My Hobbies

Science humor ¶ PrintingHam Radio & Public ServiceShortwave ¶ Computers ¶ Books ¶ Games

On this page, Links in [brackets] are links to other hosts. More links can be found on the links page, but that's even more out of date.

Recent changes (2002.06.02) below here italicized like this. Comments to

Science Humor : For several years in a row, my family organized the League of Junior Scientists delegation for the IgNobels ceremony, sponsored by the Annals of Improbable Research. Hear the BBC report on this year's festivities. (1MB WAV from my intercept tape) (.AU format) (much shorter RA format). Thanks to George Goble, IgNobel Chemistry Laureate for providing space for these files and the Unix translation. (His page also has scanned copies of the winner's list and the program, and a still and video of his prize-winning experiment.) For a few years, we'd been sitting in the cheap seats as paper-plane throwing audience, but were back in Delegations lately.

Printing: My Usenet news article on Letter-Press Printing as a Hobby describes the available resources for the renaissance of letter-press printing. Swamp-Castle Press is a hobby; I print keepsakes and stationary for myself and private distribution using smaller, obsolescent presses and moveable metal type. Since I'm using table-top presses and pull the type sorts out of the cases with my fingers, I like to think of it as the original mode of digital typesetting and desk-top publishing :-). See also: My Printing History and Letterpress Bookmarks, [COMP.FONTS homepage&FAQ] The Letterpress Resources and the Friends of the Museum of Printing home page, which I had been maintaining. The Museum of Printing opened July 29th, 2000,and has it's own Domain and a real (not me) webmaster.

Ham Radio (2002-06-02): Callsign N1VUX, Grid FN42.
ARES: I'm the Webmaster and DEC-Metro-Boston (District Emergency Coordinator) for [Eastern MAss ARES ](Amateur Radio Emergency Service). I also maintain the EMA ARRL Section ARES/CEMARC Field Day Directory listing all clubs' sites, and suggestions for Field Day ARES activity.

SKYWARN: I'm continuing involvement in Skywarn coordination with Rob, KD1CY, [the Skywarn Coordinator]for Eastern Mass & Southern New England. I'm more often found on the 146.64 Waltham WX net, or running its backup/branch net on Boston 145.23.

ANTENNAS: A friend of mine found and passed around these plans for an Eggbeater antenna. They're good for omni-directional horizontal and up-pointing circular polarized, which makes them good for non-seeking satellite stations.

BANDS: I'm on 2m FM mostly, supposedly have 6m/2m/440 SSB base and/or portable but don't use it much aside from Field Day. I picked up the new Alinco DJ-S41T pocket 350mW 440 HT when it was new, which I'd been experimenting with; web page linked is my manual for it. I now have way more HF gear than a still-certified code-free Tech-Minus should bother with; time to study for an upgrade. My antennas were used by BARC FD's VHF WS station. I'm not on 6m SSB much yet myself, need to check out the portable Icom 6m amp I got and see how it works with the IC-502 portable SSB rig.  (2002-06-02)

I monitor the 145.23 [Boston Amateur Radio Club] and 146.64 [Waltham ARA] repeaters regularly; though when I'm on the subway, I'm not talking much; if I'm driving, I may be in the .64 drive-time round-table. I haven't picked a favorite 440 machine yet, but NETARC is the only system I can hit from Home. When mobile, it's scanning MIT, the Boston machines, MMRA, and WARA plus any I know are in the area.

I frequently check into BARC club net on .23 at 9PM local Mondays and the National Traffic System net at 8pm on .23 (NTS delivers radiograms anywhere in the US or Canada and other countries as allowed by law, as a free public service). I also will be more frequent on the SKYWARN nets on 146.64 and 145.23 or 145.47 as needed during severe weather watches/warnings.

still Certified Code-Free after all these years. My opinions on the previous exam structure and a proposal to fix it were also carried as guest opinion on the [Eastern Massachusetts ARRLWeb] for a while. I dropped out of a code class due to lack of practice time, but if I find a good deal on an HTX-100 10m transceiver [I did, not the new HTX-10] I may knock off the 5wpm quick [but I didn't], even though I think it's still dumb. [it still is] Having flunked the 5wpm test but passed the written 3B and 4A (General and Advanced), I had a year to pass the 13wpm, so I got the MFJ Code Practice toy (the one with the LCD) out again. Instead, I wasted 4 years in a startup company that busted. But I think the Koch method will work for me when I decide to do it. Interestingly, the new Extra exam is pretty close to what Len Winkler & I were supporting, a hard written and 5wpm. Maybe now that they're increasing the new Extra question pool to make it challenging, I'll try again. (2002-06-02)

See also: [American Radio Relay League ] [ KD1SM Public Service List: Hams helping the public.] [KY1N Memorial list ] of local ham radio VE exam sessions. If you have a amateur license and an email address, you probably want to request an email alias for you call at like I did.

Short-wave Radio Listening (SWL) or World-Band Radio: I like listening to the BBC and several other international news stations. My letter to Monitoring Times on challenge of decrypting numbers stations was edited to fit the dead-tree edition, but they put the full version on their webpage, which I've mirrored (with minor typographic improvement).
See the [Shortwave/Radio Catalog ] for pointers to various SW stations' and SWL's pages.

Computer Programming:
I've got some educational programs for my daughter's school deep on the back burner. I don't program at home much except when I'm in documentation & specifications mode at the office. Bus-Man's Holiday and all that. :-)

Reading & Book Collecting:
We're compulsive book collectors. Would you like me to put links to some used bookstores here? My preferred used-book on-line search is Advacned Book Exchange. Library and charity booksales in Mass (or other states) are listed online now!
Books recently read, or read-at:

Role-Gaming (2/21/97):
We used to do a moderate amount of role-playing with variant Traveller and GURPS rules, but have done very little since we became parents. I picked up a pair of Magic:The Gathering decks to see how the system works, but not for competition or collecting. These days if we attend Havoc, a local Historical Miniatures + RPG convention, it's only to see friends. We play Pacheesi with cowri shells instead of dice; number of mouths, with nought being 25 and one being 10, and 6,10,25 all giving free turn and/or entry(as with doubles).

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