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Pine Straw

APRIL 30, 2022


Pine Straw

04/29/22 11:15 AM

Just finished a good run and I realized a few days ago that this may be the first month I've ever run each and every day without missing one. This is all OCD and Asperger's speaking so just humor me (or ignore if necessary.) I've only missed 6 days so far this year and that is saying something in comparison to past years. By now I would have probably missed entire months in some instances.

I'm getting ready for a workout, lunch, and then a day in the yard spreading 15 large rolls of pine straw. I shocked the pool yesterday as I mentioned previously, and will vacuum it today if needed. I say 'if needed' because it didn't look that way from a distance this morning. But from a distance doesn't say much with my eyesight either LOL!

04/30/22 06:45 AM

By the way, I've wondered how they make these pine straw rolls.

Now I know!

Pine Straw Rolls




Crazy Busy Day!

APRIL 29, 2022


Crazy Busy Day

04/28/22 06:00 PM

The days are getting longer, hotter, and much more busy! Longer because I'm getting up earlier and staying up later far too often. Hotter because spring is springing and summer is trying to arrive much too soon. And, busier because so much is going on these days!

Today I rose early and got the workout and run out of the way. It's a grocery pickup day and we had made plans to update our books and movie DVD's at the library. In addition, I decided it was time to get the pool ready for swimming and made a visit to Leslie's Pool Supply to get our pool water tested and to pick up the chemicals I need and that I don't already have.

Managing the pool has been an incredible learning experience and looking back on it I wouldn't have done otherwise. I'm so grateful for all that I have learned and am still learning.

I'm also glad to know that chemical costs go way down during the cool and cold months. Even then I heard about a rule of thumb for hours the pump should run during the winter and it's far less than the eight hours I was doing. Still, I think I'll stay with the eight hour plan since we've been scaling back on the heat and saving a lot of money.

I was very pleasantly surprised at how well the pool chemical balance has been doing. From the simple test strips I had anticipated far worse news as to the chemical status of our pool. Turns out we're in very good shape and I didn't need anywhere near what I thought I would need to bring the water up to par for swimming.

Based on Leslie's proprietary pool water test, I added 8.25 pounds of powdered chemicals for additional Alkalinity. Four hours later I added 1/2 dose of conditioner (1 lb. 4 oz.) and a second dose of the same two hour later. Finally, two hours after that I shocked the pool with one pound of Power Powder and plan to vacuum and backwash it tomorrow morning.

As I've been doing, I'll stay on the weekly maintenance program with shock, sanitizer, and prevention and have the water checked regularly to ensure all other factors stay in line. The primary factors that bring about the fluctuations seem to be temperature, sunlight, rain, and swimmers.

Foot Notes

04/28/22 06:30 PM

Patty picked up a lot of plants for the garden today, and she also picked up a replacement outdoor solar light to replace one that quit working. I also received 15 large bales of pine straw from Ace Hardware and plan to distribute it tomorrow.

On an unrelated note, I'm still writing my posts a day ahead of the day that I publish them. That's why I recently introduced, in addition to the date of publication for a post, the date and time that the primary content and any additional footnotes were written. Makes it easier for me to keep with everything.

By the way, today was core day on the workout front, and day 3 of my point to point running whereby I depend upon fixed points for timing my miles instead of a wonky GPS. I'm very pleased to say that the fixed point runs are also doing a good job of motivating me to push a bit harder on the pace.




Travel Day

APRIL 28, 2022


Travel

04/26/22 09:26 PM

Today's a travel day. It's four hours each way with a one hour stop and other stops for gas and food. By the time this is posted the trip will be a memory from the previous day.

Patty is an amazing travel buddy and we always enjoy our trips together. After over 45 years of marriage, we still find so much to talk about and always enjoy each other's company. What a blessing that is!

So, where are we going? Well, for now the purpose of the trip will remain a mystery and will be revealed if and when it becomes appropriate. Nothing bad to hide here. It's just that timing is everything and this is not the time.

Foot Notes

04/27/22 05:32 PM

This morning we got away for our trip around 6:30 AM and got back home a little bit before 5:00 PM. That includes gas stops and a lunch at Cracker Barrel. Just finished my run and getting ready for my Day #2 rotation workout.

After that it's going to be a cool shower, a light supper, and an evening resting in the recliner with one of my newly selected library movies. Tomorow is grocery pickup day and will include a stop by Leslie's Pool Supply to have our water tested and a stop by the library to refresh the supply for Patty's books and my movies.




Rabbit Rescue

APRIL 27, 2022


Rabbit

04/26/22 08:43 AM

Last night I was up in my office and heard Patty softly say, no. Then she said it a couple of more times each with more distress. At first I assumed she was speaking to Lily, the cat.

But if I remember correctly, she started calling me. Then she told me, as I was trying to close up my recliner, that a rabbit had jumped in the pool and we needed to rescue him. My sense of urgency went way up. The picture I had in my mind was not a good one.

I ran down the stairs and we both headed out the back door. I could see the tiny rabbit swimming along the side of the pool toward the shallow end. However, it was clear to see that he would not make it out of the pool without some help, since the water line was too far below the pool deck for him to exit safely.

I grabbed the skimmer net from the fence and as I headed toward the pool, the poor little guy had already turned around and was swimming along the side of the pool back toward the deep end. I was quite impressed at how good a swimmer he was and even the wake that he was producing.

