Saturday, October 30, 2010

Radio Contest This Weekend

So my posting will be lighter than usual.
So far, I've worked China, the Philippines, Australia, New Zeland, South Africa, The Galapagos Islands, Finland, Norway, a whole bunch of Russians, and a handful of countries I've barely heard of.
This contest, the CQ Magazine World-Wide DX Contest, is about the biggest one of the year, so all these little countries show up, and we all try to contact each other.
It's about 8PM now, and the propagation on the higher bands has faded, so I'll call it a night, and watch a movie with the YF.

**UPDATE**
Finished with only 94 contacts, and 16,380 points. Really wanted to break 100 contacts, but family and life have a way of intruding!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Barbara "Call Me SENATOR" Boxer... Time To Get Her OUT!

Got this from a friend in an email and thought I'd share it. Kinda gets right to the heart of the elitism, doesn't it?
REMEMBER....We're at "T-7 (days)" and counting!
THROW THE BUMS OUT!!!!

Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sewing Machine Repair Adventure

It was a dark and stormy night.....
Well, not really, but it *has* been raining on-and-off here the last week or so.
Anyway.....My wife came out of the bedroom the other night, and told me her sewing machine "Wasn't pulling the fabric in", so I went in to take a look. I pushed on the foot pedal and heard the "Ziiiing" of an unloaded motor, and saw that the needle wasn't going up and down. Hmmmm.....has to be a broken belt, so I took the top cover off to inspect things. The first thing I noticed (besides the belt being all chewed up!) was that there must have been a full spool of different colored threads wrapped around the inside of the hand wheel mechanism. She has the operating manual for it, but other than how to thread it and set up what kind of stitch you wanted, and where to put the occasional drop of oil, it was pretty useless. So, since I had the model number (Singer 5107), off I went to Google to see what I could find. I found a free parts list, and paid $12 for the complete service manual, and started calling around this morning for the belt. Several places were closed Mondays, or the phone was disconnected (and the phone numbers were from Singer's website!), and a couple told me "Servicing MUST Be Done By Qualified Professionals!" in a rather rude tone. Geezz....I helped keep my Mom's Singer running when I was a kid, and repaired several other Singers for various girlfriends and their Moms over the years, and have mechanical skills that are just a notch or two above "Normal For A Guy", so I wrote off those places pretty quickly. I finally found a place over in Norwalk that not only had the parts, but was very friendly is suggesting other normal wear-and-tear items that would be nice to get. Got the belt, a "Bobbin Winder Ring" (looks like a slot-car tire), and a couple of spare light bulbs for $12 total, less than the price of just the belt at the only other place that would talk to me. He wanted $24, and it was "Special Order, Pay In Full Before We Order It, NOT Returnable, and It'll Take 3-to-5 Days To Get It".
DUH.....
Got the belt installed, cleaned out big bunches of lint, old grease, and thread scraps, scrubbed the machine inside and out, oiled it in all the places the manual said to, tightened up all the hardware on the table it mounts to and waited for my wife to get home.
She was thrilled, and said it looked like a new machine.
20 minutes later she came back out and said "Honey, it's not working right".
Uh-Oh.....Probably should have tried to run it before I bolted it back into the table! Figured out I had the belt tension set too tight, but it was still binding about half-way through the cycle it runs to make one complete stitch.
Now, if you've ever had a sewing machine apart you'll probably know what I'm talking about. There's one main shaft driven by the motor that runs through the entire "Top End" of the machine, and runs the needle up-and-down, and has the cam assemblies that move the needle back-and-forth to make different stitches. Take the top cover off and watch one run, and it should be obvious how it does things like make the needle go up-and-down. The tricky part is what you don't see....all the stuff underneath, where the "Bobbin Case" goes, and the mechanism that moves the little fabric grabber up-and-down and forwards-backwards to pull the fabric through. I *NEVER* worked on that stuff because when I worked on sewing machines before, it was consider Black Magic that took "Special Service Tools" to adjust, and woe betide the Young Wizard Mechanic who messed up Mom's machine trying to learn it!
But I digress.....
On one end of the main shaft in the upper part of the machine, right by the hand wheel, is a crank throw, and a connecting rod running down into the nether regions that makes all the little Magic Parts go up-and-down, and back-and-forth. It's a pretty clever collection of shafts, cams, bevel gears, and cranks that takes the up-and-down motion from that connecting rod I mentioned, and turns it into a back-and-forth half-revolution of the bottom mainshaft, which also moves the cams and bevel gears, and makes the fabric grabber work.
Now was the time I was glad I had the Service Manual! With the connecting rod disconnected from the upper mainshaft, and moved aside so it wouldn't catch on the crank throw, the machine ran perfectly, nice and fast and quiet. So, I pulled the machine out of the table, and took it into the living room table where I could sit down and turn the machine over to look at the bottom. I found several things that were causing the lower mainshaft to bind up at one particular point in its rotation. These was some dried out caked grease that had to be cleaned out, and under a cover was a set of bevel gears, with more dried out grease, and a loose set screw that held one of the bevel gears in place. These are "Half Bevel Gears", as they're not a complete gear, but only one sector of it, and it had slipped enough that it was running out of teeth and hitting the solid part. And the housing that holds the Bobbin Case was packed full of old lint and other debris that caused a lot of drag on the entire mechanism. After I cleaned everything out, and reset the timing of the gears, it turned over smoothly. I then reconnected the top part of the connecting rod, crossed my fingers, and plugged it back in and pressed the pedal.
Success!
The machine ran smoothly, pulled the fabric through like it's supposed to, and made correct, tight stitches without skipping any, which made my sweetie giggle like a school girl. She still has to adjust the thread tension, as I kinda screwed up the adjustment by grabbing the knob accidentally and turning it.
I'll post some links on the subject of "How Do I Fix My Sewing Machine" on Tuesday.


