it was cold inside the house, temperature at 64°, which shouldn't be surprising given the outdoor temperature last night was in the upper 30's and there was another frost advisory. it made me think about turning on the heat but the forecast had temperature in the 70's for tomorrow and friday, so it was going to warm up again.
i left home around 10:30am via motorcycle, to visit libraries. first stop was the cambridge public library to get a new library card. i'm not sure where my old card went, the last time i used it was back in december, when i picked up a museum pass. it's probably in one of my winter jackets and i just forgot about it. i did have an old belmont public library card, but when they scanned it, it came up empty. anyway, getting a new card is a quick and painless process, and completely free. the librarian gave me the option of either the standard card or a keychain card; i chose the standard. i got a new card number but it's still linked to my old account.
with that new card i went to the somerville public library up on highland hill. there was hardly any parking, i think most of the spots are taken by students from the high school next door. i don't remember ever being to this library before (which is unusual, because i've been to most libraries around here), but apparently i have, back in 2003. when you first step inside it feels like a prison, with steel doors and weirdly angled hallways. it took me a moment to realize the main branch is upstairs, which comes into a large open reading area with spacious ceilings and book stacks on upper balcony floors overlooking the main room. it's pretty impressive and i wanted to sneak a few photos (but didn't).
i was here to check out the amateur radio general class license manual. i needed the book to help me take the general exam later this month (should i decide to do it), and thought about buying it before i discovered it was available at this library. i had the book number, and after a few seconds to get my bearings, i went upstairs into the book stacks to look for it. it was in a secluded corner of the library, where two teenage girls were secretly eating lunch, and giving me dirty looks for disturbing them. i quickly searched for the book but couldn't find it, just the ARRL operating manual, which i grabbed anyway so my trip wouldn't be in vain. i went downstairs and asked an old librarian, who went up with me to search for the book. apparently it wasn't where i thought it was, but at a different area for testing materials. he saw my interest in amateur radio and told me he dabbled as well when he was younger.
it's been a while since i've checked out books from any library. the last time might've been back in november 2011, when i was searching for knitting books for my mother, when she was getting back into knitting after a hiatus of several decades. these amateur radio books will be due in 3 weeks, the day before thanksgiving.
i had a pair of hot dogs for lunch. my father stopped by briefly with the pair of nagoya and retevis 15.6" whip antennas that came today. they're a lot thinner than i'd imagine, definitely whip-like. attaching them to my baofeng we didn't really notice any difference. li's canon camera was arriving today, but i wasn't going to wait all day for it to get here, so i finally left for belmont at 3pm. it was cold at my parents' place, temperature at 58°, even colder than my house.
my sister dropped hailey off at the house then quickly drove away. i let her out into the backyard, where she was scratching her back on the lawn. the hawthorn berries seem to be getting redder, though so far no birds have eaten them yet.
although the PL259 solder connectors arrived yesterday, my father couldn't use them because the reducers that came with the plugs were for RG59 coaxials, not RG8X, despite being what we ordered. i sent the seller a message through amazon asking for a replacement.
when my father got home, we tested both the nagoga and the retevis with the SWR meter. we tested only on 2m. both antenna had a very broad range, maintaining an SWR of 2.0 through much of the 2m band (140-170Mhz). however, the cheaper retevis ($9.98, compared to theo $16.99 nagoya) was closer to an SWR of 1.0 on the lower range. compared that with the stock boafeng antenna, which doesn't have as broad a range, but the lower frequencies read 1.0.
none of them can beat the DIY 2m ground-plane antenna my father built however, which consistently pulled an SWR of 1.0 throughout the 2m range. we may end up returning one of the antennas, if not both. nevertheless, around 5pm, we listened to some chatter on the waltham hill repeater. there's one man (from the sound of his voice seemed to be older) who was hogging the repeater for the entire duration of the rush hour, talking his grand parents and his divorce, just a lot of online TMI. but this gave us a change to test the reception. the stock baofeng antenna worked flawlessly, but the better rated ground-plane antenna kept fluttering and losing audio. my father said it's because he didn't solder the main vertical element. so after all that's been said and done, the stock antenna is still the winner.
my father had bought dinner from market basket: wings, pinwheels, italian subs. we ate the wings and sub, but didn't touch the pinwheels, which i brought home with me for lunch tomorrow. he turned on the electric heater to warm up the living room.
i got home by 6:30pm. i was only gone for over 3 hours, but during that time the UPS delivery came by and left a note on the door. something like a camera they would not simply leave on the doorstep. the fact that li had the camera shipped to the house is a hassle for me because i have to stay home to accept the package.
i watched game 7 of the world series between the astros and the dodgers. in just 2 innings houston managed to score 5 runs. it was painful to watch (i was rooting for los angeles), but made slightly more interesting because i noticed mary hart was sitting behind homeplate, as well as larry king. i didn't even watch the final few innings, dodgers had zero offense, it's a wonder they made it this far. the astros ended up winning the world series.
it was cold enough in the house that i pulled out the space heater from my room and turned it on in the living room to pump up soon warmth in the house. afterwards i moved the space heater to the kitchen to heat up that space as well. i managed to increase the heat to 67°F, which should hold us off until tomorrow.
li didn't get home until after 10pm, playing badminton with his coworkers. he was starving, and made a soup that consisted off steamed cabbage, chinese dumplings, and sliced hot dogs. although his camera didn't arrive, his memory card did. he ordered the sandisk extreme 64GB SDXC card enough though i told him to get the samsung 64GB microSXDC card that was not only cheaper but rated faster both read/write (100/60MBps versus the sandisk's 90/40MBps).