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Jaunary 2016

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DELARA News is published on the web as the monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association in Delaware, Ohio. 
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delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 35  NUMBER 1
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Feliz Año Nuevo from José’s Palacio

What’s the difference between 19 and 20?

By the time you read this, we’ll be well into 2016. I am writing this on New Year’s Eve and I trust the New Year rang in safely for us all. Do you recall the hullabaloo on this same date in 1999?  If you were working in the IT biz, it was especially hectic. It was all about two little digits that were omitted to save space in thousands (maybe millions) of computer programs that were written in the last century. We had one particular government account in Columbus that paid us to have someone on site all New Year’s Eve and into the wee hours. (Until they were sure the data center wasn’t gonna melt down) Most organizations had begun taking steps years before but there was still that apprehension that jet engines were gonna flame out and that power grids were gonna shut down. It was all because of those two missing digits. Software wasn’t really the limiting factor in the early days. It was the hardware. Way back in ‘70, the first main frame computer I ever worked on had a whopping 64K of memory. That “K” is not a typo. Memory was a tad more expensive back then and 64K was considered to be plenty. If you thought you had a bad memory stack, it took an act of congress before you’d be allowed to order a replacement. We called them “Stacks” because they were literally a cube-shaped stack of magnetic cores. Each core was shaped like a tiny flat washer and equaled one “Bit.” Magnetize it in one direction and it was a “Zero”. Magnetize it in the other direction and it became a “One.” It took a lot of them to make up 64K bytes of memory (65,536 x 9) Why 9 bits per byte and not 8? The 9th bit was for parity checking. By the way, one bad “washer” and the whole stack was toast. Bottom line: Missing digits or not, I have a ton of respect for the programmers of that era. It’s amazing what they accomplished with what they had to work with. As a reminder, we’ll be meeting at The Corner Café for our pre-meeting meal on the 19th. Everyone seems to like the place but feel free to request another location. I’ll make a reservation for 5:45 PM. For those who haven’t been there, it’s a stone’s throw east of the Tri-Township Fire Station: The Corner Café  535 Sunbury Rd (aka RT 36/37) 740-369-0377 If you read this before the 9th and want to attend the Delara Holiday party but haven’t signed up, contact me asap. ( k8mp@aol.com or 740-548-6362 ) I hope to see you all at the party and the meeting but if not, then at El Presidenté’s Palacio.

Kids Day 2016

Grant Skinner (KE8BZT)  (accompanied by his mother Connie KE8BZU) operated my station today and made contacts with 10 other kids all across the country, including Alberta and Hawaii. 20 meters was the best band by far. Nothing on 75 and only 1 on 40.  Maybe the lower bands will work better later on, but we are done for the day. It runs until 7 PM today. My two grandsons were also here but they were too shy to talk on the radio.  But they listened for a while. They thought it was neat to see my antenna rotate to point at various parts of the country. Dave Lemay WB2CWJ and I hooked up on the .17 repeater and Grant spoke with his oldest grandson, as the younger one was too shy, like my grandsons of the same age. The kids talked about things like their favorite color, what they got for Christmas, how old they are etc. One 11 year old girl has her extra class license, and her 9 year old sister has her general class. The kids here got the official framed ARRL Kids Day award, plus my QSL card and a few colorful DX QSL cards.  Dave - You could print the award for your grandsons from the ARRL web page, or I can make them for you if you like. Grant also got a world ham prefix map and a little drone I got from W8CR and never could learn to fly.  He got a big one for Christmas. Connie and Grant now say they will have to work on their general class licenses. Bob, W8ERD
© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH
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