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FCC drops Morse code requirement for ham licenses

Morse code will no longer block anyone interested in getting an amateur radio license from doing so. The FCC has ruled that requiring Morse code testing is an "unnecessary regulatory burden." In its report on this news the ARRL notes: The question of whether or not to drop the Morse requirement altogether has been the subject of often-heated debate over the past several years, but the handwriting has been on the wall. The decision is against my minority view , expressed to the FCC more than a year ago during the public comment period, that went beyond ARRL recommendations (to keep a code requirement for extra class licensing). But the ruling itself will not change my preferred mode for radio communication, and I expect plenty of company in the (shrinking) CW bands as long as I'm on the air.

Obama personable, poised

In his Primary Source blog at boston.com, James Pindell writes of today's New Hampshire visit by not-yet-candidate Barack Obama, "The atmosphere around Obama accounted for more of the discussion than what he actually said." At the Portsmouth book signing, we were happy to have a chance to hear the man speak, but didn't find a lot to get charged up about. Well, it is a book tour, after all. In fact, even though Obama "received two standing ovations before he uttered a public word in New Hampshire" ( Pindell again ), the rounds of applause for bookstore owner Tom Holbrook and Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand were equally spirited and lengthy. Health care, energy, how our politicians behave, and Iraq were Obama's first four topics after his introductory remarks, referring to them as the reasons that the 2006 elections meant so much to so many. He attracted 750 people to Portsmouth and 1,500 more to Manchester, turnouts that ought to hint to him th

SoftRock Lite: Contrasts in Radio

Ordered an 80m SoftRock Lite from Tony KB9YIG last night after discovering the $10 kit. SMT etc. Sheesh. Do we have a soundcard that can sample at 48 kHz? Update: Yes. Onboard the Asus M2NPV is SoundMAX. Their FAQ #4 says "up to 48kHz sampling rate." The contrast? Googling softrock lite brings up radio alright, but instead of SWLing on the low end of 80 meters it's sap between 92 and 107 MHz. Yuck.

Tracking Shows

Music Seen and Heard February 24, 2017: Hunter and the Gatherers (Hunter Burgamy, Benjamin Cousins, Colescott Rubin, Volt Jingit, Kan Yanabe, Malwina Masternak), Boston September 2016: Cory Husic, Seagrass, Laurel Martin and Jim Prendergast February 29, 2016: Christian McBride Trio (Christian Sands, Jerome Jennings), Durham December 10, 2015: Mosaic, North Berwick September 2015: Joyce Andersen and Harvey Reid, The Gather Rounders, Susie Burke and Melissa Bragdon, Highland Soles, Wells September 2014: BYOC, The Gather Rounders, Shana Aisenberg and Friends, Mari Black and Neil Pearlman, Wells September 2013: Matt Loosigian; Ellen Carlson and Todd Thurlow; Ryan McKasson, Neil Pearlman, and Emerald Rae, Wells September 22, 2012: John Terczyak, Sammie Haynes, Deep Hole Road, Salt River, Wells September 9, 2012: Gary Wittner, Wells September 2011: Laura Cortese Trio, Gordon Bok, Ellie and Andy Buckland, Wells December 2011: Childsplay, Lexington September 25, 201

The Common Myna at Midway Atoll: Review and Status

OVERVIEW BACKGROUND BREEDING HISTORY OF MYNAS AT MIDWAY OBSERVATIONS AT THE LANDFILL BREEDING ACTIVITY TRANSECTS MANAGEMENT ESTIMATE AND SPECULATION REFERENCES TRIP REPORTS CHECKED FOR MYNA RECORDS OVERVIEW Common Mynas have received scant attention since they were first recorded on Midway more than twenty years ago. Concern over this species' deleterious effects on seabirds may lead to consideration of control measures. This paper provides reference material necessary for monitoring the myna population, including general background, breeding biology, historical records, and indexing methods. An estimated 500 individuals comprise the April 1992 population. BACKGROUND Common Mynas are indigenous to south Asia, but have been introduced to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific islands (Pizzey 1980). They were brought to the main islands of Hawaii in 1865 (Eddinger 1967). Throughout their range mynas are closely associated with human habitation. B

