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Taylorsville, NC, United States
Hi all. I am age 57 and was happily married to Irene for 27 years until her untimely death on March 24th, 2012. I have 3 children, 2 sons, 1 daughter, and 1 grandson and 2 granddaughters, . My hobby and favorite past time for 22 years as of October 16, 2018 is "Amateur Radio", better known as Ham Radio. I make friends all over the world using voice, digital, and International Morse Code. CW (Morse Code) is my favorite mode!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Multiple Myeloma Update + Ham Radio Update

      It's been quiet a while since I've posted anything, let alone an update on my battle with Multiple Myeloma (MM). The main reason for this is my MM was in remission for 3 years & 4 months after my autologous stem cell transplant (SCT) in late 2007, but returned in stage 1 back in March 2011 with an m-spike protein level of 1.1. For those reading my blog not familiar with what MM is here's a definition: Multiple myeloma, also known as plasma cell myeloma or Kahler's disease (after Otto Kahler), is a cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cells normally responsible for the production of antibodies. Collections of abnormal cells accumulate in bones, where they cause bone lesions (abnormal areas of tissue), and in the bone marrow where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells. Most cases of myeloma also feature the production of a paraprotein, an abnormal antibody that can cause kidney problems and interferes with the production of normal antibodies leading to immunodeficiencyHypercalcemia (high calcium levels) is often encounteredAfter my SCT I had bloodwork done every quarter of the year so if it did return it would be caught hopefully in an early stage and that worked out well because it showed up in stage 1 in March. I immediately returned to Wake Forest University's Comprehensive Cancer Center in Winston-Salem, NC for an appointment with my oncologist, Associate Professor Dr. Denise Levitan, to begin treatment again. She put me on a drug called Revlimid, the brand name, but the actual drug name is Lenalidomide. This along with dexamethasone which I take 5 pills at once every 7 days for 3 weeks each month. I get 1 week off of both drugs each month and so far the combination of the 2 are working well for me. Just last month my m-spike protein level dropped all the way to 0.10! That's almost in complete remission again! Oh yeah, for a detailed description of what a M-spike protein is go to this: http://www.pathologystudent.com/?p=3007 . M-spike proteins show up in both blood tests and urine tests. Anyway, that's where I'm currently at in my cancer battle. There is no known cure for MM, but you can live a lot of years with it because it is treatable and I'm hopeful that someday a cure will be found. I feel pretty good most of the time, but I have occasional bad feeling days as well. For lots more info on multiple myeloma check out http://www.margaret.healthblogs.org/ and all the links on http://www.myelomablogs.org as well.
      As far as my radio hobby goes I always have fun on ham radio! I check in frequently with all my friends on the Freewheelers Net on 3916 Khz and am also having a lot of fun operating CW (Morse Code) with the Straight Key Century Club, I'm SKCC#652. Last check SKCC has 8,460 members as of October 6th, 2011! I also participate with the QRP guys in the North American QRP CW Club, I'm NACCC#1491 and with the Flying Pigs QRP International Club, I'm FP#1183. Well, that's my much needed update so I'm gonna run for now and work some of the October SKCC Weekend Sprintathon which had only 3 hours left of which I've yet to work any of this month so hope to hear you on the air! 


Very 73,
Cliff - KU4GW 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

MAY 22ND, 2011 LIGHTNING STRIKE!

