Our February club meeting was held in the Red Cross building conference room. The space is very comfortable and accessible with plenty of parking in the lot behind the building. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Dave Taylor, K6GHA (SK) (Great Hairy Ape) maintained both a permanent HF and 2 mtr station there for ARES use.
Cap led the meeting and everyone had a chance to participate if we had any input. Our featured speaker was Rob, K6RB, who gave us a presentation of his world-wide CW training sessions. His motto is “Morse is Fun.” He discussed the changes in the amateur radio hobby, stressing that “we can rejuvenate this hobby by use of CW.” He is right in that endeavor in that Morse code has been a mystery in the past and the skill of making the dits and dahs into meaningful communications was long regarded as “secret” or, certainly “mysterious.” Rob has established a large group of CW enthusiasts as mentors for those who wish to continue with this mode. As he explained, each mentor has from three to five “students” spread throughout the world who teach over the internet and on the air. He gave some promising statistics where successes have been achieved. Students have gone from 0 to 20 plus wpm in an amazingly short time using his techniques. If you need more info about the program or wish to participate, check out K6RB’s website at cwops.org.
I am very happy with 40 meters these days. The sun spot cycle has been cooperative with my daily use of the Maritime Mobile Net on 7.235.5 at 0800-0845. The net has clear coverage between San Diego, Northern California and Idaho, connecting the net controllers. I can even copy a net relay in Cupertino! WX for boaters off the California coast and Baja California is broadcast at 0830.
When we lost power during our recent rains on 4/5 March, it was early Saturday evening. I was watching my favorite show, Famous Battles of WWII, when the power failed on the west side of Santa Cruz. The rain beat down on the roof and the heater shut down. It started to cool off in the house. In the old days, we could just build a fire in the fireplace and enjoy ourselves. In the quake of 1989, our fireplace, like most others, become unusable due to cracks in the liners or other hazards. I found a handy flashlight (with weak batteries of course) but could not locate my trove of large camping lights with florescent tubes. I think that two of them are sitting safely on a shelf in my tool shed in my back yard, another is in the trunk of my car. In the rain and wind, I am loath to go out after them. My battery operated radio, tuned to KSCO, is out in my cold garage, so I’m content to sit her with an occasional flicker of the lights as PG&E crews reset circuit breakers in the rain. They are teasing me, as is their company who called to tell me that over a thousand or two customers are out of power. Oh well, misery loves company. I’m sure that everyone in the San Lorenzo Valley (Felton, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek, Zayante, et al) are flooded in light, enjoying the nice hum of their emergency generators. I really can’t complain. I’m sitting here in a comfortable chair, warm and dry, listening to the rain drum down on my skylights. I feel sorry for the PG&E crews out there. But for many of us, we have been there, done that, etc.