Songs I’ve Lived – Jimmy Buffett – Changing Channels

So, this is song is a special one for me. It was the encore at my first Jimmy Buffett concert. That was the concert before I moved from the only hometown I’d known in San Diego to Las Vegas.
It’s been appropriate entirely too often lately. It’s still one of my favorite Buffett songs even if it evokes some homesickness and tidal waves of nostalgia.

Indian Food

Many years ago when I was little, the family across the street from us were recent immigrants from India. They had a couple of young daughters and everyone fit in with each other. We had Jews, Christians, Blacks, Whites, and Asians. It was a melting pot where we just didn’t care that we were different in those ways.

I was invited over to our Indian friends’ home for meals many times and that food was GOOD 😁 During my time in trucking I found quite a few places with Indian food, but rarely had the time to stop and enjoy them. There are many people from that country who’ve found work in that industry and Love’s truck stops seems to cater to them more than the other chains of truck stops. I found this line of heat and eat meals at the Love’s truck stop in Tolleson, AZ. It’s not quite as good a Moliga’s cooking, but it is delicious and it brings back fond memories 😎

Songs I’ve Lived – Kenny Rogers – The Gambler

How does this fall under “Songs I’ve lived” you might ask? Yes, I lived in Las Vegas and I’ve gambled in more than a few towns in the vast state of nothingness known as Nevada. Now, all of my gambling experience has been in entirely legal establishments. That is all of my CASINO gambling experience…

We won’t talk about the guy I met in the New York New York casino in Las Vegas, NV shortly after my 21st birthday who wanted to go in on a pallet of wine, who said, “We’re Italians – We don’t play games.” and who I’m sure was a mafia hitman from later disguised interviews…

You see, there’s a lot more in life that falls under this song than just playing cards in casinos. There’s CDL school. There’s solo long haul OTR trucking. There’s learning to ride a motorcycle and then riding that insane machine all through Las Vegas.

Don’t get me started on helping to raise an 8yo daughter 🤣

Good times and if they weren’t good then, they’re freaking awesome looking back years later 😎

More New Radios – Baofeng UV-5R EX Handheld VHF/UHF Ham Radios

I posted about my new Radioddity GS-5B radio a couple of days ago. It’s got some great features like a really nice flashlight on the bottom, USB charging, and Bluetooth programming. It really is a nice radio and works wonderfully! That said, there are reasons one might want/need more than one radio… (Scroll to below pictures)

So, before I go any further, I’ll explain a little bit about the radios I just got. These are Baofeng UV-5R EX radios and while their main focus is on a budget price point, they didn’t take that to the extreme. These radios are only $25 each on, but I found a deal where a pair of them was only about $45. These radios feel pretty solid in the hand and come with some really desirable features. They can be programmed via PC using a program called Chirp and a programming cable. They transmit and receive on the VHF and UHF amateur radio bands, receive commercial FM broadcast radio, feature 128 memory stations, tone settings for accessing repeaters, and there’s a white LED on the top to use as a flashlight. There’s no aviation band receiving, no Bluetooth programming, only two bands, and only five watts. They’re good, basic radios with a few minor shortcomings like not as much filtering on the front end of the receiver, but we’ll just say they’re really not the worst radios you can get, especially for the money.

Now, why would I want more than one radio you might ask? Why would I buy a pair of identical radios when I already have a great radio? Well, there are a few reasons. Reason #1 was to have a backup. Radios get dropped, they get run over by vehicles, and they could even have the antenna snapped off. Whether you’re at home or in the field, repairs aren’t easy, quick, or cheap on your main radio. Two is one and one is none and a spare radio as a failover seems like a pretty great idea.

You might be thinking that a spare radio makes sense, but why two spares? I didn’t originally want to buy two radios. I wanted a radio and a spare battery, but I couldn’t find the batteries in stock anywhere. And where the prices were listed, they were $10 – $12 each. It would have been about $37 for one radio and a spare battery. For another $8 I got a spare battery, spare charge cradle, spare charger, and a spare RADIO 😁

But wait! There’s more!!! There’s another reason for wanting two radios. When working low earth orbiting satellites that function as amateur radio repeaters. When working these satellites, it’s very helpful to be able to receive and listen to the downlink WHILE you’re talking.