I took the skimmer net and lowered it into the water thinking he would turn around and swim away from it. Instead, he swam right into it and I raised it up and lowered it to the ground. A shaken baby rabbit crawled out and just sat there.

I'm not sure if he was pausing to say thank you, or was sitting there in shock from all of the excitement, or just hoping to get warm soon. Either way, he only paused for a moment and then was off to find his home under our back deck. Apparently, there is only enough room beneath the deck for baby rabbits, so I guess he's safe.

We see rabbits all the time in the back yard, but this is the first time one decided to go for a swim. I was so glad Patty saw him jump into the water because I hate to think of his fate had we not been there to help.

Lily loves to watch them throughout the day, as do we. Every now and then a big bird will take a dive at them and they run away. This morning, I saw one from my seat on the sofa. Even though I was across the room from the window, the moment I stood up he was off and running for cover under the back deck.

Foot Notes

04/24/22 01:03 PM

Just finished my run and getting ready to do my Day #1 rotation workout. Today is basically bicep day and I'm ever grateful it's not core day LOL!

Today was also Day #2 of point to point running instead of using my GPS. Based on that my pace for yesterday was 9:12 and today it was 9:08.

I like the consistency of this point to point running, even if the distances for miles one and two are not totally accurate. Based on the times, and the second mile having more down hill, both have to be close to being correct.




Christian Films

APRIL 26, 2022


Do You Believe

04/25/22 09:45 AM

Last night I watched a great movie entitled, Do You Believe? It would definitely be categorized as a Christian, or Inspirational, movie and I always enjoy watching a good one, even multiple times, since they always seem to encourage me and lift me up.

Other Christian or Inspirational films I have watched and that I really like include (in no particular order) Risen, Woodlawn, Luther, Amazing Grace, God's Not Dead, God's Not Dead 2, God's Not Dead: We the People, Love Finds You in Charm, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone, and Unbroken: Path to Redemption.

I find that watching a Christian or Inspirational film often reminds me just how blessed I truly am!

Foot Notes

04/24/22 10:25 AM

Tracked my running time today using a different app on my Garmin Vivoactive 3. Instead of the Running app, I used the Cardio app and was still provided with all of the same data except for the mile one time, of which I just made a mental note when I reached my estimated mile one location.

I'm using estimates for mile one and mile two based on GPS readings on my watch when all seemed to be working well. Still not sure, but based on the times I'm going with it until I take time to do something more 'official' and determine something that is more accurate.

Today, my mile one time was 9:33 and mile two was 8:52. I'm thinking that should be pretty close to accurate considering the fact that mile two is more down-hill.




Weight Training #2

APRIL 25, 2022


Tricep Extensions

04/23/22 07:05 PM

Well, I started out on April 23rd with a detailed description of my workout rotation #3. And, yesterday I provided the same for workout rotation #1.

And so, Today I'll provide the details for workout rotation #2 to finish off all three rotations. Since I'm typing this ahead of time, I'll have to provide the total time for workout rotation #2 tomorrow after I complete it.

I refer to rotation #2 as my Tricep workout although it involves much more. Like rotation #1 the workout only includes 4 exercises.

The first exercise is the Lying Dumbbell Fly (pictured above) and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 15 pounders. It also includes a 60 second rest between sets. This exercise works out the pecs and anterior deltoids (front of shoulders.)

The second exercise is the Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extensions and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 10 pounders. It does not include any rest between sets since I'm swapping arms for each set and as such each arm gets a rest while the other is working out. Standing also works the core and I have to be careful as I lower the weight behind my head on each rep.

The third exercise is the Standing Dumbbell Triceps Kickback and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 10 pounders. This exercise focuses specifically on the triceps and I'm taking a dual approach working both arms at the same time. I'm also taking a 60 second rest between sets.

The fourth and final exercise is the Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bent Over Row and includes three sets of 15 reps each with 15 pounders. This exercise focuses on the biceps, brachioradials (foreamrs), Rhomboidues (upper back), and Latissimus Dorsi (mid back.) Once again, I'm including a 60 second rest between sets.

As I've now completed 40 workouts it's been interesting to see my progress, not only in the physical appearance of each muscle group, but also in my ability to increase reps and weight as it seems appropriate.

My son and coach has been very encouraging about increasing reps first and taking care not to rush the increasing of weight. I tried rushing that long ago and it became a sure-fire formula for minor injuries and ultimately burn-out. I'm in it this time for the long-haul so no rushing required. This time my philosophy is, Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Thanks to my awesome coach (and son!) for helping me learn that important lesson! It's paying off big-time!

Foot Notes

04/24/22 09:45 AM

Tracked my time on workout rotation #2 and it was 21 minutes. So my three workouts in minutes in order are 1) 21.5, 2) 21.0, and 3) 32.5.

04/24/22 10:24 AM

Just finished my run and while my time looks really good, I've got to do something about the inconsistency of my GPS. My times are all over the place because my GPS is all over the place, reporting different points for miles one and two just about each and every day.

What's the use in tracking data if the data is no good? Guess I'm going to have to rent one of those distance tracking wheels to find the actual location for mile one and mile two.




Weight Training #1

APRIL 24, 2022


Dumbbell Bench Press

04/22/22 07:15 AM

Well, I started with #3 in my rotation, so I thought I would go ahead and pick up workout #1 in the rotation today and follow it up tomorrow with workout #2 in the rotation.

On this particular workout, I'm only performing 4 exercises, but they are indeed kicking my butt. After thirty-something workouts, I'm definitely seeing improvements.

