First, I had to figure out a way to hang up the J-pole antenna. Hanging it from the blinds didn't seem to make the blinds very happy and the stick-on hook that I put on the top of the window frame detached itself. I have a 6-foot high bookshelf, though, so I strapped a poster tube to the top with string and left the end sticking out over the edge. I clipped the antenna to that and it hung down nicely. It's a temporary solution until I can get some nice ceiling hooks or something.
Second, I had to check and see whether the Bencher paddle would work with my FT-817ND. I had to plug the key in with the 1/4-inch to 3.5-mm plug adapter that my father so graciously found for me. Next, I had to set the rig to make the sound of the CW off-the-air. I'm still not set up for transmitting, so I had to be careful that I changed that particular menu setting. The 817ND has two series of menus - the first one is the quick menu that comes up if you hit the Function button momentarily. The second menu comes up if you hold the Function button in for a second and includes a ton of other stuff (like screen color - mine is set to violet since the text is easiest to read on pale violet). I had to go into this complex menu to set the speed that I wanted the internal keyer to send the code. The keyer takes the input from the key (for example, me pressing and holding the "dit" paddle) and translates that to a series of "dit" tones at the speed I programmed into the menu. Once I adjusted the speed, I had to make sure that I actually had the keyer activated. I was slightly confused because the keyer option and the on/off-the-air option were in the same menu screen, so I had to make sure that the one was off and the other was on. With everything set, I tapped the paddle and watched the indicator light. It continued shining green, which meant that I was not transmitting (red light means I am transmitting). Whew! The tone of the code that came from the headphones was really nice. I wanted to practice all night, but I had to grab a 5-minute dinner from the freezer and then work on that 1000+ line spreadsheet for work.
I took a break from 8-9pm for the Tuesday Montgomery County EmComm net. It was the first time I checked in to that before and it went well. I learned all about how to store, treat, and conserve water in an emergency. It was quite informative. Today I get a break from work in DC for an Emergency Preparedness Training session at Library of Congress. Since LoC has a great Emergency Preparedness department, I asked my supervisor if I could take advantage of one of the classes while I was working there. He agreed that it would be ok and I signed up for a course called "Psychological First Aid." It looks like it will be quite informative and I am looking forward to it.
I need to use the rest of the evenings this week to catch up on work because it looks like this weekend Bill NG3K may come by to help complete the wire antenna and get me on the HF bands. I can't wait! He's been making some really interesting international contacts the past two weeks and it's made me more eager than ever to start talking to some people. Before that, I need to practice...but I really won't mind that at all! :)