• Hot Weather And More

    From Daryl Stout@618:250/33 to Sean Dennis on Wed Jul 21 15:58:00 2021

    We have an orange quality health alert for air here due to wildfires somewhere nearby.

    The haze is real bad here, and I saw all the Air Quality Alerts on the National Weather Service website. Heat Advisories are likely here over
    the weekend, and especially next week...but that's typical for an Arkansas summer. Or, as one local meteorlogist terms it, "An Arkansauna". :P

    I'll bet as power usage increases to run the air conditioners, it'll
    lead to possible brownouts and outages. Even if I had a generator, it
    wouldn't do any good if the internet was out in the area.

    Now, if I could hit the lotto big time (why can't I hit a million dollar ticket??!!), I'd get a generator, and do things around here, plus getting
    work done on the car. The rest would go into savings. Yet, if I can't beat
    the games on the BBS, I'm unlikely to hit it big on the lottery.


    ... There are many internet scams; send me $20 to learn how.
    === MultiMail/Win v0.52
    --- SBBSecho 3.14-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (618:250/33)
  • From Daryl Stout@618:250/33 to Ed Vance on Sun Jul 25 23:40:00 2021

    I never used ICQ or USENET (I think they are similar?).

    I never used USENET, but was on ICQ for awhile.

    I don't think ICQ is something CBM created or offered, was it?

    That, I don't know.

    I called it once or maybe twice to try it out but I wasn't interested
    in getting a paid account on it, or AOL for that matter.

    I was with CompuServe for years...no telling how much money I spent on

    I like QWK because I'm in my own little world when I'm Reading,
    Writing or Writing a Reply.

    Same here. That way, the online meter isn't running...and I can reply
    at my leisure.

    I read/lurk many Echos on this BBS, I just jump in and out at times.

    The only BBS I use is mine...mainly for a lack of time...because there
    are other things in life that are more important than a BBS...although
    some would consider that "heresy" <G>.


    ... Manufacturing contact lenses is harder than meets the eye.
    === MultiMail/Win v0.52
    --- SBBSecho 3.14-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (618:250/33)
  • From Daryl Stout@618:250/33 to August Abolins on Sun Jul 25 23:40:00 2021

    I was bit leary about ICQ when it first came out. But it proved
    to be a fine communications medium to stir up a "live" chat
    with someone at any time of the day.

    I haven't been on ICQ in ages. I still remember the password and
    my number, but I don't have the program on my Windows 10 laptop. I
    probably was purged as inactive...since I quit using it years ago.

    My first real awareness of BBSes to call in my local area was
    courtesy of Boardwatch magazine. Then, it was a matter of
    getting a good LD plan to check out some of the ones farther
    away. A little later, I gravitated towards Compuserve.

    I was on CompuServe as well (I still remember my User ID). The
    computer science department of the local college, the University
    Of Arkansas At Little Rock (UALR), had its own BBS, and that's
    how I found out about other area BBS's. I have a bulletin on my
    BBS, showing long gone BBS's in Arkansas, mostly in the Little Rock Metropolitan Area.

    You are less of a lurker than others. ;)

    There are several topics and areas I don't even mess with.
    While I do autoposts in several echoes, I also participate
    in them. Yet, I only post the ad for my BBS once a month...not
    like some systems who post the ad several times a day!!


    ... A Sysop and his money are soon...Hey!! Where's my wallet??!!
    === MultiMail/Win v0.52
    --- SBBSecho 3.14-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (618:250/33)
  • From Daryl Stout@618:250/33 to Ed Vance on Sun Jul 25 23:49:00 2021

    First, sorry for the long reply...plus, as you'll see, "Everyone is
    entitled to my opinion" (hi hi).

    Were those Amateur Radio BBS's in that bulletin?
    I'm guessing they weren't Ham BBS's just public BBS's, Hmmm ..--.. (?)

