Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Radio night

I'm forted up tonight.  Most of the morning I spend doing "admin work."  That means sitting at a computer surrounded with paperwork, trying to wend my way through it. When you are dealing with social security and the teachers retirement system, nothing is simple. Then throw into the mix a lot of doctor bills from a good many medical outfits.  I never pay on a medical bill until I have gone through a matching line by line analysis.  Nobody is going to charge me for a "bed side kit" that turns out to be a $3.00 plastic basin but is billed out at $110.00.   If you have insurance, you have to watch your derriere with medical bills, because they "get well" on people who are insured to make up for what they lose on people who aren't.

  Yesterday we made a rare foray to another town to get new glasses. I had explained beforehand that while we have Blue Cross  insurance, our vision expenses are paid through Ameritas.

We drove an hour and fifteen minutes to get to the optometrist. When we got there, they told us that they didn't accept Ameritas.  So we drove an hour and a half back home.  Next week we are driving almost to Atlanta to get new glasses. I called this bunch twice to confirm we wouldn't have a similar debacle when we show up next week. I'm all for hiring the handicapped but I think the optometrist we went to this week overdoes it.

Tonight's a good night for radio.  Down in the "radio room" I have scanners tuned to :

  • County Law Enforcement (Sheriff and town police.)
  • Fire and Rescue
  • Ambulance Service
  • Forest Service
  • The local airfield
I have a base unit scanning through the GMRS frequencies.

I have two HF radio's set up on common "ships at sea" frequencies.

Then I have an older VHF radio just scanning through commonly assigned frequencies.

It's a quiet way to pass the night.  No advertisements, no aggravations. And this has been an exciting night. A cow got out on one of the roads, and somebody hit a deer.

My daughter and son will be here 2 January, and will be staying for almost a week.  We have a lot planned. They are taking back some things with them that they need up there. We always make sure they leave loaded with hams, canned goods, and this time they are taking back a nice kitchen  table that used to belong to my Great Aunt, Annie May.  They are bringing me two new ferrets from an animal rescue up there, and I am really looking forward to that. I used to have seven ferrets, but only two are still living, and they need company.


  1. I HATE taking care of "admin work"! It's not my thing at all.

    So far I don't wear glasses. I'm sure I will someday though. My mom has worn them, since she was a little girl. My Dad has worn them, since his 40s. My sister has worn them, since she was about 25, now 35. Sometimes my eyes hurt, but that's usually during allergy season, not from poor eyesight.

    1. Alissa,I had twenty twenty up into my thirties. Now, without glasses I can't read or see far out. My wife always needed glasses. When we were first married, she and I swam in to the beach from a party boat offshore in Ischia. When we got to shore she seemed rattled and I asked her why. She said because without her glasses she couldn't see the beach from the boat and she was afraid she'd lose me in the water and not know which way to go!

      I do all the bill paying, and problem resolving financially in our household. Sometimes it's the husband, sometimes the wife. In our case, I grabbed the brass ring ( I guess) because I get to do all of it.

  2. My lovely wife and I just finishing listening to some jazz I'd saved on a jump drive. Nice for being out on the water.

    I can't but help check out the marina security and the general health of this city. This is a pretty expensive area and everyone takes their security seriously, but it's not geared for a serious attack. They freak out when they see someone who might not belong (someone like me?)

    Most of the folks here are at least in the top 10% income. As usual, we have the smallest boat. We are at the far end of the dock so we could quietly slip out without even starting an engine and glide down the river into the Gulf. Hope to do that soon anyway.

    People think this is a really nice place, but it's still in a city. Sirens are going 24/7. I can hear traffic noises from the bridge up ahead.

    Of course, closed up in their air conditioned floating condos, listening to TV, they wouldn't hear it.

    1. Your description of that place reminds me of Zardoz, the old Sean Connery movie.

      It does sound nice, though. Remember Miami Vice, and how "Sonny Crocket" lived on the Saint Vitus Dance in the Marina. Looked good to me. I'm awaiting the continuing account of your trip with real anticipation.

      The last fellow I followed avidly as he voyaged wound up shipwrecked, had to sell his boat for salvage to get the money to fly home. Hope this has a happier ending!