I refer to #1 of my three day rotation as Bicep day. It's a bit more than that, but that's the primary focus for day #1 in the rotation. Day one also works pecs, shoulders, and the trapezius.

I'll be checking out the length of day one next time around. But for now, day one includes three sets of 25 bench presses using 20 pounders with a 60 second rest between sets.

Second on the list is the Standing Dual Bicep Curls of which I'm currently doing three sets of 15 reps using 15 pounders and, once again, a 60 second rest between sets.

Third on the list is the Seated Shoulder Press of which I'm going three sets of 15 reps using 15 pounders with a 60 second rest between sets.

Closing out my day #1 rotation, I'm performing three sets of 10 Lateral Raises using 10 pounders with the same 60 second rest between sets.

I'll be back tomorrow with a report on my day #2 (Tricep Day) workout, which also focuses upon the chest and back muscles.

Foot Notes

Tired Puppy

04/23/22 11:43 AM

Started early and wound up not only doing a vacuum and a backwash on the pool, but added a cut on the yard and am getting ready to do my workout after I expand this post and having just finished my two mile run.

I am indeed a tired puppy as the picture suggests. Looking forward to watching some golf today too. Oh, and I wanted to comment that we found our Chinese place last night (Dragon City Buffet) although we did it take-out style. Boy, was it ever good! I'm looking forward to some Chinese left-overs tonight for supper.

04/23/22 12:24 PM

I should add that workout #1 turned out to take 21.5 minutes. That's as opposed to workout #3 taking 32.5 and workout #2 still TBD.




Weight Training Expansion

APRIL 23, 2022


Russian Twists

04/22/22 11:45 AM

I'm sitting here trying to steady my hands and type after just finishing up my expanded activities on core day, which is day three of my three day rotation. I'm also timing my workouts starting today, and my expanded version of core day turns out to be 32.5 minutes in length. That works out pretty well from my perspective.

Core day is made up of five exercises which include One Arm Kettle Bell Swings, Russian Twists, Glute Bridges, Leg Lifts, and Reverse Leg Lifts with Hip Extensions.

For the Kettle Bell Swings, I'm doing one set of 25 for each arm and I'm doing all of that three times with a 60 second rest between all six sets. For the Russian Twists (pictured above), I'm using a 15 pound dumbbell and I'm doing 3 sets of 25 twists with one twist representing two twists - one in each direction and a 60 second rest between sets.

For the Glute Bridges, I'm using a 20 pound dumbbell and I'm doing three sets of 25 with a 60 second rest between sets. For the leg lifts I'm also doing three sets of 25 with a 60 second rest between sets. And, for the Reverse Leg Lifts I'm doing three sets of 25 for each leg with no rest between sets since one leg rests while I lift the other.

I was quite sweaty after my run today, and the core workout only increased my sweat level, even while working out in a relatively cool room. It will be interesting to see what my total workout time is for days one and two. I anticipate they will both be a bit shorter, but we'll see.




Cataracts

APRIL 22, 2022


Cataracts

04/21/22 01:15 PM

I recently changed my eye doctor strategy. I did this based on good and wise advice. And, I suppose I could say that I couldn't see the difference until I saw the difference. When it comes to messing with one's eyes, and especially in my senior years, it just makes sense to avoid the Walmarts of the world and go with the specialists.

When all was said and done, it was determined that I needed cataract surgery in my left eye. My right eye was better than perfect with 20/15 but my left eye was 20/100.

Now that I've done some more reading, I have additional questions for the doctor and should have an opportunity to set out those questions after surgery when I go back for new glasses based on my new post-surgery prescriptions.

Foot Notes

04/21/22 06:24 PM

Cardio or weight training, which should come first?

I run two miles every day and do one of three weight training rotations with it. I asked my son and coach, Jonathan, which should come first. He advised me that the guys up at his gym all put the weights first and cardio last. And so, that's exactly what I did too.

But then I decided to take a look online and see what the thought process was behind doing weights first and cardio afterward. After all, the coach I hired up in Georgia for six months had me doing the opposite. His coaching was that the body needs to have a cardio warm-up before taking on weights.

Well, most articles I found left it up to the individual. I sort of got a sense that whichever of the two you liked most should be the one that you do first, so that you have more to pour into it. For me, there's no doubt. By far, I like running most. And I like feeling good during my run as opposed to starting off tired after, for example, a hard core workout.

So, I moved my cardio up to the front of the line and follow it by weights and like the results. I have a lot more strength on my runs, which translates to a far better cardio workout.

And, I still feel ready afterward to perform my weight training, even on core days. Speaking of cardio, I also purchased a new set of Asics Gel running shoes and with a different type of laces learned that I need to go back to double-knotting them if they are to stay tied for the entire run.




Checking My Schedule

APRIL 21, 2022


Calendar

04/20/22 11:51 AM

Lot's going on today! Got all the normal morning chores done and squeezed in a workout before heading out to the library and to pick up the groceries. Stopped by Ace Hardware on the way home to pick up some stuff for Patty and to pick up some spare edger blades for me.

Helped Patty do some new stuff on the back decks and then squeezed in a run before sitting down to catch my breath and get this blog post written. Feeling a bit more wonky than usual and took a spill to prove it. Such is life as I get older.

Got an eye doctor appointment at 1:00 PM after lunch and have the landscape guys coming out to spray our cedars later this afternoon. They do the spraying twice a year in an effort to keep those trees healthy as they are the key to our privacy in and around the pool.

