it was a rainy day, in the afternoon my father picked me up and together we went to market basket in search of a thanksgiving turkey. they didn't have any fresh turkeys, just frozen ones, and none reaching 20 lbs. so i said we should hold off, either wait until market basket get some new stock, or go elsewhere. afterwards we returned to belmont. we emptied the oven (typically used for storage) and baked a slab of barbecued ribs for dinner.

i helped my father order a 100ft spool of RG8X coaxial cable off of ebay before getting a ride back to cambridge. i looked for my glass ramekins but couldn't find them, leaving empty-handed with an empty pyrex dish.

the big news today was revelation that democratic senator al franken sexually harassed leeann tweeden back in 2006 when he was still just a comedian on an USO tour by "forcibly [kissing]" her without her consent. although it could've been easily brushed off as a he-said-she-said moment, the fact that she also had a photo taken of her sleeping on the military aircraft while franken pretends to grope her breasts over her flak jacket makes the allegations undeniable. franken did the smart thing by apologizing and saying he was asahamed of his actions and going a step further by saying an ethics investigation should be made and he'd cooperate fully.

tweeden is a regular contributor to fox news so read into that however you want, though it in no way excuses the sexual harassment. but when is a joke poking fun of women in a sexual way just a joke and when is it more serious than that? that's what i want to know. that tweeden said she's been haunted by the incident for the past decade makes me suspicion. in her line of profession - a public figure in the broadcasting and entertainment industry - she's never encountered anything worse than franken making fun of her by kissing her once without permission than pretending to grope her while asleep? of course this will be politicized, given how the republican party has been seen as the party of sexual harassers and pedophiles with trump as the president and all the recent news about republican senate candidate roy moore in alabama.

i've been waking up later and later, though that's probably due in some parts to sleeping later and later (3am typically), but also because it's so cold in the house i just don't want to get out of bed. but having a strict wake-up regimen is what separates me from other lazy people, at least in my mind.

i've been taking the general license practice exam as often as i can, whether on my computer or on the phone. i'm at a point no where i 80% sure i can pass, but i'd like to up my score. i still haven't had a perfect score yet, the closest i got was 2 wrong out of 35 questions (9 or less to pass). i typically get between 4-6 incorrect. there are still 2 big chapters i haven't read yet, chapter 4 components and circuits and chapter 5 radio signals and equipment. those are perhaps the 2 densest chapters, full of formulas and theories. at this rate i've answered enough questions from those chapters that i might even need to read them and still pass, but i still like to. once i'm sure i can pass the general, i want to study up on the extra class license. it's a longshot to passing but better to have fighting chance than none at all.

i tested the 2m ground plane antenna using the short UHF cable, from my living room and also from the backyard porch. i couldn't receive or transmit on either 2m or 70cm, although on the 70cm i could hear some static but that was about it. from the backyard porch i was able to receive transmission from the quincy repeater loud and clear (heard the automated repeater message). but i tried to contact my father through the repeater, we couldn't hear anything. the only thing i haven't tried is sticking the antenna outside my living room window out on a stick; maybe i'll try that tomorrow.

i moved my motorcycle to the front of the house (it was parked a block away last night) and put the cover over it as there was a forecast of rain for tomorrow. i realized it was trash day this morning but i forgot to take out the trash, i got my schedule mixed up. my upstairs neighbors seem to be away (though their car is still parked outside), as 2 days worth of newspaper was piled outside their front door. that must've been the sounds i heard 2 nights ago, when they were getting up early to leave.

i had a salmon cream cheese bagel for lunch and thought about what i was having for dinner. i felt in the mood for some more carbs, and thought how delicious it'd be to have some spaghetti again. then the idea of making a chicken pot pie crossed my mind, but i only had a single pie crust in the fridge (maybe a spinach ricotta pie in the near future). i finally decided i'd finish the rest of my leftover pulled chicken from nearly a month ago if you can believe it, saving a trip to the supermarket for either tomorrow or friday.

