Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I must apologize for not being more productive in keeping this blog up to date. There have been lots of developments over the last six months that have kept me preoccupied and not in the blog-publishing mode. I will try to do better in the upcoming year.

To be extremely candid, I have almost completely retired from the Ham Radio hobby....Just no interest. At all. Period. However, things are slowly changing with regard to Ham Radio.

The tower/antenna project at the Bent Dipole Ranch has been slowly progressing over the last 9 months. Since I no longer climb, I must depend upon others to do the climbing and tower work for me. If it had not been for Bill Wilson, KJ4EX, in Winder, GA, I would not have any tower up on the air at all. Bill, along with Dave, N4ND, have done yeoman's work in getting this project as far along as it currently is.

All we have left to do is to put the 9 ft top section of Rohn 25G in place, mount the antennas on a mast, mount the rotator, run the coax and cables and set the permanent guy wires in place. Sounds simple, huh? Well, it ain't! Especially the guy wire (guy rope, actually.....7/16s inch Dacron line) situation. My wife, Patricia, KB3MCT, and I are discussing the placement of two of the in-ground guy anchors, one of which has got to go in the front garden. (I guess a trip to Kay Jewelers might be in order to smooth this over!!!)

On the radio front, I have several major projects: upgrade the Drake AC-4 PSU for the TR-4 station, update the TR-4 transceiver, overhaul and upgrade the Drake 2B receiver (has a bad audio problem), complete the Elecraft K2 kit (this includes upgrading the Rev A board to a Rev B board....lots of stuff to change out on the main PCB), restore KL0SW's National RX he bought at Dayton this year, relocate the 2M FM station to the new shack, upgrade the 2M FM antennas (a Diamond dual bander vertical right at the top of the antenna stack on the new tower!) I am sure I have left one or two things off the list, but that is enough for right now. 

While Ham Radio has taken a back seat since mid-year, it has been replaced by my doing some serious firearms training and competition shooting at the local range. For over 50 years I have had a love affair with the 1911A1 .45 ACP pistol. Mr. Browning's gift to the firearms world has held a fascination for me that is hard to explain. Earlier this year I realized that I was not as competent with that weapon as I had been in the past. After several local competitions I compared notes with the owner of the range, a retired USMC Gunnery Sargent, master marksman/armorer, and all around good guy. He suggested that I try using a 9mm (9 x 19mm or 9mm Luger, for you novice shooters out there) and see if my scores improved. After borrowing a Glock G-19 from a friend at the range, I was amazed at how my marksmanship improved by simply changing calibers! Now I am a dyed-in-the-wool Glock shooter. My concealed carry is a G-26 "Baby Glock", my competition weapon is a Glock G-34, and I am trying to get Patricia to become proficient with the G-19 I picked up earlier this summer. This is a hard sell as Patricia is a long time "wheel gun" (revolver) shooter. In addition to our military combat arms training Pat was an armed security guard for the Social Security Administration Data Center in Plains, PA for several years. They used Smith & Wesson Model 19s, in .357 caliber as their duty weapon. She had to qualify twice a year and always did so with high marks, much to the dismay of some of the local law enforcement officers who had to qualify at the range and didn't do so well score wise. 

Both Pat and I know the value of on-going firearms training. We strongly believe that if you own firearms it behooves you to become proficient in their use. We both enjoy the shooting sports and have passed this along to our kids.

As for me, my grandfather started me shooting at the tender age of 5. Both he and my dad were outstanding trap (shotgun) shooters. Dad was a regular at the yearly Bing Crosby invitational shoot at Hayden Lake, Idaho for a number of years.

I started shooting pistols when I was 15 under the guidance of a couple of WSU policemen who substituted for our city cop (remember my home town only had a population of 1000 people and therefore we had only one policeman!) when he took his yearly vacation. They taught me how to reload ammunition with the proviso that they would instruct me in the use of the pistol but I had to reload all the ammo we would shoot that week! I fell in love with hand gunning and have been an active pistol shooter ever since. During my teaching career at the prison, I was a member of the pistol team and shot PPC competitively for a number of years. 

Well, that is all for now. Here's hoping you have a very Merry Christmas and a Joyful, Happy New Year. See you on the air, AND, as Jim Scoutten, host of Shooting USA says, "Keep 'em in the 10 ring".

VY 73

Rich K7SZ

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