We closed up the house yesterday and turned on the air-conditioning as the forecast for today was upper 80’s with humidity to match and the forecast for tomorrow is a high of 90 with very high humidity. Linda did not sleep well again last night but that had nothing to do with the air-conditioning. The sites where the dermatologist had removed things itched, which did not help. Nonetheless, we were both up by 8 AM and, as usual, I made coffee and we had granola. I prepared a travel mug of coffee and left at 9 AM for Chuck’s bus garage in Novi. Brendan, Shawna, and Madeline were due to arrive at 10 AM and I wanted to be back as close to that time as possible.
As I was working on the design for the pull-out pantry yesterday it became very clear that I needed more accurate measurements of various details of the new refrigerator in order to make sure the doors could open and the pantry could slide in and out. It was a good thing that I checked as the measurements were not exactly as published and the specifications did not show exactly where the doors were hinged or how much clearance they needed to swing on the hinges. Now I know, and it is a bit more than I originally allowed for, so it was a good thing that I checked.
I got home at 10:15 AM and the trio was already there. Mara emerged from her rig a few minutes later and joined us. Brendan and Shawna stuck around for a while but not long enough to get Madeline down for her 1 PM nap. They had been talking to her all week about staying with Grandma Linda and Grandpa Bruce and she was prepared. She was busy playing with Linda and did not seem concerned when her parents left for a music festival in Chicago. They will retrieve her on Monday.
Our older grand-daughter (and Madeline’s cousin), Katie, arrived around noon so Madeline had one of her buddies here. Madeline enjoyed her lunch and voluntarily laid down for her nap. Katie signed up to sell Cutco cutlery and accessory products and asked if she could come practice her sales pitch on us. We had agreed to let her do this, of course, and Mara joined us by her own choice. The selling involved a lot of demonstration and use of a few of the knives in side-by-comparison with our existing knives, some of which were already Cutco brand. Linda ordered a pair of kitchen shears and a santoku trimmer knife. Mara also ordered a pair of shears and Katie was able to throw in a birdsbeak paring knife which Mara will get as Linda has one. They agreed to just split the cost of the total order in half.
Mara was anxious to work on the roof of her Bounder and it needed to be cleaned before it was caulked. It was a hot, humid afternoon and pressure washing the roof seemed like the perfect use of such an otherwise miserable day. I got out the pressure washer and hose and got it hooked up. Mara put on her bathing suit and we both climbed up on the roof of her motorhome. I adjusted the spray nozzle to a fan pattern that would clean from 12″ away without damaging anything, showed her how I would approach the job, and left her to do the work. Actually I sat in the shade on the porch, offered helpful advice, and occasionally moved the pressure washer.
Madeline finished her nap while we were working and came outside several times with Linda to see what we were doing. She and Linda walked around the back yard and saw geese and a snake. They also saw a young deer from our bedroom doorwall. Our home in the country is a different and exciting place for her as it is for us.
When Mara was done spraying off the roof I sprayed off the sides of the rig to rinse off the dirty water that had run down the sides. Mara then put out the patio awning and I sprayed off both sides of it as well. When we were done we got the hose off of the grass and put the pressure washer back in the garage. Mara was very pleased with what she accomplished. Not only did she get something done that needed to be done but it was another thing she took care of herself instead of paying someone else to do it. I get that.
I worked some more in my office and then came upstairs for dinner. Mike (W8XH) had called and confirmed that Steve (N8AR) was expecting us at 8 PM. I left at 7:30 PM and drove to Steve’s place southwest of Howell. Mike and I arrived within a couple minutes of one another and were there for a little over an hour.
Steve is a PhD electrical engineer who worked for Bendix and was involved in communications projects for space programs. He has a lot of test equipment that you will not find in most ham shacks and he knows how to use it. In this particular case he used his Hewlett-Packard Network Analyzer to do two-port radio frequency through-measurements of my two Morgan Manufacturing lightning arrestors.
The first thing Steve noticed was that the center contact on one of the N-female connectors was spread open a bit. Unfortunately any spread is “a bit” too much. At radio frequencies these contacts need to be tight. We crimped the contacts back together as best we could so we could proceed with the testing, but Steve strongly suggested that I replace them with high quality parts. As expected, based on my operating experience, the M-302N V/U arrestor did not look good when tested. Steve captured the resulting return loss graph and put it on a thumb drive for me. I will e-mail it to Morgan with a cc: to KF7P Metalwerks and request a new one. If the new one isn’t any better I will request a refund. I should not have to rebuild stuff like this and the poor performance may be a design flaw rather than a manufacturing defect.
When I got home around 9:30 PM Linda and Mara were still up and chatting away in the living room. I joined the conversation until they both decided to retire for the evening. I spent a few minutes in my office after that taking care of e-mails and then went to bed. I wrote for a while but was too tired to concentrate and went to sleep.