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30 - Woken at 7:10am by the sound of voices! Huh??!!!!! Turned out I'd left the scanner on in the living room all night, and it was blasting out the three hourly coastguard MSI broadcast!! Rushed down and turned it off and apologised to poor Bella, who must have had to endure the same noise (which I presumably slept through) at around 4:10am. . returned to bed and managed to get back to sleep. . back up around 10:30am!! . . walked FGn real late. Grey and overcast, with a keen, stiff breeze. . .PCd/monitored radios and chatted locally for a bit . . ate four ham rolls, crisps, mini cheddars and some chocolate. . napped . . skipped the evening walk as light rain fell. . TVd/guitarred much of the evening away. .ate a couple of slices of Mum donated swiss role . . PCd/monitored radios until deep into early . . ate a banana before to bed in the early hours.
29 - Up around 8am after almost no sleep at all - and VERY much feeling it! :o( . .Bella has been scratching a lot again of late - and this morning I 'think' I saw a flea on her! First one I've seen for a while. :o( Promptly gave her a flea tablet with a couple of gravy bones. . . walked in the chilly sun. Very nice morning in the sun. The harbourmaster was sat on a seat on the green while out walking his dog, and I couldn't resist asking him about the 'Marie Claire' sunken trawler in the harbour by the ice plant. Turned out it'd already been raised (! Thursday evening?) and was allegedly now moored alongside the quay in the inner harbour! Divers, chains and air bags apparantly. (With the benefit of hindsight, I 'may' have actually heard the divers on the scanner during their work.) Shame I missed it being done. . decided to carry on down to the harbour to have a look at the state of the Marie Claire. Really suprised at how 'ok' it looked in the sun, given how long it'd been on the bottom of the harbour, and how it was destined to be scrapped and all. Some of the ones that regularly put to sea, cosmetically look in as bad or even worse shape! People were busy 'working' on it. . had a brief look in a couple of charity shops and scored a long sleeved black sweat-shirt, of the type I live in, for £4. . the neighbour with the campervan (complete with his son and dog) passed me a couple of times on the walk back, and not 'that' far from home, offered to give me and Bella a lift the rest of the way. Took him up on it, for the fun of all having a ride in the camper. lol :o) . . radiod locally briefly. . the postman delivered the pack of six antenna insulators. . .Mum called in with the papers and food donations for coffee and chats . . ate a banana, crisps, mini cheddars and a trio of mini pork pies . . napped until the alarm at 6pm. Difficulty waking! . . . walked Bgdns with a coffee after dark. A really nice evening - chilly, clear sky, full moon, very little wind. It was so pleasant out, I walked the extra bit along the clifftop road, and returned via FGn. . . TVd and read through most of the local paper . . PCd a bit of this. .I HAVE had a few worring twinges of 'that' mouth pain throughout the day, but seem to have managed to get through it without suffering anywhere near like I did yesterday. Phew. . . cooked and ate four sausages sandwiches and a little chocolate around 1am and later, while watching a bit of a Horizon episode on the BBC IPlayer. . struggled to stay awake before to bed around 2:30am.
28 - Woke earlier with noise from next door, snoozed on then up around 8am . .walked and got caught out in a prolonged heavy shower and got soaked . . PCd a bit of this while monitoring radios. . reluctantly mustered up the energy to 'cross off the list' one of the possible potential reasons for all the high noise levels I'm suffering on HF. In theory, the noise 'could' be being produced by some interfering electrical equipment in the house. Having said that, after having messed around as much as I already have, I was already entirely convinced it was nothing of the sort and was very much 'external', and much more of an insurmountable problem than something so simple. (After all - given all my constant scanning this last couple of years, I'm fairly aware of what DOES cause minor radio interference around the house. ) Nevertheless, it seemed 'necessary' to go through the motions, just to be absolutely sure. Dug out the new and unused 'spare' car battery I've had sat in the garage for the last couple of years. (The FIRST one I was sent in error, when I bought the new one for the car, and which the company bizzarly told me just to keep!!!) Unwrapped it from it's box and packaging and made sure with the multitester it had enough charge, and then carried it up to the radio room and perched it atop a stool near the radio. Disconnected the 897 power cables from the power supply, and carefully connected them up to the battery with a couple of crocodile clips, and then fired up the radio and scanned through the bands making a mental note of the noise levels. With the radio now entirely seperated from the potentially 'dirty' mains supply, the high noise levels were unchanged. The next step in the 'going through the motions' process of elimination, was for me to actually shut off the mains supply to the whole house at the fusebox - i.e. there would be NOTHING electrical able to be producing 'noise', running in the house AT ALL. Predictably, the noise levels on the radio were entirely unchanged by going to all this bother. That pretty much confirms to me, it IS being picked up by the antenna, and is NOT going to be something I'm going to be able to escape. In a sense, my house is on the edge of and overlooking a large 'bowl' of most of the houses in the town. I reckon I'm picking up RF interference from every 'wallwart' switch mode power supply, TV, wireless router, heating system, kettle, wireless CCTV camera, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum, from every one of the houses out there - never mind the very local monster mobile-phone, pager, TV repeater, aircraft navigation beacon (Berry Head), coastguard, AIS, etc, etc transmitters in the wider 'vicinity'!!! I'm just stuck with it I reckon!!!! SUCH a disappointment. :o( . .eventually called it quits with THAT crossed of the list, and decided to put the battery on charge for a few hours, in the hope of keeping it in good condition, for some eventual use. . somewhere early afternoon during all this messing around, I developed some sort of weird and intense 'mouth pain', and everything else came to a halt. I am by now, VERY used to the 'normal' tooth ache and gum disease pain I constantly live with. I've become used to the pattern. Endure lots of hurt and pain for a while - then the tooth nerve in question eventually presumably dies, and the pain eases - after which, the tooth will likely 'eventually' wobble its way out and be gone! This level of pain I am 'accustomed to', and live with on a daily basis, and have done for several years now. (Eating ANYTHING these days, is pretty painful - some things I simply can't eat anymore. A packet of crisps is a pretty hellish feat of painful endurance. Biscuits ONLY if dunked in coffee first! Etc. Anyway - blah blah blah - I'm in a self inflicted mess (through neglect and smoking), but just can't face all that it means to sort the mess out. i.e. - having to go see a dentist!!! <Shudder>) . So - I'm used to 'mouth' pain, but THIS pain was something different. Very different. It was sheer squirming agony!! Normally, sucking an annadin tablet and having it dissolve right next to a painful tooth will give me good respite. I got through three annadin tablets over the course of a few hours, but that did NOT help (despite having ultimately effectively anaethetised my entire mouth!). I couldn't even identify where exactly the pain was coming from, despite roughly poking around in my mouth with a finger TRYING to make it hurt!??? A raging burning sensation, affecting my kneck, mouth, stabbing pains around my ear(!?), and a sort of woozy grinding headache on top! The only thing that seemed to help, was filling my left cheek with cold water and whilst blowing my cheek out, holding it there for as long as I possibly could!? . . bizarrely somehow during all this, I WAS able to eat some corned beef sandwiches, a banana and some chocolate! . . . lay down to try to nap, but the pain was just too much. 'Writhing in agony' pretty much sums things up! :o( I've never experienced anything like it before. Exhausting! Bizarrely, at some point I managed to 'have an affect' on the pain by pressing pretty hard in the region of my left temple! Kinda 'acupuncture' stylee? That pretty much convinces me that the nerves of one of my bad teeth (and adjoing gum) were acting on a more significant, less localised nerve going up the whole side of my face somehow. That's why the annadin tablets hadn't deadened the pain? . sat in front the TV for at least four hours 'battling' with the pain - swigging mouthfulls of water and 'manipulating' my temple etc! Horrendous experience. It was SO bad, if I could have been offered euthanaesia (and a promise that Bella would be ok), I WOULD have taken it! EXHAUSTING! :o( . . somewhere around early evening, all of a sudden, things 'subsided' . . . walked Fgn. . tu. .Felt utterly exhausted - and pretty unwell. Think I 'may' have overdone the annadin sucking earlier, on not enough food. There WERE a few 'twinges' of 'THAT' pain returning from time to time, but I managed to somehow overcome. Chilly evening! . . TVd/guitarred and eventually ate a few biscuits. . . felt SO, SO good to be not experiencing THAT level of pain, I ended up TVing/PCing/listening around on the radio until well gone 4am before eventually to bed (hungry and cold)!! If 'that' (whatever the hell it was!) is going to reoccur, I may have no choice but to HAVE to seek 'help' - at the very least, for access to stronger pain killers! I can't live with that! :o(
27 - Up around 8am feeling very tired. Mostly sunny between the clouds . . walked FGn. . PCd/monitored radios through my high noise level . . ate corned beef and mayo sandwiches with crisps and a banana . . napped for only an hour or so thanks to the noise from a flat roof repair opposite, and a raging pain in my mouth again. Sucked annadin tablet . . walked BGdns with a coffee. Bella got SO excited by my encouraging her to have fun chasing after the rabbits, she actually nipped ME!! Grrr. Up with THAT I WILL not put! That was THIS walk's reason for losing my temper with her! :o( . . . fed Bella and then closed the door on the downstairs and had a 'time out' away from her for a bit! Listened to radio HF 'noise' for hours! :o( This high noise level really does make the thing almost unlistenable. Just my luck isn't it! FINALLY get a radio that's doing the business, only to find I seem to be living in a property plagued by impossibly high noise levels. I've actually seen people on e-bay selling all their gear because of insurmountable HF noise. NOW I understand! :o( Instead of finally getting to 'just play radio', I'm NOW gonna be spending the rest of my life trying to reduce the noise levels so I can actually hear people! It really is a never ending battle for ME isn't it! Really IS almost as though it just isn't meant to be for me. :o( . . drank a glass of red wine and cooked and ate four sausages, two eggs and chips followed by a few squares of chocolate . .TVd until bed around 1am.
