I have always had a paper log for my radio contacts, and when I first started I had the ARRL logbooks which were handy, but the cost does add up when you go through the pages of a logbook adding contacts as I do. It is not uncommon for a page or two to get filled up with just one weekend of chasing SOTA and Parks activators. 🙂 After my last logbook had been used up, I resorted to scrap bits of paper, a notepad here and there and made a complete headache for myself trying to organise it all. So, I decided to make my own as I have a binder machine at home and my CISS system. Being a girly girl, it is in pink/purple but you can of course change the colours so please feel free to download and use the files if you would like.
Early Sunday morning had the whole family bundled into the car on our way to meet up with Joe, VK3YSP and Julie, VK3FOWL for the launch of their first balloon. Bob had installed all the necessary programs for us to be able to track Joe and Julie’s balloon on his notebook and with his Sangean and internet connection we were set! Redesdale was the place picked for the launch and the projected landing would be somewhere near Eildon, with Joe and Julie chasing the balloon in their car to be able to retrieve it when it finally landed.
It was a bitingly cold day and we did get rained on at one stage but the balloon launch went well although the temperature of the transmitter was higher than anticipated. At one stage, we thought the balloon had burst but it was just a glitch and it continued on its ascent which at times was up to 36m per second. The kids thought it was exciting and very interesting, with discussions on how, what, when and where they would release their own balloons. 🙂 There was a playground nearby so they took off and played happily until we had to leave. We lost transmission with the balloon when it was over Seymour and later on Joe let us know that they had retrieved the balloon not far from there. It was all very interesting and I’m sure that Joe and Julie will be planning another launch very soon.
Last weekend was the annual Wedderburn Geocaching Event organised by my neighbours, “The Old Blokes”. Attendance has steadily increased each year that is has been held and this year we had quite a crowd in town at Jacka Park for the BBQ lunch and it seemed an even bigger crowd than anticipated at the Motel later on for the Evening Meal.
I had this year organised a GeoBingo game, a Scavenger Hunt for the children, two raffles and bound logbooks for both events so suffice to say, it was a big weekend with hardly any radio chasing opportunities! Below you will find the PDFs for everything I created. Feel free to steal them for your geo-event! 🙂
Everything went very well, with one cacher lucky enough to score a Gold Nugget that was raffled off by Loddon Tourism…what an awesome prize to win! By all accounts, the caches were well-received and up to the usual great standards of “The Old Blokes” hides with everyone looking forward to next year’s events. The motel struggled with the onslaught of dining cachers on Saturday night, with not enough tables and chairs to seat everyone and some people having to wait almost 2 hours for their food! I was glad that I had decided to eat at home with the family and was able to order drinks instead relatively quickly. Apparently, the motel served about 95 meals that night so coupled with the drinks that were consumed by everyone, they would have made a tidy profit that night!
I have completely abandoned my blog of late..too busy with life in general but I hope to post some more within the next few days. Now, I know that this blog post has nothing to do with Ham Radio or Geocaching but it is relevant to a certain extent, especially with the amounts of printing I did for the Wedderburn Geocaching event last weekend! 🙂
If you have not heard of the CISS system for printers yet, please do yourself a favour and google it and then see if your printer is compatible. There are now many companies offering a CISS but I went with a company called Rihac (http://www.rihac.com.au/index.php) because they were located in Victoria and I figured if I needed extra supplies I could get them overnight if needed. The savings of such a system are considerable when taking into account this example: http://www.rihac.com.au/info_pages.php?pages_id=92
Anyway, I had heard of CISS from another homeschooler and decided I needed one as I was pretty stingy with printing to conserve my printer cartridges as they were so expensive to replace. I started keeping an eye on printers that came up for sale and checking to see if they were supported by the CISS and finally one did. The printer I got was the Epson Workforce 2530 and it happened to be on sale at Kmart for $89. It is the usual fax, scanner, printer combo and is wireless so I don’t need to have my laptop set up next to it. I bought it, then ordered the CISS system for it and have been so pleased that I no longer have to replace expensive ink cartridges.
I have printed out ridiculous amounts of black and coloured pages since I have installed mine and I have only just now ordered my first bottle of black ink to top up my system since I have owned it for almost a year now…the coloured inks still have about half left which will last for a good while yet. I only used about a 1/4 of the new ink bottle to top up my black ink completely so the bottles will last you for ages. It is not that difficult to install; I even managed to do it my own! The only thing you have to do is to make sure that you don’t have the ink higher than your printer head. I have my ink system sitting in an old lunch box in case of spillage although I have never had a leak. The only thing I have noticed is that if I don’t do any printing for a couple of weeks, I need to do a head clean and nozzle check but that takes only a couple of minutes and I’m good to go. I love that I can now print with gay abandon and now my only worry is if I have enough reams of paper in the draw! 🙂
This morning I got up and did the usual morning routine and then sat down to pay bills online as one does with a nice cup of tea and didn’t think of anything else until around 9ish and I suddenly realised that I hadn’t had the ParksnPeaks website running as I usually do when my laptop is on. Low and behold, VK3ARR had been spotted on SSB so I quickly flicked on my Alinco and raced up to 7.180. Yep, he was still there so I called in and made the contact and Andrew mentioned about using AM earlier and I then remembered that some of the VK1 guys were also planning on trying AM on their summits today. I haven’t actually used AM yet, the Alinco does have the capacity to do it but I guess I just never thought to use anything other than SSB as that seems to be the most common form used…and CW of course, but I’m not ready to go there yet!
So, anyway, moving along until just after dinner for us and the spots were coming up for Gerard, VK2IO and then he went to 40m AM and so a quick scramble of tuning and checking out the settings and I was calling into Gerard in AM mode! It being my first try of AM, things sounded differently to SSB and there was a lot more noise etc. but made the contact and then went up the band to get Andrew, VK1NAM and finally Andrew, VK1DA. I was using only 4 watts according to the Alinco Manual and was receiving 56 and even 59 signals…awesome! It’s always nice to try out something totally different to the usual so pretty pleased with how it all went.
Now I know that I couldn’t be as cool as having an Andrew Mode to Andrew Mode but my name starts with an A too, so I included myself in today’s festivities of AM just because! 😛