Sunday, June 22, 2008


I haven't said much about my family on here, mainly because I don't get to see anyone, except for my mother, unless it's a holiday. My brother David who lives in Kansas will usually come down for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sometimes when Dave Roberson Ministries has a conference.

Well, David and his wife Cyndy came down last month, and they treated Mom and me and his mother-in-law Leota to lunch at Cafe USA in Sapulpa. Afterwards, we went to Leota's apartment where we sat and talked for couple of hours. That was extra nice, because at Christmas, his sons Jon and Phillip come up from Dallas, and there's so much talking going on, so many different conversations going on at once, that you have a hard time getting caught up.

During that visit, my brother mentioned that his oldest son, also named David, and his wife Coreen, and their son Anakin were coming back to Tulsa in about a month for a visit.

Cute baby pictures ahead
We eventually met up at Ken's Pizza in Sapulpa for lunch (almost 2 hours later than planned), and again went to Leota's apartment.

This is Anakin looking out the window of the restaurant at Taft Avenue. I'm sorry that I couldn't darken the background, but the dominant feature is a business that's been closed for a long time, so I'm not too worried about it.

That's my brother David holding his grandson.

Like most boys, give Anakin a ball, and he's ready for fun! David the younger and Coreen are smart in that they have bought soft balls for Anakin that are less likely to damage anything. I could say more about the fun we all had, but I'll just leave it with this: anyone who says there's no such thing as a perpetual motion machine must not have ever had kids!

At the restaurant, David the younger mentioned something about him and Coreen having another one on the way. Pray for them, especially Coreen!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Amateur Radio Field Day - This one will be different!

Amateur Radio Field Day, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, always comes on the last FULL weekend in June. This year it happens on Saturday the 28th, and Sunday the 29th.

Field Day is a combination of a contest, a public relations effort, and an emergency preparedness exercise. The contest period runs from 1300 (1PM) CDT on Saturday to 1300 on Sunday. During the contest, FD stations will try to contact as many stations as possible, on as many bands and using as many modes (voice, Morse code, etc.) as possible. The ARRL awards extra points for stations that operate on independent power sources, such as generators or batteries. Other ways to gain points are to set up in a publicly accessible place and have a public relations display, or to have visits by representatives of agencies served by ham radio during emergencies and disasters. For these 2 reasons, clubs will often set up a FD station at a public park, run the radios by generator or battery power, and have a table with brochures about ham radio, emergency preparedness, etc. Many clubs often incorporate their club picnic or cookout into the festivities.

This year will be no different in that Field Day in Tulsa will have it's share of wire antennas supported by trees or portable masts, droning generators, the aroma of hamburgers, hot dogs and brisket, and the staccato rhythm of a CW (Morse code) station.
What will be different is that, for the first time in Tulsa, several clubs will have a joint Field Day operation.

In the past, the Tulsa Amateur Radio Club and the Tulsa Repeater Organization have had separate operations in different parts of town. The Broken Arrow Amateur Radio Club usually would have a station going, but I'm not sure how consistent they were. The American Airlines Amateur Radio Club usually has their regular club meeting and testing session on the last Saturday of the month. If it fell on the FD weekend, and someone was interested enough to bring out a radio, they might set up a short FD operation.

This year, these 4 clubs and more will coordinate their efforts at a single location. The Tulsa City-County Health Department grounds has a large field north of their building at 51st and 129th East Ave. That's where Field Day will be held; and appropriately enough - it's in a field!

This location is close to Broken Arrow, and not too far from the TRO and AAARC meeting places (21st & Garnett, Pine between Garnett & 129th, respectively). The AAARC will have their regular meeting and test session there that Saturday morning. Normally, they restrict their testing to those who have called or emailed beforehand to arrange for the test, but this time, WALK-INS ARE WELCOME! Other clubs will have stations operating under their separate call signs, but will have a common area for feeding and classes.

FD rules allow for setup to begin after 1300 on Friday, and the TARC usually takes advantage of that provision, so they will start setting up first. If you are in the Tulsa area that weekend, and you have the time, swing by for a visit. Even if you are not a ham radio operator, you can come and learn, maybe even get your hands dirty, so to speak, by helping to get an antenna up in the air. You can also try your hand at operating a radio, as long as there is a ham present with the license for the frequency and mode you want to try, and they are willing to show you what to do and say (Most are!).

I plan on being there late Saturday afternoon and evening. Hope to see you there or talk to you on the air!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Busy Week

Well, it was actually more than a week, but I went somewhere everyday between Friday, May 29th and Friday, June 6th, except for Wednesday. The highlights include getting caught in storms 2 days in a row, 3 job interviews, and and a search for a pair of pants that cost waaaay more than what I wanted to pay.

On Saturday, I went to visit my oldest brother in north Tulsa. I could see storms approaching, but I thought we might get to where we were headed before they hit. However, the storm hit just as I was getting onto the I-244 bridge southwest of downtown Tulsa. Visibility dropped to near zero due to the heavy rain and my windshield fogging up. I hadn't quite figured out the defrost setting on my car, so we wiped it first with tissues, then I remembered I had a small squegee/sponge combination within reach. I slowed to a crawl, and managed to get us there despite drifting to the leftmost lane when I wanted to be in the rightmost.

On Sunday, I worked the Tulsa Tough rest stop in Kiefer again, as I have for the last 2 years. I could see storms again to the northwest. The line was oriented southwest to northeast, and moving east. From the traffic I heard on the ham radio net, the storms hit Kellyville directly to the west about 30 - 45 minutes before they arrived in Kiefer. The rest stop was scheduled to close down at 9:30, and it did. Once the crew broke down the equipment, loaded up and left, I noticed a couple of bottles left behind. I picked them up and went to my car. Just as I got there, I felt the first drops of rain. I drove about a mile east to the new school complex, and parked facing the storms. I watched a wall cloud move southeast to the west of town. It was a shallow wall cloud, it did not rotate, and it dissipated as I watched. I didn't bother to call it in. I did drive into some hail on my way home.

Two of the job interviews were conducted at the Rowland Group, a professional staffing firm in Tulsa. The first one was on Monday, and was conducted by one of Rowland's staffers. He was screening drafters with 3D parametric modeling experience for a company. On Thursday, the second interview was with the owner and the product development manager for Cyclonic Valve. It was one of the best interviews I've ever had, but no job offer yet.

Before the interview on Thursday, I needed to find a nice pair of pants to wear. I am hard to fit, thick waist and short legs (they just barely reach my feet!). I stopped at a few places on the way home Monday, but no success. I eventually wound up on Tuesday going to The Men's Wearhouse, and paying $140 for a pair of khaki slacks. Ouch! Well, at least I have a nice pair of pants that fits me and I can wear them to interviews.

The last interview was with McDaniel Technical Services. Their primary business is tank and pipeline inspection, but in the course of doing that, they get requests for drawings of what's being constructed, or for what has already been constructed. That was another positive interview, but still no offer.

I hear the demand for drafters and engineers in Tulsa is good, and I have plenty of help for my job search, so I am confident that I will find the right job soon.