Bryan, Bradley and I went camping last week from Thursday to Saturday at Kualoa Beach Park in Kahaluu. It was part a beach fun trip, part ham radio geek-fest, and part get-away-from-it-all vacation. We set up the hammocks and tent and helped the 2 participating radio clubs set up antennas and gear for the ARRL field day on Saturday. Lots of photos and stuff at the following link:
Thought this was funny enough to take a picture of.
I originally thought this was one of those spring-loaded bobbing head toy dogs people get for their cars, until it turned around and licked its tail! This dog was as happy as could be perched there with a window on the world!
I'm a little embarrassed to say that I laughed to myself, imagining the results if the car made an emergency stop! I don't know what it is but small dogs are just funny.
Today we went to the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park. It was Christian music day and we were able to get tickets for half off. We had a great time and got pretty sunburned too. I brought the camera but we didn't take many pictures. Both kids are feeling pretty comfortable in the water.
I'm bushed. I really needed today "off". I've been busy thinking about and planning upcoming projects for the video ministry at New Hope. It fills my time now and I notice I'm not really blogging anymore. I guess the luxury of freetime is over now. I'm sure that's an exageration from being out all day in the sun! Still, I have to find time to log six hours of videotape, plan our first remote, get all our lights working for the lighting kit and finish planning Monday night's meeting. I have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow so I better get to sleep. Aloha! Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there!
Bradley has pneumonia. He is taking antibiotics and isn't even coughing but we think he picked it up after he was getting over a sinus infection! He's bummin because he is restricted on where he spends most of his time and what he can touch. He seems to be on the road to recovery though. Poor kid.
From the "Great Idea" department, a table saw that senses if it is cutting into flesh and instantly retracts. It could prevent so many injuries, yet I hear that tool companies will not incorporate the design because it will add too much cost ($100) to the final product.
Last weekend I walked into RadioShack for the last time! (Probably not,... but I hope so). It seems every time I go in there, I come out mad or frustrated. This last time was the final straw.
Bryan had "bought" a simple kind of disco light at Dave & Busters with the tickets he won from playing several games. It was a cool light that would bathe his room in slowly changing hues of red, green, purple, and blue. He thought it was cool but it ran on AA batteries despite having a 4.5 volt power port. If we got the right sized wall wart, he could leave it on all night.
Well, we bring it into RadioSchmuck and a salesman takes the light and starts to gather the universal power supplies, chords and tips he is going to need. I go off to look at a couple things with my kids and when I get back this guy has about 5 packets open trying to find a size that fits. He tries one, turns it on (no work), turns it off, tries another, turns it on (no work), turns it off, tries another....on and on. I watch him for 10 minutes and realize he isn't paying ANY attention to the electrical properties of the plugs he's trying, he's just trying to find one that physically fits. 4.5 volts or positive or negative pin polarity seem to be non-issues with him.
I ask him if he's sure the outlet he's plugged into is working. He shrugs and tries another. I ask him if he has a multi-tester, he fumbles around and comes up with a small one, which he clearly doesn't know how to use. I teach him what setting to use and how to check for current. As I'm showing him this I see that the cable he is using can reverse its polarity depending on how the plug is inserted. It's negative pin one way or positive pin the other way.
At this point I have a sickening feeling that I know why it isn't turning on anymore. We put the batteries back in and sure enough the toy is dead as a doorstop. He fried it. We crack the case open and it is a very simple design, basically a group of LEDs and a couple of resistors. He doesn't understand anything about how to check for which component has been burned out and I realize then that my own 12 year old son is more qualified to work at RadioSlack than this guy was.
At that point I was mad. I felt like saying "Please explain to my son how you broke his toy and what you are going to do about it!", but I was too upset. "Come on kids, we're leaving." is all I could say. He just stood there, not saying much and didn't even offer an apology. The sad thing is that I probably would have had to go to RadioFrack for the parts to fix it, but I am determined not to ever go there again. I will wait until I can go to a more responsible and reputable electronics supply store.
RadioHack has become little more than the Sears TV department and the local cellphone store combined and has very little to do with "Radios" or "Ham Shacks" anymore.
By-the-way, Bryan took the unit apart, identified the high power LED that had fried and is awaiting the new part so he can solder it in and put it back together. Bryan is 12 years old and just finished 6th grade. Way to go Bryan!
We'll get our own 4.5 volt power supply from somewhere else. (Maybe Bryan will just make his own!)
On the last Thursday of May I attended the National Weather Service's Skywarn Level II spotter training. Skywarn is a program run by the NWS to train spotters to report on severe weather conditions. High Winds, funnel clouds, hail, flash flooding, that sort of thing. It gives them eyes in the field to compare and evaluate what their instruments are telling them.
Many amateur radio operators participate in the program and now I'm one of them. I am spotter # 700. I prefer to think of it as Weather Spy 007! I even have a secret phone number to call directly onto the NWS ops floor. I'm sure it must ring a red phone with just a big flashing light on it! Ha!
Anyway, if I do see anything out of the ordinary, I can play my part to keep the National Weather Service informed with the most accurate and detailed information they can get.
Bryan and I participated in the Makani Pahili Hurricane preparedness exercise a few weeks ago. The Red Cross set up a fully staffed but simulated hurricane shelter at Mililani Uka. Bryan and I went, representing the EARC (Emergency Amateur Radio Club) to participate in the communications side of the drill. We set up radios with independent power supplies and exchanged simulated messages with Civil Defense and hospitals. Bryan did all the radio work! He did great. I was so proud of him! Here are some photos:
I am a producer/director at KITV in Honolulu. I am a father of 2 boys and a husband to one wife. My amateur radio call sign is KH6DAD. I love the outdoors. I love hi-tech, but love learning the "old ways" of doing things too. I love iPhones, and have been known to make my own Root Beer from scratch.