Hangin’ On The Air

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I’m an amateur radio operator and this past weekend the Amateur Radio Relay League held its annual Field Day. It’s an opportunity for people around the country to try out their equipment, test their antennas, etc. Typically we operate off-grid using generators, solar, battery, or a combination. Since I’m in Florida this is an opportunity to find problems before the heart of hurricane season is upon us.

My church has 24 acres of beautifully wooded land on the marsh that they let us use so I took the opportunity to hang the hammock and left the tent at home. My buddy beat me to the spot I’d picked earlier and the trees I ended up with were at the extreme limit of my suspension (even with whoopie extensions) so it wasn’t optimal but based on the reports of my snoring (which I don’t believe) I slept very well.

I set my MacCat Deluxe tarp up in porch mode using my trekking poles as supports. This worked very well and was the first time I’d tried it. The hammock became my very comfortable chair and I could sit the netbook on my lap and relax in relative luxury while operating. It was nice to not have to be hunched over the radio.

Radio Hammock

I prefer to use the newer digital radio modes since they require less power and there are some very excellent weak signal modes. In some cases the software can pull out a signal that you can’t even hear is present. This is the view from my hammock. I’m using an Icom IC-7000 transceiver, a LDG AT-7000 autotuner, and a Signalink USB soundcard interface with my Acer netbook.

Radio Setup

In addition to everything else that was going on, a surprise party was thrown for me. My boss almost blew it when he forwarded the invite to me and scared the hell out of me on Fri. I was blocked by a co-worker from going to my desk and then he called my boss who proceeded to get on my PC and into my email. Then he said it was nothing to worry about. Of course I did until I realized what had happened when everyone appeared. My friend (pictured) help facilitate my latest goody. Now I have a new gas/charcoal dual grill for the 4th!

Sweet Grill

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