Category Archives: Stuff

Catchall Category.

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


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


Year End Whining

Okay already! I avoided a chunk of coal for Xmas this year, but not for lack of trying. I never cleaned out the garage, nor did I do all of those Honey Do’s I was supposed to get done. But I promise Ill do better this year. Honest. I have the best of intentions. But first I need to limber up for Straight Key Night. Yup, Im gonna try to do this again this year.

Have you ever noticed that when you want to use that wonderful electronic widget that you received for Xmas or Birthday that the proprietary cable, charger, adapter is nowhere to be found? After a lifetime of gifting and buying just the right widget, I am overwhelmed with electronic clutter. These items are too long to be hung up on some sort of rack or never easily located if stuffed into a box labelled “Cables” or tool kit. I can tell you from experience that cable boxes do not work. Pondering one of the of life’s great conundrums this week I think the only solutions is to: one, scrap all that wonderful stuff or two, buy stock in a plastic box company where one buys plastic stacking boxes that will generically hold most of this clutter as a set. By that I mean if a camera is involved, then the box should hold all the accessories for that camera plus the camera. If a handie talkie is the item in question then by all means add another stacking box to hold it. Sheesh. The overhead of modern life is astounding. Shoe boxes used to work for this but stuff is so much smaller now a shoe box is overkill. No wonder us old folks just find it easier to downsize all of that not-so-necessary clutter in our later years.

Speaking of neato junque, I got an iPod Nano for Xmas. I used to walk with an old Sensa that Matt had tossed when he got an iPod of his own a few years ago. This thingy does everything. It has a exercise feature that tracks walks and jogs and calories burned and just about everything a person that does that sort of thing would want to know. Yesterday I went for a walk and found that I had walked 1.67 miles in 32 minutes and burned 133 calories. That permitted me a second slice of apple pie at supper. Today I chose run vs walk so it calculated a greater number of calories as it thought I was running vs walking and so tonight I can have two or three slices of pie! Just kidding! 🙂

On an entirely different subject, I have decided that preaching about noise reduction is harmful. Folks trying to do noise abatement cannot possibly estimate the cost of the effort at the outset and so more often than not fail and declare it fruitless. No one but an idiot or zealot like me would shop incessantly for surplus ferrites so that any event of noise could be dealt with on the spot. I have about 100 pounds of various ferrite snap its and cores deployed and another hundred pounds on the shelf. I am comfortable with being able to deal with the ever-changing menace, but not many would commit to an open ended project just to make a lower noise level in a Ham Radio Receiver. Virtually everything that you or your neighbors buy and plug into the wall makes noise. It is a forever project. Most just surrender and call it a day. Preaching about it just ticks people off. Lesson learned.

Anyway enough of my complaining. I trust you all will have a pleasant New Year and be sure to stay safe.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG



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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Radio, Stuff



There is some good mixed with not so good when resolving to a list of resolutions. The good bits involve actually thinking about making some positive changes in your life while the bad bits often include having life itself get in the way of good intentions. So, for better or worse I will post a few in hopes that I can make some progress and focus a bit.

  • Keep up my Morse practice. This hour per day has provided a nice opportunity to focus on radio while not stealing too much time from chores. I’m not, nor will I ever be a “CW Man”, but it is a task I am content to do the work necessary to improve. Someone once suggested that 2000 hours of practice is required in order to be “proficient” in any manually dexterous task. An hour a day for five days per week intimates a time investment of 7.69 years of Morse Practice to become acceptably proficient. That seems like a doable time frame. We have been at this for around 3-4 years now. 🙂
  • Make better use of my IC-735 in QRP mode. Ive set things up to run off of battery power and output 5 watts but have yet to do any QRP CW work. Mostly I fall asleep early and I just need to change my habits.
  • Operate on SKN. I keep trying to get involved but never actually manage to do this. Another opportunity is just around the corner
  • Keep walking each morning. I walk 1.5 miles per day now. Perhaps I can increase that somewhat.
  • Continue with my Primal Diet. Ive taken a holiday since around Thanksgiving. Time to get back on track.
  • Take my son and grandson camping with telescopes and radios. Nuff said.
  • Find a way to have a date night with my wife once per month.

That is enough for one year. It is necessary to have enough but not too many. Someone remind me of this post if I don’t write about about “progress” along the way!

