Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Haz A Ladder!

Big Giant Home Improvement (& Indoor Hiking) delivered my new 25' extension ladder yesterday. Wahoo! (Paid $60 to get it drug here -- I so totally need a junker truck).

This means I can get to some previously-inaccessible places on the outside walls and get on the roof to clean the gutters a little more safely. It also meant I could finally move my ham antenna higher on the big hackberry tree in the back yard and out of the way of the swing the tree guy installed ropes for last year. Not sayin' I was eager to get that done (note the past tense) but I finished that up after sundown last night. (Not quite as brave as it sounds, since there are streetlight-type lights on the back of the house and at the pole outside the garage). Next step, varnishing and hanging the oak seat for the swing!

Antenna still works, too. Listened to Morse-code chatter on the hambands for about an hour on my "modern" solid-state rig (old enough it's considered "vintage"), then checked out one of the homebrew receivers I unpacked last week. I'll have to write that one up at Retrotechnologist: with only two tubes, it plays shortwave broadcasters and even hams at loudspeaker volume. Stability is a little touchy but it can even be made to demodulate SSB signals; that's a big test for a home-made regenerative receiver.

Pity political comment will resume later; I was having too much fun to fret!


ZerCool said...

For what it's worth, unless you're having something unmovable by human-power delivered, most of the chain home improvement stores have a rental truck available for about $20/75min. For those driving smaller cars who just need a way to get a few sheets of plywood and a stack of 2x4s home, or a large ladder, etc, they're a great thing.

Just make sure you've properly secured the load. (Don't ask.)

rickn8or said...

And be careful when your heels are off the ground. Remember: "Grabbity always wins."

Jim said...

There is something enticing about a woman who can find poetry in owning a new ladder. :)

perlhaqr said...

I envy your skill with radio. I've tried reading some stuff from ARRL and other sources, but I just cannot for the life of me understand how it all works.

Roberta X said...

Aw, heck, Perl-of-great-price, radio's not so hard. Einstein explained it best; you have to start with telegraphy, he said, which is like a very long cat: you pull its tail here and it meows over there. Radio works the same way, except there's no cat.

Seriously, radio came before electronics. If you follow electronics, radio's more of the same, with a funny transformer at one end that couples into the Universe -- or back out of it. It's not so much a how thing, really, more of a "how-to."

Roberta X said...

Rickn8or: I cheated. We've got nice mountain-climbing rope there for the swing (yet to be installed), so I climbed up about halfway and tied off, a nice snug bowline-on-a-bight. I wasn't going to have to ride the ladder down more than ten feet at any time. It's still bad but not as bad as twenty, down onto the concrete-block patio and/or the broken chiminea Tam plans to turn into a planter. Ow! It sure would have been embarrassing to have ended up swinging on the rope, hollering for help, but Tam was nearby and a stepladder would have been high enough to reach me.

LeeAnn said...

Last time I visited The Homestead, my dad had me climb out a window onto the garage roof to clean the gutters. As both my mom and I completely distrust gravity, we were less than enthused. So she tied a chain of bathrobe cords around my ankle, just in case.
I imagine this kept me from falling but did nothing for the squirrel poop on my jeans.

Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Roberta X,

What kind of antenna? And what's your favorite band? I like 40 meter CW.

I used to be a ham decades ago. Now I just listen. When I was in high school, I could copy code as fast as I could type. Now, 15 wpm is about all I can do. I still prefer CW to SSB.

Here's My Setup.

Dave (Underground Carpenter)

Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Roberta X,

What kind of antenna? Since you mentioned in another post your lead-in was ladder line, I'm guessing a dipole. Or if your land holdings are extensive, perhaps a 600' rhombic.

What's your favorite band? Mine is 40 meter CW. I was a ham in my younger days, but these days I just listen. Here's my setup.

This is a re-comment. Blogger ate the first one.

WV: "meter"


Roberta X said...

I'm usually on 40; when I get my code speed back up, I'll spend time on 20, too. I work most of HF, though only 30m of the new bands.

My land holdings are miniscule; a G5RV extends from an extension on a wooden fence post in the back yard, up over the house and out to a tree in the front yard. Fits, barely.