Saturday, June 10, 2006
From the field
I am writing from the Colorado HamCon just after lunch and a rousing morning of ham radio hopefuls taking exams and a presentation by one of my MARC VE team members, Wes Wilson, head of the team. He talked about the local group's participation in the communications and clean-up during Katrina, which captured my attention to the point where I did some impromptu interviewing of people asking questions and offering insight into the communications cock-up that kept ham radio operators out of the action until the second week after Katrina had done her worst, too late to do more than get moved from place to place without not much to do. Seems there is a story to tell there about hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment the Dept. of Homeland Security bought that didn't work and they don't want the tax payers to know how much money was spent on equipment that failed when put to the test.
Outside of that session I need to come back at midnight to find out what the Wouff Hong is and how it is used to discipline hams who operate in the obnoxious range of things and are "lids". Not a good thing and it definitely looks like a nasty piece of equipment, but have laptop will find information -- and I have the information I need. I'll probably still come back just to show off a little bit. It will be my one and only chance to know something ahead of time.
Our VE liaison, Dean, looked at me for the first time in over a year and noticed that my callsign (ACØCA) is a palindrome (reads the same way front to back and back to front). I think it's also the first time he realized I was female. In his defense, he didn't have his coffee yet and he usually stands with his back to me when he does his spiel about the procedures and protocols of a VE exam session. I'll remember and use the information to devil him for as long as I can.
The news about Dean Haskins (KAØPII) is pretty good. He's still in a coma but he is responding to stimulus and will pick up his exercise ball when he drops it. He opens his eyes from time to time but he isn't cognizant -- at least not overtly so -- right now. I was a bit worried when I heard they had put in a tracheostomy tube because I thought they were putting him on long term ventilatory support, but it's just a matter of clearing the secretions in his throat and keeping his airway open. The news is pretty good and hopefully he will be back with us soon because we all miss him.
Other than that, chuck_lynn and I have been running around Rocky Mountain National Forest, Tabernash, Granby, Fraser, Winter Park (at my favorite organic food market), Lyons, Boulder and Estes Park. We have sampled venison, buffalo and elk jerky, organic popcorn and, of course, chocolate from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (yes, fans they do have one here in Estes Park). We have seen lots and lots of elk cows and plenty of elk bulls with their velvet covered horns grazing in the fields and along the streets and roadways into, out of and around Estes Park. I even managed to find a wireless connection here at HamCon by pirating the hotel's wireless network which is why I decided not to leave quite so early.
However, it's about time to wrap it up, pick up some steaks at the Safeway and go get some rest before I make my return appearance tonight.
That is all. Disperse.