This is the last entry for the year - it's both a solemn and a joyful night... I'm so happy to be at home with my cats and guitars. A little straight key night on HF, on my mind are Marconi and so many others for whom this antique way of communicating was a wondrous state-of-the-art 100 years ago. Playing some computer games with Geoff, Tom, Shane and Shannon on the phone 250 miles away, and playing some music while the pork tenderloin roasts out on the grill (yes, it's 12 degrees F and I'm grilling outside...). 2001 gets remembered for national tragedy and personal tragedy, but in a way that few New Years have been before, 2002 will truly be a new beginning. Happy New Year to all of you.
On my way out of Circuit City with a TeeVee I was unable to lift out
of my car, (thanks Ken), I was asked by an employee [who saw my license plate] what was up with ham radio so I told him. If you need testing check here, if you just need to know what's up with ham radio, check here.
Xmas Day: Got a belly full of a great breakfast from the best neighbors on Earth, Ken and Kim. Friends Gina and David from St. Louis are on
the way and it's snowing! Snowing just enough to be pretty, but not enough to make the roads treacherous. After Dave and Gina look around
and go "Hey! where's all the furniture?!" I'm gonna put on my chef's coat (gift from Noles family south last year) and my new chef's pants (gift from this year) and I'll have Gina and David snap some photos. Then I'm gonna grill up some ribeyes and clog their arteries.
My thanks to Janie, AE9JG, for Xmas Eve Dinner. After dinner I heard Kurt, KB9RTO, work the ham station, KC4AAA, at the South Pole! I was trying from the mobile rig, but those guys were popular - big pile up.
21 Dec: Happy Winter Solstice and thank you to Ken, N9HQ, and his bride, Kim,
for having me over to their home for dinner with fellow ham, Kurt, KB9RTO.
Just a 5-minute walk in the brisk air and Xmas lights. Nice
night for a walk. Such thoughtful friends and good food. I'm off work for the next eleven days and it's going to be really nice to alternately
relax and get things done to get the house back up for sale. I intended to head back to Louisville for Xmas, but I think I'm just going to cocoon and stay in this holiday season. Even New Year's will find me inside and enjoying the company of the kitties. I hate to miss Ted and Phillip's annual NYE party and I've been grateful to be invited so many years, but I just want to be home.
www.n9xs.com is here! N9XS is my amateur radio callsign, thus... n9xs.com. My thanks to Andy for nearly two years of hosting my page over at Roadkill. With my own domain, it's time to get some paid serving space. Welcome!
Today, 12 December, marks the 100th anniversary of the first wireless transmission of information across the Atlantic Ocean by Guglielmo Marconi. This historic anniversary obviously is very important to us radio geeks, but also marks the beginning of the information age in many ways. Just 11 years later, wireless saved over 700 lives from the RMS Titanic disaster.
Went to the range with good friends Mike and Peggy, we shot Mike's Brazilian 9mm, Peggy's 5-shot S+W .38 revolver and my Colt .380 auto and Walther 7.65 mm. The .41 magnum I inherited from my ex father-in-law went idle, albeit admired by the group - can't find ammo for that thing. Mike is not only the best shot I've ever seen with a handgun, but a good instructor as well. Peggy and I have far less experience and Mike offered much good advice. Seeing him shoot groups of about two inches with the 9mm from 21 ft and beyond was awe inspiring. Mike is a man as dedicated to safety, freedom and talent on the range as you could ask for. He's good to have on the range. His daughter is adorable too... welcome to the world Katie. Peggy, so good to see you again. To Mike's wife 'Becca, thanks for having us over. You're mother-extraordinaire - that's one fantastic daughter.
Thanksgiving - my Thanks to Ron and Linda, who put my Ma up for her T'day visit. Thanks Ma for coming up to visit. I had a very nice Thanksgiving and I hope you all did too. soon, www.n9xs.com...
Went to St. Louis for one helluva weekend with my Missouri pals Jim and Ann, Mike and Li'anne, Scott and Sandra, Gina and David and oh yeah, Andy was there too. The occasion? Al Stewart in Concert! Al is a story teller, singer-songwriter, and guitar player of immense talent Here he is with the assembled gang. And he so kindly signed his new album Down In The Cellar Check out news on all things Al at www.alstewart.com.