    Only one of them...The Ether Net BBS. Bill Shryock, N5HQ, was the
    Sysop. He's still around, but his BBS is long gone. He did have a
    bulletin called "The 10 Comamndments For Technicians", which I've
    incorporated into a PDF file of "Ham Radio Humor"...available from
    a hyperlink off of my bio on QRZ.

    I have some updates to make on the Excel Net List Spreadsheets
    (in Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific Time, with close to 200
    nets in a given month, as of late July, 2021). But, I had to deal
    with thunderstorms move in here after I finished the QCWA Digital Net
    earlier today, and didn't bring the computers back up until a few
    hours ago. I had unplugged everything to prevent lightning damage,
    and had laid down for a power nap. I have found that if I try to work
    on the computer when I'm fatigued, I'm just asking for trouble. The
    only time I get a good sleep anymore, is when I'm sedated for a
    medical procedure.

    I started that "Net List" (which originally began as a page for
    just Echolink Nets only), because the net info at dstarinfo.com was
    WOEFULLY OUT OF DATE (and I've been told, that it still is). I even
    made numerous attempts to get the nets that I run, listed; and to get
    the information corrected (it was entered wrong), and it was nearly
    impossible getting a response.

    So, I started the data in a PDF file, but that became too much to
    work with. Gary, VA3GDZ, sent me a spreadsheet template, that I
    expanded, and now use for the list of nearly 200 D-Star, Echolink,
    and D-Rats nets. I have to make some updates on the list, but with thunderstorms today, I did not get a chance to do so. That will have
    to wait until later this week, when the thunderstorm chances diminish.

    My thoughts were a BBS was sorta like the Amateur Radio Club
    Meetings I attended back when I got my Novice License in 1958.
    I could talk with other Ham Operators there to learn enough about
    Radio stuff so to be able to know enough to pass the F.C.C. Test for
    a higher Class Operators License.

    I loved the face to face meetings we'd have, where you could meet all
    of the other BBS users and Sysops. Just like with ham radio, the mental
    image you had made of these folks was NOT at all what they looked like
    in person (hi hi).

    At the last License Exam I took, a F.C.C. Employee was there.
    I think the Volunteer Examiner program should be ended, and revert
    back to having Agent(s) from the F.C.C. in charge of giving the Tests.

    I feel that if that occurs, it's going to be like many hams are
    saying about the "soon coming" $35 fee the FCC is going to tack on for
    a new, renewed, or upgraded license, or a callsign change. I've heard
    far more hams say they'd rather let their license lapse, than pay the
    fee. Yet, many of these hams will lay down one or more $100 bills to
    buy a brick of prize tickets at a hamfest, or buy a high dollar rig,
    and not batting an eye...but they're complaining about $35 -- you can
    easily spend that on two people in one night at a fancy restaurant!!

    I feel the same would happen if they ended the Question Pools and
    the VEC. Plus, the same would apply if they were to reinstate the
    Novice and Advanced Licenses, as well as the 5, 13, and 20 WPM CW
    exams. The FCC is so short on funds now (never mind the budget
    deficit is so huge), that they can't get enough folks to work with
    enforcement actions, let alone go back to doing exams.

    And, I feel if they REQUIRED everyone to be RF only, with no
    internet, the number of active and licensed ham radio operators
    would drop like boulder off of a cliff (and I would be one of
    them). Not to mention that the many organizations that need
    members and their dues to survive, would shut down as well...and
    I know they will NOT allow that to happen.

    The ARRL is a prime example; and while we may not agree with
    everything that they do, they ARE our lobbyist in Washington,
    with the Spread Spectrum Defense to keep our frequencies from
    being taken away from us, and sold off to other entities, who
    are more than ready and willing to pay top dollar for them.

    In short, I feel that "going back to the way it was" would be the
    death knell for ham radio.

    Now, I realize when my internet is out, or if I'm offline for area thunderstorms, I'm QRT. But, I have too many health issues to worry
    about being on the air in an emergency. Besides, the way technology
    is nowadays, once we have an EMP, EVERYTHING is going to get fried...
    and ALL communications are going to fail...RF, Phone, Satellite,
    Internet, and everything else. It'll be like going back to the Stone
    Age, communications wise.

