The National SW-3 Gets a Band Change!

Halloween is the “Gateway” to the end of year Holiday Festivities

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed the Holiday Season – in spite of some crap that was going on at work. The lesson is well remembered and received this year – since I am at the top of the mark work wise. What I have done and accomplished this year is the best work that I have done in my career – and that is the reward itself. I have NEVER had a company so behind my work as I do have at LendUp.

Like the Bouvet “attempts”, we can never rest on our Laurels . . .

Time flies when you are having fun – and I do know that while a whole new industry is about to take off like “Big Data” itself took off over the last 10 years, 2020 will prove to shake out what this means.

One thing that is also changing is my “beloved” National SW-3. Unfortunately, my favorite AM radio station – KPIG seems like it is now off the air. What I don’t understand is why they haven’t even mentioned it had come back on the air – and now its off again. Their web site hasn’t changed much for many years – but their online streaming service has proven to be excellent. I love their Sunday afternoon show with Kiana – its where I have been learning about new music these days. She plays music that other DJ’s play at KPIG – but her sequencing is pretty special.

SO – its time for an SW-3 coil change. I have 80 and 40M coils – and think 40M would be more interesting than 80M – only because there will be both CW and SSB worth listening to. 75 and 80M have a lot to be desired – although 75M jibber – jabber can sometimes be interesting.

That is a list of coils – and my 40M coils are in good shape – but I need to do some repair to the 80M coils. The fellow I purchased them from said I need to re-wind the “tickler” part of the coils. He did give me the right wire – so that could be a fun little project.

I think I will put the 40M coils in and see what I pick up – I still love the crazy way a regenerative receiver works – and I know that the SW-3 – first sold in 1931 is still a classic after all these years.

OH – and this weekend I will get the AB-577 and UrbanBeam up to 65′ – finally. That last set of wind storms has given me the confidence to go full bore on the height for the antenna. Stay tuned – more to report on both the SW-3 and the AB-577. I also have to write about the Begali Adventure Mono – it really is a special little key.

Día de Muertos

Dios de la Muerte (Dios de Muerte) is another very interesting Holiday that falls on October 31 / November 1 and 2. Like Halloween, it has its pre-Christian origins that later would be syncretized with the Christian All Souls / All Saints day. Its Mexican origins were mostly Southern Mexico, so like the Celtic tradition, it was regional.

Its most interesting to me that cultures going way back had similar traditions that occurred on the same time. Its also very interesting how the Christian calendar “subsumed” many Pagan traditions and basically re-interpreted them.

Almost on cue – this past week the weather changed from warm to cool. The days have also grown quite short as far as daylight is concerned, and I find myself wondering where the year went.

We never know what the winter rainy season will bring – and its too early to tell, but it does feel like we will get less than average rain – as the Old Farmers Almanac suggests. While Kat and I were in Colorado, we did get some rain in September – .28″ here in Orinda. We usually get one decent rain in October, but that did not happen. I remember years when we ended up making up less than usual rain in March – but we usually do get most of our rain in December and January going into February.

We shall see – but I do think it will be drier and colder than usual.

The combination of the recent winds, cool air and less daylight all do give one pause and the traditions that have November 1 as the New Year day (Celtic Halloween and the Jewish Rosh Hashanah that coincides with the Autumnal Equinox) do make some sense – it really does feel like there is a change taking place – and there is a feeling of finality with the Autumn Harvest.

I’ll have to read up on why January 1 is our New Years Day – and why – it does seem a bit strange – but the Gregorian and Julian Calendars align this way as do the Christian Holidays.

New Years Day does occur at different times of the year on other non-Julian and Gregorian calendars, but this year I am digging the vibe right here and now – between the Autumnal Equinox and Dios de Muerte – and I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas more for their symbolism than anything.

January 1 this year will be a tad bit more “special” since I have been helping several companies over the past year prepare for CCPA – so in my work world – which consumes most of my waking hours during the week – that’s been the theme for over a year for me now.

January 1, 2020 will most definitely start off with a fireworks bang, that is for sure. Of course, feelings of “Where did this year go?” are also entering my mind.

A Halloween Tribute to Kurt Cobain

A Tribute to one of my favorite guitarists and singers

Kurt Cobain joined the “27 Club” and left many wondering why.

I prefer to celebrate the good they did while alive and I still enjoy listening to so many musicians who spun off this mortal coil far too early.

Happy Halloween!

These friendly little guys greeted me at work today …

Halloween is a fun little holiday that has its origins in a more serious and reflective holiday remembering those who have passed. The Celtic tradition is it’s actual origin – the holiday was called Samhain, and November 1 was the Celtic New Year. The Celtic tradition is worth reading about – it’s quite interesting.

In some ways, Halloween and Thanksgiving are a continuation of the Fall Harvest Festivals, and the seasons typically either have or are in the process of changing.

For kids, Trick or Treating is big fun and I love seeing the kids in their costumes.

My favorite holiday is actually Thanksgiving, but any holiday where you can give thanks, and which is based in the bounty of a harvest is all good by me.

A Different Year

October Has Been “Interesting”

October has always been my favorite month, but last year and this year it has been “trying”.

Last year, the 4th Quarter was a disaster. This year is a completely different story. It’s been a story of Pain Followed by Gain.

This year, we’ve had the power shut offs, which are a royal pain in the ass, but are miniscule compared to last years problems.

A year ago, we had endured a summer of ripped up road and then the Paradise fire – which caused thick smoke that made it look like the Apocalypse. Then, the worst came, an overly politicized situation at Credit Karma which eventually ended in me leaving the company. Credit Karma was heaven the first year and Hell the next.

