Monday, October 31, 2011

I've not updated my blog for a long-long time. Since my last posting, there are so many changes to my life that I want to share with everyone. I finally took the VSSS in the 1st quarter of 2010. I'm now semiretired and most of the time helping out with my wife's business. I'm also working on part-time basis for a friend's publishing company.

I've recently moved to my new place in Ara Hill, Ara Damansara. It's been 4 months now and I'm enjoying every bit of my time staying in this resort living villa. It's just perfect for me since I now spend most of my time at home. The only setback, there is no room to accommodate my shack and antennas are not allowed on the roof. So, I've no choice but to start disposing some of my HAM radio stuff.

I also took up road cycling and recently, tennis. I still go for dive trips at least 3 times a year and I finally obtained my NAUI Advance Scuba Diver certification. My son Najeeb has obtained his Dive Master Certification early this year while waiting for his SPM results. As for flying, not anymore since it is too costly to rent a plane. My eldest son Nazeem is now studying at the Malaysian Flying Academy in Melaka, pursuing his dream of becoming a professional pilot.

From now on, I shall try to update my blog on a regular basis. So stay tuned for my updates. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Antenna & Regulator

The Comet H-422 Rotary Dipole that I've ordered from Wan (9W2UN) finally arrived. Don't ask how much it cost because I'm not suppose to reveal the price to anyone. It looks like I won't have any money left for a new Yaesu FT950.
From what I've read in the eHam antenna review (, the performance is quite good on 20 and 40 meter band and it also caters for 10 and 15 meter bands.
I still can't find the time to assemble the antenna and with the heavy showers almost every evening, it is almost impossible to have it up on the roof during this monson season. This antenna is about 24 feet long in "V" position and I'll have it mounted on the exisiting rotator, about 20 feet above ground level. With the instruction manual in Japanese, it will take quite sometime to figure out the assembly. I think it will take me 2 hours to have it fully assembled. It doesn't look too complicated but the real headache is to have it up on the roof. Hope to be on 20 and 40 meter bands soon.
Last couple of weeks I have been busy shopping on eBay for used US Divers regulator parts. My plan is to have the same regulator setup that I had in 1992. I found bits and pieces of the regulator and it will take a while for me to have the complete set up rebuild and ready for my next dive. I've recently bought the SEA first stage and the SEA2 second stage, which are in very good condition and I'm now left with just the Data Pro Combo SPG and the SE2 octopus. I should be able to have the last two items in the next couple of days.
I'm surpised that the items are not that expensive on eBay, mostly from sellers in the States and the service parts are still available from the local Aqualung distributor, Planet Scuba in Bangsar. I'll post a picture of the complete setup once I have all the parts assembled and serviced. I hope to have the regulator ready for my next diving trip to Sipadan on the 27 December.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's Up?

I have not been updating my blog for quite sometime now. Four months to be exact and a lot of happenings during that period actually.

In August, I was hospitalized for six days due to a stone in the urinary tract and had to undergo surgery and missed my brother in law's wedding in Sandakan, Eid in October which fell on my wife's birthday, VSSS (voluntary selected separation scheme) announcement by my company in the same month. Tell me the difference between retrenchment and VSSS? They sure picked the right time to make such an announcement, right smacked after the Eid festival. I was not on the list though, who knows I could be next.
Soon after that, a diving trip to Tioman Island with my son Najeeb who also obtained his PADI Open Water Diving Certification, another surgery due to the same problem and was hospitalized for a day, a weekend trip in November to Jakarta and again, hopitalized for two days with another two rounds of surgery and a plastic stent placed in the urinary tract between my kidney and bladder. What could be more intersting that that? I think I have used up my medical insurance entitlement for the whole year!

Najeeb on the left and his dad with their first ever father and son underwater photo.

The young PADI Scuba Diver!

A school of ikan Sela Kuning in the background.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Tioman Diving Trip

Finally, I did my open water dive on 14 June 2008 after a lapse of 15 years. The trip was brought forward to the 14th June instead of the 20th. I did my refresher course at Pusat Akuatik Shah Alam a week before the trip.
When I unzipped my wornout dive bag for the refresher course at the Pusat Akuatik, everyone who saw my diving equipment knew that I had a collection of antiques in my dive bag. According to a friend who was amazed at my collection, the US Divers regulator that I sold off a couple of years ago is now a collectors item. What is left of this regulator is just the receipt for the purchase of a US Divers regulator from Scuba Point in Taman Desa in 1992. The Conshelf SEA2 regulator, Conshelf SE2 octopus and Data Pro dive gauge cost me RM1000 those days and today, the same regulator, used condition is selling for RM1500 on eBay. Dino was telling me that it is kind of weired to be keeping old receipts but for me, it is a hard habit to break and I have been doing it all these years.

The Sherwood Genesis BC that I bought from Lucky Plaza in Singapore the same year for RM1033 is still with me though it is a bit small, size S but I managed to squeeze my size L body in. The 3mm thick dive suite which is also a size S and with front zippers was almost impossible to remove without a helping hand. Today, I don't see anyone wearing dive suites with front zippers anymore and only now I understand why todays dive suites comes with rear zippers as it is a lot easier to remove.
Well, the refresher course was okay. I was able to recall the basic stuff about scuba diving and it was not a problem at all diving in a swimming pool. Assembling the equipment, decending, equalizing, mask clearing, regulator recovery, regulator purging etc came naturally. Since I didn't put on a dive suite, my bouyancy was lesser and I didn't require much weight to counter the bouyancy in the swimming pool.

We left for Mersing on Friday 13th June, after work. Dino was supposed to drive his Naza Ria, but with the increase in petrol price, we decided to drive my daughter's Perodua Kelisa instead. It cost us less than RM100 for the trip to Mersing and back. We reached Mersing the same day around 11pm and took the first boat out of Mersing the next morning.