i upgraded to masOS high sierra today (10.13.1). i heard there was going to be HVEC support but when i tried to play an HVEC video through quicktime, it still didn't work. other than that, the new OS seems to be similar to the old OS, i don't notice any difference. that i think is a good thing, i don't like it when new versions of the OS change the GUI just for the sake of changing. OS GUI worked fine before, no need to retweak it.

i performed another water change. i noticed the tetras were acting kind of funny, hiding at the bottom of the tank instead of swimming around. that usually means something is wrong. i did a count and it seemed like i was missing a tetra. did one die? or maybe i accidentally sucked it away with my tank vacuum? when i reached in the aquarium to clean the cyanobacteria, that's when i felt it: the water was vey warm (81°). so warm in fact that it was actually steaming, and the tetras were getting cooked. the optimal temperature is in the lower 70's. high temperature would most definitely contribute to the bacterial bloom. i quickly lowered the setting on the tank heater and poured in 2 gallons of cool 60°F room temperature water. after cleaning the tank i did another count and it seemed like the 11th fish had returned.

i watched the movie mayhem (2017) today, heard good things, starring steven yeun and samara weaving (she's great in netflix's the babysitter), but i didn't like it. something about it was decidedly low budget in a bad way, like it was shot on video, and the acting felt unnatural and forced. the premise was interesting at first - a virus that causes coworkers in a quarantined office building to temporarily go into a homicidal rage - but the storyline seemed to lose steam. the actual eponymous mayhem didn't seem all that much. there was also a lot of spitting and spittle, which i have an unnatural revulsion to, which might have added to my dislike.

li came home around 6:30pm. said he was tired from 3 days of astrophysics conferences but it was finally over. he quickly whipped up some rice porridge for dinner. as for me, i made a pulled chicken sandwich with a submarine bread and some provolone cheese. it wasn't bad and the chicken is still good to eat.

my father called me in the evening, asked me to listen to one of the GMRS channels. i could barely hear anything until i switched to my 2m ground plane, and just caught the tail end of a conversation (50-60% clarity). the weird thing was i thought i heard them signing off with call signs, but i didn't recognize the pattern and knew it was amateur radio call signs. at first i was excited, maybe it was foreign operators transmitting from far away due to some quirk in the atmosphere, but then i did some research and discovered that licensed GMRS operators have call signs as well. my father overheard one of them saying something about waltham. it's strange that we were able to hear them (my father heard them super clear with his outdoor mounted 2m antenna) given that in our own GMRS radio tests, at best their range is just a quarter of a mile.

looks like the 2nd half of november is prime reading season, as i got my hands on two much awaited books: oathbringer by brandon sanderson and artemis by andy weir. and this morning i ordered from the library 40 watts from nowhere: a journey into pirate radio by sue carpenter which will arrive next week.

i tried my hands at taking an extra class license practice exam. unlike the other two classes, the extra has 50 questions (from a pool of 712 questions). a passing grade is 13 wrong or less. it took a while to take because i'd never seen any of these questions before. i ended up getting 21 correct and 29 wrong, a score of 42% (failing). a few of the questions i knew the answers for sure, but most of them i didn't and had to take an educated guess. a lot more names and terms i've never heard before (but i'm sure i'll remember them once i see it once or twice). a lot more technical questions, especially about repeaters, which was never something i had to study for on the general exam. with a bit more studying, and a few more practice exams, i might be able to barely eke by an extra class passing grade.

i couldn't sleep last night, worried about the two things i had to do today: find a plumber to unclog my parents' kitchen drain and clean the house in preparation for the home energy audit later in the afternoon at 3pm. of the two, finding a good plumber was the more difficult task.

i spent the night in bed intermittently checking my phone: taking the general license practice exam (the test is next wednesday night) and then researching the questions i got wrong (pv cell voltage, multiplier vs mixer, log-periodic antenna, usb speech processor, frequency allocations, WARC bands, germanium diodes, IC operational amplifier, bypass capacitor, decibel scale, coaxial cable attenuation, dielectric cable loss), reading reddit, figuring out if drain-o crystals would be a viable option to cheaply unclog the drain (no it wouldn't not guarantee to work and the chemical lye can be dangerous to work with), checking to see if any xiaomi phones are compatible with verizon (looks like no), exploring antenna analyzers (the good ones are around $300), and reading up on some patriots news. the wifi would go down periodically as well for some strange reason and i'd have to crawl out of bed and walk across the cold kitchen (59°F) to reset the router (i should replace that cheap $20 tp-link router).

