Getting along with illnesses

Getting aged, we should inevitably have health problems. Of course, amateur hams are not exceptions. Since the average age of amateur hams is increasing now, I often meet those with illnesses lately. The QSOs with those people are always impressive as well as stimulating to me.

A few weeks ago, when 20m was widely open to the west hemisphere, I got a call from David G4PKT. His call sounded a bit familiar to me. He was a retired surgeon aged 71 years. He told me he used to be an FOC member years ago. It explained me why his call was known to me somehow at first. Asking him why he quit the club, I heard he had got multiple sclerosis and could not send CW well enough. He has decided to give his seat to a possible new member. His fist sounded almost perfect to me, though. His present interest was in photography. He joked to me telling that it was easier for him to push the shutter button than to handle a key. I have scarcely met any medical doctors in UK through ham radio. It was a fun for me to see him with the same profession. And his personality and sense of joke were also attractive to me.

I have been seeing Tom W6NLK in San Diego quite often. It is always his very early morning hours when we meet on 40m. Slow and unique bug key swinging on the quiet band. That old fashioned appearance itself was impressive enough to me. However, it was a kind of shock to me to hear he had been undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. The biopsy revealed fairly low grade malignancy while the MRI indicated rather high malignancy. The doctor has taken it for a malignant one and has planned an intensive treatment with chemo and radiation. Sometimes, he tells me he has some adverse effects due to the chemo. But what he always says is that he is peaceful without fear. His keying, stable and swinging, tells me it is really what he feels. He has been involved in counselling job for young people. His attitude toward illness and life might be based on the same thing which made him occupied in that job. One time, he told me my being itself was a pleasure for him. What an idea! I thought it was me who should  thank him for such a nice chat.

Maybe, in some time, I would be in the same phase of life. Could I spend it with the same attitude toward illnesses? They could be good forerunners for me. I hope they would enjoy ham radio as long as possible and let me know how they are getting along.


Fifty children have been proved to have thyroid cancer in Fukushima

In Fukushima Prefecture, the prefectural government has been following up the children under 19 years  at the time of nuclear power plant accidentfor the possibility of thyroid cancer. That is, the researchers at Fukushima Med University have done ultrasonogram for thyroid gland for them. They have examined 290000 out of 360000 children satisfying the requirements for the past 3 years. Among those undergone aspiration biopsy as the suspicious cases, 90 children were diagnosed as thyroid cancer or its suspect. Fifty one have undergone resection of the tumor and 50 of them were given definite diagnosis of thyroid cancer. The researcher told some of them had had some symptoms of remote metastasis or local invsion of the tumor.

This is what a recent news has reported to us. I don't know how to evaluate this large scale study and its result. Since most of the thyroid cancer have been told to be "occult", it was shocking to me certain percentage of the children with thyroid tumor had already got some symptoms. it won't be occult any longer. In the prefectural committee, there still seemed to be a discussion about comparing those with normal age matched control in different areas. Epidemiological data regarding childhood thyroid cancer is very few espcecially from such thorough check up among the population in certain area. Without such normal control, this result won't be exactly appreciated at all. I thought they had already taken such normal control data in two different areas. What did they do with that data? Is there anything wrong in publishing the comparison? The raw data regarding those thyroid cancer proven cases should be published. I am afraid they would keep the data unpublished. It would cause unnecessary suspicion regarding this study.

In Chernobyl, thyroid cancer has occured among many children in 4 or 5 years after the accident. The newer and more sensitive device of ultrasonogram might have detected them earlier in Fukushima. We should keep our eyes on what goes on there.

What would we leave on the earth?

Hydrangea and lilly are coming out now. The former is in front of our parent's house, while the latter in the garden. There are a lot of flowers planted around the house by my father. He might not expect them to be appreciated by the family left. Or, as with the case of fruit trees like persimmon or chesternut, he might imagine of us enjoying them. Whichever guess might be right, there are still flowers coming out and pleasing us every year. I feel our lives are continuous in this way. We should keep that idea in our minds even though we scarcely need to express that. What would we leave on the earth, if I could make some exaggeration, that is the question given to us? 



