i performed my 4th water change in a row. this time i did a more thorough cleaning, taking out the driftwood and rinsing off any cyanobacteria. i also tied on the windelov java fern with a black string tie because i didn't want it floating away. all that work and i can still see some algae slime, so looks like another cleaning is in order for this weekend. i also emptied the cistern, scrubbed the inside a little (the interior can get a little slimy over time), then refilled it with clean water followed by a 1ml of water treatment chemical.

it was a nice day for a change. though temperature was only in the lower 60's, it felt warmer since the sun was out. after a simple yogurt for lunch i was prepared to do some errands via motorcycle, first to the porter square star market to buy some fruits on sale (grapes $1/lbs., honeycrisp apples $1.47/lbs.) then to home depot to pick up the additional hose mender. but as i headed out i realized my mistake: i forgot to bring my saddlebags, which meant i could only buy as much as i could fit in my camera bag. so i only bought 2 bags of grapes and even those were a struggle to fit inside my bag. i returned home to grab my saddlebags, figured i'd get the apples from the star market across the street.

while i was back, i called my father so we could test the local repeaters with my new call sign. first we tried a 2m simplex frequency, i wasn't able to hear anything except the ping of his PPT. we then tried our first repeater - the belmont repeater - and he was able to hear me just fine, and he even replied back over the air even though that's not allowed without a license. next, waltham repeater on prospect hill. we heard a clear conversation a few weeks ago, but when i tried using it, i got nothing, so it looks like those guys were perhaps on more power radios or just closer to the repeater station. the boston prudential repeater didn't work either, but the 70cm MIT repeater did work, maybe even better than the belmont repeater. so that's it as far as repeater testing, my father and i won't be able to talk legally over the air via repeaters until he gets his ham radio license, hopefully next month. i'm thinking about taking the general exam, so i can have full use of the HF bands. i think with some more study my father can also pass the general on top of his technician.

anyway, my father talked me out of going to home depot, said we can go tomorrow, since he needed to get something from there as well. i still went to the nearby supermarket to get some honeycrisp apples and teas. i spotted the google car in the parking lot, maybe they're updating the street views again.

for dinner i heated up a brick of frozen stouffer's meat lasagna, then a honeycrisp apple. the apple was crispy, but a little too sweet, and doesn't have that strong characteristic apple flavor. li came home afterwards, went out to dinner with a few postdocs at some indian restaurant on mass avenue. he said he's leaving tomorrow between 8:30 to 9am. i suggested he leave earlier since it can get crowded especially during peak foliage season. john and i left at 6am last weekend to go up to new hampshire.