Back at Jim and Ann's house, way out in the hills southwest of St. Louis,
on a really nice plot of land that would make a great aluminum farm,
we partied and laughed and had a delightfully silly time. Wish these
folks were a little closer so I could see them all more often. Being
with each of them is a real joy. We all came together in appreciation
of Alan Parsons' music, but it is so much fun to cross-pollinate our
passions and discover new things that each of us enjoy.
I-57 on the way back from Andy's, a trucker startled the hell out of me by calling me (he saw my license plate) on the National Simplex frequency of 146.520 MHz, which I had tuned in just for kicks on the VHF/UHF radio. Mike, KB0VAI, called from his eighteen-wheeler, saying he saw all the antennas on my car and just took a chance that I'd be listening. I was.
He was towing a boxcar full of Mars chocolate bars and wouldn't even pull
over to eat them with me - sheesh. Nice to get a call on National
Simplex, though - it's usually deadly quiet.
Made a little journey down to Champaign for a long overdue night of darts and pool with friend and webmaster Andy. Nice little town he's got there although all the women are 20 years old. Oh did I mention he kicked my ass at billiards too? Cryyst you'd think he has a table at home AND at work... I get to see Andy and the whole Missouri and neighboring states' contingent of Alan Parsons fans at the Al Stewart concert in St. Louis at the end of my vacation later this month. Fun people, great artist, good concert - gonna be fun.
September 11, 2001: Like all of you, I am stunned by the events in NYC, Crystal City, VA and Stoystown, PA. I don't really have words to offer other than I hope people will pull together and comfort one another. I have already seen a lot of this happen as I write this at 7pm CDT. It dawned on me very quickly this morning that this will be a day on par with Pearl Harbor as history plays out.
Gina and David posted pictures from FanFest 2001 click on the thumbnail once for bigger, once again for bigger still. [update-link expired]
Just returned from the 2nd Annual, Alan Parsons FanFest 2001, held again at the historic Dauphine Hotel in Bonnots Mill, MO, with 23 or so of the nicest, wackiest, talented, fun-loving, most caring people in the world, each of whom has the best taste in music. Alan was kind enough to call on Saturday and chat with the assembled gang for about 30 minutes. It was a real treat. Surely, after the year I've had, it was the best therapy I could have had. Saturday, August 11th may have been the nicest day of my life... it was that good. Like a dork, I didn't even pull out my digital camera, but there was no shortage of photography practiced. As soon as I can steal some images, I will. Every day this year, I have been running around, urgently trying to get something done, or please some ungrateful carbon-based life form or another, or otherwise chasing my tail just to tread water. This weekend was just so relaxing. It could not have come at a better time. Having this many friends, who care about me, who cheer for my "performance" on guitar and vocals, who laugh at my jokes, who sing along with me,it just was a 180 degree turnaround from the way I have felt all year - from the bottom of my heart, I miss you guys and I can't wait to see all of you again soon.
My thanks to Jeff, Andy and Steve for joining me on my birthday out at Arlington
Park. Andy hit the trifecta for 260 cool ones and then
was really generous to us all with his loot. Then my friend Jeff and his lovely bride Sherry brought me over to their home for some grilled
food and fun. Kyle is getting BIG!
A Walk Down Abbey Road![link expired] -- Attended the Milwaukee and Chicago
stops on this great concert tour with Alan Parsons, Todd Rundgren, Ann Wilson
and John Entwistle. Had a beautiful time with my good friend and web host, Andy and Parsons Fans and good friends Gina and David from St. Louis. Better house guests you can't ask for. Next time I see these nice
folks will be next month at the 2nd annual Alan Parsons FanFest in Bonnots Mill, MO (see last August).
At the Angelciti Chicago Film Festival I had the pleasure of meeting filmmaker, Stu Pollard, writer and director of Nice Guys Sleep Alone. A delightful little romantic comedy filmed around my old hometown of Louisville and in horse country in central Kentucky. Grab someone you'd like to get to know better and go down to your local Hollywood Video and rent it!
