In the end of 2017

Saying farewell to this passing year 2017, I would write about what it has been to me. It is a year which I have devoted myself very hard to house work and gardening/farming. I am full of gratitude for having been able to spend this year blessed with good health working that way. Regrettably, it was not a very happy year for me in public as well as private sense. Mainly due to that reason, I could not help omitting sending the season's greetings to friends of mine. I have received Christmas cards from a few of my friends. This is to reply them as well.

For music activity, I have played a piano trio in Tokyo in the beginning of this year. The 2nd movement of Brahms 2nd piano trio. Otherwise, the orchestra I was asked to join from this summer to fall was the only chance I played cello in ensemble this year. I am feeling weakened to play cello at any orchestra for now. It is laborious for me to attend any orchestra with the instrument far away. It is not the time for me to give it up yet, though. I will have another chance of playing piano trio next month with the violinist, whom I have played chamber music for years, and a new pianist. I would go on playing it as long as I can. I have not kept the promise to post my or our performance in Youtube yet. Maybe, next year.

As a listener, I have been more attracted by Mahrer's 9th symphony than ever. The yiddish tune in the last movement sure reminds me of the solitude toward death. It is not a pleasant tune but is still relieving me a lot as if telling me it is not only me who is in grief. The excellent chamber music by Brahms, Faure, Franck and the Franckists have also been soothing me. Bach's pieces have been a real relief for me as well. At my age, it may be dificult for me to find something new in repertoires of classical music. But I still would like to look for any music which satisfies my mind. I have renewed the audio system beside my bed. I am amazed how well it sounds like. The position of each instrument in chamber music is much more stabilized than with the previous one. It is a joy before going to sleep.

Ham radio, especially CW activity, seems to suffer a big change at present. The operators enjoying conversational CW are drastically decreasing in number. Some CW operators were absorbed into the digital modes. There have been contests on plain week days that also reduced the chances for chats on the bands. I won't blame or complain of this trend. I have told at occasions how important it was for us to recongnize the psychological process investigated with the new technology of brain science, that enabls us to tell confidently to the new comers what attracts us most with CW conversation. But, sadly, that idea of scientific approach to CW reception process won't attract most CW operators' attention. CW conversation has been carried out and lead by ex professional R/O. Unfortunately, they are disappearing from the ham radio world and are even being gone silent key for now. CW conversation's art is now going into the museum of vintages for now, I am afraid. I could not help feeling thankful for I could spend the most brilliant age of CW from '60s through !00s.

In Japan, the administrative office and the related organizations like JARD are enforcing a new regulation, which requires us to pay some money to go on using old gears. Old vintage equipment won't be actually used any longer. It is based on the new regulation by ITU, which tells to get rid of any interference to the other communications but won't question about the spurius emission from each equipment. On the other hand, the authority requires us to record the actual spurius emission with each equipment with any proofread measurement device. It is a big hurdle for us. Or they require us to pay some money to JARD, which is closely related with JARL and the authorative office. Surprisingly enough, that payment is to aske them to have the equipment guaranteed for the sprius emission regulation. The guarantee is based on PAPER only. It is like a Yakuza's blackmail. A criminal behaviour. JARD is accepting the former directors from JARL and some retirees most likelily from the authority. It is a matter of despair that former JARL directors are involved in this corruption. A real system of corruption. I am feeling disgusted at such a system. I am sure, in addition to the existing complicated license system, the same concession for the beurocrats and the related merchanst, this will lead the ham radio in our country to the extinction in the future. As one of the peculiarities in our society, there are very few voices against this concession corruption among ham radio operators.

I am feeling it won't take too long before I quit this hobby. I have had a real great time in the brilliant age with so many good friends all over the world.

As for politics and ecomomy, the present administration grasping overwheming power is getting also corrupted. Many cases of corruption or fraud are being open to us. The government and the PM won't answer to the denouncements for those cases. A lot of lies, cover ups and pressure to the bureaucrats involved in their doncucts. While this administration has violated the constitution as for the collective self defence and so forth, they would change the constitution. The change includes the emergency provisions, which are comparable to the enabling act by Nazis. These movements toward authoritarianism is based on the trend toward conservatism based on military power revailing among the people. Who knows where it will bring us to? I am still going to behave against this trend even though it is not helpful. In order to leave the better world and the better couontry to the next generation.

