Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recumbent Ride -- Quarry Loop 2011

With cold weather coming on quick I decided to seize the day and ride the Quarry Loop.  I like to get out and ride this 50 mile route at least once a year.  The loop travels completely through rural farmland with no services available anywhere so a little planning is always in order.  In my recumbent's seat back bag I filled my 70 ounce bladder and added a 20 ounce bottle of Gatoraid for good measure.

The temperature was hovering around 50 degrees F which is perfect for keeping my cheese and liquids cool. The first 12 miles I had a good tailwind but took it easy to save my energy knowing I had alot of miles to cover. 

About three quarters of an hour into my ride I reached a milestone on the recumbent.  I stopped to take a picture of the odometer after it ticked over to 2000 miles. I keep a paper log book where I record each ride so every one of those 2000 miles I pedaled on this bike are accounted for.

The quarry lies about mid-point in the ride and is a good place to stop and take a break.  There is a bridge that spans the gap between the old and new sections of the quarry.  During last year's ride I found the road closed and was forced to detour around the bridge because it was being rebuilt.  I was anxious to get back to the area and check out the new construction.

Snack break at the new quarry bridge
View from bridge looking South
View from bridge looking North
  It's very probable the four tons of gravel my son and I carried to the back yard this summer for the shed base came from this quarry. 

After a short break I continued on to the third leg of the loop and turned into a direct headwind from the south.  This knocked a couple miles per hour off my speed but thats life on two wheels when your the engine.

The recumbent draws a crowd wherever I go.

On the backside of the quarry the ground undulates gently providing some easy rollers that makes the ride interesting for a bit.  After a few miles the terrain looks likes this:

 Pancake flat glacial plains with a headwind my favorite -Not!

Soon the golden fall foliage will be just a memory.

At 2:07:25 I hit 30 miles and was pleased with my pace.  I expected today's ride to be over four hours because my riding lately has been pretty sporadic.  Encouaged by my 30 mile time I kept the hammer down knowing I would soon turn East and the Southerly wind would be coming at my side and not a detriment on the last leg of my journey.  After 40 miles I still felt good with just an overall dull fatigue. No knee discomfort or shin pains which I remember experiencing on this ride in the past.  As usual the molded seat of my recumbent was very comfortable.  I love this bike for long rides!

Rolling ever closer to home and watching the clock I saw I was going to make it well under four hours and that gave me the incentive to keep the crank spinning.

Quarry Loop

Bike:  HP Velotechnik Street Machine
Ride Time:  3:41:44
Distance:  51.76 miles
Average Speed:  14 mph
Max Speed:  27.1 mph
HP Velo Odometer:  2039.5 miles

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recumbent Ride

After a long, hard day at the office the last thing I want is to be hunched over my road bike bars.

Urban Recumbent Ride

Ride Time:  :56:53
Distance:  11.68 Miles
Average Speed:  12.3 MPH
Max Speed:  20.7 MPH
HP Velo Odometer:  1987.77 Miles


Monday, October 24, 2011

Radio Contact -- NB9QV -- USS Cobia (SS-245)

Sunday morning I made single-sideband radio contact with a WW2 submarine.  No I wasn't transmitting through some strange radio time warp but was fortunate enough to meet an operator from the NB9QV, USS Cobia Amateur Radio Club aboard the 69 year old Gato-Class submarine.

Working special event stations on ham radio is one of my favorite activities.  I stumbled upon this event quite by accident as I was well outside of my normal hf haunt at the bottom of the 40 meter band.  I tuned in the strong sideband signal at 7.233 MHz.  After listening awhile and checking the band plan to make sure my General Class license allowed me to transmit at that frequency I decided to give it a go and see if I could get this unique station in my log.  

After digging out a microphone and connecting it to my transceiver I waited for an opportunity to answer the CQ calls from the sub.  The Ops on board were working a steady stream of amateurs but it was not difficult at all to slip my call in and establish contact.  I've already sent out my QSL card in the mail to confirm the contact and request a certificate commemorating the event.  Never in my life did I think I would one day communicate via high frequency radio with a WW2 submarine.  Cool!
Photo: Dale C. Haskin
Here is the lowdown on the Cobia from the NB9QV page:

NB9QV is the callsign for the USS COBIA Amateur Radio Club aboard the WWII submarine USS COBIA SS-245 docked in the harbor adjacent to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. The Museum is located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin which is about 80 miles north of Milwaukee. Why Manitowoc? Because the shipyard in Manitowoc built 28 submarines during the war or about 10% of the total fleet.