at 3:30am i received good news from the FCC: my vanity call sign went through (i received my assigned call sign 10/26, applied for the vanity 10/27, received notification of acceptance 18 days later), from this day forward i shall be known as november one hotel alpha oscar on the airwaves.

i finally went to bed at 5:30am, after hearing my upstairs neighbor waking up at 4:30am. when morning finally arrived (daylight anyway), i didn't want to get out of bed, but finally did by around 9:30am.

i wasn't expecting it to be raining the whole day, but rain it did, starting in the early afternoon, right when i was testing out the 2m ground plane antenna from the backyard porch landing. the test was unsuccessful, couldn't receive nor transmit to my father at the cafe. was it the antenna, the feed line, or simply bad location? who knew. afterwards i moved my motorcycle and put the rain cover on. i was going to go to belmont to clean the house for the energy audit tomorrow, but wasn't sure now with the rain. but my father said he could come and get me after work in another hour. that was enough time for me to clean the aquarium. i did a thorough cleaning this time, taking out the driftwoods and the aquatic plants and giving them a thorough scrubbing in the sink, before siphoning out 2 gallons worth of fish tank water mixed with cyanobacteria globs.

my father showed up around 2pm. i showed him the spots where i tested out the antenna last night. we figured out i could use a tripod and a selfie stick to make an antenna tower in my living roof. i'd give it a try later in the evening. in the meantime, we took the 2m ground plane antenna along with the feed cable so we could test it back in belmont.

using a short 50cm UHF cable, i was able to test the ground plane antenna nearly directly attached to my baofeng radio. it was able to hear the chatter on the waltham hill repeater, something i couldn't do with the same ground plane back at home, but i was able to get reception using the stock antenna. in the end my father discovered that the problem had to do with the old feed cable. one end had a newly soldered UHF plug, the other end was the old original plug that had oxidized over the decades and was no longer fully conductive. the fix was just to abrade the connector with some sand paper. once we did that, the 2m ground plane attached to the feed line was able to pick up waltham hill repeater reception again.

there was a lot of chatter on the waltham hill repeater this late afternoon; normally it's silent until 5pm, when the supposed owner of the repeater (i'm assuming he's the owner since he's always on) comes on. we used the chatter to test our various antenna reception.

we discovered that our outdoor 2m ground plane antenna mounted 20 feet up in the air on a bamboo pole can pick up NOAA weather forecast from WX7PA6 (bascom lodge 125W at 162.525MHz), which broadcasts from mount greylock in adams, the highest mountain in massachusetts at just 3489 feet (but a distance of nearly 104 miles) (WNG575 300W at 162.525MHz), which broadcasts from pack monadnock in new hampshire (2290 feet at a distance of almost 50 miles away). to a lesser extent the 2m dipole could pick up this forecast as well, just with more static. and the baofeng with the stock antenna can also receive WX7PA6, but it's intermittent, and most often it comes in as a sudden burst of static. but using the 2m outdoor antenna the signal comes in nice and strong, even better than WX3PA4 broadcasting (KHB35 1000W at 162.475MHz) from great blue hill (just 12 miles away). the 2m also picked up faint signal from NWR stations in essex (WNG574 gloucester marine 300W at 162.425MHz) and egrement (southwestern massachusetts 300W at 162.450MHz) deerfield, NH (300W at 162.450MHz 53 miles away).

i contacted lucas from united solar, asking for a schedule update. when i talked to him last back in october, he said mid-november would probably be the time they'd come to do the solar installation. he wrote me back, said they were booked all this week, but that next week (thanksgiving week) looks like a good time. lucas told me he'd know definitely by the end of this week. the thing i'm afraid of is united solar suddenly going out of business, it's happened before to many bigger solar companies. but i'm happy to hear they're still around.

