Any good idea to activate 40m?

RBN tells my signal reaches the West Coast with decent strength. However, no reply to CQ for many times. I have noticed this lowered activity there for years, as I repeatedly mentioned here.

There must be less number of hams operating HF CW even in the US. Recalling those who used to be active on 40m around our sunset hours, I must admit most of them have already gone silent key. In addition, or probably more likelily, 40m around this time may not attract CW operators in the US so much. Because there are much less activity in VK/ZL, who used to operate in old fashioned style one decade or two ago. There were many couples on 40m between W and VK/ZL those days. In '60s, K6NB kept a regular schedule with VK2NS. K5BGB used to work with VK4BQL on regular basis. There are a number of such examples so far as I know. On 40m, the West Coasts have only the path to Oceania as well as East Asia at this time in a day. Lowered activity in VK/ZL must necessarily made the Ws lose interests in 40m at this time in a day, I am afraid.

On the other hand, 20m might open to the other parts of the world in the West Coast at the same time in a day. It may be more fascinating to those who enjoy conversational QSOs. Actually, I often have more replies from the West Coast on 20m at the same time than on 40m. Or 30m might take over the role of 40m for them.

Anyway, even though 40m opens so nicely at our sunset, there are very few who would enjoy conversation on CW. It not only saddens me, since 40m CW has been my 1st love in ham radio, but also is a too bad loss in ham radio. Any good idea to activate 40m around this time in a day?

Fresh crop dish

Yesterday, the 1st egg plant was harvested. Together with a tomato and a couple of potatoes, both of which were also crops in the yard farm at the same time, I cooked it with consomme taste. A sliced onion was only veggie which I bought at a supermarket. Cheese was added in the last of cooking. Fresh as well as rich. It is the priviledge for a farmer to enjoy such a dish.


Apres un Reve

At my wedding party, some 34 years ago, I and my wife have played "Apres un Reve" by Gabriel Faure. We had practised it at the hall in the med school until an hour before the ceremony started. We rushed to the party place bringing cello etc on a taxi. How did we play it? Who remembers it? Some friends told me it was only chance for us to force them listen to us playing something together.

"Apres un Reve" is an arrangement from one of Faure's songs: Op 7-1 by Casals. So sweet and mellow melody. Cello could express even more than human voice. It is a song of lost love. What an ardent and romatic love! Don't ask me if it was an appropriate music for a wedding party. We loved this one so much. Wikipedia tells that it is an anonymous Italian poem adapted into French by Romain Bussiene. The translation into English is as follows:

After a dream

In a slumber enchanted by your image
I dreamt of happiness, passionate mirage,
Your eyes were softer, your voice pure and resonant,
You shone like a sky lit up by the dawn;
You called me and I left the earth
To run away with you towards the light,
The skies opened their clouds for us,
Unknown splendours, divine flashes glimpsed,
Alas! Alas! sad awakening from dreams
I call you, O night, give me back your lies,
Return, return radiant,
Return, O mysterious night!

Reaching the age of after a dream in life, I am still fascinated by this melody. Some day, I would play it with my wife again.

Here is one of the best performance of this piece by a young cellist.


Potatoe, onion with tuna

Potatoes are getting ripe in the farm. I have harvested some of them now. It tastes fresh and good. Last night, I have cooked potatoes and an onion with tuna in cans. It was seasoned with sake, soy sauce and sugar. Pretty good. Potatoes absorbing seasoning materials tasted fresh and good.

This morning, Bill W7OO told me he used to grow vegetables in his 10 acre lot. However, he thought it had been better to buy vegetables than to grow them spending much time and energy. I fully know what he meant. It might be less time consuming and even less costly. But, so far, I dare to keep my tiny farm in the garden. It is still a pleasure for me to see the vegetables growing and being ripened. Again, sitting in the farm where breeze comes through while doing with them, I feel I am surely living. 


