastry slice, crisps, jaffa cakes, bananas, packet of toffey popcorn and chocolate. . TVd until bed around 1am. s
13 - Up before 7am(!?) too hot again (I need to start thinking about changing over from my winter duvet(s) already maybe.)and feeling oh SO very tired. . . walked the beach, woods and BGdns. There's a real hint of spring/summer in the air. All the daffodils etc are out. . dragged the oil drum down from the top of the garden and meticulously drilled a series of holes around the bottom quarter trying to make it into a garden refuse burner. Weird how nervous I am about actually trying to burn stuff in it some time. I've just never done such a thing, and bizarrely haven't a clue how to reliably actually get stuff to burn and keep burning in it. If it doesn't work out, and goes out half way through, it'll be more trouble trying to sort it out than if I hadn't bothered at all. Also, where I'd anticipated siting it for a burn in the garden, is no longer possible because of the overhead wire from the antenna. I'll have to try it dangerously close to the garage, plastic roofed car-port and car instead!!!. .pottered in the garage for a while moving some of the mountains of junk around sufficient to make just a little space for more . . cleared just some of the mountains of junk from the conservatory and shifted all the broken-down panels from the old PC unit into the garage. . moved all the packaging and cardboard boxes I've been keeping, out of the way up into the attic together with a few other bits and pieces. . . a lot of work and messing around and I'm STILL in a big mess all over the place! :o( . . showered . .PCd/radiod . .Mum called . . . . walked real late . . decided not to have a fire and shifted all the bags of garden waste back into the dry of the garage . . TVd . . ate a trio of grated cheese rolls, oxtail soup and some cake . . TVd until bed a little after midnight.
12 - Up around 7:45am too hot as the sun blazed in through the paper thin curtains . . walked. . TVd the news . . the patch leads arrived in the post. Messed around with the multimeter checking, as much as I could, that they were all ok. Nice leads, although they do appear to have an unusualy 'short reach' for the screw ring!?? Shouldn't be an issue generally, except for some reason they are reluctant to screw onto the (worn?) socket of the faulty 2m module in the 767!??? Would you believe it! I can't even buy a bunch of patch leads off e-bay without them being a 'bit' iffy! For goodness sake!. . PCd. I really have reached the point with all this 'faulty' radio nonsense, where I hardly care that I'm throwing all my money away anymore, (and am pretty soon gonna just end up more broke than I've ever been in my life before). I've spent a fortune, and simply ended up NOT being able to do most of what I should have been able to do (if everything had worked ok!). My master plan (which WAS well thought out and sensible - in principle) has just gone down the toilet - together with all my money! The faulty 2m module in the 767 is a MAJOR blow to my original plan. Clearly not having learned my lesson - and absolutely CONVINCED I'm just throwing away good money after bad on yet more faulty rubbish, I set out to definitely win the auction I've been watching all week, ending today - for an allegedly fully working 2m module. I won it - for 83.50 inc postage. . Ordered a cheap N type to PL259 female adapter for use on the 767 70cms module, which I haven't even tried yet (But based on everything that's gone before, since it's just BOUND to be faulty, I'm in no hurry!)! . If that 2mtr module DOES turn out to be rubbish - then that really is the end of all my attempts at building up my 'shack' - with the exception of somehow sometime buying yet ANOTHER (FULLY, BLOODY WORKING!!) scanner the same as the faulty one! (The fact that I can't carry that faulty scanner around when I walk with Bella, probably hurts me more than anything else in all of this. It's a superb radio - much better than my old USC - but true to form, 'I' end up being probably the only person in the world who spends a wadd of cash on one, only to find it's faulty and can't leave the bloody house!!!) You know - I wish I'd never bought all this 'junk' now. I should have just bought a brand new scanner and called it quits at that. The reality is, I probably get more enjoyment from just listening to everything I can hear on the scanner, than I do anything else! Yeah - I've pretty much reached the end of my thether with it all. I can't help it - it IS my feeling that, intentionally or not, everyone I've bought stuff off on e-bay, has screwed me over. What SHOULD have been an 'enjoyable' thing, getting new toys to play with, has (as it ALWAYS seems to in MY experience) just turned into a miserable 'open wound' which I'm more than happy to just avoid and do something else! :o(. . . sat in the front garden and played ball then guitarred for a bit waiting for Mum to arrive. . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats etc. As usual, she brought a tray of miniature prok pies, and treated Bella to one - leaving the rest on the kitchen counter top (for my lunch).. popped up to the loo while Mum was here, and just then, the parcel delivery driver called at the door! In 'mid flow', I couldn't rush straight down to answer the door! Mum trying to be helpful, closed Bella in behind the living room door and opened the front door. BIG MISTAKE! She hadn't closed the kicthen door, so Bella just went racing round that way and came tearing out to have a bloody good go at the postman! I reached the front door JUST in time to stop the postamn getting nipped (although I think he did end up with a bit of wet trouser where she almost did!)! Jeeze!!!! Easy to get into BIG trouble if you let your dog bite a postman!! Made much of apologising and eventually recieved my multiple deliveries without a more serious incident! . . opened the packages while Mum looked on. The dummy load and two pairs of he shoes I'd won. The shoes ARE cheap and are hardly gonna last very long - but for the price, I'm satisfied.
