An oxymoron you say? It does sound like it but it’s entirely possible and one (probably more) already exists in the world, I’m sure. I’m talking in riddles? I don’t think so but I know what the subject matter is. Just continue on…
After DD and I had our weekly visit on Sunday(via Magic Jack this time), merm decided he would change my router settings so any bandwidth usage wouldn’t cause Jack to cut out. He had been transferring a video to me while DD and I were talking and it made me sound like I was on a cell phone. Long story short, I wasn’t watching what he was doing. He unchecked a box that disconnected everything. After a couple of hours of unsuccessfully trying to get back online, I drove to the edge of the mountain where I could get a signal on my cell phone and called for instructions. Got them. Drove back home. Implemented them. Got back online and discovered merm had been rattled by my disappearance. It’s kinda nice he was worried about me.
That started something, though. It wasn’t the end. He hadn’t realized I didn’t have a land line any more until that outage happened. Then DD told him the Magic Jack was my phone and without my Internet connection, I didn’t have any way to communicate from home. I assured him I would try to take care of the situation.
When I dispensed with my Ma Bell phone, the rep helping me asked about wireless. I told her I have a prepaid T-Mobile cell phone that (now) costs me about $10 a year because I never use it. I’ll take that back. I might use it once a month, if then. I’m just not a phone person. I’m on the phone off and on all day at work and some days I feel I should have the receiver surgically removed from my ear. Back to the cell phone. I told the nice lady I pay 10 cent minutes and she said I could do the same with AT&T. (AT&T and Ma Bell are one and the same now.) That started me thinking. Hmmmmmmmm. Wonder if I would have coverage at home because my T-M won’t get a signal here.
My investigation turned up the fact that, while not in an “excellent” area, I was in the “good” one for AT&T. I sat me down and ordered the bottom of the line Nokia. I also went for 25 cents a minute because the 10 cents a minute plan has a charge of $1 for each day it’s used. I hadn’t read the whole page about the minutes and how they are charged. Shouldn’t do that! Should’ve read every word.
There was a little chart I failed to see. The least number of minutes a person can buy is $15 worth. That will last 30 days then they disappear. Next comes $25. That expires in 90 days. They go up in increments from there to $100 at one whack that will last 365 days. I didn’t know that until I had the phone in hand.
It came by second day air, shipping was free. UPS had put it inside my storm door yesterday. I put it together and plugged it up to charge overnight. This morning, I tried calling to activate it. No signal. I opened the front door and crouched down where there was only screen and no glass. I was able to get a signal then but as soon as I stood up and started back into the living room, it was gone. There was coverage in my bathroom but who wants to stay in the bathroom to use the phone?
The revelation of the cost/expiration of the minutes sealed the deal. The phone is going back. I chatted with an online rep who gave me a phone number to call about whether or not I’d need an RA number.
People are mystified as to why someone who is as semi-technologically savvy as I am doesn’t want a cell phone. I have NEVER wanted one. They hold no charms for me. I’d like to have an Ipod Touch but not a cell phone. One of my pet peeves is to be driving along and meet someone behind the wheel with a phone glued to their ear. Pull off and park, already! Don’t jeopardize my life!
When I told merm the phone didn’t have the kind of coverage I’d need after all, he suggested I could get a ham radio. I knew I’d have to be licensed but he said that’s no problem. It doesn’t cost much and just involves taking a test and I’d be ready to go. Well, not quite. I asked him to ballpark the cost of the radio and he said I could probably get one for $50-100. That’s more than I paid for the phone but it would be a one-time expense and that would be that.
One of the men from the church is heavy into ham radio so I called him today and asked him to direct me. He said he’d send me a link to the database of questions. I don’t have it yet so I Googled it myself. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there but a few things are pretty much certain.
- The three license levels are Technician Class, General Class and Amateur Extra Class.
- The Technician Class license doesn’t require learning Morse Code.
- Another site says none of the classes require learning Morse Code.
- There are places on the WWW that will teach you Morse Code (if you really want to learn it) with audio files and charts.
- You can get free material to learn what you need to know.
- You can buy study guides and there’s even Ham Radio for Dummies.
- Classes are offered in some areas.
- There are two places within easy driving distance where I can take the exam.
- The fee for the exam is $7.
- The equipment is the biggest expense.
- Even though they don’t advertise themselves to the general population, there are clubs.
- It should be more reliable than depending on a land line since it wouldn’t be affected if the phone system was compromised.
So now you know. Someday soon I plan to be a raw vegan ham. radio. operator.