Spring struggle

Pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, caring for vegetables and so forth. I am kept busy.

Germinated pea plants got out of the vinyl tunnel and are supported with poles.

The zelkova tree. It has been pruned but is still growing. It was like early summer today.

The rice paddy next to our home in the northern direction has been watered. My signal might be a bit louder for the coming couple of months thanks to this pond.

A plant of broccoli has bloomed. It was not intended.

There have been a lot of honey bees working at these flowers. And I could not cut and plow the land yet. So far, it is the turn for the bees. Where are they coming from?

So far, struggle in the garden will go on.


Encounter and farewell

Around midnight today, 20m has opened to entire Europe all of sudden. Some signals were over S9 here. I have been called by Europeans in a row. Among them, there was a G with barefoot with wire antenna. It meant the band was in the best shape.

While I was working a SM3 station, his call reminded me of a guy, Peter, SM3KHN. I have met him on 40m CW in 1983, when he was aboard on a ship as a sailor. He was running 3w or so as SM3KHN/MM. On the way from Singapore to Japan, we have been able to contact regularly. We met at Akihabara, a downtown famous for many electrical item/radio shops those days at least. He was a young fellow. Maybe, in mid 20s of age. I could hardly recall what we had talked etc. We might have had coffee together there.

I have never heard him ever since and have been curious to know how he was getting along. He must be in his mid 50s for now. I only hope he has lived a meaningful life and has been blessed with fine family. If anyone should know of him, please let me know that.

Besides him, I have ever met many hams from overseas as well as Japan here or in Tokyo. Maybe more than 20. Some have gone silent key like Ray WA6IVM and his wife etc. Of course, I am keeping in touch with such as Tommy exWJ6O  W6IJ, Larry exNF6S W4UAT, Mike ZL1BVB, Oh HL4SF, Dick K4XU, Al W1FJ, John 9V1VV, Lee HL2DC and so forth. There are several hams whom I could not get in touch with. Such as Dan N9PI, Ralph W4NIX, Steve AA6IO, Dick K3DI and his wife, Denny WG6P and his wife, Joe AJ2Y and so forth. Sometimes, I could not help remembering of those and wonder how they have been doing.

Wherever we may have encounter to somebody, we always have farewell to the other. That is, we never meet without a parting. But I would keep such encounter as treasure in life.    


A young friend of mine

A young friend of mine has came here to do adjusting the direction of my beam. He is Tomo JP1DJV. A gale has turned it by 135 degrees from the normal direction the other day. I might be able to read the direction from the indicator of the rotator. But I was worrying that it could be turned more by another storm, so that the coaxial cable would be worn out close to the feeding point. By my request to him, he has arranged a few hours in his day off and has come here. Thanks to his quick work, it was returned to the direction as the indicator pointed at. He also checked the bolt/nuts or the other parts of the tower. Finding some corroded bolts or the other parts, he kindly proposed me to exchange them. I have been using this tower for almost 30 years. I thankfully asked him to do so.

Now this old beam will go on working for some time. Tomo used to set a half sloper for 80m for me almost 20 years ago. It is still working fine.  

He is a pretty young guy in his forties. We first knew each other in mid '80s when we were in a DX net on UHF. It was really a fun to chat and exchange information of DX with the gang in real time. Most of them won't be heard on the air. A few were gone SK. Tomo has been pretty active on the radio. Unfortunately, his main activity is on SSB. He has been enthusiastic for antenna production. You may reach his web site where you could see photos of a number of home brew antennas he constructed in the past. He is using 7 element mono Yagi for 20m at present.

He told me it had been difficult for him to find anyone for ragchewing nowadays. Even on SSB. He wonders if he should change the operation style with a smaller antenna now. It seems he spends very busy day at his works. I could not be more thankful to him for his help this time. Tomo just after having finished antenna work at my home. A nice young fellow.  


