20 Meter QRP inverted V diopile

A BNC to banana plug adapter made a great connector for a dipole.  LMR 100A makes a great light weight feedline with a little creative soldering.  The cord winders were crafted from leftover parts box dividers.  I plan on adding clips to the BNC adapter to change out the dipole leads.  Currently the leads are cut for 14.285 MHz (20 meter qrp calling frequency)  If deployed in a tree the antenna weighs next to nothing.  Today I had it at about 28′ with a jackite fiberglass pole mounted on a speaker stand.

I made QSOs with Nebraska and Texas with rough band conditions.  I’m looking forward to more portable work with homebrew antennas.







The slow death of purposeless walking

The slow death of purposeless walking

A number of recent books have lauded the connection between walking – just for its own sake – and thinking. But are people losing their love of the purposeless walk?

Walking is a luxury in the West. Very few people, particularly in cities, are obliged to do much of it at all. Cars, bicycles, buses, trams, and trains all beckon.

Instead, walking for any distance is usually a planned leisure activity. Or a health aid. Something to help people lose weight. Or keep their fitness. But there’s something else people get from choosing to walk. A place to think.

Wordsworth was a walker. His work is inextricably bound up with tramping in the Lake District. Drinking in the stark beauty. Getting lost in his thoughts.

Charles Dickens was a walker. He could easily rack up 20 miles, often at night. You can almost smell London’s atmosphere in his prose. Virginia Woolf walked for inspiration. She walked out from her home at Rodmell in the South Downs. She wandered through London’s parks.

Henry David Thoreau, who was both author and naturalist, walked and walked and walked. But even he couldn’t match the feat of someone like Constantin Brancusi, the sculptor who walked much of the way between his home village in Romania and Paris. Or indeed Patrick Leigh Fermor, whose walk from the Hook of Holland to Istanbul at the age of 18 inspired several volumes of travel writing. George Orwell, Thomas De Quincey, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bruce Chatwin, WG Sebald and Vladimir Nabokov are just some of the others who have written about it.

From recent decades, the environmentalist and writer John Francis has been one of the truly epic walkers. Francis was inspired by witnessing an oil tanker accident in San Francisco Bay to eschew motor vehicles for 22 years. Instead he walked. And thought. He was aided by a parallel pledge not to speak which lasted 17 years.

But you don’t have to be an author to see the value of walking. A particular kind of walking. Not the distance between porch and corner shop. But a more aimless pursuit.

In the UK, May is National Walking Month. And a new book, A Philosophy of Walking by Prof Frederic Gros, is currently the object of much discussion. Only last week, a study from Stanford University showed that even walking on a treadmill improved creative thinking.

Across the West, people are still choosing to walk. Nearly every journey in the UK involves a little walking, and nearly a quarter of all journeys are made entirely on foot, according to one survey. But the same study found that a mere 17% of trips were “just to walk”. And that included dog-walking.

It is that “just to walk” category that is so beloved of creative thinkers.

“There is something about the pace of walking and the pace of thinking that goes together. Walking requires a certain amount of attention but it leaves great parts of the time open to thinking. I do believe once you get the blood flowing through the brain it does start working more creatively,” says Geoff Nicholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking.

“Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I’m far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and ‘thinking’.”

Nicholson lives in Los Angeles, a city that is notoriously car-focused. There are other cities around the world that can be positively baffling to the evening stroller. Take Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital. Anyone planning to walk even between two close points should prepare to be patient. Pavements mysteriously end. Busy roads need to be traversed without the aid of crossings. The act of choosing to walk can provoke bafflement from the residents.

“A lot of places, if you walk you feel you are doing something self-consciously. Walking becomes a radical act,” says Merlin Coverley, author of The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker.

But even in car-focused cities there are fruits for those who choose to ramble. “I do most of my walking in the city – in LA where things are spread out,” says Nicholson. “There is a lot to look at. It’s urban exploration. I’m always looking at strange alleyways and little corners.”

Nicholson, a novelist, calls this “observational” walking. But his other category of walking is left completely blank. It is waiting to be filled with random inspiration.

Not everybody is prepared to wait. There are many people who regard walking from place to place as “dead time” that they resent losing, in a busy schedule where work and commuting takes them away from home, family and other pleasures. It is viewed as “an empty space that needs to be filled up”, says Rebecca Solnit, author of Wanderlust: A History of Walking.

Many now walk and text at the same time. There’s been an increase in injuries to pedestrians in the US attributed to this. One study suggested texting even changed the manner in which people walked.

