Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Musings: The next thing

The rock pit I call a yard is slowly progressing. I have to use a pick axe to break up the clay but I think there is hope for a small garden this year.

The weather has been drier but VERY windy - which does nothing for my contact lenses. It sucks. I could be out digging rocks but that wind blows the dirt in my eyes and it isn't just a rub-your-eyes and move on, it's HOLY COW I'M BLIND run-for-the-house-take-the-contacts-out-and-flush-the-eyes kind of thing. Not to mention I overdid it with the pick axe the other day and now my back is making me pay.

So for the days I'm inside, I'm working on a new hobby.

Amateur radio. It's not just one of those little walkie talkies you can get at the sporting goods store. This radio requires an actual FCC license. In the amateur radio community, operators are called "hams". We don't know why. Not all of us are laughing it up and making jokes, some of us are deadly serious.

A long time ago, pre-children, my husband and I took a class to learn about amateur radio and take the test to get the first level license. Back then, you had to take a 5 words per minute Morse code test. I failed. My husband managed to get his license but I didn't bother trying again.

Just a few months ago, a friend of ours was conducting a class and asked if we were interested - and no Morse code test. Apparently the FCC felt like the Morse code test was keeping a lot of interested people from getting their licenses so they dropped the requirement for the exams. Woohoo! I took the class and managed to pass the test this time! That's not to say that Morse code is dead. There are certain frequencies that are devoted specifically to Morse code communication in the amateur ham bands.

I may try to learn Morse code someday, but for now, I'm just trying to learn more about how the radio works and having fun talking to my uncle once a week a few towns over thanks to a repeater station on the mountain.

My husband - a gearhead if there ever was one - has kindly loaned me one of his extra 2 meter handy talkies (2 meters is a way to label the range of frequencies I use). He keeps talking about the radio he is going to get me someday - one with GPS capabilities. I'm good for now with his old one. I still don't know how to use all the buttons yet. But now that the youngest is in kindergarten, I have some time to play with it.

What do you do when the kids are school?


Lourie said...

Well I really thought I would be doing things all about me. Living it good. The joke is on me. It is even less about me. Time for change. Just to figure out how! :)

Pam said...

Genealogy- more specifically, the 1940 census records now FUN!!!!!