The DX Cycle

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog entry. My enthusiasm hasn’t diminished for the radio hobby; there’s just a lot going on here that demands my time. I’m still working DX but it’s almost exclusively on the 30 meter band now. I like this band; not only for DX contacts, but also casual QSO’s with local stations.

When I began this hobby, I thought 40 meters was the band of choice, and there’s still hundreds of stations here, but I find the deliberate interference and utter disrespect of operators here a bit too frustrating to deal with now. Time after time, day after day, and week after week, in the middle of a QSO, I hear the sound of a digital operator, or an experimenter, with no respect, or the courtesy of sending  QRL,  interrupting and ruining a nice conversation on the 7040 frequency.  I shudder when I think of the thousands of “rock bound” operators who now find this frequency utterly useless.

From the e-mail of a recent QRP contact: “It seems 7040 MHz is the International Tune up Frequency”.

I’m not working DX every day now. The bands just aren’t there, whether it’s due to changing seasonal conditions, the damaged gold on the capitol dome up the street, (that’s a joke) or severe weather conditions, I’m not sure. The weather certainly has gone bonkers.

On my health issue; my back pain has eased up greatly, and I can walk short distances, and even ride the bike around town now; but I get muscle cramps easily in my right leg. I’ve seen a physical therapist who has given me exercises to strengthen my “core muscles” around the spinal column. I also had an “electrical test” on the sciatic nerve running down my leg. It’s functioning around 50% of normal. Whether this will improve, or not, remains to be seen. I’m an optimist; so am “doubling up” on the exercises with the hopes of riding longer distances on the bike. I can live without the thoughts of hiking the Appalachian Trail anymore.  Hihi

I have another big decision facing me. I will be eligible for Medicare very soon now and need to decide whether to participate in the plan, or not. I received a 140 page booklet a few days ago, and can’t find “one sentence” about the cost of “deductibles” and “co-pays” that are charged by hospitals and doctors.

If you’ve read this blog for very long; you probably realize that I’m a Veteran of both the Navy and the Air Force. Speaking from experience from both the private, and military health services, I can say without a doubt, the military is the way to go.

I’m VERY happy with the Veterans services. It’s better managed and much more efficient than “civilian” medical care. I’ve said, more than once, that civilian medical care in the this country is a disgrace. IMHO—that’s still true, and will continue to be, until the new “affordable health care plan” is implemented.

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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