Tin Rooster Knows . . .

Rooster One

The late afternoon shadows in my shack are awesome, and all year round, but especially this time of the year.

He knows when you are sleeping – he knows when you are awake . . .

I have a tin rooster who guards over the gear and the small collection of very nice colored insulators.

My shack is my playground, which adds to the balance in my life, and keeps things playful and fun.

FREQ 300: #23 (BG2AUE) and #24 (PJ2ND)

BG2UE on 30M

I worked BG2AUE on 30M where we were both in daylight. 30M is a strange band – most of the year I think it behaves like 40M, but today – as we get closer to the Winter Solstice – it behaved a lot more like 20M. All of this with zero sunspots, at the bottom of the cycle, and me with 5 watts QRP. He has very good ears – I could not believe when he came back to me on my first call. Big fun – that.

10 minutes later I cracked a big JA pileup calling PJ2ND – a contest station on 20M

This one is to be expected – QRP into the Caribbean – especially during contest “season” and with contest super stations is easy on any band and pretty much any time of day or during any point in the sunspot cycle. HOWEVER – with 5 watts I did have to compete with lots of JA’s calling, so because it was QRP – it was a fun challenge.

Pretty good DX now that we are near the Winter Stolstice. The bands have also been quiet – signals just popping out from little noise. That’s been great today.


il est temps gingko à ky6r

This is what I have been greeted to as I leave my house this week

Things seem to have calmed down now after what felt like a “disheveled” couple of weeks. During the power outage, our tenant of 9 years left and literally gave us notice as she left the country to go to Australia.

A “peak moment” with our Chinese Pistachio tree

So, last weekend and Monday, I painted an entire house in Oakland. My brother in law was staying with us, but luckily, he is Handy and helped out a lot.

Last fleeting moment of 2019 for this beautiful old tree

Add in that massacre in the next neighborhood, and Jesus, what else? Oh yeah Impeachment…

I’m glad I have a bizarre sense of humor, even dark sometimes. And I started this blog post with a French title – both because I love the French language, but also because of Jean Paul Sartre and others who wrote about existentialism – and the absurdity of life.

The last couple of weeks were quite bizarre.

Now, to make things even more interesting, I was asked to write two Patent applications, and today I designed our next Data Warehouse. My ex VP at Credit Karma wrote a glowing review of me, and I feel like the stable genius that is Donald Trump.

Just kidding of course ….

Did Cycle 25 Just Start? (and LA1MFA on 40M!)

Possibly exciting news, that Cycle 25 may have just started. We won’t really know for a while – but it sure would be nice if we didn’t have to wait another year.

From SpaceWeather.com (Friday, November 8, 2019) – https://www.spaceweather.com/

SIGNS OF LIFE FROM SOLAR CYCLE 25: Big things have small beginnings. Years from now, observers may look back from the perch of a new Solar Maximum and realize that the action began on Nov. 5, 2019, with a very small solar flare.

I’ve been working DX even with QRP and because I am no longer tied to DXCC like a ball and chain – but am pursuing my Free Range QRP DX Challenge – I’m in fine shape. In fact, I will say that the UrbanBeam has been an awesome antenna for QRP – and even though I really don’t like motors in my antenna – there really is nothing else that comes close to the versatility of the UrbanBeam. I have been “plagued” by months of wanting to replace it with a 2 element “shorty forty” yagi for 40M – but the recent fierce winds wiped that thought out of my mind.

WOW – I am hearing LA1MFA making JA contacts during his (almost) noon!

LA1MFA, Kjell, was coming in Q5, but my 5 watts did not seem to cut it. He did come back with a QRZ? AGN, but just couldn’t pull me out.

His signal was Q5 and totally workable – but not with QRP. In any case, it just goes to show you how fantastic 40M is – even at the bottom of the cycle. I did work him with 100 watts using my IC-7300, and quite easily. I cannot use it as a counter, but as always – I am so amazed at 40M and how it “saves” DXing at the bottom of a solar cycle.

So – who needs sunspots anyway, right?


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.