Luckily, almost a miracle, the exact thing that got political at Credit Karma thrust me into a new career path that will keep me super busy until I retire in 5 – 10 years.

CCPA and GDPR are regulations that force you to manage and protect your data. They came about after so many data breaches affected so many million.

These are a pain in the ass for all data driven companies, but there is a huge silver lining. Once you become compliant, you will have cleaned up all unnecessary data, and saved millions in the process. Your data will be of much higher quality, and that means you will make better business decisions.

The great news for me is that my 20 years as an Oracle DBA – from 1984 – 2004 were by far my most “formative”. I went on from there to become a Data Architect, but I’m still a DBA at heart. This means Data Governance and Protection are in my blood.

I am wrapping up the most challenging part of managing and protecting our companies data, and now several people from other companies are asking me for advice, including Credit Karma.

Its been an interesting year, and I guess I feel like the proverbial Phoenix who has risen from the Career Ashes.

The best part is that I am enjoying my work more than ever and know I am an industry expert in an area that is about to explode.

This leaves me excited for the future, and fully confident and ready to meet the upcoming challenges.

The Anachronistic DXCC List

Before I started chasing my own made up DX “pursuit” using the DXCC and IOTA list, I used to be a DXCC “junkie” Now that its been almost 4 years since I made my last DXCC ATNO – its importance has faded to the point where I just don’t care about it much anymore.

Today I saw yet another discussion of whether or not Mt. Athos should stay on the list – and for the first time ever, I thought to myself “What’s the big freakin’ deal?”. Yes – I used to also be that way – but with enough distance from the program, I can say the whole discussion seemed so bizarre – silly even. Its funny how things look in hindsight.

I think anachronistic is the best way to describe it.

There is a Chill in the Air

The weather is turning toward Winter now

The Indian Summer “Diablo Winds” happen every year in mid-October. The recent spate of them is nothing abnormal. What is abnormal is the number of PG&E infrastructure failures. Yesterday’s fire in Lafayette was caused by a failed power pole and transformer at a location where power was not turned off. My son lives near there – and its about 7 miles from my house. In Orinda, electricity was completely shut off, and we had no issues. I do have a crazy neighbor who still burns very smoky fires – and shuns the warnings to not do so. One way or other – these are all man made emergencies, and they can be prevented. PG&E can add sensors to its grid – and maybe underground some lines. Crazy neighbors – or other fire starters? that one cannot be prevented.

I noted yesterday that the wind was very strong, and it was chilly. During the summer, when the fog comes into the Golden Gate – it can get chilly at night – certainly it is like having natural air condition. But almost on cue with this latest wind storm – the chill in the air is not like the fog chill – but more of a cold air mass that is descending from Alaska. Sure enough – they are having more snow up in Idaho, parts of Washington and other places in the northern tier.

We may get a few more “Diablo Winds” and we may continue to be inconvenienced, but it won’t last much longer. So, looking beyond this latest “distraction”, what’s up?

  1. UrbanBeam – I have someone interested in my UrbanBeam – and still have toyed with replacing it with a JK-402. HOWEVER – this latest wind episode – where I watched the UrbanBeam up at 55′ seemed like it could have stayed up just fine – even though I cranked it down. The UrbanBeam is only 48 pounds, and any of the decent 2 element “shorty” 40M yagi’s are twice that. Since every antenna is a compromise, I guess sticking with the UrbanBeam is what I will do – at 48 pounds I can get the antenna up 65′ – and this wind episode turned out to be the nail in the (Halloween) coffin of me dreaming about a shorty forty. Guess good things can come out of what might be considered bad
  2. QSL’s – I’m sending out my first wave of FREQ 300 QSL cards – now that I have received my first one. The DX Bug is back – and this time I truly am enjoying it just for the fun of it – which is when a hobby is at its best. I’ll be in the shack more in the Winter months – and so having to stay inside during this weekends winds (cycling would have been impossible – maybe even dangerous – and the gym was closed). So I played “hobby time” in my shack and enjoyed it – it reminded me of when I used to spend way too many hours in the shack – but its good to know that when its rainy or otherwise a “day indoors” – I’ll be busy and have fun
  3. Spy Radio – my Spy Radio kit will be here any day and I will build it into the Wheatstone Bridge box. I will also look up a circuit to measure audio strength and convert that to a sort of S meter. I will somehow get that cool meter in the Bridge to act as my S meter
  4. AB-577 goes up to 60 or 65′ – its time to go full bore on the AB-577 height
  5. Collins KWS-1 Slug Rack fix – The KWS-1 works great, but I still need to replace the Slug Rack brass piece that snapped. It’s a great Winter – “stuck in the shack” job. I’ll also use the Twins when it gets cold out – as they act as a great shack heater
  6. The Usual Stuff – I’ll continue playing the guitar, cycling and going to the gym – so, I have lots of great stuff going on. I also carry my camera with me daily – so photography will continue in earnest – my photography is mostly for this blog

At work – the Data World is “hurtling” toward January 1, 2020 and the Advent of CCPA. We will have the Holidays upon us soon – and Kat and I will have another trip where I use the KX-3 with the battery and a portable antenna. I toyed with the idea of that AX-1 by Elecraft – with the 40M coil but I can build something using a Crappie Pole and wire for a fraction of what the AX-1 is and does.

Just the way I like it – a bunch of fun little projects. I’ll easily be busy into the new year.