26 - Up at 7:45am. More sun and showers . . walked FGn mostly in the sun. . . PCd this - ish! Keep getting sidetracked to go listen to something somewhere on the 897 - and then get bogged down in reaching for the manual and experimenting with different receive settings on stuff. Some of the settings I can alter through all the menus, DO make the noise I'm plagued with 'slightly' more tolerable to listen through at times, but the more I experiment with them, the more overwhelmed I am by the UTTER absurdity of how obsessed all radio amateurs are, with S meter readings when making contacts. I can alter various combinations of settings and make the received station's audio far easier to hear, and yet lose an S point or two in the process. If I were to have a contact with it all set up like that - what actual value is there for the other station in having my S meter reading for their signal? Assuming every radio (internal signal processing/input preamp (in the 897 manual, it actually suggests the input preamp should be turned OFF under 14mhz!)/'S' meter calibration, etc etc) is liable to be 'slightly' different (never mind the antenna system!) - it really does start to seem almost entirely irrelevant wanting to know what signal reading the other person's meter is giving. Much more important is surely the 'readability' of the signal? Like - can you actually have a conversation! lol Funny game. All SO silly and pointless. What DID I do before spending ALL my time playing with all this nonsense???? . .messed around on QRZ.COM for a bit, trying to use street view on the Google map to actually spot the massive masts and antennas of the (US) stations I was listening to on 10mtrs. (Boy - they'd have a laugh at my little bit of 'damp string' wire! lol) Actually failed miserably because the streetview only went down to the nearest road. Boy, do those guys have a lot of land between everything! . . made the briefest of '59 Bye' contacts on the 10FM calling channel with an expat in Cyprus! 10mtrs IS absorbing when it's opening up like this. . .ate garlic slice sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . napped until around 6:15pm. . showers tempted me to skip this evenings walk. Vacuumed and loaded the wheelie-bin up (sneaking out some garden waste) for tomorrows fortnightly collection . . radiod and listened to the local club slow morse before joining in on their net for an hour or so . . guitarred/TVd . . ate garlic slices, cheese, crisps, banana, bowls of rice krispies and chocolate . . TVd until bed around 2:30am.
25 - Up at 8:30am. Sunny spells and big threatening clouds. . walked FGn and got slightly showered on a little. . tired and a bit down. Pottered around tidying up a little, and doing nothing at all really. . cut my hair and beard. . PCd/monitored radio a bit, but not in the mood for it (one of those days when it all just seems SO utterly pointless - despite all the money I've spent on everything!), and ended up just sitting around doing nothing - in silence most of the time. . . walked BGdns with a coffee. Back via the store for a tin of soup and also grabbed a few packs of going cheap (out of date) sliced ham. Almost ended up having an argument with the young guy on the till, when I thought he was overcharging me. Turns out he was right and I was wrong. I hadn't realised I'd grabbed THREE packs of the reduced-price ham rather than just the two I thought I had. I really AM noticeably (and increasingly rapidly!) getting a bit - um - mentally 'confused' and 'less able' as I get older!! :o( . . TVd . . ate a tin of soup with crisps and a six pieces of bread and butter stack of ham sandwiches, followed by half a Mum donated treacle tart . . TVd struggling to stay awake until bed around midnight.
24 - Up around 7:40am. . mostly dry with occasional showers. . walked FGreen in my raincoat (still dripping and soaking wet from yesterday) and let it dry on me in the cool breeze. . radiod briefly before reluctantly biting the bullet and having a bit of a go at (temporarily) seeing if a decent earth connection to the radio equipment, would in any way have an affect on the high noise levels I'm getting on the lower HF bands. Messed around soldering connections onto a long bit of earth wire (the one I used to use as my antenna down the garden) and eventually hooked it up to the main house-wiring-earth, under the floor under the stairs near the fusebox. Ran it all up the stairs and then tested connecting it up to the radio/tuner etc. Made absolutely NO difference at all - neither good nor bad. Fully aware that connecting to the mains earth like that, 'can' potentially actually introduce noise, I then decided to see if there was any difference at all by trying to find an 'alternative' earth. Under the floor, emerging from the concrete near the front wall of the house is a long length of inch and a half diameter metal tube. The end of it has been capped off with a big screw-in plug. I'm guessing it was once either the gas main or water main, and I'm also 'assuming' (?!!) it's been disconnected, since nothing comes off it anywhere inside the house. Whatever it is, I figured disappearing into the ground like it does, means it'll be acting as a pretty decent earth. Spent ages under the floor carefully filing the rust off the surface in a broad ring, before eventually wrapping some wire tightly around the bare metal to make a connection for my long earth wire. Tested everything with the multitester and then moved up to the radio and - once again, it made absolutely NO difference at all - neither good nor bad. So - that discounts something as simple as needing a better earth at the radio end of things. In fact - after having messed around with things in general, I've a horrible feeling the noise I'm getting really IS actually 'coming down the aerial', and is quite possibly local hash from all the houses etc, and may well be something I'm gonna be stuck with no matter what I do (especially with a unun/'random' wire type antenna)!! Bummer! :o( . . all this simple 'messing around' took hours - and was ultimately all for nothing. It would of course be ultimately desireable to have a dedicated direct to earth connection for all the radio gear, but it'll be a lot of work lifting floorboards and routing it all down through the house!) and (apparantly so it seems) isn't something worth doing until I can get some decent heavy duty cable - and because the radios are upstairs, LOTS of it! Expensive game. That's all gonna have to wait for a while. .plenty of stuff to listen to on the radio during the day while doing all this messing around. Propogation on the 10 meter band appears to have picked up lots of late - and I actually don't have the high noise levels on THAT band, so seem to keep having a listen around on it. Couldn't resist a shout here and there, and did the briefest of signal report type exchanges with a station in Moscow on 28mhz USB, and then a station in Italy on FM on the 29.6 calling channel!!! . . all this messing around got me VERY much in the mood to knuckle down and buy some stuff to enable me to put up a dedicated receiving wire for the PCR1000, so I don't have to keep 'sharing' my existing wire between it and the 897 by means of the coax switch. I figure putting up another completely fresh antenna for it, would also enable me to see just exactly how much of the noise I'm receeving is entirely dependant on the existing antenna setup/coax length/position, etc, etc, etc. Kill two birds with one stone? It'd also free up that antenna switch, which I could THEN use to share the main chimney mounted colinear antenna with the 7900 and 897. All made a LOT of sense to me, so I went on e-bay and rather than buy one of the ones I've been looking at for ages, rather 'spur of the moment' (after looking into it and him 'a bit') ordered a 9:1 unun made by a G4AZC for £19.15 inc postage. Also ordered a six pack of insulators (like the two I've already used on the wire out back) for £9.50. When all that arrives, and given I still have a 'reasonable' length of polyweave wire left, I think I may well have a go at 'temporarily' stringing something up from the FRONT of the house down to the front garden. Should be more than adequate to experiment with noise levels etc, and would give the benefit of having a minimal run of coax (I am running out of coax!!!). We shall see. . .walked BGdns around 6:45pm and back just after dark. . . TVd. . cooked and ate boiled potatoes, peas and a tin of stewed steak in gravy with two buttered bread rolls and later, a bunch of biscuits. . to bed around 1am.
23 - Up at 9:50am!!! Strong winds and heavy rain. Skipped the walk - again! Poor Bella - I really have gotten soft in my old age and just can't face walking in the sort of bad weather and storms I once would have. Having said that, as far as I can tell, Bella doesn't really seem to care at all - and gets all excited and waggy tailed when I explain we are staying in and not walking, and will then without 'too' much persuading at all, more or less go to the toilet in the garden on command now . .PCd a bit of this whilst monitoring radios . chatted locally on 2mtrs a bit . .PCd more of this . . poked at the HF radio lots. Propogation seemed to be really quite good on almost all the bands. Dared to call a bit of low power CQ on 10mtrs for quite a time, but got not a single call back. lol . . after a day full of rain, there was a brief lull late afternoon, and I took pity on poor Bella having had a terribly boring day on her own down in the living room, and figured I'd go for it. Got all togged up in full weather gear just in case, and then just as I was about to head out, it began to pour again. :o( Uggh. Walked BGdns in the pouring rain and got cold and soaked of course. The wind at least was a lot less than had been suggested on the forecast. . drank a splash of red wine whilst starting to cook food, but made the mistake of turning on the scanner in the living room while I did so. Unusually high signals were being recieved from the 29.620Mhz FM repeater in New York state, and I just couldn't resist turning off the stove and heading back up onto the radio for a bit of a prod. I DID manage to 'just' get into the repeater with around 50watts, but not very well apparantly (according to another UK station!! lolol Both of us talking via the New York repeater!), so I backed on out and just listened for a bit. Amazing to watch the signal drifting in and out, and for at least 'some' of the time, coming in at an absolute FULL scale deflection. Stations in France, the UK and the US all coming in loud and clear - all to and from New York!!!! Amazing. . .drank wine and cooked and ate four quarter pound burgers in buttered bread rolls with garlic mayo and grated cheese . .TVd until bed around midnight as heavy rain continued to pour.
22 - Up around 8am feeling very tired . . walked . . poked at the radios. Loads of special-event stations on the air this weekend, mostly part of 'railways on the air'. LOADS of them! . . . Mum called in with the papers and food donations for coffee and chats. As he'd suggested it would do (when I chatted to him in BGdns), the local paper had a report all about the kayak guy who'd been run over and badly injured by a RHIB a year ago. The paper also had various articles, clearing up some of the 'misinformation' I'd been hearing from people in conversations. Re the sunken trawler in the harbour - "The Marie Claire was being towed from Newlyn in Cornwall to Exeter to be cut up as scrap metal but ended up at the bottom of the harbour while on a night stopover in South Devon. It is understood that the 27 metre wooden beam trawler was one of two being towed hundreds of miles but the other boat had already sunk mid journey"!! So - that clarifies THAT. The alleged connection to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall turns out to be entirely bogus. THAT is a whole nother story alltogether - "A £1.2 million artficial reef financed by TV Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's production company could be built in Tor bay waters. The scheme, which was given approval by Torbay Council's harbour committee, would see up to 1,000 concrete balls placed on the seabed off Torquay.-//- Each reef ball, which is up to 6ft wide, 5ft tall and weighs up to 2.7tonnes, costs £1,200 to build and place on the seabed". Can't imagine the local fishermen being too keen on THAT idea (or the other persisting ongoing story, that an organisation is STILL looking to maybe sink a decomissioned naval ship in the bay (NOT Ark Royal now), for the benefit of leisure divers!) lol . . ate two bags of crisps, a pair of spam and mayo rolls, biscuits and a little chocolate . browsed through the local paper some more . . napped for a couple of hours . . walked BGdns with a coffee. Cool and breezy - something of a calm before tomorrow's forecast, possible gale-force 9 storm! :o(. . .listened to radios and poked at the internet a little. A little while ago, it'd come to my notice that the 'local' Echolink repeater over Exmouth way (connected via the internet, enabling easy world-wide communication on local 2mtrs), which I'd become accustomed to always hearing (and HAVE occasionaly used), had suddenly gone quiet - and seemed to be staying that way. Spontaneously figured it was high time I looked it up on the net, just to see what was going on, and why it was off the air. OH MY GOD! I hadn't 'joined the dots' and put two and two together had I!!! It turns out that Geoff Ingram, the skipper who went down with the 'Sarah Jayne' trawler, WAS indeed a radio amateur. Callsign M0AGI. Not only did he run a local AIS recieving station, but ALSO the local Exmouth Echolink node (Callsign MB7IEX - NODE NUMBER 297014)!!!! THAT is why, it IS no more! That shocked me quite a bit - and put me into a - um - sombre, thoughful mood about it all - all over again. :o( I didn't know him of course - don't 'think' I've ever spoken to him on the radio - but even in terms of the effect on MY tiny little world, WHAT a large hole his abscence has suddenly made! Shocking. Obviously a larger than life character - much missed by more than anyone will ever know. :o( . . an 'unsettled', sombre mood all over again! . . guitarred/TVd for a few hours. . ate half a battenburg cake, banana, bisuits and chocolate. Junk food - and not enough of it. . PCd until deep into early as the forecast storm began to arrive (and the damned PC room window started to persistantly howl! :o( ).
