6/27 Paella beat Vodka!!!(Mega Blog)
Another day, another victory! Spain beat (destroyed) Russia yesterday 3-0. The first half was a pretty evenly match but in the second Spain played near perfectly. They couldn't do anything wrong. Russia on the other hand could not catch a break at all. What a game. Spain is now in the finals against Germany this sunday. Everyone is very nervous because Germany is the Yankees of Europe. The question is: Can Paella find one more win over the Brats?
Enough soccer news. I feel like it has been forever since i last wrote a post. I was in Finesterre (Fisterra if you are a Gallego) for the previous 3 days. Finesterre is located in the NW corner of Spain, about 7-8 hours away from Madrid. Finesterre comes from the words fin de la tierra, "End of the world". For the Europeans in century's past, it was in fact the end of the world. Today, Finesterre is no more than a fishing village and a tourist attraction. However, due to weather that would make Seattle seem sunny, it does not attract vacationers. The main visitors are people who have partaken in a pilgrimage. There is a very common route that begins in France and ends in Finesterre. Once the pilgrims arrive they burn all of their clothes and shoes, to signify a new beginning.
My pilgrimage from Madrid to Finesterre with Angel and Vicente was equally enlightening. We set out with a single mission. We have 3 days to fix a Codar station, or else! When we arrived we checked out its vitals. Here is are some images of their setup...
Anyway, thanks to the many trips i took to Sandy Hook, Tuckerton, and Moriches with Bob, i was not a complete waste of space. I helped Angel with the manual work on the system, while Vicente monitored it's status. After what seemed like a million tests, we narrowed the problem down to a single wire. The rack with all of the computer equipment is located inside the lighthouse on the second floor. Obviously the antennas are outside.
We needed to get a new cable from upstairs to outside and not break anything. The old setup at Finesterre had a cable running from the receive antenna into the building through pipes under the concrete patio. From there it ran inside under the floor to a lightning protector. From there it ran up the wall across the ceiling up another wall then into the rack. We replaced all the afore mentioned. As long as i am thanking people for their help, I would like to thank my Pop for teaching me how to fish cable through walls, as it came in very handy. When it was all said and done we replaced the 2 old wires and connections with a spanking new cable and installed a brand new lightning protector in the rack itself. Now everything is in one place and we don't have to look in a bunch of places to find a problem. Now if something does go wrong, it will be very easy to find it. Probably the highlight of this whole experience was when Angel taught me how to splice cables and re attach the connectors. He is very skilled at running and preparing cables of every type. From stripping the wire, to crimping the hardware, to soldering a connection, he showed me how to do it all. I can say that the whole experience was very satisfying. We also installed an new GPS setup on the roof of the lighthouse. Nothing like using a giant 2 handed impact drill, using masonry bits, to install a GPS on the chimney of a building. I like working with my hands, and at the end of the trip we had a finished working product. Books can only teach you so much, you need to get your hands dirty every once and while.
Another cool thing that we did was do a pattern run. While Angel and Vicente stayed on land i went out into the water with Moncho, our local boat captain. Our goal in the boat was to run a relatively even 1.5 km radius around the Codar antenna. We needed to do this to help calibrate the system. Here is Moncho...
His brand: Chesterfields. Moncho is a local in Fisterra. He speaks mainly Gallego, some Castillian (standard) Spanish. He is a salty dog. Talk about a rough, seafaring, chain smoking, knife weilding, bilge pump operating, anti-GPS, old school captain. Many times he looked at the GPS unit i brought along and with a look of disgust, put it straight back on to the deck. If anyone knows the waters of Finesterre, its Moncho! At one point i asked how deep the water was, and he responded with in 3 meters of the actual measured depth. Oh yeah the water is 95 meters deep at only 1km away from the lighthouse. When we got out of the bay, the ocean was not calm. With seas at about 2 meters, the ride was a bit wet. However, Moncho assured me that this was nothing. He goes out fishing as long as the waves are less than 8 meters. I think he is a little loco.
Here was the hard part about the boat ride. We communicated via walkie talkie to Angel and Vicente on the boat. Now, let me tell you, my Spanish is not what you would call perfect. In fact even in ideal conditions i am only catching about 75-80% of the conversation. Over the walky talky, with an engine roaring, on the sea, trying to relay a message to a guy who speaks mainly Gallego: IMPOSSIBLE! I might as well have been in China. Walkie-talkies are terrible. Everything sounds gargled and distorted. Every time we needed to communicate we had to stop the boat an i passed the walkies to Moncho. This is by no means ideal conditions to do a pattern run. In the end we got the info we needed and it turned out not to be so bad. What an experience.
Everything about the installation and boat portion of the trip did go very well. The food was even better. In Galicia, they like their food. HUGE portions. My style. I ate enough seafood to last me at least till lunch time. I think i could always go for more seafood though. Everything is very fresh, and clean.
Here we all are, myself, Vicente and Angel. Finesterre is a beautiful place when the weather is nice. However it usually is extremely windy and rainy. We got luck for the few days we were there and got some nice weather.
This weekend i am taking a SCUBA course in the very south of Spain. Should be fun
Next week, starting Monday at 730 am, i am leaving for Barcleona to set up a Codar station from scratch. Now there is nothing, Next Friday they will have a working Codar site. I am looking forward to it. I will also be spending the weekend with Javi, climbing at Mont Serrat. Equally exciting. who am I kidding, more exciting.
Thats about it. Same as last week, i don't know what my internet situation will be like for the next little bit. Hopefully i can unwind each day and write a little post, or else ill have to wait until i get back and write another mega-rant like this one. Thanks for reading and if you are interested i have my entire foto album at this link....There are a few more pics of Moncho. haha
TTYL everyone and have a great weekend! ---- Evan