Like Willie Nelson,...

I'm on the road again.

Heading to Cleveland for the holidays.  This will be a short, visit-packed trip, with us heading back again no later than the 27th.

Good news - I passed the General test for Ham Radio, which makes me eligible to work the HF bands - those are the ones that are generally used for DX - long distance contacts.  Can't do that without an HF rig, however, and those are QUITE expensive.  Minimal - about $600.  Maximal - my dear, if you have to ask...but, can be $12k - 15k.

For a RADIO?

Well, yes, but they also do so much more:

  • Slow-scan television/video can be received/sent, making it the choice for getting REAL news from far, and not-so far away.

  • Outer space communications - bouncing a signal off one of the many satellites, communicating with the space station, controlling a satellite.

  • Emergency communications - when the cell towers are not functional, radio can be.  Providing both emergency assistance to disaster agencies and helping those affected assure family that they are OK.  And, in case of the Zombie Apocalypse....

  • Locating rogue transmitters, chatting with another amateur with your special interests (other than radio - Black, disabled, women, chess players, English or other language learners in other countries) running an underground movement to free your country from an oppressive government - anywhere the "outs" need a way to communicate outside of the regular media channels - Ham is there.

  • Connecting with the Internet where access is weak or nonexistent.

  • And, yes, old-fashioned, but very effective - Morse Code.  Which I'm planning to take up now that I've passed the test.  Have to buy/make a CW oscillator first to learn with.

My other big plan is to get into shape - a shape other than round.  Fitness is my primary goal, but it wouldn't kill me to hear that I also look good.  I should have the time this Christmas break to set up a workable plan for weekdays and weekends, as well as begin tracking my food intake.

Merry Christmas to all!  And if you are feeling STRESSED by the holidays, think of THESE PEOPLE - they live in the Mideast, and risk SERIOUS punishment for celebrating.



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