Monday, January 21, 2013

Black out

Saturday morning, I wake up with some strong winds, the weather report was stating a red alert (second most dangerous) for most part of the country including Leiria were I live and Peniche, my parens, the predicted top wind-gusts were to be around 120Km/h. I went to the shack, hoping none of the antennas would fly and I could copy fellow blogger Bas (PE4BAS) activating a castle in the Netherlands, a quick tune around on 20m but no luck, after a little bit experienced a power outage, I could had switched to battery backup power but since I told my parents I would drove to their home decided to stop radio activities.

As predicted by the weather report, wind was really a bit on the strong side so decided to postpone the trip for latter in the afternoon hopping condition improvement.

When I bought my house my priorities in getting furniture were: a good bottled gas water heater, candles and a fire extinguisher....
The fire extinguisher is a must due my nature to make things leave some smoke, specially cooking...
Candles; When I was a kid an lived in Peniche it was normal in windy days to be left without electricity for some time so we had always candles and petrol powered lights. I've not experienced many faults now in Leiria but I like to be always ready.
A good water heather; well I'm not Finish (no offense) so I don't like very much of having a cold bath and sauna is not a tradition here also :)

Time went by and electric power wouldn't came back, so I hit the road to my parents. Wind was already lower and I thought I could make a safe trip, especially since my little daughter would come with me.
While preparing to the road trip I thought of taking the portable VHF/UHF radio, just in case, instead took the Swiss army knife, for sure much more handy in case I have to stop for some fallen tree of road debris.

Here's a nice quote from KE9V about a similar subject:

"...In a complete meltdown on a national (or global) scale there would be no one to call for help. In that case, I suppose two-way radio could be used to confirm that folks a thousand miles away are just as screwed as you are?..."
I think the quote says it all...
The brighter lights during my road trip to Peniche were my car lights, all villages until very close to my parents were all in a black out from the grid and the road was full of small debris from the trees, luckily fireman had already cut'd all the trees that had fall on the road during the morning high winds.

Electricity eventually returned to Leiria on Sunday morning, lucky me that my parents didn't experienced the power outage so I had a comfortable Saturday evening and a nice Sunday morning. From what I heard in the news there are still some small villages without power and even water.

Another side effect of this storm was that the antenna mast at my parents didn't hold the strong winds, it was a hardware corrosion problem, Peniche is a peninsula just in the path of the salty Atlantic winds, no metal holds good for live. Have to put a new mast next week.

Here's a video with some photos of the storm and damage in Peniche:

Now as I'm writing this post back in Leiria the water is getting low pressure, just as I predicted. This afternoon I bottled some water just in case :)
Let's hope it's only temporarily. Else I have to go to the river :) there's absolutely no water, f"#$%!"#$#", getting better every minute...
...No all is bad, temperature is not going bellow 13ºC, people in northern latitudes are worse in this matter!

p.s.: There's a second QSO in the log using the "Speaky", this time the "victim" was IZ8GUU whom I answered the CQ on 17m.

An update list to do on the "Speaky":

Add heat dissipation to the final transistors.
Check audio compression/gain issue
Trim PA bias
Calibrate internal power/S-meter
Tighten cables.
Optimize IF filter bandwidth, now its a little wide for my taste.
Rebuild 40m bandpass filter, it works but trimmers are on the lowest capacity setting.
Add 20, 15 and 10m band.... 30,20,15,12 and 10m band

Have a nice week!

Have a nice week.


PE4BAS, Bas said...

Wow, that's a lot of problems there Ricardo. The storm season is coming here too normally in February. And I'm at the coast as well as you know. But it seems to be worse in Portugal. 73, Bas

Ricardo - CT2GQV said...

Hello Bas,

At least the water is back :) Now is just some rain but should improve from now on until next winter :)
You have the added problem of snow to make things worst! As long as there's health and some propagation everything is well! :)
73 de Ricardo, CT2GQV