my father stopped by this morning to take away the square coffee table (which has been sitting in the corner of my living room for many years now, taking up space) but primarily to retrieve the 2m ground plane antenna he lent me but doesn't work here because i live in a reception dead zone and only 70cm has a fighting chance. i showed him my DIY 70cm antenna mount and we put it to the test, securing it with rubber bands on the doorway fence post leading into my backyard, pointing to a patch of clear sky. as a 70cm antenna it can only receive UHF; trying to hit 2m (VHF) repeaters result in zero activity. we were able to ping the trio of local 70cm repeaters - boston, MIT, waltham (though with waltham it responds but there's no audio, maybe we have the wrong CTCSS setting). we tried the weston 70cm repeater but couldn't get any response, though pinging the braintree 70cm saw some activity but no audio (like waltham).
i continued cleaning in my own slow-paced way. it seemed kind of daunting, there was stuff to do everywhere: foyer, living room, hallway closet, bathroom, kitchen, guest bedroom, main bedroom. even the backyard deck needed attention, from water the plants, to realizing the water spots were actually oil stains dripping from the upstairs. the hardest part is i couldn't just cram all the junk into my bedroom, since guests will be staying there eventually; i needed to clean for real, no cheating. i did a load of laundry, so i could move all my winter clothes into storage and take out my summer clothes (essentially just a bunch of shorts). i seem to have a lot of clothes, but i have a few favorites that i end up wearing all the time. at some point i need to take an inventory and get rid of some clothes.
all the while i had the television turned on to the world cup. in the early morning it was the tail end of the brazil-costa rica match. brazil needed a win, otherwise they might risk not advancing since their previous match ended up a draw. it didn't look good, but in the final minutes, brazil scored not once but twice. later in the morning it was the nigeria-iceland match. i was rooting for nigeria, since a nigeria victory would make it easier for argentina to advance (assuming they beat nigeria in the process). i was happy when nigeria eventually won, 2-0.
my father was supposed to contact me via 70cm simplex so we could test and see if the outdoor antenna had any reach, but he never replied back. from the cafe webcam i could see him fumbling with the radio, and i could already guess what happened: the TYT TH-9800 had arrived! we tried talking to each other first using the baofeng (him connected to the chimney antenna), maybe about 10-20% clarity but the rest was static. so the new antenna location wasn't really working any better. after he hooked up the TYT and figured out how to work the controls, my father contacted me again to test with the TYT. i couldn't hear any audio, at most intermittent sputter of static. the TYT seemed to be performing worse than the boafeng, despite being higher powered. my father said he was going to bring over the new radio so i could program it, but i told him to wait until tomorrow.
in the meantime, after some granola and yogurt for lunch, i left for haymarket around 1pm. it was a pleasant summer day, warm and dry. i made it to haymarket in 23 minutes. i was hoping to find cherries and i wasn't disappointed. the cheapest price was $2.50/lbs. i made sure to check out all the cherry selection before circling back to the vendor who was selling the ripest cherries, so dark that they're practically black. several vendors were also selling lychees. i bought from a young woman in headscarf who seemed to have the plumpest lychees (2 lbs. for $4). i also got: 2 lbs. box of strawberries ($2), 1 lbs. of serrano peppers ($1), 2 bundles of asparagus ($1 each), 2 bundles of scallions ($1), and 4 lemons ($1).
i peddled back to cambridge, stopping at my house to pick up my laptop before heading to the cafe to drop off my latest haymarket haul. the cherries were sweet, but the lychees were even sweeter (and no sour taste like the ones i bought last time). my mother also sampled one of the strawberries (unnaturally large, the size of a small plum), said they were sweet too.
taking out my laptop, i quickly programmed the TYT with the special USB cable we bought along with the radio. i tested it by seeing if i can download the stock programming already on the radio. that worked, so i knew the cable was good. it was fast too, just as fast on programming the baofeng, not as slow as the QYT (which takes minutes). i then copied over all the memory channels from a baofeng image, adjusted some settings, then uploaded the programming back onto the TYT. once complete, the TYT made a noise. all the channels were successfully transferred, but the channels started from 2 instead of 1 for some reason (maybe because i copied over a blank 0 channel). learning a new radio is like learning a new language, but once you know one radio, a lot of the functionalities are the same, just configured differently, so it's easy to pick up. one cool thing was how the radio was divided into independent left and right receivers, with their own controls. the volume dial also acts as a button, and the dial itself is actually two dials, volume control in the center dial, squelch (i.e. noise level adjustment) on the outer dial. the display only shows up to 6 characters (unlike the baofeng which shows 7, so the final characters in the imported channel names were truncated). the radio can transmit at 50w, but because my father only has a 4.5A power supply, it could only send out 10-15W at most. the default setting also seems to be in TDR (baofeng's terminology) AKA dual watch.
as i played with the radio, i noticed something odd: audio was only coming out from the right receiver, nothing from the left side. the left would pick up activity (like on the police scanners), and the signal bar would flare up, but there was just no sound. i checked to see if the left receiver was on mute, which it wasn't. maybe the radio was designed so only the right receiver transmits audio, but that seems wrong. eventually i came to the realization that the radio was broken. weird thing was, when i switched to the national weather radios, i could hear them just fine from the left receiver. it made me think and i turned off CTCSS on one of the police scanner channels, and sure enough, the audio came through. i cross-checked the CTCSS frequency on the left receiver to the baofeng and right receiver, and they were all the same. but for some reason, CTCSS doesn't seem to be working right on the left receiver.
i left the cafe close to 4pm with some soup and noodles for dinner. i wrote to the ali express vendor, informing him we received the radio but it was damaged and would either need to refunded or replaced. this sucks because we probably need to pay to ship it back, such is the nature with chinese vendors.
i continued cleaning, taking out the clothes from the dryer (which had been running while i left for boston earlier). i started moving boxes into the basement, when there's hardly anymore room left downstairs. i ended up tossing several boxes of empty jars. i'm not sure why i started collecting them, but there's just no way i would ever use them, no matter the project that would require jars. funny thing is, after tossing out all those jars, i ended up adding 2 more boxes of pickle jars right back into the basement. once most of the junk were placed in the basement, the house looked to be a lot tidier. of course i'd still need to clean out my bedroom in detail, but in the meantime i have a temporary reprieve.
not sure how much weight i could use just from running around the house and cleaning it all day long, but by evening i was pretty hungry. even then i didn't eat until well past 8pm, there's something about having dinner while it's still daylight out that seems wrong. i warmed up the noodles and the soup and combined them together. for dessert i had cherries and lychees, but because the lychees were so much sweeter, i saved the cherries for another day.
cirrus clouds, or that's what the meteorologists kept on repeating tonight. despite the sky above being full of cirrus clouds today, it didn't nothing really to dampen the sunlight, and i was surprised when i checked the daily production and saw we hit 50kWh+ again: 50.19 kWh to be precise. no record, but the 3rd 50kWh+ production day of june, and 6th of all times. could be a last hurrah, as the next 3 days all look to be gloomy with chances of rain. rain is good though, we are inching towards drought conditions.