Sunday, September 25, 2016

Special Event Station W5B

High Desert Amateur Radio Club will be operating Special Events Station W5B during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  The Fiesta opens on Saturday, October 1st and runs through Sunday, October 9th.

At this time, we are planning to operate 40 M or 20 M SSB band conditions permitting.  I understand the first weekend is also the California QSO Party, so we may have some competition on the bands.

If bands are terrible (as they have been) you may find us on 20 M digital JT65.

I am scheduled to work the station/booth/display mornings on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.   If you are at the balloon fiesta, stop by and visit.  You will find us in the NE corner of the grounds near gates 31 and 32.  If you have your license, you may be able to operate the station.  For my friends in Iowa/Nebraska, look for us on the air.

Photo:  Ed (KC2LM), looks on as Club President Jerry (K6LIE) and Dave (N0LVA) check out the antenna.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Mexico State Fair and Wrangler PRCA Rodeo

My cousin Don and I attended the New Mexico State Fair on fair military day.  As veterans, it cost us just $2 each admission to the fair.  This helped take out the sting out of the $20 parking.  I had splurged on the parking to I did not have to walk so far from the car to the fair entrance and back after the rodeo.

We watched a couple dogs jumping from a "dock" ala Dave Letterman.  I had not eaten because of fasting for a physical exam earlier in the day.  Stopped to "feast" on fair food.  On down Main Street and looked at some of the exhibits of Native American and Hispanic handiwork.

By this time, my left knee was giving me problems,  After rest, we headed toward the Tingley Coliseum to wait for the rodeo.

The was a tribute to military and veterans.  There was a special tribute to us Viet Nam Veterans, recognizing the name calling and worse we were subjected to when we got home.

The rodeo was a typical PRCA rodeo.  We determined that the cattle won the rodeo.  Seemed many of the cowboys were not in their groove. Check my photography blog for information of my photo shoot.  I learned lots and ended up taking over 150 photos at the fair.

The rodeo was over about 9 pm.  Don and I took out time exiting the coliseum and walking to the car.  I dropped Don near his home and headed toward Rio Rancho.  Stopped by The Local Brewhouse for a pint of amber ale before heading home and bed,

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

New Mexico 165

I was debate what to do for Labor Day.  It had been some time since I was on the road to take photos.  Decided to drive the "back road' up to Sandia Peak.

Checked the cameras (60D, T1i, & S95 - Canon) and loaded them into the car.  Stopped into Weck's for breakfast.  I have discovered Weck's "Nana's Value meals".  Smaller meal and good priced.  Had french toast, sausage, and coffee.

From Bernalillo, I crossed I-25 and headed up NM 165.  As I drove through the town of Placitas, I though "another day I will have to take time to scope out this town".  I saw several cyclist climbing the mountain.  Too much for me!

From the photo taken as I climbed out of the valley (see above), I was excpecting the top of the summit would be in the clouds.

At the edge of Placitas, the road pavement ends.  I was taking my time, enjoying the beautiful  day and scenery.  Soon, the road got very rough. At time, I was unable to make more than 5 mph.  The road winds up the Northeast side of Sandia Mountain. As climbing, the road was getting narrower and the brush/trees closer to the road.

I took my time. Stopped many time to shoot photos.  At one time, a cyclist on a cross bike rolled up the road past me as I was stopped to get a shot.

Being the monsoon season, the wild flowers were abundant along the road.  A couple times, the cyclist and I leap-frogged passing each other on the road. At one point, the road came clost to the edge of the mountain and we were rewarded with a view of the valley.  Took the time to get a photo of the cyclist and get his e-mail so that I could send him the photo,  He was visiting from Dallas.

At the end of the gravel, I turned up the mountain to Sandia Peak.  As expected, the peak was socked in with the clouds.  As I headed down the mountain, the cyclist friend and others were continuing climbing to the peak.