Thanks for reading my Blog and a very Merry Christmas to all. Best, Chas W5PG


Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Family, QRP, Radio, Stuff, Uncategorized


A Christmas Gift

It isn’t very often that an opportunity arrives that takes my breath away. It happens that this Holiday Season is one of those times. You see we have trouble in our circle. It didn’t appear as an overt or singular event, but one of subtle additions. First there was a friend that went to Wisconsin to visit his Mom. Normally he comes home to Texas in time to have Thanksgiving Dinner with our family. This year he didn’t return. Fortunately I received a phone call and the number remained in caller ID, otherwise I would not have known what was wrong. After I called him and we joked a little nervous joking viz his stroke, I asked again about Christmas….”Sure, Ill be there I just need to get this Colo- Rectal thingy out of the way. A subsequent call revealed a further delay which is not too hard to figure out if you read between the lines just a touch. Now IM not sure if our friend will ever make it back “home”.

Later that month we received news that a close in-law had had difficulty breathing and was having tests done. After many months of exams, poking and prodding, our in-law was determined to have stage four lung cancer. There isn’t anything after stage four of any cancer I am told. So now it is the long dreadful haul through the chemotherapy business.  Fortunately they are remaining positive and marching right along through the process.

Lest this be too depressing a post, my son-in-law had a coronary event for the second time in as many years. He is thirty, in excellent physical shape and had the very bad luck to be born with diabetes. Controlling diabetes is treated with drugs of some sort, and in his case he was treated with a very nasty bit of business called Avandia. Avandia is linked to heart disease and in our in-laws case we believe caused significant heart damage. How often does a 30 year old have a heart attack-especially one in tip top physical shape? To make a long story shorter, yesterday he underwent a laser (I think) blockage removal in his carotid artery. That was a scary procedure since any bits escaping go directly into the brain and potentially cause a stroke.

A lot of us Hams are of the age where Nature stops giving and begins taking away; little by little Mom Nature whittles us down to size it seems. I certainly am of that group. I am 66 years old and my bride is also in the same bracket. We have been blessed with many trouble free years of marriage, yet I cannot recall one so back end loaded with reasons to feel blessed. Yes, blessed. Each family in turn has been presented with nasty news, yet each is coping well and soldiering onward as if nothing is dimmed their futures one iota. I trust I will once again see my Wisconsin friend for another Thanksgiving Dinner, my in-law with cancer will camp with us once again somewhere between here and California and my son-in-law is doing well following his procedure. We expect to have a nice Christmas evening meal and can only keep a seat warm for our missing friend with the expectation he will be back soon.

Best of Seasons Greetings to you all. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Family, Stuff


CW Clubs

I was saddened to see an original charter CW Ops member drop out this week. It becomes easier to understand when one looks at the focus of Club Activities through the year. It seems the Ops group has morphed into a contest club for the most part and that simply does not appeal to a lot of folks. Having added pressures to promote activity that you  are not fond of is adding pressure to a hobby that normally should be reserved for a working environment, not a pastime environment. I sometimes feel we hobbyists project working world drive into our hobby life and then wonder why we burn out.

Lately though, CW Ops has begun a QTX rag chewing activity award. Inasmuch as my practice buddy and I get on each day for an hour, we have divided our hour into three twenty minute QSO’s on different bands and plan to enter that award with a QSO we would have been doing anyway. I suppose that it a breach of some semblance of rule making but until someone tells me to stop Ill submit my hours of activity.

Most of the remaining CW enthusiasts from my era began life in a solitary way, finding our skills by ourselves, learning solo, making friends on the air rather than via the internet and until the coming of phone trees, DX repeaters and DX Clusters ruined everything (for me at least), radio was a singularly solo sport and achievement came at the cost of time and sacrifice with sweat. Clubs rarely organized around a Morse Code event or for that matter ever recognized Morse Operators very much. It was all Repeaters, VHF, UHF, Field Days or other activities which lend themselves to groups. Perhaps that is a fundamental difference between general Ham Activity and those of us that became CW aficionados earlier in life. Perhaps I am recalling wrongly. Maybe I am sentimental and full of BS. Given that the aforementioned is true, I will still miss my friend, but I know where to find him. Another beacon from Asia with an excellent fist and a bit of warm conversation for anyone that comes along. I will be spending more time around the low end of 40 meters this winter on the off chance I can once again renew an acquaintance. And that is the way of Morse and Radio. It is best accomplished live and on the air.

Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG


Posted by on December 6, 2011 in DX, Morse, Radio, Stuff