Thursday, April 24, 2014

I am not a professor of languages

 but being on the air with people from all over the world is interesting.

The language of international radio communications is English unless the two communicators speak another common language. 

I suppose an example of this is when a pair of South American hams speak Spanish to each other, yet as soon as they are through the one that is host station will switch straight back to English for the benefit of everyone else.

One of the things I have noticed that seems to show up a little more among Arab hams is that there are a lot of people out there on the air that speak true unaccented American English.

The other day I made contact with a Saudi ham that I would have sworn was an American in Ohio except for the fact that he had a Saudi callsign. I have spoken with Kuwaitis that are in the same boat.

English is a gold plated sonuvabitch to learn to begin with and when you add the American idioms to it that are constantly changing it is nothing less than a miracle that someone with a different native tongue can learn to speak it much less sound like a native.

I recently spoke with a young girl in China that spoke American English like an American and marveled at that.

Incidentally after I QSO'd the Saudi I listened a while and he mentioned that he also spoke several other languages. 

While I do not know how well he spoke the others I will say that if he speaks them half as well as he speaks English he's fluent in them.

It humbles me to realize that American education left me able to speak English and High School Spanish.

High School Spanish is worthless anywhere but in American high schools. When I tried to order a steak and fried spuds in Mexico once the waiter brought me a baked stuffed elephant and all the trimmings.

There is also a Russian ham I communicate with from time to time and I listen to him jump from one language to another with seemingly no problem.

Sometimes I think our educational system is a travsesty when I see people from other places. We graduate from our schools without even learning how to so much as count and the fact that this country is so far in debt is proof positive of that.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Match rifle is now good to go.

I tried out my recently built long range match rifle the other day with a few handloads left over from another rifle.

It shot pretty good with the new trigger I installed.

There was a recall on the rifle over safety/trigger group issues. Instead of sending the rifle back I simply replaced the safety/trigger group with a match grade trigger that I should have done anyway.

There is a slow fire match coming up this coming Saturday and I think I am going to shoot it. 

The new trigger is on the borderline of being scary good. It breaks like glass and surprises me when it goes off. That is a good thing.
It shoots the handloads pretty good, a little under a minute of angle and that's good enough for the win at Saturday's match.

It was also good to get a GOOD focus on the scope. You really have to have the rifle out and a place to steady it to get it truly focused. It's not an expensive scope, but has a reputation of being a damned good deal for the money.

There were no Fudds at the range, thank God as the Fudds generally have no clue as to how to check handloads for accuracy. I generally reset the scope so the rounds impact to the right or left of where I hold the crosshairs. I'm not interested in hitting the center of a target. It's the shot group size that matters.

The Fudds, meaning hunters seldom know the ins and outs of match shooting and run their mouths and I have to explain what I'm doing. Sometimes they still don't understand.

For those of you that do not understand why I do this it is simple. I do not want to tear up my point of hold. The more you tear it up the harder it is to get a decent sight picture.

After you have shot your groups all you have to do is reset your sight and you are dead on.

Anyway, the rifle shoots pretty good and I'm ready for the upcoming match.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Vlad has now showed up in Paraguay

which doesn't surprise me anymore.

So who is Vlad?

Vlad is the Third Most Interesting Man in the World.

The Most Interesting Man in the World sells beer on TV. Everybody know him.

Ever since I grew my beard back the guy on TV calls me when he wants a day off so I guess that makes me number two.

Vlad comes in at number three because he shows up more often than a bad penny in some of the most off-the-wall places in the world. He's a ham operator with the ability to get permission to go on the air from governments all over the world.

He's a Russian but never seems to be in Russia. He has a Russian call sign. When he is operating out of Russia he generally is told to use the host country's prefix followed by a slash and then his Russian call sign, UA4WHX.

Many parts of the world are hard to get in a ham's logbook. While, for example, there are a lot of Brazilian hams, there are only a couple of them in Bolivia. Most of them are not very active.

Enter Vlad. He got the OK to set up shop in Bolivia and went on the air and because of him I have a legitimate contact from Bolivia in my log. Same for South Shetland Islands and Egypt.

I just bagged him last night from Paraguay. He was running under the call sign ZP9/UA4WHX. ZP9 is the Paraguay prefix.

How he does this is beyond me. He just seems to pop up anywhere with no rhyme nor reason.

QSL with Vlad is a snap because he requires no QSL card from the receiving station. You simply send him a PayPal for the price of postage, note the contact details in the message box and wait for the mailman to show up.

Normally the procedure is you send the station a QSL card, a return envelope and a couple bucks for return postage and wait. When you add the $1.20 for the overseas stamp things add up pretty quickly. Sending Vlad a couple bucks via PayPal is actually a savings when you add everything up.

The QSL procedure is secondary over my curiosity about this man.

What I want to know is where he is going to show up next!

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Monday, April 21, 2014

A bunch of smalls.

Yesterday I was on the air and fielded a call from what turned out to be a 10 year old kid. I looked the call sign up and there he was, all ten years of him behind a nice looking rig. My guess is that it is his father's.

That kid gets a QSL card from me and a note attached that he doesn't have to return one if he doesn't have any.