    Because of nervous system damage from 2 indirect lightning strikes,
    I can NOT copy CW...and I did try a 5 WPM CW test years ago (when it
    was still available)...but I failed the exam miserably. After the FCC
    dropped the CW requirement, people began learning CW because they
    WANTED to, and NOT because they had to (you'll never get folks to
    learn or do something if you force them).

    Indeed, the phones at Vibroplex (who make keyers) were literally
    "ringing off the wall" for a month either side of the removal of the
    CW requirement 14 1/2 years ago. And, I understand that the F.I.S.T.
    CW group, had a surge in membership.

    Unfortunately, the fact of the matter today, is that kids nowadays
    are so enamored in their smartphones and tablets, that they do NOT
    care about the heritage, history, current state, or future of ANY
    hobby (I've seen it both in ham radio and square dancing, one of
    my other hobbies). It is hard enough nowadays to find folks to be
    Club Officers, let alone Net Control Stations. Everyone wants the
    glory and benefits, but no one wants the gall and the work. In other
    words, don't you dare ask them to be a Club Officer, a Net Control
    station, or to head up communications for an event. You likely will
    be told in no uncertain terms what you can do with your request, and
    it won't be pretty.

    No one knows how to stop the bleeding (in any hobby)...and without
    getting "new blood"...the replenishment of amateur radio operators
    (especially the youth), sooner more than later, attrition will kill
    the hobby...pun intended. None of us is getting any younger, and ALL
    of us are going to end up on the Silent Keys page sooner or later.

    I've known hams who've run nets for clubs for years...where they
    could not get any help with doing the nets...when they had schedule
    conflicts or other issue...and with the number of checkins plunging,
    it makes no sense to do the net anymore.

    There are many hams who I refer to as "Net Hoppers" (or "Hi, Bye,
    and QSY Stations"). It's "Net Control, Please checkin [callsign],
    [name], [location], short time, no traffic"...and not a minute later,
    they're doing the same thing on other nets. A fellow ham, who's also
    involved with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), wondered
    "Do they even have a life outside of ham radio??". These think that
    there is a prize, bonus, award, certificate, etc. for seeing how many
    nets they can check into in a day or evening. To me, they're in the
    hobby for their ego, and nothing more.

    I will do a net whether there is one, one dozen, or one hundred checkins...but once those dry up, the net is closed...you can NOT
    be "fashionably late" for a net. As the checkins dry up, I go into
    "auctioneer mode"...where they do "going once, going twice, sold
    (and the bidding is closed), it's a next to last call, then a last
    call for rechecks, late checkins, or anything else to come before
    the net. After 15 to 20 seconds, if I hear nothing on both, then
    the net is closed, whether folks like it or not.

    I personally do NOT spend "every waking moment" with ANY of my hobbies...whether ham radio, the BBS, or even square dancing. I
    do the MINIMUM of work that's required, then that's it for that
    day. Otherwise, I'm going to get burned out.

    Many long time hams are "purists" who feel that "any internet
    radio is NOT ham radio". Yet, one's health can change in the blink
    of an eye, and I can NOT see penalizing a lifelong ham, who has
    been on RF, now having to give up a hobby he or she loves, because
    they have to go into a medical facility, where no RF is allowed,
    because of potential problems with medical gear (especially in a
    nursing home, where loneliness is a HUGE factor, considering all
    the mess with COVID-19, and no visitors allowed)...and yet, they
    could use "internet radio" to take the loneliness out of their day.
    I can vouch for the loneliness factor...it was that way for my Mom
    in the nursing home before she died nearly 2 years ago now.
    Loneliness also leads to depression, and a loss of the will to live.
    To me, not allowing them to be "internet only" makes it look like
    we're promoting euthanasia.