21 - Up late just before 9am again! . . walked the beach for ball throwing and swimming, the woods for more ball play and a sit for a cigarette, BGdns for yet more ball play, and then back through town for another sit for a cigarette before eventually home. Very autumnal feel to things, with a carpet of leaves all over the woods already. (I DID stop and have a peak from a distance at where those guys had been digging in BGdns the other evening, trying to figure out what they'd been doing. Everything looked 'ok' and put back in place, but there WAS a strange small carpet of fresh green broadleaves on the earth right there, with a cross of twigs placed flat on top!?? Hmmm? Weird. Grave of a pet perhaps? . A grey cloud-filled sky and 'cooler', but quite pleasant out nonetheless, and still plenty of visitors wandering around. Breathtaking how many people are overweight/clinically obese these days! It really is almost EVERONE now!!! Shocking. . The sunken trawler next to the ice plant is still there, almost entirely submerged and unchanged, and still marked off with yellow marker buoys. Just a bit of the higher superstructure (and nice marine-band radio aerials!) poking out of the water fore and aft. A small vessel ('Sea seeker') with 'Survey' marked on its side was moored nearby, with guys in high visibility jackets bustling around, so 'maybe' work is underway to shift it? I'm still not sure of the REAL story about how it came to sink, but have heard all manner of rumors - including one which suggested there were a PAIR of trawlers destined for scrap which were being towed up from Cornwall. One allegedly sank on the way and the other sank in the harbor! Even something about a possible connection to Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall of all people!!??? All looks a bit 'insurance jobby' to ME!. . . the postman delivered the brush, double gang faceplate I'd ordered. . monitored radios and PCd a bit of this . . . ate spam and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a square or two of chocolate. It would appear from the BBC news, that the body of Geoff Ingram, the skipper who went down with the 'Sarah Jayne' trawler off Berry Head the other week, has now been recovered by divers. Good. :o( . . napped until around 6:30pm . . skipped the walk again . . TVd . . radiod. Dared to give a shout on 14mhz using just 25watts and succeeded in making a brief (minimal exchange of signal reports type) contact with R100SG - a Moscow special event station commemorating a failed early 20th century polar expedition by a 'Geordy Sedov'! As 'an avoidant', it really is so UTTERLY absurd I'm dabbling at playing this radio game. No 'normal' radio amateur could possibly imagine or in ANY way understand the HUGE amount of 'mustering up of courage' it takes for me to actually open my mouth on HF like that. I get SO uptight at the prospect (all armpits dripping with sweat etc!), and all too easily get all flustered and tonge-tied and make a hash of things as a result, and MUST seem an absolute idiot to anyone listening (potentially anywhere in the world of course!!!!!)! It really isn't easy for me at all. It'd be far too easy to just be a listener forever, despite how much all the equipment has cost me! :o| . Funnily enough, the next station to call that Moscow station right after me, turned out to be PW across town! What a small world. lol Ended up having a chat with him at some length on 2mtrs, with each of us simultaneously comparing the signals we were recieving on various HF frequencies. THAT was VERY useful to me. Unfortunately it very much proved that my setup is definitely rather poor specifically with regard to the ever present background noise levels I'm getting on all the lower HF bands. I'm getting LOTS of constant interfering noise - with many of the lower signals just completely drowned out by it! I'm almost certain it has absolutely nothing to do with any interference from any of MY other equipment. It's definitely coming in down the antenna feed. I've LOTS of reading-up and work to do to get to the bottom of that and attempt to improve things. It IS possible, I'll just have to live with it! Shame. It DOES very much restrict what I can hear and do. . drank a glass and a half of red wine and cooked and ate some fried potato, a tin of sausages in baked beans, two eggs and a few slices of fried spam followed by a little chocolate . . to bed around 2am.
20 - Broken sleep then up just before 9am! . sunny spells . slow getting going. Walked late . . . messed around at the PC with radio stuff, listening mostly - and somehow continued doing so right through the entire day nonstop!!!!!? Spent much of that time listening to and adding HF aircraft frequencies to the PCR1000 scan banks - and even surfed and read up on the 'Shanwick' (and Gander) radio stations and transatlantic routes and inflight radio procedures and suchlike!?? Can't imagine I'll make a habit of listening to all that, but figured I may as well have the frequencies in a scan bank for if I so choose.. . . ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwiches with crisps, mini cheddars, a banana and some chocolate. As usual upon eating, I was immediately overcome with tiredness and almost fell asleep on the sofa! Just couldn't manage to muster the energy to start heading out, and ended up skipping the walk. .TVd a bit before ending up back on the radio to eavesdrop and just slightly join-in with a sched that a couple of the local club people had arranged for experiments on AM and FM on 10mtrs! My antenna (and location - down in a dip) proved to be predictably poor, and I could barely hear people just over in Torquay! . . radiod locally chatting on 2mtrs for hours more! During that conversation, I was shocked to be told that the recently lost skipper of the 'Sarah Jayne' trawler which sank off Berry Head, had actually been a radio amateur, and it was HIS equipment which has been feeding much of the (local/Lyme bay eastwards?) AIS data onto the MarineTraffic AIS Website (which I look at 'most' days - and was very much glued to when HIS trawler was in the process of sinking!!!!!)!! HIS data feed had suddenly recently stopped, and accurate coverage of this part of the coast 'may' now be reduced as a result! Blimey - I'd had NO idea!!! . . BB called in the middle of radio chatting . . . eventually pulled myself away from the radio and returned BBs call and touched base . . ate a banana, half a battenburg cake, crisps, mini cheddars, chocolate and a couple of crusts of buttered toast - in that order! . . TVd until to bed around 2am.
19 - Up just before 7am. 16C in, 7C out - very autumnal, although a very clear sky with the sun just coming up! . . PCd this and woke at the computer with coffee and cigs as usual. Was just about to turn everything off and head out for the walk when the scanner suddenly 'hooked up' on one of the ISS downlink frequencies. I'd forgotten all about a scheduled 8:15am contact between the space station and a school in Poland. Listened in on 145.8 mhz and heard the space station loud and clear for most of the duration of its brief pass. Actually some of the best reception I've had from it. As always - fascinating! :o) . . walked in the sun and returned via town and then popped in the auto electrical place again and bought eight more ring terminals and a bit of heavy-duty speaker wire, all for under £3. . . messed around with all the radio equipment again . messed around at length with my MFJ Deluxe Versa Tuner II antenna tuner. Several of the controls appear to have become 'stiffer' than desireable, one of the control knobs appears to have become loose on the shaft, and of course it always was missing a little rubber foot underneath, which made it rock back and forth on the desk a bit. Had a go at tightening the loose knob only to have the damned clamp screw strip in the plastic! Disaster! . Figured there wasn't much else I could do but actually end up supergluing the thing in position! . immediately left Bella at home and popped up the local industrial estate and succeeded in buying a can of WD40 from the builders yard, and a small pot of superglue from a UPVC window supplier. (Wow - that pot of superglue was SO much cheaper than the silly little tubes they sell in DIY stores) . . successfully glued the knob back in place and then put a few spots of WD40 on all the bearing points and got everything working a bit better/easier than it ever has done . .used a couple of old rubber tap washer type things from my garage collection to fashion some rather nice new rubber feet for the back side of the base of the tuner, and eventually superglued those in place too. All much improved and safer for perching the 897 on again. . . soldered terminals onto wires and got everything lit up and powered by the new power supply. With everything all on at once, just receiving and 'idling' as it were, the power supply is only showing around 2amps. Cool. . walked BGdns a little early. Bizarrely, in an off-the-beaten-track piece of very rough rocky ground in BGdns, two guys were digging with spades - while a couple of small and very young girls looked on! They were having a hard (noisy) time of it, because beneath the surface in that place, it was all stones and rubble more than earth. No idea what they were doing - but of course given the whole area's historical significance, whatever they WERE doing, they most definitely shouldn't have been. I'll have to have a look back there in the future some time and see what they've been up to! . . . monitored the local club net slow morse while preparing and then eating pepperoni sandwiches, crisps, two mini pork pies and a tin of oxtail soup . . . radiod a bit locally, and even 'livestreamed' on camera while doing so, just for a bit of sillyiness! . . to bed around 12:30am.
