Thursday, October 18, 2012

JIDX 2011 Contest...

Today I received a nice certificate from the Japan International DX Contest group for my 2011 participation in their annual contest.

I was #1 in California, and #4 in North America in the All Band Low Power classification.

Back in the 1990's I won #1 North America for several consecutive years. But that was with a great antenna and high power (1500 watts). In those  contests I received a very nice brass and wood plaque. Now I compete with an antenna in a poor location and only 100 watts.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We Are Not Allies...

"We Are Not Allies, We Are Still The Infidels"  
By Major General Jerry Curry, USA, Ret. Published:
The great British poet Rudyard Kipling, understanding todays situation in Afghanistan better than our State Department wrote, "I have eaten your bread and salt. I have drunk your water and wine. The deaths ye died I have watched beside. And the lives ye led were mine."
There are two points the President and the Secretaries of State and Defense may want to keep in mind as they evaluate future problems in the Middle East and How to successfully address them. Both are easiest illustrated by real life happenings.
Many years ago I attended the Infantry officer Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. Probably ten percent of the students attending that ten month course of instruction were from foreign countries. For about half of the course my table mate was an Arab. We studied together, completed homework assignments together, got to know each other's families and generally enjoyed each other's company.
Part of that time we students were immersed in reading about, researching and discussing wars and problems of the Middle East. By this time my Arab Classmate and I had, I thought, become close friends. A question popped into my mind and without evaluating it I said, I have a question to ask you, but you may find it a little impertinent . or, perhaps, offensive.
That's quite alright, he replied. We know each other well enough to be honest with each other. So go ahead and ask your question.
Well, I began. Each time you Arabs start a war with Israel, they beat your socks off. Why don't you learn your lesson and quit making war on them?
The words hadn't passed my lips before I knew that I shouldn't have asked that particular question. But I was wrong. My Arab officer friend didn't get
angry. He didn't even think before replying.
My dear friend, he said in his British accent, You are absolutely right. Each time we attack the Israelis they whip our asses. But have you noticed that with each loss we get better. We get whipped not as badly as in the war before.
Then he got a faraway look in his eyes, pounded on the table and said, Sometime in the next thousand years . we will win!
Up until then I had never thought in terms of a thousand years, and I don'tthink I'm very good at it today. But for those formulating foreign and defense policy for the nation, it is worth making the effort. For it is difficult to think in terms of the immediate future while negotiating with a nation whose leaders are thinking in terms of hundreds or thousands of years.
Point two: during the first Gulf War U.S. and Arab forces fought side by side and some of the officers became close friends. When the war ended in victory there was a celebration in the officers' club with everyone congratulating each other. A lot of handshaking and hugging was going on. It was a time of displaying real brotherly love. Seeing this, one of the senior Arab generals felt the need to set the record straight. Look, he said to a small cluster of American generals. We have fought together and some of us have died together. I know you feel that makes us brothers. But that is not the way it is in my world.
He looked around the circle making eye contact with all of them. I don't want to see you hurt so I need to share this with you. There will be no tomorrow for us jointly. No matter how much you have helped my country and you came and helped us when we desperately needed your help and no matter how friendly you feel toward us, we are still Muslims and you are still Christians. That means that in our eyes, we can never be brothers.  I'm sorry but to us, you will always be Infidels!
And so we Infidels have liberated Iraq and Afghanistan, but we have not made their countries nor their people depositories of freedom and liberty.  No matter how hard we work to rebuild their governments, infrastructure, educational and medical institutions, and no matter how desperately they need our help as The Arab general pointedly noted we can never be brothers to each other.
Also, I learned what Kipling meant when he wrote, "East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." He was pointing out to the western world that to Muslims, we Christians will always be infidels!

Monday, July 9, 2012

WC Albrant I, Biography...

We are working on the biography of William C. Albrant I, who was a well-known architect in the Fargo, ND area in the early 1900's. This is a work in progress, and additional information will be added as it becomes available. 