    Years ago, when VoIP and the digital modes were taking off, an
    official from the FCC official noted that "We are communicators
    FIRST, and ham radio operators SECOND". Indeed, I feel that
    whatever means of communication you can use to get the traffic
    passed, do it...whether it's RF, VoIP, or something else.

    There was another incident years ago, where the entire HF band
    was completely dead...possibly from a massive solar storm. There
    was an intense hurricane in the Atlantic basin, and The Hurricane
    Watch Net was NOT able to get ANYTHING off of HF, in regards to
    real time weather data, for the forecasters at the National
    Hurricane Center. But, there were some stations in the affected
    areas, who still had power and internet, and were able to connect
    to the *WX_TALK* Echolink Conference Server, that the folks at
    The Hurricane Watch Net were monitoring...and the forecasters at
    the National Hurricane Center WERE ABLE to critical weather data,
    which was a big help to them in their upcoming advisories and
    forecasts on the storm.

    And, another ham, who with his wife and family, had lived and
    worked in New England all their life; but upon retirement, moved
    to Florida. Yet, thanks to the VoIP modes (Echolink, D-Star, etc.),
    he can check into his former local area club nets, and keep up with
    all his old friends, as if he had never left.

    Was "Computer Shopper" the name of a local newsletter, or are You
    talking about the BIG magazine with advertisements for everything
    to build a computer?

    It was the latter. The pages were almost the same thickness as the
    white pages of the phone book.

    1995 is a long time ago and what the newsletter was called isn't in
    My memory anymore...I don't even know if I still have that issue in
    my collection.

    I'm amazed I still had the memory of many of the BBS's noted in the
    list. One of the former Sysops has also become a fellow amateur radio operator...in fact, I gave him his Technician exam in the last 2 years. Ironically, his name was "Bill Clinton", but I can ASSURE you that he
    is NOT the one that was the US President for 8 years. I'm not sure
    whether he'll upgrade or not.

    I haven't done much testing since late 2019, when all the COVID-19 restrictions kicked in. I had sent back all my Field Stocked supplies
    to ARRL/VEC (it cost quite a bit to ship it overnight, but I wanted
    to get it there), because I had no idea if I'd ever be able to get a
    venue for local exams again. Most of my VE Team is in the older and
    vulnerable age group, even though they've had the needed shots. We
    also were not keen on the idea of remote testing (although I know
    of a club in Arkansas who does offer such), because of the security
    issues to monitor for cheating. We still wear masks and do social
    distancing, as required.

    But now after a session, I can scan in all the items from it, and
    create a PDF file, that I upload to a private URL that ARRL/VEC has.
    Then, I just mail everything back at my earliest convenience...since
    I got the stuff to them within 10 days of the exam session. But, I
    use the FedEx 3 Day Super Saver option, as unlike the Postal Service,
    every time I've shipped something via FedEx, IT GOT THERE WHEN IT WAS

    There were messages from people in the USA, England and Taiwan on
    that BBS, and after reading many, many messages I decided to jump in
    and write a message, and here I are, still lurking and writing occasionally.

    The same with me. The height of BBS's was 30 to 35 years ago...and
    there were far more dial-up BBS's back then, than web and telnet.

    Later I called The PRISM BBS and began reading FIDO BBS messages.

    I don't remember which FIDONet BBS locally I started with...but I'm
    now a regional independent, with Marc Lewis out of Huntsville, Alabama,
    as my hub. The original Little Rock area FIDONet, Net 3821, is long

    And also Mike Powell's BBS with a Railroad Train name that I can't
    recall, until He moved to Frankfort, Kentucky out of my local dial-up calling area.

    I remember an ANSI logo he had for that, but you'd have to ask him what
    that was. I want to say something about the Clinchfield Railroad.