I really like what Patty has done on our back decks and I particularly like the rearranging she did today. I'm really going to enjoy the comfortable sofa and chairs and the ultra-modern fire pit.

The last one we had didn't last very long, but I think this one is going to be around a while. I like the covers we have for both the furniture and the fire pit. They should keep things nice for a very long time.

I also like the landscaping lights Patty bought for the front yard and behind the pool in the back yard. They turn the front of our house into a real show place at night and they really add charm and romance in the back around the pool. Just the kind of thing we were hoping for.

We are so blessed!




More Search Updates

APRIL 20, 2022


Search

04/19/22 11:25 AM

One of the things I failed to test, and therefore failed to incorporate into my updated search routine, was the former test on whether or not a search term was entered and how it was handled if it was not found. I kept getting odd messages from a PHP program that was behaving as if a search term had been located in the search file, when in fact it had not.

I wound up having to nest if statements (first) to check for whether or not a search term was entered and then (second) to check whether or not the search term was found in the search file. I had not ordered the logic correctly, which was producing the odd messages.

Reordering the logic and ensuring the syntax was correct both took more time and effort than I had anticipated. However, in the end I got it working and haven't received any more odd messages being presented by the search PHP program.

Foot Notes

04/19/22 05:56 PM

On the weather front, we've had two and a half inches of rain in the past week. It all started on Thursday April 15th with our new rain gauge capturing one and a half inches followed on Saturday by a quarter inch and then again on Sunday with an additional inch.

While Alabama ranks #4 among states with the most rain per year, our neighbor (Mobile, Alabama) ranks #1 among cities with the most rain each year in the U.S. We have most certainly experienced that rain over here in the Spanish Fort, area as well. Only Hawaii (63.7"), Louisiana (59.15"), and Mississippi (56.8") lead Alabama (56.0") in terms of annual rainfall averages.




Another Search Update

APRIL 19, 2022


More Web Stuff

04/18/22 10:22 PM

I decided to further expand the functionality on the search feature. I wanted to know how many posts there were and how many of those posts contained the search term.

I actually wanted to know how many times in total the search term was found, but writing the code for that would have been far too time consuming. I was able to use the search and replace all function once to simply and easily add code to each post in the search file that would obtain the number of posts containing the search term, whereas I would have had to manually update each and every post (376 posts as of this writing) to find out how many times in total the search term was found.

So, I went with the easier route and was very excited to see the program work and produce results. Now when a search is performed, the program will report both the number of posts and the number of posts containing the search term.

On a related note, I've noticed that a search sometimes will run slower on the first shot than on subsequent runs. I'm guessing there's some caching going on to produce that kind of result.

Still, it's all pretty cool to me!




Search Feature Update

APRIL 18, 2022


Website Update

04/17/22 12:31 PM

Well, I finally went back and performed the update to the website search function that I mentioned in a previous post. I used PHP to record a start time and an end time (based in seconds) and subtracted the former from the latter in order to determine the length of time used to process the search of all posts written to-date.

The difference was always less than one second so I decided to make the search file larger and see if that made any difference. I tripled the size of the search file by copying it back to itself two times, in addition to the initial file that already existed.

To my surprise it still performed a search in less than one second. In order to check my work, I confirmed that I was getting 3 results for each search, one for each of the copies I had built into the file when I tripled its size. Based on those results, I'm guessing it's going to be a long time before the search time extends beyond 1 second and the coded message for that condition executes.

Foot Note

04/18/22 10:05 AM

I got the microtime function working, which means I am now reporting sub-seconds. I will go ahead and post this and then add to these comments when I get the format function working.

That function will allow me to reduce the length of the floating point time output. In fact, as I typed floating point, I realized that it might be easier to convert the floating point number to a string and shorten the length of the string.

More to come very soon...

04/18/22 10:27 AM

I was able to format the search time by converting the floating point number to a string and then using the substr function to reduce the total length. It all seems to work well now!

I was also very surprised to see how little time the entire search took. At the present file length (743,158) my search took .00136303 seconds. That's 1.36303 thousandths of a second.

That's very fast and very cool!




'Unbroken' Continues

APRIL 17, 2022


Unbroken's Sequel

04/16/22 04:27 PM

Not too many years ago, I had the opportunity to watch Unbroken. It was quite a story and the tidbits that they added at the end really brought home the inspirational aspects of Louis Zamperini's life.

It was also interesting to see Irish actor, Domhnall Gleeson, who provided an understated performance as Lt. Russell "Phil" Phillips, a close friend of Louis Zamperini and one of two who spent 47 days adrift at sea with him.

Gleeson captured my attention in the films About Time and Ex Machina. I liked his delivery in both and have definitely become a fan.

But, the real focus here is about the Sequel, Unbroken: Path to Redemption and the incredibly powerful and inspirational story it brings to the silver screen. I had no idea that there was any follow-up to the original story beyond the tidbits at the end of the movie that I mentioned earlier.

But, the spiritual theme reflected in the trailer caught my attention and reeled me in. And, I must say that I was not at all disappointed. I managed to purchase the two-movie set for about $6 online and am so glad to have them in my film collection.