It finally happened after 35 years in the radio hobby! Was in QSO with W4EQ John in Lake Norman, NC when the Weather Alert radio alarmed with a severe thunderstorm warning for Alexander County. I immediately signed off with John and told him I was unhooking. I brought up the Firefox web browser to check the Intellicast Weather Radar and I saw a large hook echo close to 2 miles from edge to edge with a huge indention in the center. I unhooked both my coaxes and grounded them to the ground wire coming from outside the window that is attached to a 8 foot ground rod 7 1/2 feet deep in red clay soil. I have 2 short pieces of copper wire with an alligator clip soldered on each end and I clip one end of each  to the ground wire  and the other to the collar (shield) of the PL-259 connectors. I had everything in the shack disconnected, but the computer and it hit sounding like a large tree cracking just outside the kitchen window at the back of the house followed by a huge noise that sounded like an explosion. In that split second it destroyed my 2 cordless telephones, answering machine,  Direct TV satellite receiver, my 42" flat screen hi-def Vizio TV, DVD/VCR combo, desktop computer,Exceluis RF phone line filter, Rigblaster Plus digital interface, and proceeded from the PC sound card and Rigblaster into my Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V and even destroyed the HC-5 full-range mic element in my Heil Proset Plus headset! I ended up with about $6,200 in damages with 2 small trees lying on the house from the 90 MPH winds! A hard lesson learned that took over a month to finally get all settled up with through the homeowner's insurance. Thank God I had full replacement coverage on personal property! Got me another FT-1000MP Mark V for $1,700 with all the optional SSB filters, the roofing filter mod, and the DVS-2 digital voice recorder all included! Everything has been repaired or replaced now. Thanks to W4WWF  Dale for loaning me a Yaesu FT-857D to run until I got another rig so I wasn't totally off the air! From here on out I'll be unhooking everything including telephone lines when a storm approaches! Sending my old FT-1000MP Mark V off for repair. KI4NR says I'm looking at around a $500 repair because the lightning entered the radio through the CAT port which usually damages the microprocessor and the entire CAT board has to be replaced. You can't buy just the microprocessor. The CAT board alone from Yaesu is $315! Got the power company coming out this week to install Triple Surge Guard lightning protection on my power meter, satellite dish, and telephone line. I'll still be unhooking! I had all these items on surge protectors which were totally useless! There is no such thing as protection from a direct lightning strike! Where I had the coaxes grounded the lightning came through the ground and burned the ground wire completely in two plus literally welded one of the alligator clips to the ground wire! Well, that's the story of my first and I sure hope my only direct lightning strike ever! Was very scary especially with the high winds we had! I have a huge oak tree at the NW corner of my hamshack, same direction the wind was coming from, that would completely flatten my house should it ever come down. This was a fast moving storm with a forward speed of 60 MPH so it didn't take very long to pass over. One of the trees fell across my 260 feet doublet dipole antenna and broke it right at the dog bone insulator on one end, but the antenna still tunes the same so it's OK. I just need to raise it up another 30 feet, only 30 feet high on that end right now and still up close to 60 feet on the opposite end, an extreme sloper for the time being, but still performing very well from my elevation of 1,434 feet ASL on the NE slope of Bald Top Mountain ( SOTA=Summits On The Air Locator: http://sota.hamradio.me/peak.php?reference=W4C/WP-005 ) . I hope I never ever have to repeat this story on a blog again!

 Very 73,
Cliff - KU4GW

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Your help is needed to help avoid losing our 420-440Mhz band

A bill has been recently introduced which could result in amateurs losing their currently allocated frequencies on the 70cm band (420-440Mhz). The ARRL is asking that folks write to their legislators to oppose the bill in it's current form. The FCC is proposing to auction off certain spectrum for commercial use to replace the spectrum given up in the 700Mhz band (formerly used for analog TV) to help make up for the loss of commercial revenue in those bands. The spectrum slated for auction is supposed to be existing Public Safety spectrum (since the 700Mhz block went to Public Safety), but the Amateur allocations appear to have been incorrectly bundled in with those from Public Safety. You can read more about this issue at the ARRL website here and you can read how to help here. Please note that they strongly recommend sending letters to their legislative consultants who will hand-deliver them to Congress due to extensive delays in postal mail screening to members of Congress. It's very easy to do! After downloading the sample letter from ARRL and editing it with your info you can go to http://www.congress.org and register with their website just paste the email into a simple Write Your Lawmakers form from the link at the top right side of the web page after signing into your congress.org account. Onec you've pasted the edited letter into the congress.org form you can preview it and then click send and it's sent. Very simple and easy to do! Only takes about 15 minutes maximum of your time and well worth it to protect out frequency spectrum! Thanks for your help and very 73!