Don’t Buy your Call Sign, Register it.

by Steve Miller

Imagine the government actually doing something that made sense. I know, that’s a fantasy that most of us can’t even imagine. Nevertheless, it’s happened. The FCC has petitioned to drop the $21.40 fee for vanity call signs for amateur radio operators. Their logic is that it costs more to process the fee than the revenue it brings in.

When they raised the fee last September, I wondered why they didn’t make it an even twenty-five bucks. After all, it’s something of a luxury just like vanity license plates on your car. Nevertheless, if it costs more to collect money than the money youw6sdm plate collect, then it seems that collecting the money to start with shouldn’t happen. Does that make sense?

I love the vanity call sign program. When I first got licensed, what you got for a call sign is what you kept forever – unless you moved to a new call area. Then you had to give up the call that you loved (or loathed) for one you liked (or hated even worse). I know hams who got calls that were very cumbersome in CW or difficult to announce phonetically. “Too bad,” said Uncle Charley, “Unlike love, your call sign is forever.” Continue reading

Make Social Security Mean Something

by Steve Miller

Pope Francis said that a society that didn’t take care of its elderly has no future because it doesn’t have memories. The Pope is a nice guy but he got it wrong. A society that doesn’t take care of its elderly is immoral. It’s just as bad as a society that doesn’t take care of its children.

Look, we’re all going to get old if we live losenior parkingng enough. It would seem that there would be a personal incentive for everyone to make sure that seniors had it easy when they reach their later years. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about the basics – health care and an income enough to at least sustain you above the poverty line? Of course, some are going to be financially able to make it on their own without help from anyone else. Others, not so much.

There was a time when one could work for a company for a couple of decades and earn a pension that would sustain them through the rest of their lives. Not anymore. At best, you get a 401K that is vulnerable to the ups and downs of the stock market over which you have no control. How many times have we heard about 401K accounts losing much of their value in a down market? What about all the pension funds that fell victim to fraud, mismanagement, or corporate bankruptcy? Continue reading

Time on my Hands

by Steve Miller

I am now in a state of semi-retirement.  That means I am officially retired, carry an AARP card, and claim senior discounts whenever I can.  Nevertheless, I am still seeking gainful employment for a couple of reasons  First,  I am driving my wife nuts and she is returning the favor.  Second, I need the money.

I have enough projects around the property to keep my busy forever.  The only thing is that most of them cost money to complete.  And then there are the hobbies.  Ham radio will drain a wallet faster than the Army Corps of Engineers can drain a swamp.  As technology advances, so does the need for the gadgets to take advantage of it.

Now that I am in retirement, at least to some extent, I have time to do things like catch up on my blogging and update my web page.  Or, more like finish my web page.  I started the last one and never found the time to complete all of the links. You should notice a marked improvement.  All of the Lorem Ipsum placeholder text is gone.  You will have to admit, however, that the Latin did look kind of cool.