3,000 miles, six days, one exam and enough fog to last a lifetime ….. Yes, the last run of 2015 to the UK and back is over! The return bought with it oodles of goodies and an unwanted guest, the dreaded UK winter cold that then turns into bronchitis, oh what fun.
After getting back and between snuffling, shivering and coughing up gunk thick enough to glue shelves up with I managed to give the new Capo Rally-Raid frame a damn good de-grease and inspection. It all looks good and other than the usual wear and tear befitting a 12 year old part (in UK weather!) it’ll be a fine starting point for the bikes rebuild. It also gave me the opportunity to look at the differences between the standard and Rally-Raid frames. Does it really justify a new part number just because of a fresh run of serial numbers? Or is the difference more involved?
In fact it turns out the Raid frame is quite different. All the modifications are around the swing-arm pivot points and cross brace/suspension mount. Five reinforcement plates in all …. Making the difference in frame prices work out at roughly £50 per modification! Mind you, that’s chicken feed when compared to the list price – £3,193 (Std) / £3,440 (R-Raid)! 😯
Oh and the exam ….. Well I took the Advanced (full) Amateur Radio Licence – the last of the three levels in the UK. Thankfully the head-cold wasn’t an issue, it would be a further 12hrs before that little puppy made itself known. So six months of preparation and study boiled down to two hours of pen-pushing on a Monday evening. FACT – did you know tummy-rumbling is catching, just like yawning … I know, I was there! 😳 Anyway, did I do all that studying justice? Is it an early Christmas present or a can of Gold Label and a cry behind the bike sheds ……..
…….. well say helloooo to the new full licence callsign:
Unfortunately ‘ETV’ had gone, but to stick with the bike theme I chose my old Kawasaki ZRX1200 Eddie Lawson rep instead! Next stop – let’s see if the Italians will give me a reciprocal licence as well, it would be very kind of them! 😀
Yes ….. RSGB (Radio Society of Great Britain) docs hit the door mat in the UK, a quick phone call and then onto the Ofcom website for a new call sign. A quick rummage around for a vanity number (free) and hey-diddly-ho I manage to get:
Now if I can only pull of the same stunt with the Advanced qualification in a few months time! 😀
The Capo and I just returned from the last UK-Italy round trip for this year … as seems the norm, the trip was uneventful and the Capo ran fantastic as always. Just before I left the UK, she had a new MOT – no advisories and good for another 12 months. 48hrs later, she rolled into the barn with the odometer reading 80,892 miles and 37c on the air temp gauge – hot, hot, hot!
The fish-tank line used to temporarily fix the vacuum hose just before I left for the UK worked fine and is still in place as I write ….. the new silicone lines are stuffed away in a box somewhere …. I guess they’ll stay there until winter now!
The highlight of this trip was visiting LEFARS (Loughton and Epping Forest Amateur Radio Society) once again. This time to take the RSGB Amateur Radio Intermediate practical assessment and exam. I had a great day, a mixture of learning, testing and having a good laugh in a relaxed atmosphere all leading to an exam pass and a new call sign next week. Goodbye M6FMZ, hello 2E0??? ……. maybe I can get ETV this time!
Now I can concentrate on the distance-learning course I started in June for the final (Advanced) licence. No more practical assessments, just a 2 hour exam to be sat in December, if everything goes to plan!
On a different note I have to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Andy (Beasthonda) and his employer ABSL Space Products. It seems they decided to give away a bunch of perfectly serviceable bench power supplies they were replacing, rather than scrap them. Andy thought of me and now I have a very nice twin – Thurlby 30V-2A PL320. It’s absolutely fantastic and ideal for the stuff I’m doing with Arduino/sensors and development boards. Andy I owe you a nice cold beer …… ABSL I’ll definitely come to you when I launch my first satellite!
And finally back to the Capo. Well she’ll have a couple of months of light use then a partial strip ready to take a bunch of brackets, plates and tube-work back to the UK for powder coating. Then over winter, for the first time ever, a major tear-down of the steering/rear suspension and quite likely a complete replacement of all the Earth (ground) lines as well. I might even get around to doing the fuel tank lining with Caswells when I replace the fuel filter …… very messy but in the face of the dreaded E10 fuel – neccessary.
The Capo and I touched down back at home a few days ago with the odometer just over 77,750 miles …. a whizz around the block and we might have made a photo-op 77,777 but I was simply too knackered to bother! Capo ran strong and solid as always, so no news on that front. Anakee 3’s are wearing very well (3,050 miles in three weeks) and are certainly a nice change from running around on knobbly tyres …. it’s rumoured I even let (what remains) of my hair down and had a little play while in the UK.
Now We’ve got a few weeks before we do it all over again – time enough for a scrub up and check over, but frankly the way the Capo is running I could load up and leave right now with no worries. Which is great as I need a bit of time to do some revision ……
….. for my next Amateur Radio exam! Yes, while in the UK I went along to a fantastic weekend organised by LEFARS (Loughton and Epping Forrest Amateur Radio Society) where I sat the RCE Foundation Licence exam – and passed! 😀 I have to say a huge thank you to all concerned for their time and dedication and for making the weekend a real enjoyment. So now I have the call-sign of M6FMZ and hopefully, if all goes well I’ll move on up to the Intermediate licence before the end of July (exam booked!) and maybe ….. just maybe mind ….. I might even get the full (Advanced) licence under my belt before Christmas, that would make a fantastic end to the year!
I searched high and low for a course closer to Oxford and unfortunately drew a blank until the back-end of the year, while LEFARS could squeeze me in on their May course – LEFARS it was then! The round trip from Oxford was about 130 miles(ish) and mostly motorways – so pretty quick. In the end I’m so glad I chose them, excellent venue/parking, tuition and most importantly – a good brew and well stocked biscuit tin! 😀 If a personal recommendation means anything, then mine says consider LEFARS if your thinking of taking up amateur radio. I’m damn glad I did.
New toy perhaps? Hmmm……..