    I 'think' Mike's BBS was named The Pan-Am BBS, was that guess close

    That sounds right. But, when I originally heard Pan-Am, I thought of
    the airline, although I've seen some Pan-Am boxcars on freight trains,
    mainly on some YouTube Videos by Danny Harmon (also known as Railfan
    Danny). He's not a ham radio operator, but fellow "railham" C.J. Griggs, KJ4PIU, is trying to convince Danny to study and get his license.

    After I retired a friend paid for a few months for a Dial-Up Internet Service until they moved away, then I paid for it just a few months
    more and then quit paying the monthly fee and went "cold turkey"
    i.e. No BBS access for a while.

    I think there are less than 20 dial up BBS's left in the US, according
    to the Telnet BBS Guide, done by Dave Perussel (who's also a ham radio operator, but his callsign escapes me offhand). I think there are over
    800 telnet BBS's in that listing, though.

    I learned about JUNO Email either just a little earlier than getting
    the Dial-Up ISP Account or maybe it was some time later I learned about JUNO, but I really liked having a Free Email Account and used it until JUNO quit Dial-In access.

    I was on various ISP's over the years...CompuServe, AOL, Juno, Aristotle,
    and Earthlink, to name a few. I'm with Xfinity now, as they are the only
    one that has bridge mode available for the BBS. My goal is to get my BBS
    into the cloud, which would reduce downtimes from thunderstorms, and the outages from power, cable, or internet...but between the car wreck nearly
    6 months ago (that I wasn't at fault in), and a plumbing issue at the
    house, the BBS has had to take a back seat.

    So after awhile I had DSL added to my Telephone Bill and Resubscribed
    to Mike's BBS now called The Capital City BBS.

    AT&T did my late Mom dirty years ago. Every time there's a power
    outage or lightning strike, their DSL modem is toast. Three years
    before her death, her DSL modem had failed (again), and I, as her
    computer guru (never mind her firstborn son), was at her house
    (where I'm at now, since both my Mom and Dad have gone on to be
    with The Lord), and on the phone with them.

    The "Customer Service Agent" (I use the term loosely) was giving
    me the runaround, and I demanded to speak to their supervisor...

    <CLICK!>...they hung up on me.

    I was furious...so I immediately called them back (on my cellphone),
    because she had no phone (including 911) or internet service...and
    put the phone on speaker. When the agent said "this conversation may
    be recorded", I basically cussed them out, as I was livid with rage.

    I apologized to my Mom after I finished getting a repairman
    scheduled to come out (more on that in a minute), and she said
    "I can't say I blame you...I heard every word"...she was as shocked
    as I was at the "treatment" I received.

    AT&T was going to make a nearly 90 year old woman WAIT 2 weeks to
    get a new DSL modem (and resulting service...she didn't even have
    911). When the repairman came by the next day, and I told him about
    what happened, he exploded in rage. He said "That's not the first
    time they have done this", and added "There was no excuse or reason
    for them to do what they did".

    Not only did he give us a new DSL modem, he also gave us his card,
    AND private phone number. He said "If this happens again, CALL ME AT
    ANY TIME. Either I myself, or one of my crew will be out here within
    24 hours". I was praying down blessings on him and his family.

    When I was going to switch to Earthlink High Speed Internet, they
    could not find a place for the fiber optic cable, and there was an
    AT&T truck outside. I told them about what they did to my Mom before
    her death, and snarled "I wouldn't take your crappy service if you
    gave everything to me forever for free". And, I've heard I'm not the
    ONLY one that AT&T has done this to.

    It goes back to the joke (which is sad, but true) of the word
    "SERVICE". It USED to mean something...such as Customer Service,
    Postal Service, Internal Revenue Service, Amateur Radio Service
    (some areas of HF are like a glorified Citizens Band), etc.

    Well, I heard 2 farmers talking the other day, and one said
    "He had to get a bull to SERVICE his cows". BINGO!! The light
    came on!!

    It's like the QWK Tagline: "Borg Burgers. We do it our way. Your
    way is irrelevant".