18 - Up around 7am after some poor sleep. Sunny and chilly . .overheard comments on the radio suggesting they 'may' be trying to raise and pump out the trawler that sank next to the ice plant in the harbor today. I'm rather expecting the new radio power supply to maybe be delivered today already (it WAS allegedly dispatched by First Class mail yesterday), so am gonna have to be waiting in for it, so unfortunately I'm probably not going to get the chance to go down and have a look at that. I WOULD like to have seen how they do such things. Big airbags and pumps apparantly. . walked. Wandering around apparantly on his own in the big playing field, was a little old dog! Got me all wound up that he was a stray, and when he wandered near to the road, I ended up grabbing his collar and then sitting on a nearby bench for a bit, just waiting to see if anyone would turn up looking for him. Eventually someone appeared and came wandering directly over from the distant opposite side of the field. Turned out it WAS his owner - it was the harbormaster!! He doesn't wander far he said - he'd let his dog out while he was in making a cup of tea!! Good job I hadn't wandered off with it! 'I' can't imagine being so relaxed about just letting your dog out and about on its own like that! I could never do that - ESPECIALLY with crazy Bella of course. Back via the store for a few supplies and some going cheap/off pork steaks. .Bella appears to be getting all scratchy again!!!! Did vacuuming and laundry chores before ending up on the PC/radios to await the post. .a couple of 'false alarms' when vans delivered stuff to neighbours, but then yayy - early afternoon the postman arrived with my new power supply. . carefully unpacked it, inspected it, and then connected it up to the mains and immediately put the multimeter on it, just to make sure it really was putting out around 13.8 volts on the fixed output setting. It actually tested at just slightly below, but close enough to be happy. Blimey - the illuminated meters and green power-on LED are rather bright! Thankfully the rear terminal clamp 'nuts' unscrew completely, which means I can use proper easier to obtain ring terminals on the ends of all the wires I intend to attach . . . walked with Bella and headed for a car electrics unit on the industrial estate down by town, which my neighbour had suggested would likely be able to supply me with suitable terminals. Sure enough, I was able to buy two different sizes to suit the different sized wires I'll be attaching. Bought four of each size just to get me going for less than a couple of pounds . . spent the next hour or so soldering the terminals on the ends of the wires for both radios, and also on the lamp power lead of my VHF/UHF SWR meter (which I've never yet actually seen lit!). .connected everything up and then fired up the new power supply for some proper testing. Seems to work fine - although I've still yet to run the 897 at FULL power. There IS a little gentle 'blow' noise coming from the power supply fan, to add to all the background noise already coming from the PC etc, but nothing 'too' bad. Only real 'complaint' I have is how damned bright the lamps are on it! Much brighter than anything else on the desk! lol . ended up just tuning around the bands for ages. I DID half heartedly call a little here and there (on very low power), but didn't end up with any contacts. . sorting out what is going to live where on the desk, is now something of a headache! I've temporarily got the FT-897 precariously perched atop the HF tuner!! . . .walked. Contrary to what I'd overheard earlier, there was no sign as far as I could tell of any movement on the sunken trawler down in the harbor yet. Breezy and felt really rather cold. . .drank the last glass of red wine from the box and cooked and ate all four of the going cheap pork steaks with chips, eventually followed by a heap of biscuits . . TVd until bed around midnight.
17 - Up around 7:20am. Sunny . . .walked . . PCd for hours and after going round and round in circles looking at power supplies and not really having a clue which one to go for, eventually went ahead and ordered a 'MAAS SPS-30-II POWER SUPPLY' for the radio(s) for £57.99 inc postage. If money had been no object I guess I 'may' have gone for something else, but the comparatively modest price of that one was just too much of a draw. . also ordered a SO239 Socket to N-Type Plug Adaptor for £2.90, and a Philex 70436R Double Width Cable Entry/Exit Faceplate (the type with nylon brushes which fits over a double gang socket box) for £3.89. That last thing is the same sort as the single one I've already got on the stud wall of the radio room with all the aerial cables coming out of the wall through it. It's all become a bit of a squeeze, so I'm intending (and have been for a while) to change it from being a single patten box to a double. Of course to do so means dismantling ALL the equipment and spaghetti of connections in the radio room, so now would seem like a good time to aim to do it. The new radio (and power supply when it comes) means the long overdue sorting out of the 'temporary' layout of everything on the desk is now something of a priority - with even the prospect of having to make up some shelving etc so I don't continue on with expensive equipment just piled up on top of each other in a heap (liable to get damaged and scratched etc)! . . ended up feeling headachey and rather woozy and unwell, and HAD to return to bed to lay down for a bit. . fitfully slept until around 7pm, only to then get up feeling still tired-out, headachey and a bit fragile. .a hint of showers. Skipped the walk and just sat, hardly moving in front of the TV ALL evening. . ate a trio of chicken slice rolls, mini cheddars, crisps, chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, and some mum donated strawberries and cream with lots of sugar . . eventually back to bed around 12:30am.
16 - Woke around 8am, snoozed on then up just before 9am. That's quite a lot of sleep! Grey and overcast. . . Woke at the PC and had a prod at the internet to look for the much reported topless pictures of Kate Middleton which have been published in the foreign press (as I also did with the naked Prince Harry ones recently). I couldn't resist having a look because of all the furor about it in the news - and - um - well - because she IS very foxxy! lol All too easily found a website entirely devoted to the pictures almost instantly! Yep - very foxy - BUT - TOTALLY out of order that someone has snapped such images (never mind the security issue!) and then stuck them all over the net and in magazines etc, etc. Nothing to do with who/what she is - just TOTALLY inappropriate to take such pictures of ANYONE and distribute them like that I think. Definitely out of order! High time all this sort of thing was reigned in somehow. Very foxxy though. Lucky man. lol . . walked FGn. The impressive cruise ship Artania was moored in the bay over by Torquay, with its busy tenders taking passengers ashore to visit. A £s windfall for the Torquay traders - and SURELY a 'disappointment' for the visiting passengers? lol. . had a good look down at the local harbor, and sure enough, was eventually able to spot the top of the superstructure of the trawler which has completely sunk right next to the ice unit on the fish quay - now surrounded by marker buoys. Blimey - that's right in the way - wonder how that happened (a dog walker suggested Thursday evening) and how on earth they are going to be able to salvage/refloat/move it out of there?. . .recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden before ending up back at the PC. The Yahoo headlines were reporting that Muslim demonstrations in response to some film or other were being planned for THIS country now. Several people around the world have died in violent demonstrations because of it already. I don't usually search out such things, but somehow on this occasion I DID end up breifly searching for the film, just to see what all the insane fuss is about THIS time. I endured watching over ten minutes of the film. What utter tripe it was. SO badly made, it really was just laughable. 'I' couldn't even understand what point the makers were actually trying to say! How anyone can get so upset and justify rioting and killing people over such a thing is entirely beyond me. :o( Religion - I have absolutely NO time for it. . . . chatted on the radio for a bit when called (by M0EDY in Exmouth), and eventually ended up experimenting having a chat on 2mtrs USB - because finally I now can! Even called CQ just for a laugh when EDY had to go do something else breifly, and actually had a call back from G8CQR also in Exmouth! Almost fell off my chair in shock! lolol Yayy. :o) . . PCd this some more - (monitoring coastguard shouts and an emergency airlift over Weymouth way, etc) and so went another day. . messed around at length learning how to manually program up some of the 200 memories on the FT-897. Turned out it wasn't actually 'that' bad to do, but I'll probably still want to invest in a programming lead at some point, so I can far more easily do it with the PC . . . walked BGdns with a coffee. . eventually returned well after dark shortly before 9pm. . . TVd . drank a glass of red wine . cooked and ate a pepperoni pizza with extra pepperoni and grated cheese followed by chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. . to bed before 1am.
15 - Up just after 9am!! . sunny . . walked FGn real late . . chatted locally on the radio. I'm making a point of asking anyone I speak to (and I don't speak to many), what type of power supply they are using, to help me try to make a decsiion about which one to go for, etc. I really haven't a clue as yet . . chatted on the radio until Mum arrived with the papers and food donations for a coffee and chats etc . . .once Mum had gone mid afternoon, I reluctantly mustered up the energy to have a look at the collapsing post and rail fence up the 'other' side of the back garden. A day or so ago, one of the rotten rails had become dislodged and was threatening to fall away completely! One of the lower rails has also been falling away from its rusty nails EVERY time I mow the lawn and bump it with the mower. Okd it with the neighbour and then spent ages on their side of the fence, pre-drilling holes and screwing ALL of the rotten timbers together with an enormous number of the long screws left over from Mums fence project. Definitely a botch given how rotten all the timbers are, but should keep the thing from falling apart for a while longer, and stop me from having to worry about Bella potentially being able to get out (not that I think she ever would. She sticks pretty close to me all the time. Every time I leave the back door open to allow her the freedom of the garden, and come back inside myself, she ALWAYS comes back in too and lays down in the living room.) . the neighbor allowed me to have a brief look inside their house. Boy - it's huge compared to mine, what with it being an end house AND extended like it has been! Very nice too. . recovered with a coffee for a bit before pushing on and mowing and strimming both front and back lawns . . . walked BGdns with a coffee. I'm very slowly trying to force myself to venture back down to BGdns on occasions, although every time I do, I always feel rather uptight and onguard of Bella. Nevertheless, it IS good to get back down there because I've missed the views it gives of Torbay across to Paignton and Torquay, etc. Because of the nearby row of clifftop houses, Torbay is suprisingly almost entirely hidden from sight when up on FGn. This evening, HMS Tyne (P281) a River Class offshore patrol vessel was moored just off the breakwater, glinting in the low setting sun. . as part of this evening's coastguard MSI broadcast, I heard mention of warnings about the fishing boat which had sunk in the inner harbor near the 'ice plant'. Huh? When the hell did THAT happen - and how and why? Gonna have to have a look down there for that some time . . tu . . PCd just a bit of this whilst monitoring radios. Around 9PM a mayday went out. Yacht 'High and Dry' had lost power, its anchor was dragging, and it was drifting towards the rocks near Meadfoot Beach! The ILB and shore troops were quickly mobilised. Oh dear - it really is addictive monitoring this stuff!!! . touched base with Mum and let her hear a little over the phone. .the ILB reached them amazingly quickly, and got them under tow for Torquay harbor. Just another 'routine' saving of lives by those lifeboat guys then! Gotta respect those guys (and gals) - lots . Somehow ended up surfing looking at homebrew coax colinear aerials (again). Sooner or later I AM gonna HAVE to have a go at making one of those, explicitely for experimenting receive only on the marine band! (I wonder if a great big long one just dangled down outside from the eaves of the house, actually tuned specifically for the marine band (that's the key), wouldn't actually recieve better than my roof mounted broadband colinears? I strongly suspect it WOULD.) Not enough hours in the day! . . TVd and ate four ham rolls, mini cheddars, crisps and chocolate . . very tired and almost fell asleep in the chair. To bed WELL before midnight.