Field Day 2001 is history and what a beautiful weekend! The weather here in Chicago doesn't get better very often. The propagation, while pretty good for DX, was probably not as good as it could have been for US and Canada - Spaceweather.com has the answers - we took an X-Class solar flare on 23 June. (Happy 60th b-day, Dad! and 21st, Amy!) My most talented mentor and partner in Field Day for the last three years, Peter, W9UF, did a great job as usual. We had lots of great help, not limited to Brandon, son of Frank, KG9H, who did a great job as a logger under tremendously difficult conditions. 'Wild Chicago' a great program from WTTW Channel-11, came and filmed the madness Sunday morning and what a fun crew they were! News here as soon as I hear when the show airs (rumored to be January 2002). My friend Chris, KC9L, brought out a remote controlled car (which was a blast to drive around) and mounted an Amateur Television camera on the car as a demo and gave what could be a great demonstration of how to drive on a remote surface (can you say Mars?). Field Day is just a great deal of fun - this year more than ever. Someone even brought their baby and I must say I really enjoyed playing with him, even though I'm not even a baby person - I tried to teach him Morse code, but give him a break, his 6-week-old attention span was thin ;). Our satellite expert, George, KA3HSW, made contact with NA1SS, the International Space Station from the satellite station, a really fine looking shack too, considering it was in a tent - very exciting.
The Avon 3-Day walk-a-thon to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research begins tomorrow, June 15th and I and several hams from the WCRA are headed up to southern Wisconsin to provide communications. This is kind of a tryout for ham radio for this group. Hopefully they'll like us and find us useful and invite us back next year for all three days.
Horse racing is back at Arlington Park Meet us out there on Sunday, June 17th for a day in the sun! We'll be the usual spot by the finish line on the apron.
Hamvention 2001, the 50th! - My first time to the Dayton Mecca of Amateur radio and my first long distance ride as a passenger on a motorcycle.
Jon, KC9OO, my chauffeur on the Gold Wing, gave me a great ride into Dayton (back too... which is nice). My hosts in Dayton, Keiko and Dave, potters extraordinaire deserve thanks as most hospitable hosts in their beautiful home (and incredible workshop) in Yellow Springs, OH. Here's a pic from Dayton. Here's another.
It's Derby Day, 2001! I'm not in Louisville and I'm very homesick. It's cool and cloudy here in Illinois, but hot and breezy and humid in Louisville, perfect wx for Derby. Wish I were there...
January - April 2001:
My friends and family have been taking real good care of me - and I'm grateful - you know who you are.
Whole mess going on, but let's concentrate on fun -- here we go:
Just got in from the front yard, where my friend Ken, N9HQ, and I watched the International Space Station, Shuttle Mission STS-100 and Soyuz TM-31, all attached, pass almost right over our heads. While I watched and
chatted with my bro, AE4RV, on the phone as he watched 250 miles SE of me in Louisville. Meanwhile, although we believed the crew to be
asleep, Ken tried to raise NA1SS on his handheld. No luck, but what a beautiful and bright passover. Very exciting. ---My thanks to my good
friends Stu and Paul and Paul's squeeze, Kate, who took me out last night for a great evening of sushi and darts. They're Aussies all, and
they think I'm weird, even for an American, but two of the most fun days/nights I've had this year and there they were, coincidence? I think
I need to update links and several friends have built pages recently, so
I need to get them on the link list. I also want to have a link list
I can access from other computers on the other side of the 'wall, so I'll add that to the growing mouldy stack of work to be done... Hopefully I can do some more work tomorrow... rjn -21 April 2001
October - December 2000:
Xmas Day - Eclipse! - I projected an image of the partially eclipsed sun onto my kitchen cabinet with binoculars. (The astronomy budget here at Maison de Chaos is a little spartan these days).
My co-worker, Jean brought her newest addition, Meg, to the office - here are the pix!
Lots going on, some good, some bad, but not a whole lot for public consumption. If you're curious, drop me a line and I'll bring you up to speed.
Work's been nuts, what with getting the last minute projects in before the end of the year. I think we did good - let's hope TPTB do too...
Happy New Year (and new millennium) to one and all... and to the 20th Century and the year 2000, good riddance.
Attended a Peevefest in the lovely home of Mike and Rebecca Atkinson... here are the pix...
September's been a little slow for news thus far, but I thought I'd update
a couple of links and the reason why: Jane and I just saw Russian space station,
Mir, this evening (9-12-00) and the web site, Heavens
Above, gave us the coordinates. Also, while looking around I discovered
space.com, which I have been wishing for since the early eighties. Space has been a side hobby for years
and the web has come through in many ways, from NASA mailing lists to sites like these.
Arlington Million Day was lots of fun and the weather was just perfect. Fun, even if we didn't make any money. My friend Jeff brought his little
one, Kyle, out for a nice day at the races.
