I have never enjoyed a walk with my wife as much as I did today’s… 🙂
Infested with Pokemon!
It appears that Pokemon Go is all the rage (just Google it if you are unfamiliar), and sure enough, our eight year-old, Augie, has decided to become a Pokemon trainer. Good news is to catch many of these elusive creatures, kids need to get out of the house. 🙂
So, out we went as a father/son team…scootered from home to The Pizza Shop…and then walked to the Strasburg Convenience Store. Now, without the game you cannot see just how infested our wonderful town is with these somewhat magical rodents. Augie caught four or five during our short trek downtown!
I also snapped this photo while heading back to The Pizza Shop from the corner before Valley Bank and Trust:
Just love the way forcing a flash worked…
Hope you all have had an awesome weekend!
#TentLife is Back!
Although Augie and I hoped to camp out each Friday through winter…circumstances when it first became really chilly (below low 30s) meant we didn’t (e.g. Augie got a bad cold if I remember correctly).
However, I am proud to announce that we did start it back up for 2016 last night!:
And, it appears we were enjoying it: 🙂
I think the low overnight was just 41…so we were toasty in our sleeping bags. I also believe it rained a tiny bit…but our Coleman Instant Tent kept us dry!
Finally, if you are interested…here are some highlights of my shortwave listening in the tent. It was a great night for shortwave radio…with some very far away and some first time finds (and a combination of both!)Continue Reading
How was everyone’s weekend? Just back from a church fall festival (in Centennial), mine was a bit of a blur…but I thought I’d report quickly on it…because…well…it is “life in Strasburg.” 🙂
Actually, this weekend kind of started on Tuesday when (to beat the rain) we cleared rocks in the back yard and built our new tent. Augie and I plan to camp out every Friday night until it gets too cold. We’ll know it is too cold the first time we go back inside. 🙂
Friday night dad was freezing, but Augie was toasty. Instead of stealing back my 0 degree sleeping bag from him, I’ve ordered a new one for this coming weekend. Even freezing, I got some interesting shortwave listening in:Continue Reading
Yesterday, a four day weekend started for Augie, so he and I slept in the tent two days in a row. Let’s just say last night was just enough colder where dad definitely was uncomfortable and woke up quite a bit. Nothin’ layers can’t handle during future excursions.
I hope. 🙂
As for Augie…plent toasty it appears. (Of course, he is using my colder weather sleeping bag with a second one his cousin Evan gave him.)
Pictured at the top of this post are the two radios I used to check out shortwave and AM last night. The one on the left is a Tecsun PL-380BT and the right is a Tecsun PL310ET. I spent most of the time with the former…but, just as was true the previous night with the beefier Tecsun PL-880…shortwave reception wasn’t near as good as last week. I also didn’t live tweet every find this time…just the highlights.
So, without further ado…Continue Reading
All the Way from New Zealand!
I don’t know how many more Fridays there will be before it is too cold, but Augie and I spent the night in the tent again (and I am not sure who looks forward to or enjoys it more :-)). Although it doesn’t fix it 100%, being away from all the electromagnetic interference in the house means both AM & shortwave listening are better, so I live tweeted what I found again (as I did last week). Reception last night was amazing. I think the best since I started the hobby back up a couple months ago.
Before I put the stream of tweets below, I wanted to share the most exciting part of the evening, tuning in Radio New Zealand International (transmitting from New Zealand). The clip plays a few selections…and at the end has proof it is Radio New Zealand (they do a station id). This morning they had replied back on Twitter (also below) and I actually picked them up again! (Albeit, on another frequency.)
I didn’t get enough sleep last night, but I am still jazzed from all the neat, and often very distant, stations I picked up! Here is what I heard:Continue Reading
Late Night DXing/SWLing
Last night’s backyard camping excursion with Augie gave me an opportunity to do some shortwave and long distance listening on my Kaito KA1103 hooked to a Sangean ANT-60 antenna. I live tweeted what I found:
Augie and I are safe in our tent for the night. You can watch the temp/wind here: http://t.co/dcVuQa1pVP pic.twitter.com/8fecwWlyWF
— Alan (@AlanCult) October 3, 2015
I’m going 2 live blog my shortwave listening here in the tent…first 2 stations I tuned in are Radio Habana and WTWW… pic.twitter.com/aLWnHJzpvY
— Alan (@AlanCult) October 3, 2015
Happy Friday! (Thanks Strasburg Convenience Store!)
Happy Friday everyone! I worked from home today…which means I started by dropping the munchkin off at school…worked a little…and then had lunch with the greatest company ever…
My beautiful wife Michelle!
I’m a big fan of the Strasburg Convenience Store‘s sandwiches (and it’s relatively close to where I live), so that’s where we buzzed over to…and guess what we saw?