14 - Up around 8:25am after a poor broken nights sleep . . .walked FGrn. . . monitored radios, while PCing for hours looking at power supplies. Haven't a clue which one I should be aiming at yet - still! . the postman delivered the new microphone switch I'd ordered! Turned out it'd actually cost me £8.48 - which was a little more than I'd been given to believe it would be. £5 postage - outrageous! . Damn - that meant I really had no choice but to start having a go at fitting it!! Unplugged the mic lead and then took the mic all apart again, before then moving down to my usual 'solder station' at the kitchen worktop beneath the striplight. Once upon a time, back in the good old days, things were made 'properly' - to last and to be ultimately repairable. Not so at all these days! The last time I took a microphone apart, the actual pivoted lever which you press to operate it, would have had a decent return spring of some sort behind it. Not so now. Instead of a proper spring mechanism, there was simply a lump of rubberised foam!!! The tiny little switch I needed to remove was soldered to the circuit board and instead of having a fixing screw through it, had a miniature piece of brass tube pushed through and just crimped over on the other side of the board!! Kinda 'riveted' in place. That meant, I somehow had to 'uncrimp' the tube, return it to being nicely round and feed it out of position to be re-useable! Hard to explain - harder to do! Eventually succeeded by gradually inserting a sewing needle down into the tube whilst gently easing it back into shape with a pair of miniature pliers! Impossible to unsolder the little tags of wire which had been poked through and wound around the original switch terminals, so I actually just unsoldered and removed the entire switch AND bits of wire from the circuit board. Blah blah blah. Suffice it to say, it was a real awkward fiddle - with much use of glasses AND a magnifying glass - but eventually after having knocked up some new bits of connecting wire etc, I managed to get the new switch soldered into position and fixed with the re-used crimped over bit of original tube! Checked a couple of bits of the circuit board with the multitester to make sure all was well, screwed everything back together and then headed for the radio to VERY nervously give things a try. In the middle of all of this, Mum called at some point, asking my opinion about whether or not she could call the RSPCA about a 'poorly' (not visibly injured) pigeon which had been sat in her garden for ages!!!! Under the circumstances, I was hardly in the mood to have to stop and entertain such a conversation - and CERTAINLY was NOT about to go running up on some wild pigeon chase! (From my seagull experiences - no way would the RSPCA entertain coming out for a 'poorly' pigeon, that wasn't even caught yet!) Sad and agonising for Mum to watch it suffering it may have been, but I suggested she should go out into the garden and clap her hands in the hope it would just fly away (and nature would take its course elsewhere) and she wouldn't be tortured by the sight of it any longer! Got off the phone as quick as I could - probably rudely! . .. . keyed-up on a free frequency a bunch, and to my delight, the fault apepeared to have gone. Ooohhh fingers crossed. Called on the local repeater asking for an audio check and thankfully managed to get a bunch, and then have quite a long chat. All appeared to be working fine. Only a little while later did I discover that one of the up/down frequency change buttons on the mic was no longer working!!!? Damn damn damn. Ended up having to take it all apart again and meticulously check various bits of the circuit board with the multitester, looking for the 'new' problem I had presumably somehow caused!?? Couldn't find anything wrong or see ANY reason why it had stopped working right, because I'd been absolutely nowhere near any of the buttons doing anything. At length (once I'd shone a torch on proceedings through my magnifying glass - LOTS!!) I eventually discovered one of the tracks deep inside the mic lead socket was out of place and shorting! How on earth could that happen? It simply MUST have been somehow stuck to the plug half of the lead socket, and been dragged out of place when I unplugged the lead (for its first ever time?). Carefully managed to relocate the offending wire with the sewing needle and eventually had the thing back fully working ok. Yayyy. It was all a scary unexpected headache, and cost me a little, but with luck, I'm all now fully functioning as I should be. WHAT an incredible relief! . . . walked . .eventually touched base with Mum - I'd forgotten all about the pigeon thing! Apparantly she'd gone out and got all prepared with an empty recycling bin, and had then approached the pigeon armed with a small fishing net - only for it to fly off (and probably die elsewhere). Sad, but thank goodness for that!. . sat in front the TV in the living room with the FT-897 manual having a bit of a read through the maze of menu functions, etc, just trying to become 'aware of what there is' rather than how to actually do anything. Inevitably eventually ended up back on the radio tuning around a bit! . I just couldn't resist and eventually tuned up on 40 mtrs and gave a station coming in on a really big signal, a 'half hearted' shout - only using the absolute minimum of a miniscule 5 watts output, because my current 10 amp power supply isn't really up to the job. I could hardly believe it when the guy managed to hear me. 2M0DDS, 20 miles North of Aberdeen. He DID struggle a bit with my low signal - but I was absolutely overjoyed to have made the contact. Hardly great 'DX', but not only did it prove the radio is working ok, it also VERY much appealed to my liking of and leaning towards 'QRP' (low power) operation. Very VERY pleased. :o) . . . very VERY tired. Ate just the last of the viennese whirls and a handful of chocolate chip cookies before to bed around 1am.
13 - Up around 7:15am. Chilly out but sunny . woke at the radios/PC and briefly listened-in (on the 897) as the ISS orbited past, in contact with another school in Germany. . walked. A really beautiful summery day actually. . PCd this. Radiod locally just a little. I've yet to take the mic apart and/or do the tests I need to do, to be absolutely certain it IS the mic at fault, but I'm already really pretty convinced it is. A mixed sense of disappointment and relief? . . Mum called to touch base. . unscrewed the 897 mic and had a first peek and a bit of a prod around with a multitester, etc. I really am pretty sure it's the damned mic switch. So sure in fact, I held fire on any further testing (like using the VOX to transmit without touching the mic - or trying my mic on someone elses radio (P across town), etc, etc) and I actually rang Yaesu UK and ultimately went ahead and ordered the spare part for around £7.50 (£5+ of which was the outrageous postage!!?!!). It remains to be seen whether or not I'll be able to actually successfully fit it of course! Probably end up ultimately buying a replacement yet (the preferable/better/pricier (£50ish?) one with the DTMF buttons of course!). . gonna be hard to do, but I guess I just have to hang fire with it all for the timebeing. No bad thing perhaps. Gives me a chance to play with the radio, just receiving (which IS after all, mostly what I do, and probably ever will!) whilst getting a feel for all the menus and controls etc . Aside from the disappointment/worry of the mic (fingers crossed it IS 'just' that) fault, I AM I think pretty happy with my choice of which model I went for. It IS a beautiful little (black shack-in-a-box) radio. 'Some' of THE most basic functions are already slowly becoming familiar (although of course I haven't even scratched the surface of what it CAN do - and will ALWAYS have to have an operating manual near at hand!). It's reception is 'sprightly' compared to the old knackered (definitely more deaf) FT-767. So much so - it's like having a whole new set of bands to listen to. The rest of 'Mum's money' will be VERY soon be going on a decent heavy-duty power-supply - to 'start' with! One with enough capacity to run the 897 AND simultaneously everything else I have which runs off 12 (13.8) volts, and with capacity to spare. I've yet to research that and decide which to go for. . PCd this some more, wasting away a really nice day. .SH called to touch base . . ate a banana and bowls of rice krispies. . napped until around 6:30pm . .tu . . dared to walk BGdns (being VERY watchful!) and eventually ended up on a seat under the roof for my coffee as darkness fell. The local three hourly coastguard MSI (Maritime Safety Information) broadcast, is now including notification of a 250mtr exclusion zone around the site of the recent sinking. :o( . Ended up sitting there for ages initially chatting to other dog walkers, and then at considerable length to a guy who turned up on an electric scooter. Apparantly he was in the scooter because a year ago he'd been kayaking off Broadsands, and had been hit by a rib and had his legs all cut up by the propeller (very nearly lost both feet!). Seems to have spent most of the last year undergoing surgery and skin grafts and the like, and very much is NOT 'out of the woods' yet!! . . back home well after 9pm . . TVd . . PCd more of this (until early) , desperately trying to catch up on it all, before it gets so behind it's totally out of hand. In terms of my necessarily 'sedate' little existance, these last few days have been a hectic and 'unsettling' time, which I feel need to 'recover from' rather! . . .ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and mini cheddars before immediately after to bed at gone 3am!
12 - Up around 7:40am after being woken by noise from next door - again. Sunny spells and cloud. . woke at the PC and radios with coffee and cigs. A dog rescue going on somewhere I think - and boats getting ready to start searching for the missing fisherman again! . SH appeared a little later. . chats and slow getting going . . all walked late to play ball with Bella on Fgn and then straight back . . chats and coffee until around midday when SH headed home with the £500 payment for DE for the radio, and my inadequate thanks for having done all that running around for me . . felt oh SO tired and not really up to it, but eventually mustered the energy to tear apart all the connections and setup in the radio room, and get the old FT-767 stashed out of the way in the back bedroom. Temporarily hooked the new FT-897 power-lead up to my little 10 Amp power supply (woefully inadequate - but good enough for receiving and some low power test transmitting) and aerials, and after having checked through the manual just a bit, eventually nervously fired the thing up for a first play and listen around. . it didn't take long during my first couple of 5 watt test transmissions (on 2mtres) that I determined THERE WAS A FAULT!!! I don't f***ing well believe it! I felt utterly utterly sick - and yet strangely accepting of what seemed like the inescapable inevitable - because - well - with ME, EVERYTHING is always faulty in one way or another isn't it!!!!!!!!! :o( . plunged into a dark mood. It really does seem as though 'fate' IS personally conspiring against my doing this radio thing, doesn't it? I really can't take any more of this. I really do think I've battled on as much as anyone reasonably should under the circumstances, and I've reached my end with it all. I'm beat. I mentally rehearsed selling absolutely everything on e-bay, and returning to a 'normal' life of not listening to all the stuff which has become SUCH a part of my day to day existance this last couple of years. :o( . . I walked away from it all - even closing the door on the room! :o( . . .briefly touched base with SH and let him know the news - because I just needed to tell someone! . . ate a bag of crisps, corned beef sandwiches and a little chocolate. . returned to bed. . only managed a couple of hours sleep before getting back up just after 5pm. . sat around and read throught the FT-897 manual some more, getting a feel for all the menus and controls etc, and thinking through what type of fault it 'could' be. . eventually ended up back on the radio and after having rigorously checked all my connections etc, had another listen and play around. .. after having sat on an empty frequency keying up for ages and watching the power meter as the transmission intermittently 'broke down', I eventually started to get the impression that maybe - just maybe, the problem was actually with 'just' the microphone rather than the actual radio! Holding the mic in a painful unnatural vicelike grip without moving, appeared to resolve the issue!?. .tu . . walked. . drank a glass of red wine and ended up back on the radio, mostly just listening to the local club net for a bit. I DID open my mouth a couple of times throughout the evening - testing access to the local repeater and the like, and became more and more convinced that all was not entirely lost and it WAS a microphone/PTT problem. I AM gonna have to open that mic up and see if there is any way that anything can be done. . . TVd . . cooked and ate four quarter pound beefburgers in buttered bread rolls. . TVd until bed after midnight.
