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(March 6)  Well, I finally dusted off the rig and worked the ARRL WW SSB contest this weekend.  It was great to hear 15 meters open up.  First, though, I had to find my microphone!  Seems that my grandchildren have taken a fancy to my microphone – they use it for pretend stage singing.  Although I have to admit, I am amazed how the three year old figured out that it is something you talk into.  I caught him standing on my  desk chair by the rig and hanging onto the microphone talking away.  Maybe he was imitating me?  Anyway, it was a riot, until I needed to find the microphone (he also unplugged it and ran off with it.  I found it in the toy box.)  So, back to the contest.  I knew I wasn’t going to be very competitive…just would be able to get on and do a couple of little runs throughout the weekend.  I started on 40 meters very early Saturday morning and to my amazement, I found a bunch of folks to work.  I worked most of Caribbean in about 30 minutes.  I had to run out and came back later that morning and found 15 meters alive to South America and later to Europe.  If I could hear them, I could work them.  Well, that is something new….haven’t had that experience in a while!  So, while I didn’t set any land speed contesting records, I did have a great time getting back on the air and demonstrating to myself that ole station still works fine.  Oh, I do have a nagging tower issue that I will have to address when I can get back on the roof.  The rotor jams about 90 degrees?

Meanwhile, to keep life interesting, I had to reformat my laptop’s hard drive.  I have had nothing but trouble with it for the past few months and have tried everything, save sending it out.  I have had  IT engineers from McAfee India all over the machine for weeks, and they couldn’t get it to work.  So, I did the dangerous thing. First, I saved all of my files, which are mostly ham files, and then I got the recovery disks out from the file cabinet.  I pushed the disc in with some fear and followed the loading instructions.  Well, it didn’t take long to erase the entire drive and is now in the process of rebuilding hard drive.  We will let you know how it goes, but all of this is a preamble to what Mark Klocksin is going to talk about at the next Club meeting—managing your PC.  I had 50,000 little ham applications (WinLink, APRS, Packet, PSK, logging software…you name it…) on my laptop and I am sure many of them were conflicting with one another.  I am hoping that by starting over, I can more carefully rebuild the drive so that it will work more effectively.  Unfortunately, I will be missing Mark’s talk…so I hope someone take notes!!