Just back from the incredibly fun Alan Parsons Fan Convention in bustling Bonnots Mill, MO. [picture links expired] If you ever need a nice retreat for a long weekend, Scott and Sandra Holder, proprietors of the beautiful and historic Dauphine Hotel, are the hosts with the mostest.
The new computer has arrived - now begins the monumental task of moving all the data I need to the new machine and putting the old laptop out to pasture as a dedicated ham radio computer for logging and PSK31. By the way, just a little unsolicited praise for Dell Computer Corp.: I ordered this machine on a Monday and it was on the doorstep the following Thursday - amazing. Now that the new computer has arrived at Chateau Chaos, that should give me the space and power I need to run (and learn) some pro web development tools. More images will follow when I can get an image gallery that is fast and organized. (And after the Parsons fan get together is over...)
My birthday celebration at Arlington was a blast and we all (well, almost all, sorry Gary) made money too! Pix to come when the new machine arrives.
I'm off later this month to join a bunch of other crazy Alan Parsons fans at the Dauphine Hotel in Missouri. Songs will be sung, the hot tub will be enjoyed and trivia will be played. It's going to be a little like Survivor but the people will all have great taste in music.
A little update - See the Field Day update below... Pix to come from my Arlington International Racecourse exploits this month... Also pix to come from Gary and Jill Sampson's wedding party in Versailles, KY last month...
Field Day is done and WCRA operated 10A (10 transmitters, no commercial power) and scored preliminarily about 14,000 points. My tent, the 20m SSB group made 776 contacts under the W9CCU banner.
Sorry I've been a little neglectful of the site this month - much goings on...
I made my annual trek back to Louisville for Derby Weekend (and picked
Fusaichi Pegasus to win with a sawbuck, thankyewverymuch) Spent a lovely day in the sun at the 125th running of the KY Oaks on Friday
and attended a really nice Derby party at the beautiful home of my mother's friends, Dennis and Hope Holland.
On the ham radio front, PSK31 fever has gripped the locals and people are rally enjoying this exciting new mode. If you are a ham and would like some help getting started in this mode, just send me a note. I'd be glad to help.
The nice folks at West Mountain Radio offer a product called a RIGblaster, which I am using and heartily recommend for interfacing your radio with your computer's sound card. *As always, if you are not a ham and want to hear more about it, get in touch with me. I love turning otherwise normal people into raving radio lunatics!
Field Day 2000! Be there!Here is the site for info on Field Day 2000.I promise more pictures soon. I need to get a faster computer and that purchase is imminent. As soon as the new computer is aboard, I'll get some decent photo editing software and some good web building software and improvements to this site will follow. Stay tuned...
My "vanity", i.e. chosen, ham radio call sign, N9XS, was just approved by the FCC.
Preliminary plans are being made for Amateur Radio Field Day (June 24-25, 2000), click here to see pictures from last year's WCRA Field Day and get news on this year's (Big Download, lots o' pictures)
I'm just back from Barcelona, Spain, where I joined five other delightful travelers (and Jan Ouwens, from the Netherlands,who was on a trip to Barcelona also) on a sightseeing trip and a chance to see Alan Parsons and his band in the city of Gaudí. Here are some pictures from my fellow travelers:
Away from work, I have umpteen bazillion hobbies, but currently, amateur
radio is taking most of the attention. My call sign is N9XS (ex-KB9QZC) and
I now hold an Extra Class license, having passed my 20-WPM Morse
code and theory test in December, 1999 after getting my Technician Plus ticket in June of 1997. I am a member of the Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs and the club is filled with tons of knowledgeable and helpful hams, many of whom have been a big help and encouragement
in the hobby to me. My new job with the WCRA is mailing out the club application and brochure to new hams in the area. If you got one of these in the mail, I'm sure you've surfed here as a result. Please join us for a meeting, or at very least call us on the 2m repeater, located in Glen Ellyn, IL, on 145.390 (negative offset 600 KHz, CTCSS tone 1A or 1B, that's 107.2 or 103.5 Hz sub-audible tone). Put your call out there and tell 'em I sent ya.
My brother is also a ham (Extra Class, AE4RV) and his web site is here. Geoff's web site has lots of useful things for the active or even prospective ham. Check out the http://www.ae4rv.com/tn/dx.htm DX and propagation page If you think ham radio might be interesting,send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another helpful web site for hams or prospective hams is The American Radio Relay League.
The ARRL is the national association for radio amateurs and our lobby in Washington.
Getting Around Here