Life Is More Serious

Realization that mortality is ever closer comes to those who are fortunate enough to age. When we were younger we knew one day we would die, but as with many things, that was off in some distant future. Aging is another stage of life with many opportunities to learn, just learn different things than we did in our younger years.

Life has gotten more serious. Things that once seemed so important, things that needed to be done ‘like this’ or like I wanted them to be, now seem so trivial. What was once worth arguing over, now is inconsequential. I often think, why was it such a big deal when I was younger? I wish I had learned this earlier in life.

A few months after Frank’s bypass surgery he was walking in the yard, doing some normal something, I don’t remember what. All of a sudden my breath caught in my throat and I thought, “He didn’t die!” I could have just stood there and cried. Maybe sometimes it takes a serious shaking of our world to get us to see what is most important in life. Frank and I had many very serious conversations after we realized the only restorative choice he had was a bypass. He needed to know that I would be okay if I were left here alone. They were very difficult conversations, but left us both with a peace in knowing where we stood and plans were in place for “what if”.

Then my Mom’s dementia progressed to the point that she obviously was in need of serious care for her welfare and safety. It was very difficult to come to the realization that my siblings did not see the needs she had until she finally insisted that death would be better than the options they offered. She had stated these things many times with me, but I was just the girl and exaggerating things. Mom was okay. Even though she was have major delusions, obsessions, paranoia and health issues. She was okay. She wanted to continue living alone and that was fine according to my siblings. 

So following on the heels of contemplating Frank’s mortality and my mother’s mental incompetence, Life Got Much More Serious. Add to that our continued aging process.

The reason I list these specific experiences in our lives is only to make a point that if the SHTF today, tomorrow, next week or next year, the seriousness of life will make these few occurrences pale in comparison. If we were starving and having to defend ourselves and our food supply on a daily basis, how could that even compare to our ‘normal’ experiences of life? Let’s face it, as people age, they have more health issues. It’s a fact of life. But as Frank and I say regularly, “I’m not dead yet.” With that philosophy and outlook, we have a lot left to do and offer, a lot of life left to live.


We talk about quality vs. quantity. This can be applied to so many things. Take life, the actual breath in your body. Neither of us care to remain on this earth if we are not functional. This may upset some of you, but fortunately at this time, we have a choice. Frank and I agree that if we have a serious health issue that will incapacitate us to the point that we are not functional, and the only health treatments out there will only prolong life for a short time at the cost of our mobility, cognitive abilities, etc., then we will forgo the offered treatments. Quality of life over quantity of life. 

Again, apply that to an SHTF situation. There won’t be extensive medical treatments, no surgeries unless you are in a very unique situation. Health and medical attention will be provided by those around you or your own knowledge and abilities. Are you ready for that? Mentally? Do you have supplies that can be utilized for some health needs? Do you know how to use them? What are you going to do when you run out?

Life is more serious. We are focusing in on the essentials whether it is in our garden, in what we store, in how we manage our daily chores or in how we

communicate with others. We are downsizing and becoming much more focused. Frank’s response to a comment yesterday said we don’t talk about the conditions of the world, our country, the economy or the need to prepare anymore. We don’t. There have been many that think we’re the tin foil hat wearing nut jobs. Some want to know where our bunker is. There have been those that literally laughed in our faces. There have been those that said they were coming to live with us, to which we promptly responded – no you’re not, we’re not going to feed you. Most just look at you and politely nod their heads, but you can tell that they don’t agree and think we’re just plain weird. As a consequence, we don’t talk about preparing or SHTF or a collapse much anymore.



We have been preparing to live, depending solely upon ourselves, for most of our married life. Almost 40 years. We rejoice that the electricity is still on and we hope to have air conditioning through

another hot Oklahoma summer. But if it’s not and we have to adjust, we have tried to train ourselves to deal with that reality. Our bones are older and creak a little more. We may move a little slower and accomplish less in a day than we did a decade or two ago, but our minds are sharper, and we have learned so many more things. If the collapse had happened a decade ago, there are untold amounts of knowledge and experience we wouldn’t have had access to that we now do.

Life is more serious. It would appear inevitable that we have strife, conflict or outright war coming here in our country, in our neighborhoods throughout the land. Many, many sources indicate the economy is on the brink. We saw an

article a few days ago indicating a housing collapse is now occurring or on the precipice in 40 major cities around the country. 2008 anyone? You don’t even hear about it because of all of the lies, innuendoes and major contention in Washington. We have no national government, we have warring factions spending our tax dollars to attack and ‘investigate’ each other. What about the country? What about The People they were elected to serve? That is a joke. There is no functional government anymore, looking out for the welfare of our country. There is only a slow motion collapse into anarchy in the once hallowed halls of congress and our nation’s capital. Where can that lead? What kind of example are they setting? No wonder there is more contention, hatred and violence on every street corner in America.

