An outerrise type earthquake

Very early in the morning of Oct 26th, a rather big earth quake has occurred in the Pacific ocean off Fukushima. The magnitude was 7.1. The quake has waken me up with the Richter scale rated 4 here. I could not fall asleep for a while even after a long lasting quake, reminding me of the big earthquake, had gone. An alarm for tsunami was published by an authority then. It seemed there had been a small tsunami observed near to the center of the earthquake.

The news told it had been caused by a mechanism of the outerrise. The ocean plate was freed from the friction with the continental plate by the big earthquake 2 years ago, so that the former could be lacerated pretty easily with the force pulling it under the continental plate. It is not negligible that a big earthquake of this type would occur in the near future.

The problem with this type of eathquake is that it could cause tsunami. The Pacific ocean off Fukushima is believed to be a center of such an earthquake. If a big tsunami would hit the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima, there could be a further serious damage on it. The main concern is on the used fuels pooled at the 4th reactor. It still has a enormous amount of used/not used fuels. The pool is high in the damaged building. It could be very vulnerable to such a tsunami or an earthquake.

At present, they are struggling with the contaminated water and the influx of underground water into the reactors. They have not taken any measure against further tsunami to the damaged structures and/or the cooling system. If any big tsunami destroys them, the contamination of radioactivity would spreads all over Kanto plain including the metropolis of Tokyo. It is a matter of possibility. No one knows if it could happen or not. But the government should prepare for such a disaster.  They should have learned that almost impossible thing could become possible from the disaster 2 years ago.


A ray of hope for ALS patients

Amyotrophic laterel sclerosis(ALS) is one of the most miserable disease. With the degeneration of the lower motor neuron, the patient with this illness should undergo gradual loss of motor functions while the peception and intellectual functions are preserved. The patient, fully alert and conscious, should go on dying for a few years.
In my med student days, the cause as well as the treatment were totally unknown. Only symptomatic treatments have been given to the patients. But the recent development in gene analysis revealed the ADAR2 is the defect in this illness. This paper shows they could convey ADAR2 to the neural tissue with a vector AAV9. 
It should be confirmed thaty this vector is not harmful to the body. Once it is confirmed safe, this research result could be a real epoch making. Really amazing.
I hope this will give the patients a real hope for cure very soon.
I am thrilled and pleased to see the medical science is developing in this way. The human beings should spend time, money and their intelligence in such a field, but not in developing weapons etc.
2013 Sep 24. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201302935. [Epub ahead of print]

Rescue of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis phenotype in a mouse model by intravenous AAV9-ADAR2 delivery to motor neurons.


CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan; Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan; Center for Disease Biology and Integrative Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common adult-onset motor neuron disease, and the lack of effective therapy results in inevitable death within a few years of onset. Failure of GluA2 RNA editing resulting from downregulation of the RNA-editing enzyme adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2 (ADAR2) occurs in the majority of ALS cases and causes the death of motor neurons via a Ca2+ -permeable AMPA receptor-mediated mechanism. Here, we explored the possibility of gene therapy for ALS by upregulating ADAR2 in mouse motor neurons using an adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) vector that provides gene delivery to a wide array of central neurons after peripheral administration. A single intravenous injection of AAV9-ADAR2 in conditional ADAR2 knockout mice (AR2), which comprise a mechanistic mouse model of sporadic ALS, caused expression of exogenous ADAR2 in the central neurons and effectively prevented progressive motor dysfunction. Notably, AAV9-ADAR2 rescued the motor neurons of AR2 mice from death by normalizing TDP-43 expression. This AAV9-mediated ADAR2 gene delivery may therefore enable the development of a gene therapy for ALS.
© 2013 The Authors. Published by John Wiley and Sons, Ltd on behalf of EMBO


A nest to come back

They say the higher bands are quite hot with the sun spot number rising record high in this cycle. I still love, however, 40m in our evening. This band will gradually open to the North America before sunset here. It might open to Eu and Africa through long path at the same time. I started radio on this band at this time in a day. It was the band of wonder those days. At present, it is still the band where I could nestle myself on.

