Category Archives: Family

This is where grandparents get to brag!

It has been a very long time since I posted anything……

Ive had a dose of Summer Funk. We have continued to practice Morse each day but I have to admit that that is about all I’ve done with radio. We had a trip to Colorado in June, a bit of a busy schedule with Nr 1 son home going to summer school and a trip to Ham Com which left me slightly chilly. Static displays and no energy make for a boring afternoon. Maybe I’m getting old and jaded.

I have taken the time to increase my exercise regimen a bit during the summer months. Now we are mixing gentle jogging with the normal 30 minutes of walking and now up to 5 jogging circuits within that 30 minute window. Following that bit I generally try to do 96 reps (2 cycles on the machine clock) with 2 machines after walking/running. Back machine followed by an abs machine. This takes a total of 45 to 50 minutes and after that I’m pooped.

Yesterday I began biking to the YMCA. The Y is where I go to exercise. It is only 2.2 miles each way but a whole different set of muscles come into play and I thought I was going to croak. I had not inflated my tires properly so things were a trifle hard. Made it both ways in the end so all is good. Topped up the inflation business this morning and am about to make my second journey to the exercise facility and see what happens today.Fingers crossed please!

All of this insane biking business is due to an old workmate asking me to go biking with him as he is an avid cyclist. A little pre bike trip planning was in order and so I am glad I am taking some pains (sic) to get ready. I dont need to pass out along a track somewhere desolate. 🙂 Its incredible how the mind believes its still 20 something while a body knows it witnessed the building of the pyramids. So slow we become so dumb.

Still attempting to lose weight but I admit to have fallen off of my strict diet after 2 years. I’m trying to make up for that by doing more to stay fit. I trust exercise will help me out run the grim reaper- at least for a while. 67 years young is a hell of a time to find fitness. Everything takes longer and heals slower. But; it is what it is and one needs to start sometime or become a couch surfer. Radio does not help in this regard as one can get lost in collecting “stuff” if you are not careful. That is why Ive limited (unconsciously?) my radio to an hour per day. That is sufficient sitting IMHO.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Family, Primal Eating, Stuff


More of This and That….

Not a lot new happens when you get older. In our case our big event was a trip to Aggie Land that happened this weekend past and that is always a thrill. This weekend’s events saw a confluence of three Aggie events in a single weekend. First, Muster: a tribute to fallen Aggie’s that passed this year. Its quite a moving event if you have not experienced it and one which does not occur at any other institution as far as I know. Second was a Squadron Banquet for the spring frog class of corps cadets. Always a pleasure to attend. Lastly, dedication of Memorial Student Center. But most importantly we got to visit with our son. Its a longish drive-3 hours or more each way and with my vision is a strain at times, but was a truly rewarding time.

Our code practice sessions seemed to have moved into the darker hours of the day lately, most often occurring between 5 and 8 PM and utilizing 14 Mhz. That’s okay with me as we have our granddaughter to mind two days a week for the next eight weeks while our daughter has classes. She is scheduled to graduate in August this summer so this small visit time will come to a close. It seems like yesterday that all those grand kids were just born. Time does fly.

I wish I had some new equipment to chat about here but everything just keeps on working as it is designed to do. My antenna must not be large enough as it seems to stay up when Mother Nature exacts some fury. Along with modifying our CW Sked times, sun spots appear to be following along the path to shrinkage as forecast by Livingstone and Penn. This heightens my need for an 80/160 Meter solution for the near future. That will be a tough one to crack. The obvious choice for a small lot solution is a vertical but ground losses are so high that I am loathe to go that direction. Even a low balanced solution would be less lossy.  However horizontal space is at a premium in my home plat. Somehow we will muddle through this dilemma, given time and creativity. Hopefully it will work well for domestic contests and maybe a little bit of DX.

It appears as though summer is upon us already. We had no winter at all so we expect lots of buggy critters this summer. I can testify that the pollen is already thick and I am suffering the worst summer of allergies since leaving California 22 odd years ago. I thought those days were done. Well, not so fast I guess. It appears that particular form of allergy is driven by molds of all sort. Too much rain I suppose, not a bad thing for farmers but hey, my garden can be irrigated. 🙂

That’s all for this post. I will attempt more radio content next time but lately we have been motivated by weather and roofs and all manner of repairs. In a way I am happy that radio things keep percolating along as one expects. Too many surprises dents ones soul.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Family, Radio


Well now, at least my antenna is still standing!