  3. Nice to see I'm not the only person running multiple scanners!

    My two that do trunking and P25 handle the Big Agency traffic, while a bunch of old PRO-2006's and some PRO-2030's are set up like yours.

    1. I'm lucky here, I don't have to worry about multichannel. I used to subscribe to a magazine about scanning, can't remember the name right now. As trunking became more prevalent, my scanners and the much simpler situation out here got left in the dust.

      Our sheriff's department tried to go "covered" a few years back, but the equipment they bought couldn't function in the mountains, where terrain masking often attenuated the signal to the point where the crypto gear wouldn't kick on. I was glad, because not only do I enjoy listening, but it's a source of information for the cops. People who listen (about every older person in the county) were often able to help the sheriff's department if they knew what was going on. We have repeaters on some of the cell towers now, so coverage is better for vhf. On the other hand, now that the law enforcement people have cell phones, the most interesting stuff is often relayed over the cell system. Still, if there's been a big wreck or something like that, you can follow it on your scanner. The dispatcher used to just say people's names right over the air, which was very scandalous and interesting, but now they say "the subject." But they still say the address so at least you know where whatever is going on is happening. ;-)

    2. Was it "Monitoring Times"?

      They stopped publishing a year or so ago. The publisher decided to retire, and nobody wanted to keep the magazine running.

    3. I think so. I could only get it at a book store, so I couldn't always get the current copy. Never subscribed to it, but the name sounds right.

    4. I've got the last two years or so in pdf format. I'll burn you a disk if you want.

    5. Dr. Jim, I have never had any luck with the disk player on computers. I would love to have the disk with the magazines if it will play using Windows 8, but I don't have any special programs to play disks . It always seems to be something about format that shipwrecks me.

    6. These don't require any player at all. They're just a collection of pdf's on a disk, sorted by date. If you have Acrobat Reader, or another pdf reader, it will work just fine.

      Drop me an email with your mailing address, and I'll send one to you.

    7. Dr. Jim. That's good. I have no computer skills at all. The only reason I am still using blogger, with all it's frustrations, is that I tried to use another program (was it Word Press or something like that) and never could learn to use it.

      Sent you an email.

  4. Glad to hear that I am not the only one listening to the sounds of the night, either in RF or natural. I guess it's the many years of living in C5I life and knowing how the modern world operates. Glad you are not far away

    1. I've always liked to listen to the radios at night. Even in the service, I had a good HF radio I hauled around with me. Living overseas, VOA and BBC used to be my primary sources of news. I do think it's a hobby for older men though, which means it will probably die out. I don't know any women or younger fellows who are interested in radio. I think the internet makes it seem obsolete to the younger set.

  5. Hey Harry,


    Im glad your getting two more ferret's. I am looking forward to hearing about the 'foursome ferret's.

    I would like to get a scanner at some point and maybe some other radio gear but that stuff is expensive.

    Im sorry you have to go through a lot of crap to see an eye doctor. The whole medical thing nowadays is a mess. Maybe when I get older I can live in the desert closer to the Mexican border and just pay cash for medical care in Mexico. I know it sounds nuts but I know people now that go down there for decent, low cost medical for simple things and prescriptions.

    My house is a Christmas free zone. No Christmas here, no lights, no tree, nothing. I am not anti-Christmas. I am a Grinch.
    I am just an old ba-humbug Grinch that hates the materialism and commercialism of Christmas so I choose not to participate in Christmas.

    Christmas morning will start about 5:00 am with getting instant coffee, checking all blogs including this one and going through youtube video's on stuff like guns, motorcycles, old diesel truck video's. Maybe look up stuff on Terlingua, Texas whatever.

    Christmas dinner will be Pizza I ordered the day before. Pizza gets better with age. Don't know why. By the fourth day Pizza gets weird and cannot be microwaved into submission.

    Maybe Christmas night, I can find a good war movie to watch online or maybe I can order a good war book or science fiction to read.

    "Peace on earth is a fantasy. The world maybe warming up for WW3.

    There's a funny and interesting thing on Western Rifle shooters assn. blog by a muslim, koranic scholar that may be appropriate for this blog albeit, its funny though.

    1. I like Christmas. I like the lights and decorations, and I enjoy the Christmas tv shows on television. Maybe it's because it's at a time of the year when things are very peaceful here in the mountains.