Azalea, strawberry and apple tree

Azalea along the entrance has started to bloom. The plum tree ahead looks fresh with new leaves. It is the time for me to struggle with weeds now.

Strawberry has flowers. It is as if spontaneously grown. In fact, not much care has given. It still bears many fruits in May every year.

We have planted a couple of apple tress last fall. They stayed being dormant. But, several days ago, they have born new leaves. They are still alive.  

It is a joy for me to work in the garden, even though I sometimes suffer from lumbago after sitting in squat position for some time. Stretch and breathe deeply. It is the time every lives are getting vivid and fresh.


A reason why Elecraft has made success in ham radio market

Last night, I was called by Wayne N6KR on 40m CW. He was not loud. Running only 3w into a Hustler mobile whip. It was when he was testing the new equipment KX3 that we had our last QSO. He is a co founder of Elecraft. He always enjoy operating CW with his product or hand made equipment.

I have never tried any Elecraft equipments yet. Generally, their products, especially K3, sound great on CW. The keying shape is always perfect. It is thanks to the engineers like Wayne who have developed them while testing them by themselves. They must have made feed back to their design of products after testing the prototypes by themselves on the air. There must be a big difference if any active ham is involved in design and development of equipment products or not. Elecraft has made a big success in the market. This must be a reason for their success in business.

As I told above, I haven't used any Elecraft gears yet. But I am still concerned about how they will progress with their business in the ham radio market.  

A cluster of earth quakes in Kumamoto/Oita

A number of big earthquakes have been hitting Kumamoto and Oita, the middle part of Kyushyu, for the past 2 days. So far, 37 people were killed while more than 1,000 were injured. They say 70,000 have been evacuated. This event has reminded me of my experience with the big earthquake 5 years ago when we had to spend a few days without any life line. I know they are in much tougher situation. Imagining what anxiety and pain they have right now, from the bottom of my heart, I hope it would be calmed down soon.

Kumamoto is isolated in a sense since logistics transportation is blocked due to the damages on roads, railways, airports and so forth. The long lasting hit seems also to annoy the people there. It may take them pretty long time to recover from this disaster. But I believe they will do.

The seismologists say those earthquakes have occured on two different active faults there. Since 3 tectonic plates are colliding with each other in our country, there are so many active faults, which have caused big earthquakes at certain interval. The active faults already found are counted up to 2,000. There should be even more not found yet. The earthquakes occurring at present seem to be along the Median Tectonic Line, which traverses the Eastern Japan from south west to north east. The great Hanshin earthquake in Kobe and adjascent areas in 1995 may be regarded also along this tectonic line and should be regarded as a series of crustal movements. It is just my impression. Anyway, we should be aware our country or even earth itself is in the era of crustal activity now.

Eathquake is a hard experience but hits only once. But it is not the case with nuclear power plant accidents. We have learned that from the tragedy in Fukushima 5 years ago. It is still going on now. Along the Median Tectonic Line, east of the area hit by the present earthquakes, there is a nuclear power plant named Ikata in Shikoku island. There could be another big earthquake occurring around the Ikata nuclear power plant. If it happens, a serious grave scenario will start there.

As told above, there are so many active faults running all around our country that the other nuclear power plants, 54 in total, could be damaged by big earthquakes or tsunamis. There is a small gulf named Wakasa Wan north of Kyoto, only tens of miles in distance from that crowded area of Kansai. That gulf has 14 nuclear power plants in a radius of 20 miles or less. If they should be hit by the natural disaster and fall in serious accident, Kansai area is totally disabled. It means our country won't be able to go on as it would now.

Is it a too pessimistic scenario? Since we have experienced the accident in Fukushima, I could never believe so. We should learn from that experience. Nuclear power plant accidents won't be transient but last almost endlessly.



Stir-fried shrimp in chili sauce

I have been cooking meat and fish by turns. It lead to a kind of mannerism. I have found an old recipe of the titled dish. This is it. It is always tough to determine what dish I would cook.

I should get some specialities now.