As for the dummy load - well - it 'looks' ok externally. I can't even face trying it out right now!Once Mum had gone, I headed in for some lunch. BITCH!!!! Bella had at some point somehow reached up to the back of the counter top and had nibbled away part of one of the pork pies that was poking out of the packet! Grrrr. :o(. . ate the remaining pork pies (despite the possibility of dog-drool contamination!), crisps, banana and chocolate - and did NOT give Bella her usual last bites of any of it . . napped for a couple of hours. . TVd Dads Army . K called by and delivered a bin-liner of cooked bones for UNDESERVING, overfed pork pie theif Bella!. . . walked with the scanner and caught the end of a coastguard search going on over by Paignton. The shore search teams were all out, aswell as the Brixham ILB, and the rescue 106 helicopter swooping low over the bay with a searchlight on (having difficulty because of the number of birds floating near the shore apparantly). No idea who they were searching for - but nothing was found. . PCd (checking e-bay listings)/radiod for a few hours. . drank some wine after 12:30am while cooking up four sausages, bacon, half tin of beans and two eggs. Ate with four pieces of bread and butter while TVing the news . . TVd until to bed around 2am.
11 - Woke around 7am. Snuggled with Bella for a bit before getting up . . PCd a bit of this. Poor birds in the trees opposite, looking confused at the ascence of their usual big roosting tree. Sad. :o( . . . walked. Someone mentioned there'd been an earthquake and tsunami in Japan!!! . . straight home to TV the news channel. Oh my god, what horror again!!! There's something utterly terrifying about a tsunami in full flood like that. I'm sure more footage will be revealed in the fullness of time, but some of what they were already showing was just mindblowing hell-on-earth! There was one piece of footage taken from an aircraft, of the enormous mass of debris-loaded water travelling at speed inland, wiping away EVERYTHING before it. What was not immediately obvious at the top of the screen, was that the water was heading for a series of roads FULL of unsuspecting driving traffic! The footage was cut before the traffic was presumably overwhelmed and the drivers no doubt died! Horror. Utter horror! . .retreated to the PC. . PCd monitoring scanners etc, tidying up just a tiny bit while keeping an eye on YET another e-bay auction which had attracted my attention. I HAVE developed a habit of checking on the radio listings fairly frequently (I have a couple of searches saved for the purpose), keeping a close eye especially on anything 767, but also things due to end soon generally. The listing due to end around midday which caught my attention was for "FIVE ENCAPSULATED PATCH LEADS 1 JACK PLUG LEAD". The jack plug lead I could hardly care less about (I have several of different types already hanging around), but the patch leads WERE of interest. They were 'proper' factory produced types, with bonded-on PL259 plugs, on both ends of short RG58 leads. I WAS actually dabbling with the idea of making some up with the new soldering iron later - but also figured I'd be needing to buy more PL259 plugs to do all I need. Anyway - I did a 'shark' bid in the last three seconds, and won them for 9.55 including postage. That's a fairly decent deal. I couldn't make up my own for less (and 'proper' ones like that, can be up around three/four or more s a piece - and THEN + postage) - and there's something about 'proper' bonded-on ones, which always makes them seem better to me (assuming they aren't faulty to begin with!). :o) . . .pottered around and almost tidied up just a little. . used the new soldering iron just to make sure it works, and managed to successfully de-solder a couple of used PL259 sockets and made them good for use again. . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . napped . . walked . .TVd . . PCd/radiod the whole evening away, acheiving absolutely nothing again . . TVd the news and cooked and ate four sausages, half a tin of baked beans and four pieces of bread and butter long after midnight . . TVd the horror until to bed around 3am.
10 - Back up around 7:45am, awful cold and tired after only two or three hours sleep . . . walked between light showers in the blustery breeze . Walking inncoently along the pavement, obviously carrying the morning's full poop scoop bag, we were passed by a jogger. As he ran past he made some sort of snide comment about dog poop on the pavements everywhere! Why have a random go at ME you f***ing idiot! If he hadn't kept on running, I would very happily have engaged in an argument and given him some serious abuse!. . radiod. There was a bit of a 'propogation opening' on 10mtrs, which saw me listening around for hours! Dared to transmit and briefly talk with a ham just over in Paignton. What was particularly interesting for me about that contact was he was using a VERY similar antenna setup to mine. A transmitting balun, no earth, long wire, etc. . . the tree surgeon guys returned opposite (despite the wind) and finished off cutting down the big tree. Videod for an hour or more - although I haven't a clue what I can do with the footage. Nevertheless - it DID give some extraordinary views of the guy up the tree, weilding his chainsaw, with the distant other side of town as a backdrop. Breathtaking, death-defying stuff!!! . . postman delivered my cheap new 100w soldering iron . . . cooked and ate a pastry slice with chips, followed by some chocolate and then chocolate biscuits . . VERY in need of sleep!! Napped, only to be woken within an hour or two by Bella barking as someone called at the door. Raced down (hoping for deliveries) only to find two old women at the door, weilding little pamphlets, trying to 'sell me' religion! 'Almost' politely said no thank you, and promptly shut the door in their faces. Grrrrrr. The term 'feeble minded' filled my thoughts! . couldn't get back to sleep despite oh SO needing to be, and ended up back on the radios/PC for ages. . . walked late. Felt awful and headachey. Lack of sleep I suspect. All wobbly and having 'visual' disturbance - seeing things moving in the shadows that weren't - that sort of thing!!! . . TVd . . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps, banana, chocolate and then later on, bowls of corn flakes! . . collapsed into bed just after midnight. aa