      We don't have big dinners but we keep lots of things we ordinarily would not spend money on. This year we bought a big smoke cured spiral cut ham to make sandwiches with, and a smoked turkey breast.

      My wife has little christmas villages she bought in Europe, and she always gets them out and sets them up around the house. We have some nutcrackers we got in Germany, and she digs them out and puts them on the hearth. So we have a very low key, modest Christmas but we enjoy it. I don't put up lights because no one would see them, but we drive to town right before christmas, after dark, and look at the lights on the town square. Also, there's a place along the river where people really go all out and compete with their neighbors to have the biggest display, and we always go see that.

      I guess it's just whatever makes you the happiest that you do at Christmas, and that's different for everybody.

      Yes, I'm looking forward to getting the new ferrets. I would have had more, but there were only two ferrets available at the animal shelter near her house. Usually, animal shelters don't take ferrets, so the ferrets go to rescues. Since I never trust animal shelters not to kill the animals, I asked my daughter to check local animal shelters first.

  6. Harry, I,m still alive down here! Ever since you showed a photo of a "country ham" ages ago I have wanted one!
    I never stop giving thanks for the healthcare system we have in Oz, had to have a colonoscopy recently, as a public patient I book in the procedure, my doctor attends the hospital with the registrar and that is it, I do not pay $1 as it is covered by the levy I pay with my income tax(2% of my gross wages).

    1. Hey, great to hear from you. Send me an email with your current email address. I have three of them for you, and I think two related to your old job and you might not get the emails anymore.

      Medical care is not very good here. My wife has been running up some phenomenal medical bills, and I have contributed my share this year which is unusual. We pay a lot for insurance, but the insurance company always has a reason why they don't have to pay. We have a $12,000 family co-insurance, which means until we pay $12,000 out of pocket they don't pay hospital bills. We just went over the limit this month, and it resets to zero in january. I pay $460 a month for this policy, and the school district pays another $600 and something. But it covers all four of us in the family.

  7. Harry,

    I prefer listening to the radio's, getting updates on what's happening in the area, or across this country.
    Doctors offices don't like me too much because I'm the one they have to deal with when we receive bills. Like you, I go through the bill with a fine tooth comb and question everything. I should be called Bulldog, instead of my husband, LOL

    1. Sandy, you really have to do that. If the hospital makes a mistake in billing, it will never be in your favor. They are horrific about trying to vastly overcharge you for their "services." The other thing they like to do is send your lab work out, not to a company who is in your insurance network, but to a company with which they have a kickback arrangement. I catch them doing that all the time. When they do, I refuse to pay and I tell them that up front before we set foot in the hospital. In fact, unless it's an emergency room visit, I go in a week early and go through all my concerns, then have them sign a letter that recapitulates what we went over and the fact that if they do certain things contrary to what we discussed, I am not going to pay the bill.

  8. I have started ordering eye glasses for the entire family from a website in Canada. Their glasses are SO cheap compared to what you can get in the US. Like $25 a pair, and often they have buy one get one free deals. You can add scratch resistance and stuff too, and they have a variety of styles. So long as your eye doctor gives you a prescription, you can use them. Shipping takes about a week, and is cheap too - maybe $7. I usually order a couple of different pairs so I have backups, or in case I don't like one. I don't like to leave links to companies in comments (it seems spammy to me) but if you are interested, just drop me an email and I'll send you a link.
    Congrats on the new ferrets! Maybe you can post pictures once they arrive?

    1. Lisa, that sounds wonderful. If you don't mind, would you send me the web site link? Of if you prefer, email it to me. I would love to get a pair of glasses for less than $100.00.

      I will certainly take pictures of the new additions to the family and post them. With my kids grown and gone, my ferrets are my substitute children.

  9. I detest paperwork.

    My sister is a retired teacher.

    Thanks for visiting. Bonnie is a valuable asset in patrolling for varmint invasion but she would only hurt someone with her wagging tail.

    1. I like your place.

      I taught for three years, taught 5th grade. Liked the kids, hated the administrators for the most part. Especially Vice Principals.

      She's a real nice looking dog. She would probably intimidate an intruder just because she could do some damage if she chose to.