My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Dr. Dave Toth, VE3GYQ, died on Friday afternoon after a long battle with brain cancer. Dave was the past president of TAPR (2005-2009) and was a member of its Board of Directors (1987-1993 and 2004-2010).

Dave was born Aug. 11, 1954, in Windsor, Ontario. On June 16, 2009, he married Ronda S. Nartker, who survives in Spencerville, Ohio.

VE3GYQ graduated from the University of Western Ontario Medical School in 1978 and practiced family medicine in London, Ontario. He moved to the U.S. in 1993 and began a career in emergency medicine. He was a partner of Premier Health Care Services, in Dayton, Ohio, and worked at Lima (Ohio) Memorial Health System and St. Rita’s Medical Center (also in Lima) until the time of his illness.

That's Dave in the photo above, front and center wearing the "Watch For It!" T-shirt surrounded by some of the packet radio makers and shakers at the 1986 Computer Networking Conference, which was the precursor of today's ARRL-TAPR Digital Communications Conference. (Dave had a great dry sense of humor and I am sure the group is reacting to something Dave said during the photo shoot.)

Dave was also a great manager during his tenure at the head of TAPR. I give him a lot of credit for the success of TAPR's involvement in the HPSDR projects.

Dave was a humanitarian, too. Last year, I drove Dave around Dayton during the Hamvention and the guy was having trouble expressing himself. Throughout the roadtrip, Steve Bible, N7HPR, and I were finishing his sentences for him to help him complete his thoughts. It was sad to see what cancer had done to Dave's brain, but then, out of the blue, he asked about my wife's health. I think I mentioned my wife's health to him years previous to that day and despite all of Dave's current health issues, he recalled what I had said and seemed truly interested in her current status. I was touched.

The ham radio world has lost one of its best with VE3GYQ's passing. 73 to you, Dave.

snow diary

It snowed again early this morning; just a dusting, nothing measureable.

Total snowfall this month is 24 inches; total snowfall for the winter season is 44 inches.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

snow diary

Yesterday, it started snowing at dawn and snowed off and on all day and all night leaving a total accumulation of 6 inches.

Total snowfall this month is 24 inches; total snowfall for the winter season is 44 inches.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Surfin': Hamming Your Way to Fame

This week, Surfin' visits museums and the halls of fame of the baseball and ham radio variety.

no snow diary

Yesterday, it rained all day (1.48 inches measured here) and washed away a lot of the snow that was on the ground. When I went to bed at 11 PM, the temperature had risen to 40 degrees F.

The temperature plummeted overnight and is 27 degrees F as I type this. A dusting of snow fell overnight with more snow predicted (up to 5 inches) during the day.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

snow diary

Yesterday, it snowed most of the day, starting before dawn and ending in the late afternoon, leaving a total accumulation of 5 inches.

Total snowfall this month is 18 inches; total snowfall for the winter season is 38 inches.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On the Rare Road to Meriden, Waterbury, Conn.

This 1911-postmarked card is from my Waterbury, CT collection of postcards.

In my humble opinion, this is one of the ugliest scenes I have ever seen depicted on a postcard. However, it holds a lot of memories for me.

I was born and raised in Waterbury; born in St. Mary's Hospital, about 400 feet from the location depicted in this postcard, and raised about 1-1/4 miles from the location.

The postcard depicts the view from the Baldwin Street bridge looking northeast over the Mad River and the railroad tracks of the Meriden, Waterbury, and Connecticut River Railroad (MWCRRR), which was part of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad by the time of this postcard's publication.

To the left of the river is part of the huge Scovill Manufacturing Company complex. To the right of the tracks are the rear of the houses located on Bridge Street, where my mother spent part of her childhood.

Notice that the tracks are lower than the river. I can recall many a rainy day going over the Baldwin Street bridge and seeing the river flooding the railroad tracks.

By the time I was crossing the tracks, they ended about a mile to the east near the Harper's Ferry Road bridge and only served Scovill and a couple of businesses on Hamilton Avenue.

Today, this scene is unrecognizable. The factory, railroad tracks, and Bridge Street are gone. Only the river remains and it is buried in a tunnel under six lanes of I-84. The Google Maps screen capture below approximates the location today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Times Square, New York City

The mailman has brought me three new postcards for my collection since Saturday. Lately, addition to my collection have been slow in coming, so this has been an unusual seven days.

