Friday, October 21, 2016


Found on Brigid's blog, and I just had to share it......

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ”

― Roger A. Caras

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I'm Gonna Be A Grandpa!

OK, the DIL has told her family, so now I can tell you.

My wife's youngest son and his lovely wife are expecting. ETA is May 2017.

Any doubts, reservations and/or fears my wife has harbored about pulling up stakes here and moving to Colorado have just gone POOF!

I'm just praying that things hold together long enough that we can make a graceful, stress free exit from The People's Demokratik Republik of Kalifoniastan....

Not Too Much Going On Here....

Not too much going on here other than we got .3" of rain the other night. Just enough to wash most of the road dirt off the Supra, and turn my Jeep into a bloody muddy mess.

Spent yesterday on the Iowa, and volunteered myself for another project, but this time it's a small one.

We have several unused audio inputs to the "Coke Machine", and some of the Grey Radio Guys decided that it would be nice to have them available to use with "external" devices.

These lines are in the "Crypto Room" (FACCON 2), and are just cables hanging on the bulkhead right now. They used to connect to some audio encryption equipment, but that stuff was stripped out of the ship many years ago, and FACCON 2 is now the server room for all the various things on the Iowa that need a server. Somebody had purchased a conduit box, and some cable clamps, along with a mismatched set of XLR audio connectors. They asked me to fab a top plate that would mount the connectors, so I brought the stuff home. When I told them I didn't think the finished project would look very good, the response was "That's OK, nobody will ever see it".

Yeah....well since I'm building it, I'll see it, and it will gall me knowing that I contributed to the hack job hanging on the bulkhead in FACCON 2.

SO.....I stopped at my favorite little hole-in-the-wall electronics parts place on my way home, and picked up a nice cast aluminum box and some nice XLR connectors and mating plugs for them. I'll get the XLR jacks mounted on the front panel, drill some holes for the "cable glands" where the .625" audio cables will come into the box, and fab some mounting brackets out of aluminum angle so we can bolt this thing to the bulkhead. We've got the green light to just drill and tap holes in the bulkhead (it looks to be 3/8" steel plate, possibly thicker, with nothing on the far side), but I think there might be a nicer way to do it. I'll worry about that after the box is built.

I'll post some pix of my progress, which should be pretty quick as the garage is cleaned up and sorted out after The Great Supra Suspension Rebuild.

And as far as the "Coke Machine" goes, the last time our pillage/plunder/salvage crew was up in Bremerton while I was in Vegas, they found a COMPLETE SET of the plug-in cards, and the manual patch cards, for the Coke Machine!

Not only was this stuff was considered to be unobtainium by people that know these things, but also to be ULTRA unobtainium, the rarest sort, so we really lucked out in finding a set of these.

Rather than having to manually patch audio connections by using small wire between the card connectors and a "patch block" I ginned up, we can now just push the buttons on the front panel to set up the circuits we need. I think the Iowa is probably the only museum ship with a fully functional "Coke Machine".

And that, in itself, is pretty cool....

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hillary's New Campaign Theme Music

Couldn't find any music about flying monkeys, so this will have to do.

After all....Halloween is just around the corner.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Busy Day for Radio on the Iowa

Today was the Scout "Jamboree On The Air", or JOTA.

In years past we've had 100 to 150 Scouts come aboard to yak on the radio, and have had up to six stations in operation.

Today we only had TEN Scouts.......

Not sure what's going on, but one of the other guys checked around, and attendance at all the SoCal JOTA events was waaay down this year.

So, we got to spend some extra time with the Scouts, and show them more things than we normally do. I gave them a tour of the receiver and switchboards area, and then fired up one of the Model 28 teletype machines, and ran some test tapes so they could watch it print.

I wound up running the tapes ten times, so each Scout could have their own hard copy to take home, along with their souvenir NI6BB card:

After they were gone, I checked out two new members on our Ham Radio equipment so they can come in and operate on their ow. Out of the 50 members we have on the roster, maybe 5~7 are active and come in regularly, so having two more people who want to come operate will be good.

