17 February 2012

Playin' Hookey

The SandCastle Son had a nothing day at school today  (A day long assembly, no actual schoolwork occurred).  Coincidentally the Yuma Hamfest started today.  It was a gorgeous day:

So I took the day off and we flew on down to Yuma, AZ.  According to mapquest, the fest site is across the street from the airport and the FBO we fly into is on the north side.  Looks an easy walk.  Unfortunately many moons have passed since visiting Yuma and that FBO I used to visit has closed. Now the only general aviation parking is on the west side.  I was also concerned at the "Million Aire" name on the side as they cater to jets and have a reputation for expensive parking rates and/or extortive fuel prices for merely putting a tire on their ramp.

I couldn't have been more wrong and I'm happy to admit it. They let us park a few hours for free and even offered up a lift to the 'fest.  I bought some gas at the self serve pumps before departing and the price was right on average price here in the area.  I was wrong and I admit it.

The Yuma airport is shared with the USMC and as previously mentioned the 'fest is across the street.  They apparently do a lot of Harrier training here as the jet noise (AKA, The sound of freedom) was a frequent visitor.

The fest had a plethora of vendors.  I picked up a nice assortment of small connectors and stuff.  I was looking for a 1:1 balun to put up an HF dipole but
came up empty.  Looking at what I brought home, I'm thinking I should have bought 2x of each!

My big score was a PS2 to USB keyboard & mouse adapter for $4.  Most of these are simple passive pin converters and depend on the MCU inside the keyboard to detect which connector is active and switch to the appropriate mode.  The keyboard I have in mind, and old Microsoft ergonomic split keyboard, pre-dates USB.  I need an active device that will enumerate itself as a keyboard and convert the PS-2 key codes.  Four bucks is a steal!  (and I'm using it tonight!)

A couple engravers were there and I probably should have picked up some name tags.  The SCSon liked this one:
Can't say I disagree..

Once we figured we'd seen was there was to see, we started to head out.  I was about to call on the talk in repeater to see if anyone could give us a lift.  But I overheard a nearby conversation that included the words "Well I guess I'm done I guess I'll head out."  I introduced us and imposed for a ride.

He agreed, a little reluctantly which I thought was a little odd.  I've found NRA and amateur radio folks about the nicest and most helpful folk you could ever meet.  Turns out he was more concerned with the seating arrangements.  He drives a pickup with two bucket seats meaning one would have to ride in the bed.  We had a nice conversation back to the airport. 

It was a beautiful day and well spent a little out of the ordinary.  These are the kind of days I hate to be locked in a cubicle so I was happy to be out with the SCSon.  These are also the days he will remember forever!  It also frees up Saturday for some of the other things that looked interesting.  The hometown is hosting a tech-fest Saturday or something as part of the Arizona Centennial.  Also the SCQueen reports the ABC group (Arizona Bloggers Conservative) and getting together Saturday as well.

Some times you just need to play Hookey.  Or as we call it, take a Mental Health day.

(Photos by the SandCastle Son, Copyright 2012.)

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