KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


Hawaii Island is still recovering from the effects of the 11 March
2011 tsunami.  As of today, the Big Island sustained around $14.2
million in damage, with most of the loss to commercial business
$11.1 million).  The state is now compiling a full damage assess-
ment with the hope of getting some federal disaster relief funds.
Local amateur radio operators were active at Hawaii County
Civil Defense and provided communication backup where
necessary.  Despite some intermod problems on VHF (2 meters),
most of the traffic passed got through on time.  Pacific Section
Manager Bob Sneider has a complete assessment in his recent
section manager report.  I was a bit surprised that our 2-meter
interisland links had problems.  Murphy’s Law is alive and well.

Meanwhile, Japanese amateur radio operators are still helping
with recovery efforts north of Tokyo.  The 24 March 2011
“ARRL Letter” has a good run down of those activities.  Like
amateurs in this country, Japanese hams have a commitment
to public service, often at high risk to themselves.  Many of
us would think twice about working near a nuclear reactor
that is close to meltdown.  I pray that those doing communi-
cations work in that part of the world will be alright.  Ap-
parently, two plant workers are in a local hospital for
radiation treatments.  All of this makes you wonder why
anyone would place such a facility near a fault zone or
near a tsunami-prone area.  Several U.S. nuclear plants
share similar problems, especially those located in Cali-
fornia.  When the cards are held by Nature, one should
pause and consider other options.  No, I’m not going to
rant about how short-sighted and deficient our national
energy policy is.  Just follow a few internet search topics
and you can see how ill-prepared we are when it comes
to energy use and development.  And to think I voted
for some of these incompetent clowns who now call
the shots.  I have no one to blame but myself.  I am
entirely too trusting–a lesson I have to relearn everytime
I enter the newsroom and learn just how fragile our
society really is. 

The unsteady decline of our society has prompted me
to run a tight ship both at work and at home.  Maintenance,
making do with what you have, and paying cash for what
is needed have become the rule.  Our stations’ management
is quite resourceful, doesn’t waste money, and operates
an efficient, cost effective facility.  Even with that approach,
our salespeople put in a full, seven-day work week to keep
us moving forward.  All of us pursuing a broadcast career in
the middle of the “big pond” know that work and performance-
based results will let you eat another day–too bad those running
our daily lives have failed to remember that debts come due and
they have to be paid.  A similar pattern dominates life at home
and at the amateur radio station in the rear bedroom.  My XYL
is an excellent money manager and we don’t spend what we don’t
have.  As for the amateur station, the hybrid and early solid state
gear that pumps out the rf is kept in good repair, clean, and
carefully treated.  That Elecraft K3 will have to wait a while
until I have enough money to pay for it cash.  Antennas are
all home-brew.  Nothing fancy, but the dipoles and verticals
work and give me many hours of needed escape from the
“real world.”

Enough diatribe for one day.  Have a good week, get on
the air, and have some fun heating the ether.  Aloha es 73
de KH6JRM.

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KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


Hawaii Island survived the 11 March 2011 tsunami with
considerable damage incurred to businesses along Alii
Drive in Kailua-Kona.  According to Governor Neil
Abercrombie, who did a damage assessment tour on
15 March 2011, the damage could run into the tens of
millions of dollars.  Thankfully, no one in the state was
killed.  According to state Civil Defense, 20 homes were
damaged (2 being draged into Kealakekua Bay) and 31
businessess suffered some degree of damage.  The
county’s Public Works Department and volunteers have
cleaned up most of Alii Drive–the main thoroughfare
seriving Kailua-Kona.  Our hearts go out to Japan
which has been hit pretty hard–both in the loss of
human life and the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear
power plant.  One of former announcers, who now
runs a morning show in Yokohama, gave the news
department a gritty picture of what went down–not
a pretty picture.

As relief efforts continue, the Japan Amateur Radio
League (JARL) is asking amateur radio operators
to keep the following frequencies clear for emergency
communications:  7.030 MHz, 7.077 MHz, 7.087 MHz,
7.097 MHz, 3.525 MHz, 14.1 MHz, 21.2 MHz, and
28.2 MHz.  More information can be found in the 17
March 2011 “ARRL Letter”.

If you want to contribute to relief efforts in Japan, go
to http://www.redcross.org/.  You can also text REDCROSS
90999.  The text will add $10 to your mobile phone
bill.  The additional charge will be used to support
relief efforts in Japan.