We had a big storm mess around these parts on Tuesday afternoon. At about 2:21 a large wind and hail event passed though and over our little Casa and tore us up pretty well. The photos will show for themselves. Fortunately it was mostly sky lights, roof, guttering and a car which happened to be outdoors that took the brunt of it. Getting the open sky lights covered whilst rain, hail and electrical storm activity were present was not my favorite bits of this exercise. My antenna feed line somehow got snapped off at the house entry point which is strange as it is covered by the eves of the house. And so begins the long recovery process. Insurance companies (car and home – same insurance but different adjusters) and finding reasonable vendors etc etc. I could not get a photo of the broken glass sky lights as they are covered by heavy tarps and so light is not available.

However, we are better off than a lot of folks that lost everything so we continue to count our blessings.

Thanks for reading our Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Family, Radio


Its been a while

I seem to be lost in space these days. Under the heading of “True Confession” I have to admit I just could not bring myself to do ARRL CW this weekend past. For some reason, be it the heavy drenching we got on the weekend or just a lack of desire I know not which but it left me reading some books and exercising at the gym.

I grudgingly meandered up to the blog login on this site and then thought better of it. I checked the blog roll links on my pages first and discovered that G4ILO was down and immediately I began racing about to see if there was a change in health status. No news so far which is good but still, what happened to the G4ILO web presence. I feel I have misplaced an old friend as indeed I think I have. Anyone? Comments?

Im completing the complete works of Conan Doyle for the umpteenth time. This in the form of a reprint of original Strand Magazine articles published sometime around the turn of the last century. Just prior to that read I went on a journey into factory food land via “Omnivore’s Dilemma”, by a chap named Pollan, Michael. It is a wonderful read and takes you on a behind the scenes tour of four meals. You can search for its review if you decide that it is your cup o joe. I highly recommend it as one should take a peek behind the wall of obscurity that clothes our modern food production and distribution system.

We have substituted a gym (YMCA) for walking. My normal ritual is now to walk for thirty ish minutes (power walking) on the track followed by reps on the Life Cycle machines. Not all of those available mind you, just the gut shrinking types of machines. I’m trying to isolate my girth and man boobs into submission. Hopefully this will continue until spring asserts itself and I cannot drive but cycle to the “Y”. That should take an hour and forty five minutes portal to portal each day. The thirty minutes of walking gives ample time to play ARRL W1AW Code Practice tapes at some ridiculous speeds that I can almost comprehend and then find myself hopelessly lost in space aurally again. Practice makes perfect? Maybe. There are two things that are very hard for old dogs to change or learn- One is to develop a new skill at an advanced age, the other is to lose weight and get into shape at an equally advanced age.

But the beat goes on……

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG


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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Family, Morse, Primal Eating, Stuff


3300 Steps and other stuff

Ive been using my new Christmas gift regularly. Daily in fact. This iPod Nano Gen 6 is quite the toy. I like the pedometer feature almost as much as I enjoy the wonderful FM Radio built into it. Today I tried to download my walking statistics so I could capture a screen shot. The iTunes Site warps you over to a Nike Site and I tried to “Register” there but no joy. The site never responded. Ill try again later. Anyway, to make a long story shorter, Ive learned that my morning walk is 1.6 miles, generally, and approximately 3350 steps. The reward for this effort is 180 calories burned. I need to walk farther I guess. Habitually, I do my walking before the crack of dawn so Ill probably have to change habits to include more miles per week.

Last week I came across a wonderful short video on youtube that I may not have shared here yet. It is done by a physician and is quite cleverly done in stop action cartoon style but the message is succinct and appropriate to today’s society. This short attempts (successfully IMHO) to answer the Question: What is the single most beneficial thing we can do to improve our health? You can find this video here.

I like to listen to Bill Bennett on the early morning radio (Why do iPod and walkman makers never include an AM radio in the features of these wonderful toys?) as he is a non strident radio host, yet manages to explore today’s important themes. He is also a Classically Trained Philosopher with a strong background in ethics. Last week or perhaps before, he had some discussion going that involved subjects as disparate as death and appreciation of life. Some references were made about a book called the New England Primer. I just caught a small bit of the discussion but involved a statement like, “one cannot fully appreciate life without knowing death”. I had not ever calibrated this concept (most of you know I am not a deep thinker) but it sounded intriguing. So, hat in hand off I went to discover what messages were contained in this New England Primer. Low, I never found the bits I was looking for, but did come across a short prayer that I had been made to memorize as a small child. It began, “Now I lay me down to sleep”….I never understood the derivation of that poem/prayer but found it this AM in the New England Primer. My Grand Mother was an old school Quaker so I suppose she would have brought this to our young minds. The prayer may in fact be a lot older but it was contained in a version of this book printed around 1744. Who knows, it may have come from old England.

