My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Friday, August 15, 2014

ARRL/TAPR DCC: Only 3 Weeks Away

The 2014 installment of the ARRL/TAPR DCC is only three weeks away, on Friday, September 5th through Sunday, September 7th at the Austin Marriott South in Austin, Texas.

The DCC has two days of technical forums on Friday and Saturday and a concurrent introductory forum on Saturday. On Saturday night, the banquet will feature an interesting speaker and the Sunday morning seminar is "Introduction to SoC FPGA Programming for Mixed Signal Systems" by Chris Testa, KD2BMH.

There will be free tables in the demo room to demonstrate projects and vendors to demonstrate products.

Time is running out, so those interested in attending should register for the DCC and make hotel reservations ASAP.

More DCC information is available on TAPR’s website.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I logged FCC

Last night, 145.39 MHz was wide open according to this, so I cranked up the FM broadcast band radio to see what I could hear and I logged three new stations!

WFCC (love that call sign!) playing classical music on 107.5 MHz, put in an S0 to S1 here with its powerhouse 50 kW transmitting from Chatham on Cape Cod, 152 miles east.

WFHN on 107.1 MHz was S1 transmitting 5,400 watts from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, 105 miles east.

WDBY, "Kicks 1055" on 105.5 MHz with a country and western format was S0 to S1 with a mere 900 watts from Patterson, New York, 37 miles west southwest.

Radio equipment here was my C.Crane CC Radio 2E Enhanced and its stock whip antenna.

Speaking of VHF DX, the photo above is I and another long-time VHF DXer, Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, at the ARRL Centennial Convention in Hartford last month. Besides chasing Es, Dave runs the show up at 225 Main Street in Newington. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014


WAAF According to the APRS propagation server, 2 meters was wide open last night, so I perused the FM broadcast band for awhile and caught one new one: WAAF on 107.3 MHz transmitting 9.6 kW from Westborough, Massachusetts, 80 mile to the northeast. WAAF’s signal was a puny S-1 on the CC Radio 2E and its stock whip antenna.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Two-Week Dry Spell Ends

VHF propagation has been excellent almost everyday this month so far, but I did not work any new stations for over two weeks until today.

At 1643Z, WKLV put in an S-2 signal on 96.7 MHz transmitting 3.1 kW from New Rochelle, NY, 65 miles to the southwest. K-Love is a Christian religious station.

At 1650Z, WNYZ had an S-3 signal on 87.7 MHz. I believe this is a pirate station transmitting in Russian (“Dura Radio”) from (maybe) Brooklyn, NY, 85 miles southwest. 

Both stations were the first loggings for their respective channels and were monitored on the stock radio of my 2007 Subaru Outback Sport.

By the way, I will be staffing the TAPR booth at the ARRL Centennial Convention in Hartford this Friday and Saturday, so stop by and say, "Hello!"

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!


My first encounter with Mad magazine was in my uncle's dorm at UCONN where I saw a copy of the fly swatter cover (number 57, September 1960) lying on his desk. Although I was only 9 years old, I recognized the brilliant satire behind that cover and soon I began spending my allowance (25¢ Cheap) on the output from the usual gang of idiots.

mad_57 I never missed an issue and expanded my madness to include everything that Mad had to offer... not just printed matter, but also Mad trash like their bust of Alfred E. Neuman.

I amassed quite a collection, but there was a gap... issues 1 to 61, that is, those issues published before I started buying the mag.

Issues 1 to 23 were the comic-book-formatted Mads and were very expensive. But publisher Russ Cochrane saved the day when he reprinted the comic books in oversized hard cover format – so who needed expensive old yellowed dog-eared comic books, when I could have Mr. Cochrane's beautiful pristine reprints?

That narrowed the gap in my collection to issues 24 to 61. The higher end of the gap was affordable and I picked up those issues from various sources for a few bucks apiece. But the low end of the gap was much less affordable and I resigned myself to living with a permanent gap just like Alfred E's dental work.

AEN_bust Nevertheless, I posted my want list in various places on the Internet and one day out of the blue, I received a response from a fellow who offered to sell me 21 issues in the low end of the gap for $30 plus postage. (The fellow's mother had collected the 21 and he wanted to give them a good home. I assured him I would give his Mom's Mads a good home and we completed the deal.)

Those 21 issues were numbers 24 to 44 in fine to very fine condition. Number 24 (the first magazine-formatted Mad) in very fine condition alone goes for over $750, so this was a very fine deal.

After that, I filled in the rest of the gap very quickly.