Down the mountain, I learned the mountain road I was driving is called "Balsam Glade Scenic Byway". I headed south on NM14 to I-40.  On west to Under and North to Rio Rancho and home. Photos from the drive can be seen on my web site.  http://www.tomwinfield.com/new-mexico/nm165.html

Since I had started at dawn, I was back at the house before noon.  Processed my photos and took a nap.  I was getting thirsty so dressed again and headed out to the local VFW post for a pint or two of Amber Ale.  The beer is good and inexpensive ($2.50) but don't think I will spending a lot of time there for a beer.  Being a private club, the smoke was terrible.  On the packed bar, I was sitting with a guy smoking a cigar, which he had a habit of aiming right at me, 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hamfest Part 2

I was exhausted last night.  Slept off and on from about 6 pm until 8 am.  Headed back to the convention hotel a little after 11 am.  After noon, members if HDARC were holding a soldering class to some of the school students.  (photo here).

Most of the rest of the afternoon, I manned (kept and eye on) the club's display tables.  Took a break to do a little shopping and get instructions for programming my new HT.  Bought a couple USB cables, some clip jumper leads, and the cable to programming my new HT.

Then it was time to attend the Digital Modes Forum.  I am now excited to find my Icom 707 and power supply so I can start assembling a digital mode station.

For dinner, I picked up one of the leftover box lunches for giving a donation.  Checked e-mail back here at the house and then early to bed.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Duke City Ham Fest

Early start today.  At the convention center about 7 am.  Registered for the convention.  Next it was waiting for other club members to finish setting up the club's display.

High Desert ARC has an active program with the Albuquerque schools.  This Spring, they worked with NASA and had a conversation (QSO in ham lingo) with the ISS (International Space Center).  It was a big real with the schools and the club.   Much of the HDARC display was centering around that contact.

Band connections were terrible.  Antenna is only set up for 20 meters.  So, a little change of plans and the station was reconfigured for digital.  I and some others got a little primer on digital communications.  Ed (HDARC member) was running the station.  He has a forum Saturday in the afternoon covering digital modes.  I am very interested in this since it is one way I could run my radios without my speech problems.

A couple times during the day, I wandered through the venor/flea market area.  Was looking for a couple things (bench power supply, specially).  Having problems with the little Yaesu HT - think it was dropped too many times.  Ended up a Chinese HT that covers 2m, 220, and 440 for $120.

By this time, I was exhausted,  It was time to call it a day.  Stopped by Five Guys for a burger.  WOW, while the portions are large, so are the prices!

Early crash into bed.  Got up for a while during the night to do some computer work.  Soon back to bed.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ham Fest Prep

I have been slowly getting unpacked and settled into the new house.  This weekend (August 12-14) I made a break from the routine to attend and help at the Duke City Ham Fest.

Duke City Ham Fest this year also hosts the New Mexico ARRL Section conference.

Went to the normal High Desert ARC Thursday Coffee.  Back home for a little (change cloths and break),  The afternoon was spent the the "Pyramid" hotel and convention center and hotel. Afternoon activity was preparation for the ham fest. 

The club has done this before, so most of my time was spending observing and leaning,  We were setting up 2 tables in the convention center hall, a large display board.  In on of the meeting rooms, we set up the convention special events station.  In this photo, Terry, Bill (and others) are assembling the display board.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Break from Unpacking

By Saturday evening, I was looking forward to a break from the moving activities..  Weather was looking good for most all of the day Sunday, so I decided it was a good day to make a return visit to the Valles Caldera.  I wanted to get an early start si that I could drive the preserve roads and take photos.

Typically, I could not sleep.  Got up early and had a big breakfast at IHOP (more than I could finish).  Gassed up the car,  Stopped in San Ysidro to use the facilities and get some soda.  It was about 8:15 that I pulled into the Valles Caldera National Preserve visitor's Center.  Signed in for driving the roads and headed off to shoot photos of the caldera.

The preserve is now under the National Park Service.  The preserve roads are narrow, gravel roads.  To keep traffic reasonable, the preserve allows 35 personal vehicles per day. 

Visited a little with one of the ranger - talked about my High Dynamic Range Photography/  Was thinking to check some of the spots along the way home, but the road and turn-off were full.  Think lots of people had the same idea.  Back home, I processed photos taken during the trip.

Photos I took at Valles Caldera are posted on my web site.   http://tomwinfield.com/new-mexico/valles-caldera.html