Prey of Ferruginous Hawks Breeding in Washington

Scott A. Richardson, Ann E. Potter, Karin L. Lehmkuhl, Rosemary Mazaika, Mary E. McFadzen, Rick Estes. 2001. Northwestern Naturalist 82:58-64. Abstract (corrected) We collected and analyzed pellets and prey remains from 39 ferruginous hawk ( Buteo regalis ) breeding territories in the Columbia Basin of Washington between 1992 and 1995. Among 4402 identified items were remains of 12 mammal species, primarily northern pocket gophers ( Thomomys talpoides ). Orthopterans, primarily Tettigoniidae, outnumbered all other identified prey items. Birds and snakes were difficult to count accurately, but contributed significantly to diets at some territories. Prey items of ferruginous hawks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation were almost exclusively pocket gophers and insects. Hawks elsewhere in Washington often had more varied diets incorporating small mammal species, primarily Great Basin pocket mice ( Perognathus parvus ). At the 4 territories where prey were quantified each yr (all at the

Some effects of a major oil spill on wintering shorebirds at Grays Harbor, Washington

Eric M. Larsen and Scott A. Richardson. 1990. Northwestern Naturalist 71:88-92. Abstract Shorebirds wintering at Grays Harbor, Washington, were oiled when No. 6 fuel oil spilled from the barge Nestucca on 22 December 1988. Counts and observations on eight days during the ensuing two months provided information on the effects of oiling on black-bellied plover ( Pluvialis squatarola ), semipalmated plover ( Charadrius semipalmatus ), sanderling ( Calidris alba ), western sandpiper ( C. mauri ), and dunlin ( C. alpina ). Initially, 31% of shorebirds we observed roosting on ocean beaches were oiled; 10 days later this dropped to 5%. A harbor rate of 34% oiled shorebirds occurred after the ocean beach rate declined, then percentages of oiled shorebirds at each locality declined to insignificance. We report on behavioral changes observed in oiled dunlins and discuss three alternate hypotheses to explain the disappearance of over 3500 oiled shorebirds: self-cleaning, emigration, an

Citations

A nearly comprehensive list of publications (updated November 2001; partially updated October 2013) PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS Richardson SA, Potter AE, Lehmkuhl KL, Mazaika R, McFadzen ME, Estes R. 2001. Prey of Ferruginous Hawks breeding in Washington. Northwestern Naturalist 82:58-64. [ Abstract ] Richardson SA, Doran PJ, Michaelis WA, Sundstrom-Bagley C, Anthony JA, Zahn HM. 2000. A new Snowy Plover nesting area in Washington: Midway Beach, Pacific County. Washington Birds 7:25-35. Richardson S. 1999. Intermediate Egret at Midway Atoll. North American Birds 53:441-443. But see entry in Pyle and Pyle 2009 (PDF). Larsen EM, Richardson SA. 1990. Some effects of a major oil spill on wintering shorebirds at Grays Harbor, Washington. Northwestern Naturalist 71:88-92. [ Abstract ] BOOKS Richardson S, editor. 2008. Coastal Fish of Southern Maine and New Hampshire. Wells Reserve & Laudholm Trust, Wells, Maine. 72pp. Wahl TR, Tweit B, Mlodinow S, editors. 2005. Birds

Some new tea

Taking the afternoon off made it possible to ride across the bridge to the Portsmouth Tea Company for a minor restocking of the tea shelf. Cash on hand was limited, so I got small tins of Miami Ice (for A-) and Satrupa (for me). It was my third time up the ancient circular stairs to the second floor of the old mill building, and again a warming experience. A higher-end tea vendor is not what I would have expected in Somersworth, but I'm sure glad it's here. The satrupa looks like the one shown here, " Classic Manas ," from the Satrupa Tea Estate in northeast Assam, as carried by Tfactor teas . Of the five single-estate assams at Portsmouth Tea Company, this one had the most inviting aroma. After one try, I'm a bit concerned that the aroma might its most favorable characteristic.

Puerto Rico

Our October 2001 trip, thanks to two roundtrip tickets on PanAm won in a drawing at the State of Maine's Beaches Conference.