Enjoy every day, for it is a gift. Live your life in gratitude of your daily gifts. Work hard, for nothing is more satisfying than the results of your own two hands or applying your mind to something. Relish the sunshine on your face and the love and admiration of your family. Earn and maintain the reputation of being an honest person of high moral character and integrity. In the end, what really matters? The only thing you will leave behind is your legacy, good, bad or otherwise.


Relish the joy and freedoms of your life everyday because if Life Is More Serious now, just wait until that day arrives that we are no longer falling off the cliff as a civilization, but we hit bottom with a resounding crash.

Until next time – Fern

Changes in Life

Changes. A lot has changed in our lives since the last time we wrote here, but a lot has stayed the same as well. Thought we’d let you know what’s been going on for the last three years.

What hasn’t changed? We still live on our homestead, have goats, chickens, cats and our Great Pyrenees. There is still a garden where a lot of our food is grown. The world continues to appear to be in for a great reset, which seems to be holding off for now, even with the shaking and rattling that comes and goes worldwide every day. That is not a reference to earthquakes, by the way.

What has changed? Much. 

At the time of our goodbye, I was in the midst of having hand surgery for trigger finger and ganglion cysts. That turned into one of the ordeals of our lifetime, which ended up with a serious actinomyces infection that necessitated six months of antibiotic treatment. That story will be an article or two all by itself.

Also during that time, it became apparent that my mother was entering some serious stages of dementia. She is now in the final stages and lives in a nursing home. This will also be a continuing story that contains many trials, frustrations and heartaches that will be shared. It will be good for me to write it all out and get input from others, their perspectives, their insights and experiences.

And then about two years ago Frank had a double bypass. The need for it came as a shock since he hadn’t shown any previous symptoms, nor have a heart attack. This has been the biggest life altering event that continues to impact our daily lives, goals and perspectives. There have been many serious, difficult conversations concerning our lives and futures since this event, and some of those topics will be shared with you.

Frank still works with radio and there have been some ups and downs there which he will be sharing along the way. Some things worked out as planned, and some didn’t.

We have increasingly found our life of homesteading and preparing, our chosen path, has been a lonely one. There aren’t many people we meet that choose to live this way. Some still say ‘that sounds like so much work’ or ‘why don’t you just buy it at the store’. We are just too different for most people’s taste, and make them uncomfortable, and yet, would not choose to live any other way. It seems some of the most meaningful ‘conversations’ we have had about this way of life has been here, sitting at a computer, ‘discussing’ life with strangers. Interesting.

There is much to share now that we’re back to writing on the blog. Know that in many ways it was a relief to stop writing. The blog had become a burden, with the feeling and pressure to perform on a regular basis. That aspect was not missed, so our posts may be irregular and only occur when there is something worthwhile to share. For now we would like to share what we can in the hope that it may help someone else along the way. Frank has always been a teacher and continues to search for ways to help others.

Life’s priorities change with time and circumstance, and you will see this has happened with us. We look forward to interacting with our friends out in blog world again, have missed your comments and have wondered how many of you are doing. It’s an interesting thing to ‘know’ some folks that we have never met, never talked to and probably never will. The way all of us are presented online never shows the real person behind the words, and yet, the interaction it makes possible could never happen any other way.

We look forward to our future conversations.Your comments are encouraged and critical, others benefit from what we talk about here, all of you and I sharing our ideas and visions. We’re all in this boat together. Just remember, don’t get on the bus.

Until next time, Fern

End Fed Antenna Review

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

Okay, let’s review. By the title you can tell that this is going to be a review of an end fed antenna. Now, the review part. A wise man once said, write what you know about, and me being an advocate of advanced humor, I’m going to try to combine a little bit of knowledge with a little bit of humor. 

A disclaimer. Anywhere on this site, whether it is radio or chickens or pigs, we make no profit off of anything. There has been no gratuity awarded for any product endorsement. For those that do profit off of what they write, great! It is just not our forte.  

It’s been 3 years since I posted any type of article. A lot happens in three years. I have tried some antennas, some radios, I decided to try out heart surgery. I’ve now got one of those zippers from stem to stern. Not literally of course. And not being a person of nautical persuasion, I do not know the difference between stem and stern. But for those of you that are interested, I will share information about the bypass at a later date.