9 - Up around 6:15am, woken by Bella making some noise with her feet while upside-down 'walking on the wall' like she always does. Just as-well - I need to get out, walk and get back quick, to catch the end of an e-bay auction which I absolutely cannot miss out on (which I've already put a minimum 29.99 inc postage starting bid in on). It's 'allegedly' a new internal tuner for the 767. I've no choice really. Given mine IS apparantly faulty - I HAVE to go for it if I'm gonna get serious about trying to get parts to keep mine going. There surely can't be many of those around after all these years. Having said all that, assuming I continue into the future with this money-pit/break the bank radio nonsense, I ultimately undoubtedly WILL wish to get myself some sort of more capable EXTERNAL tuner ANYWAY!!! Madness! I scrimp and save, and begrudge paying pennies for a decent pair of shoes, but throw away huge amounts at all this nonsense (quite probably doomed to failure anyway, the way it's all been going so far! :o( ). . . walked . . PCd a bit of this . . .sat and watched the end of the ATU auction - trying very hard to be 'sensible' about not putting a higher bid on (costwise, it could be argued it would make more sense to buy a whole nother 767 radio for spares!) - and would you believe it - in the last couple of seconds I was outbid by two 'sharks'. It sold for 37 inc postage. I could spit! :o( All that watching and hoping and getting up and out early etc for nothing. Back to square one. I could spit - or is that cry?! :o( . . did laundry and PCd a bit more of this, while monitoring the military airband on the scanner. . cooked and ate bacon, eggs, chips and four pieces of bread and butter, followed by chocolate biscuits. Lots! . . napped until the alarm at 7pm . . . walked. Just leaving Bgdns, in the pitch black, listening to 'shopwatch' transmissions in my left ear, I was a little startled to suddenly see two small black dogs appear out of the shadows at my feet. Did my usual silly voiced 'hello dogs' routine, to try to keep Bella calm, and even stooped to say hello and stroke one. I hadn't heard or spotted the approach of the female owner who suddenly appeared nearby in the darkness. I can only assume that Bella was equally shocked by the woman's sudden appearance and approach. She went a bit barky and - oh no - she actually apparantly 'nipped' the woman's bottom!!!!!!!!!! I wasn't actually sure what had happened until the woman confirmed that she had. She was VERY good about it, and as I shouted at Bella to come to me for suitable 'nose gripping' and growling chastisement, the woman seemed more concerned that I should not 'take it out' on the dog. Nice understanding lady thank goodness! . I just can't EVER relax for a moment with Bella!! :o(. . TVd feeling really very down - more so than for quite a while. :o( . . radiod and PCd until deep into early. Almost all night in fact, although I don't now why I bothered, because the bands were incredibly quiet. . surfed and looked into the BcTool software/antivirus alert thing. It had crossed my mind to contact the software people (via their feedback type website) and explain the symptoms and maybe even attach a screenshot to prove it. Funny thing was, someone else had recently done EXACTLY that. Turns out (allegedly according to the developer, who I DO believe) the software is all ok, the anti-virus company have been contacted (again?), and in due course it should resolve itself and no longer be flagged up as a threat. That explains why it happened all of a sudden even after having been used without problem for quiet a while (and by so many others for years) - must have been the latest antivirus update.
8 - Up around 7:15am. . put a modest 8.99 bid (the minimum possible - inc. postage) on an auction due to end while I was out, for a pair of weird, plain, black, trainer type shoes . . walked in the hazy sun. Cool but a very pleasant morning with hardly a breath of wind. 'Warned' a couple of dog walkers about the 'security' of chordless phones! . . . returned to the PC to find I'd won the auction for the trainers. :o) . . uhoh - sadly, the antivirus software is suddenly suggesting the scanner 'BcTool' software has a virus!!?? That's weird - all of a sudden like that? . I had little choice but to uninstal/delete it. That's bad news! I'd quickly come to really rely on that for programming both scanners and for using the faulty UBC3500 at the PC!! :o( I'm gonna have to look into that a bit. . PCd this at length again. .Mum called to touch base and say Sis2 was 'coming home' for quite a while, some time next week!! Blimey! . . mowed the lawns both front and back - or should I say mowed the weeds? The previous owners would be horrified at the state of their prized lawns - just a mass of weeds and dog-worn mud nowadays!. . . propped the ladder up against the pergola and with the usual difficulty, used the hedge trimmer to trim the high bit of 'chinese lantern' (whatever that plant is actually called) hedge. That 'should' see it remain 'reasonably' manageable for the coming year . . I've been hankering to have a bit of a go at it for ages - and with the ladder and some tools already out, and with a relatively gentle breeze blowing, I figured it was time to attempt a bit of surgery to the huge, overgrown, and rather deformed BIG blossom tree. In the fullness of time, there can be little doubt that I'll be having it cut down - but I'm really loathed to do so, until such time as I really develop a master plan for the garden. (MUCH of the trees and plants in the garden are in need of cutting down and removing - firstly because they are old and too big and growing in absurd places. Secondly because many of them are looking half dead anyway. And thirdly because of the HUGE amount of pruning/maintenance work they require EVERY year - together with the difficulty here of disposing of all the waste. You can't put garden waste in the bins! You either have to drive it to the tip, or PAY the council to come and collect it by the bag!!)! Image of diy tree surgery!!Anyway - that big old tree has a couple of branches right at the top which seem to have grown lots more than the rest, and on particular windy days, they catch the wind and the whole thing sways alarmingly. Somehow, I wanted to try to cut down the offending bits, and if possible, restore a more natural, rounded, slightly less lop-sided shape to the thing. .managed to get the ladder extended and wedged against a 'relatively' robust branch or two, and then climbed up and put a thick bungey chord around the side of the ladder and another branch, to hold it reasonably firmly in place. Wrapped a bit of wire around the top rung and a much thinner branch, just to give a bit of added support and help prevent the lader 'twisting out'. Despite that, it was still wobbling about in the breeze enough to be a bit worrying when perched on the top rungs. Managed to saw through the most offending branch above my head, and have it fall to the floor without hitting me. Strapped myself to a rather thin branch with a nylon loading strap around my waist, just for a bit of added support, and then managed to reach out at arms length with the loppers and trim off one or two of