Joven y Pajaros

A sculpture at the nearest public beach to where we stayed.

Email client loop

In an effort to escape the clutches of Microsoft email, I spent the last 10 days testing other possibilities. Looks like I'll be ending up back with Outlook Express. First stop was Opera Mail, which was too integrated with the browser for my comfort level and not riveting enough otherwise to keep my attention. Next up was Eudora . It looks great, but free versions lack the ability to create multiple "accounts" and I'm reluctant to pay $50 to gain that ability. Conceptually, Pegasus , my penultimate stop, appeared ideal, but coherently managing users, identities, and network connections for several email addresses made my head spin. Support and manuals cost a bit less than Eudora, and even though it's more tempting to send money to a guy in New Zealand, I want to be able to make an email client work before paying for it. What a discouraging pleasure to open OE and have it do what it does so well, with a minimum of fuss and no learning curve. Until I get some a

BTW, Happy Anniversary

My third flurry of copy-paste entries into this blog from Blogger blogID 15168267 brought me back to its beginning, "It's always best to start at the beginning," which coincidentally was posted one year ago today. That was a Saturday afternoon and this is a Sunday evening. Wonder where this'll all be a year from "tomorrow" night.

Somethin' fishy's goin' on aroun' here

I feel like I'm missing a post or two. A week or so ago, I couldn't reach blogger at all. Next time I look, I'm back in the middle May. I can't remember what I might have written, but feel like there must have been something. Meanwhile, semi-abandonment of Textpattern and tentative adoption of Drupal draw me back to Aves Specta. I could wrestle xots.blogspot.com into an import filter, but feel like it'll be easier to move these few posts by cut and paste. Dunno if I'll quit blogger. If I do, chances are you'll find me here .

When Wireless Fails

What a shock, to lose Internet access suddenly and unexpectedly. Our faithful Netgear wireless router seems to have a scrambled brain. Repeated hard resets can bring it back to reality for a little while, but it's looking grim for FM114P. Adding insult to injury: None of our computers have ethernet jacks, so we can't even connect our cable modem directly. So it looks like we're in the 802.11g market now. At least prices have come down significantly since our entry into the wifi world.

Mother's Day Flood of 2006

The week of rain, according to the electronic rain gauge in our yard, went like this: May 10-11 = 1 inch May 12 = 0.5 inch May 13 = 4.7 inches May 14 = 2.5 inches May 15 = 2.1 inches May 16 = 0.8 inches Not quite a foot, but the monthly total is close to 14 inches and we have more on the way. Home impacts have been minimal. Work has been disrupted for both of us, but is approaching normalcy. C&A walked to the (closed) bridge on Monday to see the Salmon Falls River way higher than we've seen it.

Bird Migration Under Way in Earnest

What a difference a day makes. Wood Thrush, Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Ovenbird were great to hear this morning in Berwick. My five stolen minutes were just enough to whet my appetite for more. Looking skyward, I saw many birds moving, not as high as I usually see migrants, but when a heron flew over low and against the grain I knew I was seeing today's bonus bird. It wasn't a great blue. It was a smaller one. I'm inclined to think it was a bittern, but it could have been a large green. How often is either one of those a flyover? In my experience, almost never. Just a reminder to review the books before the mystery bird appears. No matter what, it's hard to be prepared for every interesting thing migration might throw at you. More advice: Never set your binoculars aside just moments before a mystery bird is going to wing past.

Pee Wee Russell and Who?

On Friday the 13th of January 1950, Dad was sketching jazzmen at the Central Plaza in NYC. This is his Pee Wee Russell. He did another caricature in the same style, but didn't get it signed. Who it is is a mystery. The post card advertising the event listed these other musicians: Wingy Manone • photo here Buster Bailey Benny Morton Sam Price Wilmer Jones Max Kaminsky Pee Wee Russell Sandy Williams James P. Johnson Kansas Fields & the guest of honor Chauncey Morehouse Quite a collection. But a Google Images search across the field turned up no hot leads. Without the other illustration in front of me, Wingy Manone seems a possibility. That post card, by the way, has Dad's address as 422 E 11TH ST APT 14. 422. Nothing about 5/8.

