Monday, July 31, 2006

Beds, radios, and Japanese food

We had a productive weekend.

Saturday I drove out to Lancaster and picked up the bed we ordered a week previously for Amanda. This was one of those times I was glad to have a full-size SUV. This week I'll take down the crib and changing table in her room and put the bed together. Hopefully we'll get someone to buy them next Saturday when we have a yard sale.

Yesterday my friend who's an electrician came over to replace a couple of dimmer switches with regular pole switches, swap out an old two-prong outlet for one that's properly grounded, and finally get my Comet GP-3 2M/70cm ham antenna mounted on my roof.

I have the antenna attached to a 5 foot mast attached to my chimney using a Radio Shack chimney mount. The chimney is in the middle of my roof while my office, where my radio shack (so to speak) is located is on the ground floor at the left front of the house. After securing the coax to the antenna's SO-239 connector and sealing it against moisture with liquid electrical tape, we ran the cable across the roof, and secured it to a downspout with zip ties. There's a soffet overhang outside my office window so we tucked a few feet of the cable in there for extra support, and left the remainder coiled on the window sill. I plan to make a pass-through bulkhead to secure in the window. I'll cut the excess cable (it's a 100 foot line) and put on a new PL-259 so that it can attach to the bulkhead, then use a SO-239 coupler to attach the inside line to the outside line.

I really didn't want to get involved with poking a hole through the cinder block wall, so the the bulkhead will provide an easier to work with solution.

I only had a few minutes to play with the new setup after we were done. I was able to hear the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club's rebroadcast of "This Week in Amateur Radio" very clearly. This is transmitted from the HARC WM3PEN 2M repeater located on top of a dorm at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously I was able to hear that repeated but not as clearly as with the new antenna mounted up high. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to be listening or interested in chatting on the MARC WB3JOE repeater when I transmitted.

I am optimistic that with the GP-3 now up on the roof, I'll be able to get some good use out of my Yaesu FT-7800R.

Finally, last night we went with my MIL and Judith's aunt and uncle to Sagami on US-130S in Collingswood, NJ. It's a Japanese restaurant, though it's a sit-down type of place rather than teppanyaki. The food was excellent. It's BYOB, so Judith's aunt brought a bottle of sake. Unfortunately it had gone bad and was now only useful for cooking. What's nice is that Sagami traded us some good sake for the bottle, so we had an appropriate beverage to enjoy with the meal.

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