Monday, February 4, 2013

Living a Week in the BIG City While Murphy Visits My House

Downtown Anchorage
I spent last week in Anchorage for a work related trip. I must admit, it's fun to experience things like traffic lights, people, numerous places to grab a bit to eat, the mall and more!   This was the view last week from the 5th floor of the National Park Service Regional Office, where I spent most of last week. Off in the distance you can see Knik Arm and I must say, there is nothing bad about being close to salt water even during the winter months! The 5th Avenue Mall is on the left and I spent every evening walking the mall and doing some window shopping. The only time I can window shop in Denali is when the shops are open in Glitter Gulch, which is normally from late May or early June through early September. I very much enjoy my remote lifestyle but these trips south are always a trip back into reality. Living where we do, it's easy being oblivious to what's going on elsewhere, unless we log onto the internet or watch satellite TV. Fairbanks is my most favorite city here in Alaska but Anchorage is pretty neat as well.

Prior to my departure to Anchorage, Murphy decided to visit our QTH. As I spent a large part of the weekend getting ready for my trip south, it just so happened our furnace decided to fail. And of course, our temperatures were a bit on the chilly side last weekend as we hit lows of -37F on my Monday morning departure. We stuck around -33F all last weekend. So, having to leave my wife behind on Monday was a bit tough. Thankfully, I installed a back-up heat source about 4 years ago, so we relied on that to keep the house warm. And should that have failed, there was always the wood stove and I made sure a nice stockpile of wood was indoors just in case. In the end, a coworker was able to repair our oil fired force air furnace (the transformer went bad) and he also replaced the nozzle as it was time. It took a few days to get the parts down from Fairbanks but the furnace is once again operational and equally warming our igloo as of last Thursday evening. 

The bands have been a bit tough this past weekend but a welcomed surprise was a brief 10 meter opening on both days. I made a few Ten Ten contest QSO's and it seemed the normal path of propagation was Texas and some points on the West Coast. I also managed a nice QSO with Martin, W3MLK (15 meters SSB, a mode I don't operate very often) who was working the Delaware QSO Party. Martin is always looking for me during contest weekends so it was nice to be able to return the "Mult Favor" this past weekend.  Martin's neighbor Joe, W3SJT had a great signal into Alaska on 15 meters as well. Joe needed Alaska on 15, so it was a pleasure to add him to the logbook. After working them, I also had a nice chat with Frank, WA6KHK and fellow 8'lander Denny, WA8NSS. 

5th Avenue Mall and my Hotel in the background
So, from my adventures in the city of Anchorage, to browsing the floors of the 5th Avenue Mall, to playing a bit on 10 meters this weekend, this past week was eventful. I did manage my way into the AT&T store as I've been experiencing problems with my Samsung Infuse cellphone. Sadly, it won't be able to be repaired but I have found my next cell purchase! Hams and our electronic gadgets! I'm glad I hung onto my old Blackberry Curve as I'm using it now until I decide to take the plunge into a new phone. But some home improvement projects take the financial front seat and by the time I'm ready, the S4 might be available. When I look at what I pay a year for my cellular plan, the cellphone purchase is the cheap part. But I gotta have a smartphone! I mean really, I need to be able to Tweet, Facebook, browse the DXcluster, log contacts, decode PSK31 signals, and check the latest solar data! Not sure why I call it a phone as I spend most of my time texting, surfing, and using Apps than I do talking on the darn thing. And with my visit to the city being so close to Valentines Day, I now have that one covered. When you live 2 hours from the nearest store, it's hard to cover those romantic holidays. I must not forget such days as February 14th as that makes up for long contest weekends sequestered in the shack. And what happens the weekend before and the weekend after Valentines Day? You guessed it, contest weekends! I'll be looking forward to some RTTY and CW action and hopefully I'll see ya then, assuming my wife likes what I got her. I think she will... 

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