ARRLWeb: RadiosOnline -- Ads

Put up my first ARRLWeb classified last night: [29-Mar-2006] COLLINS 75S-1 #3069 FOR SALE: $250 plus shipping. Worked great when last used for several years pre-1980. Powered up once about 5 years ago, but not tested. Always stored indoors in smoke-free environments. Knobs/ feet/ power cord original. No known modifications. No crystals for top end of 10m. No manual. Needs a good cleaning. Sold as is. Sentimental value waning... needs a new life. Email N1AIA [at] ARRL [dot] NET. First response within the hour. End of an era. Update: First "buyer" backs out (you did read the ad, didn't you?). Second buyer steps up, steps back. Third buyer makes an offer I can refuse. Fourth buyer whisks the deal along. Era ends. 4/15.

Milbert's Tortoiseshell in York County, Maine

Today — yes, during the last week of March — I saw my first butterfly of 2006 while walking up the trail from Laudholm Beach at the Wells Reserve. As I climbed the incline through a patch of woods, I spotted it flitting between cobbles on the wide path. I was able to approach it closely as it held its wings out in a patch of full sun. It looked like no butterfly I had seen before. Its most striking feature was a rich orange U-shaped band forming a wingtip-to-wingtip semicircle against wings of deep velvet brown. On the leading edge of each forewing were four patches. The innermost two were squares of the same orange, the next was a similar hue but washed out, and the last was whitish. The outer two patches merged somewhat with the band. By D. Gordon E. Robertson [CC-BY-SA-3.0] via Wikimedia Commons It had a sturdy-looking brown body, alert antennae, and a glossiness that shone like armor. I figured it was just about 2 inches across, maybe slightly more. Its flights were brisk a

Not intermediate, but cattle?

I've just found the Editors' Notebook from a 2004 issue of North American Birds , where Edward S. Brinkley writes: We intend to revisit an older article on Intermediate Egret on Midway Atoll, Hawaii (N. A. B. 53: 441-443), which may pertain to an "Eastern Cattle-Egret" rather than an Intermediate Egret (have we piqued the reader's interest?). As the author of the article in question, I am eager to see the clarification, which is apparently approaching a draft stage now. Ever since I was informed that the American Ornithologists' Union check-list committee passed over the "intermediate" egret report in its 45 th supplement, I have hoped to read a well documented alternative view. I expect to be presumed mistaken and am comfortable with that. It's just hard to be wrong so publicly. It happens, though; I am not alone. After recounting a handful of other questioned identifications recorded in NAB , Brinkley goes on to write: It is remarkable,

Genealogy Online

To the phpgedview question: Yes . It was a smooth install and the learning curve has been pretty shallow, so it's up and running with data exported from the on-again-off-again Family Tree Maker file. Here's hoping it lives up to its potential.

Newsweek Interactive: The Autism Quotient

Prompted again by admit-one, I've determined my Autism Spectrum Quotient is 31. That's "above average," with 32 being "very high." I'm not reading much into the results, even though most men score about 17 and most people with Asperger Syndrome or high functioning autism score 35. Want to try it? See if Newsweek Interactive: The Autism Quotient is still a live link. HINT: It's not. You can now find it through the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (December 2020).

The Elusive Subja Seed

Why am I so captivated by the idea of drinking tasteless, slippery, crunchy-kerneled seeds? Because subja seeds sound like fun. I first learned of them by browsing The Indian Spice Kitchen , where Monisha Bharadwaj describes them, but Osimum basilicum seeds seem impossible to find. I made a special trip to Seattle's Uwajimaya to track them down, but came up empty. I stopped at Market Spice at Pike Street, where they hadn't heard of them (but they suggested another shop down the street). I went into Souk, where the gentleman understood what I was looking for only after I described it; he knew the seeds by a different name, which he couldn't remember, and said his sister gets them at a shop (the name not in his memory) on Roosevelt Avenue. But I was out of time in the city and couldn't follow up. (But before I took more than a few steps out Souk's door, the proprietor called me back in, because he had asked his arriving friend what those seeds were called. Tukmari