Saturday, September 20, 2014

"NRA Basic Pistol Class" AAR

Well, the lead instructor and three assistants brought another 8 people into the realm of pistol shooters today.

Why FOUR instructors?

Well, 16 people signed up (and paid!), but only 8 showed up, so as a bonus, each instructor only had two people to help, and we got extra range and classroom time.

The two young people I worked with were a brother and sister, 17 and 15 years old, respectively.

The girl was kinda bummed at first because "My parents own firearms, and they INSISTED we both take this course!".

She considered it more of a waste of a beautiful Saturday morning and afternoon than anything else, but she was attentive, asked excellent questions, took direction extremely well, and wonder-of-wonders, wound up WINNING the "10 Shot Showdown" with a score of 98!

Her older brother was seen muttering something about "I'll never live this down....", but he was a good sport about it, and proud of his sister.

As I was coaching these two young people, I kept noticing an older couple outside the range, watching through the glass with huge smiles, but didn't think much of it as I was busy.

Turns out it was Mom and Dad watching their kids have a great time, and thanked us all profusely after the class was over.

Always good to introduce some new people to shooting, and this was one of the better classes I assisted with.

Four of the students stayed to take their California "Handgun Safety Certificate" test, and were issued their HSC on the spot.

And they ALL want to come back and take the NRA "Personal Protection in the Home" class!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Groan....Finally Recovered From Wednesday's Trip To "Broadway" On The Iowa

I spent most of Wednesday on the Iowa, getting my feet wet with the "Grey Radio Gang", the group of us that are slooooowly restoring the original receivers, and attempting to get the transmitters back on line.

So, the first thing I did was to get a tour of "Broadway", the passageway that runs from one end of the armored box to the other.

To get down to Broadway, we went down one deck, to the armored hatch that leads down to the third deck:





The beveled edges of the hatch fit in to a matching bevel on the deck:


The door to your left leads into one of the Machine Shops, and is where the table with all the people present on V-J Day in Tokyo Bay stamped their names into the metal table top.

Down through the hatch, on a very steep ladder (the steepest one I've seen so far), and we're "On Broadway".




This is looking forward, with the steep ladder to your left:




And my escort leads the way:


The valves on the left have to do with some of the tanks on the ship, but since my friend is a "Radio Guy" like myself, he wasn't sure exactly what they were for. The red box to the right held a Halon bottle, one of MANY along the sides of the passageway.




This is looking aft of where we were:





The transmitter room is located off Broadway, across from the #2 Engine Room:


I thought I took a picture of the #2 Engine Room, but guess not. Engine Room access is NOT allowed unless you have a very good reason to go there, but sticking my head through the hatch showed another ladder leading WAY down, with lots of steel grating about 8' down, and the reduction gears (so I was told) were visible beneath the grating.




We unlocked the hatch, reached in and turned on the lights, and there it was.....the Transmitter Room:






Each complete transmitter consists of an exciter (puts out about 10 Watts), with a power amplifier beneath it (runs 1000 Watts output forever), and a power supply for the exciter on the bottom. These are nominally used for 2~30 MHz operation, the exciters are manually tuned, and generally get their audio/data input from "Radio Central", which is where we operate the Amateur radio station from. The exciters also have a jack for a push-to-talk handset, and a CW (Morse Code) key on the front panel, although my escort, who served on the USS Wisconsin, says he doesn't remember them ever using CW.



Across from each transmitter is the Antenna Coupler. From the writing and Dymo label (remember Dymo labels?) this coupler is for the 2~6MHz range, and connected to the "Twin Fan" antenna. The Twin Fan antenna disappeared at sometime during the Iowa's stay at Suisun Bay, and we're working on getting it replaced. Strangely enough, all of the parts to rebuild it are readily available, but he cost is something like $25,000, which is money we just don't have. The guys on the New Jersey, BB-62, have been most generous with sending us spares for just the cost of shipping, and while they have some spares for the Twin Fan antenna, wed still be out-of-pocket quite a bit of money to replace the antenna with a exact duplicate. We might just scratch our heads a bit to see if we can come up with something that looks the same, and functions the same, but for a lot less cost.

