Drone Update

I am really enjoying my little DJI Spark.   It is so portable and fast to launch.  I have started taking some still photos with it and been pleased so far.













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Hurricane Michael

October 10th, a Wednesday, Hurricane Michael came through the area…  It was a Major Cat 4 when it hit landfall in the panhandle of Florida.  That area was just devastated!   It moved through the panhandle and NE diagonal through GA.  Some areas of GA were also hard hit but nothing like the Panhandle.  I began monitoring early in the day and was on the air until 2:00am Thursday.  I monitored 4 radio networks, and 3 WebEOC’s, Chatham County, GA Hospital Assoc. and NWS Charleston.

Fortunately, we were mostly passed by and only saw 30+ mph winds and limited rain.  I was up again at 5:00 on Thursday, monitoring until about noon when it began to clear here.

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Emergency Training Classes

I am taking several classes in October.   On the 3rd was a Webinar regarding the new EOC Program being used by the Hospitals.  I have 2 more webinars coming up for:

Everbridge – a Mass Comm tool for alerts.   I have a “Message Sender Training” class on the 17th and on the 25th take “Incident Communications 101 – Implementing IC Features”

At the end of the month, I have a 2 day FEMA Class “Readiness: Training Identification & Preparedness Planning(MGT-418)”

In addition to these, I have signed up for a dedicated Emergency Phone system called SouthernLink that will connect me directly to 84 other Emergency related personnel with the GA Hospital Association.

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Georgia SET

October 5th was the GA SET (Simulated Emergency Test), a statewide drill.   This was an ARES event statewide and also involved the GA Hospital Association.   I operated from Memorial Hospital in Savannah.

This involved a Simulated Emergency and our ability to complete tasks and pass traffic as assigned.  We monitored the GHA911 WebEOC, DStar Reflectors and HF Bands.  The Simulation began at 9am and ran until 3:00pm.  I arrive at 7:00am to get the radio room set up and ready to go.  I was joined at 8:00 by George N3ZKV who was assigned to assist me at my location.

It was a good event, provide plenty of practice on the radio and sending digital forms.   We did good but also developed a list of tasks that we could do better.  In my iopinion, the SET was a success.

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New Family Member!!!

Our Granddaughter Lindsey has just delivered our 5th GREAT Grandchild, another girl!!   Please Welcome Zoey Lyn to the Wiggins Family! Born Sept 29th 8lb 13oz and 21 inches.

Congrats to Lindsey and Zach…   Lyn is looking down and smiling today…

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Drone Wars!

Ok, so I exaggerated a bit, they are not actually warring!  I did add a drone to the stable.   I have had the DJI Phantom 3 for several years and it is a very good flying and video platform.   What I added is the DJI Spark, a quite small compact and very portable drone.  Super easy to carry, launch and fly with more built in Intelligence than my Phantom.   Is it better???   No, not really, but it is different.   More portable and plenty of fun.  Same quality of camera but as you will see…  much easier to cart around!


I have had fun with it so far and posted up a few videos on my facebook page.  In addition to the videos, I have taken some still shots.




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Lightning Strike

No, not at my house…  but the neighbor took a strike the night before I got home from NH.   I had some residual effects, took out my modem, my garage door opener and the service to my 2 bedroom tv’s.  Took until yesterday to get everything resolved but we are back in business.

On a side note, had a water pipe break (repaired Friday) and another on Sunday which I think is from dirt getting in the valve to zone one of my irrigation system.   Currently irrigation is off until the tech can get back out here and track down the valve.

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NH Trip!

On September 5th me and Maggie began a road trip to NH.   The main purpose was a Rolling Thunder NH Memorial for fallen members…   which unfortunately, this year would include my wife Lyn.   Prep for the trip included a camper bed setup in the back of the truck and getting things ready for Maggie.  She has never traveled this far before…   I set up Snuggles Crate and got her used to it a few days ahead…   She also got a New Haircut!

We departed on the 5th and drove up into VA where we stopped and camped at a KOA for the night…

The next night, we made it to Southington CT.  Stayed at a Motel 6 that Lyn and I often stopped at when we traveled by Motorcycle.   There were severe thunderstorm warnings so we decided this was more prudent than camping.  It came down right as we arrived!

Friday the 7th, we headed on up to NH and as we were early, we had planned to make a few stops.  1st up, Denny’s in Nashua.   This is where Lyn worked for 20 years.  I used to know everyone there, today only 1 girl, disappointing…    Next stop, Greely Park.  Lyn and I often had lunch here.   Maggie and I hung out here until time to go to Tech where I worked.  Lot of great memories here at the park.   My work was great, hung out in the picnic area and a whole lot of folks came out to say hi and some even joined me for lunch.  From here, I headed towards Salem and our Motel but stopped at the old neighborhood on the way.  Saw the old house (white fence and dish major changes) and also ran into and visited with 2 neighbors…    Nice, glad I made this side trip!  (Pictures are Greely Park and the old house…

Off to the motel…..  the Next morning we headed up to Londonderry where we met Richie for breakfast at the Red Arrow Diner.   Nice 2 hour visit, then off to Lake Massabesic, another regular stop for Lyn and I…   We hung out here until it was time to meet Dennis and Susan for lunch.

We met up the street at Goldenrod (Seafood) and they had their dog, so we decided to do takeout and picnic back at Massabesic.  We had a great visit, spent another 2 hours and the dogs had fun too!!   We said our goodbyes and then back to the room for the night.  I had ordered a LARGE steak & cheese sub from Romanos last night and ate the other half of it tonight.

Sunday was the big day, The Rolling Thunder NH1 Memorial for it’s Fallen Members.  Janice came by on her motorcycle and met me at the Motel.   I had checked out as I would be departing after the event.   We visited a bit and then headed up to Boscawen NH and met another couple and Dunkin Donuts.  We met up with the others at the Veterans Cemetery and it was so great to see everyone, lots of new faces but many of the old group.  I really felt the Love and Support.

You can see one of the ladies in the center with Maggie, she kept her for the entire event which allowed me to really focus on the event.  There were only 2 of us who had lost loved ones in attendance, Marsha is sitting with me on the bench to the left.

They did a beautiful job on the ceremony…   They read each name, at the reading, a bell was rung once then a  member representing that person read a short Bio and placed a flower at the monument.

It was a well done, very moving ceremony and I was honored to be there to represent Lyn.  Here are a few more shots with me in them.

After the event, we headed to Concord NH for lunch and then Maggie and I began the trek home.  We arrived home mid day on Tuesday.

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Labor Day!

Labor Day weekend arrived and somewhat signifies the end of Summer…    My sister Linda and her friend Paul drove down to Hilton Head to spend a few days.  They arrived on Sunday and would be going back on Thursday.   Monday we all got together at Scott’s house and Morgan had fixed the “fix’ens) for Tacos.   We had a nice get together and meal at their house.

Tuesday, Linda and Paul came out here to the house for a visit…  then we took a drive down to the Cemetery to visit the grave-site and inspect the finished monument.  After the visit, we stopped off (they watched Maggie) and I went in and paid the balance to the monument company.   We said our goodbyes here as they were going to take a tour of Savannah and I needed to get ready to leave in the morning for NH.

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Monument Complete

The vases finally arrived and were installed.  I got an email from Matt at Depue Monument with a photo to show them installed.   My sister Linda came in from MI (staying at Hilton Head) Sunday and on Tuesday the 4th, we went down to the cemetery to see the finished monument.   It was great, so pleased with how it turned.  It was one of the few things that Lyn did not get to choose herself, I can only hope that as she looks down, she will be pleased…   I believe so!

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Heart Health

As most of you know, I have had some health issues the past year and some appeared to be related to my Heart.   1st of the year, we underwent shock treatment to bring it from Afib to normal rhythm.   That worked and it has maintained so far.   We had some breathing and chest pain issues but that turned out to be low hemoglobin which also is under control now.

Yesterday I had a followup visit with my cardiologist which went very well.   Vitals all Very Good and he ran an EKG, stuck his head back in and gave me a big Thumbs Up saying excellent!   I still have a leaky valve and we discussed that also.   At this time, he wants to just monitor as it has not worsened and my overall heart health has improved.

All good news and I do not go back for 6 months….

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Anchor Bar!

This past weekend was my 2nd real get-a-way since I lost my dearest Bride earlier this year.   I departed Thursday for Buffalo to meet up with some friends from the MTF.   Spent the night in WV on the 23rd and then arrived in S Buffalo early afternoon of the 24th.  I spoke with Bruce (from NH) who I was meeting at the hotel.   He would be late getting in so we set a breakfast meeting time.   I then spoke with Sal who lives in Buffalo and he invited me over so I went and visited with him.  Rob and Dave would be riding in shortly and we would all go to dinner.

Dinner was at Grovers, a Great Burger joint…    I got a Patti Melt, a couple got burgers and Chris (Sals wife) got the fish fry.


Saturday morning, Bruce and I met up and went to breakfast.  Nice little family place that was recommended by the motel and confirmed by Sal.  Breakfast was good, service great and we both enjoyed the atmosphere..    Bruce had some tour of honor sites to visit and I hung out a bit before heading to the Anchor Bar & Grill…   About 20 folks from the Motorcycle Tourers Forum gathered for lunch.   We had a great time and I really enjoyed seeing everyone again..

I decided to drive straight through from here to home…   been years since I have driven all night and it went well as I arrived home on Sunday about 9am

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Cooking with Air Fryer

Scott bought me an Air Fryer for Fathers Day and I am still using and loving it…   It has many uses but I primarily use it for things that would be normally fried..     Fries, Chicken Legs, chicken breasts, Fish Fillets, Fish Sticks, Pot Stickers (Pork & Chicken), and cheese steaks.

The Fry aspect works best with skin or breading on the chicken…    I have also done a steak, pork chops and hot dogs in it.

It is so very useful for me living alone…  quick, easy and simple cleanup.   I have done chicken and fish in it with Fries at the same time..

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Photo Awards

The Nikonites Forum (for Nikon users but all are welcome…) has a Weekly Challenge.   The photo MUST be taken during that week so you get the topic and have to go out and get the shot!!

I do not enter every week, it depends on the topic and my time (and ability to think of and get to a shot)

I have done reasonably well with the last 4 that I entered out of about 8 weeks.  I have 2 wins, a second and the 4th did not place.  (Not a surprise as I was not that excited over it either…

Here they are….

Theme “Flower” – 1st Place


Theme “Old Building Structure” – 2nd Place


Theme “Scenery” – Did Not Place


Theme “Macro” – 1st Place

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Worked All States

Worked All States (WAS) is an ARRL Ham radio award fro making a “confirmed” contact with someone in all 50 states.   I recently just got my 1st WAS as Mixed, meaning any mode and any band.  A couple weeks back when I raised my antenna, I landed Hawaii and Nevada to finish it.   I received the Certificate last week.

I am presently working on 3 more versions and very close to nabbing them.

Digital – Any digital mode on any band counts…   I actually just got this complete a couple days ago but have not submitted yet.  I will likely wait until I get all 3.

FT8 – This is a Specific Digital mode and all contacts must be FT8 but can be on any band.   I only need the state of Maine to earn this.  (Made 3 recent Maine contacts but they have to be officially confirmed and these have not.

20 m – Contacts for all 50 states must be on the 20 meter band, can be any mode, digital, voice, cw etc.  I am only missing 3 states (confirmed) for this, AZ, NE and SC.

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