Thanks to Gary, the store’s manager, for being willing to carry Strasburg Rocks! 15 oz. Mugs! (I should also mention that he is selling them at almost $3 less than they cost in our Zazzle store.) If they do well we may come up with some other merchandise to help us celebrate this great town we live in.Continue Reading
Seal Training Begins!
Augie learned to fire a rifle today thanks to the training and mentorship of our good friend Leo. Sadly, I messed up recording his first shot, but did get his second one…and his first use of a pistol. Another advantage to living in Strasburg…you don’t have to go to a firing range for target practice!
R.I.P. Mosquito and Happy Retirement Galaxy Gold
As promised, below is a video from yesterday’s Strasburg Rocks! Rocket Club rocket launches. Sadly, we had two casualties…
The Estes Galaxy Gold (first rocket fired off) popped its bottom off when the charge for the parachute exploded. With a little glue to make it whole, the Galaxy Gold will start retirement after a short career (this one flight). Also…and I didn’t get a video of it (operator error on my part)…but the Estes Mosquito was never found (it is what is pictured on the launchpad in this post). My friend Leo and I watched its flight very closely, but never saw it return to earth. I suppose it is more M.I.A. then R.I.P. 🙂
The Estes Mosquito is a classic rocket…basically a way to stick fins to an engine. 🙂 I’m sure we’ll buy another one.
It wasn’t all bad news (and the Galaxy Gold’s flight was kind of cool even with its permanent injury); the Estes Summit and the Galaxy Planet Probe both returned to earth unharmed. The Planet Probe is the last one in the video…it’s become one of my favorites. (It is meant to use an engine without a parachute charge, but I didn’t have any…so as it approaches the ground you’ll see the Estes C6-5 engine suddenly slow it down a tiny bit.) Without further ado, the video:Continue Reading
Tecsun Q3 Review
Since I wrote before about the tremendous Tecsun PL-880 shortwave radio, I figured I’d also do a quick review of my latest electronic toy purchase, the Tecsun Q3. This is an extremely small combo of a FM radio, computer speaker (with music controls), MP3 player, and audio recorder (from built-in mic, FM, or line in).
Instead of repeating it here, please take a look at my Amazon.com review of the Q3. Short version is that it is an amazing piece of technology and well worth the $36 I spent on it. Strasburg Rocks! gives it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and highly recommends it!
UPDATE August 8, 2016: A reader who had a Q3 with Chinese characters asked if I could scan the English manual so he could know what the buttons did. I searched on-line and couldn’t find one (kind of odd)…so I did…and figured I’d link to a copy of that scan here.
Strasburg on Two Wheels
Having lived much of my life in hilly areas, I really appreciate (especially as an aging bicyclist) how Strasburg is relatively level. If anything, there may as great a danger you’ll have to downshift from wind as it will be from an incline. 🙂
Five weeks and one day ago I fractured my left elbow at the end of a ride, so it feels great this week to climb back on the bike. It is true that there is less obvious things to take pictures of here than back in New Hampshire, but it definitely isn’t lacking of interesting subjects. You can tell I especially appreciate the cows. 🙂
Do you live in or around Strasburg and use a bicycle? Recommendations for places to ride to? Tips for us newbies to the area?
See you on the road!
Quest Aerospace Planet Probe
A reader of this blog (thank you!) told my wife she likes the rocket videos. Well, better late then never…here is the first Quest Aerospace model rocket I’ve purchased and built. The actual flight was two weeks ago (August 15, 2015). Successfully launched three times…and only one landed in the neighbor’s back yard. 🙂
Luckily, (a) they were home, (b) their dog didn’t eat it, and (c) they are friendly. 🙂
For your viewing pleasure, the Quest Aerospace Planet Probe:
Quest Aerospace Planet Probe image from Amazon.com.
Between Internet radio (we have redundant TDS and Bijou connectivity in our home) and SiriusXM satellite radio (which I also listen to mostly over the Internet)…I don’t really have a need for “normal” radio anymore.
But I miss it…along with a former hobby of mine, shortwave listening.
So, I decided to save up some money and get a new shortwave radio, settling on the Tecsun PL-880. I could not be happier. However, instead of repeating why here, please check out my short Amazon.com review.
If you have never listened to shortwave radio, give it a try. There are much cheaper options (e.g. down toward the $30 range)…so you don’t have to spend $150 on the Tescun PL-880 to start (although, it is so sturdily and beautifully built and performs so well, it’s worth that even if you only listen to AM and/or FM). Two great sites to check out as you consider this purchase (and associated hobby) are SWLing.com and RadioJayAllen.com.
Strasburg Rocks! recommends this device and gives it five bulls!
Happy 4th of July!
Yes, I know it’s a bit late in the day to say so…but we’ve been busy with friends…starting with breakfast in the morning, rocket launching late afternoon, and celebrating in the evening.
Interested in what the launches were like? Here you go:
And speaking of launching…Continue Reading