Sunday: Like going to life school

So I managed to sneak down to the club station (VE3JW) again this afternoon to spend some time working with Ernie (VE3EJJ). I can’t tell you what a fountain of knowledge he is – it is simply something that you have to experience. We spent a great deal of time talking about all the technical / geeky stuff that most people I know tune me out over. Ernie asked me where he might find some copper sulphate (CuSO4) which is a beautiful crystalline solid and I suggested the hardware store. You see, copper sulphate is a potent fungicide and is also known to solve algal bloom problems in ponds – its regrettably toxic for fish though. If copper sulphate is not readily available, it can be made with some sacrificial copper and sulphuric acid, but the solution should then be titrated. Alas, I digress.

Ernie is a Renaissance man, and he intends to do some copper plating. Naturally, he knows exactly how to do it all, and has a plan in place. Its just a matter of putting the plan into action. So we had a great chat about chemistry, and some experiences Ernie has had in his early years.

As we waited for the next satellite to rise (typically 30mins or so) we took apart one of the barrel connectors for the satellite rig as it was acting up lately. Some poking and prodding at the internal structure seems to have fixed the deformed inner-workings. With the plug back up and running, I watched as Ernie worked AO-51.

As usual, there were some rather boisterous radio amateurs monopolizing the satellite pass and it seemed that Ernie was not able to be heard on the far end. As the satellite was setting, Ernie could be heard louder on the down-link. We suppose it has something to do with not tuning the up-link frequency to account for Doppler shift.

Before I knew it, the Museum was being closed and it was time to shut-down for the night. I had another great afternoon operating with Ernie, and his wisdom and patience are always appreciated.

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