Less is more!

You get less yet you pay more. Welcome to the 2008 purchasing power dip.

I try to keep the non-ham stuff here limited to a strict minimum but radio activities @ ON5ZO are reported to be at an all time low. No further research is needed about correlation with sunspots. There is a proven link. However I wanted to vent something that has been on my mind for a few days.

We moved in here half 2003 after a few months of cleaning up the house and giving it a 21st century look inside. Since then our "two head family" (don’t count the paws, too many pets) succeeded in consuming less electrical energy year after year. For 5 years in a row the annual graph to document our power supplier’s invoice shows less kWh year after year. We replaced appliances with new versions that consume less energy. We replaced all lights with compact fluorescent light bulbs and (credit goes to XYL) we don’t waste power. Mild winters helped too since we didn’t need to fire up some auxiliary electrical heating in office rooms and the shack.

So despite the fact that during the September 2007 to September 2008 time span we consumed LESS kWh than ever before, our annual invoice has gone up with ALMOST 200 Euro. I must admit that this number is a rough calculation that I need to redo next year when I can make the difference between the sum of the monthly deposits and the balance with the measured consumption per kWH-meter but still I am not amused. That is a relative increase of over 20%. Last time I checked our salaries didn’t grow this much in a year.

On the other hand bringing our fuel stove to the scrap yard (scrap metal pays 300 Euro per metric ton these days) seems to have been a good deal. We bought a pellet stove last winter. We’re very happy with that as a first indication shows that annual heating costs are half of what gasoline ("mazout" as we say here) would have cost us. But it gets better. I asked a price quote for the pellets last week and… the price has dropped with about 15% since last year. Sceptics warned us that the price of the pellets would rise with demand but until now it seems that its increasing popularity does not affect the price. By all means the price of pellets is not susceptible to international geopolitical circumstances, unlike fossil fuels.

I hope to heat the shack with about 1 kW of RF power this winter. More on ham radio later (contest certificates, upgrading my software tools, Belgium’s biggest ham fair…) after I finish an URGENT project for my boss (the one at work, not the one at home).

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