This evening, 40m sounded very quiet. I had a couple of pleasant QSOs. One was with Steve K4VK in Florida. His barefoot with a dipole was not loud at all but was still quite readable on the quiet background. He is 93 years old and used to be in Yokosuka in 1950 when he served for the Navy there. We could not converse much about his good old days so much. But I still felt, through his keying!, he had had a good memory in Yokosuka those days. He sounded excited at the key. The keying itself often expresses what the sender feels. Those who won't operate CW would never appreciate that at all, I guess.

The other guy was Don N7EF in Washington. He always watchs the band and gives me a call when no one calls me for my CQ. He said he had been just watching great ragchews going on the band. He kindly asked me about my cataract problem, which he had known through watching my QSO with another guy. He said his wife had had a surgery for her cataract, which came out to be a success. Even though, as he said, the ophthalmologist was pretty old just before retirement, he did it perfectly for her. I answered to him, with hearty thanks for his concern about my problem, that medical services should be conservative. Progressive methods could be sometimes experimental. I would have a surgery in a conservative way within a year or so. He also mentioned that the drivers' licence renewal is pretty strict especially for the seniors over there. He was nervous at it but could renew it uneventfully. I always enjoy talking to him since he is always a real critic to the ham radio or people on the radio.

I have been blessed with many friends on 40m in this way. Unfortunately, most of them have gone inactive or silent keyed by now. But, I know, there are still a number of old guys with whom I could share the same kind of interest or of concern. Even though I sometimes feel disappointed at it, I would go on operating radio. Yes, on 40m around our sunset. It is my nest to come back.

A national secrecy protection law

A national secrecy protection law is going to be legislated by our congress very soon. Even though the lawyers association as well as the mass media have protested against it very hard, the present government would do that by any means.

They say it is to protect our nation's interest by protecting the informations relevant with the national security. But there are a number of serious problems in this draft.

1)The law could cover all aspects of the administrative offices and their behaviours if the head of each office determines any information on them as a secret. No limit.

2)They don't need to publish the protected informations in certain span of time. They could cover up any informations unfavorable to them "forever". This rule may bring rise to moral hazard to the administrative officials including the cabinet.

It is definitely against our right to know and check what is going on in the administration of the nation. I am strongly against this law. 


Maybe, in several years, if the flutist is patient enough.

My wife has started taking lesson for flute. She has never played this wind instrument in the past. She used to say she dould get hyperventilated when playing such an instrument so that she won't do with it. Finding a flute class close to her office, she seemed to have decided to start it. Who knows how long she would go on with it? I should say bravo to her only for her starting it.

We used to play ensemble when we were young. She played a bit of piano. In our wedding party, we played "Apre Un Reve" by Faure as I have already told somewhere in this blog. It was a real appropriate choice of music!

One of my rascal friends told me it had been the only chance we could force those attending the party to listen to our performance. Of ourse, we did it. We had been practising this ensemble at a student hall of our university immdiately before the wedding in the morning.
Now, since our daughter is pretty good at violin though she has not touched it for a few years, we might have a family ensemble like baroque trio. The problem is if my wife is patient enough to carry on practising flute for some time. Let's hope she is.  Maybe, hopefully, in several years. 


A proof of my being

I have arranged the log books in order. I have been using common notebooks for logging since I started radio in 1963. The number of log books is 9 from 1963 to 1969, when I closed down preparing the entrance exam of med school. From 1980, when I came back on the air at a resident dorm in my honey moon to last Nov, when I changed logginf to PC application, it has amounted to 109. In total, 118. The total QSO number may reach a hundred thousand.

Looking back the content of log books in '60s, I have found old and fond call signs like WA6UNF, WB6LWY, WA6YVT, W6ULS, WB6CFN, WB6BFR, WB6BBC, KH6EFW and so forth. Many more. Most of them have already gone SK. I also noticed I was trying to make chats from those days. It was not exceptional that I made a QSO longer than an hour. I have talked to Loren K6DVD, now W4YU, for almost a couple of hours. The more experienced I was with QSOs, it seems, the more details of them I recorded in the note books. It might be related with my capability with English. And it may mean I was oriented to conversation on this mode in the very beginning.