William Colston Albrant
Born: June 24, 1871
Died: August 3, 1905

            Father: Azasiah Albrant. Born: 1834. Origin: German. Occupation: Farmer.
            Mother: Susanna Albrant. Born 1843. Origin: Scottish

            Anne E; born 1861
            James; born 1863 (twin)
            Mary; born 1863 (twin)
            Kattie; born 1865
            Charles E; born 1869
            Robert D; born 1875
            Richard J; born 1876
            Jessie A; born 1879

ALBRANT, William C. (1871-1905), an architect of Fargo, North Dakota, was born in Winchester, Ontario on 24 June 1871 and moved west after 1895 to briefly engage in farming activity before registering at North Dakota State University in the Division of Mechanical Arts (a forerunner of the School of Architecture at that institution). He opened his own office in Fargo, North Dakota in 1900, and obtained his first important commission in Canada in 1904 for the City Hall, MOOSE JAW, SASK. (Moose Jaw Times, 5 Jan. 1905). This imposing but somewhat eclectic work, with its domed tower, remained a distinctive civic landmark in that city for nearly a decade until the completion of the Post Office in 1913. Albrant also designed N.J. Porter's Photographic Studio, MOOSE JAW, SASK., (1905; altered), and was responsible for several major designs in Fargo including First Baptist Church (1904), the Normal School at Maryville State College (1904), and the Carnegie Library buildings at Fargo, Valley City and at Grandin, North Dakota. He died suddenly on 3 August 1905 at Fargo, N.D. (obituary in Fargo Forum, 3 & 4 Aug. l905; inf. from Ronald L.M. Ramsay, Fargo, N.D.).

            Additional Links:

Carnegie Library (now known as Putnam Hall):

            Northern School Supply (NDSU downtown campus):

Three buildings designed by him are currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

Mayville Public Library (see page 4 of document):

            Union Block (see page 3 of document):

            Laura Building (see page 3 of document):

In 1890, William C. and his mother, Susanna, immigrated to the USA, followed in 1893 by his brother, Richard J. Albrant.

In 1904 he married Francis Ellen Gillespie. She was born in 1874 in Ireland and immigrated to this country in 1887 with her parents, Huburt (born 1838) and Fannie E. Gillespie (born 1838). Huburt and Fannie, both born in Ireland, had 10 children -- only 4 were still living in 1900.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

I am lucky enough to have some pretty creative folks in my family. Above is a collage of some of the cards/gifts I received this year for Father's Day.

At the top, daughter Carrie Renee gave me a card with a beautiful message, and topped it off with a box of Ritz crackers and spray-on cheese spread. That gal knows the way to my heart!

Below left, son Matthew created a card using a photo from years ago showing him and me at the radio desk in Brea, CA. The message "Happy Fathers Day" was spelled out in morse code. Matt made my day with a nice "thank you" note for being a good dad. Neat!

The card at lower right is from our granddaughter Kayla, age 18. I love her stick figures with the "you" and "me" labels! She wrote a lovely message inside.

I'll keep these cards forever!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quinton Graduates!

Our grandson Quinton Hancock graduated from Creekside High School here in Murrieta recently.

Picture at left shows him walking down the aisle towards the stage. A dashing figure, don't you think?

His family, plus Robbin and I, attended the ceremonies which included a great slide show of the school and students activities, with several shots of our man Quinton.

Quinton has plans to join the military now that his high school days are over.

The photo below is a shot of the Daily Californian newspaper with Quinton the featured character, of course!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

William Colston Albrant, Architect - Fargo, ND

I thought it was about time to offer a little tribute to the original William Colston Albrant. He died at age 35, just two months before his only child, William C. Albrant II, was born.

He was a well-known architect in and around Fargo, ND, and designed some major buildings, including Minard Hall, North Dakota State University, the Robb Lawrence Building, Union Block, Putnam Hall, Mayville Public Library, several churches and schools, and numerous other buildings, many of which are still standing today!

Here's a link to some photos and documents that might be of interest:!cpZZ1QQtppZZ20

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Found my antenna!

