…last year December. A real fixer-upper: 35 years old and not maintained at all. But the price was right and it had a large size plot of land that came with it. Buy land, get old house for free. It is large plot for Taiwanese standards. In the States and Europe you would probably laugh at the size: 180 square meters. Most houses are here are built on a third of that. I will not complain, though, because having a garden, even though a very modest one, is a dream come true. We are already eating organic veggies from our own plot and those are yummy.
There was a lot of work to be done on the house. We put on a sheet metal roof against leaking, changed the layout inside to get the most efficient use of all the space and we added a utility room. All the water and electricity had to be refitted, too, so it was quite an undertaking. Unfortunately the end result was not what we had hoped for. I won’t say much about it, because the Internet never forgets, but these words from the main contractor sum it up quite nicely: “It’s not my house, so I don’t really care.” They took our money, ran and left us with sub-par work. Not one wall was ready for painting when we moved in last July. There was electricity and water, but most power outlets and faucets were fitted so poorly that I had to have a shout out with the sub-contractor before it was done a bit properly. Getting them to put in a good ground system was another big struggle. I need at least a year to finish the walls, ceilings, doors and the roof, fit all the lights, curtains, hang the paintings and get my shack in order.
Of course, not all Taiwanese are selfish rip-off artists and we did meet some really nice and honest people, too. The man who did all our metal work was made of pure gold (pun intended). Because of good connections we got a bargain on the solar water heater (one day of sun, three days of hot water) and the store where we get our paint gives us a steep discount, especially when we buy paint from Akzo-Nobel (a Dutch buying Dutch deserves a good deal).
So I have been very busy with plastering and sanding walls and ceilings and I’m getting pretty good at it. Work on my new shack is starting soon now that the living room is nearly done. But so many months without a radio fix was too much to bear and early September I quickly put up a 2×5 meter dipole. Unfortunately I was met with this…..
It seems things never go smoothly for me. Other people throw a wire into a tree and start enjoying the bands, I put up a decent dipole and get a bucket load of QRM. As you can see the noise blanker can filter out some of the noise, but not all. 7 MHz and below are fine, though, and oddly enough 17 meters also doesn’t suffer that much, either. But 20, 15 meters up to 6 meters are almost useless. An X-Phase noise eliminator might bring some relief here, but right now I don’t have time to build one.
My wife would say that this is the year of the sheep and as we are both born in the year of the sheep this is not our lucky year. She slid of her scooter two months ago and hurt her knee pretty badly, so she might be on to something. So….radio back in the box till next year? Or maybe time to reconsider what I am going to do with this hobby of ours. For DXing the top bands I need to build new antennas, VHF/UHF/SHF in Taiwan is all but dead, APRS is not that exciting either. So what is left? Satellites maybe?