Weight Training

APRIL 16, 2022


Weight Training

04/15/22 10:31 AM

Well, got all of the morning tasks out of the way including a few things off of the honey-do list. On the workout front, today was a tricep day. That's a pretty tough workout, but nothing compared to tomorrow's core day. On my 3 day weight training rotation, it seems the days get progressively more difficult. That's probably a good thing, but either way I like the intensity and the fact that the workouts don't drag out for a long time.

Jon told me that the serious weight trainers all do their cardio after their weight training, so I try and get my two mile run in right after my weight work. That adds a bit of a challenge on core day (day 3 in my rotation) since running also works out the core. I can definitely feel the run on core day after doing the core workout. That makes for a bit of a tough run but it's all good in the end.

Tomorrow represents 33 days of workouts which translates to 11 complete cycles of my 3 day rotation. It also will be a core workout which as Jon suggests is almost like a cardio workout by the time I get in some of those exercises.

I'm really seeing the improvement in the area of strength, as evidenced by my ability to do more reps in each set for some of the exercises. I realized today that I have also moved on to higher weights for some exercises and haven't touched the 5 pound weights in quite a while. On the other hand, I'm using the 15 pounders more and even the 20 pounders on a couple of exercises. That combined with more reps feels like a good thing.




Pool Maintenance

APRIL 15, 2022


Pool Maintenance

04/15/22 8:56 AM

Did a vac on the pool early this morning after doing a shock on it yesterday. Everything I read indicated that I have been doing the follow-up backwash too long. Apparently the rinse I've been doing is good at 30 seconds but I cut the backwash down from 2 minutes to 1 minute today and everything looked good.

I also brushed the wall of one side of the pool that tends to turn green faster than any other place and with the shock I did only a day ago, the chlorine in that shock treatment should take over and kill off the algae that I brushed from he wall into the water.

Learning all of this stuff has been very interesting and as the air and the water both get warmer, it will be time to have the water tested and move beyond shock to ensure things like cyanuric acid and alkalinity are good. My test strips indicate additional chemicals need to be added to address those and other items that are more about swimmable water than anything to do with keeping the water clear and the fiberglass pool shell clean.




More Radio

APRIL 14, 2022


mmnet

04/13/22 1:40 PM

It's been another couple of ham radio days. I haven't been on Single Side Band (SSB) voice in forever and it was really cool to get back onto that today! I checked into the Maritime Mobile Net on 14.300 and had my first opportunity to manually log a contact on the QRZ.com website - since the digital contacts have all been auto-logged for the past couple of years.

Also managed to score my first 40 meter contact last night on the new attic mounted 40 meter hamstick dipole. It was an FT8 digital contact with KK4OJZ (James Pate) located in Big Canoe, Georgia which is in the North GA Mountains.

It's been fun to listen to the QSO's and POTA stations on SSB voice but I haven't had much success reaching out to any of them since they have all been pretty busy. That's okay though. It's just good to mix things up a bit and jump back into the SSB side of the world.

Correction, I managed to work a POTA station next door over in Mobile, AL. And I finally jumped on 2 meters and said hi to some of the guys who hosted the POTA station I worked earlier. Pretty cool!

Also checked into a hosted net on 2 meters but didn't hang around very long. Definitely enjoying the new opportunities afforded by the new equipment. Now, we're standing by for the storms that are slated to arrive later tonight.




Markers

APRIL 13, 2022


Markers

04/12/22 2:58 PM

Experience can be misleading! That's the lesson I'm taking away from my most recent experience.

For years, and I mean years, I have had to live with a problem with my Icom 7600 ham radio that I could not solve. There were signals showing up on the radio's scope and I could not get them to go away, not matter what I tried.

Now when I first purchased the radio, I was having the same kind of issue. Random signals were being generated on the radio's scope and I could not figure out how or why. Finally, I happened to unplug a battery charger out in the garage for the weed wacker and guess what? You guessed it! The signals went away!

Turns out the charger was sending a signal through the wiring in our house (by virtue of it being plugged into the wall outlet) and my radio was picking it up and the interference was outputting a signal on the radio's scope.

And now, with many more signals being sent to my scope, this problem was definitely a new one, but my experience led me to believe that it was kind of an old one at the same time. In other words, something was sending interference to my radio and the result was signals that I knew were not related to any radio transmissions.

Once again, and as I had done a few times before, I went to Twitter and asked for help. Everyone tried to take me down the same path I had traveled before with an approach to looking for interference generators. I must admit, there were some great ideas (e.g. check the computer mouse if it's blue tooth) but I knew that the problem even preceded any computer in my shack. In fact, it even occurred when the antenna was disconnected which led me to believe I had an internal problem with my rig.

By the way, this time I had new information. This problem was occurring at the old house and now again at the new house. That rules out all sorts of potential environmental problems. In fact, I couldn't come up with anything (other than the radio itself) that was common to both situations. I had even used a different power supply and knew that wasn't the difference either.

I pulled up Icom America support and chatted online with a technician. He didn't know the answer and suggested I do a factory reset on the radio per the instructions in the manual. With what I now know, I'm guessing that would have fixed my problem.

Giving credit where credit is due, Guy Roberts (@bakeliteguy on Twitter) and holder of ham radio callsign G0UKN, pointed out that there is a marker that is turned on and needs to be turned off.

I found the marker in the frequency calibration section of my manual and using the set command figured out how to turn it off. Wow! Problem solved!

Since I didn't even know about that setting, I have no idea how it was turned on unless it was just a random thing. But, as I said before, and with what I now know, a factory reset would have likely fixed the problem (although it would have also erased all of my settings, representing a great deal of work, and I didn't want to go there LOL!)