REFERENCE LINKS:
How Sewing Machines Work
Secret Life of Machines: The Sewing Machine, Part 1
Secret Life of Machines: The Sewing Machine, Part2
Secret Life of Machines: The Sewing Machine, Part 3
Animation of Needle and Bobbin to produce Lock-Stitch

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dear Abby......

DEAR ABBY:

'I have always wanted to have my family history traced, but I can't afford
to spend a lot of money to do it. Any suggestions?'


Steve in California..

DEAR STEVE:

'Register as a Republican, and run for public office.'

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fed Up? Vote Anyway!

There's an interesting article in today's Long Beach Press Telegram with the title I so shamelessly borrowed. They gave my favorite for our 37th District Representative, Star Parker, some good press that she deserves.
Read the article, it's short, but interesting.
I haven't looked for their stand on Barbara "Call Me Senator" Boxer, but I'm voting for Carly Fiorina. Boxer has been in office way too long, and has lost touch with the people of California.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"Sam I Am" Goes To Washington




I do not like this Uncle Sam!

I do not like his health care scam!

I do not like these dirty crooks,
or how they lie and cook the books.
I do not like when Congress steals!
I do not like their secret deals!

I do not like this speaker Nan!

I do not like this 'YES, WE CAN'!

I do not like this spending spree!

I'm smart, I know that nothing's free.

I do not like your smug replies,
when I complain about your lies.
I do not like this kind of hope!
I do not like it, nope, nope, nope!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Taking Out The Trash

T-minus 18 days and counting.
Read your sample ballots and understand the issues. We MUST start taking back our country.
REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"The Center Cannot Hold"




I've been seeing this quote from Yates quite a bit lately, and I think it pretty much sums up what's happening to this current "administration" in the White House.
I'll bet even that name, "White House", galls HRH Obama to no end.
Anywhoo, this is a link to a rather good read over at American Digest, provided by our friends over at the Western Rifle Shooters Association.
Go read it; it's great stuff!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jack Webb Talks to Obama

From a friend of mine.
If you google "jack webb and obama" you'll find a TON of these, all different, but all true!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crazy Weather

Last week at this time it was 113* here with 50% humidity, and the dogs were just klunked-out all day.
Today it's 64* and raining. The dogs have been chasing each other all over the house, obviously enjoying the cool weather.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In One Month.....

We can start to take our country back. That is, as long as you've REGISTERED, and actually get your rear out to the polls and VOTE!
Please read all the information you get sent in the mail, and try to research what your local issues and measures mean, and the background on your local candidates. In my case, I've been supporting Star Parker in her bid to unseat Laura Richardson in California's 37th Congressional District, and reading the thick "Voter Guide" sent out in the mail.
Remember, your local elections can have an immediate impact on your neighborhood, and in my opinion, that's just as important as getting things turned around on the Federal level.
So read up, and REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER!