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Amateur Radio

One of my hobbies when I was a student of high school to university was amateur radio which wireless communication operator is called "Ham".  This ham is not edible but somebody careless can eat.  Each amateur radio operator needs both an operator license and a radio station license.  When the radio station license is given, the call sign such as KCBS for commercial CBS radio station at San Francisco, is assigned.  My call sign is "JA1VJY".  The first letter or the first two letters exhibits the country where the radio station locates.  The next numeric value exhibits the regional area of the country.

I assembled everything needed to explore the wireless related hobby more in depth such as receiver, transmitter, antenna, and measurement equipments like a dip meter to measure frequency tuned and SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) meter to maximize antenna efficiency.  A good receiver must equip 3S, Sensitivity, Selectivity, and Stability and 1F, Fidelity.  We, human beings, must have such ability as well.  I have all of the licenses given to amateur radio operators in Japan.  The first class license, the hardest to get and we must master transmission and reception of both English and Japanese Morse code, allowed me to input 1,000 watts to radiate effective antenna output of 500 watts.  The power is almost equivalent with a commercial local radio stations.  I normally used A1 (CW), telegraph, to communicate with foreign amateur radio operators at 7MHz, 14MHz, or 21MHz band.  The number of countries I have communicated reached 48 in 6 continents.  The first class license is equivalent with "Amateur extra" class in US.

License in USA License in Japan
Extra First class
Advanced (terminated) Second class
General
Conditional (terminated)
Novice (terminated) Third class
Technician Fourth class

As is well known, the birthplace of Renaissance is Florence and the birthplace of amateur radio is USA.  Telecommunication technology kicked off and advanced from the intensive curiosity and practical endless experiments contributed by hams.  I got first class license in Japan as noted above.  Matter of course, next step was to obtain amateur radio license in USA.  Especially the highest class of Extra.
Before taking Extra class exam, test takers need to pass exams of Technician class and General class one by one as prerequisite.  University level of electrical engineering scholarship as well as broad knowledge and handling skills related to transmitter/receiver/antenna/measuring instruments are required to pass the exam.  I had actually tons of accumulation of such experience since being in Japan.  Studying the license exam reminded me a lot of issues related to amateur radio that I did not touch for a long time.  Luckily, I passed the three license exams flawlessly in one and a half month.
Just after passing Technician class, I got serially assigned call sign of KJ6TMZ.  FCC (Federal Communications Commission) accepts a request of specific call sign called Vanity Call Sign.  I requested AJ6TN which means America Japan 6 (regional code assigned to California) Tetsuji Noriko (wife's name).  Only Extra class licensees can specify "A" as a first letter and one or two letters after regional code.  The last two letters of TN sounds beautiful short ending of Morse code.  I chose TN due to the fact.  It is reverse of Windows NT, isn't it.  Listen to Morse code of "CQ CQ DE AJ6TN AJ6TN K".
California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) also accepts a request of Special Interest License Plate.  In case of license plate related to amateur radio, no annual fee is required after paying one time fee for license plate production cost of $14.


Music

I practiced violin for 2 and a half years at Suzuki violin class when I was an elementary school student.  Even today, I can play violin with my youngest son of course he plays much better than I play.  I like music, especially playing music instruments such as Violin, Harmonica, Ukulele, Hawaiian Guitar, Clarinet, and electric organ from Yamaha.  MIDI (Music Instrument Data Interface), making music notes, and listening audio CDs (Compact Discs) are my favorite as well.


Sports

I was not only good at playing ping-pong, baseball, valley ball, swimming, and skiing but also running fast for short track like 50m and 100m.  My best record of 50m dash was 6.1 seconds recorded at junior high school.  Accordingly, I was selected as an athlete for short track, relay, valley ball, and ping-pong at sports festival frequently.

I went to everywhere such as Akihabara to purchase junk electronics parts and Zushi city to visit grandparents riding on my bicycle.

In every summer vacation through high school to university age, I enjoyed climbing mountains and camping at tent or bungalow with my  friends.  We went to Mount Chokai in Yamagata prefecture, Kitadake in Nagano prefecture, Mount Bandai in Fukushima prefecture, Gozenyama (the highest mountain in Tokyo), and so forth.

I started skiing after I joined NEC and enjoyed it every winter season handling my own Ogasaka ski.  I have visited ski resorts such as Yunomaru, Tsugaike, Happo One, Shiga Kumanoyu, Myoko Akakura, Hakuba Goryu and so forth.  They are all in Nagano prefecture.


Pets

Since I was a kindergarten child, I raised a tortoiseshell cat and a black haired medium size dog (Scottish terrier: Scotty).  When they fought, a cat won a dog all the time because a dog (God in reverse) is milder than a cat.  I remember that my dog got a scratch injury on his black nose by cat's nail attack and scarlet blood dropped from it.  A dog tames with human beings and a cat tames with home.  Accordingly, I like a dog better.  We now live with a female Scottish terrier who is a third generation for me since childhood.

I also raised gold fishes, tropical fishes, various turtles that I captured in a pond wildly, beetles from pupa hunted under dead grass, and Java sparrows who ate bate on man's hand.  At grandparent's house at Okaya city Nagano prefecture, we raised a goat and chickens.  We drunk heated goat's milk every morning, ate chicken eggs, and delivered them to neighbors for free by riding a bicycle with a rear car when summer vacation.
We have hundreds of gold fishes, two turtles, and a white cat fish in a pond.


Travel

Most recently, we visited Nikko Tochigi prefecture, Yokohama Kanagawa prefecture, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima by bus tour and Beppu Oita prefecture, Kitakyushu Fukuoka prefecture, Matsumoto & Nagano Nagano prefecture, and my wife's parent's house in Osaka as well.  We stayed a cottage at Karuizawa Nagano prefecture, Atagawa Shizuoka prefecture, and Okaya for a while when we are on vacation in Japan.  We often visited Jyogashima at the point of Miura peninsula and Irouzaki at the point of Izu peninsula by car.  It took 9 hours one way at night between Tokyo and Osaka by car although the distance between them is similar to the one between San Francisco and Los Angels.  I drove 5 times such two routes in Japan and in US.  It takes only 6 hours even daytime between SF and LA.

I always rent a car when we trip.  We visited Virginia, Washington DC, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in Arizona, Hoover Dam, Death valley, Los Angels, San Diego, Yosemite national park, Lake Tahoe and so forth by family trip.  When we went to Grand Canyon, I rented a brand-new Dodge Caravan (7 passengers van) and drove 2,000 miles a week.  Finally, the engine of the car got over-heated and towed.


Photograph & Video

My father had a photograph enlargement & print system that is made in Germany.  I have used it myself in a dark room when I was 12 years old.  I bought an Asahi Pentax TTL (Through The Lens) that provides manual and auto exposure, focus through the lens, wide range of shutter speeds, and allows to exchange various types of lenses.  All the pictures on my publications were taken by the camera.  Especially, pictures of CRT screen were taken by gradually changing the exposure setting the shutter speed of slower than 1/10 second because the frame frequency of NTSC standard is 30Hz.

I privately bought a Hi8 video camcorder to record the drawing speed demonstration using a bread board of graphics processor when I was at NEC Japan.  I visited customers bringing the video cam with 8mm video tape and displayed the demo on CRT monitor screen that customers prepared.  Every time we go to a trip, I took moving pictures.  When we boarded on an airplane to tour Grand Canyon from air, I looked down the marvelous sight through the 8mm video cam, got air sick, and threw up eventually on the ground.  I have over 10 video tape collection now.

Replacing a conventional still camera, I bought a Kodak digital camera with CF (Compact Flash) slot.  Some of the pictures on this Web page have been captured by the digital camera.  The CF is detached from the camera and plugged into SanDisk ImageMate (CF card reader connected to PC through USB (Universal Serial Bus)) to upload picture files to PC.  I know all things about how ImageMate works in details because I designed an entire USB-to-CF/MMC (Multi Media Card)/SD (Secure Digital) bridge LSI at SanDisk recently.


Gardening & Painting & Home Improvement

I started enjoying Gardening 3 or 4 years after we came here in US.  Because we can easily get gardening tools and fertilizers at Home Depot or Orchard Supply, everybody can enjoy the hobby.  Especially, I liked to do carpentry and create things to achieve my purpose.  I have duplicated a spare key of my bicycle by cutting aluminum board and shaving by a file.

The first job was to cut down Japanese Junipers from the root by using a 18" electronic saw.  Next, I made lawn from preparing lawn bed, making sprinkler watering system, and sowing lawn seeds.  It was successfully done.  Home improvement work was so pleasant and made a big profit.  We sold our home $350,000 as much as the original sales price 2 years ago.

I have now a gas mower, a weed & lawn gas trimmer, a branch trimming electric saw, a electric saw (the second generation), an extendable aluminum ladder, a wooden ladder, and so forth.  I can be a good gardener as well.

I have attached and adjusted two satellite dish antennas and wired the coaxial cables to two receiver inlets.  Now, we have three satellite dish antennas directed to satellites at west longitude of 148, 119, and 110 degrees to receive all of available satellite channels in USA.


PC hardware & software

Handling PC (Personal Computer) and the peripheral devices, making software in Intel 80x86 assembly/Basic/C language, and assembling electronic parts gathered on PCB (Printed Circuit Board) are also my favorite hobby.  I have used IBM/NEC PC with MS DOS/Windows/Linux/Solaris, Apple Macintosh, and Sun Work Station with Unix/Solaris.  I have presently 5 PCs with Windows and 1 PC with Sun Solaris at home as well as 1 color laser, 3 B/W laser, and 1 color inkjet printer tied together through home LAN (Local Area Network).  My favorite text editor on PC and work station is "vim", "vi" improved.  The "vim" is embedded under Microsoft Visual C++ compiler and the Solaris machine.  I always use Microsoft Word to make documentation along with Visio for graphics implementation.  Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Outlook under English Windows installed Office XP can accept utilizing both English and Japanese language without going back and forth between English and Japanese Windows.

When I bought a color plotter from Graphtec Corp., I made a graphics art called "Karuta" by intensively handling a graphics drawing tool.  9 Karutas which are represented by 3 letters of my kid's name, "Ma-sa-shi", "A-ki-ko", and "Ta-da-shi" were drawn along with animals appeared on Japanese picture book of "Guri & Gura".  It was fine to stop then but I applied the contest held by Graphtec Corp. plotting all the color pixels of "Karuta" by small  "x" one by one.  I designed a data conversion & color plotting software myself.  As a result, I was rewarded a certificate along with French dish dinner celebration out of over 300 applicants.


Conclusion

Through such various hobby, I studied and polished practical English, creativity, concentration, curiosity, endurance, generosity, crisis management, and so forth.

I have touched with AC (Alternate Current) 750V output from transformer for a high power transmitter.  The AC 750V unlike DC 750V is defined as a high voltage by electrical regulations.  I was blown away all of sudden but fortunately I did not get any secondary damage that is fatal because there were nothing at rear.  My finger numbed for next 10 minutes and the portion touched was dried up.  After such physical experience, I get static electricity and something else very easily.

It's sure that the hobby broadened my personal characters and brought up right judgment and direction ability.  I am possibly able to know the consequence of the matters earlier than others.  Accordingly, I always intend to be practical and realistic utilizing sensitive intuition rather than superficial debate and idealism.

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