Bringing the broken amp for repair to a radio shop

I have brought my amplifier to a radio shop near by for repair. The amp acted up, as I posted, by an inductive lightning strike yeasterday. I used to visit that shop quite often in '80s through '90s. It is almost only radio shop in this area.

Surprisingly, there were no visitors in the store. It should have been most crowded in a week. Was the business taken over by the net shops? I could not help feeling it had reflected the shrunken market. There was only one person who used to be the head of the personnel at the store years ago. He told me Yaesu had had a plan to produce another amp named VL2000. It has not come into the market yet and possibly will not. We might be living the age when our hobby is vanishing, or, if it is too unreserved to say so, is downsizing itself.

What has made this hobby dying now? One reason should be that there is very few things in the QSO content which attract young people. Investing thousands of USD for radio and antenna, most hams are doing a stereo type QSO just exchanging reports. I don't think it looks worth to young people spending that money and time for such a hobby. Young people could instinctively hold something real and meaningful.

In Japan, another problem is the bureaucracy in licensing system. We should get the operator license followed by the station license. Even though the use of internet has simplified the process, the station license is still ridiculous. We should ask a private company to "guarantee" our equipment to be legitimate. I have already written about this system elsewhere in this blog. Of course, most of our equipments are made by commercial manufacturers like Kenwood, Icom or Yaesu. We should apply for guarantee for those equipment in paper form to that company. They would judge only the application form but never check the function of each equipment by themselves. We should pay some money for this guarantee process. Of course, this private company is told to have employed those retired from the relevant government agency. We could not modify any equipment. Once modified, it would be out of guarantee. And since each station license is given for applied equipment, any special event station should use the very same equipment when it is operated at a place away from the licensee place. They are transferring the licensed equipment by post or something to the next place. What  ridiculous bureaucracy! This system has been executed for decades. I think young people or anyone with common sense won't be committed in such a hobby regulated by ridiculous rules.

I have written too much against our bureaucracy. It seems, however, just one example of the lesions in the society which hurt our country very seriously. Deregulation has been claimed to be necessary in the society. It is realized only for those with power or money. But such as this license system has been "guarded" by the authority as well as for the authority. Young people won't be interested in such a hobby meaninglessly regulated.

There was a tribander on the roof of the radio shop. But it has already taken away. Only a couple of whips for VHF/UHF were set at a side of the roof. Without the sign, no one could know it was a radio shop.

I left there feeling a bit blue for the future of this hobby.


An inductive lightning

Since I have ever had a direct lightning strike some 15 years ago, which caused much damage to the household electrical items, I always disconnect all the cables and lines to them before or in any thunderstorm.

This evening, thunders have rumbled in the distance. It was not so close to us. I was even doing gardening in drizzle for a while after thunders started. All of sudden, however, a harsh big thunder like a fire roared in the vicinity. Of course, I hurried pulling out all the cables and lines from electrical items including the ham radio equipments as I usually do.

In half an hour, the storm has gone. I tried to switch on the equipments. The amplifier, VL1000 from Yaesu, won't be turned on at all. The braker was OK. I rushed looking for a tester in the closet. A friend of mine, Spence N6SC already SK, has brought me a small tester almost 25 years ago, i remembered. But it didn't show up to me. if it were before me, it could run out the battery or even won't work after such a long interval. I foound a couple of air conditioners have acted up as well. It convinced me a surge due to inductive lightning had caused these troubles. I was kinda relieved to know what had happened.

I should go on with barefoot for a while. I should say I was lucky to have had only this damage due to the inductive lightning this time. I learned that I should disconnect everything as soon as I know a thunderstorm is coming here. A few days ago, I have just givne this comment to the other's blog where the author was worrying about the damage due to lightning. I was inattentive to the possible damage due to lightning.

The interval of 3 seconds between lightning and thunder means it is only 1km away from us. We should be quickly ready for that. There could be an inductive lightning through the AC line even if we were free from the direct strike of lightning. Bill, N4AR, an owner of several high towers, used to tell me to pull all the plugs and connectors as soon as I knew thunderstorm approaching here. It is the only way we could do with this menace of nature. I have learned it again today.