Getting Old

APRIL 12, 2022


Antenna

04/12/22 7:12 AM

Busy day yesterday! Got my MFJ-347 dipole mount in and will hopefully have more time today to get it installed and start to enjoy the 40 meter band. All the places I can mount it in the attic are at odd angles, so I'm going to have to get creative.

Had a nice chat with Jonathan and he should have been on the road now for about two hours taking his band to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I asked, and including parents he's taking four busses and about 180 people altogether.

They're slated to march on Wednesday and will all receive Staff pins and become the official Disney World marching band for the day as they march their way in and around the park. He takes the band each year and it seems to be a big deal for everyone.

Sounds like they are going to have plenty of time to enjoy the park. According to the schedule he shared with me, they will spend Tuesday through Friday at the park, heading home at 8 PM Friday night and arriving Saturday morning around 5 AM or so. Being one of only two band directors, there will be no rest for the weary on this trip until he gets back home. It's things like that which make me glad to be old and retired LOL!

As I said, yesterday was a busy one between cleaning the pool and doing all of the yardwork. Today, I'm looking forward to having the yard debris truck pick up the load we have on the street and then picking up our groceries tomorrow before the storms are forecast to arrive tomorrow night.

Thursday will be a trip to the specialist to take one last stab at finding out more about this getting older stuff. As my dad always said, Getting old is not for sissies!




Faith and Reason

APRIL 11, 2022




04/10/22 09:00 AM

I hope I can find the right words to share what it is that I want to share here. Over the many years the Lord has had me on this journey, I've learned that my walk in Him and with Him has to be grounded in a combination of Faith and Reason. I am 100% confident that a journey grounded in only one or the other will not last.

When the storms of life arrive, and for most of us they will arrive, only a solid foundation in both Faith and Reason will provide us with the equipping we need to stand firm in the tests that are sure to challenge us.

The faith side of the equation is easy. The bible makes it plainly clear that it is by our faith that we are saved. But, I have also learned that there is a faith element involved in this walk. In other words, it was only in my search for all of the answers that I discovered the faith element and its importance.

But when those storms arrive, and we start to ask the difficult questions, our faith will be tested and must be grounded in the reason that is built upon the study to which we are called in scripture. It is by that dilligent study that we learn to discern truth and how to walk in that truth.

So, where am I going with all of this? Well, we have entered a new era whereby the atheists are boldly shouting their claims against God. And, ill-equipped Christians are buying in on what they have to say.

That's why I'm so glad I happened across the above video on YouTube. It was so encouraging, and strengthening to my faith, to hear a former atheist provide an inspirational testimony regarding the manner in which he was called to the Christian faith and the importance of it in his life.

If you haven't heard Dr. Sy Garte's testimony on one of several YouTube videos out on the web, I hope you'll take a moment to click above. Dr. Sy Garte is a retired Biochemist who grew up under the influences of three generations of atheists who, as he says, were very left-wing, strong, and militant.

Sy shares the tough questions that he had and the answers he discovered which led to his conversion. It's quite a story and one that I hope touches you like it did me.




The Masters

APRIL 10, 2022


The Masters

04/09/22 08:30 AM

Not sure why, but I like to do my yard work on the week days when no one is around very much. It's coming to that time of the year where golf is on TV and I really enjoy watching it, so I can listen to the neighbors cutting their yards on the weekends while I sit in front of the tube and see how the golfers are doing.

In fact, this weekend is the Masters in Augusta, Georgia and that always promises to be fun and interesting. Due to the health challenges he has been facing, Tiger Woods has been highly selective about which tournaments he might enter. But a tournament like the masters was sure to get his attention. He decided to go through the warmups and make his decision in real-time. As we all now know, he's in and he's in it to win it!

Scottie Scheffler is atop the leaderboard at -8 and has a whopping five stroke lead over four players tied for second. Tiger had a -1 on the first round but walked away with a +2 on round two yesterday, netting him a +1 after two rounds. That's quite a lot of ground to make up in two rounds, especially with the way Scottie and Tiger are hitting the ball.

Scheffler not only has a commanding lead at the Masters but is ranked number one in the world and has been a big winner as of late. It's quite something to see after such an extended period in the golfing world where so many younger golfers and first time winners have emerged.

I thought the domination days, with guys like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, were over, but after seeing Scheffler's strong and consistent performance lately, I'm not so sure anymore. With such large purses being pulled together for these tournaments (11.5 million for the Masters) it’s no wonder that the PGA is attracting such a large pool of talent.

Looking forward to round three this afternoon and round four tomorrow.

Foot Note

04/09/22 10:15 AM

Managed to get the pool skimmed and cleaned up a bit, and also to get the gold fish pond refreshed. Patty started with seven gold fish and it looks like we still have six that are going strong in this very cold water that was created this past winter.

The refill from the garden hose was much warmer. I hope the gold fish can survive these temperature fluctuations as we get the tiny pond cleaned out.




The Lighthouse

APRIL 09, 2022


Lighthouse

04/08/22 7:30 AM

It's really amazing that out of millions of homes that are for sale in the US alone, Patty and I found the same one independent of each other, loved its charm, and didn't think the other person would like it.

I'm not positive, but I get the feeling that despite the charm of its lighthouse architecture and the incredible water view, we just don't see the practical side of climbing four sets of stairs to access all four floors at this senior point in our lives.