Too bad there are not more ten year old kids like him. He is a sharp operator.

Yesterday I was looking for something and being Easter Sunday, everything was closed. Finally I checked the local convenience store and scored.

A woman in her mid 40s was in my way and I asked her to move with a polite "Excuse me, young lady."

I generally address most women 8 to 80 with the term 'young lady'. If they are young it fits and if they are old it is appreciated.

It's the middle aged you have to watch out for.

She snapped back that she wasn't a young lady.

I readily agreed with her, dryly telling her she was neither young nor a lady and said that I just didn't have the heart to call her a rotten old c*** on Easter Sunday. 

Her lack of breeding brought it on herself. I try to be pleasant and kind but know when enough is enough. More people ought to lash out like that. It might make us more mannerly as a society.


It is a Monday and it looks pretty calm. I might try out my long range rifle today and see if it works. There was a recall on the rifle over safety issues. I fixed the problem myself by replacing the trigger with a match trigger. Twenty minutes worth of work and it was good to go.


I worked two new ones, Uzbekistan and American Samoa the other day. It's at the point where with 185 entities logged and about 155 confirmed that it is a case of all of the easy ones are gone. New entities now are like pulling teeth.


All I can say to our elected officials is to get off of your ass and LEAD. Harry Reid should have been at the very front  of the BLM people during the Nevada incident. 

This is a new age. They make Depends now and he could just wear brown pants.


For what it's worth, I have found the proper Army forms and my request to get my birthday back is in the mail.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sometimes I wish people would just get their heads out of their asses.

The other day I was in a hurry and needed a 75 cent item. 

I grabbed it, looked at the checkout and saw that Sally was on duty and cringed. I waited my turn, let her ring the item up, slapped a buck down, said 'keep the change' and started to walk out.

Of course, she looked at me and said, "Wait! I don't understand!"

Oh, no! Not this again. I don't have time for this crap.

"What is the problem? The item is 75 cents. I gave you a dollar. That's more than enough."

"But your change..."

"Throw it away," I snapped. I was running late and didn't have time for this kind of stuff.

"I can't," she said.

So I returned, took my change and dropped it on the floor. "Was that hard?" I asked. I was really annoyed. I was running late.  Time, tides and the sun wait for no man and I wanted to get this job done before dark.

"But you just threw your change on the floor!" 

"Correct. I asked you to but you wouldn't so I had to do it myself," I shot back. "Listen, that nineteen cents don't mean squat but the daylight I'm burning does. Time is money and you are costing me money. Adios." 

I left. I finished the job in the dark.

The next time I went there the manager saw me and asked me about the incident. When I explained it to him he nodded. He understood. It's the little aggravations that make a day go to hell.

Today I have faced a bunch and it isn't even 9 AM yet.

I have had computer glitches and a few other things.

One thing brought me satisfaction, though.

There is a floor drain in the basement with a trap in it. It dries out about every year or two. It did it this morning and I got a waft of stink from it.

I grabbed a bucket, put it in the laundry sink, filled it and simply dumped it on the basement floor.

The water hit the floor, went straight to the drain, filled the trap and that was it. Quick fix!

In about an hour the wet spot on the floor will go away and that's done and over with for another year or two.

This hasn't been a good starting day but maybe it will change.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Match season has started for me.

There's a pretty good .22 offhand 100 yard match scheduled for this morning and although I'm coffeed and breakfasted up, I think I'll pass.

My .22 plinker is set up for 50 yards and my .22 match gun is set up for 200 yards and I don't want to have to sight them in under pressure at the beginning of the season.

Besides I do poorly in offhand matches. 

I have to figure out which way I want to go this year. I'm thinking of simply figuring out a holdover for the plinker and using that later in the season so I can keep it set at 50 yards.

The match gun is actually set for 200 yards on the advice of Jim Land. I met him a while ago at Quantico and when I asked him how they managed to operate with the junk they used back in the 60s he laughed. "All the Marines ask me that. That was state of the art equipment back then," he replied.

I laughed and asked what I could do to improve my windage skills. He suggested using a .22 at 200 yards. I sighted my match .22 in for 200 yards and left it there.

Next weekend there is a 40 shot slow fire match, any position and I think I'll take my long rifle to that. I just re-triggered it because of a recall. The manufacturer wanted me to send it in and let them replace the trigger mechanism but I refused the offer. Instead I dropped in a good match grade trigger.

A slow fire match will be better to get me started and ought to give me a chance to get the match season started.

I don't think I am going to get into it as much as I did several years ago when I shot just about every match inside a 5 or 6 state area. I simply can't afford it. 

My biggest expense that year was gasoline. I was either driving to or from a match, shooting it or reloading for the next one. I was a busy boy that year. The season went from March to November.

I think the slow fire match next weekend ought to give me a pretty good chance to wring my long gun out a bit and get rid of a few things.

After the match I'll the NATO load and if that works OK, I'll just chrony it and use that as my match load for this year. It should stay stable out to 1000 yards. 

Anyway, happy Satiddy mawnin'.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Today is going to be a very busy day.

I might get back to post something later on

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