Holy moly! Not been here since June?
In the past, I've already started a few blog entries trying to excuse myself for the lack of updates. So this time let me just begin by reassuring any patient followers and blog-lurkers out there. I'm not dead yet! Yay!
And... I'm back to blogging.
Yes, I realized that there's are still actually good reasons to keep this blog alive. Logging small stories of my life and adventures in this sometimes strange land, keeping the sense of wonder alive through my thoughts of feelings of big and small experiences – this genre is still nothing that Facebook can beat.
Also, I kind of started to missed writing in this way. With all respect to Facebook, hours can go by just scrolling through news feeds and I don't know how that's making people any closer, or wiser about each others' thoughts. Yet I had an blog-reader reminding me that my blog hasn't been up-to-date for so long, and that my thoughts were actually good to read. And this is ultimately the nice thing with a blog: I've received really kind words from people (both of whom I know and don't know) who's been following the blog and these anecdotes of mine, in good times and bad times. Well, let's keep it up.
A nice place to start would be to revisit this New Year's list of projects.
The film camera is, unfortunately, still on the shelf. The film has unfortunately expired. And unfortunately, I didn't have the mind to keep them in the fridge to save the unused film. And I'm thinking, what am I doing going back to film camera use? I must really be a dinosaur. (Oh a dinosaur with – after much struggling and way too much thinking – a smartphone. Big news of 2014!)
The ham radio activity is however going much better. After my landlord refused my proposal to set up a dipole antenna outside the building, I had to convince M&M to host my hobby at their countryside house. The transceiver is on loan from a friend. The good news is I have access to my own radio shack in the countryside, a.k.a. "The Cat Shed" after Kricke the cat who used to live there. Now, when I'm operating the station, I just share the shack with a bunch of flower pots and cans of paint. There, I train my ear to distinguish speech behind the radio noise, play with the radio's noise filters and settings, and try to get radio contact in different frequencies. My first DX (long-range) contact was an amateur from Austria. I was in the shack in the dark because I had been glued to the radio the whole afternoon until the sun began to set, and I found out then that there were no working lamps in the shed. I was hungry and thinking of calling it a day but thought of doing one last call just in case... and Voilá. That's the addicting part about radio: You never really can plan when you get a contact. It turned out well and I was really happy.
This weekend, at the Norrköping radio fair, I actually bought an space-saving loop antenna, thinking that I should give it another try to move the station to the apartment. And then there was JOTA (Jamboree on the Air), where I tried to get radio contact with radio-scouts around the world in this once-a-year "virtual" jamboree. Young scouts are probably wondering what we're doing in this day of the smartphone. But it's OK; I can always counter that I now also have the Echolink app in my smartphone. Haha!
OK until next time. "Best 73", as hams say.
P.S. In case you're wondering about the first picture, that's my family posing after a trail hike (and some bog-crossing) when we went looking for a wind shelter this spring. We found the wind shelter and had a nice lunch there. But I guess they were still relieved to get back to the car! :-D