Part-Time Effort

With all the things on my STD list to complete during my days off, I was not able to get my transceiver, the Yaesu, FT-1000MP boxed up and shipped off to Byron, WA4GEG in Tennessee. He is my source for all things concerning my radio, as it has been there two previous times. Unfortunately looking at the calendar there are some enjoyable contests on the horizon that I was hoping to participate in. Thankfully George, K6GT has loaned me his back up radio, which was unused until I get mine repaired and returned.

Next week is CQ WW WPX RTTY and while it was a very strong contest for me a few years back, it will only be a single band effort next weekend, depending on if I get both days off from work. This decision after speaking with SteppIR tech support last night on the phone only to realize I probably did more damage than I thought to the mechanical workings of my BigIR MkIII. So much for operating on the low bands (40M/80M). Much like my amp going out 2 years before prior to this contest, it could be a blessing in disguise.

Looking at the 2011 and 2010 results from WPX RTTY, this would give me the best chance to win some wallpaper (ham speak for an award). My best best will be 15M or 20M, depending on what the propagation is doing next weekend. This means I would operate about 2 hours before sunrise to about 2 hours after sunset. This could go longer depending on sort of activity I would get beaming JA/OC.

It doesn’t get much better as the following weekend is ARRL DX CW followed by NAQP RTTY the week after. I will need to get the “okay” from the XYL before I ask W6ZJH if I can guest op from his shack for this contest. Chances are it will be all of February and a part of March before I get my radio and antenna back from being repaired. Until then, I will have to pick and choose my efforts when it comes to contesting. With any luck, I could have everything back up and running by the time JIDX CW rolls around on April 14.

Sprouts & Taters

Outside of the wonderful benefits I am experience since I have changed my diet, which realistically is a lifestyle change as been the new foods I have started to eat. Before learning about Dr. John McDougall my vegetables were usually limited to a basic salad slathered in dressing. It was rare I would bake, broil or steam vegetables to accompany what meat dish I was creating.

Since my 2010 physical I thought we were eating better, passing on red meat and opting for chicken and pork. Little did I know…these were no better for my cholesterol. These past few months learning about food and researching nutrition has been an eye opening experience. Many of the “myths” I had about food have been dispelled and I am finding eating an entirely new experience.

This last week I tasted two foods I had never eating in 42 years. The first, Brussels sprouts, which were nothing more than steamed and served as a side to a cranberry gratin over fingerling potatoes. I had been looking for a recipe in order to serve there, but most commonly recipes included olive oil. The flavor of this food was outstanding just steamed.

The other food I cooked up after finding a recipe in a Sunset magazine was re-stuffed sweet potato with a creme sauce. The original recipe was using Mexican crema, orange juice, lemon juice and zest to create a orange crema, needless to say I didn’t make my crema that way. Still the flavor of the sweet potato was amazing! What was even more impressive was I was full after finishing off a large potato.

Last night gefore making more potato enchiladas for my wife and son, I popped a sweet potato in the oven with nothing on it, 45 minutes later when their dinner went in the oven I sat down to enjoy my hot sweet potato. I split it down the middle adding a little bit of cumin, some pepper and a sauce (consisting of water, cashews and nutritional yeast that was blended). Chances are good I needed none of these additional flavors to supplement what the sweet potato provided.

To date nothing has surpassed the flavor of the potato enchiladas for my wife. In the last 2 weeks I have made this dish no less than 4 times! I am still searching for another dish to add to our weekly menu that “has substance” and good flavor that will have my wife wanting more. I have been looking and bookmarking many different vegan/vegetarian recipe sites, as well as using recipes from Dr. McDougall’s message boards and past newsletters. Some of the recipes from the Internet might require some tweaking to prepare it without oil or dairy, but not much is lost by leaving these ingredients out.