Sunday I'm getting a haircut and beard trim in the Iowa's barbershop. One of the Old Skool barbershops in San Pedro has their barbers come in several times a year to offer up haircuts in return for a $20 donation to the ship. I had mine cut the last time they were here, and since I ned a haircut again, I'll go down to the ship and make use of the service.

We also have shore power fully functional now, and that happened right around Fleet Week. I was too busy bashing away on the Supra to report it, but it's soooo nice to not have the huge generator hammering away next to the ship. We were able to get almost all of the equipment and labor donated, so what would have been a five MILLION dollar project wound up costing us about $300k.

Thanks to our donors, and well done to all who made it possible!

We also have another acquisition, a 1950's Piasecki "HUP Retriever" helicopter.

We were able to purchase this for under "market value", and after it arrives Sunday morning, it will sit at the ship until it get transported to Torrance airport where a volunteer group will restore it.

There are very few of these left, and from what I've been told, this one is in better condition, and came with more spares, that we originally though. I've heard a couple of people say there's enough stuff to get it airworthy, although I don't think the restoration will go that far.

I'll take some pix of it tomorrow if it's there when I am......

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jeremy Clarkson on the SR-71

I always thought these aircraft looked very sad when I saw them on display.

They belong in the sky.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wife In Another Accident

Just got back from the body shop where they took the car.

She was pulled over to the side of the road for a fire truck, and some young kid slammed into her.

He said he saw the fire truck, but not her.

TONS of witnesses, including the crew on the fire truck, the paramedic truck following them, and the ambulance following the paramedic truck.

And the owners of several stores at the intersection saw it, and came out and gave witness statements to the police.

The fire truck and paramedics said the car that hit her was traveling "well over the posted speed limit", and the two store owners said it looked like "he was going 70".

The driver that hit her admitted to the LBPD that he was going "over 45, maybe 50" and it's a 35MPH zone.

The ambulance crew wanted to take to the ER, and like a dummy, she refused. She had some weird kind of neck surgery some years ago before I met her, and that's why she can't shoot a rifle or ride a horse, because those motions could possibly injure her.

She was more concerned about saving the $$$$ for the collar, back board, and ambulance ride (they charge separately for all those things these days) than she was about getting checked out.

She's on the phone with the kid's insurance company right now (some place named "Alliance" who appears to have really crappy customer service), and I just heard her say she's calling her Doctor to get in today.........

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sea Launch Finally Sold?

Well, at least they signed a contract this time.

From the ROSCOSMOS website:



27, 2016, 17:54 GMT

September, 27, within the framework of the International Astronautical Congress IAC-2016 in Guadalajara (Mexico), a contract was signed which provides for the acquisition of the assets of Sea Launch - S7 Group signed a contract with the Sea Launch group.

The subject of the transaction includes: the ship Sea Launch Commander and the platform Odyssey with their installed rocket segment equipment, the ground support equipment at the Home Port of Long Beach (USA) and the Sea Launch trademark.
The deal is to be completed in six months – after obtaining approvals from the proper US authorities and signing a number of contracts which are a part of this deal. The deal must be approved by Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) и Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Also today, RSC Energia and S7 Group signed an agreement on cooperation and joint work aimed at resuming the operation of the Sea Launch system. RSC Energia will provide to S7 Group the necessary engineering support, assistance in organizing the launches and in systems integration work.
Joint activities of RSC Energia and S7 Group also envisage cooperation aimed at development of a transportation infrastructure in space.
RSC Energia General Director Vladimir SOLNTSEV: “We are happy to have singed this contract – we have travelled a long way to structure the deal and implement it. The project is fairly complex, but S7 Group has a new business approach, and I’m certain that with our support the project will be a success”.
General Director of S7 Group Vladislav FILYOV: “For us, acquisition of a space launch system is an ‘entry ticket’ to space industry. Space infrastructure grows by leaps and bounds, this is a very interesting line of business, the long-term outlook for which is good. There are plans to de-mothball the system and start launching activities 18 months after the deal is approved – tentatively, in late 2018. We expect that without large investment in the Sea Launch upgrade we will be able to make up to 70 launches over the period of 15 years. Our approach to business is radically different from many companies – we are not going to sell promises, we are going to only sell launches only on the already built launch vehicles. Rockets first, and only after that – a buyer”.
The rumors of a pending sale began in earnest  around six months ago. Bits and pieces leaked out, and the "S7 Group" was mentioned several times. Considering how many times Sea Launch has been "sold" in the past since I separated from the company, I took them all with a grain of NaCl. These rumors persisted, and RSC Energia announced that there would be a big announcement "At the end of April". Of course, nothing was announced, as they work on "Russian Time". My friend who still works there assured me that there really was something to it this time, and it looks like there was.