We have made a couple of major modifications to our home. Re painting of the wall, repairing the roof and installing a new septic tank and the sewage system. For those construction/repair, I am always considering that we won't be here longer than 2 decades from now. A personal eschatology. I am sometimes laughed at it when I mention something like that. But I still believe we should behave based on it at my age.  I am not fully understanding the idea of Rabbi Ben Ezra by Browning. However, I still would like to live in the belief something good is left in the last chapter in my life.

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and good health during it.

The mountains in Nikko area north west of here.


  1. I still look forward to a chat on CW Shin. Happy New Year!

    1. HNY, Bill. I wish all of you good health in this new year.

  2. Happy New Year, Shin - may 2018 lead you to more positive thoughts about the ham radio hobby! I have had periods of the "long QRX," less because I lost interest in the hobby, but more because other interests moved to the top of my passion list. I have always returned to ham radio and it has always been different. Change always has plusses and minuses, but I have always found the positive changes continue to outweigh the negative changes.

    On the QSO front in recent times, I find the declining sunspots to be more of an impact now that any shortage of stations to have QSOs with, ragchew or contesting type QSOs. If you had the RBN 11 years ago during the last minimum, I will bet back then you would have said what you say today! But, then we just said "Bad conditions, no one is hearing me."

    I find that the amount of "meta-data" available around our basic joy of talking to people far away can often detract from that basic joy - or at least cause us to focus on the noise vs. the signal.

    73 and HNY John K3TN

    1. John,

      Thanks for the comment.

      There are some points we should clarify before we go on discussing.

      What are you looking for in ham radio? There could be many goals or aims.

      If you consider knowing some person far away through ham radio is at least one of the best parts in it, how do you believe you could do that with CW? How do you value CW communication? I wonder if you have any idea on the process in conversational CW from the standpoint of recent studies in brain science.

      While you have been in QRX for some time, how could you evaluate the change of CW world undergoing for the past decades?


  3. Happy New Year Shin

    As John K3TN mentioned, the poor sunspot cycle has probably led to some CW operators giving up. Compounded by the advancing age of the CW fraternity plus a lack of newcomers into the hobby I am afraid it is now doomed. This sunspot cycle is likely to be as bad as the Maunder minimum over 400 years ago which lasted 50 years.

    Here in 9V I have just about given up. I wanted to take part in the bug event today but I have not heard one USA station on any bands, and only one or two EU who had mega-stations calling CQ DX. It has been this way for a few months now. There are better things to do than waste my time trying. No doubt I will have to resign from FOC soon which is a pity.

    I suppose it is just a case of letting it go gracefully with no regrets. I do wish, however, that I could have known the good years, being a comparative newcomer to the hobby.

    I hope your personal future will continue to be bright and creative, and that you will enjoy playing in your new trio. I too have a fascination for Mahler's 9th, since the late 1960's when I bought an LP with Barbiroli as conductor. I still have it, though it has probably been surpassed by Haitink and Abbado to name only two. It is a prophesy.

    The future of the world looks bleak with nations closing their doors to refugees, which in some ways is understandable, but also turning inwards. Elites are getting richer whilst the 90% who make up the labour are getting poorer. It will probably all collapse as it did in Rome in the 4th century. The same symptoms are there. War and disease will restart societies in a new direction. This may not happen in our lifetimes, but certainly it will affect our children and grand children. There are simply too many people on this earth with insufficient resources to sustain them all in a civilised way.

    Meanwhile as my old mother says, all we can do is the best we can, and be as good and kind to the people we meet as possible.

    2018 for me will be a year of hiking. Turkey and Himalayas are planned. Trying to listen and appreciate new music as well, but I seem to be stuck with Monteverdi, Schutz and Bach at the moment, with big chunks of Mahler. Perhaps that is all we need !

    I hope to work you again before too long. I do still keep an ear open for you on 40m but you are getting weaker all the time these days.

    Continue to enjoy your gardening too. It is very therapeutic

    all the best and take care


    1. John,

      I would let it go with gratitude. This observation is based on my experience for 5 decades. It is not only a pesissimism nor temporary depressive mood. It is a fact, unfortunately. We still could enjoy the last brilliance this mode of communication sheds for a while. I am not very active on 40m around 11Z when you are often listening the band. But I will try to listen for you soon. I wish this year will be full of fun and good health. Enjoy your trips, which sound envious to me. Take care and best regard to Em and the family members.