Spam (madbodger) wrote,

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On Saturday, fizzygeek woke me up with the cheery suggestion that we trim the front hedge. As it was a nice day and I was in a mood to do physical stuff, I went for it. We quickly realized the hedge was intergrown with random tree seedlings, saplings, and actual (over 20 foot) trees, as well as honeysuckle vine, and other creepers including quite possible some poison ivy. Armed with pruning shears, loppers and a chain saw, we went at it, producing an impressive pile of detritus. After a substantial amount of hard work, we decided that just cleaning out the hedge was enough for one day, and we'd put off the actual trimming to another day. We chatted up the neighbors, who were hauling their own yard waste into the field next door, and they said we could put ours there too. They'll be renting a chipper in a couple of weeks to deal with it all, naturally we said we'd lend a hand. We haven't actually moved the large stuff yet, but fizzygeek did gather up most of the smaller stuff (saving out some fairly nice straight sticks). I had been planning to go to nosebeepbear's game night that night, but ran out of steam and instead curled up with books.

On Sunday, I went to the CARA hamfest up at the Howard County Fairground, in search of either some Iron Horse or Workman antennæ, a fancy ATAS-120, or (fanciest, scariest, and most expensive) a big Tarheel screwdriver antenna with power laydown. As it happens, it wasn't a big shindig, but I did find a vendor with the Workman ones at a good price, and bought a few for useful bands. I also found a fellow selling old radio kits he'd assembled. I was quite taken with a 1-tube regen receiver, as well as a 3-tube cakepan unit that had been robbed of 2 of its tubes and sockets. I thought repairing it would be fun and I'm sure I have the tubes and sockets in stock. I ended up getting both of 'em, and he threw in a 1½/3/27/45/90 volt power supply and a weird transistorized regen complete with an IC audio amplifier, and the instructions. Turns out the instructions for the cakepan weren't there, so I'll have to reverse engineer that one (I'm suspicious of the hand-lettered notations, which claim the 6AQ5 [an audio power amplifier tube] is the detector, and a 6AK6 [a high frequency pentagrid converter] is the "audio" tube).

Another vendor had a nice student microscope (which I picked up for ladi_lavinder), a boffo 14-LED UV flashlight (for fizzygeek), and an 8-track deck. I got the 8-track for Kludge, who needs to transfer some audio from an 8-track original. This one, I'll test before I hand it off, and attempt repair if it doesn't behave.

After lugging my booty back to the car, I called ladi_lavinder to see if she wanted me to drop by with the microscope, since it wasn't far. Sure enough, she was happy to have me drop by with it, and she, garnet_rattler and I went up to IHOP for lunch and conversation, then went back to their place and swapped stories and played with the cats and kittens until it was time to head back to VA to have dinner with fizzygeek.

fizzygeek was much pleased with the UV flashlight, and we were both rather impressed with the weird little 1-transistor regen receiver. It turns out it had a 9V battery in it, and a little 18" antenna with a toy flag on it. The unmarked controls were a switch and 4 knobs. I doped 'em out, tweaked the regen control, and tuned around and quickly got some nice clear signal. In Japanese, I think. Impressive for a trivial little unit, a laughable antenna, no ground, and tuning randomly. I'm looking forward to firing up the tube unit, once I assemble a power source and round up some high impedance headphones.


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