It is of no use nor interest if the QSO data has no other record than date/report/name/QTH. If I have recorded the partner's age, job or career in ham radio etc, it surely helps me to recall of the QSO.  I need the info on the partner's set up in order to appreciate the report. The report means differently according the partner's antenna. As much info as possible should be put on the remarks in the log books, I believe. Most of the current log application is not suitable for this purpose.

I feel overwhelmed by how long I have spent for ham radio. I won't regret. It is of no meaning to me. Looking a series of 599 QSL type QSO records in them, I thought I won't spend time for those QSOs any longer. I should do something else in stead. But, again, no regret for this amount of QSOs in the past. It is my fortune. I have known many good friends through those QSOs. It is a proof of my having been and being at present.


Meeting with professor Nollet, K0EN, JO7XVL, in Fukushima

A couple of days ago, both I and my wife have gone to Fukushima. The purpose was to see our son studying medicine there. Having had a nice gettogether with him, we took dinner at a pretty casual restaurant close to his apartment. While we were waiting for the dishes, a thin and tall guy, apparently a foreigner, came in. It was Dr. Nollet. I knew him through the FCWA web site as well as the FMU web site. I remembered he had been an enthusiastic ham. He has got a japanese call sign, JO7XVL, there. I haven't personally acquainted with him before, though. He is working as a professor at the Dept. of Blood Transfusion and Transplantation at Fukushima Med University.

He seemed to enjoy dinner with a few japanese friends there. Some of their conversation has intermittently reached to us. I was wondering if I should say hello to him or not until we finished meal and was almost going out of the restaurant. At last, I decided to greet him. He was sociable continuously smiling at me and did not look unpleasant to have had his dinner interrupted by me. I introduced both myself and my son who will attend his class very shortly. He has K0EN in his home land. He used to operate radio from VK and A5 as well. When I told him I had been active especially on 40m with a 3 element Yagi, he uttered "Jealous!". But, knowing how he has been working at the university, I really felt envious of him. He must be in Germany at present attending a conference, as he told me.

He seems interested in ham radio as a tool of emergency communication as well as a educational means.  This is the link to his "Director's Corner" in the site for Dept. of International Cooperation at Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey in Fukushima Med University.


It was an unexpected meeting. But such an eye ball with a ham is always a pleasure. I am looking forward seeing him on the air soon.


My antenna is safe through a night long hard storm

A big typhoon has passed by east of here. I thought the wind won't blow too hard since the counterclockwise swirling of the typhoon wind and its movement could have offset each other. But it happened only when the typhoon was right east of here for a while. The wind noise woke me up at 3 AM in our local. I could not fall asleep after that.
I was anxious about the antenna. As soon as I came into the shack, I measured the SWR. As ;low as usual! Great. And the direstion? It is pointed at the same direction as yesterday. The rotator was working OK. So far, no damage. I am always impressed at this tribander for from 40 to 15m. The structure is not very rigid but is flexible against winds. I started using this type of beam in the end of 1990s. Several years ago, considering it might have deteriorated after over ten years of use, I have replaced to a new one of the same model. It works as 3 elements on 40 and 4 elements on the other two bands. Hopefully, it will go on working for another 10 years. 
The 3.5 elements ! of Yagi above that tribander is for 10m. The half elements of the 1st director was missing while I was not aware of that, not this time, but a few years ago. Chris G4BUE, the editor of the FOCUS at that time, noted that defect when he looked a photo of my antenna, which Bruce K6ZB submitted to that magazine. Despite of a bit higher SWR than before, it works OK. Without Chris' notice, I might not have realized it.


A crisis in CW culture

The band conditions have been good for a week or two. When the sun was going to sink here, as always, I listened to 40m and called CQ beaming to NA. As Dick N7RC often told me after having worked in his ranch, I needed relaxation of CW music after having worked hard in the garden.