the thinner high branches. One of the branches I cut hit the aerial wire on the way down, and had things stretch a bit making the wire sag!! Luckily it didn't break and I was able to undo the tie at the garage end, and tighten it back up a bit again. Moved the ladder and cut another branch or two before deciding that getting to the other one or two (much thinner) which needed cutting, was just too difficult and dangerous, and just wasn't worth the considerable risk. It still looks a bit of a misshapen mess - but not 'quite' as bad as it did, and hopefully will have just a 'slightly' better wind profile. Assuming my alterations don't kill it - I'll be able to make a better asessment when it has some leaves on in the spring/summer. . laboriously cut up all the branches and debris into bag sized chunks, and filled up several more dog-food sacks to add to the many all sat in the garage awaiting some sort of disposal!! . . called it quits after 5pm or so, pretty tired out. . PCd. Delayed walking to wait-in for the end of another e-bay auction that had drawn my attention. For a pair of mens size 10 'ABIDOS' trainers. Some weird sort of cheapo 'adidas' copy apparantly. As long as they don't immediately fall apart - I could care less about the label. (Amazes me how many people pay such huge amounts just to be seen to have such and such a brand name on stuff.) . I did a successfull 'shark bid' in the last few seconds and won them for 6.20 including postage. Now THAT is an ok deal. Well - I think that's me all 'shoed up' for the timebeing. :o) Be interesting to see how all those cheapo trainers wear, in comparison to the more expensive (British) ones I bought new, which have just lasted me only around three months! (Although as always, I'll continue to wear them until I absolutely can't any longer). . walked . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, a banana, a piece of sponge cake and some chocolate. . TVd until bed around 11:30pm. d
7 - Up around 8:15am feeling oh so very tired . . walked the woods, in a pretty fould mood. Got intrigued by an interesting bit of something floating near the beach and ended up getting soaking wet feet dragging it to shore. Turned out to be rubbish and not worth the bother - and subsequent discomfort of walking miles with wet socks, and just letting them dry out on me. . moved the car out of the way into the lane and then crushed rocks. Cleared the three sacks full that have been sat up there for months, and also moved my 'rock collection' (!) around a bit, just to tidy things up a bit near the garage. Eventually dumped all the rubble in the potholes up the lane. . called it quits mid afternoon after having acheived the obligatory blister. . PCd in the final few minutes of an e-bay auction I'd been watching for the last couple of days (agonising over the awful 'waste' of money!) , and finally just decided to go for it (money no object! ?????? HAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and did the 'buy it now'. An MFJ-260C 300w Dummy Load - SO239 (Frequency Range 0 - 650MHz) for 29.95 including postage. They are up around 46 new (+postage?), so I figured it' was worth a go (- despite EVERYTHING I've been buying second hand on there ending up being faulty! :o( Hard to imagine how something like that could be faulty? Surely!!) One of those sort of things you'll hardly ever use - and yet when you need one, you really can't easily do without. Assuming it's ok - even if I end up selling all manner of the stuff I've bought (I DO fully intend to sell several bits already, as my 'master plan' has evolved - and turned sour, thanks to everything being faulty!!), it, and the bought-new SWR meter, will probably be 'for keeps' come what may. . wasted around an hour waiting for another auction to come to an end. It was for a cheap pair of trainers. Waited and waited, and eventually tried to put in a 'shark' type bid right at the end - only to apparantly have a slow PC connection and miss them! Wow - how infuriating was THAT! They went for almost nothing! Missed a deal there! :o( . . . showered off rubble dust. .Had a pop at another ending e-bay auction for shoes - and yayyyy - I won them. Mens Trainers, used once, Le Coq Sportif, size 10, white for 8.91 including postage. That's more like it. That's more like a charity-shop type price, that I WOULD have happily paid down the road. (Around 30 new on the net I think?) Shame about the colour, but given after a couple of walks with Bella they'll all be red with mud anyway - and worn-out in only a few months, whadoI care. I think I need to maybe concentrate my searches for shoes on e-bay, on those like that which are 'less desirable' to most people. THAT'S how good deals are scored, it would appear. . Briefly dared (in the abscence of a dummy load) to experiment with the 767 and the SWR/power meter, attempting to see what power it's actually putting out on HF. Incredibly (more by luck than deliberate intent), it would appear my random long wire really IS (as I'd suspected) more or less 'almost' resonant on the 40meter band - and the radio does appear to be doing more or less what it should - with a variable drive output, and a good 100watt maximum. I daren't try it on the other bands (especially with the apparantly faulty internal tuner, etc.) The upshot of that little test for me (many more to do) - it strongly suggests the optional 2mtr module, which gave me all that hassle tuning the slim-jim etc - IS indeed faulty/in need of replacement. :o( That's bad news. They are like hens teeth. No longer made. No sign of anyone anywhere who repairs them. VERY hard to get hold of a working one. That's a real bugger. :o( . I need the dummy load to be able to make a proper assessment of whether or not the 6m and 70cms modules are 'actually' functioning. :o| . walked. Very quiet out, AND on the scanner . . TVd . . ate a trio of grated cheese, mayo and ham rolls with crisps and then a little chocolate after 10pm. . exhausted to bed around 11:20pm. a
6 - Up around 8am . . walked . . replied at length to an e-mail . . radiod/PCd, actually largely looking at e-bay auctions. Because I was trying to be 'sensible' with my money and NOT bid on stuff, I missed out on some really good deals which with hindsight I probably SHOULD have gone for! Typical! :o( . . .drank wine and cooked up a rice, chopped chicken slices, peas and chicken soup concoction. Ate half with four pieces of bread and butter. . . napped until the alarm around 7pm . . .walked . . TVd . . ate rice and bread and butter again, followed by chocolate biscuits . .TVd . . radiod and PCd until early, mostly reading up on anything and everything I could find relating to the faulty FT767. also eventually downloaded a free 'ham log' program (Winlog32) to some time have a look at. . finally to bed around 3am.
