Saturday, January 20, 2018

Yard Looks Great, Hamfest Was Fun, and Some Snow On The Way

The yard guys finished up "Phase 1" of the yard program, and the yard looks really nice. The yard has been graded so the new double gates open easily, the gravel beds are cleaned out, the junipers are cleaned out, the iris bed by the garage has been cleaned out and weeded, all the window wells are cleaned out, and the whole place looks a bunch better. Well worth the $675 it cost to have done.

And I hit the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club swap meet / "Hamfest" for a couple of hours this morning. My next door neighbor was there, and Jed, one of my commenters who stops by from time to time. It was fun to go to an Old Skool hamfest, like the ones I went to in high-school and afterwards. I came "THIS CLOSE" to bringing home a Hallicrafters SX-115 receiver. Definitely something I didn't expect to see there, and it was in Very Good / Excellent condition, easily flippable on eBay for well over twice his asking price, and a receiver I've lusted after. But I held back on some logical reasons (it's not that good of a receiver) even though the other side of my brain was screaming "BUY IT!!".....

And I saw tons of hard-core RF parts for home brewing some seriously high power HF stuff. Tubes (glass AND ceramic!), sockets, air chimneys, anode caps, inductors made from silver-plated 1/4" copper tube, and variable capacitors you really could slice bread with. HV rectifiers, big door-knob capacitors, big filter capacitors, and all the power supply stuff you could want except the iron. I'm sure where you can get a good quality high voltage (Plate Supply) transformer these days. Ever since Peter Dahl stopped, there's been a dearth of suppliers. Granted, I haven't seriously looked for a 2500V 2A transformer, but that one supplier has closed their doors.

No, I'm not thinking of building a linear power amplifier, but it was fun to see all that stuff from when I was a young Ham.

Temperature is dropping, wind has shifted to the North, and we're expecting 4"~8" of snow tonight and tomorrow. This will be the "biggest" storm we've had since we moved here, and the wife is excited/concerned/happy/weird that we're getting "Eight Inches Of Snow!!", the most she's ever seen. I should have bought one of the snow blowers I saw last week, but the wife found a local guy who'll do it for $15. We'll see how well he works out, but I have a feeling I'll be getting a snow blower soon after this storm.


  1. Hope your wife isn't disappointed. Hopefully she will be acclimated before we get one of the epic blizzards that occur every five years or so.

    1. She hears the word "blizzard" the other day and freaked.

      Might take more than one winter to get her used to this....

  2. In and around the couple of shack related projects I've been documenting, I've been cleaning and trying to organize the shack. It does no good to have a single 32 cubic foot box labelled "miscellaneous", but it was close to that.

    Our big hamfest of the year is coming in a few weeks, so part of it is making a list of things to keep an eye out for. I have a box about the size of a big shoe box full of bread slicers and a roller inductor or two, so those aren't very tempting. The only amplifier I'd be likely to build would be a 2m/432 amp, and most likely that would be an LDMOS FET.

    1. I have the mate to your Big Box of Misc!

      And 20 or so 1 cu ft boxes of misc to go with it. It was about 100 boxes, but I consolidated/threw away/gave away most of them.

      The big swap meet at TRW in SoCal is about 3 times the size of this one, but it's outdoors, and has a lot of commercial vendors, and about 25% of the stuff is NOT radio related.

      This one had little else BUT Ham Radio gear. And everybody was ambulatory. The numbers of Hams riding scooters was ZERO, unlike in SoCal. It was refreshing to see!

  3. Jealous of your snow; we had maybe a centimeter and the county freaked out... saying that, after living in Alberta maybe the Texas heat's better? Tough call!

    1. We're under the "normal" snowfall so far this year. All our in-laws and the locals we've made friends with are saying when this happens we usually get clobbered in March and early April with heavy, wet late-spring snow. The last time we visited here before we moved was in March about a year ago, and we had a heavy, wet snow that broke branches all over town.

      The had the National Guard out here helping to clean up!

  4. Dr. Jim, you sure seem to have settled in out in your new place. Good that you found all the radio people , I know you miss your cronies on the battleship, but at least there are similar souls in Colorado.

    You can have that snow. After the appalling weather here for the last few weeks, my appreciation of winter wonderlands has dimmed considerably.

    Fortunately, we have mild weather and rain now, and nothing "arctic" in the immediate forecast.

    1. I'm waiting to see what, if any, "car scene" is here. I'm almost certain to have the only MKII Supra in Fort Collins.

      And the radio tribe seems to be a good bunch of guys and gals here. I would have been really upset if there wasn't any Ham Radio community here.

      The snow this time of year is the dry fluffy stuff the skiers love. You can almost broom it away. The stuff that comes in March and April is the wet nasty stuff that weighs 30 pounds per shovel full!

      I'm definitely getting a snow blower before that stuff hits.....

    2. Beats the Peoples Democratic Republic of California anyway, though!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks. A mutual friend from the Iowa (Dave Z.) was just released from the hospital after having a stroke. He appears to be bouncing back pretty well, but no more driving, and his speech will require some therapy.


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