As I have repeatedly written here, I get very few callers from NA. I am almost used to it. The time has changed. Nowadays, in the US, there are much less CW operators staying up late at night. Or they would just listen on the bands and won't try to touch their paddle/key. That's OK for me. I have accepted that reality as it is.

But, not so infrequently, I am called by the guys who could hardly communicate on this mode. They won't tell me to slow down. They won't ask me about what I had told them. They would go on a QSO like a template and quit there as if nothing problematic had happened. Isn't it a real crisis that there is such a ham, not exceptional, in the US where the culture of ham radio was born?

Do they feel bored with conversing with me? Are they too busy after midnight? I suspect they could not copy other than the routine informations such as name or QTH.  I won't blame them. But it is still a crisis for CW culture.   

Sorry for my complaint too familiar to you readers of this blog.  I am too often astonished by such a scene on the air. That is the reason why I have repeated this here.


Egg plant and tomato with garlic and basil

This year, we have had many egg plants grown in the garden farm. This is the dish of home brew egg plants. Canned tomato was added with garlic and basil in olive oil. Basil was also home brew. Powdered cheese was sprinkled in the end.
Taste? Like spaghetti sauce haha. Still enjoyable. I was happy to have used basil for cooking.



Morse code sounds like music.

This paper has been found by Atsu JE1TRV.

It may mean the talent in music may help to learn code, even though this research emphasizes it is for lerning foreign languages.

It was amazing to me Morse code is still alive in this way.

Our sense to feel good code like a music doesn't seem to be out of focus.

Let's enjoy good quolity of music on the air.


2013 Spring;126(1):95-104.

Musical experience influences statistical learning of a novel language.


Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA. a-shook@northwestern.edu


Musical experience may benefit learning of a new language by increasing the fidelity with which the auditory system encodes sound. In the current study, participants with varying degrees of musical experience were exposed to two statistically defined languages consisting of auditory Morse code sequences that varied in difficulty. We found an advantage for highly skilled musicians, relative to lower-skilled musicians, in learning novel Morse code-based words. Furthermore, in the more difficult learning condition, performance of lower-skilled musicians was mediated by their general cognitive abilities. We suggest that musical experience may improve processing of statistical information and that musicians' enhanced ability to learn statistical probabilities in a novel Morse code language may extend to natural language learning.

Partita No2 by Bach

My daughter usd to practise violin until the end of jr. high. For a practice piece, she was given by her teacher a piece from the Unaccompanied Sonata for Violin No3 by Bach. When she all of sudden started playing that piece at the practice room, I happened  to be there with her. The atmosphere has abruptly changed. Every note of this piece was quite different from the other works. It has struck my mind even though she was not far from perfect with violin at that time yet. Bach's music, whatever it might be, sounds different to me. It was a pleasure for me to listen my daughter playing it before me. No chance for me to listen to her playing Bach since then, though.
Bach has been a special composer to me ever since I got interested in classical music. It expresses a universe itself as well as tender emotion appealing deeply to our mind. There is no single note unnecessary for a music. 
This work, No2 Unaccompanied Partita for Violin, is one of the best musics not only among the other 5 unaccomapnied sonata/partita but also among his all works. The last piece, in the style of Chaconne, is very famous. The other pieces are, however, really great. This music convinces us that there is something valuable shining in our lives even when it seems to have lost its ray of hope.
Harn is a great performer especially for Bach. Needless to mention of her perfect technique with the instrument. She plays Bach in the way it should be. It sounds warm as well. Is it her or Bach who is whispering just close to us? You may listen the composer, through her, breathing  beside you.
This is the piece I would bring with me in my pilgrimage if it comes true.      


Fall has deepened.

A couple of days ago, I went to a hot spa near by. It is only 40 minutes drive from here. It belongs to "a road station", where drivers stop by for meals or rest for a while. It was on a week day, so that most of the people dipping themselves in the hot spa were aged ones. When I told that to my wife in the evening, she laughed at me telling I was one of them. Sure it is.  
On the way back home, I purchased some vegetables being sold at that station. Very fresh and reasonable.
There was a large farm of Soba, whose flowers were fully out, along the street. I remembered of the same scenary on the way to the office. I commuted there listening the piano trio in a moll by Ropartz.
 Fall has deepened.