11 - Up at 7am. Sunny. . PCd a bit of this . . walked in the sun. . recovered with coffee and rang the bank organising being able to do a special withdrawl (£500) over my normal limit. . SH called minutes later to confirm he WAS gonna be picking up the radio and be on his way to arrive early afternoon . . dashed up the post office and suceeded in getting the money out no problem. Also bought an 'in sympathy' type card for DE. Seemed appropriate - and somewhere to put the cash for the radio. . .vacuumed. . popped up to the PC(radios) to sort out some accounts and suddenly heard around 11:45am a serious local mayday going out!!!!!! The Girl Rona was reporting having spotted the fishing boat Sarah Jayne capsizing and soon after quickly sinking (at around 50:22:9N, 3:19:7W - which is probably only ten miles or so east of Berry Head ish)!!!! Somberly listened-in and watched on the AIS as ALL the troops and nearby boats immediately headed for the scene. Both Torbay and Exmouth lifeboats and the rescue 106 helicopter quickly attended. Within ten minutes or so, TWO of the three crew were picked up by the Girl Rona and eventually (going into shock) transferred to the care of RFA Wave Knight who'd responded to the scene. An expanding search was mounted for the missing crewman. :o( Deeply distressing to hear it all 'as it happened' like that - and all too soon while watching the clock, realise that one of the guys (last seen in the wheelhouse) hadn't made it!!!!! Somber, somber mood. :o( . The whole experience of listening-in to 'the tragedy' as it happened like I did, was 'difficult' for me in several ways. Aside from the distressing inevitable involuntary imagining of the experiences of ALL involved (especially the one who didn't make it, and his family and all!), there was also - um - I guess - some strange sense of 'guilt', in that on 'some' level, I was - um - 'enjoying' playing with my radios like I was!!!!?? It HAS become 'what I do'! Hard to put into appropriate words. I wanted to hear EVERYTHING there was to hear about what was happening and miss NOTHING - and given the equipment I've amassed, I really was very nearly able to do so. I'm not religious of course, so can't 'pray' - but throughout the experience, my thoughts were such that the word praying perhaps best describes it. Almost everything I have on the desk came into play, all on at the same time, simulatenously monitoring almost every frequency that was being used! Ended up listening to four different radios all on different frequencies all at once (and could have done with more!). Was even able to follow the Exmouth and Torbay lifeboats (using my PCR1000) when they chopped to 'MF' (somewhere near one of the international maritime distress frequencies) for a bit of boat to boat comms as the Exmouth lifeboat made its way across Lyme Bay to the scene. (I've never heard or done THAT before!) . As I say, it's hard to explain it all, but despite the 'distress' caused to me by listening-in to something like that, it IS what I want the ability to do! I don't really understand it myself. . . . Time agonisingly dragged on, and all the 'fleet' of assembled fishing boats who'd gone out to assist, were marshalled by the lifeboat into a line-abreast, for search sweeps from the 'datum' of where the boat sank. VERY moving to hear all those boats drop whatever they were doing to race to assist in the search for one of their own like they did. The tone of their voices spoke volumes. :o( . . Occasionally switched over to 2mtrs and gave SH a shout as had been suggested, and eventually somewhere after 2pm finally got hold of him not long before he arrived with 'my' new radio. Reluctantly dragged myself away from the radios in a very somber, sad and distracted mood. . coffee and chats. SH was rather suprised I was in absolutely no hurry to play with the new radio. I certainly was in no mood to have to dismantle 'the shack' to start playing right away. I need to do things like that when I'm alone and can concentrate on what needs to be done, and explained I'd actually (foolishly?) not be touching it until after he was gone. As far as I was concerned, the deal WAS done, and I was stuck with it whatever, and there was no point in rushing anything. (Also in the back of my mind (given how my life ALWAYS seems to go!), I FULLY expected there to be 'problems' with it, and I really wasn't in the mood to be having to experience all that right now!!! . gave SH £50 to at least hopefully cover his petrol costs. . eventually all walked (each with radios, listening to developments) to Fgn for a little bit of ball play for Bella, and then actually carried on out all the way to Berry Head to see what there was to see. . there were quite a few people up on Berry Head despite the rather chilly breeze, all looking out into the distance where it was JUST possible to make out the ten miles distant fleet of STILL searching boats (with for a short time, a fixed wing SAR aircraft flying overhead). Listening in on the radios felt 'awkward' and inappropraite up there. From overheard snippets of conversation, at least one of the people keeping vigil nearby, was a friend of the family of the missing skipper!! He'd been up there for hours. . strangely poor reception on my Vx-7 ultimately turned out to be a broken aerial (my non-standard, longer, bendy, higher gain, SMA one)!! Damn! Damn, damn, damn! Blimey - when did I last transmit using that aerial? Lucky I didn't damage the radio. I wonder if it was already broken when I was trying to receive the Red Arrows during their display, and THAT accounts for the 'relative' deafness of the VX-7 compared to my scanner at that time? Hmmm? Oh well - I guess I HAVE given that aerial a LOT of (daily?) use and abuse since I've had it. It HAS done VERY well considering. I AM going to HAVE to replace it with another, the same. Yet more expense! . . by the time we eventually all walked back, I was feeling frozen! . . ate ('mostly-ish' paid for by me) fish and chips on the harborside. . re-located to the outside tables of a nearby pub and sat for a drink. (half of lager for me - two pints for SH). I may have imagined it, but everyone who looked like a local/potential fisherman, appeared to be quiet and somber and affected by the days events. Small-town life - and death! . . eventually returned home via a bit of ball play for Bella on FGn. I felt exhausted, and still much affected by the events of earlier - and couldn't help putting the scanner on for a bit! Suprisingly, the searching didn't stop until poor light had it stop (for today) somewhere around 8:30pm - after a marker buoy had been placed on the wreck site! . . chats and just TVd the night away . . to bed around 2:30am!
10 - Up around 8am. Grey and overcast but not raining just now. . PS face was quite a mess, but - well - quite frankly I was just happy to see him still breathing!! Just IMAGINE if he hadn't been!! Jeeze!! :o| . . all walked under threatening skies (with Bella all well behaved on her halti) and then carried on down town and ended up sat outside a harborside cafe for a breakfast. High time I 'showed willing', and I actually paid for us both for once!! Not much change from a tenner!! Ended up rushing our way through it, because it started to rain, and of course with Bella it wasn't really possible to go inside. . retreated to the cover of the old fish market roof and sheltered from the passing shower before eventually heading home via a quick peek in a couple of charity stores etc. . soon bid PS farewell and off he went on the long return drive to Bristol (bit worrying considering!). . . TVd/PCd a bit before feeling oh SO tired, I just HAD to go lay down for a bit. The events of last night had REALLY somehow - um - 'unsettled' me, in a way I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe 'I' was suffering a bit of 'shock' somehow (whatever 'shock' actually is)? It also brought into sharper focus an issue I've been wrestling with quite bit of late in my mind. Given the entirely reclusive life I lead, with almost no contact with ANYONE (except passing dog walkers etc), if 'I' were to suddenly have a heart attack or some such, and drop down dead at home, I'm gonna inevitably end up being one of those people that isn't found for months! There was a recent TV episode of a fly on the wall series about a housing authority somewhere, where one of their tenants died and wasn't found until weeks (months?) later, by which time of course they were a stinking decaying mess that had to be scooped out in a body bag through clouds of flies! (Ironically also, I think they were a bit of a radio amateur, from the personal effects that were left behind!) That is just SO how I am liable to end up - and I don't like the idea of it at all. Dropping down dead at home is fair enough, but it's that likelihood of remaining there for months and making all that mess for someone to have to deal with, which I'm so uncomfortable about. Even worse is the possibility of it happening whilst Bella is still around! I can't bear the thought of what suffering she'd endure, before eventually dieing of thirst ('food' wouldn't be an issue would it!!!!) . this business of Mum popping in on Saturdays is a 'mutual' arrangement between us, with some of these issues in mind - for both of us! When Mum is dead and gone, there really will be NO ONE to soon notice if I 'disappear'! :o|. . managed only an hour or so of fitful sleep before pain from my mouth prevented me from sleeping any more, and saw me have to get back up to suck an annadin tablet. . . TVd/PCd the rest of the day away, feeling very unsettled and out of sorts, not feeling up to doing anything at all, and actually feeling a bit unwell for much of the time . . skipped the evening walk - again! . . guitarred/TVd the whole evening away, hardly moving. . SH called with more 'details' about the possible FT-897 radio deal - and then DE called about it. Haven't spoken to her for many years, and I confess I was a little shocked at how much older she sounded. Difficult conversation, hearing how J had passed away and all . . . touched base with SH and let him know the 'deal was on' - and it was entirely up to him when and how now. From what he said, it 'may' be he'll actually bring it down tomorrow, and maybe stay the night!! (I need to do 'running around' first thing tomorrow, and try to withdraw lots of cash - more than the normally permitted maximum! Haven't done anything like that for ages - I just bet it's all changed and will be a major hassle!) . . briefly touched base with Mum and then with PS to check he was back home and all ok! . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps, banana and a whole packet of Mum donated chocolate melt biscuity things. .TVd until to bed around midnight.
9 - Up at 7:30am. Sunny, burning off the light mist. . walked. Headachey and tired. Heard the tail end of a conversation on the radio, which neatly tied up what I'd heard last night. A fishing vessel had found a drifting Kayak, had taken it onboard, and would be in a position to return it to its owner when they returned to the harbor after their days fishing. :o) . HMS Illustrious appears to be moored out in the bay. . . pottered around, clearing up just a little more . . PCd this (sucking yet another annadin tablet) as grey cloud built-up on a strengthening breeze and the sun fully disappeared. The forecast decline in the weather. That'll be the end of summer then, briefly such as it was for a few days!! :o( . . . ate ham sandwiches, crisps and a banana . .SH called . . was just thinking about laying down for a bit (oh god I needed to!) when PS arrived . . .chats and coffee for quite a while etc . . .all walked. Played ball with Bella on the green for a bit before then walking on down around the harbor and eventually all the way out to the end of the breakwater and back. Stopped at a pub on the return and sat outside for a drink (just a half of lager in my case) . . . sat and ate a PS paid for sausage and chips on the harborside before eventually climbing back up to FGn for just a little ball play and then back home by around 7:30pm. ALL the way, Bella did her usual of NOT walking close, and by the time we returned, I'd really had enough of her and was exhausted from all the having to pull her back into position and try to keep her under control! I SO should have taken the halti out with us. . TVd and chats, just 'chillin' out' , like we so often used to when I lived in Bristol. :o) . .at some point PS started to feel a little unwell as we just sat watching the TV!! He made light of it, but as I kept watch on him from the corner of my eye, he definitely seemed to be increasingly looking really iffy!! At some point I asked if he was doing ok, and he said he needed a breath of fresh air (understandable given the thick cigarette smoke-filled atmosphere I'm used to creating and existing in!). He groggily headed towards the (closed) back door and ended up pausing near it, supporting himself between the dining table and kitchen worktop. I raced back around the dining table to get to the back door, quickly opened it (inwards) and with Bella alongside me, made for the conservatory door to open that and allow the cool night air in. Just then there was an ALMIGHTY crash and bang behind me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PS had fallen to the kitchen floor, hitting and slamming closed the double-glazed back door as he went down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JEEZUZ!!!!!!!?????!!!!!!!!!! WTF is THIS??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! . PS was laying on his side, flat out on the floor, with his head in between Bellas food bin and toys bucket near her food bowls, thankfully 'kinda' partially in 'the recovery position'. Quickly managed to squeeze past the door back into the kitchen and crouched down next to him, touched him lightly on his back and called his name. I can't tell you what a relief it was to have him grogilly soon reply! Encouraged him to stay where he was for as long as it took for him to 'feel' his way back to full consciousness and explore what damage he may have done to himself. . at length, he gradually recovered and eventually managed to make his way off the floor and out to sit on the old comfy sofa in the cool of the open conservatory. It turned out he hadn't done any 'major' damage to himself, but he HAD really BADLY bashed his face on the floor when he fell!! His upper cheek and lip around his mouth was badly 'scraged' and bruised, a 'little' bit bloody and kinda 'weeping'!! He looked a bit of a state to say the least - like he'd been in a fight! . sat in the cool of the conservatory for ages until at length (apart from the numbness and bruising to his face etc) he had recovered enough to relocate to the comfort of the living room again and everything was 'back to normal'. . the whole experience 'rattled' me. Rattled me greatly! . . - //- . . . . TVd more until eventually to bed around 2:30am or later!
