Saturday, February 1, 2014


Making Time for Ham Radio
I can honestly say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to finally getting settled here in MA. My wife and I have tackled pretty much all of our moving boxes and have donated many and extra item to the local communities. Our move from Alaska has made us realize, especially since unpacking so many boxes, that we had way too much stuff! But this is only round one, as we will continue to downsize our...assets. 

I recently realized how little that I've been able to play on the bands. The unpacking exercise mentioned above is a large part of it. But it's also due to much warmer weather here and certainly much more daylight. Although it appears that the weather patterns have shifted between Alaska and the lower 48 this winter, a normal winter for me in Alaska was to drive home from work and hit the shack! I left for work in the dark and returned home in the dark. And it was normally plenty chilly outside.  

Back Yard Bird Feeder Thermometer 
Temperatures would average -20° to -25° Fahrenheit this time of year and of course, we could experience much colder days like you can see in the photograph I took to the right. This was a thermometer I had attached to one of our bird feeders just outside our bedroom window. And the sad part was, due to our elevation, we were normally the warm spot of the neighborhood. 

Where I'm going with this is, Mother Nature helped me spend many an hour on the ham bands. When one comes home from work and it's pitch dark outside and deeply cold, the warmth of the shack is a great place to retreat. I had a few computers that ran 24/7, not to mention all of the other electronic equipment that kept that room much warmer than other parts of the house. I did in fact cover up the furnace vent to keep the warm air from being blown into the shack as it was already plenty warm enough. But things here in MA are much different. It seems here that there is much more of a life outside of ham radio. I know it's hard to believe for the locals, but Mother Nature is much more cooperative here for exterior activities. 

Another aspect is, I don't have a radio room set up here. Any operating is done by setting the station up and when done, tearing it down. With my entire shack being indoors and using my portable equipment, it's not as convenient to get pulled into the bands. In Alaska, I would often turn on the radio, tune the VFO to a normally busy frequency (like 14.020) and while doing other activities, listen to the sweet sound of CW like I would music. If there seemed to be activity, it would draw me in like fresh baked cookies in my wife's kitchen. I honestly miss my radio time but only when I think about it.

I made an effort to dig out all the envelopes that were waiting for return QSL cards and managed to get them out before the latest postal increase. I still have a large batch of bureau QSL's to work on. Weekends seem very short anymore but being busy with life is not a bad thing. That's the beauty of this hobby, it will always be there when I finally have time. 


  1. I read your post to my wife Julie and I, we both had smiles on our faces as we just went through the same adventure here. I too am having to setup and take down things to get some operating time in. Mind you the temps were not as extreme as yours but the adventure of moving, giving things away and understanding we have to downsize were the same.
    Good luck as you continue.

  2. Mike, we can each share in the same adventure! Such extremes. I went from dealing with pile-ups when I got on the air to now, not getting an answer when I CQ, LOL. Also, the temperatures, the daylight, the price of fuel and the list goes on. The traffic is the tough one for me to deal with. I'm not a populated people person. Give me remote any day over the busy city life. And best of luck to you and Julie, too! I just want to make sure our next move has at least 100 fewer packing boxes! ;0)