Shirley's Monthly Short Wave Radio Report
Digital modes: After some frustration, Falk and I have found, we believe, a programme that I might be able to handle. It's called True TTY (now I may have this name wrong because I haven't seen it written down yet). It seems to encompass a whole lot of other programmes, and be easier to manage than some of the other ones we have tried. Unfortunately the darn thing has to be paid for, but it is only about $35.00 (US), so that shouldn't be a real problem. The other only thing is that until I pay for it I can't really do much, since if you set up the programme so that it works, all the settings disappear when you turn off your computer, and I guess the only thing that will prevent this is paying for the programme. Falk is coming around again on Monday (Feb. 4th), so we will probably get that done then. I am also still interested in getting Digipan going because of the slowscan TV, which may be useful after the p.s.
Towers: When Bruce, (whom I refer to as my mentor because he not only installed the antenna but has taught me a lot of stuff besides) came to fix my radio problems (which took him about five seconds, all of them having been caused by Falk or myself pressing wrong buttons, which I couldn't fix because the radio does not talk to me like my computer does), I picked his brains about towers. Suffice it to say that all of the towers he told me about are out, simply because of the fact that we are renting this particular house. Oh, if only we had been able to take that bungalow we saw at the same time we saw this house! There was tons of land attached to it, and I actually liked it better. Gary did not because he said it was old, and besides it was too far away from his paper route. But I still hanker after that thing! Anyway, there is another way. Apparently there is a thing called an amplifier. Now this thing, new, is more expensive than a low-end tower would be. The price is probably about $3000.00. However, Bruce informed me that it is possible sometimes to get one, secondhand, for approximately $700.00. I have to admit, though, this sounds a little unrealistic. On March 23 there is Hamex, which is a huge flea-market type of affair, so I am going to attend with Vidal and see if I can't scout out a nice secondhand amp. We will have to get another plug put into the basement, of course, of the type that will support the power used by, for example, an electric stove; but I will just call the guy who wired up this basement in the first place, and offer him inducements (mainly bottles of wine and cans of beer) to wire up such an installation. If this works, maybe Jan and I can still contact each other, or at least I will be able to make contacts farther away than I can now, because the amp will boost my power output by several hundred Watts. Updates: True TTY is still not installed or paid for because, rather oddly, Falk forgot he was supposed to come around that Monday. I have been rather busy with other stuff and Gary and I have not gotten around to going to the web site yet, but it will be done, hopefully before the next Ham Radio Club meeting. Once that is done, I know Falk will help me to set it up; and when that is done, I plan to set aside a certain amount of time a day - probably early in the morning, actually, from about 03:00 a.m. to 05:00 a.m., for ham radio studies. Specifically I have to work on the digital modes, and my CW. Regarding the amp, I have decided not to wait until March 23rd. For one thing, Bruce is going to be occupied at the CNIB table and may not be able to help me. Gary won't be able to get there until later because he is working, and I can't take Vidal! Apparently it is so crowded there that V might get his paws stepped on and it would be a bad scene for a dog. This would mean I would have to wander around using a white cane - yuck! I would be a bit scared of getting anything secondhand without his looking it over, unless I got it from Radio World, which is our local - although it isn't that close to us - radio store. There I trust the guys. A lot of them are even in our club, and they would help me. At the Board meeting I plan to request help from the non-profit in this, since I believe it may be more money than I can afford at this time. I would not be doing this were it not for the fact that I believe a tower is pretty well impossible. Even if we or the non-profit had the financial means to obtain one, we have nowhere to put it, and because of Gary's job, we are not in a position at this time to move further out of Mississauga to a place where we would have more land, and somewhere to put up a tower. In the absence of funds and land for a tower, an amplifier is the next best thing, and will certainly make communications easier, not only now, but definitely for the after-time. Radio Net: Sparked by the question that Nancy asked last Board meeting, i.e. whether Jan or I are in a position to host a radio net, should it become necessary, we certainly are in that position here, so I am trying to start one. I contacted a couple of people on the radio list and either did not receive a response, or found that they don't have a licence which enables them to communicate with Canada. However, Kraige, who is in Vancouver, did respond and of course because we are both in Canada, we decided to try a contact last week. In spite of a lot of frequency-hopping to try and get a contact, we were unsuccessful. However, never say die; and we have scheduled another contact this Saturday, Feb 16th, so I will let the Board know how we fare at the meeting on the 17th.
Best regards, Shirley.