The events of the past week should serve as a
reminder that natural forces are stronger than
any device, plan, or pattern devised by human-
kind.  Those of us in Hawaii share many of the
concerns of those who lost family members,
friends, and property in Japan.  Like Japan,
Hawaii rests on the “rim of fire”–a fact that
the ongoing Kilauea eruption continuously
reminds us.  With that in mind, it might be
a good idea to have a family survival kit
handy in case nature deals you a bad hand.
I have several of these kits at home, in the
van, and at work.  Long ago I decided to
keep my amateur gear off-grid and portable.
I also have several easy to assemble antennas
both both VHF and HF.  One never knows
what the future holds.  Our prayers go to those
working to restore Japan.  Have a good week-
end.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


This has been a sad weekend for journalists and news
announcers such as I.  The 8.9 magnitude earthquake
that devasted eastern Honshu Island, Japan affected
the entire Pacific Rim, including Hawaii.  On the Big
Island, 2 home were washed into the sea at Napoopoo
Village (on the west side) and more than 50 businesses
in the Kailu-Kona area suffered damage.  The popular
Kailua-Kona pier, which serves as the drop off point
for cruise ship visitors was damaged and will be closed
pending a full inspection by the state Department of Land
and Natural Resources. Thankfully, no one was killed or
injured seriously.  Damage on Hawaii Island will run into
the millions.

Most of the station staff spent Thursday night and all day
Friday covering the event, since our location was out of
the tsunami inundation zone.  All evacuations were carried
out smoothly by 0200 Friday time.  During our 12 hours of
continuous coverage, we became the focal point for informaton
to local residentws.  The station had a person assigned to the
local civil defense office to relay official information to those of
us working the studio lines.  Local amateur radio operators, the
Civil Air Patrol, and the National Guard rendered valuable backup
assistance.  After 12-hour coverage and the necessary after incident
reporting, our small staff was pretty tired.  I stayed around to issue
final reports before heading back to the qth for some much needed
rest.

The assessment phase has begun with the American Red Cross and
Hawaii County Civil Defense leading the effort.  The news room will
provide information as it is received.  The American Red Cross has
issued an appeal for help in Japan relief efforts.  If you care to donate
to the relief effort, go to http://www.redcross.org/.  The death toll in Japan is
nearing 10,000 (killed and missing)–a figure that may increase over the
next few days.  We’re also keeping an eye on a nuclear power plant that
may experience further problems.  All told, this was not a good day for
humanity.  I really don’t enjoy reporting such news, but you work with
the hand you are dealt–whether it be good news or bad. 

As you might expect, I didn’t spend too much time at the home station.
Most of my time (plus a few overnights) was spent in the news room
monitoring the pace of recovery and issuing news bulletins as warranted.

Try to have a good weekend…help in the relief effort if you can.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM

KH6JRM’s Amateur Radio Blog


Another exciting week is almost in the can–and none
too soon.  What a mess–The federal government is
nearly broke, our state is hoping a bond sale will under-
write an ambitious capital improvements program, and
the cauldron known as the Middle East is driving fuel
prices higher.  Who could ask for more?  For news
people, all this confusion, mass ignorance, and sheer
incompetence displayed by world-wide governments
is a virtual gold mine of stories, op-ed pieces, and
blog entries.  Too bad, the end result of this will further
cripple our already weakened economy.  So, once this
news shift is done at KKBG-FM/KHLO-AM, I’ll be
glad to leave this madness and return to the relative
calm of the amateur radio bands.  Today’s activity may
be a bit restricted since the weather service is calling for
thunderstorms later today.  Everything is disconnected–
so that worry is reduced.  All I have to do is swivel the
40-meter vertical to ground level.  All feedlines have been
disconnected and grounded.  Same goes for all the electronics
at the qth.  While the front passes, I’ll catch up on some
antenna topics.  The March 2011 issue of “QST” is
dedicated to antennas, and some of the articles look
interesting.  Once the weather clears, I will do some
maintenance on the under-the-house 40-meter loop.
It appears as if some rodent (most likely a roof rat)
got the munchies for the RG-6 leading from the 4:1
balun.  And I thought people in Africa were starving.
Our local rodents (including the mongoose) have
done a number on several of my antennas over the
past few years.  One year I accidently fried a rat
when I keyed down on an old Swan Cygnet 260.
That poor critter never knew what hit him. Such is
life on the fringe of empire.  Have a good weekend.
Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.

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