Sunday, November 19, 2017

Super Busy Weekend, Son's Surprise Visit....

My son texted me Thursday night that he was thinking of coming out here, and sure enough, I'm headed down to Denver to pick him up at the airport. Since this was the first time I picked up an arrival at DIA, I checked the "flyden" website and had maps of the terminals and parking structure with me.

The drive was not a good one, as I hit all the traffic leaving Fort Collins and headed South for the weekend, there was a huge accident on the I-25 Northbound causing a lot of slowing Southbound by the lookie-loos, and it started raining about 20 miles from the airport, and continued to rain the rest of the time until I met him at the baggage claim.

I picked "Level 1" parking not knowing the baggage claim area and the arriving passenger pick-up zone and all the ground transportation was on "Level 5". Not a big deal, but I prefer parking on the same level as where I'll be meeting the person, if possible.

I'm sure I'll be going into and out of DIA a lot in the next few years, so it's nice to know how to navigate the airport. I can (or could) get in and out of LAX, LGB, ORD, and possibly John Wayne Airport, but DIA is new to me.


Just got back from dropping him off at the airport. There was a massive accident of some sort on I-25 North at Harmony Road, my "new" exit, and I had to get off the Interstate several miles South of there on CO-392 and head West until I hit a street I could take to get me home.

So, I spent the weekend doing "family" stuff instead of "house" stuff, and we had The Kids and the baby over for dinner Saturday night. It was our first time entertaining here, and my wife made a big batch of her most excellent lasagna, and we had fresh bread, salad, veggies, and pie for desert.

The wife has gotten used to cooking on the electric stove, and this latest generation of electric stoves is absolutely NOTHING like the electric stoves we both remembered from our youth, where your chances of under and/or over cooking the food was a given if you were used to gas.

This thing uses some kind of high-tech heating element, possibly inverter-driven, and you get max heat in just a few seconds, and it cools off almost as fast! No more chasing the correct heat all over the dial because of the large thermal inertia of the old type "Big Flat Coil". Nope, crank the knob, and you get heat.....NOW. Need to throttle it back a bit? No problem. The heating element responds almost as fast, and the heat decreases right with it.

Pretty nifty!

The dog goes to see her new Vet tomorrow, and will get a "mountain" shot, which covers several diseases that you don't find in SoCal.

This weeks major project for me, will be to get the Jeep smogged, get the VIN verified, and go to the office that handles this stuff to get a Colorado Title for it, and get it registered here. I'll probably get a paper plate as the callsign plate I want to get is a vanity plate and has to be made. Kommiefonia gave you a Ham Radio callsign plate for free, but in Colorado it's a $20 vanity plate.

Then I can get my Colorado driver's license and be a local.

My son and I crawled around the backyard with a 100' tape measure making drawings, and the yard is actually wider than my crude measurements on Google maps indicated. After scratching my head, I found a spot in the yard that can legally support a 38' tower/antenna, and clear all the trees, and stay entirely on our property if it falls. This will let me plant a 30' tower with the HF antenna at around 33', and a 2 Meter Yagi up at the top. 33' is a "good" height for a tower because it's a half-wavelength on 20 Meters, the most important "DX" band, and most Amateur Radio "Yagi" antennas work very well when mounted a half-wavelength (or more) above ground. 

Now I have to guesstimate the feedline length, and decide what type of feedline I'm going to buy. I'll almost certainly use hardline for the 2 Meter run, and for a portion of the HF run since I have about 150' of  1" Heliax and the connectors for it.

Pebbles enjoying the new fence:

And the custom hand-built, triple-hinged, double-wide gate that drove up the fence cost significantly:

 As he was working on ours, the neighbor who owns the house in the above picture, came over and asked him how much to do the two panels that went between her house, and our "new pretty fence", so she paid for two panels and installation, and now all the fence on that side of our house has been replaced.
Needs a bit of grading, but that will be up to the "landscape guy" who we haven't met yet. I'm bracing myself for a $1500 cost for "Phase 1" (clean up and weed removal) of the yard work to get the front and backyards all nice and spiffy.

We'll handle "Phase 2", the grading and reconstruction, in the spring after the tower gets planted. The "reconstruction" part might include a gravel "road" inside the yard so that any future trucks have a sacrificial path they can use to get to the trees and tower.

I'm figuring probably $5k for that job......

So, I'm pretty trashed from two trips to Denver and back, but in a way it was a nice break from all the nuttiness going on in the process of turning a house into a home, and I could ignore the huge pile of STUFF in the garage that desperately needs attention, along with a huge pile of STUFF and the dead heater in the Radio Room that needs attention just as desperately.........and my wife makes me help her hang pictures. Different priorities, but at least I got to pick out half the artwork..........


  1. Thanks for the update. Do you think your son will end up near you?
    You are making good progress, and it's encouraging to hear your plans and your enthusiasm. I'm happy for you!

  2. We're not sure where he's headed, and neither are his Mom and step-Dad, if you get my drift....

    Thanks, we're both loving it here even though my wife has a case of "Culture Shock"!

  3. Nice fence - you get what you pay for.

  4. Yep. The gate, and both end panels on that end had to be hand-built. He beefed up the end panels to help spread the load the gate caused.

  5. Family is always good! And you're going to be living with traffic nightmares around DEN forever!

    1. Yep, and that's the reason I avoid going South when I can!

  6. Sounds like things are going well, though. Glad to hear it!
    God bless.

  7. That's a good lookin' fence! Glad things are going so well.

  8. It came out "straight-as-a-string", and very well built.

    Not sure if we'll water-proof it, or just leave it. The last one made it 40 years before it rotted, so we might just save the $$ and leave it as-is.

  9. Definitely looking good. Nothing progresses like progress, to butcher a saying.

    Our county pushed that "has to fall on your property" idea several years ago, but I'm grandfathered in. My tower is 25' to the top of the mast, and my fence is 26' from the base. It might well fall in a bad way that could have aluminum spears ending up on the sidewalk.

    At least once a month, I'm glad I got a place with no HOA.

    1. "NO HOA" was a major consideration when we were looking for a house. My wife hates HOA's even more than I do, if that's possible.

      Fort Collins appears to be pretty "antenna friendly" for Hams, and Larimer County only gets nervous if you want to to 100'.


Keep it civil, please....

Welcome To The Weekend!

 And we're off to the Larimer County Fair! Photo crew will be SLW and my son. TLG has been talking about it all week.... Have fun and be...