Sunday, July 3, 2011


This week, as Zach and I arrived in the parking lot at the Golden Phoenix Chinese buffet in lovely Niskayuna, New York, I spied in the sky above a curious shimmering rainbow-like cloud or contrail. I took a number of stills. While the photos don't really due justice to the cloud phenomenon observed, I post them here for your viewing pleasure. The quiet Tim W2QAC referred to this cloud type as a "Mare's Tail".

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Here Is A Special RANDOM ACCESS THOUGHT For Saturday June 25TH, 2011! All The Action At The Schenectady Museum Amateur Radio Association's Field Day!

Here Is A Special RANDOM ACCESS THOUGHT For Saturday June 25TH, 2011! All The Action At The Schenectady Museum Amateur Radio Association's Field Day 2011! Among The Usual Gang, The Quiet Tim W2QAC, Crush W2CCR, Tony W2BEJ And Dave NF2G! 20 Meters! PSK31! Cheese Fixes, Knitting Looms, Antennas! A Good Time Being Had By All! AND! AND!! The BuckEye Bullet Too!



This Saturday, Zach and I made the scene at the Rotterdam Kiwanis Park in lovely Rotterdam Junction, New York for the annual Amateur Radio Field Day. The Schenectady Museum Amateur Radio Association (SMARA) had established an in-the-field multi-operator ham station which ran entirely on emergency backup power, in this case, a basic every day gasoline-driven generator. Among those on hand were: Tony W2BEJ, Chris (Crush/Crash) W2CCR, Dan KC2VEX and Tim W2QAC. There were many others participating but I was not able to secure their names or call signs. Several vertical antennas along with a wire dipole were raised and while we were on site, a multi-band Yagi antenna was being constructed. Computers were linked via a wireless router.
The weather initially left a lot to be desired as it poured big time but eventually the clouds and precip gave way to a sunnier sky. Herewith a handful of still shots take at the 2011 Amateur Radio Field Day with all the guys and gals at the Schenectady Museum Amateur Radio Association.
1) Heavy rains have brought the Mohawk River to uncomfortably high levels but the guys and gals at SMARA forge on with Field Day 2011!

2) Just below Tim W2QAC and a fellow ham scrutinize one of the station setups at Rotterdam Kiwanis Park operating under the club call sign W2IR!

3) Chris W2CCR works the PSK31 position, having just worked W1AW, the amateur radio station of the American Radio Relay League, on 40 meters!

4) This tent houses the SMARA GOTA (Get On The Air) station for interested visitors who might have an interest in becoming an amateur radio operator!

5) While the Quiet Tim W2QAC works Field Day on 7 MHz, My Number One And Only Son Zach KC2VWY works Link and The Legend Of Zelda on one of those amazing Nintendo 3DS devices!

6) Here, Dan KC2VEX works Facebook on 800 MHz/1900 MHz!

7) I came across a cornerstone for the Rotterdam Kiwanis Park with a date of 1939 on the face plate. The shoes are mine!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


1) Six months later, these concrete artifacts from another time in Albany, New York's history are still here, though under siege from dense plant growth. These stills were taken from the Van Woert Street perspective.

2) Here, the same cryptic number-letter code is still visible in the bright afternoon sun.

3) In the shot below is something not seen during our winter visit. What appears to be a kind of skylight is located at the rear base of the street tunnel entrance. The glass is of a heavy translucent block design, meant to allow light but no detail in either direction.

4) There is a thin metal pipe that extends from the base of the street tunnel which may been installed to vent any gases that might accrue in the space below the structure.

5) My Number One And Only Son Zach was able to peer under a plywood panel covering the entrance and see a tire just inside. He also discovered that the passageway below the structure was filled with water by dropping rocks through the damaged skylight.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


The other day, the Internet Radio Players that I had downloaded into my Sony Playstation Portables had stopped functioning. About a week later, Sony made it known that they were overhauling these same players. But meanwhile, I had discovered not one but two third-party freeware Internet Radio Players from the following two sources.
Both players work on both Sony and PSP homebrew operating systems. The first address provides a really neat custom player with many useful features while the second address offers a custom Shoutcast-only option. But the most important aspect is that we can now install addresses for almost any audio stream available. Quite a step up from using a Sony Internet player with factory established channel presets and no option to choose beyond those. While there is a virtual universe of audio feeds offering anything from any conceivable genre of music to police scanners to old time radio, here is a one address worth plugging into.


This stream is billed as BLUEBOX RADIO which offers a continous program schedule of what appear to audio books, the content of which is mostly science fiction based. In the just the past few days, I have tuned into The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, stories by Arthur C. Clarke amd much much more. The stream was established and maintained by Byron Lee. Mister Lee is involved with an organization known as Horizons For The Blind and also has a background in audio post production and conducts a number of Internet radio programs which can be heard over SkyScanner Satellite Radio and Radio Free Dishnuts.
BLUEBOX RADIO can be copied on any contemporary computer system and not just Sony PSPs, which I use as a kind of portable 2.4 GHz wireless radio.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


There's an excellent website location called FORGOTTEN NEW YORK which is sponsored by an online group devoted to the more obscure if not truly forgotten places in and around the five boroughs of New York City. This site is a visual repository of lost cemeteries, disappearing architecture, such as street lights, building facades, advertising on building walls and more. So popular is this assembly that they conduct a tour several times a year in search of this much loved Obscuribilia. Every city has its share of forgotten and little old Albany is no exception. My Number One And Only Son Zach and I tooled around downtown Albany on the very first day of 2011 and came across those physical manifestations which you see in these attached still shots.
I remember as a little kid seeing structures like these situated at two locations on Central Avenue. In each set, one entrance was positioned on each side of the street. I seem to recall saying to my mother that I didn't know that Albany had a subway system. Her response was: "No, there is no subway. Those are tunnel entrances used for crossing the street". There are sections of Central Avenue that are extremely long between intersections so it appears these tunnels were constructed to alleviate unnecessary and certainly more hazardous jay walking.
As the years went by, the Central Avenue street tunnels were torn down but it turns there are at least three remaining entrances in town, two located on North Pearl Street with other across the way at Van Woert Street. There are tracks between them so they were constructed for people to cross under the tracks, rather than over them. Just how long the shells have been there I couldn't tell you but there may have been some sort of station stop there at one time. As to why there are two entrances on the North Pearl Street side is anybody's guess. Zach thought that perhaps it was a very busy access point and that's most likely the best guess.

1) Not sure why the sides were painted over in light gray or purple. These first four stills were taken from North Pearl Street.

2) The following four images were taken from the Van Woert Street angle. The entrances have been boarded up for years although you may notice a small space at the bottom . Zach refused to get down on his hands and knees and look inside.

3) Another minor mystery is this marking. It looks less like graffiti and more like some kind of meaningful notation.

4) One of the North Pearl Street tunnel entrances as seen from Van Woert Street.

5) These entrances appear to have been constructed of concrete, and for a number of years, they had steel grates to block entry. Ultimately, they were boarded up with plywood.

Friday, December 10, 2010

More Theories From Bill W2XOY! Reactions To A Contemporary REACT!

This last Sunday, a bunch of hams got together at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany for The Great Train Extravaganza! In attendance were Tony W2BEJ, Bill W2XOY, Zach KC2VWY and myself N2FNH. After the show, we convened at the Wolf Road Diner in Colonie for a little late afternoon lunch. Bill offered tales of his recent involvement with REACT, a national volunteer emergency services organization. Naturally, these stories were documented by yours truly and packaged as another ongoing edition of the RANDOM ACCESS THOUGHT. Here is the link to that presentation:

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