Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Summer Vacation! Carol and I are heading to Montreat, NC, on Friday, driving our Ford van (now up to 110,000 miles plus), pulling our camper. On the way up, we will visit Carol's Aunt Evelyn in Spindale, NC, Friday night, and then drive to Montreat after lunch on Saturday. An organization called "Presbyterians for Renewal" (also known as "PFR")puts on a "Christian Life Conference" annually at Montreat College about this time, and we have built our summer vacations around that event since the summer before Macon's junior year in high school. It has preaching, teaching, music, prayer and worship, and seminars on various subjects. (Macon and I both have taught seminars at the conference in past years, but none this year.) The featured speaker this year is Anne Graham Lotz, one of Billy Graham's children. The conference will begin Saturday evening and carry through until noon on Tuesday. Mary will meet us there Saturday night and spend the rest of our vacation with us. (This week she is in the Dominican Republic on a mission trip with her church. We are looking forward to hearing all about it. Maybe she will post on that adventure.)

At noon on Tuesday, we will drive up on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Pisgah campground and camp that night, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Friday, Carol and Mary will depart together for Austin, driving Mary's SUV, and I will head south for Miami, stopping in Eastman, Georgia, to visit my Aunt Ann.

I am taking an amateur radio station with me to set up when we camp. (If I get a chance I may set it up at other points along the way, but I am anxious to see what it will do up on the ridge near Mt. Pisgah itself. The campground is the highest campground on the Parkway, over 5000 feet.) The radio station will consist of the following:

1. A portable antenna, known as a Buddipole.

2. A small transceiver that I built from a kit, an OHR 100A. It produces a "continuous wave" ("CW") signal of about 5 watts on the 20 meter ham band. CW refers to Morse code transmissions: no microphone, just a telegraph key.

3. A digital frequency meter that I also built from a kit, so that I can tell precisely what frequency I am on.

4. A 12 volt lead-cell battery that I bought from RadioShack to power the transceiver and frequency meter.

5. A set of earphones that I borrowed from an old Walkman.

6. Various leads and connectors with which to string all of this together.

7. Should regular AC power be available, a power supply.

We will take our laptop along, just in case we find a place to connect to the internet. But we may not be posting very much for about 10 days, beginning Friday.

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