The Amateur Amateur: Beyond the 24th Hour

By Gary Ross Hoffman, KB0H
March 2022

UTC clock
What if we could go beyond 24 hours?

We all know that there are only 24 hours in a day. And many of us complain, “There aren't enough hours in a day!” Well, being a science-fiction buff (and a little weird), I started wondering just how I would use those extra hours if I could obtain them somehow.

Here is what I came up with.

Hours 25 – 30: More sleep

Hour 31: Try to come up with more ideas for this column.

Hour 32: A quick nap

Hour 33: Make an effort to clean up my shack.

Hour 34: Read something I found in my shack during the cleanup.

Hour 35: Rearrange things on the floor of my shack, but not really clean it up.

Hour 36: Another quick nap

Hour 37: Make yet another attempt to read one of the many books I have on how radios and antennas actually function.

Hour 37 plus 1 minute: I wonder if a power drink would restart my brain?

Hour 37 plus 5 minutes: I'm hungry. Think I'll raid the refrigerator.

Hour 38: Think about new “Tip of the Week” entries for our ARES website. So far all I have is “Eat more snacks”. Doesn't really work.

Hour 39: Peruse the 104 change requests for the ARES website. None of them look easy, so I'll look at them again later.

Mess on shack floor
Shack floor storage

Hour 40: See if I can figure out why transmitting on my Yeasu FT-897D HF rig causes screeching noises on every speaker in the house and crashes my main computer.

Hour 42: No luck. Is it time for another nap?

Hour 43: I don't seem to have been very productive during my extra hours so far. Spend a few minutes pondering that.

Hour 43 plus 5 minutes: No idea. Time to move on.

Hour 44 plus 10 minutes: Mmmmmmm, I want that!

Hour 44 plus 20 minutes: I want that too!

Hour 44 plus 30 minutes: Okay, I can't actually use any of the 76 advertized items I tagged in the magazines, so I'd better do something else. I wonder if my HF rig has fixed itself?

Hour 44 plus 35 minutes: Nope.

Hour 45: Discovered that my home-based APRS station hasn't been transmitting for six months. Got it up and running again.

Hour 46: Sent myself a message from my Winlink Express client station to my Winlink Remote Mail Server. Yep, that works. It was a pointless exercise, but it did work.

Hour 47: Checked the list of ARES website requests again. It's up to 166. I should probably start working on some of them. I'll begin with the easier ones.

Shack floor storage, unchanged
Shack floor storage, unchanged

Hour 48: Not as easy as I thought they would be. Postpone until later.

Hour 49: Decided to take a break and watch TV. It's 87% commercials and they are all repetitive and full of lies and deceptions. (U.S. Consumer Protection Agency, have you no shame!?) I'm tired of Flo, hate the emu, and am even turning sour on the gecko. And if I see the blurb for the “M1-A1 Abrahms main battle tank” one more time, my head will explode.

Hour 50: Made another pass through the floor-storage in my shack. Threw away one obsolete document. Hey, progress!

Hour 51: It occurs to me that I should check the grounding on my HF rig. I'll do that after I take a quick nap.

Hour 57: Mmmmmmm, that was a nice nap. Time for a snack?

Hour 58: Mmmmmmn, that was a nice snack. Time for a quick nap?

Hour 58 plus one minute: No, wait. I just had a nap. I must do something productive! Maybe I should make a list.

Hour 58 plus 30 minutes: Well, this is depressing. I found about forty to-do lists scattered about the house. Writing lists appears to be the one thing I can do really well.

Hour 60: I decide to drag out an electronics kit and build something. I don't even care what it is, it will be a learning experience. I clear a space on my workbench, blow the dust off of the box containing the kit, and open it up. I stare at the contents.

My brain seizes up.

It's as if I'm looking into an alien universe where all the laws of physics are different. I can't seem to comprehend anything I'm looking at.

Yaesu FT-897
Household disruptor device, my Yaesu FT-897D

I quickly close the box and put it away. Why can't I learn electronics!? What mental block allows me to grasp chaos theory, time dilation, computer languages and so forth, but prevents me from comprehending a simple circuit diagram? One of the mysteries of the universe, I guess.

Hour 61: I play solitaire on my computer for an hour and let my brain sleep.

Hour 62: I go back down to the shack and discover that no friendly fairies have fixed my HF rig, nor cleaned up the mess on the floor. I scrounge around for a while and discover a few more out-of-date documents that I can do without.

I discover that Microsoft has arbitrarily rebooted the computer in my shack, so I have to restart my APRS station, my home weather station, and my Winlink RMS. Linux is looking better and better.

Hour 63: Okay, I finally admit it. Having a whole bunch of extra hours in the day did not improve my productivity. All I succeeded in doing was putting on a few extra pounds.

I'm ready to go back to a normal 24 hour day.

Right after I take a quick nap.

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