These are what you see in the picture looking in to the Transmitter Room, all located to your right:




To connect one of the transmitter/coupler pairs to a particular antenna, or a dummy load, these patch bays are used:





There's a special "Break Out" or Patch cable used that has a large, rectangular box on one end that slips into the rectangular black sockets, and then connects to the Type-N RF connector, and "Amphenol" connector in the center of the panel:






Here's one of the dry Dummy Loads sitting by the hatch leading in to the Transmitter Room:






Off to one side, is this "stand alone" transmitter unit. The additional box on the top with the two round meters is an antenna auto-coupler. We still have to trace out the cabling for this unit to see where it goes. I found one whip antenna with the remote coupling unit mounted at its base the other day, and it's possible that this transmitter is connected to it. Until we look at the wire number tags on this unit, and the coupler at the base of the antenna, it's a mystery where this one is connected to, and what it's use was:






Further down the row, on the side where the Antenna Couplers are, are these WSC-3, "Whiskey-3", UHF radios, used for SatCom:






And between the racks of WSC-3 radios is this rack containing what appears to be an Antenna Coupler for them:





I know next to nothing about these radios, and as it's highly unlikely we'd ever get a license to use them, they're probably just going to quietly sit there for a long, long time.




Back on the other side of the room are some radios and amplifiers I've actually owned in the distant, dusty past, the famous AN/ART-21 and AN/GRR-23(V), along with the AM-6153 RF Power Amplifier.

The AM-6154 amp was quite popular 'back in the day' to convert to 2 Meter Amateur radio operation. Fair Radio Sales used to have truckloads of them, but these days they command a very high price.

These radios were used to communicate with aircraft in the VHF Aircraft Band.

This is the entire rack, from top to bottom:







One very interesting radio set I found was a"Green Radio" like the ground forces use(d), the RT-524A.

I'm guessing this radio was used to communicate with our ground forces who requested Naval Gunfire Support:


Power Supply:





And a complete set, the second one in this rack:




These appear to be some type of coupler/tuning unit/SWR bridge, and since they're green, and located next to the RT-524's, I'm guessing they're part of that system:






And since we'll be working on the HF transmitters, here's a shot of where the circuit breakers for all the HF Transmitters are located:



One of my tasks as "Lead Technician" for getting the HF transmitters going again (don't ask me how I was chosen as 'lead tech', as I'm clueless!) is to photo document where things are, and the process used to get these big guys going again, so this is just a start of the many pictures I'll be taking as I spend more time down there. The guys on the New Jersey and Missouri loaned us the Technical Manuals, which we had photocopied and then returned, so we have fairly complete documentation. HOWEVER....I'm told each one of the Iowa class ships wound up a bit different, so just because we have the TM's for the equipment doesn't mean we're out of the woods!


On our way back out, I took a few more pictures of the 1930's technology that made the ship operate.

Looking down Broadway:


I think the grey hose is left from when she was in storage, as I know there are many others like this in some of the "off limits" areas, and look just like it.


Some valves used to control "Flooding The Wing Tanks":





A close-up for any Steampunkers out there:






More valves:




Close-up:



I spent about three hours down in the Transmitter Room, and we went through all of the filing and storage cabinets. We found lots of patch cables, boxes full of spare modules, a lot of miscellaneous JUNQUE, and a bunch of spare 8122 ceramic power tubes, condition unknown.


After spending the time down below, I went up to where I normally hangout, and helped a retired PhD from MIT troubleshoot one of the URR-74(V)2 Watkins-Johnson LF/MF/HF receivers.
We have three of these receivers, and only one operates correctly. The other two seem "deaf", so we're starting at the antenna using KNX 1070 for a test signal, and tracing the signal out.