Even though the newest picture reveals a screened in porch on the front at ground level which really adds a lot, I'm not sure we could pull the trigger on this beauty. For starters it's very small, needs work (painting), brings with it a major effort on downsizing, and as I've already mentioned it could be a real challenge to navigate the stairs as we get older.

On the other hand, we've never let the practical side of things get in the way of our passion for charm and romance.

Lighthouse 2

The View!

Lighthouse 3

The new screened in front porch!




Radio Roots

APRIL 08, 2022


AARC 1975

04/07/22 4:30 PM

It just dawned on me that I've been a ham radio operator for 49 years. In 2023 I will celebrate 50 years. That's crazy when I think about it. Hard to believe I've been doing anything for 50 years.

The picture above is of the Albany Amateur Radio Club (W4MM) back in 1975. That's me sitting down and second from the left end. On the end and to my right is Walt Burnett with whom I talked and visited often. Walt was a TV technician in town and went to Sherwood Baptist Church where he managed and maintained the church's cable TV station and all of he equipment owned by the church. He was also instrumental in helping Alex Kendrick start the film making over there and was cast in several of the movies they did.

On my other side was Bobby Jones who played in a country-rock band and used to call me to sit in for him when he couldn't make it. Good memories! Also in the picture are Leon Perret (K4GCR) and John Crosby (K4XA), both who became close friends and both who had sons that I taught at Merry Acres Junior High School.

John passed several decades ago and his son Graham was able to secure John's old callsign. As for Leon, I've spoken with him a couple of times via 2 meters and rather recently. I was still in Crawfordville, Florida and not so far from Albany that I couldn't secure a contact via 2 meters whenever conditions were good. Leon ran an electronics store in Albany and sold me my first 2 meter handy-talkie. The brand was Standard.

It's fun to look back on all that has changed in the hobby over the many years and also to look back on my Citizen Band Radio roots in the early 70's. I remember being in the J.C. Penny automotive department and seeing their Realistic 23 channel Citizen Band (CB) Radios, and I was instantly hooked. It was without a doubt love at first sight and a very natural fit for this evolving techie.

I remember the challenges I encountered trying to get a license for my Citizen Band radio. But KFL4219 finally arrived in the mail. As busy as the CB bands are these days, it's funny thinking back to a time where I had to call someone to get them on the air so I would have someone to talk to with my CB radio.

I also remember riding with dad on business trips and telling him how neat I thought it would be if other drivers had CB radios and could talk to each other. Little did I know what the future would hold! The coffee breaks, where some would meet up for coffee while the rest of us grabbed cokes and pizza, is another great memory from my CB days.

I knew two David Turners and the one who played bass in our rock band was a constant companion on the CB radio. What great fun and such cool memories getting into all of that and all that we learned along the way.

I had no idea that only a year or two later I would meet Sgt. Glenn Picard from Mississippi, who ran the Mars Radio Station on the Marine Base there in Albany. He invited me to sit in on a Mars session and I was hooked and ready to move on from CB to Ham Radio.

I've tried to find Glenn to thank him, but my search has never produced any positive results.

Because Ham Radio has always been a big part of my life, I've included it in my category list over in the left margin. There's plenty more there for any geeks in the audience.




Another Busy Day

APRIL 07, 2022


Busy Day 3

04/06/22 4:30 PM

As seems to be the norm these days, it's been a very busy day! I've really been enjoying being back on the air again with the ham radio hobby and completed ten digital contacts yesterday and another ten today. My Asperger's demands that I complete some increment of 5 contacts each time I operate. Can't go to bed with a total for the day, and a grand total, that isn't evenly divisible by 5 LOL!

I wish I could say I am kidding, but it's something I do. It's some sort of odd goal that I have set for myself to accomplish. Go figure!

Speaking of busy days, I got in a good workout with the weights and continue to improve either with more weight or more reps. I'm not pushing that one for I don't want to get injured, but it's nice to feel my strength increasing on a small scale as I progress from day to day.

Got the limbs all moved to the street for the lawn debris pickup next week, and also did a vacuum job on the pool. I did the shock treatment yesterday and usually vacuum the day after to clean up whatever the shock treatment kills.

I also ran another coax for another ham antenna (40 meters) and ordered a part from HRO to get it mounted in the attic not too far from the 20 meter dipole antenna I use currently. It will be fun to get on 40 meters. I'm hoping to do some voice over there and check into the South Cars Net.

We'll see!




Weather Forecasts

APRIL 06, 2022


WXFC

04/06/22 8:08 AM

I remember living in Albany, Georgia back as a kid. We had Gil Patrick doing the weather forecast on WALB TV Channel 10. I remember him vividly sharing how difficult it was to provide accurate forecasts for that area because of a three way impact from 1) approaching weather from the northwest and 2) weather pushing up from the gulf and 3) weather pushing in from the eastern part of the state due to things moving in from the Atlantic ocean.

I also remember living on the gulf coast south of Tallahassee when hurricane Michael arrived and how shocked I was, not only for what we experienced on the coast, but for the devastation that was faced by Albany, Georgia when that same storm arrived up that way.

I'm beginning to think that the forecasters here in the Spanish Fort and Mobile, Alabama area must face the same thing because of the variation between weather forecasts and what really happens in this area. It seems the forecast changes at hyper-speed and always right up to the last minute. It's difficult to make plans when things change like that.