Now that I have that discovery committed to the blog-o-sphere, I suppose I should go find out about life and death as written by a preacher named Cotton something or other….News after of course.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Family, Readinf and History, Stuff


Catching up after the holidays

Just a short note to celebrate finally arm-twisting my son to go to a Ham Meeting with me. Since getting his new handie talkie for Xmas he has had some ups and downs with radio, not the least of which was me when he lost his mind and failed to ID properly this morning. 🙂 On the way home from class today he was mobile and someone in the local fire department was  attempting to activate the local school emergency net and needed a volunteer to go to a local school house-just as luck would have it Matt was passing by. He arrived home all a twitter. Some good things are happening under no direction from me. If this is going to take off it will be with his energy; not mine. But first tonight we get to to the local contest group evening dinner which happens once per month. A second evil grin placed here please.

I think I will do NAQP CW this month. If I can get N1MM Function Keys set up correctly to run as well as S&P I should be in bidness. CT was a lot easier for the casual contester. NAQP is a nice QSO Party along the lines of the old State QSO Parties save this is a National Contest. I need an excuse to get my git up n go back in motion. Somewhere along the line over the last several years my code practice has warped my brain into enjoying rag chews more than Contests, so I need to test my mettle again and see how it goes. Who knows perhaps my mojo will come back.

I am just sitting here with the radio burning up some BTU’s and was listening to 10M FM at the behest of another local in zip 75019. No joy today Jerry. I heard the repeater ID but that is all. Otherwise 10M was open nicely to the northwest USA. Later I was on 18 Mhz and heard a D2 station working a pileup not bothering to ID very much so I didnt either. I do not believe I have ever worked Angola. Hmmm…..maybe I should have called.

I had better get ready to go with the boy to dinner. Pardon my drivel here. I didnt have a lot but wanted to record a week of firsts for the kiddo. Inasmuch as this is as much a family document as anything else it really needs put onto some medium, if for no other reason than kidding him at some later date. 🙂

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Family, Radio


Just a kid and his radio playing in some fields

First of all Happy New Year! I trust that you all enjoyed the Holidays and find yourselves safely ensconced in 2012. Good Job!

I spent yesterday afternoon reading a wonderful Ham Radio Tale as told by Dave, W6AQ that can be found here.I found this on Larry’s fine blog over at I don’t know how long it has been posted there or how I could have missed it before but I thoroughly enjoyed the “all too brief” read. I certainly can identify with a lot of his early radio experiences, especially those involving FCC inspectors and early testing. Thanks for posting that link Larry! And a very big “Thanks” to Dave Bell W6AQ for writing this delightful account of his early experiences.

New Years eve found me in the shack wanting to do SKN again and yet for another year I failed to get on. This time stymied by a lack of proper adapters to hook the old J-38 to my rig and a decided lack of enthusiasm. I get up early (like 5 AM) so by the time I work up the fortitude to turn off the tube I am already looking forward to counting sheep. So it went again this year- no SKN. The prospect of firing up my soldering station at 9 PM was daunting for some reason. My Git up N Go left me. Look at it this way, I always have something to look forward to next December 31st.

My son received his handie talkie and is learning its strange programming techniques. He received a Woxoun UV6DP for Christmas and I have to admit its programming is strange enough to confound a seasoned veteran ham…..however, when I ordered this radio I had heard about programming so also ordered the programming cable. The computer programming makes this chore a snap. It is a nice little radio and seems to work well. Just how durable it is will reveal itself over time of course. His first ever attempt at trying it out was less than a positive experience though. I let him go solo and he asked for a radio check on a local repeater and some guy started lecturing him on proper procedure. Something like “you don’t ask for radio checks on a repeater” sort of thing. It was all I could do to keep my hands off the handie. So much for being friendly and helpful to new hams. The repeater in question belongs to MARS (that is the Metrocrest club here in N. TX). So later I called a local I know and he was kind enough to meet us on the local repeater so Matt could wet his feet in a friendlier environment. That experience went much better. We will work on more things during the week so by the time he gets ready to go back to school he will have steady radio “sea legs”.

We were fortunate enough to have some additional hours to play radio this week. I managed my usual practice and got down on 40M both early and late in the day to find and renew old acquaintances. The magic is still there for me after all these years; since 1959 in fact. Reading Dave Bell’s experiences with his testing for Morse under the watchful eye of the FCC Inspector brought back some equally terrifying memories. I hope that I never tire of playing with E&M Fields. I admit that like Latin, I don’t speak the language of field theory, but I very much enjoy the end result. Reaching out and touching someone, however far, with simple kit and a battery never ceases to delight.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Family, Morse, Radio