We arrived at Salang, which is situated on the north west part of the island around 9am and the first dive of the day was Tiger Reef. I borrowed a spare dive suite from Dino and with just 3kg of weight, I was not able to decend and had to abort the dive due to insufficient weight. It was a miss calculation on my part as I did not take into consideration the dive suite I was wearing, the sea water condition for the dive and last but not least, the size of my body since my last dive 15 years ago. I have to put on at least at least 5kg of weight to sink. I was not the only one who had to abort the dive, another friend of mine had the same problem and both of us had to be fished out of the water by another dive operator's boat. We ended up on the boat instead of below it and regretting for the stupid mistake we made.

The second dive of the day was Labas and my dive buddy was Lisa, the same person who ended up on the boat with me during the first dive. But his time around, we had no difficulties at all decending and maintaining a neutral bouyancy underwater with the right weight in place. My breathing was a bit heavy probably due to the new Apeks Tungsten XTX200 regulator that I bought for this trip plus the uneasy feeling diving for the first time in 15 years. Our dive master, Rick from B & J took us around this rocky formation and we did four swim through. It was an intersting dive that lasted for one hour and with my heavy breathing, I ended up with just 60bar of air left in the tank. The average depth was 16m and the visibility was around 15m.
The next day we went to Chebeh and Batu Malang or Unfortunate Rock. Don't know why the place is called Batu Malang, how unfortunate can it be for a rock? At Batu Malang, we did a few swim through around this rocky formation. Not much live corals around this area. Chebeh was more interesting as it was the most comfortable dive for me. I was able to control my breathing and I ended up with slightly more than 70bar of air after one hour. We came a cross a Green Turtle and a Blue Spotted Stingray around this area which is full of marine life. The visibility for these two places is 15m and the average depth was 16m.

Well, I managed to have three successful dives with one aborted dive during this trip and I know that I am now hooked to this hobby after a lapse of 15 years. I hope to make another trip to the East Coast before the fasting month and before the monsoon season starts, probably somewhere in August.

Since I have just purchased a new Akona 1mm dive suite and a new Dive Rite Transpac Harness with Travel Wings BC last week at the MIDE held at the PWTC, I can't wait to try this back inflation BC during my next dive trip. I never had any experience using back inflation BC as I am so used to jacket type BCs and it will be interesting to find out its performance. I know that I made a promise not to buy new stuff for this hobby but I just can't help it. It was Dino's idea anyway.

As for the DXing part, not much during this trip as I had difficulties in setting up the G5RV antenna. There were too many powerlines zigzaging from one chalet to the other and the resort is situated at a foothill. It was not a good setup for the antenna and I only managed to have it in between two chalets at a height of 7 feet above the ground. I managed to work with a few local stations such as 9M2AR in Alor Setar, 9M2DY in Kulim and 9M2ZNL in KL even though the QRM was high due to interference from the nearby powerlines.
Overall, I enjoyed the trip and I am looking forward to more diving trips next year. With the price war that is going on between Air Asia and MAS, hopefully one day I will be able to purchase cheap air fares for my diving trip to Pulau Layang-Layang and Sipadan.

73 de 9M2NAZ

Friday, May 02, 2008

Diving Trip to Tioman Island

I'll be going for a scuba diving trip to Tioman Island in June. To be exact, 20th of June 2008 for 3 days and 2 nights. I'll be staying at Salang Island Resort with some friends. This will be my first diving trip in more than 10 years. I have to do a refresher course in Tioman before I can actually dive. I obtained my open water certification from NAUI in 1991.

I won't be flying to Tioman as it will be too costly to fly on my own or on Berjaya Air. I'll just get a ride to the jetty in Mersing from Dino, my long lost friend who will be joining me for this trip. From Mersing we will then take a ferry to the island.

I've sold most of my diving stuff 5 years ago except for my BC and dive suite, which are now too small for me fit in, fins, weight belt, weights, snorkel, mask, compass, knife, torch light, dive chart (wheel), log book, booties and glove. Looks like I have to rent the rest for this trip as I have no plans to buy new stuff.

I'm actually planning for just 3 or 4 dives during this trip. The rest of my time on the island will be for DXing on 20 meters. I'll bring along my HAM radio and antennas for this trip and I hope the resort has 24 hours electricity supply.

Looking forward to this trip in June and more updates will be available when I get back.

73 de 9M2NAZ

Sunday, April 20, 2008

KLCC from the air

This is a picture of me in a Piper Warrior PA 28. This shot was taken when I took my two boys, Nazeem and Najeeb for a city tour around Kuala Lumpur. The picture on the right is the aerial shot of the famous Petronas Twin Tower.

Notice the haze around the buildings in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

The picture below is the aerial shot of the Kuala Lumpur Tower.

The photos were taken by Nazeem and Najeeb from an altitude of 1500 feet above sea level.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yaesu FT-950

After reading the reviews on the new Yaesu FT-950 in and the March 2008 issue of QST magazine, I have decided to get one for my shack. Since the price of the FT-950 is almost tripple of that of the Icom IC-718, I will most probably have to dispose off my Icom IC-718 to help fund part of this purchase.

It will be sad for me to part with the IC-718 as it has been a very faithful and reliable HF transceiver. With its basic features, this tranceiver is very easy to operate. You don't need to read the manual, just make the right connections and you are ready to go on air. It looks like it will be a challenge for me to operate the FT-950.

I hope to have the Yaesu FT-950 in my shack by May 2008. If anyone is interested in a used IC-718, MFJ 945E antenna tuner and a 20A homebrew linear power supply, please email me.