I had the most extraordinary coincidence happen on Wednesday morning. But as I am not a great believer in coincidence, I attribute apparently small miracles to cosmic forces . . . and I'm not talking about F2 layer propagation!!
What the hell am I talking about, you ask? I decided to head to Maplins to buy an RS232 cable to interface my Yaesu FT-1000MP with my logging software, LOGic 8, something I had been threatening to do for an age.
While waiting for Maplins in Dundalk to open, I wondered if I should bother to hang around or head to the office. Something compelled me to wait around for the 15 minutes. Within moments, who appears in the car park, walking towards me, waving?
No, not President McAleese. Nope, not Steve Staunton. It was Charlie, EI8JB! As well as writing the weekly IRTS news bulletin, Charlie is also an all-round nice fellow and it's always nice to meet someone so positive and friendly. I hope he won't mind me saying it but Charlie smiles all the time - he's that type of guy - as you can see in the above photo.
Anyhow, after a brief banter we headed into the shop where, after a few minutes of looking, I found an RS232 cable with 9-pin female serial plugs on each end. Great, except one thing - my laptop doesn't have a serial input!! I needed a serial-to-USB converter, which Maplins did not have on the premises. Damn! Would I ever get my rig and laptop inferfaced?
Well here's why my chance meeting with Charlie in Dundalk was such a great "coincidence". Apart from the fact that I live in Drogheda and Charlie lives in Meath, and the chances of us meeting in the same spot in Dundalk might seem remote, it turned out that Charlie had, in his van, a serial-to-USB converter! Would you credit it?
I couldn't wait to get home that evening to try get everything connected. After downloading a driver for the Serial-USB converter, I had the radio and the computer "talking" to each other in no time! Now logging is so much easier. I don't have to manually enter the person's name and country, nor do I have to fill out the frequency and mode - it all happens automatically. So thanks indeed Charlie for helping me out on that one - it really is appreciated.
This new link-up helped enormously when I decided to put out a "CQ" call on 40 metres last night. I was pleasantly surprised that my new magnetic balun and longwire antenna were working so well on 40. I pulled in some stateside, and even Brazil, and had some nice QSOs with various stations in Europe, including a gentleman in the very northern part of Norway. He told me he lived in a cabin with his two dogs and his radio, and that in the middle of winter he only gets one hour of sunshine per day! At this time of year, of course, things are a lot different. He said there were only three hours of darkness at nighttime now.
It's amazing who you meet on the bands, and where they are located. It's even more amazing when you meet friendly faces in Dundalk and they happen to be carrying an item that you need that might otherwise have taken a week to get from the internet!