This week we cut down ALL the bushes along the north side fence. Not only does this make things look a little different, but now my HF6-V vertical antenna is more exposed and not surrounded by Honeysuckle plants.

In the picture at right, you can just see the vertical antenna between the two palm trees.

It didn't happen without problems. After doing some work on the coax, and adding two more radials, the antenna just didn't work right. I made several adjustments with no success.

Finally I found the "ground" connection from the coax to the antenna had broken, effectively turning my vertical into a piece of tubing at the end of a wire. A quick fix with the soldering iron and it works as good as new!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Santa Rosa Plateau...

Today Robbin and I finally visited the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve. It's only 4 miles from our home, but in the 12 years we've lived here we haven't visited :)

It's over 9,000 acres. In late spring (after we get some solid rain) several large "vernal" pools form. A unique shrimp, found only in this area, hatches during this time. Perhaps we'll go back and watch the action!

The trails are well maintained, and there are many of them, so seasoned hikers can spend all day (from sunup to sundown) and still not see it all. After Santa Rosa we took the back roads to Temecula, then south to Fallbrook for lunch and shopping. With weather in the 80's, it was a beautiful day indeed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DXCC Honor Roll Sticker

It may not look like much, but this little sticker is valuable -- at least to ham radio operators. Today I received the much coveted DXCC Honor Roll sticker, confirming that I've worked 331 entities (countries). They offer a nice bronze plaque, but it has a $60 price tag, and guess I'm too cheap to buy it!

There are several hundred hams (out of over a million) who have reached Honor Roll status. Many of them have large antenna systems, and amplifiers, and make Honor Roll in a matter of a decade or so.

My station is only 100 watts with a small vertical antenna so the effort took a little longer -- 50 years to be exact. In reality, I only started "chasing" the DXCC award when I got back on the air in 1985.

Monday, March 5, 2012

DXCC Honor Roll... Finally!

Just received an email from the ARRL DXCC desk, confirming that I've finally made the DXCC Honor Roll, with 331 current entities (countries) confirmed!

This is a life-long effort in my ham radio career that started over 50 years ago! So, if you don't mind, I'm going to give myself a big pat on the back!

The chart above shows Total 339 and Current 331 (some countries/entities have been deleted over the years). The screen capture shows the email from ARRL confirming my award.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The New Look...

Using the miracle of PhotoShop, the K6CU Blog page has been updated. It also makes the page load much faster than the old design.

Let me know what you think... good? bad?

By the way, this is the same photo that ran in QST magazine, February 2012 issue.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DX Contest A Success!

Last weekend I participated in the ARRL DX Contest. This is a contest where stations in the USA try to work as many foreign stations as possible. I enter this annual contest almost every year as a casual operator, and not as a competitive station. My only goal is to try and improve on my previous scores.

The 2012 contest score was the best ever, with 362 contacts and 186,792 points. That's almost double my score last year of 95,066 points!

Some of the more interesting countries I contacted include Madeira Island, Ascension Island, Senegal, Antarctica, Surinam, Aland Island, Svalbard, Palau, plus numerous countries in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

The contest lasts 48 hours, but I only actually operated for about 20 hours.

All the logging is done with a computer program called WinTest, which saves a whole lot of time, plus it prevents working "duplicate" contacts, which can lower your score.

Friday, January 27, 2012

VP6T on Pitcairn Island...

Another great DXpedition is currently in operation -- this one from Pitcairn Island in the south Pacific, and home to "Mutiny on the Bounty" fame.

So far I've worked them on 4 bands. I'll probably end up getting them on 20, 30, 40 and 80 meters as well as the lower bands are usually easier to work that area from this location.

Below is a map showing the location of Pitcairn Island, and a chart showing the contacts I've made. The photo (above) shows the island. Very interesting place, but somewhat difficult get to.

Friday, January 13, 2012

K6CU In QST Magazine

The new issue of QST magazine (the largest magazine for this hobby) has a nice little article that includes my station, and a brief quote from me. Guess I'm almost famous?

To see the image enlarged, click on it. Then right click on the photo and select "View Photo" and then click on the + sign.