    Indeed, when I used to go into the grocery stores, they'd want
    me to go to self checkout instead of using a human cashier. I
    growled "I don't work here...you can either take care of me, or
    I'll take my business elsewhere". Now, I just go online to order
    my needed groceries, and pay a delivery fee...the delivery cost
    is equivalent to the money I would spend on gas for the car,
    driving to and from the store, plus trying to get a good parking
    place...never mind walking through the store trying to find wanted
    items (if what I wanted wasn't there, I had wasted a trip). They
    bring it to my porch, and I just bring the bags of stuff inside.

    I've also seen it at the State Revenue Offices. Now, I have to go
    there in person to renew the Drivers License (mine has the "Real ID"
    with it), or pay sales tax on a vehicle. However, for renewing the
    car tags, I can do that online. And, with the personal property tax
    assessment, I do that over the phone. I go to the Post Office Box
    no more than twice a week (I had to get that, as scoundrels were
    stealing stuff out of my mailbox, and off my front porch). It comes
    up for renewal next month, but I may renew it just for 6 months
    instead of a year, to save a few shekels.

    But, back to the Revenue Office, and most other businesses, two
    sayings come to mind, which seems to be their work ethic at so many
    places nowadays.

    1) We shall do no work before it's nine. They want to work from 12
    to 1, take an hour off for lunch, and get a full check.

    2) People who don't believe the dead come back to life, should be
    here at quitting time. I've seen that myself, as once the doors
    got locked, everyone inside the office HAD to be served BEFORE the
    employees could go home...and now, they were on THEIR OWN TIME,
    and NOT getting paid for it.

    Now, with the government paying people MORE to stay home, than go
    to work, it's no wonder that employers are having an impossible time
    trying to get workers. One Burger King restaurant in Nebraska had
    such bad working conditions, and was so understaffed, that on the
    sign outside were the words "WE QUIT!! SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE!!".
    The photo went viral in short order.

    pc. Yes - lots of things besides BBSing and Ham Radio.

    Yet, some would consider that heresy. :P

    I saw a T-shirt awhile back that noted "I don't need Google. My wife knows everything". Talk about a personal search engine. <G>

    That's cute.

    Having worked in silkscreen printing for nearly 20 years, before I
    resigned (basically retired on disability), I saw a bunch of cute
    shirts...such as:

    1) An ocelot, who looked like he had been sucking on tart, sour, bitter persimmons. The caption was "I have PMS and a handgun. Any Questions??".
    A woman I square danced with years ago told me "I Want That Shirt!!"
    (hi hi).

    2) One doesn't get older, one gets better. And, I'm approaching
    magnificent!! (Sounds like Instagram, the ultimate low in self and

    Todd Stranberg, who does the raptureready.com Bible Prophecy website,
    noted this in his July 26, 2021 "Nearing Midnight" commentary. I don't
    use Instagram, and only am on Facebook for the ham radio groups that
    I'm part of, and use it for a checkin option for various traffic nets;
    as some folks can't get to a rig for the net, but they still want to be
    noted as "a bean for the count".

    Right before my Mom died, I was getting slammed with private messages
    to "Like, Share, and View This". I finally said "Enough Is Enough", and promptly UNFRIENDED EVERYONE. Now, those that I originally "friended"
    can still send a private message, but I have no Facebook friends, per
    se, anymore...never mind I do not make or accept Friend Requests. There
    has to be a compelling reason for me to accept an incoming message.

    Thanks for tolerating me.

    Hmmm, reading that makes me think about a sign I saw that said:

    "All Fishermen are liars, except You and Me. And I'm not so sure
    about You."

    There was another shirt or sign (I can't remember which) that noted
    about a certain topic between one person and another (the wearer of
    the shirt, and others). But, it noted "Today isn't your day...and
    tomorrow isn't looking good, either". :P

    Daryl, WX4QZ

    ... "Oh, Bother!!" said Pooh, when he discovered that his desired tagline woul === MultiMail/Win v0.52
    --- SBBSecho 3.14-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (618:250/33)