Friday, December 31, 2010

Now That's a Happy Little Kid!

I just love this photo of our grandson, Kristopher, who was here for Christmas. Have you ever seen a more genuine smile of happiness?

We had several families visit us on Christmas day, including the Duffy's from Riverside, the Daoust's from Carlsbad and the Cordray family from Murrieta. Our daughter Carrie Ann took this photo. Our son Matthew was also here.

Our son Bill Jr. and his family (Becca, Bailey, Bristol and Liam) celebrated Christmas a little closer to the North Pole from their home in Ketchikan, Alaska.

This year we had our gift opening early, and did something a little different for dinner... we had pizza! Not a traditional holiday dinner to be sure, but everyone seemed to like it, and there were some good left-overs!

On Christmas eve Robbin and I visited her mom, Florence, who couldn't make it to our party due to illness.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some great talent... enjoy!

Our granddaughter Kayla posted this on Facebook, and I thought it was really worth sharing with everyone else. Note the 5 string violin -- don't see many of these.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Kermadec Island, ZL8X, Contacted...

Recently I was able to contact the operators of ZL8X, a DX-pedition to the Kermadec Islands, on four different ham bands... including 80 meters.

The islands are located about 700 miles northeast of New Zealand. A group of ham radio operators from Germany spent several weeks on these uninhabited islands.

Above is a map showing the islands (Kermadec is at the very top right of map).

At left is their on-line log showing the bands I worked them on. The photo below shows just one of several operating positions and antennas the group set up.

This was a first-class (and very expensive) ham radio operation to a part of the world that seldom has any visitors, much less ham radio activity.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

World-wide Radio Contest...

This weekend I participated in the annual CQWW DX Contest. This is a 48 hour contest where hams from all over the world contact each other.

The chart at right shows the breakdown of my contacts by continent.

Africa is always the hardest continent to reach, but I still managed to have 7% of my contacts from that area, including The Gambia, Cape Verde, plus the Canary and Madeira Islands.

Altogether I had 135 contacts from around the world in 50 different countries. That is a very modest score, but then again, my station is also very modest!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Duffy's...

Kristen and Chris Duffy hosted our Thanksgiving Day dinner in Riverside this year, assisted by their children, Kayla and Kristopher. A 25 pound turkey with all the trimmings done to perfection. This was actually the second turkey Chris prepared as an earlier bird was donated by the Duffy's to a worthy cause.

Also enjoying the feast were Larry and Carrie Cordray and their daughter Haylie.

We had a nice surprise when our son Bill in Ketchikan, Alaska called to wish us all a happy holiday. His family just returned from 10 days in Seattle where he was in training.

The food was excellent... the "kids" did a great job... and Robbin and I enjoyed the day with all of them!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Made In... EGYPT ???

So, we were out shopping at the Dollar Store last night and I found this interesting item on the shelf... Temmy's Cereal.

Never heard of them? Neither have I. So, I took a look at the back of the box and, amazingly, this product is made in EGYPT!

How they can possibly make, ship, distribute and sell a box of cereal from Egypt for $1 defies logic.

No, I didn't buy any in case you were wondering!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Beach at Carlsbad...

Yesterday a big group of us showed up at Carrie & Kelly's house in Carlsbad to celebrate the 1st Birthday of their daughter Ava (I'm sure Carrie will post photos).

On the way home I took granddaughters Haylie and Kayla to the beach near Carlsbad Village. Got this near-sunset photo with the cellphone.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's A Boy !!!

On Wednesday, September 22nd, at 11:23 our new grandson, William (Liam) Colston Albrant, arrived!!!

Liam was 8 pounds and 6 ounces, and measured 21-1/2 inches. Here he is in his very first photo.

Parents Bill and Becca of Ketchikan, Alaska, are tired but doing just fine. Liam joins his two sisters, Bailey and Bristol, who are excited about the new arrival.

He is the fifth generation to carry the William Colston Albrant name, and our 10th grandchild.

Welcome to the family Liam!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Delightful Visit With Chloe & Ava...

As mom and dad (Carrie and Kelly) head off to Minnesota for 4 days, Grandma and Grandpa Albrant played host to Chloe (age 3) and Ava (age 10 months).

They were funny, and cute, and delightful... and we enjoyed having those little sprites around to make us feel young again!

In these photos, Ava shows off the flower in her hair while sitting on Grandmas lap, and Chloe gives Grandpa her funny grin during their lunch on the patio.

Ava learned a new trick -- coming down the stairs backwards. Meanwhile, Chloe went grocery shopping with Grandpa and she insisted on buying a clove of garlic because it smelled so good and she wanted to take it home!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

News Update...

