Report From the OP, March 12, 2022

I’m still “out and abouting”, so you get another report. Of course, if gas prices continue to rise, I’ll have to rethink things. It’s up to $4.30 locally.

Another trip to the grocery store. Ouch. I think they’re using their POS systems to update prices in real time. The concept of “on sale” has turned into a joke. You can watch people pick up something, look at the price tag on the shelf and weigh the purchase. I think as many things are put back on the shelf as in the cart. I don’t know that anyone is going hungry just yet, but at this rate there are going to be a lot of folks on an involuntary diet.

In YouTube land, the cooking channels I watch are really going into the struggle food/eating on a tight budget area with vigor. The Hillbilly Kitchen and The Wolfe Pit are two of my favorites, but you can just search for “struggle food” and you’re going to get a lot of videos. I haven’t looked, but I imagine that an Internet search will get a lot of recipes in text form as well.

Speaking of Internet searches…many of us have been using DuckDuckGo as an alternative to Google. If you have, you might want to consider this information. There are other privacy-oriented search engines if you decide to change. Most sources still list DDG, but they haven’t been updated. FWIW, I’m back to using Google via a VPN while evaluating alternatives.

Today’s adventure was a trip to the Charlotte Hamfest. I hate to say it, but on the whole it was a bit of a letdown. Some of this was due to the weather, which went from unseasonably warm to unseasonably cold overnight, and I think that had a drastic impact on the outdoor tailgating vendors. I saw very few of them, and that was my big reason for going.

There were also very few full-time ham vendors, but that wasn’t much of a surprise. At one time, the Charlotte Hamfest was big, and several vendors such as Yaesu and Icom had booths. But the years and the Internet have taken their toll, and the show is far smaller than it has been. The indoor tailgating area had quite a few folks, but many of them seemed to be somewhat less than interested in selling. Prices on HF rigs were high, which I expected considering the lack of new rigs available. There is also pressure on that market from all the new hams who want to get into HF on the cheap. The best buys were a few Yeasu FT-450/FT-450Ds for $450-$500. I have a FT-450D, and it’s a nice starter rig. Past that, there was a nice Kenwood TS-2000 with the 1.2 GHz module and the matching Kenwood power supply and external speaker for $1300. It’s an older radio to be sure, and the price was on the high side even now, but If I’d been able to save a few more pennies I might have negotiated with the guy. As it was I thanked him and moved on. I don’t really need another radio anyway.

It didn’t help that some of the indoor tailgaters start packing up at 1:30, 2 1/2 hours before the end of the show. I guess business was slow, but you can’t sell if you aren’t there. Not my issue.

There was very little Heathkit gear to be seen, which was one of the things I actually was looking for. I did see a station monitor, but at a totally unrealistic price for its condition. I was really hoping to find a Heathkit desk mic, but didn’t see any. There was one overpriced Astatic D-104, but aren’t they all. I also saw a couple of Kenwood MC-60s for $60 and $80. I have one that I payed $50 for about 3 years ago. It’s a good mic if you have Kenwood equipment. I did pick up a 10 amp ICT power supply for $20, which felt like a reasonable deal to me. Other than a drink and my ticket, that was to sum of my purchases.

I was also scoping shortwave receivers for blog reader redclay, pretty much without any luck. I did find one nice Sony, an ICF-SW77 I believe, but with no price tag. I’ve long since learned that if if doesn’t have a price on it, it’s probably over-priced, and I didn’t even bother to ask. There were no Radio Shacks or the like. There were a number of older models, but they were all tube receivers, and I don’t believe that’s what he’s after.

I was also able to connect with the TARPN folks, who had a couple of tables to demonstrate the technology. I’ve been interested in it, and it’s continuing its slow march toward me. I’m going to start gathering the materials to jump on board, as they seem to be close enough that it now makes sense to get ready.

On the way home, I found $4.10 gas at a station where I have one of those 5¢/gallon cards, so I got my gas for $4.05. It’s sad when you pay $4.05/gallon for gas and you feel like you’ve scored. But the tank is once again full, and that’s what counts.

That’s all of it. You may get another next week, as I do have to head into some areas that I haven’t seen recently. Until then, out here.

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