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KI5SME, I’m a HAM

Chibi Dale is a serious writer

At the prompting of friend and inspiration Brady Pamplin W5LH, I sat for and passed both the Technician and General Class exams for amateur radio operator at HamCon last month. I now have limited privileges on limited frequencies. This has been something I have wanted to do since I was a Scout (they were called Boy Scouts in my time).

While I was originally issued a ‘systematic’ call sign of KI5FDS (kilo india five foxtrot delta sierra, aka “First Dale in Space”), I applied for and was granted a modification for what is known as a ‘vanity call sign’, which came in today. I can now get ‘Radio Operator’ license plates that say “KI5SME”, as well as participate in important disaster preparedness exercises such as Field Day.

A short dissection: The prefix “KI5” is the currently available code for new licensees in Region 5 (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas). The suffix “SME” could stand for “subject matter expert”, but it really stands for “someday, maybe Extra”, referring to the “Amateur Extra” class that is the next higher level after General. The official definitions are available at the FCC web site.

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Short Vacation – Today’s orders shipped on Monday

I’m taking my loving, talented and overworked wife on a short road trip.  We leave this morning and will return Sunday.  Orders placed today, Friday, 28 January 2011 will ship Monday, 31 January 2011. If you placed an order yesterday, Thursday, 27 January 2011, your order is on its way to the Post Office, but you will not receive a shipment notification (from me) until Monday.

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Asymptotically Approaching Graduation

Recently I’ve described myself as a “full-time freelance writer and part-time student”. This semester (Fall 2010) it turns out I’m a full-time student. I just counted up my hours and after exhausting all the available digits, I removed one shoe and discovered I was taking 14 hours, which most people consider full-time status. I have had the pleasure of knowing younger, more ambitious students who were taking 20 and 24 hours in a single semester, but I think we can agree those people are crazy. Or doctors by now.
After reviewing my scholastic accomplishments with one of the fine counselors at the local community college, it occurred to me that I could graduate in the spring if I just worked a little harder. I must admit that this idea holds a certain amount of fascination.
Wish me luck!

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Closed for Summer Vacation – 30 June to 12 July 2010

I’ll be closed for business from Wednesday, 30 June 2010 and back to work on Monday, 12 July 2010.  Any orders placed during that time will not be shipped until I return.

We’re packing up the family and heading north to get out of this Texas summer heat, because we heard “it’s cooler near the lake”.  See you in a couple of weeks!

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A Place for Personal Notes

I just created a new category here under “News” for items of a personal nature. Obviously, there’s nothing super-secret or confidential here. It’s just for items that I would like to jot down and perhaps review at some point in the future.