Don't be fooled by the title of this blog. I don't discuss herbs very much here. This blog is general-purpose, although I do like ranting about politics and religion.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My Favorite Volcano...

is Mount Saint Helens. If you don't know where it's located or anything else about it, see my website's Volcano tab, which links to much information about the volcano.

Anyway, Mt. St. Helens has become more active in the past few days than at anytime in the past decade or so. This could mean nothing, or it could mean that we're going to see some earnest activity. Nothing as catastrophic as the last time, in 1980, of course. The mountain would have to build itself up quite a bit before that could happen again. Shouldn't take much more than, say, ten thousand years or so?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Samuel Morse Lives!

What does " .. .--. .- ... ... . -.." mean?

It means "I passed" --- specifically, I passed the 5 wpm morse code test for Amateur (Ham) Radio! I took the test yesterday at and just before the meeting of a local Ham radio club, the Olympia Amateur Radio Society (OARS). Hooray! I took this test before and failed it; I have now redeemed myself.

Hamming it Up

For some reason, last year I decided to get an Amateur Radio license, that is, to become a "Ham". Actually, the occasion for the reason was a push by my local LDS church to enroll new amateur radio operators for emergency operations. It seemed like it might be kind of a "fun" thing to do, so I went to the classes that were put on, and then took and passed the examination for the Technician license class, which is the first license for a modern Ham.

Not long after getting my license (call sign is KD7UST), I obtained a hand-held radio through an eBay auction, and began using it at the weekly Emergency Response Communications net meetings. I decided that I might as well progress further as a Ham, and the most significant step to this would be to pass the 5 word-per-minute morse code test, which is required for the two higher levels of license, General and Amateur Extra. It so happened that I had taken, and passed, the written examination for the General class license at the same time as I passed the Technician exam, so all I needed to get the General class license was the morse code. The written exam was good for a year, so all I had to do was study for and take the morse code test before that year was up.

However, procrastination reared its ugly head. I began studying a bit late in the year, and wasn't really fully prepared by the time I took the test the first time (with one week to the deadline!). Naturally, I failed it. That was in February 2004. Stung by my failure (but not surprised), after a bit of a delay I flung myself again into the fray and got really serious about morse code.

Now that I have passed the morse code, there are a few extra frequency privileges available to me, but I don't have the radio equipment to take advantage of them. When I re-take the General class license exam, which I will do in a few weeks, I will have more privileges. Of course, I will report my progress here.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Starting Out...

I've blogged before. I think my computer programmer blog is around somewhere, but I can't remember what I called it. It's been a few months since I last blogged there, and have forgotten everything! Part of my forgetfulness comes as a result of rebuilding my computer and reformatting my C: drive. I think that is where some of my blog stuff was.

Oh, well.