After six years &
probably a couple good dozen episodes of watching Bob Vila fix up old hulks
that I'd have burned down, Cindy got the "country living" house bug. Soon
enough we were moving again, just when I'd gotten things to working the
way I liked 'em.
The place we moved
to was, I guess, some kind of country. In reality we were parked on the
main drag between two cement hauling factories, across the street from
a laundry & next door to a bank on one side, with a reformed biker
& his girlfriend on the other. It
weren't quite country, but Cindy was happy with all the "this old house"
It took me four
years just to get around to having a decent shack, and even then it wasn't
much: half of an out-building that had once served as work bench and out-house
(sometimes called a "privy") for the much previous owners of the abode.
It was hotter 'n the hub of Hades in the summer, infested with wasps, hornets,
killer bees and a family of earwigs.
Almost 10 years
went by before I finally got a place inside with the heat & television
& other family clutterata. I had to put a remote controlled antenna
switching cabinet in the former out-house.
was tuned either "in the shack" (inside the house) via a remotely controlled
LDG auto tuner or by another home-brew T-match tuner at the operating position.
Of course, by this
time I'd gotten deep into QRP again, so my distant end equipment did not
require massive power requirements or limits. Everything that I could do
with radio was inside the house and everything that it was connnected to
was out in the weather.
I even thought of
putting up a tower and actually cobbled together the beginnings of one
from pieces given me by a friend. It went up but it wasn't stable (or pretty)
so I took it down and decided that the next big thing (after updating the
radios) was to put up a
tower" with "real antennas" on it. In the meantime I settled for a home-brew
40m vertical posted to the side of the out-house & about 25 ft of pipe
holding up a nominially off-center fed Windom, which was also posted to
the side of the out-house.
Then one day I mentioned
to Cindy about getting a tower. She said "Well, I don't think we should
do that; we'll be wanting to move by the time Andy gets out of high school."
Hell, that was four
or five years away. And already she was thinking of moving again! Just
when I had everything set up the way I like it. . .
Pondering the Next Move
Updated 25 July 2004
As of this writing, just after the 2003 Dayton Hamvention, we're still sittin' in the "country," with plans of selling & buying new digs deferred for a year while we catch up with fixin' things up. Truth be told, I'm thinking of buying three sections of cheap-o TV tower and putting that up in the back yard. It'd be as high as what I've got now on poles &
I'd be able to put up the 6m beam (which I purchased at Dayton, which is another story) with my cheap-o recycled rotor & all that.
The only thing stoppin' me is that I know Cindy's going to ask me why, since we'll be moving in a year. To which my only response will be something like "Well, if that's the case, why are you putting all these flowers and shrubberies in the ground?" (And thus stealinig a metaphor from a Monty Python movie, as if you'd need that hint.)
"Perhaps you would like to see my shrubbery?"
"My shubbery will speek now!"
"Do not anger my shubbery!"
You get the picture. . .
So . . . this long tale has gone from when I was a child to when I had a house on the main drag between two cement factories with radios in and out of outhouses, garages & the like. I've gone from USN radios in a Puerto
Rican barracks to "us & them" radios. Two or three apartments, a rental house in the projects, a bought house in a nearby project and the place on the main drag.
Quite an adventure, ain't it?
That ain't the half of it, see? There's still all the junk I've built, all the QRP and flea power stuff I've tortured and a couple build 'em yerself radio projects. And there's my hands starting to shake, which takes a certain joy out of buildin' stuff.
But first we have to go through the QRP thing . . . And there's a long story about building stuff, part of which involves things I did with bread-board construction projects from when I was a kid.
Do you remember the CK722 transistor?
I tortured a lot of 'em. Which is part of the next story . . . which leads to the next page.