It’s not just texting. This is the era of the “smartphone map zombie” – people who only take occasional glances away from an electronic routefinder to avoid stepping in anything or being hit by a car.

“You see people who don’t get from point A to point B without looking at their phones,” says Solnit. “People used to get to know the lay of the land.”

People should go out and walk free of distractions, says Nicholson. “I do think there is something about walking mindfully. To actually be there and be in the moment and concentrate on what you are doing.”

And this means no music, no podcasts, no audiobooks. It might also mean going out alone.

CS Lewis thought that even talking could spoil the walk. “The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.”

The way people in the West have started to look down on walking is detectable in the language. “When people say something is pedestrian they mean flat, limited in scope,” says Solnit.

Boil down the books on walking and you’re left with some key tips:

  • Walk further and with no fixed route
  • Stop texting and mapping
  • Don’t soundtrack your walks
  • Go alone
  • Find walkable places
  • Walk mindfully

Then you may get the rewards. “Being out on your own, being free and anonymous, you discover the people around you,” says Solnit.

21 Great Novels It’s Worth Finding Time to Read

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘True Grit’ top the list

Still, stories are what help us best understand why we are how we are. So after consulting people I admire and my own mental file, I included only novels that I believe you really ought to read. For abucket list, it’s still pretty shallow. When it comes to books, a complete must-read list would be the depth of the Mariana Trench. In any case, here goes:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Did you go to high school? If so, you’ve been programmed to believe that this is a good book. The thing is, itis a good book, about justice and deeply held beliefs, right and wrong, and the agony of growing up.

2. True Grit by Charles Portis

I was once listing my favorite novels with the then book-editor for Newsweek, and I mentioned the then-obscure-except-for-the-John-Wayne-movie story of Mattie Ross and her quest for justice with the rascally sheriff Rooster Cogburn. The editor said, “Well, we’re talking favorites. Now, you’re talking genius.”

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Lest you think that all my top faves are coming-of-age novels set among children challenged by painful realities — like Francie Nolan in this novel of immigrant poverty in prewar New York — oh well. Deal with it.

4. Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor

If you haven’t read this novel of the Confederate prison camp in Georgia, and the prisoners who fought to survive there, I envy you. You have a treat in store for yourself.

5. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

This supposed debut of the hard-boiled detective novel makes the list because of the line that the statue was “the stuff dreams are made of.” The guy could write.

6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty

Two strangely literate Texas rangers who decide to become cattle ranchers, and out-Sundance Butch and the Kid, is the book that made me decide to write a novel.

7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“Last night, I dreamed I went to Manderley again.” You will love this story of psychological obsession and immortality by one of the most underrated writers of the 20th century.

8. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

This wonderful sequel to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy asks a poignant question. Facing the end of life as we know it, is it too much to ask to find a good cup of tea and some biscuits?

9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Sixty-five million other readers worldwide adore the story of the Andalusian shepherd boy, Santiago, who goes searching for a treasure under the scornful aegis of a sorceress. I’m not going to disagree with them.

10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Nathaniel Hawthorne hated the Misses Bronte, because they could do what he could not — write books that sing with authenticity and genuine suspense, and do so nearly 200 years later.

11. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

It’s the story of one woman’s doomed love and one civilization’s doomed quest, and it’s just a helluva story, period.

Next page: Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, short stories and horror books you’ll love. »

12. The Magus by John Fowles

Even people who have read and loved The French Lieutenant’s Woman may not know about this crazy part romance, part horror, part Gothic book, in which nothing and no one is what it seems.

13. in our time by Ernest Hemingway

The lower case name is the correct, if affected, author’s choice of title for the first big published book of Ernest Hemingway’s heartbreaking stories. When you read this, you see just why his style was so imitated, and why it never could be copied. Ever.

14. Different Seasons by Stephen King

Speaking of great short-story stylists, this is my living favorite. While I don’t run to buy every new Stephen King novel, I would fight anyone who thinks that “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” and “The Body” don’t compare favorably to just about anything.

15. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Often cited as sporting the best first paragraph in all prose, this story is still as paralyzingly scary as it was the day it was written.

16. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

My mother said that this novel of prewar Russia and the foolish and beautiful Anna was a story that “took all the fun out of adultery.” So true.

17. Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

Having read this book before the amazing characterization of Hannibal Lecter by Anthony Hopkins, I was the only person on earth who thought that this prequel to The Silence of the Lambs was even more gruesome and terrifying.

18. The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Another Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the Civil War? Yes! This is the story of the longest days of our nation’s lives, three hot sunsets in Gettysburg, and why even the beautiful and brave can be wrong, and the glum, stubborn and foolish as right as dawn.

19. Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

The story of two couples growing “up” together is as true a story about loyalty and its limits as any I’ve ever read.

20. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Often described as the chronicle of the so-called Jazz Age, this is really a story about the haves and how they think of the have-nots, because they are helpless to think of them any other way. You might call it a 1920s tale of the 1 percent.

21. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

Those who think of this small book about a gallant spider’s fight to save the life of a runt pig as a children’s story are letting children have all the fun.

Landoll’s Mohican Castle


A fun weekend getaway to Mohican State Park.  We stayed at Landoll’s Mohican Castle.  The castle is 10 years old and showing wear, interesting to see but not worth the price.   Hiking at Mohican was great.  We hiked Pleasant Trail to the Lions Falls trail, we liked it so much we walked it twice for a 6 mile trip.20140421-073655.jpg









Between Mohican State Park and Mohican Memorial State Forest, explorers looking to venture by foot will find a variety of one- and two-mile hiking trails that vary by degree of difficulty. For beautiful views of the lake, follow the Pleasant Hill Trail. To finish at the scenic wooden bridge, follow the Hemlock Gorge Trail.

*Hemlock Gorge and North Rim

This trail system runs from the front of the main camp area to the covered bridge. This is a 3 mile one-way walk that is easy to moderate.

Lyons Falls

This is our most popular trail, located at the covered bridge and the dam. This is a moderate to difficult 2 mile round trip trail.

*Hog Hollow Trail

This trail starts at the covered bridge and ends at the fire tower. This trail follows up the hillside to the fire tower and is a difficult trail.

Pleasant Hill Trail

This a family friendly 1.5 mile round trip hike along the river from the covered bridge to the Pleasant Hill dam. Trail is easy.

KC-135R Ohio National Guard Flight

I had an amazing opportunity to take a flight on a KC-135R with the Ohio National Guard.  We flew to Beckley WV and the into Illinois.  On the way we refueled a   Lockheed C5B galaxy.


From the ONG website:
Educators from around the state traveled to Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base in Columbus, Ohio, on April 10, 2014, to learn about the Ohio National Guard and take a ride on one of the 121st Air Refueling Wing’s KC-135R Stratotankers. Coordinated by the ONG Community Outreach Office, these quarterly orientation events educate community leaders such as educators, employers, attorneys and health care providers about the various missions and military occupations of Ohio’s Citizen-Soldiers and -Airmen. (Master Sgt. Ralph Branson, ONG)
KC-135 Interior
Airman lying prone in the back of the KC-135 controlling the boom that transfers the fuel.
Lining up with the C5B (when fueling you could see the facial expressions of the other pilot.

Lockheed C5B galaxy (not my photos)



National Shrine Camino Plan

Columbus to Carey

71 miles total trip  –   Averaging  3 mph   23 hours walking

Cache supplies ahead via usps to keep pack weight down.

leg overall

Day 1 – Columbus to Delaware – 19.4 miles

6.5 hours.   3.25 walk am   3.25 walk pm



Day 2 – Delaware to Marion –  22 miles

7.3 hours – 3.6 walk am  3.6 walk pm

Rt 7 from Delaware to

202 (Norton Road) jog right 1000 ft to

Left on Gillette 233/128

Right on 127 W main Street into Waldo

423 North to Marion


Day 3 – Marion to Upper Sandusky – 19.6 miles

423 N out of Marion

left on 231

rt on prospect / upper sandusky (turns into Cheroke)

rt on main


Day 4 – Upper Sandusky to Carey 11 miles


199 N

left on 103

left on west street

Rose Gate Cottage B and B

21 mile day schedule
6:00 AM walk
6:30 AM walk
7:00 AM walk
7:30 AM walk
8:00 AM break
8:30 AM walk
9:00 AM walk
9:30 AM walk
10:00 AM Lunch
10:30 AM Lunch
11:00 AM Lunch
11:30 AM walk
12:00 PM walk
12:30 PM walk
1:00 PM walk
1:30 PM break
2:00 PM walk
2:30 PM walk
3:00 PM walk

Cache Ahead

  • Sleeping T
  • Toiletries
  • BBBB / Blue Note
  • Box V
  • Book
  • Socks
  • Return Mailer
  • Snacks

Day Pack (8lbs w/ pack)

  • Exoficio
  • Camp Shirt
  • Shorts
  • Hat
  • Sun Glasses
  • Cell Phone
  • Backup Battery
  • Changer Cable
  • Moleskine
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • HT / charger
  • Journal
  • Pencil / Pen