Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hamming it up

I've been interested in Amateur Radio since I was 8 years old. Back then, you had to know Morse code well enough to encode and decode a few words per minute.  Try as I might, that part gave me the most trouble. By the time I graduated high school, the FCC had ditched the Morse Code requirement. Then, the cost of equipment had me in sticker shock. All my life, I've been friends with various amateur radio operators.

A few weeks back, I got a good deal on a pair of handheld transceivers from a friend in California, a Yaesu VX-2R and Yaesu VX-7R. This turned a "pie in the sky" thing into a tangible, attainable hobby.

The VX-7R is beefy and heavy. It's got an alloy case, and it's submersible to 3 feet for 30 minutes, and can withstand hours upon hours in the rain. The VX-2R fits in the palm of my hand. It's light and packed with features. I don't really know how well either of them transmit just yet.

Few things motivate you to get licensed like having new hardware and being unable to legally use it to its fullest potential. I've been cramming these past few weeks, and a group of Volunteer Examiners was hosting a testing session tonight. I went in knowing I'd do really well on the entry-level Technician test. The group let me take the next-level General exam as well, but I missed one question too many to get that license. I hadn't even studied for general, and I guessed at more than half of the answers. I'll go back and take that test sometime later.

Anyhow, looky looky!
The Ticket!

That VX-2R is definitely going on my S24O adventures, and there's actually a lot of entertaining banter on some of the nearby repeaters.

More bikey adventures coming soon!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

New Personal Record

I woke up to see this:
Personal Record?

Definitely time for a ride. The main roads have been clear enough to ride on for the past few days, but over-eager drivers combined with shoulders made of 3-foot (or deeper) plow banks means that my usual rush-hour bike commute is still kind of on hold. An early morning ride a little longer than my usual commute was definitely in order. Partially to shake down Frank in real snow, testing out the new cyclometer (which read -5.2°F by the time I got back home) and partially just to say I've ridden in colder than -5. My previous cold record was about 2 and a half miles at -4.


As for snow handling, these 2.25" tires handle amazingly well, but they still don't have the floating capacity to handle the un-plowed church parking lot down the road from me. In fact, powering into the un-plowed mass grabbed my front tire with enough oomph to throw me into what had to be a comically slow-mo endo. As usual, I love playing in the snow.

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