A memorable place will be gone soon

Some of you might have visited Akihabara Radio Store (ARS) in Akihabara, a downtown in Tokyo, famous for radio parts shops. That store has rows of small branch stores along narrow walkways beneath the railway of Chuo line. It has been established 64 years ago. Many hams have gathered there for radio parts. Whenever I went there, I found a lot of people around there. There have been such radio stores all around Akihabara. They have been downsized owing to the prevaing computer shops. 

In 1960s when I was a newcomer in ham radio, I used to go there once a month looking for some parts. I used to make a single 6BA5 receiver for the very first home made one in my life. When I turned it on, the tube suddenly exploded. What a scary event! I didn't know why. Maybe, the high voltage DC was wired to the heater of 6BA5. I have made all my equipments by myself later on. All the parts were purchased in Akihabara.

I have often attended the other radio store named Radio Department Store close to ARS in Akihabara. In my low teen days, I have known to one of the personnel, a young man, who has kindly helped me to collect the parts I needed. Almost twenty years later, when I was a postgraduate student at my mother school, I needed a radio part and went to the same store. I found that person working at the same branch there. He has not recognized me, of course. I felt it went back to my kid days then. That Radio Department Store was replaced to a computer shop not so long after that.

Recently, the news said that ARS would be finally closed by the end of this Nov. One of my memorable places, or I should say, the last place in my good old days will be gone away soon. Shall I visit there again before it is closed?


My paddles

Paddle is a big concern for CW operators.
I have 3 paddles so far. No intention to add anyone to them. Though each is not perfect yet, I am always using Chevron. From left to right in the photo below, Chevron, Mercury by Bencher, Profi by Schurr.

I believe there are 3 major factors which determine the quality of a paddle.
1) Contact:
The contacts between the lever and the fixed column side should be perfect. This won't be a major problem with these paddles. But Chevron sometimes has a contact problem between the column and the screwfixing the contact. Applying contact grease at the screw, I rarely have this problem. It is still sometimes annoying. Without this problem, this Chevron is the best.  Chevron has upgraded to a new model, which might have been solved with this issue. Another paddle I used to use years ago has had a contact problem at the pivots of the levers. When contact seems not perfect, we should suspect of not only the problem with the contacts surfaces themselves but also the other parts described here.
2)Weight and resistence:
The lever weight and the mechanical resistence at the pivots of the levers should be as light as possible. The tension should be maximized when the lever is pushed as well. The movement of the levers are most important for paddle function. It should be as smooth as our hand. Yes, it should be an extention of our fist. From this point of view, the lever and the associated structure should be as light weighed as possible. It will minimize the motion resistence as well as the inertia. This is, however, contradictory to the following factor. The magnets make the characteristics of the tension ideal. The spring for tension as with Schurr is not ideal. All 3 of my paddles are pretty satisfactory as for this point. 
3)Rebouncing sensation:
I was pretty happy to have Mercury at first. It won't take me long to realize that it causes an uncomfortable sensation of rebouncing with that paddle. I guess the lever is so light that it causes a fine vibrtion proper to the system due to its striking to the fixed contact. That vibration should be felt as a rebouncing sensation. Increasing the tension and narrowing the contact spaces, it could be diminished to some extent. But it is not perfect. I guess the light weight, whether it was designed or not, should be the cause of this problem.
I still love these paddles.
No, I won't buy any more. Possibly.



Murasaki-shikibu is a woman novel writer in 10 to 11th century in Japan. She has written the famous "Genji Monogatari", a long epic of love romance among the aristocracy in the Heian era. There is a plant with her name here.

The original name meant piled purple fruits. Murasaki-shikibu was close to it in pronounciation and was converted to this plant's name. Her name seems suitable for this plant with not gorgeous but elegant beauty, like ladies in good old days in Japan. The academic name is Callicarpa japonica.

It has been drizzly today since a typhoon has been passing by in the Pacific ocean right now. No gardening today.

Murasaki shikibu naturally grown in our garden.