The Peony

Somewhere back in my long ago, my Dad was driving past an abandoned house when he noticed a pretty row of blooming peonies in front of the place.

My Mom had always spoken fondly about the peonies that grew around her Mom’s house when she was young. So one day, my Dad stopped at that abandoned house, dug a few of the plants up, and replanted them in his own yard.

It takes several years for transplanted peonies to bloom but eventually they did, and every year after, bringing much joy to my Mom and Dad for many years. Long after Mom died, Dad decided he wasn’t going to continue mowing around or caring for any of the plants in his yard, so he set about trying to eradicate the peonies.

Despite his best efforts to get rid of them, they kept coming back.

My wife finally decided to dig them up and plant them in our yard. For the next four years the plants looked healthy enough, but they never did bloom. We knew it would take some years — but it is said that once they begin blooming, they can live for up to a hundred years.

Yesterday, those flowers burst into full glory. Let the next century begin…

Our Peonies

Hashtag HamRadio Tee-Shirts

A few years ago I had a couple batches of these shirts made, sold them, and figured that was that. Turns out, one group wanted more of them (it’s hamfest weather!) so I recently put together another batch.


Buying in larger quantity made them more affordable so I bought a few more than needed and have some extras leftover.

Perhaps you’d like one?

I have a limited supply of these genuine Hanes Beefy-T’s. Soft, strong and comfortable. These black tees have been professionally screen printed with #hamradio in a stylish, lower-case font. Machine washable. Like any other printed t-shirt, turn it inside out and wash in cold water for longest life.

It’s a classy and unique way to promote the hobby. Social media users will instantly recognize the “hashtag” and what it conveys while those who don’t understand the hashtag will still recognize and appreciate the “ham radio” reference.

Only XXL left – and only in the US (sorry).

$17 includes Priority Mail shipping. PayPal or personal check okay.

Contact me and let me know what size you’re looking for and I’ll confirm it’s available and send you the payment details. I’ll get it to you immediately as I need to clear these out of the shack!

The Unseen Bean

The Unseen Bean

It was great to see Gerry Leary, WB6IVF offering up his roasted coffee beans at Hamvention once again. A quick “hello” and a couple of bags of his Kilowatt blend have become something of a routine for me. I’ve tried the Contesters blend but I just can’t get an honest signal report from it. :-)

Gerry founded The Unseen Bean in early 2003 with the intention of making the freshest, best-tasting coffee available anywhere. Leary, who is blind from birth, refused to let his sightlessness keep him from becoming a Master Coffee Roaster. He trained in San Francisco at the West Coast Specialty Coffee Company.

Coffee bean roasters typically depend on seeing changes in bean color during the roasting process to achieve best results. Gerry depends on his honed sense of smell, and hearing to know precisely when the batch roast has reached perfection.

Taste the Passion in Blind Roasted Coffee

Being a coffee roaster, and a radio amateur, it only made sense that WB6IVF would combine two passions and wind up on the road to Dayton, Ohio.

If you missed his booth this year, he’ll likely be back next. In the meantime, you could wander into his coffee shop in Boulder, Colorado — or visit his online store and order a few bags of coffee beans that he has perfectly roasted, but never seen.


Art Bell, W6OBB


Art Bell is returning to the broadcast airwaves. After several retirements and a short stint on satellite radio, Bell plans to return to broadcasting this summer. His new program, Midnight in the Desert will be available in streaming format online, simulcast on at least one shortwave radio station – and perhaps other broadcast affiliates going forward.

W6OBB is no ordinary talk show host. Art’s a true radio fanatic, the ultimate “new media” personality. How many hosts get off the air after a three hour show, then turn on another microphone, and talk for hours to fellow ham radio operators around the country? How many radio hosts have the engineering know-how to produce their own show, run their own technical board, and generally control the ebb and flow of the program from the first on-air minute to the last?

Through the years, he has frequently used his broadcast to explain, educate, and promote amateur radio to the general public.

If you’ve ever sat in a darkened cockpit, in front of a twinkling control panel, and prepared for a night flight, you know the feel of what late-night radio can be like–the excitement of knowing that you’ll be flying high and covering great distances while others sleep. With Midnight in the Desert, W6OBB is at the controls, guiding his audience through the extra-normal and bringing them in for a safe landing before dawn.

That’s Art Bell. And his many fans know the feeling very well.