Getting Started Geocaching

If memory serves me correct I recall seeing a post about geocaching a few years back on some forum (, maybe?). At the time I know I did not own a GPS unit, either hand held or for the car, so I really did not pay too much attention, but I thought the concept was rather interesting.

As from the Geocaching web site, “Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. Search for a geocache below or learn more about getting started.

My son, who is 4 years old knows what the GPS is for, we always follow the red line and it takes us to our destination. While he doesn’t understand what a cache is, he does know what “treasure” is, so I told him we are going on a treasure, which is what Geocaching really amounts to. So with our TomTom in hand and the coordinates loaded we went in search of ‘Pump You Up‘. It was not the easiest cache to search for as our first geocache, being relatively small it could cause problems.

We spent the better part of 20 minutes searching the immediate area and could not find what we were looking for. My son was excited while we were looking for it, but when we were done, empty handed he was somewhat disappointed. I told him we would go back out and look for it again and hopefully find it the second time out.

I was quite surprised to see the amount of caches in our immediate (1 mile) area. Even more if I move out to a 5 mile radius. So this should be a lot of fun as he starts getting older. He can help input the latitude and longitude coordinates, as well as decrypt the clues on the Geocache web site. Looks to be a fun hobby and I noticed there were a GPS & Ham Radio Forum on the Geocache web site. What better way to combine hobbies!

The 6th Thought: Let it Go!

I don’t think a day ever passes that somebody does not take a cheap shot at another in a hobby related Internet forum. I am sure I can call myself on this in years past supporting a game I helped in developing since I was the big, bad “Forum Nazi” and rather quick to bring the hammer down on threads and forum goers. Personally, I saw nothing wrong with removing or editing questionable content or applying a ban to an individual for questionable actions.

Actions like this of a moderator are usually met in protest with shouts of “freedom of speech” and being able to express their thoughts without any sort of repercussion. I must disagree, if you participate in a forum, you have no rights to act like a complete ass and ignore guidelines set in place.

I am moving away from my original point, that is the fact that it’s amazing to see amateur radio operators taking shots at each other continuously. One of those “hot button” topics is contesting. There seems to be no middle ground, you either like it or hate it. There is a subculture to contesting, those who participate in CW as opposed to SSB. Guess there is something special being a CW contester as opposed to a SSB contester, still haven’t figured that one out.

I just find the animosity difficult to swallow on a daily basis. Right now, some might be thinking, “If you don’t like it, don’t read the forums.” You are exactly right! There are those ridiculous topics I usually end up avoiding because they don’t provide any useful information and nothing is ever resolved.

As I mentioned I am sure every hobby is similar in this way, sure we are licensed by the FCC, but we must govern ourselves. I am still appalled at the attitudes of some amateurs who feel they are high and mighty and above everyone else. Conversely, there are some real great individuals who always prove timely and sensible information relevant to any discussion. For those individuals I thank them.

Of course my complaining about it is no better than those partaking in these arguments, but why these ongoing arguments continue on a weekly (monthly) basis is just mind boggling.

All Good Things…

As the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end.” That was the recently the case for the highly popular Fox TV show, ’24?. While I never have watched Jack Bauer in this real time show, another all-time favorite of mine has just finished. Today was the final episode of season 10 of Stargate SG1. I must say I was sad to see it end, of course it was left open back in 2007 when SG1 walked up the ramp and through the stargate to “save the universe.”

SG1 indeed had a great run for 10 years and with the addition of the spin off Stargate Atlantis, SG1 was no supposed to continue running. Thankfully for gaters SGU was a welcomed addition to the stargate family. I watch both series in parallel until I got to the middle of season three in Atlantis when Colonel Carter assumed command of Atlantis. And why the hell did Dr. Fraiser (Teryl Rothery) and Dr. Carson Beckett (Paul McGillion) both die in their respective series?

Now it’s time to continue Stargate Atlantis, as I am in the middle of season 3, followed by the two DVD films, Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum. Being a dedicated fan I look forward to seeing the latest in the series, Stargate Universe, which aired October, 2009.

I still feel SG1 needs to be considered one of the greatest sci-fi series ever created, even against Roddenberry’s, Star Trek. The original series only ran 3 years and was canceled, but SG1 did run for 10 years and 214 episodes. While Star Trek was more successful on the big screen, I believe SG1 will continue to have an impact in the world of sci-fi.

Looking over the alleged Top 50 Science Fiction Television Shows of All Time I must say I am impressed to see SG1 at #6, while another favorite of mine, The X-Files came in at #4. I am not at all upset to see Star Trek at #2 or even Star Trek: The Next Generation at #3. But why the hell is Battlestar Galactica (new) taking top honors? I am not a new BG fan and have spent no time watching it or Caprica. Guess I am a bit of a purist of the original 1970?s Battlestar Galactica.

Thankfully I have more selections to watch, courtesy of Netflix. Getting so attached to some of the main characters I am curious to see a few of them in other roles on different series. For example Amanda Tapping in Sanctuary or Ben Browder and Claudia Black in Farscape.

Nonetheless I rate Stargate a 10 out of 10 when it comes to the overall series. Sure it got a bit long in the tooth and maybe the plots and story lines got a bit repetitive, but it still packed a great deal of action in to 43 minutes. As Teal’c would say, “Indeed.”

WPX Coming Soon

This weekend brings one of the biggest contests of the year, the CQWW WPX (SSB). While I am working on Friday and Saturday, I will be able to put in a limited (real limited) effort this weekend. I also plan to spend some time at N6RO with Dean, N6BV listening and observing how contesting is done. Since I have never been the station being piled upon, it will be interesting to watch pile up management.

Looking back to the 2009 contest I put in about 5 hours with 59 QSOs and 51 PFXs. I am hoping to get some seat time tonight when I get home at 0600z on 40M (if it’s still open) and 80M. Saturday morning should be rewarding for me on 15/20M and I hope to make a bulk of my contacts from 1500-1900z. I am hoping for 200 QSOs through out the weekend. Since soccer is early on Sunday morning I should be able to finish out the contest.

In total I am hoping for 10 hours of operating from my QTH and 4 hours of observing/operating from N6RO (I assume they will use WQ6O) since it is more unique that any of the other station call signs. Regardless of the weekend I am looking forward to the contest, then again I think that can be said about every contest that comes around.