In 1954

I was born at this same place 64 years ago as we live right now. My aunt has started a small sanatorium for tuberculosis here around WWII period, when no antibiotics etc were available and most tuberculotic patients were destined to death. On belief in Christianity, she seemd to have found calling in this enterprise. She has built this facility at a lot her parents, that is, my grandparents had owned in a countryside.
There were a number of literally cottages for each patient among many pine trees. One of my first memories in my life was a hymn flown on a breeze through those trees. My aunt was organizing service every morning. She did everything for the patiens like preparing meals etc. A very poor community from the standpoint of material aspect. But it was full of spiritual pleasure, I believe.  
It was where my parents had met and married immdeiately after the war was over. They were blessed with three children, an elder sister, myself and a younger brother. Sister has become a nurse while brother and I have chosen the way to be doctors later. My parents have worked very hard as a nurse and a worker at this sanatorium.
One time, a newspaper has criticized her and this sanatolium in very impolite way. It was against the reality. Later, I have learned that mass media could report in sensationalism not based on the truth. It was the time when Streptomycin etc were in the market and could be given the patients with marvellous efficacy. My aunt decided to close down the sanatorium. Our parents have decided to move down to a suburb of Tokyo, where they found positions at hospitals.
This sanatorium was not conspicuous at all. It was just to have been with the dying patients. Some of them have come to believe in Chiristianity and have spent relieved and peaceful time for their last days. It doesn't need to be remembered. I won't boast of this facility or of my aunt. No wonder it is already forgotten and left in the darkness in the past. However, the memory of this place is still vividly alive in our minds. We, brother and sister, were not told to study for medical profession. But I am sure this experience of life in young days has lead us to what we are now. I still feel thankful to it.
Nowadays, I often recall of this poor but hopeful place. In our country, financial collapse is inevitable due to the national debt. The politicians won't care for that but still order them to issue more and more our currency. The bureaucrats are not getting ready for the possible collapse since they are not ordered to by the politicians. The greedy tops in the economic society are not taking responsibilities for what will happen at all. In several years, we should experience this kind of poverty again. Could we still be hopeful for the future as my aunt or parents used to be? We should be ready for this possible chaos. What should we aim at that time?  
This photo was taken at the sanatolium in 1954. In the front row, my sister and myself. I was 4 years old and was standing between my father's knees. My father was 34 years old. In a year or two, this sanatorium was closed. Our family has experienced an exodus to Tokyo. 


Awakening from an addiction

Ham radio, especially QSOs by CW, involves many things. Equipments. antennas, keyers, paddles, logging soft, internet related softwares and so forth. So many aspects of enjoyment in radio. QSO style is another topic, of course. We are interested in every aspect of those things. We are always eager to brush up CW skills. There are a variety of opinions how to do that. What is important to a ham may be different from a person to another.

Recently, I have again reached a conclusion that QSO is from a person to another. I knew this idea as one of the opinions but haven't realized it as a truth yet. The ultimate goal is the other person I am talking to. It depends on him/her as well as on myself if a QSO comes to be fruitful and to be worth spending time in our lives. This must be so natural that they won't dare mention about it. Just keeping in mind.

I found it won't make me happy if I should make dozens of QSOs if it doesn't deserve spending the time. Looking for a real pleasant QSO on bands, I used to spend a lot of hours for that. I believed it could be an addiction for radio. Quantitative extention of operation won't satisfy me at all. Quality pursuing is necessary to me. I have realized it now.

I would spend less time for radio and enjoy any QSOs worthwhile. This would be a policy of mine from now. And it is a question to me how to make a QSO worthwhile.


Ume drink

Ume is a popular fruit in Japan, which is harvested at this time in a year. We have three ume trees that my father used to plant 25 years or so ago . After they pleased us with the beautiful flowers early in the spring every year, they bore hundreds of the fruit. We decided to cook them into alcohol drink this year.

This afternoon, together with my wife, I harvested two bagful ume from all of the ume trees here. For alcohol drink, they were washed and put into bottles with spirituous liquor and solid sugar. What bottle should we store it in? We recalled the big glass bottles which my father used to use for this drink when he was alive. There were such a few bottles found in the shed. Bringing a couple of them in our kitchen, we made ume drink in them. All we should do is to wait for several weeks until it would get ripe in the bottles. In a year, it would taste rich and fruity.

We found a label handwritten as 6 11 which might stand for Jun 11th. My father must has made the same drink and put it this bottle. It must be the same day in a year when he processed it as we did today. What a coincidence! We might be living in the same way in a sense as my parents used to. Only or already 20 years or so have passed since those days.


