Category Archives: amateur radio

Camping at Mashamoquet Brook State Park

This past weekend Rob and I went camping at Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret, CT, a whopping 30 minute drive from home. The campground we stayed at is called the Wolf den. We have a big anniversary coming up and with Rob’s surgery next week, we decided we needed a getaway. The farm is pretty much a constant source of projects and work, and we forget to take time to relax if we are at home.

We left home on Friday afternoon after Rob returned from work and Quinn and I came home from our ride at Arcadia. The park is 10 minutes or so off of 395, but tucked back into the woods. There was a total of 6 out of 35 camp sites occupied, mostly with tent campers, but few RVs. It was very quiet. Only one site (ours) has electric and water (which was leaking and had to get turned off). Rob brought his amateur radio equipment, and set up a portable station and I brought books.

The nearby camp nature trail by the brook had beavers and I saw at least 3 turtles laying eggs in the meadow. The wetland brook area also had great blue herons and tons of red winged black birds. The beavers have dammed up the brook, so no fishing is possible, it is more of a wetland.

The weather was gorgeous. No rain at all. Saturday we slept in, went on a few hikes, took a nap (me), read, and Rob played radio. Our main hike was on a nearby blue trail that was fairly technical with rock covered hills, and boasted an indian chair and a table rock rock formation and supposedly the wolf den of the last wolf to be killed in CT.

Saturday night we grilled steaks, baked potatoes, along with sauteed green beans and mushrooms. Yum! We sat by the fire after dinner and just enjoyed the quiet.

Below are a few pictures from the weekend. We will definitely try to do some other local staycations again.

Amateur Radio

In high school, I was very active in scouts.  I remember a particular camporee in the fall of 1993 where a group of amateur radio operators were set up and using antennas up in trees to talk to people all over the world.  I thought it was the most amazing thing.  Of course, that was before we had ready access to the internet and cell phones were bricks that could only be used as phones.  That experience encouraged me to study and pass my Technician Plus license exam the next summer.  I saved and bought a handheld radio that operated on the 2m bands.  I even took that radio with me to Philmont Scout Ranch on a backpacking expedition.

When I went to the Naval Academy, I chose electrical engineering as my major – primarily influenced by my exposure to amateur radio.  The Academy had an amateur radio club and I participated a little my first year, but it was a hobby that faded and fell by the wayside.  Eventually, I sold my radio and my license expired in 2004.

As Anna will attest, I never truly give up a hobby, I just set them aside for a while.  With concerns over communications during disasters (hurricanes, winter storms, etc), I decided to get back into the world of amateur radio.  I also think it is something that Alex will be interested in and I would prefer he focus on this instead of watching Minecraft YouTube videos.  He is particularly interested in the idea of building antennas and putting the circuits together.

So, on Wednesday, I took my licensing exam and passed all the way through General.  That gives me good operating privileges on UHF, VHF, and HF.  I’m starting out with a new 2m handheld (Wouxun KG-UV8D shown in the picture below) like before; it’s amazing how costs have actually come down!  Now, I just need my license to show up in the FCC database and I can go on the air.  I hope to find a good deal on a HF setup and show the kids there is life outside the internet.

Edit: my license came through and my call sign is KC1CVO

wouxun kg-uv8d