Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Eagle Has Landed

Boston has a visitor this weekend, the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle. I recently was able to participate in a short tour of this beautiful ship. It was also informative speaking with many of the cadets on board and learning the history of the ship and her equipment. As much as the city is overwhelming to me, it's also very neat to experience the ships that are docked right out in front of our offices. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity and it helps ease the transition to a much faster paced
lifestyle. As most hams would, it made me think about the communications room and how neat it would be to operate radio from such a historic vessel out in the middle of the ocean. One of my coworkers accompanied me on the tour of this ship and he himself is a history buff. I learned lots about this ship from him as well. And not only about this ship, but many aspects of navigation on the water, too. If you research the flags that fly on these ships, it would hit close to home for any CW operator
as it's yet another way that ships communicate. Living temporarily here in the city has given us many an opportunity to experience so much of the deep history that's here with a surprise or two. 

A weekend or so ago, we had another visitor, however it was not as historic. The HMCS Athabaskan was in dock for a few days. I thought it ironic having personally arrived from Alaska, to see the "Athabaskan" in port. The Athabaskan culture was a large part of encountered Alaskan culture in our several years living in the 49th. Just made me miss home a bit more.

Living in the Interior of Alaska for all those years, we enjoyed our trips to the ocean during the summer months. Living right here on the ocean is exciting but I miss the "back country" lifestyle. Thankfully, we recently acquired a home in the country (or, as close as you can get to country here) and we are excited about our new 2 acre home. No power lines to tangle with this time and it's a nice balance of open yard surrounded by trees, which are much taller than we had in
Alaska. So, as we transition from the city to the country in a few weeks, I will have nearly the perfect situation here in Massachusetts. Working in the city next to the ocean and living in the country. I'm hopeful that a minimal station will be in my future and the goal is having it on the air before the snow arrives. I've already had a conversation with a local ham and have been informed of a local group of contesters of which I'm looking forward to meeting and maybe lending a hand at any multi contesting efforts. I'm also excited about being able to attend a hamfest or two. Our new location is served by UPS and Fed Ex! Many laugh at me when I mention it will be neat to see the UPS or Fed Ex delivery person walking up to the front door with my next ham radio related purchase. And getting once again, free ground shipping! Oh the thought...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Great Italian Eyeball QSO and Finally, LOBSTER!

Alaska Exit
Dealing with the local heat and humidity here in Boston sure has me missing the less humid temperatures and most of the time, cooler temperatures of the Denali area. It's hard to believe that just over a month ago, we started our trek across the country.

We are getting used to life in the city but the hunt still continues for the next QTH outside of Boston. Dealing with sensory overload with all that is going on in the city, my first introduction to QTH hunting is extreme sticker shock. Houses in or very near to Boston, are extremely expensive! Place it next to or near the ocean and add even more. For my wife and I, it's been a tough hunt trying to find a place to call home. The dog wants a yard and I would have to agree, although the yard request is for two very different reasons. I was hoping to avoid being an apartment dweller. But living where we are, I feel like I'm on a DXpedition and my equipment has yet to arrive. Our hotel is very nice but I gotta hand it to those who travel frequently, it gets old quick!

Trattoria Di Monica
And speaking of those who travel frequently, I had the privilege of meeting a great ham / contester this week! I was excited to get a message on Twitter from Glenn, K3PP. Glenn was going to be in Boston and he wanted to meet up for dinner. Glenn picked out a nice quaint Italian restaurant not far from the hotel we call home. Glenn found this restaurant online and I have to say, he can sure pick em!  My wife and I met with Glenn and had a wonderful dinner and of course, part of the table conversation was radio related. I've worked Glenn many a time from our old QTH in Alaska, and he always had a great signal into Denali. It was nice to finally put another face with a callsign. I believe Glenn finds his way back to this area on a regular basis, so I'm looking forward to seeing him many more times! Glenn, thanks so much for dinner and hanging out with KL8SU and myself! I'm hopeful we can operate a contest together someday!

I recently spoke with my CW Elmer, Ed K8QWY, on the phone. Ed had his rig on during our phone conversation and I could hear his HF rig and the sweet sound of CW in the background. Made me realize more than ever that I'm still going through withdrawal not having my HF rig and key nearby. Well, that's not totally true, it's nearby but my portable antenna is back in Ohio, with the travel trailer. Not a shining moment in my portable world of ham radio forgetting my portable antenna system.

So, as we settle in and continue our quest of finding our next QTH (north or west of Boston) I will keep my fingers crossed that it will be a place that will be QRN free. I'm looking forward to hearing some propagation from this end of the country and even more excited to hearing activity on 6 meters. Being next to the ocean, I'm sure enjoying fresh seafood and was recently excited when I walked into a local grocery here and found a live lobster tank at the seafood and meat counter. They even steamed it for free! Needless to say, I had my lobster fix, times three. Gotta love Lobstah!