Friday, June 15, 2012 — Day 21
I left George’s this morning and headed to Washington, DC. Yes, George and I were there yesterday, but he was driving, and I wanted to be able to say that I had driven there as well. Plus I needed to try to get a contact in the log while in DC. I had a route mapped out, but I got a bit lost, so I pulled off the interstate. Luckily for me, I happened upon the perfect free SHADY! parking spot on the side of the road. Though I tweeted the frequency, the combination of poor propagation and the fact that a lot of my friends were at work instead of on the radio was making it difficult to make a contact. There was a local ham on 146.52, so I tried to work him. Unfortunately he didn’t let go of the PTT (“push to talk” button”) for 6 or 7 minutes at a time. I couldn’t hear the other side of his QSO, but it lasted just as long. In a hurry to get back on the road and out of DC, I called my dad for a sked. He got on the air and was able to work me, so I got a QSO from DC in my log. Thanks, Dad! Then I was able to head out of DC and into Maryland.
I’d been looking forward to this day for quite a while. I headed up to Fort Meade, MD, to the NSA to visit the National Cryptologic Museum. I’ve loved codes since I was a kid, and last year’s number theory course just reinforced that. One of my Tweeps had suggested pretty early on in my planning for this trip that I stop at this museum, and I’m so glad I did. I spent several hours there, but I could easily go back and spend another whole day at some point.
One of the things I was most interested in seeing at the museum was the Enigma machine. To my surprise, they didn’t just have a display about the Enigma, but they had two working Enigmas there for everybody to play with.
There’s so much more I want to share from the museum, but it’s enough to fill an entire blog of its own instead of just one entry here. I highly recommend going to see the museum if you’re anywhere close to Fort Meade, or even if you’re not.
There is one more thing I saw at the museum that I can’t neglect to show you. These are pieces of the Berlin Wall.
I had hoped to make it back down to Virginia for a cookout with some of the guys I’ll be meeting up with tomorrow at W3LPL’s, but the timing just didn’t work out. I stayed in Maryland about 30 minutes away from W3LPL’s so I can head straight there tomorrow.
Trip totals as of Day 21:
- Miles driven: 2900 (exactly)
- States**: 14
- Logged QSOs: 54
- Ounces of good decaf: 204
- Ounces of bad decaf: 40
- Tow trucks required: 1
- Big metal chickens: 5
- Terra cotta pigs: 0
- Number of times I’ve heard “Somebodeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee That I Used To Know” by Gotye: 37
** “States” now includes states and the District of Columbia
73 de NR4CB, Connie