I’ll get into satellite operations later, but for now I’ll leave you with a YouTube video on these Baofeng radios. Have a great day and I hope to see you back here soon!

Radios – Radioddity GS-5B Handheld UHF/VHF Amateur Radio

So, I talked a little bit about the new ham radio I’d ordered before it arrived. Well, it’s here now and I’ve had a few days of playing with it and its programming software and I’m happy to say it’s been FANTASTIC 😎

As you can see, I’d ordered a Radioddity GS-5B. This radio is VERY ORANGE LOL! My first impressions were that it feels like it’s a quality item. The clicky buttons and power/volume knob all have a very positive feel. The display and button backlights are large, clear, and bright. The flashlight on the bottom is also very bright and really practical as well.

I’ve had a few chances to actually work repeaters around the local area with a very affordable magnetic mount mobile antenna and so far the reports are pretty impressive 😁 Reception on VHF ham frequencies, NOAA weather, and commercial broadcast FM frequencies has been great with both the stock rubber duck and the magnet mount antenna.

As far as programming, it’s not too bad through the keypad, but I’m glad it’s pretty easy via a PC with the included USB cable. There are a few mildly annoying limitations in the PC software, but overall it’s pretty easy. The Bluetooth programming via apps on my iPhone and Android tablets has worked flawlessly so far as well.

One other thing I’ve found out is that this appears to be very closely related to or possibly a re-branded Senhaix 8800 radio which you can see here. That’s not a bad thing at all as it would probably help bring the price down. Click that link and check out the pics. The internal chassis appears to be pretty beefy and the plastic appears to be quality in the disassembly pics.

My overall impression so far is that this is a fantastic value for the money. It appears to transmit and receive well, the other features seem to work well, and it didn’t break the bank 😉

I’ll post updates as time goes on, but for now I’m truly satisfied with my purchase 😎

Radios – Retrevis RT75 FRS Walkie Talkies

Ham radio is a fantastic thing in my ever so humble opinion. The thing is that anyone using a ham radio needs a license. That means they had to have studied, taken a test, and done a few more things. Now, I know there are five year old licensed ham radio operators, but some people just aren’t up for that. At least not at the moment.

When you just need short range communications with people who don’t want to get a ham license, FRS (Family Radio Service) radios can be a great option! I got this pair on eBay for $5.99 with free shipping. They only transmit with about 0.5 watt so they probably have around a mile range on level ground, but that’s not a problem for me.

The reason I got these radios is that sometimes Ember needs to go to the restroom or back to the car when we go fishing or she’ll go off for a walk by herself while we’re out for a picnic. This way she can get ahold of me if she needs to for some reason. And honestly $5.99 is pretty cheap peace of mind 😎

Songs I’ve Lived – Junior Brown – Highway Patrol

Dad was California Highway Patrol for about 31 years. He didn’t care for office or organizational politics. Dad was a patrol officer for his entire career by his own choice.

I remember Dad bringing his patrol car home for dinner a few times (especially on Thanksgiving) and letting me play with the PA system and lights on the car 😁

Dad’s a lot older now than when he retired back in the early 2000s. But Dad was and is a true American Badass 😎👍

Songs I’ve Lived – Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

It all goes back to high school and Sifrona. While we were never a “couple,” Sifrona Bailey was pretty much my soulmate and other half from the time we were in high school together until she passed away in her sleep in 2019.

Now, I’d been a Pink Floyd fan long before I met Sif at Poway High School. We were both big fans and we had a blast at the 3D laser light show down in Balboa Park.

Wish You Were Here became “our song” back in the day and it still is today. And how I wish Sifrona were here.

I still love you, Sif ❤

Now, if you’ll pardon me I’ve got to go see who’s chopping onions again…