Fall Color Update

We are still in the thick of Fall Colors here in Northern California

The recent winds blew a lot of leaves off the trees – but there are still quite a few trees that are only just starting to turn color. My ginkgo tree has just started to turn color – it has yellow around the edges of the leaves, and soon will burst into a bright yellow.

I’m looking forward to the weekend – last weekend was a “work weekend”, and I’m looking forward to just doing some fun hobby things this weekend – go to the gym, play guitar, play radio and just goof around a bit.

I’m also looking forward to Thanksgiving and the Holidays. I am very thankful for being in the situation I am right now – and hope it lasts a good long while. The big “feather in my cap” this year is applying for two patents – what a far cry from a year ago. Besides meeting with the patent attorney recently, I also met with an outside council who is advising LendUp on how to prepare for CCPA. They basically said we are WAY ahead of everyone else – and my boss is quite pleased with how I have managed getting LendUp prepared for CCPA, but more importantly – getting us ready to better manage our data. We have the same situation I encountered both at Credit Karma and Twitter this past couple of years – so its basically a phase or a “thing” that all companies are going through right now – they have built the “digital economy” and “Fintech” on “Big Data”, and now the “rent is due” so to speak as far as better managing data.

I’m very proud to be ahead of the industry leading this cause – and my 20+ years as an Oracle DBA – which ended around 2005 – has come back to put me in the drivers seat. I have been basically been leveraging lots of old DBA tricks – but this time as a Data Architect and Data Engineer. I’m especially thankful for being this excited and happy at work this late in my career – what a great feeling.

Two Patents

Clarkes Creeping Baby Doll Patent Drawing

I walked into work today and was told that two of my ideas are worthy of applying for a patent. LendUp had hired a Patent Attorney whom I met with about 4 – 6 weeks ago, and to my surprise, the two things I thought were the “secret sauce” of the product I designed are worthy of applying for patents. I know it takes a while to apply – and that pre-screening ideas is needed since most patent applications get rejected. Anyway – guess I at least have made it past the first hurdle – there will be many more I am sure.

Spring Shoe Patent Drawing

I spent all day filling out two forms and drawing diagrams and explaining how my ideas work. Luckily, both of these things are things I’ve never tried to build before, so they stand on their own. They are both in the IT area of Data Management / Data Protection – and they are at the dawn of a new era where “Big Data” made a mess of things – now we have to clean up our data acts. One of the patent ideas is based on “Small Data” – that’s all I can share at this time. Both are things that you need in a Data Catalog – in commercial products like Collibra or Alation – but where they leave it up to you to build them. So I did! As I said – I know it can be a long road to get to a patent, but just knowing that I have this kind of executive support is one heck of a great compliment.

What a great day! This is a highlight of my 38 year career.

FREQ #22: French Polynesia – FO/K5PI

Another easy one call 5 watt QRP QSO – French Polynesia

It feels like its been a while since my last QRP counter, but its only been just over a week. I’m in no hurry, and I still am amazed at what you can work with 5 watts. I will say this – your timing when you call is everything – there is no brute force with QRP.

A sad development at my QTH is the fact that at night – after work, my QTH is just swamped with noise. Its man made and its a “grinding” noise that is at least S9 every night – wiping out 40M (especially). Major bummer – if I were just starting out toward DXCC HR – I’d be screwed and would just give up.

I’m still very pleased I pursued it when I did – and em more than happy to get up in the middle of the night when 40M is a quiet S5 or S6 here – and running solar charged battery power.


Will 2020 Be As Devoid of Sunspots as 2019?

Waiting for Sunspots . . . 

This year has been brutal sunspot wise, but I have worked plenty of DX on 40M, and occasionally 30, 20 and 17M.

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2019 total: 229 days (74%)
2018 total: 221 days (61%)
2017 total: 104 days (28%)
2016 total: 32 days (9%)
2015 total: 0 days (0%)
2014 total: 1 day (<1%)
2013 total: 0 days (0%)
2012 total: 0 days (0%)
2011 total: 2 days (<1%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
2008 total: 268 days (73%)
2007 total: 152 days (42%)
2006 total: 70 days (19%)

The above data is from Space Weather:


If 2019 is like 2008, then its possible that 2020 could be as bad as 2009. Brace yourself for another year like this one – and hope the pattern doesn’t repeat. We could get lucky if 2018 lines up with 2008 and 2019 with 2009.

The last 2 months have “flat lined” as far as sunspots go

I listened to the ARRL’s Sweepstakes CW contest on 40M over the weekend – and heard very little – in fact the least I’ve ever heard as far as that contest goes. CQ WW still seems to attract quite a few people – has Sweepstakes fallen by the wayside? I don’t think it was due to poor conditions, but I suppose that could have contributed to it. I do think HF CW DXing has become a victim of FT8 – it seems that there is less CW DX activity on the bands – although the big DXpeditions do bring out people from their hiding places.



Thoughts and Prayers

Our Chinese Pistachio tree has its last leaves in its fading glory . . . 

October turned out to be a strange month for the second year in a row. Just as I thought we were “home free”, a tragedy struck Orinda – where someone rented an Airbnb house in the neighborhood next to mine – and 5 young party goers were shot and killed. More senseless gun violence, and it will come and go as all of the other massacres have come and gone (“thoughts and prayers“) – welcome to America!

God Bless America – she needs it

We have a President who brags that he can shoot someone and get away with it and wouldn’t lose one supporter. That is true too – and this is what we have become.

Thoughts and prayers . . . 


Will Bouvet, 3Y0I Happen?

Maybe a better question would be “What would prevent this team from going – and its not raising enough money” . . .

They are still “unconventional” in their approach, but their recent communications regarding their ask for funding has convinced me to donate again – and generously:


The ONLY reason I am donating again – is that the team is showing some humility, and they acknowledge that Mother Nature is not being too kind as far as Climate Change is concerned. Climate Change is Real, and I am so sick of all the morons in the world who say nay to that. Of course, its also because they almost got to Bouvet before they risked their lives in a storm and had to turn around.


Look at the section where they admit that Nature Bats Last.

I feel that these guys have shown some humility and that they are very honest. I’m more than OK that they are still “unconventional” maybe even a bit awkward – (and you all know my background with VK0EK – where I was 1/3rd of the team that raised all of the money for that extremely expensive gig – but it was “conventional”).

OK – lets help these guys out. I’ll offer my help to any team that wants to activate Bouvet or Glorioso – the last two that I need. Other than these two – I just don’t care about DXCC any more – but what the heck – I might as well finish what I have started, right?


Sixty Three Feet!

The UrbanBeam will (finally) go up to 63′ from its current height of 52.5′

The AB-577 mast sections are 5′ 3″ each. I have 12 – and am only using 10 at the moment, so, after last weekends very strong winds, I have full confidence that its time to add in the last 2 sections.

I made Honor Roll New Years Eve 2012 – 2013 by working Monk Apollo – SV2ASP/A. I used a dipole up almost 70′ on 40M

Of course, I will always remember Monk Apollo – I don’t care what the DXCC List “minions” say of toil over the list. I do agree that it was a silly entity – like a handful of others, but I was told to just go with it – so I did.

Getting my antenna up higher does remind me of working my last DXCC entity towards Honor Roll

I no longer care about DXCC #1 – and am having a hard time deciding to donate another $250 to 3Y0I. But I do know that getting the antenna up to where I had that dipole up for SV2ASP/A will be fun – never mind the award.