5 - Woke earlier, snoozed on, snuggled with Bella then up after 7:30am. Only just above freezing and single figures C in the house :o( . . couldn't resist turning the radio on and having a quick check of the SWR on the slim-jim and - what the f***??????!! It'd gona high as a kite!!! How the hell is THAT possible? I don't f***ing believe it!????? My mood immediately plummeted! :o( . . . walked in a pissy mood. Felt freezing out in the wind! . . back to the radio to try to figure out what the hell was going on. Since everything up in the attic can't have possibly changed, it surely HAD to be something at the room end. Swapped out the new patch lead from the radio to the meter, just to eliminate that, but still had a problem. Test, test , test , test - and every time I keyed the radio I seemed to get a different bloody result!!????? How is that possible?????Re-read the FT-767GX manual - carefully - at length - from cover to cover - AGain, just to make absolutely certain I hadn't done anything stupid! I hadn't. At length - I 'think' I got to the bottom of it and - it appears to me that it is the RADIO that is at fault! BUGGER!!!! :o( The only way I can get ANYWHERE close to some sort of stability from the meter readings is if I keep the drive control (the power output) wound round to absolute maximum (and even then it appears to occasionaly vary!??). Any attempt to reduce the output by backing off the drive control appears to result in an unpredictable or negligable output, and the SWR simultaneously goes ABSOLUTELY haywire and dangerously through the roof!?????? According to the manual, the radio should only put out a MAXIMUM of 10 watts on 2mtrs FM. Mine is putting out somewhere nearer 16 watts according to the new meter (and 18 according to the 767's inbuilt digital wattmeter!)!! At THAT output - according to the new meter - the SWR is a perfectly acceptable 1.5. (The built in digital SWR meter shows even better than that at around 1.1 - although I don't believe I've seen it explicitly stated in the manual that it SHOULD reliably work on VHF with the optional 2mtr module fitted. Who knows?). . so - back to feeling really, REALLY pissed off about the whole radio thing. I'm pretty sure that 767 is more of a duffer than it at first appeared. It's starting to look more and more like the most expensive receiver-only on the planet! :o( Surely given the symptoms, it can't be anything to do with my homebrew antenna? I guess the only way to be sure would be to put a dummy load out of the back of it (or the new meter rather), rather than an antenna. So what am I supposed to do now - go buy an expensive dummy load, just to prove the radio IS indeed f***ed? I despair. I really ABSOLUTELY do. I may as well take my remaining savings and just go throw them in the harbor the way this has all gone! I really am pretty much at the end of my tether here! :o(. . just for the hell of it (and because I'd just digested all the manual and instructions afresh) briefly experimented some more with trying to get the 767 to access the local repeater - and failed YET again, consistantly. Accessed it on the VX2 with CTSS (on the slim-jim antenna) no problem, intending to ask anyone out there if they knew if the repeater REALLY WAS still able to be activated using the old style of 1750hz tone (which the 767 DOES have built-in - and which the repeater website suggests IS still possible, even though I can't). In the middle of talking to someone, Mum called at the door and Bella went all loud and frantic! Couldn't hear a word the guy was saying and had to rudely just say goodbye - and was gone!! lol . . Mum called in for chats with food donations. Let her here a few phone conversations on the scanner. She was suitably 'disturbed' by the experience. . . ate Mum donated pork pies, crisps and some buttered fruit loaf slices . . lay down to nap only to be 'woken' withing half an hour by Bella barking and going nuts as some Red Cross guy called at the door asking for money. No thank you! . I SO need to get a sign up outside discouraging catalogues, collectors and sales callers, etc. It's the only callers I get - and I don't want THEM thank you very much! . . couldn't get to sleep so ended up getting back up and having a long overdue shower - but as much as anything else, just to feel warm for a bit! . . PCd a bit of this . . put all the foodstuff Mum had donated, away in cupboards, and whilst doing, found she'd taped an envelope to one of the items. In the envelope was 200 and a note telling me to go buy myself a NEW scanner (so I could go listen to the Red Arrows in BGdns, during their display in the summer)! My moaning about having been screwed by buying a faulty scanner - and in fact a faulty everything else - had obviously gotten to her a bit!!! She's too good to me. She REALLY is! :o\ . . . walked late . . back via Mums to say say 'you shouldn't have!', thank-you for the money (and actually to suggest, if she didn't mind, I would probably NOT be spending it on yet another scanner, because the other faulty stuff to try to sort out was probably more of an issue for me!!) She was ok with that. She'd taped it to the food and not told me, to avoid the inevitable argument of me trying to refuse it!! lol I can't win can those arguments can I! lol. . .TVd/guitarred . .BB called to touch base.Discussed the 'picking up phone calls' thing with her quite a bit. (I've also had an e-mail from someone expressing rightful concern "your recording the strangers cordless phone conversations - I think that might be illegal, so might be best to edit your diary, and especially not put them on Youtube". . I think that maybe what I put here, has given the wrong impression of me! I am NOT some sick weirdo ACTIVELY seeking out peoples private phone conversations to listen to!!!! I'm just into the radio/scanner, and am intrigued by whatever there is out there to hear. Having 'just' discovered it IS so easily possible to pick up such things, it's impossible for me to resist having a listen for a bit. Believe me, the novelty has ALREADY worn off. (There is a limit to how interesting it is, listening to mostly elderly people, talking about who has just died, or what ails them!) My recording of a couple of calls, was kindof 'incidental'. I was actually just experimenting generally with how recording from the scanner could be done (actually more interested in recording some of the military air comms), but since there was little air traffic at the time, and plenty of phone conversations, it was those I ended up recording whilst experimenting with the software, inputs, required audio levels, etc. I HAVE deleted ALL such recordings!!! My comment about using them on a Youtube type video - well - of course I absolutely could NOT - but I can still see how it WOULD make for 'interesting/emotional' listening, IF edited together in the right way. (I once had a silly idea for a bit of 'creative writing' - maybe even a silly little book - even an interactive website - just for fun. The idea was, it would simply be a collection of the writings as could be found in any street corner, royal-mail post box. Just a selection of random letters from this person to that person, etc, etc. Use your imagination. You could interlink them in clever and intriguing ways, kinda. Could be really entertaining - and emotional. If you 'get' that idea - then imagine what you could do with phone conversations!! Wow - that could work! ). With regard to the law, it is my understanding that it is NOT illegal to listen to ANYTHING that is openly broadcast by radio. (There's no encryption here - no passwords - no hacking in - it's all just freely 'out there'!) What I believe IS illegal, is conveying what you have heard to others, or making some 'use' of the information. (I HAVE already knowingly taken the calculated risk of straying over this line, by including some of the marine/coastguard broadcasts on a couple of my youtube videos!!). The 'legality' of it, seems pretty straightforward to me. The morality is a whole nother ball game. Morally, I guess I have to agree that it doesn't 'feel' right to listen to 'private'(albeit freely broadcast?) phone conversations. . blah blah blah. I could go on - suffice it to say - I've pretty much had enough of listening to such stuff. (Just imagine overhearing something, upon which you would feel obliged to act!!! Blimey - you could write a whole novel based on THAT idea - although I'm sure it's already been done!) I certainly WON'T be 'youtubing' any of it! It is not ME people with such phones have to worry about! . . . ate chicken slice rolls, crisps and chocolate . . TVd until to bed after 2am.