what was supposed to be a quiet afternoon and evening turned out to be quite the disaster when the kitchen sink stopped working. it was slow draining yesterday, then my father used some drain clogger on it overnight. instead of unclogging the drain, it made it worse, because it must've loosened the greasy deposits, which ended up blocking the drain completely. no amount of plunging would unclog the drain, and if anything, it brought up this dirty black grease water from the deep dark recesses of the kitchen plumbing. it didn't smell bad fortunately, but it did have a very strong distinctive odor, like a seaweed-covered beach. i scooped out the water from the sink then we drained what water remained in the cabinet plumbing by releasing the trap. then my father used a plumbing snake to try and dislodge the obstruction, but it couldn't go any further than the junction that connected the pipe to the main sewage drain. we then went down to the basement to remove the cast iron cleanout cap. this was something i was dreading because it meant a big leaking mess but i didn't have to worry about that because we couldn't release the cleanout cap no matter what we tried, even using a length of pipe around the pipe wrench handle to increase our torque, with both my father and i pulling down on it.

after dinner we close the trap underneath the sink and tried to melt the obstruction away with pots of boiling hot water. that ended up not working either, and left us with hot water in the pipe that we couldn't drain until it cooled. when my father went down to the basement to feel the pipe, the hot water wasn't even reaching the cleanout cap, meaning the obstruction was much farther up in the plumbing. we finally gave up, my father tasking me with the job of finding a plumber tomorrow morning. it's an easy fix if we can only remove the cleanout cap.

it was still raining by evening when got a ride back to cambridge. to think i was going to bike to belmont! i would've never made it back.

i set up the 2m ground plane antenna station in my living room by the window elevated on the tripod + selfie stick. neither my father nor i could hear each other, zero transmission and zero reception. i tried bending the radials downwards (it was perpendicular to the main antenna before) based on my father's direction but that didn't do anything. i then removed the antenna from the tripod and attached it to the baofeng using the short length of UHF cable. i couldn't transmit anything either, but i was able to receive loud static on 70cm (UHF) if i had the antenna pointed 45° out the window. i then went outside with the antenna and was finally able to hear my father at 70cm by standing on the sidewalk. reception was good if i pointed the antenna to the clear sky but also if i just held it straight up. i was also able to speak to him standing on my front porch with the antenna vertical. at 2m (VHF) i was able to hear intermittent voice with high static if i pointed the antenna 90° counterclockwise to where i was pointing it before, due west. so the good news is we know the antenna works and we can operate on simplex; bad news is reception is heavily dependent on location, and the best location so far seems to be in front of my house where i have the best view of the sky.

the battery was charged and i installed it back into the motorcycle this morning. li went out to play badminton while i left for belmont. i was relieved that the bike started on the first try, without any drama. i bumped into my neighbor carrie who was raking up the leaves on the sidewalk. she said she never knew i had a motorcycle.

coming into my parents' house i noticed the large icicle that'd formed from the front faucet. afraid that maybe the pipe inside had burst, i quickly went to check it out. it ended up being just the water that was inside the garden hose being pushed out when the water inside froze. i unhooked the hose and was about to put the insulated cover on the faucet but there was ice inside the cover so i have to wait until it thaws out.

the patriots game was the sunday night game, so the afternoon was spent watching other football teams compete with no vested interest in any teams. i brought a korean instant noodle cup and had it for lunch.

my father returned home from the cafe early, around 1pm. he immediately went to work on creating another 2m ground plane antenna. the dining area quickly became a workshop of hanging radio antennas.

after dinner i returned home with the 2nd 2m ground plane antenna, along with a length of RG8X feed line. i tried the antenna from the kitchen, from the back of the house, and from the living room, but i wasn't able to receive anywhere. it's either something wrong with the antenna, something wrong with the feed line, or the fact that my house seems to be in a reception dead zone.

i woke up at 10:30am, reluctant to get out of bed. it wasn't that cold in the house - the heater had kicked in at 9am according to schedule (65° until i adjust it otherwise) - but it was cozier underneath the comforter. li was in his room with the lights on. shortly afterwards li came out and asked if i wanted to go to the supermarket today. i didn't really need anything but went anyway just to get out of the house. market basket was crowded but it wasn't bad (maybe a lot of people stayed home due to the cold, upper 30's). li insisted on a pushcart even after i told him it'd be hard to navigate through the crowded aisles. sure enough, he was stuck in cart traffic while i easily navigated with just a shopping bag. after watching me make italian subs for dinner all last week, li wanted to get in on some of this action. ham and salami we got from the reasdy-cut refrigerated display, but we had to get capicola and provolone from the deli.