At a radio meeting one night, I heard a guy talking about his new antenna, and he was raving about it. Now all this guy does is CW, or morse code, he doesn’t even have a microphone attached to his radio. Let me back up here a little. This article is not being written at an entry level knowledge base. I’m sorry. So, if we’re speaking of CW and end fed, then you know I’m talking about HF radio. And yes, I know there is some CW on VHF, but that is not what we’re talking about here.

So, continuing. I listened to this guy, and he is a senior operator. So I listened for a while, and this guy learned CW from the United States military. And this guy talks CW all over the world. I’ll get back to this part of the story later.

Okay. The antenna I’m going to review today is made by MyAntennas.com  Yes, that is the name of the company. I will start off by saying I am highly impressed with this product. Are they pricey? Yes. Could you build your own? Probably. And if you would like to do that they will sell you the parts to do so. I bought the EFHW-8010

It is 130 feet long, resonant on 80/40/30/20/17/15/12/10M. It is rated at 1kW maximum. These are the specifications. If you’re not familiar with an end fed, which at the time, I was not, it is basically half of a full wave dipole, in this case, for 80 meters. Because if you remember, the number 468, that is your magic number that you use to figure the length of a half wave dipole. A small example, 468 divided by 3.5 equals 134. 3.5 is the lower end of 80M. So, 468 divided by 3.5 is 134 feet. If you were building an 80 meter dipole, it’s full length would be 134 feet, which would be 67 feet on each leg of the dipole.


Now follow me here. Through the miracle of using a balun, using the end fed half wave length antenna, then you can tune all of the afore mentioned frequencies. Or that’s how it works in theory anyway. Now I’m going to tell you how it works for me in reality.

Equipment used. My power supply is solar. The radio is an IC-718. I have approximately 100 feet of RG-8X from the radio to the end fed antenna. The feed end of the antenna is at 30 feet in the air, it runs approximately 50 feet to an apex of 40 feet and then continues whats left to a 30 foot height. This works okay for me. Your mileage may vary. I have a power transformer from the electric company about 50 feet away, and the apex of the antenna passes over a metal roof that is about 16 feet from ground level. These are the parameters that I have.


Now. This antenna will not transmit on 160M, but it will receive. I did not check for SWR on 30, 15,  or 12 meters because I don’t use those. It did work great on 40M, so 15M should also be good. Here’s what I got. 
All the following readings are SWR. 
80M – lower end 1:1.1
80M/75M – right at the higher end 1:2.5
40M – entire band 1:1.1
20M – entire band 1:1.1
10M – lower end 1:1.8
10M – middle and upper part 1:1.4
60M – the 5 channels 1:2.5
11M/CB – 1:2

As you can see, these are all easily tunable without a tuner. But with a tuner, your radio is happier. So, example. If you have a radio with a built in tuner, it would easily tune these numbers. If you have an external tuner like I do, then for most bands I don’t even use a tuner, and if I do, it just makes my radio a little bit happier.

Because this is a review of an antenna, I’m not going to discuss the theory of SWR. It’s one thing if you’re running 100 watts power, and another if you’re running a 1000 watts. But if you’re looking at this antenna, then you already know the difference.

This company, MyAntenna.com, also provides higher power antennas, just look around. They also sell baluns, RF isolators and other assorted goodies and toys.

Here is a link to eHam.net. I think you will find the reviews impressive.

If you have the space, or the desire, I would highly recommend this antenna. For me, it works. You can also configure it like you would any other dipole. Yes, it is a little pricey and it takes up 130 feet. What do I use it for? I do not contest, nor do I use CW, therefore there is no review of 30 meter. I have made contacts on 80/40/20M, and mostly on 40M. I seldom DX. And I seldom talk, but the reports I receive back are all 5/9, or easily intelligible. 

Again, I have no other end fed experience, I have never used a directional antenna, yes I know these are directional, but you know what I mean. For 10 & 11 meters I primarily use a vertical A99. 


 

I would appreciate your feedback, how your antennas are configured and what type of results you get. We’re all in this ballgame together, and if we can help out a fellow man, let’s please do so. If you have found mistakes in my writings or calculations, please let me know. This is just my experience. I look forward to hearing from you.

My XYL just reminded me that I need to let you know why I do this. First off, I listen. I want to know what’s coming down the road. As mentioned earlier, I operate from solar, not my whole house, but all of my radios, and that’s what it’s for. The system I use is simple. For me simple works better. The man I mentioned earlier that I learned about this antenna from operates all over the world when conditions permit.

In a future article I will tell you about my IC-7300 experience and why I went back to an IC-718. Thanks for being there.

We’ll talk more later. 73, Frank