4 - Up around 7am, racing to let Bella out into the garden before she was sick! Didn't quite make it and had a bit of cleaning up on the landing to do! . . .walked and played ball before heading into town to pick up my package from the post office. Would you believe it! I walk all that way only to be refused the package because I hadn't taken any form of ID with me. Grrrr. My fault for not reading the small print, but as is more frequent of late for some reason, I had trouble containing my frustration and anger, and gave the poor woman behind the glass a bit of a hard time before heading home empty handed. .had a quick coffee and then headed all the way back down town. Used the opportunity to tour charity shops before heading back for the package. Scored a reflective orange, hopefully waterproof, workmans type coat for a mere 3.50. Not really me, but should be of use in the rainy dark some time. . popped into the nearby local hardware store and couldn't resist buying some electrical solder they had on display. Extremely expensive at over 5 for a tiny little tube full - but I need to get to the bottom of this trouble I'm having soldering everything - particularly in view of the fact I'll be having to make up a patch lead or two for using the new SWR/power meter! . eventually returned to the Post Office and made suitable apologies for my earlier behaviour and picked up my package and headed straight home . . . in no great hurry to start getting bogged down in messing with aerials and such again, I dabbled in the front garden for a while doing a small amount of pruning and clearing of the masses of weeds in one of the borders. My heart wasn't really in it, and it was actually pretty uncomfortably cold, and I soon just left it all for some other time. Actually - if I could just do a small amount every now and then like that, maybe it'd be a lot less of a massive chore. . unpacked and played with the new SWR/power meter. As suspected, the VX-2 handie sadly doesn't put out enough power to activate the SWR meter. . In need of patch leads to test antennas, I broke out all the soldering stuff again in the kitchen and had a test go at soldering with my old iron and the new solder. I DON'T BELIEVE IT! I had no trouble at all. So it WAS that old solder that was causing me all the problems!! I DON'T BELIEVE IT! . pushed on and made up a couple of patch leads. Went 'fairly' well. PROPER job - PL259s soldered to the braid, etc. Actually went so well - I figured I'd revisit the slim-jim and slightly alter how I'd done things - to eliminate remotely potentialy 'iffy' things I'd done. Used a length of RG58 coax wrapped round a bit of plastic conduit, to make a seven-turn choke (with hindsight, based on what I've subsequently read - that may be too few turns for 2mtrs - but too late now!) and soldered a PL259 socket on one end of the coax to fit into a double female joiner before connecting to the main length of RG213 coax down to the radio. Seemed a better arrangement than trying to do the whole thing with the unmanageable thick 213 coax. That choke is apparantly supposed to prevent any chance of the coax becoming part of the antenna. With all the trouble I'd been having SWRing the thing, I figured I'd better try and eliminate THAT as a possible cause. Having the coax feedline in two joined pieces like that makes it FAR easier to alter and ammend stuff - and even bring the aerial down for alterations, etc without having to touch the main coax run. All the soldering etc went pretty well - although I DID manage to screw up two PL259 plugs!! (Forgot to put the body-ring on the cable of one before I soldered it on! lol HATE it when that happens - and it sometimes always does! lol) That's the only trouble with getting all proper and soldering on the braid through the tlittle holes. Pretty bloody impossible to re-use the plugs again afterwards as far as I can see. . Bella had free run of the garden for several hours while I was messing around with all of this. It was 'almost' a bit summery out there for a bit. Briefly let her out into the lane to play with the neighbour's dog at one point. She acted SO excited and puppy like, it had us both laughing. . . eventually had the new aerial feeds all rigged up and set about ahaving a go at SWRing the slim-jim proper - temporarily holding the bare RG58 coax stubs to the copper tube with clothes pegs!!! . . it did NOT go smoothly. Something strangely eratic about the SWR readings I was getting!??? One minute good - next minute bad, without actually having really changed anything. . somehow at some point it appeared to ge down to a reasonable 1.5 and I just quickly took it all back down to the kitchen and used the blow lamp to successfully solder the cable directly to the copper tube. Wow - was that SO easy with that new solder, compared to the impossible nightmare I had with the old stuff. . . re-connected everything and hung the antenna back in the attic and the SWR appeared to still be 1.5. Yayyyyyyyyyyyy. At LAST!!!!! I think I'm there. (It all should have been SO much simpler than all the aggro I've had over that!! Can't understand it?) . . found a couple of locals chatting on one of the simplex channels on 2mtrs, and used their signals as a test of the now tuned slim-jim antenna, as compared to the discone and donated ground plane whip antennas. There really was no comparison. The slim-jim was giving 'at least' a good 2 'S' points better receive signal than anything else. Excellent! Couldn't resist and interrupted their conversation just wanting to know where they were etc, etc. They were of course just across town, but on very low power and such, so I was still VERY happy with how the slim-jim was performing. VERY pleased :o) . . . walked late. Very quiet on the scanner this evening. Cold out, but a clear star filled sky and very pleasant. My mood seemed to have been generally lifted by having something FINALLY go right with all the radio stuff today. . . tidied up some of the tools and mess I'd left all over the kitchen worktops, drank a glass of red wine and cooked up half a dozen fish fingers and chips. Ate with four pieces of bread and butter and then some chocolate . . TVd until exhausted to bed around midnight.
