My work schedule has been taking me on the road this month and my first stop was in Halifax. Nova Scotia. I did get a little worried when I checked my bags with United when the young man asks, “Where is Halifax?” OK. We can all be forgiven for not knowing our geography, but he is in the airline business? (and in fact, I had to look it up on a map myself!). Halifax is in a time zone that is 2 hours ahead of us…so you get some idea of how far away they are from New York.
Working as a filmmaker has its unique challenges…especially when visiting our friendly neighbors to the north, where the government heavily protects their movie industry. So, I have to be somewhat cagey about what I say at the border about the purpose of my trip. I know, I could tell the truth…and that could work, but often they will stop me and tell me to go back home because they don’t want Americans taking Canadian jobs. I found the key to my gaining entry in the past was to point out that I was hiring Canadians…so I was stimulating their economy…but rather than even get into that discussion, I decided to concoct a small story. When asked, “What brings you to Halifax, Mr. Orr?” My response was..”personal, visiting a friend.” His follow up question was, “Where did you ever make a friend from Halifax?” Reasonable question, so I answered, “Ham Radio.” Well, the ruse worked, as he let me enter, but I did not have a good plan B. I did not have the name of a single Canadian operator from Halifax at the ready. The thing is, it really shows the incredible respect that Canadians do have for the hobby…it still is a common way to communicate across their vast country and so I didn’t mind drawing on that to help me safely enter the country (and I wasn’t doing anything illegal anyway, just wanted to avoid long lines at Immigration!)
Halifax is actually a wonderful city, loaded with fascinating Maritime history. Turns out it lays 100 miles from the place where the Titanic sank, and many of the dead were buried here in a solemn cemetery overlooking the harbor. It is also the spot where the largest explosion ever took place, prior to Hiroshima. Two merchant marine war ships collided in the harbor during WWI, and literally blew the town down. 2000 people died. It was an amazing part of history that I was not aware of, and found the way people responded to the scene just amazing. Boston, for instance sent hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid and so started a strong bond with the people of Halifax as a result. Sorry, folks, no time for radio work on this trip…but next time. I hope to go back one summer or fall when the weather is nicer.
Like many of you, you are probably going a little stir crazy with this cold weather. So, I thought I would work the ARRL SSB DX contest. I had a great time working stations, mostly on 10 meters…I worked almost everything south to Argentina and a raft of Japanese operators before I had to make room for the grand kids.
One ugly casualty, however, was my PC. I fired it up…and it had been a while since it was fired up…and found it was dead. Toast. No response. So, I spent part of the contest tearing the power supply apart to see if I could resuscitate it. No luck…and it was an XP…make sure you hear Mark Klocksin’s talk on what to do with that old XP machine at the next club meeting. So, off I went to my friends a Krex and asked them to rebuild a computer for me. I still like the fact that you can build a custom computer and don’t have to choke down the Apple with no serial ports, DVD drives, expansion slots…some things never die!
73 Rob K9RST