ssh-keygen -t rsa -C "raspberry pi0w" (creates .ssh directory) otherwise: install -d -m 700 ~/.ssh on mac: cat id_rsa.pub | ssh pi@ 'cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys' add more wifi network/password to wpa_supplicant.conf (now located in /etc directory) sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

it was very cold last night and one of my fears was realized when i couldn't start my motorcycle. i worked at it for several minutes and even got the engine to start one time but the choke was closed and the engine quickly died after a few seconds. eventually the battery went dead completely (made that sad clicking and hissing sound when i tried to start the engine) so i had no choice but to ride the bike instead to belmont. maybe i was carrying a lot of stuff, maybe i haven't been riding in a while, maybe it was just the cold weather, but i had zero energy, and it was a strain to reach my destination.

my father was still at the cafe so i wanted to see if could reach him on his new mobile QYT KT8900 radio from inside the parked car. i could transmit and he could receive using the hanging coaxial dipole antenna he made, but i couldn't receive any of his test transmissions. i then switched to the raised 2m outdoor ground plane antenna and what a difference that made! transmit and receive on both ends from their house to the cafe with very good clarity, on both 2m frequency and 70cm frequency. later i switched back to the dipole. i could transmit just fine, but i still couldn't receive on 2m. i could however receive on 70cm though with much more static than the outdoor ground plane (about 50% clarity).

my aunt lili was hosting dinner at her house, invited my father and i as well bin bin's family. i can't remember a time when we were all together at her place, and certainly not in her new kitchen. bin bin's parents are returning to china early next month after a 4 month stay, to return again come spring. anderson was especially naughty tonight, no longer the shy little boy of years past. the only way to placate him was with videos on a phone, and even when he was eating he had to have his video.

after dinner we returned to belmont and i biked back to cambridge. i took the fancy antenna that came with the QYT KT8900 radio. from the design it looked like it'd perform well, super gainer mini diamono brand SG-M507. wait, what? diamono? not diamond? so an obvious knockoff (not unexpected given the price). still, i put it to the test. i couldn't receive anything from the back nor the side of the house, but when i walked to the front of the house and stop on the sidewalk underneath a tree with a good view of the sky, i was able to receive and transmit with my father back in belmont. i also had to hold the radio completely vertical otherwise the reception would cut out. so diamono or diamond, it's still an okay antenna.

i was reluctant to remove the motorcycle battery at night because if i dropped any screws on the ground it'd be hard to find in the dark and leaf litter. but it needed a good overnight charging if i wanted to ride the motorcycle tomorrow, so i went out with my tools and took out the battery. i did it carefully, made sure i didn't accidentally drop any screws or bolts. it wasn't that bad, there was a street light on the other side of the street that gave me plenty of illumination so i wasn't working in the dark. back inside, i plugged the battery to the tender junior and left it to recharge overnight.

i went about unclogging the slow drain this morning after i had my shower. the past few days i've been hitting it with a plunger and and pouring boiling water down the drain whenever i get the chance. it's still slow draining, so now i'm resorting to some drain-o max gel. i poured down half a container, hopefully it can do it's magic.

in the early afternoon i walked down to the nearest UPS store to drop off the wrong-sized connector plugs from best united. their customer service was not very good. when i replied to their e-mail for proof, they never responded back. only when i through amazon's "ask [seller] for a replacement" process did they respond to me. they apologized for the inconvenience, said they inspect all their products before shipment, and that something must've have happened (obviously). they wouldn't send me the right replacements parts but said they would be willing to reimburse me $3 for the $10 parts, and that i could keep them (even though they're worthless without the right sized reducers).

that's a terrible deal because i can just as easily return everything (under amazon's third-party seller A-to-z guarantee) for the full $10 refund, which was what i decided to do. the only catch was they had to receive the parts by the 15th, within the 30-day grace period from when i first ordered the parts, even though they didn't arrive until november 1st (shipped from china).

