I have hackers trying to enter this site on a daily basis, even though the homepage reminds them there is nothing useful for them if they break in. WordPress plugins do a good job of keeping me informed, but responding to the daily emails is both wasteful and depressing. Lately I have installed two additional plugins to help resolve the issue and provide additional security.
I am amazed that a seasoned Extra class ham would want to break into the site, but it has happened twice. Now anybody trying to use ‘admin’ or ‘k4pyr’ as the user name is in for an immediate denial. But when the user enters their callsign, personal e-mail or an e-mail with their callsign included, I just have to respond with an e-mail of my own. After pointing out the error of their ways, and providing them with a report that covers their attempt to break in, I get the lamest of excuses as their ‘mia culpa’. One told me he was trying to navigate to the QRZ.com website, while the other told me he was trying to navigate to the Hamshack Hotline website. Perhaps if they read through my website, they would find no links to either of these sites. So much for the professional ethics that Ham Radio Operators that try these tactics. Perhaps they should think about what the consequences might be. It is so easy to find their name, license class, home address, and who their Internet provider is, and I do not need social media to do this. The forensic tools available make this very easy. So a word to the wise – leave my site alone and put your efforts and talents elsewhere to better use. Time to go check on who wants to get their IP blocked and blacklisted for others to see.
This morning I checked my SkyAware system and discovered a pink blob on the map (shown below). The HBAL identified made me think of a hot air balloon, but they do not fly at 40,000+ feet, so I checked the flight page and found out it was part of a program called Project Loon. I did a bit of quick research and found out that this project was developed to provide internet service (albeit it slow) to areas that have no service or have been involved in a natural disaster.
The balloon was launched west of my location in Virginia at 7:11 EDT last night and currently is floating in the stratosphere at about 64,900 ft and traveling east between 5 and 17 MPH. What amazed me is the technology that is around us every day that we know little to nothing about. While the system may not be cost effective, the development of technology is paramount. I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn about this project.
While Covid-19 has kept a lot of us home, finding something to fill my time has been interesting. Cleaning and painting downstairs is progressing one day at a time. No need to rush it, as a few hours a day is all that is needed to ensure I do not kill off the project to quickly. It is too cold to work in the gardens, but I venture out when it is in the 50’s and get some winter pruning done. The ham radio station is up and operating, but sitting around it all day is not very healthy (exercise wise) but I am having a great time when I am operating.
Work on our repeater project has been stalled due to CVD-19, but I have pretty good Internet connectivity in the cabin so perhaps I will start some online Ham Radio classes for local residents. A private (free) ZOOM session is limited to 40 minutes, but that is long enough to conduct a training session. Technician training materials are in abundance on the web, so the sessions will cover the material and answer student questions. I abhor “memorize the questions and answers” courses, as the new operators never really learn proper operating procedures or the basis for what they are learning. Guiding them to additional materials to view (YouTube videos and articles of interest) an help round out the experience. This website can host some of the materials online as well as provide direct links to other web based educational items. It would be nice to have a few more hams in the area (we have a total of four now) to chat with and perhaps inculcate the desire to operate together at an event.
Need to think about this, but I have enough time on my hands now.
Last December I was able to install a 160 meter horizontal loop on the property. It sat unused until recently when I got my radio station back on the air. Currently I use an ICOM 1c-7100 and the AH-4 Antenna Tuner (purchased used at a ham fest) fed by ladder line. The tuner can match the antenna on all bands, and the ability to run good FT8 QSOs using 15 watts of output power is amazing.
The wait and effort is worth it, as my off-center fed dipole came down during a very bad wind storm. It will be easy to get back up, as soon as I can get the pull line down from the tree.
I spent two days at the Roanoke and Berryille, VA ham fests, which is becoming a tradition (anything done twice in a row). While my good friend was out of town for the weekend events, I did get some nice deals on some 2 and 6 meter antennas, along with an additional broadband discone for my portable mast.
There were some very good deals on both new and used equipment at Berryville, so I came home with a TYT MD-U390 and a MMDVM hotspot. This hotspot runs Pi-Star and is very easy to set up and operate. I did find that the puppies barks are loud and highly pitched that they keyed a VOX mode on the handheld, even though was not programmed to a function key. I did previously program VOX but removed it later, as was not needed but I wanted to check the functionality to ensure it would work if I needed it.
I apologize to all on 3100 that had to listen to the puppies when I was out of the room.
Our building permit was issued on Jan 8, 2019, and almost seven months to the day, the builder brought our certificate of occupancy. While there are some punch list items to clear up, we now have space to park our cars, and an RV barn to use as a workshop until we get another rig. Working with the builder and the sub-contractors, we have remained onsite almost daily since the construction started. Our interactions and work over the weekend have ensured that only little issues remain.
The next effort is to move our furniture from the other house into the apartment and get the other house ready for sale. So I can now look forward to staying at the other house and driving home on weekends until it is ready for sale. At least we are closer to finally getting our NC house settled in so we can enjoy other things we need to do. Friends and family now have a nice place to stay during visits.
After attempting to add a calendar plugin to the site, I encountered the WordPress White Screen of Death! Not knowing what the problem was, and not fully researching it, I decided to update the site and reorganize some information and content.
In the near future, I will be offering ham radio classes to my neighbors so they may be better prepared for emergencies in our rural neighborhoods. In the event of a weather or other emergency, VHF handhelds would provide an adequate means of communications in our rural area. For those interested in upgrading, I can provide assistance in that area also.
To assist future ham radio operators, the Reference Library contains many articles and items for future study and use. Visitors are encouraged to view and download any of the items placed there.