My big challenge du jour is to figure out when the weather is going to cooperate and allow me to get in my run. Yesterday Patty and I scrambled and finished up our outings just before the rain moved in. I knew it was going to be close, and it was!




Going Deep

APRIL 05, 2022


Going Deep

In my post on December 06, 2020 I wrote about three guys whom I credit with a lot of the spiritual growth I have been blessed with over the years. Each has been an amazing example in my life.

One of those guys, Joe Fowler, used to talk about Going Deep. It was a spiritual reference to diving deeper into the things of God. I've always been grateful for those moments in my life when I was encouraged and enabled to go deep with someone I loved and respected.

Since those wonderful days when I used to go deep with those guys, I have seen it happen with my son and daughter. It's really an amazing thing and I have grown to realize that it's actually the Holy Spirit who is taking me on that deeper dive.

In sharing spiritual things with my son and daughter, I have been amazed at the many instances when the Holy Spirit used me to deliver wisdom that was far beyond anything I knew or understood. It was not beyond me to take a moment and marvel at the things God gave me to share.

Wow! Where did that come from? was usually the prevailing thought. Actually, I knew exactly where those bits of wisdom came from, but that's the very thing that made those moments more amazing and special, and even inspirational.

Despite all of that, nothing tops those moments when the Holy Spirit uses my wife to take me to the deep end of the pool. My brother and friend, Joe, used to say, It's lonely in the deep end. I knew just what he meant, and because I did it only made me more grateful that I had a wife who often invited me to swim with her in the deep end. Such amazing moments!

Thank you, Lord, for providing me with a wife and kids who inspire and encourage me to swim with them in the deep end of the pool. And, thank you Lord, for the wisdom that is so often provided in the deep end by your Holy Spirit.

Foot Note

04/04/22 06:03 PM As I've done here, I'm going to start adding a date and time to posts and their foot notes. Whether I write a day ahead or not, the reader will be able to better determine when the post was written and should be able to better understand the context for what is being written.

For example, Patty and I just got back from a walk (read stroll.) We've already done our daily exercise routines so this was meant to be a casual stroll and will hopefully be the first of many. It was great just to take in the homes and scenery, not to mention other strollers and dog walkers.

Patty does a fast walk for her morning routine and is able to take everything in on that walk as well. I, on the other hand, don't have much opportunity to look around and take things in when I'm running, so our evening stroll promises to be something special for me each evening we choose to go out.

I'm looking forward to keeping it casual. No goals or time targets, just an opportunity to get out when we both feel like it and to enjoy a quiet stroll and potentially the beginnings of a beautiful sunset.




Jurassic Park

APRIL 04, 2022


Jurassic Park

Despite its actual meaning, when I hear or think of the term Jurassic, it's the term old that comes to mind. Jurassic is actually the name of a period way back when, but Jurassic Park could be the name of our neighborhood if I'm relating it to the ages of the people that I've seen and who live here.

I had just finished a run and was walking the cul-de-sac when I met one of our neighbors. She was telling me about the things they used to do here in the 'hood way back when and her stories reminded me of our own experiences - probably back about the same time and when we lived in Douglasville, GA.

It was all about the kids back then and between the parties and the trick-or-treat stories it all sounded far too familiar. Plus, it's was nice to finally meet a neighbor that we've been waving at across the cul-de-sac for far too long.




SkyWarn

APRIL 03, 2022


SkyWarn

I got a call a couple of days ago indicating my repaired power supply was being shipped back to me. It was supposed to go out either last Tuesday or Wednesday and if the trip out there was any indication, it could take a week for me to get it back.

I shipped it UPS on a Monday and it was to arrive the next Monday, which would have been this past Monday. If it takes a week to get it back, we're looking at the middle of this week coming up. I hope it will be sooner.

My power supply drives everything in the shack and without it I'm pretty much dead in the water and off the air. The exceptions to that being my Handy Talkie and EchoLink on my cell phone.

I played with EchoLink during the storm last week but am hoping to have a working 2 meter base station if the power supply makes it back in time. If not, I may check into the SkyWarn net via EchoLink if a storm arrives as is currently in the forecast and if it's bad enough to require a net.

I've always been very active on 2 meters during my time in the ham radio hobby and I'm amazed I have not talked on it yet in the seven months I've been here in the Spanish Fort, Alabama area. There's quite a large and active crowd of locals on 2 meters so I have no excuse for not getting on and at least saying hi to everyone.

Maybe this week.




Weather Today

APRIL 02, 2022


Wx 040222

Well, we had a tiny bit of rain and thunder this morning. Just enough to drag me out of bed to put the covers on the outdoor fireplace and furniture and bring in the large umbrella.

Don't remember the exact time but it was somewhere between 5 and 6 am and the thunder was rolling although no rain had fallen. On the other hand, it looked (and sounded) like it could happen at any minute.

Looking outside it's clear that we got our rain, although I must admit that I never heard it. I must have been sleeping pretty heavily because I don't remember much of anything after I rolled back into the bed.

It was nice to get back in bed after my morning outdoor adventure and to sleep in a bit later than usual. It's 8:22 AM CDST as I type and I'm working on my first cup of coffee as Lily the cat and I put together today's post.

I usually stay a day ahead with my posts but had a very busy day in the back yard yesterday and didn't have the strength to come up with a topic or to write about it. And so, here I sit at the keyboard on April 2, 2022.




Our New Sign

APRIL 01, 2022


Sign

I love the new sign my wife put up just inside the entrance to our home.

Says it all!

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