Looks like there's a problem in the "A3 Module", which is the front-end of the receiver with the 1st and 2nd mixer and IF stages in it.


.....Sigh......So much for being "retired"!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Common Core New Math

From a buddy......

Common Core and the new math

The other day I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried... Why do I tell you this? Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1960s:

1. Teaching Math In 1960s: (when I was in school) 
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Math in 1970s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math in 1980s:  
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit? Yes or No

4. Teaching Math In 1990s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20 your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Math in 2000s
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's Okay).

6. Teaching Math In 2014
Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho? ANSWER: His profit was $375,000 because his logging business is just a front for his pot farm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hmmmmmm...Should Have Put This On The First Engine I Built.....

Well, not really. Out of the dozen or so engines I've built over the years, I never lost one due to bad assembly or bad parts.

Came close a couple of times, but caught the suspect parts before they went into the engine one time, and caught myself very late one night almost firing a dry engine until I looked at the list I had taped on the windshield, and noticed the *one* item not crossed off was "ADD OIL/CHECK FILTER/PRIME ENGINE".

Sure enough, the dipstick was bone dry, and the filter was empty and loose on the remote oil filter setup I'd installed along with the oil cooler. So, I filled the filter and tightened it, and added the 10 quarts I'd estimated the system would hold. Since the distributor was out, I grabbed the 1/2" electric drill and dummy shaft I used to prime engines, and cranked away with the dummy shaft engaged to the oil pump. After a few minutes we had oil pressure, so I checked the level on the dipstick, added another 1/2 quart, and installed the distributor and connected it all up.

Started and ran fine after waiting for the electric fuel pump to fill the carb.

Set the idle to 2000 RPM, and ran it for 30 minutes to check for leaks and break-in the cam and lifters, and took it out for a cruise the next day.


Anyway....saw this over at the Hot Rod Magazine website, and it cracked me up.....



Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Moldy Oldie

From my vast collection of "Music of My Youth".

This one is by Les Dudek.

Les was one of those "Who?" musicians that played with lots of other groups before trying a solo career.

Who'd he play with?

Oh, little known groups like The Steve Miller Band, Stevie Nicks, The Allman Brothers, and Boz Scaggs, to name a few.

BTW, the guy who posted this appears to have the same turntable I do.

Enjoy!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Little Travelin' Music, Please.....

By Elvin Bishop.

Did you know he has a PhD in Physics?


Amazing......


Thursday, September 11, 2014

RATS! My Little Weather PC Went Casters Up

Doggone it, the little Intel Atom PC I put together for my weather station has decided to call it quits.

I'm wondering if the UPS it was connected to had anything to do with its demise. This was the UPS I changed the batteries on a few weeks ago.  I've been monitoring it quite closely, and all seems well, but I'm wondering if it did some weirdness when it had athe bad battery in the pack,

Generally, when the batteries inside are no good any longer, they default to "bypass mode", hopefully saving anything connected from voltage fluctuations.

The little PC acted up a week ago (dropped offline and shut down), and disconnecting the DVD drive seemed to bring it back OK.

I know I have some spare power supplies for it *somewhere* out in the garage, but since I'm in the middle of tearing apart the radio room to clean it and sort all the "stuff" that's in here, I think I might be better off just grabbing a new bare-bones unit and swapping the solid state drive from the dead PC to a new one.

As soon as I finish up the radio room, I'm attacking the garage with a vengence so I can start working on the Supra.

Never Forget




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

President COWARD

Another home run from Mr. Whittle....


Ever Wonder Where Your Gasoline Dollar Goes?

Here's a new chart by the American Petroleum Institute.

Exxon-Mobil recently published a report that they made a profit of 5.5 cents per gallon sold.

In The People's Republik of Kaliforniastan, the state tax on gasoline is almost SEVENTY-ONE cents per gallon!

So much for the "Greedy Oil Companies"......