I had such good intentions of writing one of these Blogs every month. Then we went to Yuma for Holidays and time simply got the best of me. Fact is, I have been in one of those end-of-the-year funks that catch us all between closing out the records from one year and starting a new business year. There are countless chores to complete. Plus, I had the pleasure of working on the final touches for our Winter Banquet, which demands much more detail work as you get closer to the date. Once again, we had a very successful event. 84 people attended and a good time was had by all. Our Speaker, Steve Jajkowski, really did keep us all on engaged as he described the history of commercial television in Chicago. It was much more complex and dynamic story than I would have thought. He came with power point slides showing some of the key players and some of the local celebs, many of whom built their broadcast careers here. We found out that even our own Trudy Kaplan (Jordan’s wife) has her career start with Channel 3 as an on air personality!
Repeaters. Bears repeating!
Meanwhile, the club has been blessed with a couple of really terrific volunteers, who have been diligently working to improve our two meter machine. Warren Pugh, Dave Hewitt, Ron Harroff, Don Whiteman, Mark Klocksin, Ed Burckart, Mike Swiatkowski are just a few who come to mind. For the past month, we have been up and down that tower trying our best to make incremental improvements to the 2 meter repeater. As I write, we have deployed only the two meter machine in the space, so that we can isolate some of the technical issues. As you may recall, Techny, which used to be our home for about 10 years, is basically a brick tower with steel girders supporting the structure. Our antennas and equipment are indoors, which is an advantage, but this also presents challenges. One floor below us is a complex cell tower site….they have those familiar rectangular antennas mounted in front of each window. Since we are upstairs, separated by a thick concrete floor from the cell boys, we don’t see too much interference (we think)…but we may have been trying to put to many of our own services up there and that is where we needed to sort out our equipment. For the moment, the 220 Mhz repeater is down, the APRS/Digi and BBS are also down. As we refine our work, we will slowly bring these services back on line.
Historic Snow Day
I am sure most of you are aware that we got hit with a sizeable snow storm event this week (Feburary 2, 2011). I shoveled three driveways myself and have the back pains to prove it. One of the great, fun things (if you can call it that) that comes with these storms is that you are forced to be home with your radios (and your wife!). I spent some quality time on my scanner listening to the various police and fire responders who had to work the event (actually, my wife sat alongside as we listened to the various reports of accidents and stranded motorists.) I was thrilled to discover a web site that lists every single frequency listed to anyone in the Chicago area (I am not a scanner fanatic…so pardon my naïve enthusiasm.) RadioReference.com is not a site for the casual user. They list hundreds of frequencies that you can monitor over their internet site, and, if you choose you can find the frequencies of interest to you and program them into your own radio, which is what I did. I never did turn on TV last night. It was a radio night. I also monitored some of the ARES nets in Wisconsin and Indiana and got all excited about buying a HF amplifier. Frankly, this may be the only reason for me to even think of owning an amplifier. During times of real emergencies, it would be good to be able to effectively get a signal out on 80 or 40 meters. Sometimes it takes events like these to bring you back to your senses and give you the time to reflect on the things that are truly important in life.
See you on the bands.