My place

My place used to be the club room of the orchestra in my med school days.

It was the inpatient/outpatient ward in my trainee days as a pediatrician.

It was a small table and desk for experiment when I was doing medical research.

It was the outpatient room and my own room at my private practice.

And it is the garden at my home now.


Thyroid gland cancer cases in childhood in Fukushima

Recently, they have published the number of thyroid gland cancer cases in Fukushima. Surveying 174000 people aged less than 18 years with ultrasonography, 12 cases with the disorder were found. Fifteen cases are suspected for the disorder. This data itself won''t necessarily mean they are related with the irradiation at the accident since this kind of cancer is always latent in childhood. We need an age matched normal control study to be compared with them.

Last year, they have made control studies in the different areas away from Fukushima. They have studied 4000 cases for age matched control. The conclusion was that there were no differences in the frequency of cysts or nodules. In the other reports, nodular lesions could be regarded precancerous. This news has given us a bit of relief. But, for a normal control to research such rare disorder as thyroid cancer in this age group, the size is too small. They should extend the study to much more cases.

Unfortunately, they have not measured the I131 irradiation for a couple of weeks after the nuclear plant accident. I131 has rather short half life, so that it is not possible to measure the radiation dose for each of these patients at present. But they could estimate it for each case taking advantage of, for example, I127 in the soil etc. Estimated value of I131 irradiation dose should be published for each case. It may help us to guess any relationship between the disorder and the irradiation.

 A few weeks ago, an organization of the UN has announced there could be least possibility to have cancer cases occur among those irradiated in Fukushima. It is just dependent on an estimation of irradiation. Not based on the real time measurement of irradiation. It is too early to conclude they could be spared for such a disorder.

It has been more than 2 years since the accident. It could be the time perilous for occuring throid gland cancer in childhood after irradiation.


Speculation on non-contesters in the future

The other day, I have called CQ on 40m in vain for almost an hour. In the end, someone sent  "yawn" as soon as I finished calling CQ. Oh, yeah, I knew my CQ had been boring to him. I decided not to repeat calling CQ more than 3 times at that time.

This experience urged me to think of what would go on with non-contesters in the future. The majority of non-contesters are playing contest type QSOs on plain week day. Just exchanging reports and QSLs. There are always dozens of such operators in Japan. They exchange JCC/G number for the QTH. Oddly enough, they have invented other area numbers which stand for the lake or the hot spa they are operating from. Ever lasting inventions of new awards. They may go on in the same way as real contesters since they are not essentially different from each other at all.

Maybe, a software of virtual HF QSOs may replace their real activity on HF to the internet or to the software itself in the future. Yes, some people are already starting QSOs in the  internet. I am sure a software materialize virtual contest style QSOs very shortly. They really don't need the partner. But the virtual station could do with them in software. It may reflect the band condition like QRN, QRM or QSB. It won't be necessary for them to prepare costly big antennas or expensive radio gears. A software may let them enjoy virtual QSOs on a HF band without investing so much money.

Some conversation oriented hams may enjoy QSOs through the internet. It is stable and free from any factors the inosphere determines. There still should be a minority who try to enjoy the old fashioned QSOs on HF bands as they have done in the past. But there should be much less chance to see each other then. They might keep schedule QSOs each other. Or they would fall asleep while calling CQ again and again. I bet such scheduled QSOs might be the only royal road to enjoy ragchewing. So try to find out such a partner in the near future!

Seriously, ham radio would be replaced to the internet communications in the near future. Or it is already in the on going process for now. Yes, ham radio, especially CW communication, would survive despite of that drastic change. The most active areas in the world would be those of developing countries. In the near future, South East Asia and Africa would be the areas where you could hear CW operators conversing most frequently. There could be new ham gear manufacturers in those areas like Kenwood or Yaesu 30 years ago. If ham radio, prefarably CW communication, survives in this way, it looks like one of the best possibilities to me. When I was involved in XU, I always wondered if ham radio won't be able to offer a window to the outer world to those in developing countries. I am sure those without the infrastructure of the internet etc would enjoy communication on HF bands as we did half a century ago. We should be ready for such a movement, I believe. 

So what will happen in the coming decade?