8 - Up around 8am. A touch warmer than yesterday - and foggy. Still a monster 'lift' on VHF. . . walked. Sat around for ages listening to the radio. Had a contact using the VX-7 on FGn with a station near Bath!! . . just as I returned home, the neighbour got into conversation about how he'd been having trouble with his TV reception. Suggested he should borrow my ladders and just turn his aerial round to face the 'correct' way, rather than be pointing at some weird local repeater (which I've NEVER had any success with). . sat in the garden to recover from the walk with a quick coffee before intending to play ladders. . SH called and let me know he'd forgotten to tell me some news when he was down here the other day. Apparantly JE had died around a week ago!! That was unwelcome news, although coincedentally I HAD been thinking about him and his 'wife' D recently, wondering how they were doing. (I bought my house in Bristol from them, and even actually briefly lived in their house for a bit, etc, etc. Quite some history there really - although I remember very little of any of it of course.) Aside from the bad news, there was ALSO some suggestion of D wishing to sell to SH an FT-897 radio JE had bought for her!!!!! I told SH I definitely WAS potentially interested, IF there was any possibility of getting in touch and finding out more etc, etc. Wow - what an irony that would be, to end up with a radio from them after all these years. Having said that, I have no phone number for D, and there are LOADS of other very 'complicated' obstacles to following up on it, so I guess I won't be holding my breath on that. Shame though - it really would be a weird, after several decades, big circle type irony to end up with it. Having said that, it makes me feel like a bit of a 'vulture' under the circumstances. :o| . . got my ladders down and passed them over the garden fences and then helped walk them round the front and get them set up on the neighbour's roof. Only took him a few minutes to unclamp his TV aerial, turn it round by 45 degrees and have a near full-signal reception back on all his channels. :o) The bad news was of course that he discovered a tile had slipped down from the appex, and plenty of the chimney stack was all falling apart (like mine!). I left him to it, as he started mixing up a bit of cement to do some emergency botch 'repairs' . . Mum called in with food donations for chats and coffee in the garden. .got the ladders back from the neighbour and all stored atop the pergola before Mum left. (So much for all the house-chores I was intending to do this morning, before PS comes to visit tomorrow!). . . ate a trio of corned beef sandwiches with crisps and spring onions. . . napped until around 7pm. It's starting to get dark SO early already! Skipped the evening walk. Mum had remarked earlier that Bella appeared to have put on some weight. I hadn't even noticed, but on close examination, I think that maybe she actually has. My strategy of feeding her LOADS, and occasionally skipping the evening walks, DOES appear to have had a bit of an affect. Excellent. She definitely needs to gain some. May have to take a walk up the vets some time and pop her on the scales to check. . . did vacuuming and dish washing chores for hours. . PCd/monitored radios a bit. A yacht moored in Churston cove called the coastguard at some point. They'd gone into town for a drink and bite to eat, only to return to find the kayak they'd had tethered to the back of their yacht had disappeared. The coastguard confirmed a fisherman had reported it drifting away earlier! They took their mobile phone number in case it turned up some time. . BB called to touch base . Poked around on the net at some length, looking at government information on national search and rescue operations, frequencies, Kinloss Rescue and the like. As far as I understand it, Kinloss is the central control centre for all UK airborne search and rescue 'assets' etc. I also read somewhere that they are allegedly running kilowatts of power, which explains why I'm picking them up SO strongly. Plenty of people are always listening-in to them, and there are even live feeds of the main 5.68Mhz frequency on the net!?? (How on earth do they get away with legally doing that I wonder? Picked up in other European countries perhaps?) . .eventually dragged myself away from the radios and watched 'on demand' a Dads Army and Horizon episode on the BBC IPlayer. Ate a whole box of Mum donated Viennese Whirls before to bed around 2am. Thick fog out.
7 - Up around 7:15am . .17C in, 9C and sunny out. Woke with coffee and cigs at the PC/radios. Heck of a propogation 'lift' on 2mtrs - stations coming in from all over the place! . . walked in the sun just a little earlier than of late - with Bella regrettably back on her halti (to give ME a break from the usual battle to get her to stay 'close' while walking). Just the mere presence of it on her, makes her into a totally different, and much better behaved dog! SUCH a shame she CONTINUES to act up SO much without it. :o( . got soaking wet feet from all the dew on the long grass - again . . . coffee and cigs in the garden to recover from the walk - and couldn't resist having the VX-7 handie out there with me, to see if I could pick up any of the International Space Station contact with a school in Germany which was scheduled for 09:52 BST. It picked up a bit of it, and in true 'radio geek' fashion, I couldn't help videoing just a little. Still amazes me I can pick such stuff up like that - on a little portable handheld radio, whilst in the sun in the garden! Re-located to the PC to review the video, but got all bogged down in listening to the 2meter radio and all the distant stations still coming in instead. Couldn't resist and had a decent contact with a F6HRP from Guingamp in Brittany - chatted locally a bit and then got called by and had another brief contact with a GJ6TMM/P in Jersey who was just using 5 watts from a cheap little Chinese handheld!! Extraordinary 'lift' conditions! . (Every time I open my mouth - whether it be the rare occassions on the radio, or to passing dogwalkers etc - it IS an act you know - clumsy attempts to appear to be 'happy' and 'normal' and not feeling what I always am about everyone and everything. Just pretending I'm still 'alive'.) . . PCd and uploaded the latest ISS monitoring video, for the little it's worth again. . PCd a bit of this (with wet feet), in the full knowledge that once I'm done with it, I'll probably end up forcing down some food and then try to sleep away another pointless day - and again and again. :o( What the hell has it all been for . . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of ham sandwiches with crisps and a banana . . napped until around 6pm . . walked with a coffee and sat around listening to the radio for ages. Saw neighbour D who related the pigeon I'd found in the garden the other day, had allegedly crashed into a neighbours window and woken them before ending up being eaten alive in my garden!? Chased into the window by the hawk perhaps? Back in the dark. There's something weird about that playing field in the dark. Perhaps because of all the street and house lights all around its perimeter preventing the eyes from adjusting, it gives the impression of being extremely dark. Darker than Battery Gardens, which actually has much LESS (no) light. On the way back across the pitch-black field, Bella lost her thrown ball - twice, and we ended up wandering around searching for it by torchlight - for ages!! She used to have no problem in the darkness of BGdns? No playing ball in the dark from now on I think. . on the way out of the field, a young couple were coming the other way, trying to illuminate their way by the small leds from their phones or similar. The girl didn't realise there was a stout waist-height metal railing fence in front of her (surrounding a childrens play area) and she walked straight into it with a sickening clang! Must of really hurt. She seemed to blame the guy she was with for not having told her it was there, and I left them having a bit of a 'domestic' in the dark.. TVd the evening away . . serious mouth/tooth (jaw/ear/head) pain again. Sucked yet another annadin tablet. I've been getting through an awful lot of those of late. . . ate bacon and grated cheese sandwiches and masses of biscuits . . to bed around 1am.
6 - Up late again just before 9am. . hot and sunny . . went to let Bella out into the back garden, and as I opened the back door, something suddenly flew off from the lawn in a flash. Turned out it was a hawk - after having caught a pigeon! The whole garden was COVERED in the plucked feathers, and the pigeon 'carcass' was left all bloody on the lawn, presenting me with a hell of a mess to clear up! As if that wasn't bad enough, it turned out the pigeon 'carcass' was incredibly still breathing!!!!!!!!!!! Owwwww jeezuz!! :o( (If only I'd spotted what was going on before opening the door - I could have just left things to take their course.) I couldn't leave the dieing pigeon to suffer like that - so I ended up grabbing a spade from the garage, and after taking careful aim, attempted to swiftly decapitate it. I failed in the decapitation - and ended up just having to lean on the spade handle until the thing soon definitely was no more. It WAS fairly quick. Very upsetting and not a good start to a day. Every time I have a reluctant hand in killing something like that, I feel as though a piece of me is being killed off too. :o( . retreated back inside for my waking up coffee and cigarettes, hoping the hawk would perhaps return to its meal. It did not. . . walked in the hot sun. . . back at home, the pigeon carcass had been moved around the feather-covered lawn? Turned out a group of local magpies were 'having a go' at it! Shut Bella in out of the way and wrapped the carcass and as many of the feathers as I could sweep up from all around the garden, in multiple carrier bags and eventually put it in the wheelie-bin. That wheelie-bin is in full sun for most of the day - and isn't due to be emptied until this time next week!! That's gonna be real unpleasant! . . not a good start to the day. Feel headachey, down and not up to doing anything now. :o( . . . PCd this and then poked at the radios etc. . all of a sudden the FT-767 appears to have developed YET another issue (fault?). (Backup battery maybe?) Every time I turn the damned thing off and on again, it seems to reset everything. THat COMPLETELY 'bottomed out' my already down mood, and I ended up in a hellish down mood!! :o( I could very easily have just sold the whole lot of radio gear on e-bay right there and then. I'm just sick and tired at having to seemingly battle SO hard with it all - when others seem to just buy a radio, stick up an aerial and then have loads of fun successfully playing with it. .everything I seem to try to do ends up being a failure in one way or another. Nothing more so than life in general really. That's not being all melodramatic. It really is blatantly true. A loving partner, friends, marriage, kids, happiness, a sense of acheivement/purpose, self worth, comfortable income, etc etc - all that stuff that everyone else seems able to acheive, I've to miss out on. I'm too old for any of that to change now - except of course for the worse, as my health and physical condition continues to rapidly decline. Things 'may' have ended up different once - but as far as I'm concerned, the 'Bristol events' put paid to that. 'Life' ended for me, around seven years ago now. It REALLY did. There seems absolutely no point to anything anymore - I'm just lingering on - like that damned pigeon face down in the grass. -//- . . cooked and ate four slices of bacon, half a tin of baked beans, two eggs and four pieces of bread and butter . . napped. Woke feeling s**t. . walked. Moments after stepping out, Bella saw a cat and despite being tied to my belt, tried to immediately run after it. From that point on during the whole walk, she was an uncontrollable pain in the ass nightmare! I lost my temper lots - again - as I seem to do during EVERY nightmarish walk with her - STILL - ALWAYS - every f**ing day! . . eventually returned home, fed her, and then just shut her away from me in the kitchen for a bit, while I sat in front of the muted TV, feeling as down as I ever do, yet again involuntarily going through the options to - um - 'bring it all to a close'! :o( -//-
. . sat around in front of
the often muted TV, watching nothing, miserable and not moving
all evening. Ate the last of the treacle tart . .arbitrarily to
bed around 1am.
