i retested the dbj-2 antenna range between my house and the cafe. on 2m it was surprisingly clear, my father said he could hear my transmissions at 80% clarity. i could receive him just fine, though transmitting at 16w on the TYT mobile radio compared to the 5w on my baofeng handheld that was to be expected. on 70cm i can only receive him, he couldn't hear me. this is a good sign, means if i can simplex to the cafe, i can hit the crossband repeater and have my signal amplified and retransmitted to belmont. at one point the antenna fell off from its hook and i went to go put it back. i touched the end of the antenna and suddenly felt a hot pain. an rf burn! it happened so fast, i couldn't be sure. was i also keying the radio? when i went to go measure the antenna with the infrared heat gun, it was just room temperature. but i'll definitely be more careful next time.
i biked down to harvard square in the late morning to switch my mother's phone from her samsung flip phone to my sister's old iphone 5s. getting there involved cutting through the heart of harvard square, but i was on my fuji (without a helmet) and i felt like i was flying. the weather today was also spectacular, i wish i had more extensive outdoor plans: warm, dry, clear blue sky. the switch was painless and free, while my agent was activating the sim card, i asked him about the bandaid on my right index finger. turned out it was more than a papercut, he actually sliced his finger open from a tuna can lid and went to the emergency room to get 3 switches. this happened a week ago, and he was getting them taken out this week. apparently he's also a student, because he had a paper due that week and wouldn't easily type it with a busted finger.
afterwards i biked to the cafe via brattle street, climbing over reservoir hill which i was hoping to avoid but ended up passing through anyway. my mother was happy to receive her new phone. the only concern i have is the battery life, which my sister already remarked is on the short side. i may need to replace it at some point. i went with my father to let out hailey into the backyard so she could use the bathroom (she didn't), and also to show him the composting bin i found yesterday, the yimby tumbler composter (37 gallons) which sells for $80. i left with a container of cubed watermelon.
i passed a house behind the bourdreau branch library installing solar panels through sunbug solar. the building is a multi-unit condo in the shape of an L. i asked one of the installers about the specs: 56 LG 320 panels on all 4 roof surfaces, for a near 18kWp system. it's kind of weird to have panels facing north, but if that's what the clients want, that's what they get. location-wise it's not that great, with a large elm tree on their east side which will block most of the morning sun during the winter.
returning home, i spotted a large composting bin out on the curb i saw earlier. after dropping off my things, i returned with my cargo bike and slowly wheeled the bin back to my place, using the bike as a wagon. there was a crack in the lid (nothing that can't be glued back) and a hole on one of the sides where a rat must've chewed through at some point. otherwise, it was in pretty new condition, an 80 gallon earth machine composter that typically sells for $190. it doesn't tumble like that yimby but better than what we have now in belmont, which is just an open cylinder of chicken wires. this one with a lid will allow us to throw away food and not worry about critters getting to it.
my father called to ask me to retest the dbj-2 now that he got the cross band repeater working at V-V setting (double 2m). performance was very staticky, until we switched back to simplex, and he could receive me clear again. the problem is our power supply is too weak, so the TYT radio can't draw enough electricity to run dual-band repeating. i also tried mounting the 70cm ground plane antenna directly to the baofeng. it works, but positioning is key, and just holding the handheld radio in a certain way would affect the reception.
my father came by to pick up the composter, and had me reconfigure the dbj-2 antenna so it was higher up on the ceiling and attached to the window frame using sticky tack. previously it'd just been hanging from the venetian blind wand stick hook. i was able to hear my father just fine as he drove back to the cafe (using the QYT mobile radio in his car transmitting at 20W+), but the farther away he got from me the less he could hear my transmissions. at the cafe with the chimney mounted antenna using the TYT, it was the same thing: i could receive him loud ad clear, he couldn't receive me at all. i came to the conclusion that the dbj-2 doesn't like to be mounted flush to a flat surface, that it's designed to be hanging. but even when i went back to hanging from the wand stick hook, the clarity was gone, 20% voice, 80% static at best. it may be just a power issue. we found out this morning that the high power he transmitted, the less static i heard. if i used a mobile radio with a high transmission power, it could overcome the static and be able to reach the cafe.
i watched the argentina-nigeria game, rooting for messi and company to win, as they seemed to be the underdog, on the brink of elimination. argentina won, but it was so close. happening at the same time was the iceland-croatia game, which was starting to look like it might end in a tie, which would eliminate argentina. but at the 90 minute mark croatia scored again to take the game 2-1 and they won the match, ensuring argentina would advance to the final 16 with their 2-1 victory against nigeria.
GC came home around 6:50pm just when i was about to eat some leftover ribs. i'd plan on having dinner earlier, but discovered that the toaster oven wasn't plugged in, so my ribs were still cold. GC's still trying to figure out how to pay me. he discovered today that his BOA debit card had expired. i told him he could just go to the bank and withdraw some cash at the same time he was going through the process of getting a new card. but then he was trying to sign up for a paypal account and said he could try giving me the money that way. finally i told him i prefer cash if possible.
it was no surprise we set a new production record today, with the sky nothing but blue the entire day, something that rarely happens. it was also the latest sunset of the year (though not the longest day). the production was 51.26kWh, the 4th time we hit 50kWh+ this month. i don't expect us to hit anymore records now that summer is officially here and the daylight hours decrease a little bit every day. it's weird that the panels on the main roof are averaging 2.20kWh per panel, while the ones on the sunroom are closer to 2.35kWh. it's a little disappointing that we can never reach our true system potential of 8.04kWp (our actual cutoff is 6kWp), since half our panels are split at different angles, but still better than houses that don't have southern-facing roofs.
we watched episode 4 of the first season of the expanse, the one where the martian flagship is under siege and the crew comes across the MCRN tachi soon to be renamed the rocinante. also while i was chatting with GC i discovered he has a roommate back in huntsville, another fellow chinese astrophysicist that he's known since his school days. as his apartment is only a single bedroom, his roommate sleeps in the living room and they split the $500/month rent. i asked how come his friend doesn't find his own apartment and he said they were scarce, and it was just an easier arrangement.