3 - Up around 8am . . PCd with the scanner on and - oh my god - I bumped into a phone conversation on someones old analogue chordless phone!!!! I was able to listen in to BOTH sides of the private conversation!!! I guess I've known in the back of my mind all along that it was possible to pick those up, but I've never actually experienced it before. It really was quite shocking to me, to so easily be able to do it! Imagine the private unguarded stuff you talk about on the phone - and imagine ANYONE (near) being able to so easily listen in to that!!!! SHOCKING! . Touched base with Mum breifly, to see if I could hear hers from here (because she 'may' also have an old analogue one!) . I couldn't - but that 'may' be because it's just too far away rather than 'secure'!! I'm gonna have to check on that!! . . walked late in the sun under a clear blue sky. Did the long walk down to Churston cove, heading for the woods. A woman with two German shepherds was on the beach - and one of them was black. Got talking and it turns out she breeds 'Blues'. She was adamant that Bella was very obviously a blue. . ended up walking the circular walk with her (to give Bella the experience of being in a 'pack') and was eventually joined by someone else with their two dogs. Bella was pretty ok. :o) . .played ball in BGdns before returning via town and a tour of the charity shops. Scored a handful of bones for Bella from the butcher. . got back to discover I'd missed a delivery! Damn! Typical . . gave Bella a bone in the garden and messed around for a bit, intending to waste away the two hours before I could go get the package from the delivery office. Ended up on the PC/scanner but soon spotted that tree surgeons were busy cutting down the HUGE broad leaf tree immediately opposite, which greatly restricts my view across the valley. I guess it will be nice to have that view opened up a bit, but I feel so SO sorry for the birds and wildlife! That massive tree had an entire eco system all to itself. I've had quite a bit of pleasure watching the birds in its branches. :o( . the huge tree and death defying antics of the tree surgeons saw me actually fire up the video camera for the first time in ages. Couldn't tear myself away for ages, and by the time I put my coat back on to go get my package, the small print on the card they'd left indicated they were shut after 1pm and I'd left it too late! Damn damn damn. . the tree surgeons infuriatingly called it a day mid-afternoon, WITHOUT having finished cutting the tree down. The highest part still currently remains - with all the rest gone . . ended up back on the PC/scanner for pretty much the rest of the day!!! I couldn't help myself. Spent a LOT of that time listening in to any private phone conversations I could pick up - and there WERE several - or even lots!!!! Shocking, shocking, shocking!!!!!! Sadest part of it all to me is - it would appear that most of the people I'm picking up are VERY elderly. It's that thing of old people having perfectly good, working old stuff, that they have no need or desire to replace - BUT - completely ignorant of their resultant lack of privacy and vulnerability! . Of course I couldn't possibly - but I HAVE found myself considering putting notes through peoples doors warning them and suggesting they go buy a new digital chordless one!!!! :o| . . spending so much time at the PC filming the tree - I ALSO used the time to experiment with recording stuff from the scanner, with a view to including something on a Youtube video maybe some time. It wasn't difficult.. Damn - it's SO tempting to do an edited (to protect identities) compilation of phone conversations (I HAVE recorded a handful!) to upload to Youtube - as a warning to people!!! Shocking, shocking, shocking - and impossible not to listen-in to!!!!!!! . . popped up Mums with the scanner and confirmed hers IS one of the old ones that someone close could listen-in to!!! Recommended she get a new one. . .back home for a bit . . walked with the USC230 scanner in my bodywarmer pocket beneath my coat and the 'D' earpiece on my left ear. With those phone frequencies included on the scan, it was a whole new bizarre experience. Seemed like half the town was chatting on the phone! While I walked, every 100 meters or so the signal from one persons private conversation would fade away and eventually drop out as I went out of range, only for the signal to immediately be replaced by the next!! A really bizarre experience - perhaps especially so, being the socially inept hermit I am - suddenly having an insight into how normal people so easily interact. I found it both fascinating and disturbing. A real emotional trip! . .On the return after ball play, one of the conversations I overheard was - er - um - 'pornographic' I guess! Both people were obviously in their seventies AT LEAST - and yet the conversation was more that of a couple of horny teenagers. There was reference to a photo the old guy had taken of someone with their boobs out. The woman said she wasn't like that and would NEVER be photographed in such a way - and then there was a bit of to and fro banter about how lovely HER boobs were!!! Forgive me - but I may have actually just stopped in my tracks for a minute or two, before eventually continuing on my way and having their conversation soon drift out of range!! . . TVd/guitarred the evening away, greatly unsettled by the scanner/phone thing - wrestling with my inadequacies and feeling pretty down, hopeless, VERY alone, and frankly, long-since 'dead' already! . . ate four cheese burgers in buttered rolls and some chocolate. . to bed before 1am. s
