After three weeks in lockdown it’s beginning to feel a little like Groundhog Day.
Up at 6am and while the coffee is still brewing I record my temperature, blood oxygen level, heart rate, and blood pressure. Then a quick scan of the overnight virus stats. New confirmed case counts and revised death count. After that, it’s the 10 second commute from the kitchen into my home office where I settle down for another day of working from home. Lunch and a mile long walk is at noon and then it’s back to the office to complete the workday. After dinner there’s another walk and then we’re in for the evening where it’s reading or television before bed time.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
All my HF activity now takes place outdoors with a battery and the KX3 since I haven’t replaced the fallen HF antenna – and may not. I’ve been looking forward to spring when I can carry this gear to nearby parks and other recreation areas but right now that feels like non-essential travel so I’m making do in the backyard. It’s not bad, I enjoy spending more time outside and am even considering leveling up to a more comfortable arrangement out there. Maybe a screened enclosure with a better table and comfortable chair. I wish I had acres from which to choose a prime radio location, but mine is a small, city lot.
Nevertheless, outside seems preferable to inside.
I already have a few wires randomly tossed into trees for just this purpose. And given that the kitchen, refrigerator, and bathroom are all within easy reach of the backyard, it’s a comfortable contrast to working from a park or trail.
Plus, forgetting to bring along a necessary connector or cable isn’t such a calamity when you can pick them up a few steps away and use the opportunity to refill a cold drink. If thunderstorms roll in, I step inside where, if I had a larger antenna, I would disconnect it and stay off the air anyway.
Obviously the backyard isn’t a replacement for taking radio to the field where more interesting sights and sounds of nature can be enjoyed in places like State and National Parks, etc. But I’m finding the space just beyond my door to be an overlooked opportunity as it provides fresh air, sunshine, and a lot of convenience. It’s the perfect location to setup and test field equipment and portable antennas before toting them to distant vistas. And there are plenty enough birds, squirrels and rabbits who stop by for a visit on a daily basis to make peace with nature.
BOTA – Backyards on the Air might one day evolve into yet another popular and enjoyable facet of the hobby. But for now, let’s just keep this quiet and between us. Someone is bound to throw a fit if it’s ever discovered that the best looking shack to ever to grace the cover of CQ magazine was a picnic table in the backyard on a sunny afternoon with an icy pitcher of sweet tea setting by the logbook.