it was a blustery day, temperature in the upper 30's but felt colder because of the strong winds. it wasn't bad in the sun, but a definitely colder in the shade. afterwards i went to star market to pick up some snacks. they had a sale on ice cream (häagen-dazs, benn & jerry's) 4 for $10, but it was unmarked and i had to verify by checking the weekly flyer online. that happens a lot at this star market, the prices marked are always different than what you actually pay. i ended up returning when they seemed to have charged me more for a buy-one-get-one-free deal on tostito's chips. the girl at the service desk gave me a refund on the second item.

true headless setup (without having to connect to rpi0w physically) rpi0w * adding ssh file (touch ssh) * nano wpa_supplicant.conf country=US ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev update_config=1 network={ ssid="wifi_network" scan_ssid=1 psk="wifi_password" key_mgmt=WPA-PSK } * ssh pi@raspberrypi.local * ssh pi@ sudo nano .ssh/known_hosts delete (previously used for a different rpi) now can ssh into rpi0w * rpi0w : change password * rpi0w : sudo ifconfig to get MAC address on router: DHCP address reservation for specific MAC address port forwarding to reserved ip address * rpi0w : sudo nano .bashrc alias bye='exit' * rpi0w : sudo raspi-config change hostname i could've also changed it by editing: sudo nano /etc/hosts sudo nano /etc/hostname next step: create SSH key for passwordless SSH




temperature was in the lower 40's by the time i left the house in the afternoon. that was an improvement because temperature was in the 30's this morning. after getting some gas i went to belmont.

with a serious hard freeze coming tomorrow night, it was vital that i finally plant the ornamental grass into the backyard, otherwise they'd die in the pots. what i wasn't expecting was to unearth some bamboo rhizomes. i could just leave them alone and had to dig them up, ended up getting dirt all over my shirt sleeves, was more difficult that i realized.

the 2m ground plane antenna might not be strong enough to reach my house from my parents' place (it probably can, but i don't have a ground plane antenna of my own so my transmission and reception are weak), but it could probably reach the cafe, halfway distance. so while i was in belmont, i tested the antenna with my father at the cafe. using the 2m ground plane antenna transmitting on a matching 2m frequency (146MHz), i was able to transmit but not receive (not even static), which was the problem we had before. my father could hear me at the cafe with 80% clarity. but after i fiddled around with the adapter, i did manage to hear my father at 60% clarity, the rest being static. but then i couldn't receive him again. i switched to the 70cm ground plane antenna and contacted him on a matching 70cm frequency (445MHz). he was able to hear me at 60%, i heard him at 40%. just for kicks, we switched back to the 2m band, which meant a mismatch. naturally, all he could receive was static, but i didn't even hear anything back from him. just to cover our bases, i switched back to the 2m antenna and tested on the 70cm band. what was supposed to be a mismatch turned out to best combination in terms of clarity, we both heard each other at 90%. so apparently the trick is to build a 2m ground plane antenna but using 70cm on it instead.

my father's QYT KT-8900 dual band radio finally arrived today from china. it took 17 days, which is typical when ordering anything from the mainland. but he swore he'll never order anything from there ever again. first they contacted him a few days after he ordered with some additional charges. then when the order arrived today, he realized it was missing a lot of accessories, until he checked the original ad and saw in very fine print that those were extra (i thought it was too good to be true from the start).

the QYT KT-8900 is pretty small and designed as a car radio. operationally, it's very similar to the baofeng, but has a lot of additional functions that may only to china. with fewer buttons, it's probably even more complicated than the baofeng to program manually. fortunately it came with a programming cable. when i hooked it up to my mac and tried to run chirp, it wouldn't connect. when i installed an additional driver, it still didn't work. i then installed chirp on my father's PC, and after installed an old driver, i finally managed to get chirp to download data from the radio. i then opened up an image of the latest baofeng data and copied over the memory files. a few channels didn't transfer over, the KT-8900 wouldn't accept any frequencies above 480MHz (the baofeng can go up to 520MHz in UHF). the KT-8900 also only had a 6 character display so it truncated the channel names.