2 - Up around 7am . . walked. . . Mum called to touch base . . scanned/PCd. It's absurdly time consuming, but I'm putting in a LOT of time with the new scanner, trying to build up the banks of memory channels, to include any/all frequencies actually 'generally' worth listening for activity on - rather than blindly sweeping across lots of empty frequencies in the hope of bumping into something. The holy grail for me in this, is finding activity on the military air frequencies - although I'm not sure why (its a big band to scan - hard to find stuff) . I suppose in this day and age it shouldn't be any suprise, but it DOES suprise me how many of the airborne voices one hears are female. . As I type this (around1:30pm) - on 240.4000Mhz AM (ANOTHER frequency to add to my memory list), there is MUCH activity from aircraft on some sort of training flight. Hearing lots of stuff like "Angels two one - bom, bom. Fox two scratch. Bronze, manual one, manual one, gO." etc, from within an oxygen mask. (I actually find it VERY difficult to understand what is actually said on these frequencies, it's always SO fast and business like). Why on earth do I find this stuff SO interesting??!! lolol . . Patrol vessel 'Mersey' is sneaking around Lyme Bay again somewhere, hassling fishing vessels and doing boardings - again, some more. Seem to have been doing a lot of that over the last couple of days. . . ate a trio of ham and mayo rolls, crisps and biscuits . . napped . . walked leaving my TV doing some sort of automatic software update download whilst on standby!?. . TVd briefly to check all was well (can't see ny difference to anything) before heading back up for more hours on the PC/radios. . surfed looking at this and that, found lists of analogue chordless phone frequencies, and ended up plumbing them all into another scanner memory bank to keep an eye on, just as an experiment for interest. . . there was a propogation 'lift' on 2mtrs tonight! (There was a little bit of one on 10/11metres the other day!! Reminded me of old CB days back in the 80's - when it was wall to wall.) I was unusually able to 'fairly' clearly here GB3WR up on the mendips (the 'Bristol' repeater), and it was actually being interfered with by other repeaters from even further afield. Ended up listening to it for ages. People from Newport, Kenysham, Coventry and even the Netherlands were all having a chat through the repeater(s)!!!!! That's pretty rare. Really got me quite jealous. I even fired up the radios and had a go, but of course no way was I gonna reach that far on transmit with anything. I DID however make a bit more sense of the manuals/equipment I've got. I'm now 'fairly' certain the 767 does NOT have the optional tone boards fitted, so no way can I access any of the repeaters with it. The VX2 however DOES do the job nicely - once you read the 'phone book like manual' and figure out how to set all the required menu options!! At LAST - FINALLY - I managed to access the local repeater with it using the discone antenna. My success got me all in the mood to be talking to someone on the repeater. Sadly - typical of down here it would appear (especially in the early hours) - no one was around on the local repeater (except me!), so that was that. . eventually gave up on it all and grabbed a quick pastry slice, crisps and biscuits in front the TV before finally to bed around 3am.
1 - Up around 8am . . walked with the scanner, but had a similar experience with picking up lots of noise that shouldn't be there! I need to get to the bottom of this . . PCd and played with comparing scanners and damn it all if I haven't come to the conclusion that there is a bloody fault with the new one!!!!!!!!!! :o( I'm not yet entirely sure, but I have a strong suspicion that the noise I'm getting is being caused by a faulty area actually within the scanner, in the region of the power socket. I 'think' that by applying pressure to the case of the scannner in that area, I can affect the noise its generating when being used portable!!! (When used at home and on the charger/power supply, it simply doesn't occur and is excellent.) I could spit! I really feel like just giving up. In the cold light of day - there's hardly anything I've bought off e-bay (second hand) that in the fullness of time, hasn't proven to be less than in FULL working order. I really do feel like just giving up with it all. I've blown all my savings (while trying to get as much as possible for as little as possible by buying second hand), and just ended up with a pile of almost-mostly/half-working 'crap'! And all this so I can hear such sintilating stuff as someone learning to ride a moped, someone else being tasked to go look at a not working washer-dryer in one of the holiday parks, and school teachers rounding up escaping kids at lunchtime! lolol . . . dabbled with my old small soldering iron, trying to get a grip on why all my recent soldering attempts have been SUCH a disaster. I'm none the wiser. Without question, the tip of the iron is colder than lower down, which really doesn't make sense. Dabbled with the larger iron and had a similarly hopeless result. I just don't get it! Seems as though everything I touch right now turns to s**t! Never had such trouble just doing a bit of simple soldering!???? Surely they can't BOTH be not getting hot enough? . . It ain't supposed to be all this hard! I just give up. I really do. . . ordered a new cheap 100w soldering iron off e-bay for 5.93 including postage, just to put to rest the issue of whether or not my old irons are both duffers. If I STILL end up with problems, then it can ONLY be the type of solder I've been using, which admittedly IS old and of 'dubious origin' and makeup. Buying some new solder IS on the cards but will have to wait. . I've been putting it off, and putting it off, but there's really absolutely NO avoiding it, so I figured I may aswell just go ahead and get it done. Ordered a new, and therefore hopefully entirely reliable, SWR meter for all the radios/antennas. An 'AVAIR AV-601' for 74.95 including postage. It's all turned into a nightmare 'money pit', and I'm just sick of it. :o( . . . ate an out of date meat pie, crisps and biscuits. .god it feels cold again! . . napped for only an hour or so (feet like ice!). . . Back to wearing two pairs of trousers!! :o( . walked in the bitterly cold wind with the new scanner (probably for the last time). Damn that faulty radio. If it wasn't for the fault, it really would be SO excellent. As it is, it's just unuseable portable. :o( Came pretty close to just throwing it across the room when I got back! :o( I've no choice - it's gonna just HAVE to live at home - where it DOES perform flawlessly (on the external power supply). The bcTool software on the PC is just SO good at running it, it's effectively become a 'software defined radio' in the way I keep using it. If the PC is on - IT is on - either monitoring already found frequencies, or searching for new activity elswhere. It's become immediately addictive! . . TVd . .drank a glass of wine and cooked and ate a Mum donated pizza with extra cheese followed by a bit of chocolate . . TVd the evening away, feeling really very VERY down. . to bed around 1am.
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