The new "owners" still have a long climb ahead of them before any launch operations can resume. First, the sale has to be approved by several USGOV agencies, and then there's that pesky ~$480,000,000 judgment that Boeing won against Energia and Yuzhnoye/Yuzmash.

Assuming that the sale gets approved, and that the Boeing judgment doesn't derail things entirely, there's numerous technical issues that will have to be resolved. A lot of the equipment I worked with is totally obsolete, unsupported, and in many cases, completely nonfunctional, or barely functional. Whether they want to replace this equipment or go to entirely new systems remains to be seen, but whatever course they chose, it's going to take several cubic tons of money to get things running again.

They're going to find their $150,000,000 expenditure is just barely the tip of the iceberg.....

Monday, October 3, 2016

Random Updates and Musings......

Just been busy cleaning up and attempting to organize the garage after The Great Suspension Rebuild.

Still have tools to put back in the two rolling cabinet/top boxes I have, and this will be an excellent opportunity to get them sorted and organized. One set of boxes is from Sears, and the other was a mid-line set I bought from Harbor Freight a few years back. The Craftsman set is fairly well organized, but the Harbor Freight set is a rhyme or reason as to why I put what things in what drawers, and that annoys me.

One of the drawers in the Craftsman rolling cab has a case of WWB JHP 45ACP that I bought years ago, and the Harbor Freight middle box has one drawer full of 22LR from years ago, and one drawer full of WWB JHP 357 Magnum, also from years ago. Seeing as I have 8 or ten EMPTY ammo cans, I think a bit of sorting out is in order.

Oh....and when I was moving things around from under the work benches, I found a case of 12ga 00 buck made by one of the Russkie companies. Good ammo, always went BANG, patterns nice in my 870, but kicks like a pissed-off mule, probably why I never fired much of it.

After I clean out the Harbor Freight set, I'll have a place to put all the deep and standard length impact sockets I bought during this latest car escapade, and get get them OUT of the nice canvas bag the Makita impact, batteries, and charger live in. That bag is heavy enough, and taking 10 or so pounds of sockets out of it will make it easier to move around. Plus, having all the sockets snapped on to one of these "socket rails" will make it easier to find the size I want, rather than pawing through ALL the sockets rolling around in the bag.
I've been keeping my sockets on these things literally "forever", and for the couple of $$ they cost, you're silly not to buy them if you own as many different sizes, drives, and types of sockets as I do.

I have 1/4" drive, 3/8" drive, 1/2" drive, metric and standard in each drive size, deep and standard in each drive size, a set of Torx bits, Hex bits in metric and standard, and numerous "special purpose" sockets. I probably own at least a couple of hundred sockets now that I bought several sets (metric, standard, deep, etc) of impact sockets!

AND.....I still have the "SDRplay" software define radio project on hold. I totally lost track of where I was using that thing with Linux, and I never downloaded their "new and improved" Windoze application for it. After reading several reviews of all the decent mid-line SDR boxes out there, I just might sell it and get an AirSpy, which seems to be the favored SDR in the mid-price range.........