All Asian Contest 2014

Again, I had forgotten it was this contest held this week end. In the beginning, 21MHz didn't sound in good shape. It has got better in 2 or 3 hours. Sometime ago, an hour before noon, on this band, I could hear the East Coasts as well as Europeans. It meant the condition was improving a lot. Having watched this band for a while, I have got the following observation and impressions.

There still seemed to be decreased number of the participants. Under this fairly good condition, there could have been much more signals all around at least in the beginning. There were much room to get on among the contesters. Big guns have scarcely had callers in a row. They have repeated calling CQ TEST and have got a call in several times of CQ. They must have been frustrated with this paucity of contesters. This is not a phenomenon particular to this contest. Most of us should realize it as a general finding in contersts.

The main bracket of the participants seemed to be older. In my rough observation, it might be around 70 years of age. Those who used to be active 2 or 3 decades ago must be still active and comprise the majority in the participants. I could hear a few university club stations in Japan, which used to be the main clubs in contests. I could not help smiling bitterly knowing some of them were operated by old timers different from the student age group. But, seemingly, there were a few operated by the students judging from their ages. I used to be active in this contest over 20 years ago. It was fun for me to know how old or young my friends or well known hams were. I still had that kind of fun this time even though just listening to them. James, 9V1YC, is now 48 years old. Whew, I still have an image of James as around 30 years of age. Seventies are fairly active and skillful in operation. But who knows how contests would become in several years when the majority reaches their eighties?

In the bottom of solar cycles, this period is always the worst for world wide contests. I was sad when the JARL had determined to move this contest from the end of August to this time in a year. It was just not to overlap the timing of Tokyo Ham Fair held in that period with this contest. In the end of August, the terrific band condition used to usher in the arrival of fall. There were big guns from the east coast on 21MHz like sardines in a can. But it has already gone. My interests in contesting has been calmed down as well. I only hope they would enjoy the band conditions and the unique rule which will tell the other's age.



The rainy season

It is the rainy season. It will last until the end of July. No gardening nor farming at present. Spending the free time with ham radio, reading and practising cello.
There are less activity on the radio except for contesting and pile ups. I won't complain of that any longer but there are still very few ordinary QSOs. 
Reading objectives are about the collective self defence and a book about Bach written by Gardiner. Our government is trying to lead us toward a country which could make war against our constitution. It is against constitutionalism. 
Cello...a lovely instrument. The more I practise it, the more it requires me time and energy. It is a battle against the time. In a couple of days, I will go and join a piano trio and, on the day after, an ensemble of Bach pieces. 
The entrance. I have managed cutting lawn while the rain stopped.

Radish and squid cooked with soy sause and sake

Radish is the harvest in our yard farm. Fresh and kind of sweet. It absorbs delicate taste from seasoned squid. Squid might look grotesque but tastes good with soy sauce and sake.


The time for full retirement

I have finally decided to fully retire this month. I told that to the president of the hospital, my part time place, 2 days ago.
I have been thinking of that for months. Working as a doctor is still attractive to me. I knew it had been my Beruf so far as I was conscious of. Feeling that I am required by someone is a good thing in life.  There is nothing better than being a pediatrician in that respect. Sick children are always getting better very soon from their nature. A pediatrician could help them a bit to recover and could see them to be vivid and active again. Weepy children would smile at me in an hour or two or at the next visit to me.
In the training, though it is questionable if I have done all my best in it, I have spent a lot of energy and time. Once I was on charge of a seriously sick child, I could hardly sleep for a day or two. I had to work for 2 or even 3 days consecutively when I was on the night duty. It was not easy task for me. But, as the other pediatricians did, I believed that the experience would make capability as well as self confidence in my profession. I was sad to quit that career. I felt as if all my efforts had gone away at the full retirement. I should rather thank all the children whom I have been on charge. They have made me as I am.
It is the time, however, for me to step out for another part of my life now. I would take of the cloth of being a pediatrician. I would be what I am without any title or any secondary attributes to myself. It may enable me to go out to the other world of life. Work is not the only thing in my life. I should knock the door and step out to the further possibility of life. I won't forget all the problems in the medical services I have met in my career. I would study what has caused them and how to resolve them by myself. There might be a chance to work as a volunteer somewhere.
Anyway, farewell to the uniform and the stethoscope!
The magnolia tree with fully blown leaves. 
Maybe, I still miss doing with lovely children, though.