What's your first impression of this image? Yellow arrows pointing left, or green arrows pointing right? There is no "correct" answer, but different people perceive this image differently at first. Thought this was interesting... ps: I see yellow arrows.

Here are some news "briefs" to entertain you all:

1. Robbin spent most of the weekend painting the family room and kitchen. As usual, it looks like professional did it!

2. While painting behind the refrigerator, we discovered an area where the ice maker hose was leaking. Some mold and wood rot. Letting it dry out and asking experts how to repair it.

3. This Saturday is the monthly Ham Radio Swapmeet in Chino Hills. I'll be there at 7am sharp, looking for good deals!

4. They posted some photos of my high school reunion on Facebook. Boy, those people can't be my classmates -- they're a bunch of senior citizens!

That's all for now. Hopefully we'll have pictures of something interesting next time!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"America's Got Talent", Amazing!

Pretty amazing 10-year-old girl singing opera...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Visitors From Everywhere!

As you can see on the above map, this Blog gets visitors from all over the world! 

I just added a site-meter a week or so ago to track the traffic. The little dots on the map represent recent visitors. People from Asia, Russia, Sweden, France, South America and many from the USA  have visited this site. 

Yes folks, it is indeed a "world wide web"!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wild Weather in Murrieta...

We had a pretty wild thunderstorm hit Murrieta yesterday... lots of thunder and lightening. Several homes in a nearby town were hit and caught fire. Thankfully I remembered to unhook the antenna coax from my radio! Took this short clip with my camera phone.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Everyone In The Pool!

Our daughter Carrie Renee was the host this weekend for a pool party at her home in Murrieta.

With wonderful weather, three kinds of pizza, plus gourmet sandwiches and other treats, it was a great day of fun and relaxation.

Our other Carrie (Carrie Ann) from Fallbrook drove up with her husband Kelly and daughters Chloe and Ava.

Carrie Renee's children (Haylie, Quinton and Colston) also enjoyed the day along with Bill and Robbin.

In the top photo Carrie Ann (left) and Carrie Renee play with Ava. In bottom photos, Kelly and Chloe do some splashing while Haylie (at right) and her friend get some serious suntan time.

You can click on this link to see more photos: SLIDESHOW

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Field Day 2010 - QRP Class

Last weekend was the annual "Field Day" event. Ham radio stations all over the country get on the air to test their emergency radio skills and equipment. Some are very elaborate operations, with major antenna systems, large generators and multiple stations -- all set up on Saturday just prior to the 24 hour event.

My Field Day participation was based on using a small radio with low output (QRP) and battery power. The HW-8 transceiver (the small green radio pictured above) puts out about 4 watts -- the same as a small night light! The battery is charged with a small solar panel.

During this years Field Day I operated between chores, shopping and sleeping, with about 8 hours of total operation. Even so, I made 82 contacts with stations as far away as Hawaii, Alaska, Texas, Ohio and Illinois.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rescued From The Junk Pile...

I just recently acquired this nice old radio for $25. It's a Knight Kit R-100. This was a "kit" radio made in 1957, according to the date inside the cabinet. The way it worked is you bought the radio as a box of parts and assembled it yourself. Everything was included, and the price was about $100.

This one looked pretty good cosmetically, but didn't work when I got it. After replacing the filter capacitor and some other parts, it now works like new... and it looks cool!

Spent several hours last night listening to CRI (China Radio International) and some other foreign broadcasts.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Day At The "Ranch"...


On Saturday we spent the day at the "ranch" of our oldest daughter, Carrie Ann, her husband Kelly and their daughters Chloe and Ava to celebrate Father's Day. After a great lunch of pizza we all headed out to their orchard to pick some delicious apricots and grapefruit (above).

At right, Carrie Ann and dad pose long enough to have their picture taken.

In the other photos, dad Robbin and Chloe mug it up for the camera while Kelly and Ava scout out some new picking areas.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kids All Over The Place!

This weekend we had two little visitors -- Chloe and Ava came for the weekend while their parents (Carrie and Kelly) were doing "demo" on their home in preparation for some new hardwood floors.

After playing and eating most of the day, we all went to Kahoot's in Murrieta to see the rabbits, snakes and all kinds of other critters.

Even with a big box of toys, it seems most toddlers prefer playing in the water, and a fly swatter makes it even more fun, as Chloe demonstrates!

Finally a nice dinner and then it was time to clean-up. Pictured here, Ava Renee helps grandma get the dishwasher loaded up!

We had a great time, although these little ones sure kept Grandpa and Grandma busy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

12 year old can teach us a lesson!

Our son Matthew ran across this excellent video, and put it on Facebook. It's a 12-year-old girl who delivers an inspiring message. Figured it was worth passing on... and maybe learn from...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Great Video... Great Music...