the KT-8900 can operate at 25W, compared to the baofeng UV-5R which has a maximum output of 5W only. listening to some police radio traffic, we couldn't really tell the difference, though the KT-8900 is pretty loud (almost too loud). we were testing with the 2m ground plane antenna mounted outside, and was able to hit the quincy repeater just fine (straight line distance 11 miles), receiving the automated repeater message with clarity.

i made risotto for dinner. i was going to start the recipe at 5pm, but after doing the dishes and finding the right size pots, it was suddenly 5:30pm. risotto typically takes an hour to make from beginning to end. i was going to make it on tuesday but my father already prepared some red roasted pork. instead of just half a package of italian sausages, i used the whole package (6 links). i finally finished the risotto by 6:30pm. i don't think my father minded the wait, he was too busy playing with his new radio. my father - whom i don't think ever had risotto before - said it was pretty good, pretty savory. i thought it was slightly salty because i put in too much shredded parmesan at the end, and he agreed, but said the saltiness contributes to the overall umami. we split the portion right in half, i felt stuffed afterwards.

i tested the transmit capability of the KT-8900 on my way home. stopping at reservoir and walden, i tried contacting my father, who had just installed the new radio in the car along with the provided antenna, an NMO mounted diamond brand tri-band antenna. i couldn't tell if it was fake or not, it looked real enough, but a genuine diamond tri-band would cost as much as the radio, so it was most likely a knockoff. more evidence? neither my father or i could hear each other on 2m or 70cm, not even static, so the antenna was worse than stock. basically all the antennas we've purchased have performed less than expected. the only good antennas we have are the simple ground plane antennas my father built. the diamond antenna might not be working because it doesn't have a ground plane surface to work with, and they didn't even include a magnetic base, just a door mount.

right on schedule, the heat kicked in at 8am this morning, to coincide with li waking up and preparing for work. for lunch i had a salmon cream cheese onion bagel. i checked the results of last night's election (they had some problems counting all the ballots because a few voting machines had corrupted memory cards), okamoto ended up losing with just 600 votes total. it was a longshot that she would win anyway, given her age (19), and the fact that she was going up against more experienced politicians with deeper pockets, better name recognition, and established supporters.

i spent the better part of the afternoon backing up photos onto my 8TB external drive. transferring nearly 700GB worth of photos, after more than 3 hours it was only half done. while that was going on, i lounged on the couch, studying the general ham radio license manual. i snacked on some comte le fort cheese my sister had bought a few days ago with some very stale table crackers. my father stopped by the late afternoon on his way to market basket then back home. he said my california aunt was going to taipei next week to keep my grandmother coming, so that means my mother can come back to boston for thanksgiving.

i left for a lecture in the early evening, "decoding maya hieroglyphs with 3D technology" with barbara fash. it was interesting, better than the beetles lecture a few days back, but for some reason i felt very tired and nearly fell asleep. i saw susan in the audience but she didn't see me. the lecture was about non-invasive methods of 3D digitizing the deteriorating hieroglyphic stairway in copan, honduras.

it was a cold night (temperature in the lower 40's), but probably more so because i'd been in the house all day. leaving the lecture it didn't feel all that bad, but that could also be because the lecture hall was comfortably warm (unlike my house, which was in heating limbo).

i made an italian sub for dinner, li coming home a few minutes after i got back. the heat had already kicked in for the evening beginning at 7pm.

my father tried contacting me with the 70cm ground plane antenna. sitting in my living room, at most i managed to hear some static; he couldn't hear me at all while i was transmitting with the stock antenna. later in the evening he called back again, to try the 2m ground plane antenna. that seemed worse, with even shorter bursts of static. standing by the living room window i could hear better, and i even managed to hear him once, but very faint (like 10% audio), and then couldn't hear him afterwards. when i stepped to the window of my front door however, i was able to receive him very well, 40-50% audio (the rest static). when i tried it from my back door window, i couldn't receive anything, not even static. once more, he couldn't receive me since my stock antenna doesn't have enough transmission power. the next stage is for him to build another 2m ground plane antenna for me to try from my place.