It is a small world.

It is getting humid and warm even in the morning here. It is a bit difficult for me to sleep again once waking up early in the morning. It was 4 AM when I woke up this morning. Having a cup of coffee with hand, I came into the shack. Twenty meters was exceptionally good for the western Europe. Among old friends like Kjell SMOCCE, Harry DK2GZ or Knut DK5AD, Georg DK7LX has given me a call.

I have heard of his trip to Ark. in the US from Ron K5XK. Actually, I was talking to Ron on 15meters CW while Georg was staying at his home. Ron told me an interesting story. When Ron peeped Georg talking to his wife, Sabine, in Germany through the Skype in the shack, as Ron said, she was  crying at Georg there. Though she wanted to come with Georg, her new work had prevented her from doing so. She was so sad not to be able to be with him. What a hot couple! She had been relieved to have Georg come home 3 days ago as Georg told me.

Georg was happy and honored to be an FOC member. He was celebrating becoming a member with Sabine at a restaurant last month:Georg has sent me this photo together with another photo of Rudi DK7PE shown later after the QSO. Georg has the membership paper with his hand.

Georg's page of QRZ.com tells he has been pretty active in DXpedition. Maybe, his work at an airline company has made it possible. He is only 42 years old and could be a great advocate for CW to the young hams. His DX activity has reminded me of Rudi DK7PE, another avid DXpeditioner with whom I used to work around 1990s. I asked him, expecting a negative answer, if he had known Rudi. Surprisingly, he knew Rudi very well. Rudi has been a colleague at the company. Georg told me excitedly that he had just talked him a couple of days ago.  
I told Georg how I had known Rudi. He has been a proficient CW operator and was not only a DX crazy. He often enjoyed chatting on this mode. Once, Rudi told me a funny story. When he visited Rev. Moran 9N1MM in Nepal, he had to repair the gear by himself staying up until late at night. The day after, very early in the morning, he was forced to get up and was told to attend the morning service. That was why he had been reluctant to stay at ham friends' home since then. I have enjoyed his operation so excellent that very few could compete with him. Whenever I heard of his DXpedition those days, I assured myself that I could get him at that rare one before he actually came on. His technique in operation was that much superb.
Georg told me he would see Rudi in a couple of days and looked forward to seeing what reaction Rudi would show when talking this story to him. Here is the shot of recent Rudi operating from 9X land. He is now 55 years of age. But he still looks very young. After the QSO with Georg, I remembered I had found his name and call in the visitors' note book at K6DC in Santa Barbara immediately before me when I visited Merle there in '80s. It is still a small world.
Georg told me he has been interested in our country and would visit here in the near future. I would talk with him over glasses of beer then. Of course, together with Sabine that time.


Hamburg steak and radish salad

Hamburg steak. Nothing special. Seasoned with soy sauce and sake.
Fresh salad. Featuring radish harvested from the yard farm. The 1st harvest. Tomatoes may follow soon.

White collar exemption

Our government is introducing white collar exmeption law now. They say it is to realize creative work with employee's free will. It would enact, they say, it is valid only when an employee would apply for it. And the work of the employee should be limited to creative independent kinds of work. They say it would enable the emploees to be paid according to what they accomplish in their work.

I suspect it won't work as they say. Even at present, the workers are inclined to do overwork without appropriate payment. There are a lot of connived cases against the Labor Standards Law. This system will give a free hand for the employers to do with worker administration. The threshold would be lowered as much as the employers want to. This rule is originally intended to increase the labor productivity as much as possible. It will be for more profits to the emplyers.

How do they judge the productivity in medical services? It must be based on how much a division or a worker earns from the work. No other judgement standard, I am afraid. I am sure it will deteriorate the quality of medical services in addition to casting further overwork on the medical staff.

Isn't it the time for us now to be free from such a belief in high productivity in any field of work?