The latest addition is the chrome postcard illustrated above. It depicts the north end of New York City's Times Square with Broadway in the foreground and 7th Avenue in the background.

The card is postmarked 1952, but the photograph used for the card was taken in 1946.

It is usually easy to date when photos of Times Square were taken; just look at the card and note what films are playing, then look up the date of the film on In this case, there are two films clearly advertised: A Stolen Life starring Bette Davis and Night in Paradise starring Merle Oberon

Surfin': Ham Apps for Everyone

This week, Surfin' finds more smartphone ham radio apps for iPhones and non-iPhones alike.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Congregational Church, Wolcott, Conn.

Many postcard collectors include postcards related to their hometown in their collections. I do, too.

I was born and raised in Waterbury, CT, and moved to Wolcott, CT, after I married, so I include Waterbury and Wolcott postcards among the cards I collect.

Waterbury postcards are plentiful and I have hundreds in my collection. On the other hand, Wolcott postcards are rare. I probably add one or two new Wolcott postcards to my collection each year and just added number 32 today when the mailman delivered the postcard pictured above.

The 1908 postmarked postcard is a real photo postcard depicting the Congregational Church, which is on Center Street opposite the Wolcott Green. One hundred and two years later, the Congregational Church is still in business in the same building, which you can see here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

snow diary

Yesterday, it snowed most of the day, starting before dawn and ending about 8 PM, leaving a total accumulation of 8 inches.

Total snowfall this month is 13 inches; total snowfall for the winter season is 33 inches.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chrysler, Daily News, Chanin, Lincoln and Lefcourt Buildings, New York City

I collect postcards and acquire some of them via eBay. The postcard above is my latest acquisition, which was delivered via the postal service on Saturday.

It amuses me that it took 81 cents of postage to mail the penny postcard to me! In theory, the seller could have stuck 28 cents postage and my name and address on the back of the postcard to get it to me.

Anyway, the postcard was postmarked February 1947. It depicts the east side of Manhattan Island in the vicinity of East 42nd Street. That area of The City is probably the one area that I have frequented the most during the past 58 years, since it is also the location of Grand Central Terminal, which is the terminus of a train ride into The City from these parts.

For you radio fans out there, note the radio tower at the top of the Lefcourt Building, which is the skyscraper to the far right.

For those new to the postcard hobby, this type of card is known as a "linen" because it is intended to look as if it was printed on cloth. This was a popular postcard affectation from the 1930s through the 1950s. Often the colors of the linens are so unnatural that they are ludicrous; this one happens to be one of better examples color-wise.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Surfin': The Cooling of Ham Radio

This week, Surfin' considers the coolness of iPhone ham radio applications ("apps").

Thursday, February 11, 2010

snow diary

Yesterday's predicted "blizzard" never made it to our latitude, so we only received four inches of snow.

Total snowfall this month is 5 inches; total snowfall for the winter season is 25 inches; still not much for a winter in these parts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

more snow lies

I woke up at 5:15 AM after the garbage men were finished rattling our garbage cans. I figured I should get up and go out to rescue the cans and recycling bucket before they get lost in the blizzard. I was surprised that nary a drop of precipitation had fallen yet despite the predictions that the snow should start around 3 AM.

Last night, K1GF was saying that the air was very dry and that the air would have to be saturated before snow would begin falling, so that is why the radar shows precipitation, but none was hitting the ground because it was evaporating in the dry air. When he said that last night, I thought that (1) the snow is going to start later and (2) the accumulation will be on the low side. So far, I am half-right.

It started snowing here at 7 AM and it is a very light snow. Gil Simmons, the morning weather guy on WTNH, is now calling for 8 to 12 inches vs K1GF's 8- to 14-inch prediction last night. Scott Haney over on WTIC is calling for 6 to 12 inches.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

snow lies

The local talking heads are making much to do about tomorrow's snowstorm. You would think it never snowed in Connecticut before and that we are all just a bunch of bozos who just got off the bus and don't know how to handle the white stuff.

NWS and K1GF are predicting 8 to 14 inches of snow. If I had to bet on it, I would go with the low side of the prediction. I'll let you know who is right after the fact.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Surfin': Viewing the New Star of Ham Radio

This week, Surfin' explores D-STAR via the telescope known as “the Internet.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

snow diary

Light snowfall overnight deposited about one inch of white precipitation.

Total snowfall this month is 1 inch; total snowfall for the winter season is 21 inches; still not much for a winter in these parts.