The COBIA was launched on the 28th of November 1943 and was assigned the wartime callsign NBQV by the US Navy. The original wartime radio equipment, which provided all communications for her six war patrols in the Pacific Theater, has been fully restored and is used for various club events.
The radio shack has two RAK-6 and two RAL-6 receivers. A TBL-12 transmitter puts out 400W to the topside longwire antennas. The TBL runs on standard ships power which is 250VDC via a motor-generator set. There is also a complete TCS-8 setup. This gear allows the COBIA to transmit and receive on any frequency from 30KHz to 22Mhz. All operating frequencies are set by a LM-18 frequency meter.
The COBIA’s Radar system has been restored to full working order. The radar is linked to a mechanical computer which calculates a target’s course. It has a usable range of 40,000 yards(22 miles) and is now the oldest operational radar system in the world.
During the COBIA’s six war patrols she sank 13 Japanese vessels to account for a total of over 18,000 tons of Japanese shipping. On July 13,1944 she sank the 9,500 ton NISHU MARU carrying troops and tanks to reinforce Japanese defenders on IWO JIMA. The COBIA experienced her most exciting encounter during her fourth war patrol in 1945 in a running surface gun battle with two Japanese Sea trucks. The COBIA sent both to the bottom, but suffered her only casualty of the war, Ralph Clark Houston a 20mm gun loader. She was also responsible for rescuing 7 downed allied airmen. After the war the COBIA continued to serve in various missions until 1959 and then an additional eleven years as a training vessel for the Naval Reserve. Since her arrival in Manitowoc the COBIA has undergone an almost complete restoration inside and out to bring the submarine to her World War II fighting condition.
The “USS COBIA” is open for tour’s year round at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc,Wisconsin. Sleepovers on the sub are also available. Reference website:  for more information.

Photo: Bill Gonyo

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Photos by LeeAnn

I've always had a camera but I credit my wife for inspiring me to always look for the best angle in my photography.  Here are some shots she took this weekend at Mt. Gilead State Park.

My Bike Shop

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Road Bike Ride

After three days of nonstop rain I finally ventured out for a ride on the Motobecane road bike.  The temperatures were chilly in the lower fifties but I layered up accordingly had a nice ride.  I rode the B & O rail trail, a spur line that connects Mansfield, Ohio to the north and Butler, Ohio at the southernmost end.  As part of the expansive Baltimore and Ohio network this line once traveled much deeper towards Southern Ohio but the bike path ends at Butler.  Riding the entire length of the trail both directions makes for a solid workout.

I remembered my camera but noticed when I turned it on I had forgot the memory card.  Trust me it was a beautiful day with many of the leaves still remaining in late autumn yellow and browns.  This year the fall colors came on quick and were nearly gone just as fast.

The titanium Motobecane felt super after a couple of weeks of mainly urban cruising and commuting on the general purpose bike.  I did make one small adjustment to my seat.  During my last few rides I felt a bit cramped on the bike and sure enough when I moved the seat back on it's rails about 1/8" I noticed an improvement.  If there is one piece of advice I would give to cyclists its don't be afraid to take advantage of the adjustable parts on your bicycle.  The small tweaks can have a great effect on your comfort going into the second and third hours on the road.  It takes me about 500 miles on a particular bike to get everything dialed in and feeling natural and with this bike I think I'm getting close.

Richland County B & O Trail

Bike:  Motobecane Le Champion
Ride Time:  2:33:00
Distance:  37.3 Miles
Average Speed:  14.5 MPH
Max Speed:  20.2 MPH
Motobecane Odometer:  330 Miles

Thursday, October 20, 2011

35mm Film and Motorcycles

In a previous post I mentioned my old 35mm film camera.  It was just a simple Kodak point and shoot from the late 1980's with the door in the back to load the film canister.  My mother gave me the camera as gift about the time I graduated from high school and I carried it with me during my military service.  These pictures I took the summer of 1991 on the cliffs overlooking the Spokane Valley in Eastern Washington State.  I've long since lost the negatives but the pictures themselves have stood up fairly well over the last twenty years.  I thought I better get busy digitizing them and add as original content to my blog.

