I’ve Had Better Days

So, today wasn’t exactly one of my best days.  I didn’t listen to instinct.  I was taking back roads to the match today and there were thunderstorms last night.  Yeah, wet clay isn’t fun to drive on.  Doubly so when it is like driving on ice and that’s pretty much exactly what happened.  All I will say is the truck is fine, a bit muddy on one side, and need of a visit to Les Schwab’s for an alignment and suspension check.

Now, I have had many people tell me that Ham Radio is pointless.  Just pick up and use your cell phone.  I was merely 12 miles outside of Moscow Idaho, an urban center.  Yeah, guess what didn’t work worth a damn and what got a tow truck sent in my direction with a winch.

If you said cell phone, you lost, it was my Ham Radio.  Cell had 0 signal.  Tow truck showed up about 45 minutes later and I showed up to the match 50 minutes after it started.  Luckily I was still able to shoot, not only that but first stage I shot everyone’s comment was I need to do something like that before I shoot.

What do you mean I hear you ask?  Well I shot the first stage in 5.11 and aced it with the exception of a single charlie. Compare that to our local Masterclass shooter who did it in 5.85 and was mainly in the charlie bracket.  I was quite pleased with myself.

I did OK on the classifier, which was a fixed time stage with a mandatory reload.  I was quite pleased with myself that I only wasn’t able to make one shot during the reload string.  There was another stage that was actually a blast.  It was a bunch of running and gunning.  You started with your mags and gun down range on two different barrels with the gun unloaded.  Adam (the Masterclass) shooter did a move to load the magazine in the gun straight out of Zombie Land.  I will post the video later.

It was a fun day for the match.  Overall I really am pissed for not listening to my instinct with regards to navigation.  Thankfully at most it’s going to cost me an alignment.  I’m taking the rest of the night off, I’m kind of feeling really stupid right now for that dumb mistake.

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10 Responses to I’ve Had Better Days

  1. Bill says:

    If it was JUST an alignment, I would be more than happy! I can’t even begin to chronicle some of the things I tried, or some of the cross country experiments that went wrong back when I was much newer to the world, (and a lot closer to your age than mine!) Thanks for the memories!
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Learning always comes with a price.
    As for the Ham stuff, I’ve noticed that leaving Moscow leaves cell phone coverage mostly behind.
    I really need to pick your brain and experience with the best setups and the best way to get going in the hobby!
    Bill

    • Getting the Tech License is cake. Even the General isn’t too difficult, they just cranked up the difficulty on the Extra though. Overall that’s not really a problem it just gives you some extra space to play in within the bands.

      Biggest thing is for a first radio, get a mobile before an hand-held. Power and capabilities make a huge difference and you’ll find that for the most part, you’ll use it while you’re in your vehicle more than outside of it.

      Janelle and I have H/Ts but be don’t use them nearly as much as my actual mobile unit. For most instance though where you’re calling for help, your tech license will be more than enough because you’ll probably be on VHF and hitting a repeater in the area. If you’re going deep into BFE, your general ticket is important so you can hop onto the HF. This can allow you to get both across the country or locally though some neat atmospheric bouncing (You can actually get out of a valley and into the surrounding area even).

      There are set calling frequencies that hams monitor specifically for distress as well.

      Upshot of living in Eastern Washington is there’s a pretty sizable repeater network that covers just about all of Eastern WA and Northern Idaho. There’s an inter tie into Western WA. If you are within range, (I can hit the Kamiak Butte repeater from Boomershoot on 1 watt off my HT with a dinky antenna), odds are someone’s listening.

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  3. Grendel says:

    You haven’t lived on the Palouse until you’ve stuck yourself good on a side road.

    • Yeah, I’m glad it was stuck instead of injured or killed. There was a nice drop off on the left side of the road that would not have worked well for the wife, myself, or the truck.

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  5. Bill says:

    So the mobile it is! I understand it can also be setup as a full power repeater, is that correct? If so, specific recommendations would be appreciated, along with handhelds which are complimentary.
    I’m working my way through the tech license, and then I’ll run the General.
    Thanks again! Good to read that the truck survived well, but I’m a little confused that the steering wheel was knocked off kilter without damage.
    As soon as I read about the clay, I knew what the vibration was.

    • Some mobiles work as a cross-band repeater. If you’re wanting to get stuff that pairs up well. The FTM-350AR with the GPS attachment, combined with the VX-8G works well. The 350 can operate as a cross band repeater, including linking into a repeater system. Ask permission before you do something like that but it can be used in a pinch to make a repeater system gain a much larger coverage area.

      The 350 also has a built in TNC for data communications including APRS. The VX-8G also has a built in TNC for APRS as well as built in GPS. You can probably already tell where this is headed, the 350 can relay APRS info to any other APRS capable radio. IE you can know the location of anyone with APRS capability that can see your main radio. This is very handy for search and rescue type work.

      The caveat is that while running APRS you cannot run cross band repeat. The most useful function though is cross band repeat capability and you can easily get the standard VX-8, or VX7r(what I have) which have dual receive and transmit capability.

      Full blown single band repeaters are not simple just because you need some serious cans for tuning for the antenna. You can get by without the cans by having two antennas and using PL tones and making sure the antennas are spaced far enough apart, however that isn’t easily done on a vehicle.

      How impressed am I with the 350? It is my next planned purchase, eventually I would like two so I have one in each rig but that’s expensive.

      *And as you can tell by the above, I’m a Yaseu guy, Icom also makes good equipment, so does Kenwood. I used a Kenwood TM-V71 during the races and that was an awesome radio. I just tend to lean towards Yaseu for some reason.

    • As for the steering wheel, I’m not sure exactly how it shifted it’s center but my suspicion is that there is a limiter in the feedback of the power steering. When I hit the ditch and the wheels rapidly changed direction the steering wheel didn’t jerk as much as I would have expected it to. I think it might be a safety feature they’ve put in the power steering system for idiots that wrap their thumbs around the wheel or cross their hand inside.

      I’m swinging by the dealership tonight on my way home to see if they have any idea. I need to pick up an replacement rock protector for the drivers side rear quarter anyway.

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