cables, cables, cables and a dipole
Today at Pop's we finally got around to setting up his dipole. Contrary to one would think, a dipole doesn't have any physical pole in it. Essentially it's the pos/neg thing that's used for a ham radio rig.
The afternoon was spent mowing the lawn first, then jumping up on a ladder several times to position the cable between three trees. After that a secondary cable was soldered to the first one and the end of that cable was snaked thru a window to the Kenwood rig.
The result: Success. Pop got a quick contact in Maine. This means the dipole is set up correct and "pointed" properly.
The life of a ham radio op is sorta/kinda similar to anyone who tinkers with computers, with the exception that the ham radio guy does a lot of stuff outside. The effort it takes just to get a rig working right is difficult, time consuming and outright frustrating. However, once working the rig pretty much stays "in tune" for a good long while.
Amateur radio equipment is ridiculously expensive. If you thought computers were expensive, ha! Try buying a top-of-the-line Icom rig. It'll run you back about $10,000 and I'm not kidding. And yeah, that's just for the rig. Pop has an older Kenwood setup but hey, it works and he can operate; that's all that counts.
Interesting side note: I was actually able to scan and find a frequency strictly from memory from watching Pop do it years ago. Turn the knob, listen for the freq to tune.. adjust squelch.. adjust RF for volume.. and then break in. Pop did the breaking in obviously because he's got the call sign and I don't.
Well anyway.. mission successful. The rig works. Tomorrow will be cleaning up the cables outside (a few are sprawled on the ground).