If you don't have this album, get it and enjoy the video and CD... Did I say "album"... yikes! That's certainly going to date me! It's actually a DVD/CD combo from a few years ago.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Upgrading to Windows 7... a journey!

Recently I decided that the "kids" computer, with Windows 7, would become my new home computer. It's an Acer, with gobs of hard drive space, more memory and features and is very fast. It took awhile, but we finally got it all to work. 

However, my various ham radio contesting and logging programs wouldn't work with Windows 7, so I had to get a new program. But that was actually a good thing as I now have logging, DX cluster, contest logging, and DXCC all on one screen (see photo). It's similar to the famous CT program, but works on Windows 7 and has many more features, plus the new computer is much faster than the old Dell with XP.

The new program is WinTest: 

Thanks to our son Matthew for helping me get this program and everything else working properly!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ham Radio From The Past...

This should bring a smile to anyone who played around with radios back in the "good old days"...

I received this today via email. It's a page from a 1960 issue of Electronics Illustrated showing a home-made, 4-tube transmitter/receiver project.

This is the "stuff" that we did as kids back in the mid-20th century and, amazingly, a simple set like this could communicate all over the world.

(Click on the photos for 
an enlarged view)

Pictured below is a 3-tube set that I made back in the mid-1960's. It had three tubes (6L6 transmitter, 6SN7 receiver and 5U4 power supply), and fit in the attache' case shown in the photo.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Home-made Transmitter... WOW!

What we have here is a beautiful example of a home-made transmitter. As you can see from the photos, the ham (unknown) who built this was a true craftsman. He even made the chassis and formed the mesh cabinet!

The transmitter uses one tube (a 6L6) and puts out about 10 watts on the 80 and 40 meter ham bands.

The workmanship is beautiful inside and out.

I can't imagine how many hours were spent creating this little gem, but I greatly admire the person who has this kind of skill and patience!
Click on photos
to see them enlarged.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

K6CU Featured in CQ Magazine!
The March issue of CQ magazine had a nice little write-up on my "vintage" station (top photo above). This was part of the "How It Works" column, written by Dave Ingram for the past 30 years.

The equipment shown in the photo is from the 50's (the receiver) and the 60's (transmitter). Both units work very well, and are in very nice condition. I had a schedule with Dave to have a contact using this set-up, but conditions were not good enough to work him on the east coast.

Sadly, this is the last column Dave (K4TWJ) wrote as he passed away on January 20. I had spoken with and emailed Dave several times over the years.

To read the text, click on the image for a larger view.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cincy In The Wintertime...
For the past 13 years I've traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio for the annual V-Twin motorcycle expo. Sometimes the weather is very nice, and sometimes not so much. Last week at the show the weather was bit on the cool side (highs of 18 degrees) with SNOW!

Pictured above is the view in front of Applebee's restaurant, where we had dinner on Friday night. This was the start of a snowstorm that dumped about 6 inches on us.

This is not the nice soft "throwing a snowball" kind of snow. It's icy, crusty and hard as a rock, which makes walking and driving a challenge. I'm glad to be home!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

On The Air With The GRC-109...

Today I finally got the old GRC-109 military "spy" radio on the air, and made two contacts right away! One of the contacts was with John (N4HBH) located on the east coast in Virginia who gave me a nice signal report. The other contact was with a station in Oregon.

The video above shows me calling CQ (calling for any station). Sorry there's no sound, but it shows the lights on the transmitter blinking as I send the call.

This was about the easiest set up I can remember. Just hook the transmitter to the power supply, hook up an antenna, and start transmitting. This radio is about 50 years old, and puts out about 25 watts of power. There is a matching receiver that I would like to add to this setup.

In the video you can see me using the little key that is built right on top of the transmitter.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blast from the past...

Our daughter Kristen was going through some old photos and found this one of Robbin and me.

Boy, those were the good old days! Just thought everyone would get a laugh seeing this old photo from 1980!

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Newest Toy...

Pictured above is my newest "toy". On the right is a 2-tube radio transmitter (GRC-109). This is a military "spy" transmitter, and was used extensively during the Vietnam war, especially during the early days when the special forces were in operation covertly.

The little transmitter is about 8-1/2" x 5-1/2", about the size of a VHS video tape. It runs about 10 watts output and covers from 3 to 22 megacycles, quite a range for such a small set. It only operates "cw", or morse code mode, and has a built in key!

Although low power, with a decent antenna this transmitter has good long-range capability, and many hams have worked around the globe using this set. There is also a matching receiver and power supply that I would like to find (see photo below).

On the left is a home made power supply that I hope to "mate" with the transmitter. I'll do an update once I've connected the two units and run some tests.

There is some interesting background on this radio set. Click on this link: SPY RADIO