Category Archives: Family

The second best Christmas present

My wife and I were at the Mayo Clinic this past week for some doctor appointments and the third round of chemotherapy. The first appointment of the week was a PET scan. The external indicators plus lab work indicated that things were progressing in the right direction but the doctors (and my wife and I) wanted the internal view.

Tuesday afternoon we got the results from the PET scan and it is all clear. The areas of concern from the scan prior to treatment are all gone. The doctors call it complete metabolic remission. (Dark areas except the brain and kidneys were areas of cancer.)

PET scan

Obviously we are overjoyed at this result. We had hoped and prayed to hear this after the sixth round of treatment. To hear it after only two rounds is the second best Christmas present of all.

Dawn and I

We need to finish up the rest of the chemotherapy to be sure that everything is gone in order to decrease the risk of it returning as there is a 40-50% chance of it doing so.

So what’s the best Christmas present of all? The Reason for the Season.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly therewas with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2: 8-14

We have much to be thankful for this Christmas. More than any Christmas past.

May your Christmas season be filled with joy in the Reason for the Season.



Little did I know that this post:

that I made just before Christmas last year in which I mentioned having a cold was the beginning of a heath roller coaster that has lasted all year. After countless doctor visits to all manner of specialists, tests on gallons of blood, multiple x-rays and various scans, multiple biopsies, and multiple hospitalizations, culminating in the last 12 days in the hospital at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN I now have a diagnosis. I have a rare form of lymphoma called T-cell Lymphoma. I started chemotherapy this past Wednesday at Mayo. My wife and I arrived home last night. (Mayo is thankfully only a 4.5 hour drive from our home.)

While it’s certainly not what we would have chosen it’s apparently part of the plan. We don’t believe anything happens by accident. There’s a purpose in this though we may not fully understand it. I don’t say this as a coping mechanism. It all is of a piece for me. If we’re floating about on this wonderful blue marble, unique in all the universe, and that wasn’t an accident then our existence and all that it entails isn’t an accident either. The Lord wasn’t surprised by the pathology report. He has something in this for me and we’ll walk in faith through it blessing others in a very difficult situation though I suspect there will be times ahead when he may have to carry me.

The care at Mayo was well beyond fantastic. Every single person there from top to bottom was wonderful. The medical personnel were clearly very good at what they do, had done their homework on the pile of information from the preceding months, intently listened to our responses to their questions as well as to our questions and concerns, and most of all showed a very genuine interest in caring for me and solving this problem. My wife and I cannot say enough good about the care that I received. Every day there were multiple visits from both individual doctors as well as the team of specialists assigned to me. Everyone was interacting and the teams all knew each other on a first name basis which made for the perfect method in which to solve a difficult case like mine which had thus far stumped all local doctors.

I have a long and likely difficult road ahead. The good news is that the doctors at Mayo have seen this cancer before in patients with circumstances similar to mine. They have a plan that they are running and will be monitoring along the way to determine if changes are required to achieve the desired goal of remission. Additionally and equally important, I have a most wonderful wife that has been my constant companion for over 35 years, three wonderful kids, and a host of family and friends that are helping with their hands and with their thoughts and prayers. I’m not going through this alone. Any thoughts and prayers you wish to add to the pile would be most appreciated.

As you can well imagine situations like this have a tendency to focus one’s thoughts. You start to consider more things in the light of eternity and frankly find some things wanting.

As I am able I intend to keep plugging along in this wonderful hobby. It certainly provides a nice distraction from thinking about all manner of negative things and will keep my mind sharp. If there are periods of quiet it’s most likely that I’m having a bit of a rough spot. I plan to keep writing as I am able. This is all new to me so I’m not sure what to expect. I made it to 55 years without ever being in the hospital a day of my life except the day of my birth.

Thanks for reading my posts over the years and for the comments and camaraderie that has developed. It’s all part of this wonderful hobby.


KWM-2 meets TS-590SG

My uncle (actually great uncle) Paul, W9SIZ brought his Collins KWM-2 to my station to try it on my Hustler 4-BTV. He lives in the small town in which I grew up and has used wire antennas on his city lot for many years. He’s 91 years old and has had the KWM-2 station since sometime in the early 60’s. He operates everyday (mostly CW) and is interested in potentially adding a 4-BTV to his station.



We set the two rigs side-by-side and did a bunch of A\B testing with the 4-BTV (and my Cobra UltraLite Senior wire antenna) between the two radios. It was very interesting to hear two radios that are well regarded, though separated in time, operating together.

KWM-2 meets TS-590SG

KWM-2 meets TS-590SG

This was not a highly scientific test. No Sherwood Engineering was involved. What was interesting is that in all but a few cases the Collins could hear about as well as the Kenwood, again no science involved. The Kenwood heard weaker stations consistently better for the most part but that’s not all that surprising as the Collins is 57 years old. Does the Kenwood have more features? Obviously yes, but the Collins stayed with it to large extent in normal operating conditions. One thing that the Collins has that the Kenwood doesn’t is this:

The warm glow of valves

The warm glow of valves

W9SIZ was happy with the test and is more seriously thinking about adding the 4-BTV. He thought his old Collins was hearing better than on his wire antennas at home (given band conditions) and his ears are pretty well calibrated after operating for over 70 years. (Note: the case is off the KWM-2 as he just replaced some capacitors in the power supply and decided to bring it over without the case.)

When we were done with the testing we made a trip to HRO Milwaukee. W9SIZ hasn’t been there since they opened. We’ve made many trips together to AES in the past and this was our first trip to HRO together.



Greeting us as we walked in was Paul. W9KHO. The two Paul’s greeted each other as they’ve known each other for a very long time. It’s my understanding that W9KHO has been at AES and now HRO for 49 years. W9SIZ was impressed with the new store and is glad that we still have an Amateur Radio shop in our area. He was tempted by some of the new rigs but he’s been a Collins man for a very long time and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

What did we conclude? Not a lot. It’s better to have more antenna options rather than less and a well-functioning radio is better than no radio at all regardless of its age. I don’t think we can say anything more firm than that. It was simply a fun thing to do with my great uncle and two nice radios and that’s what Amateur Radio is all about.


Three Eagle Scouts

My youngest son Ben was awarded his Eagle Scout rank at his court of honor this past weekend. Both my sons and I are all Eagle Scouts. I’m proud of my sons.

Dominic, Tim, Ben

Dominic, Tim, Ben