Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Excuses, excuses

Once again, I have allowed life to get in the way of my blogging! Hey, I'm a very busy man! But it is all good stuff. There are a few technical-change issues lurking out there that I'd like to tackle and get feedback from you guys, and I'll try to do so as soon as I can. One especially got me going last night. I only half-heard a news report on NBC NIGHTLY NEWS that only about 50% of TV households are set for the changeover to digital TV in February '09. Half? Give me a break! With cable and satellite penetration, I find this very difficult to believe. And with the government giving people coupons (backed by taxpayer money) to go out and buy converter boxes, too.

Not necessarily in order of importance, here are some of the things that I've been up to:

  • Had a great trip (through the dousing remnants of Hurricane Gustav) to the U.S. Submarine Vets' annual convention in Ft. Worth, Texas, September 3-6. I had the pleasure of talking with a bunch of sub vets, but missed the ham radio breakfast on Thursday morning. Reaction to THE ICE DIARIES was wonderful. Thanks to all who bought and allowed me to sign their books.

  • Spent most of the Labor Day weekend (when I wasn't grilling ribs for the family) working on a homebrew hexbeam antenna. The thing went together nicely and I am anxious to get the tower planted and get it up about 35 to 40 feet. The commercially-offered base plate from W4RDM and the pre-cut fiberglass spreaders from Max-Gain Systems make this a one-weekend project for most folks...which means three weekends for me...but I think it will be a very effective, limited-size, light radiator. Visit Leo Shoemaker K4KIO's web site for specs and detailed instructions on cobbling one of these "upside-down umbrellas" together.

  • Promoting THE ICE DIARIES. Check out my newly-redesigned web site and listen to some of the interviews that I've put up there. We've also been negotiating for a movie deal on an unpublished follow-up novel to FINAL BEARING that George Wallace and I wrote. I'm probably jinxing it by writing about it here, but everyone has agreed to the terms and we are waiting for paperwork to be signed.
  • Getting QSL cards out to the 500 or so who have responded from contacts with N9N in Groton, CT August 2 and 3. QSLFactory did a fantastic job on the N9N card and I think you who are getting them will like them very much. Granted the dollar-to-pound exchange rate (QSLFactory is in Great Britain) was painful, but Dave did a wonderful job with some design tweaks and got the cards to me last week. Now, the wife and I are doing as many as we can each night before we collapse. The first batch went out yesterday.

  • Oh, and our daughter just got engaged, with a June 2009 wedding planned.

  • And there's the day job with Education Corporation of America. We are expanding like crazy, it is a rollercoaster ride for sure, but lots of fun, too.

But I'll try to keep this blog up to date. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and reply. We have had quite a few new commenters and I think everyone who drops by appreciates your outlook.

73, (as we hams say..."best regards!")

Don N4KC

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