Pictured is my first motorcycle.  I'm not just a fan of human powered cycles. I also like bikes with motors.  Even as a boy I was motorcycle crazy.  I had that plastic box and hand grip on my bicycle that made an engine revving sound when you twisted the grip.  And of course I had the wind up Evel Knievel motorcycle toy, It was the seventies after all.  Later as a teenager I subscribed to motorcycle magazines and grew quite informed in the world of gas powered two-wheelers.  However there was one fly in the ointment.  My mom would not allow me to have a motorcycle while I lived under her roof.  I had some limited experience riding friend's mopeds and three-wheeled all terrain vehicles (remember those?) so the seed was sown and I would just have to bide my time.

1988 Yamaha XV250UC

Once I had established myself at my permanent duty station and saved up enough scratch for a down payment I bought this little cruiser brand new.  I still remember riding it off from the dealer and putting 50 miles on the machine that first day cruising the Eastern Washington countryside.  20 years and 11,000 miles later the bike sits in my garage today looking very much like it does in these pictures with maybe a scratch or two to show for all that time. 

The bike needs a carburetor rebuild and is not currently licenced so I'm not riding it at this time.  The little V-twin doesn't take up much space in the garage and just seeing it in passing brings back a flood of great memories.  I don't know how many times I've heard guys say "I wish I still had my first car" or whatever from back in the day. 

I have a local mechanic whom I've relied on for years for help with more advanced maintenance issues so one day we'll get the bike back on the road.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Feld Hell Sprint -- Oct 15, 2011 -- A.R.S. W8MDE

I had fun this weekend participating in the Feld Hell Sprint on amateur radio.  Feld Hell or Hellschreiber as it was originally known is my favorite digital mode.  I love the primitive appearance of the type as it scrolls out on the monitor and the peculiar sound of the incoming signals.  I wrote a post about the history of this fascinating mode and it's inventor here.

Actual screen captures would have looked better on the blog but it was easier to just snap quick pictures with the point and shoot as I made contacts during the sprint.  I thought this would make a good illustration of how the Feld Hell Sprint works.  The contest exchange is simple and quick.  Operators transmit a signal report, club member number, State/Country and grid locator.  The goal is to make the most contacts in a 2 hour period.

Randy, K7AGE produced a great video on YouTube explaining Hellschreiber and shows the mode in action. Link here.  Randy's videos inspired me to get into the digital modes on high frequency amateur radio.  I highly recommend checking them out.

K3QIA -  Berwick, PA

K3TXT - Edgewater, MD

W8MDE calling CQ and getting a bite

A nice 5 watt signal from K4RCH/QRP in Culpeper, VA

N8EWX - Hilliard, OH

KJ8O - Troy, MI

N9YDZ/ Mobile in Missouri not quite 599 but perfectly readable.

KD8GNC - Columbus, OH

Post Sprint QSO between KJ8O and KD8GNC 
Solid copy - TG9AHM Guatemala City

I received excellent copy from Emmanuel, TG9AHM in Guatemala on 15 meters but try as I might I could not reach him.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall Hike at Clear Fork

Once in a while I take a picture with my digital camera that reminds me of my old 35mm film camera.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prehistoric Stone Point Found In Ohio

While I'm out on my bike looking at leaves I'm not always looking up or riding.  As I was walking along inspecting some bare ground my eye instantly recognized a familiar shape.  I reached for the primitive stone weapon and nearly plucked it from it's rain worn perch before I remembered I had my camera.  The next two pictures show the point in it's undisturbed position as I found it.  The first photograph shows the  edge of a small gully formed by rain runoff.  The point rests on the edge atop a pillar of dirt shaped like the point itself.  

An interesting effect of erosion

The second photograph was taken looking straight down.  The lip of the gully is just discernible at about midpoint in the frame.  The bottom of the gully (top of frame) is slightly out of focus.

This awesome find was expertly knapped from flint mined by prehistoric Native Americans in Coshocton County about 70 miles away from where I found the point in Crawford County.  This fact shows the wide distribution of the dark gray flint stone.  Even though the point has suffered some damage over the years it's still a great example of an "Ohio Blue".

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sharpest Tool in the Shed

Titanium General Purpose Bike
"I like my wheel-brows low and frame tubes made of metal."

Bikes are made for warm fall days.