5 - Up around 9am!! Sunny with a cooling breeze. . walked real late . . . worked in the hot sun in the front garden for hours , de-weeding borders and immediately filling another whole dustbin with cut up debris to have to get rid of. . caved in and called a halt late afternoon. . ate spam sandwiches, crisps and chocolate . . . lay down to nap but had difficulty getting to sleep, feeling strangely itchy and scratchy. Wiped my hand across my face at one point, only to hear a bit of a 'thud' on the pillow next to me as I did so. Opened my eyes to find a spider with a body the size of my little fingernail, all curled up next to me!!! Yikes! That had me leaping up all shuddery in pretty quick time! Quickly grabbed it in my hand and unceremoniously evicted it out of the window. . napped . . woke feeling very tired and hot. Skipped the walk . my returned roof ladder was laying on the lawn (how did he manage that?) and had to be replaced atop of the pergola . . . listened-in to the local radio club slow morse and following net of chat, butting in occasionaly as is my surely annoying habit. One of the guys on the net was simultaneously broadcasting his webcam on 'livestream.com', and purely because of some of the conversation that was going on about it, I ended up quickly signing up for my own account and messing around trying to get it to work! I succeeded in the end, but haven't a clue why I bothered - I can't imagine EVER actually using it to broadcast me as I play with my radios!! lolol The obligatory 30 seconds of start-up adverts are enough to put any viewer off anyway! . . . TVd and guitarred while 'monitoring' Kinloss rescue on 5.68mhz! My plasma TV sure creates a bunch of interference on such frequencies! . . . ate bowls of sugar puffs before eventually to bed around 2am.
4 - Up around 8:45am. Overcast and misty. Slow getting going again . . .walked the beach and woods and back through BGdns. . walked the smaller of my ladders and the roof ladder up the lane for D to borrow . . . propped one of my other ladders up into the big blossom tree and trimmed off a couple of the high spindley branches that were liable to hit against my long wire antenna in a strong wind. Cut the top off the self-seeded tree further up the garden. As long as I can keep it reasonably low, I'm happy for that tree to stay there for the forseeable future. .cuchopped all the cuttings up into little pieces and then pottered around the back garden de-weeding, trimming stuff and tidying up just a little . . had a poke at the rotten, falling-apart fence rails where I took the latest bit of hedge out. Managed to jam a piece of slate into the bent and broken metal post holder to 'firm up' the badly wobbling post. Drilled and screwed all the rails back up tight and got things in rather better shape than they had been. It all really needs replacing of course! . awkwardly cut off the end of the fence where the builders of next doors garage had sloppily pointlessly left it all overlapping the new garage wall. A silly little thing, but it looked all wrong and has been a bit of an irritating eyesore ever since it was left like that, and it's been bugging me every time I walk past it. Glad to finally have it now all cut nicely in-line with the end of his garage wall. . apart from a few coffee breaks, I carried on de-weeding and such until finally calling it quits around 7pm! That's a LOT of time to spend on things, to have almost no noticeable effect on anything! Filled a dustbin crammed packed full of cuttings! . . walked with a coffee, feeling really tired-out. Sat around for ages feeling tired out . . . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine . . cooked and ate a ham ring, two eggs, half a tin of baked beans and chips around 11pm . . BB called to touch base . . PCd and returned BBs call and chatted for ages. Finally to bed at around 4am!!!
3 - Up around 7:45am. Sunny . slow getting going - PCd this a bit . . walked . . . pottered in 'the shack', experimenting with the Palstar AA30 active antenna tuner I bought ages ago (and haven't touched since!), as part of my original (and deeply flawed) radios 'master plan'. I'd imagined I'd eventually get round to messing with it for a bit, and then probably sell it on and swallow the likely loss, since it no longer fits in with what I'm liable to be doing. Well - the jury is still out, but on the face of it, it 'may' well be worth keeping - specifically for use with the PCR1000 HF bands side of things. The 'ON/BYPASS' switch DOES appear to be a 'proper' one, such that when it ISN'T switched on, having it in-line appears to have NO effect on the operation of the PCR1000 across ALL of its frequency range - desirably including the VHF. Switching it on does of course totally kill VHF reception, but appropriately tuned for a spot HF frequency, with its onboard amplifier, it DOES indeed seem to significantly improve reception (on my 9:1 unun/long wire antenna). Whilst experimenting and typing this, I'm using it to monitor the air-rescue frequency of 5.68mhz. Kinloss Rescue appears to be co-ordinating the rescue somewhere with helicopter rescue 193 (out of Culdrose?) of someone who'd fallen thirty feet - but was still conscious!! Using the Palstar AA30, Kinloss Rescue was being received LOUD and clear at around a 10db over 9 signal (with even some of the others involved on the frequency, 'just' audible)!!! With the Palstar bypassed by just pressing the button to turn it off, the quality of the signals' audio was noticeably 'less', and the signal meter reading (for what little it's actually worth - more important is what you actually hear) , dropped by around two to three S points! More experimentation required, but for specific HF spot frequency tuning/listening, that's an improvement/capability not to be sniffed at - for a 'Short Wave Listener geek'. Seemingly 'similar' results with the transatlantic aircraft and amateur signals across the HF bands. Hmmmm? . .and so went the day! What a 'waste' of a sunny day! I SHOULD be tending to the overgrown garden! . . . managed to muster the energy to at least quickly mow the lawns . . . ate a mcirowaved sausges and mash ready meal with four piece sof bread and butter . . napped until around 6:30pm . .tu . . walked . . TVd. Touched base with PS. . . TVd/guitarred/radiod the night away . . .ate a pastry slice and sausage roll, packet of crisps, piece of treacle tart and biscuits before finally to bed around 4am!
2 - Woke earlier, snoozed on then up just after 9am! Grey and threatening rain. . walked as the weather improved and things warmed up . . did a major vacuum of the downstairs and then put a little flea spray on the carpets. Mixed up another spray bottle of 50/50% water and vinegar and gave Bella a good spray of it out in the garden . . . walked with a coffee in some sunny spells and headed across town to the St Marys playing field, to check out a little 'dog show' which had been advertised. Sat on the grass just watching for ages, as the different categories of the competition were got through. i.e. 'Best Rescue', 'Nicest Eyes', 'Best Dog', 'Best Bitch' etc, etc. All rather silly, but people appeared to be enjoying themselves. Not really my scene (what IS?) but I figured aside from anything else, it was a good experience for Bella to be around so many dogs and people. As always, she was exciteable and restless, and did NOT want to just be sat there for so long. . If I'd had the nerve, I reckon we would have had a good chance of winning the 'Most Alike' (owner/dog) category. We're both damaged goods after all, never mind how alike we look! lol I did NOT have the nerve, and soon after, withdrew from the small crowd to a distant seat for the remainder of my coffee. I of course ended up feeling down, awkward and out of place, and ultimately 'alienated', by all the seemingly bizarre behavior of all the 'normal' people!! :o| . played ball a bit before eventually walking home. . ate four spam rolls with mum donated spring onions, crisps and a little chocolate . . napped late for just a couple of hours until the alarm at 8pm. . TVd briefly but nothing on - again!! Ended up 'SWL'ing on the computer controlled Icom PCR1000 radio again - listening to such delights on the SSB air band as an american doctor in conversation with a flight crew, discussing the condition of a drunk and semi-conscious female passenger suffering panic attacks (with still two hours airtime before landing in the US)!! An ambulance would be meeting them at the gate! . . Briefly picked up RAF Kinloss communicating with 'Rescue 177' (sea king helicopter?) on one of the HF search and rescue frequencies! (I need to be listening to those frequencies more often.) Interestingly bumped into some morse code being sent around such frequencies as 5.7385, 5.74 and 6.608 Mhz? Air band? I thought all 'commercial' morse code had been done away with, and only radio hams did it these days? Mostly just groups of seemingly random letters. No idea what that was, but it was actually pretty neat for practicing my receiving. At up around 20+ words per minute, it was pretty much all way faster than what I can manage, so used the HRD software to decode it too. Interesting. Eventually called a halt to such poking around, in the early hours. . ate a couple of buttered chelsea buns while watching a Dads Army episode on the TV using the net-connected IPlayer. . watched a bit of the Horizon program about how big is the universe until eventually to bed around 2am.
1 - Up around 7:30am. Cool and overcast . . walked as the sun broke through and started heating things up . . PCd a bit of this . . monitored radios for a bit as a big sea king helicopter flew over and disappeared down towards Dartmouth to do a display somewhere around midday. Still didn't manage to locate the display frequency. Funnily enough while scanning through, I bumped into a now familiar calling out of 'holding the bank' commands on the edge of my reception range. Apparantly the Red Arrows were displaying over Bournemouth again right then. . did laundry and got it out on the line to dry. . Mum called in with the paper and food donations for chats . . I haven't managed to find any fleas on her of late, but Bella's constant scratching does appear to be on the rise again! I despair. :o( Gave her YET another flea tablet!! :o( .. . . ate a trio of ham rolls, mini cheddars and a couple of mum donated viennese whirls . did more laundry and snoozed on the sofa until it was ready to be put out on the line . . napped until around 6pm. . walked with a coffee . .guitarred/TVd the evening away . . ate multiple bowls of sugar puffs and the remaining mum donated viennese whirls . . TVd/PCd until bed around 2am.