Friday, February 27, 2009


Ahhhh....picked my P226 tonight. Man, is it made nice! Going to spend some time reading the manual, field-stripping it, cleaning it, getting to know it, and practicing loading/unloading it with dummy rounds. That's something I do with every firearm I own, and one of those things that was passed down to me. It's quite a bit fatter-in-the-hand than my beloved 1911 pistols, so that's going to take a little getting used to, and I'm sure my grip will be different on it. It's also got a *very* different trigger pull than I'm used to with my 1911's. Oh, well....looks like a good reason to spend more time at the range!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taking Chance....

....Is the name of an HBO movie that's been running this week. I saw it tonight for the first time, and it's quite good. It's the story of a Lt.Col in the Marines taking one of our fallen soldiers back home to his final resting place. I hadn't seen Kevin Bacon in anything since my son and I went to see "Hollow Man" 9 years ago. He gave quite a performance. Seems the critics were split on the movie, some seeing it for what it is, and others seeing it for what they thought it should be.
Just make sure you have a full box of Kleenex with you.
God bless our soldiers!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still No Soup......

By my R-4B is coming along nicely. Did the mod to the PTO yoke, cleaned all the old gunk/grease off the tuning screw and dial gears, and FINALLY got the damn main tuning knob off. Then I pulled the front panel, and I'm busy using cotton swabs, Q-Tips, old toothbrushes, little short "acid brushes", and bore-cleaning patches to clean the chassis.
It's not fun, but should look reeeeal purty when I'm done.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Soup For You!

Nothing to post tonight as I'm working on my Drake.
Oh wait....I just posted....never mind...nothing to see here....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Emergency Comms

I'm writing up a little piece on what to use, and how, for communications after TSHTF. Basically, what things will work reliably for both short-range and long-range radio communications. In the event of a natural or man-made disaster you can pretty much bet your a$$ that the cellphone system will go down, so how do you tell your family and friends you're OK?


I can't take the credit for these (I'n not that creative!) as I grabbed them from one of the boards I regularly post on.

Train Wreck coming??

One of my buddies sent me this today:

Important Announcement
Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil, plus the condition of the economy, The Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.
We apologize for the inconvenience.

To which I responded:
Hmmmm...."Turning It Off" would imply that it's not the _real_ light at the end, but more like the old joke about it being the headlight of an approaching train.
And seeing that we're headed towards a major 'train wreck' with all the idiots running things, it must be their way of preventing us from seeing how close it really is!

Just another one of my random musings.....

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Well, four hours after I started a "simple" Ham radio project, I'm still not finished.
I volunteered to set up a West Coast "Satgate" to capture packets from the International Space Station (yep, it has Amateur Radio gear onboard) and put them out on the Internet. I have a radio that's not used much that I can dedicate to this, and a persistent Internet connection. So, just connect everything together, download some software, configure it, and sit back. Pretty easy for a grizzled old radio/computer guy like me, right?
Setting up the hardware was a snap....I've been involved in Amateur Packet Radio since the early 90's, have a lot of 100% functional gear just laying around, and had that part of it set up and running smoothly in about 30 minutes. So, I download the software, install it, and the first time I fire it up it gripes that the "AGWPE" packet engine isn't running, and it needs it to run. WTF? I have a HARDWARE TNC, so why do I need a soundcard-based packet engine running?? Oh, well, get the AGWPE packet software downloaded and set up. It decodes and displays packets using the soundcard just fine after I run a cable from the audio out of the radio to the line in on my Ham PC. Start the other software again, and it's happy seeing the packet engine running. Go to the "modules" section, and there's NO satgate module listed. Huh....thought I downloaded the *full* package....Back to the Internet and grab some more modules. Unzip them in the correct directories, and restart everything. DUH! Tells me now I need the "PRO" version to do what I want. OK...more downloads and installation. won't let me run it until I register it, which requires a donation. Now the guy that writes the software is pretty cool, and the software looks to be good quality, so I PayPal him the required amount of Euros, and now I'm waiting for the registration info to get here.
Wonder what else I'll find after I get the program registered?
Anywhoo....was going to do this "little" project and then pound away on the Drake receiver I've been restoring....AINT gonna happen tonight!

Linux at SCALE 7x

Went to the 7th SCALE Linux expo this morning at the LAX Westin Hotel. I've been going there since they started, and it's always good to see old friends and meet new ones. I went by the Electronic Frontier Foundation booth several times as I roamed the floor, and decided to join. Lo and behold, the guy manning the booth was one of my Ham Radio buddies! For those that don't know about the EFF, I've added a link to them on the Link-O-Rama. Besides just writing to your congress critters about the alleged "Fairness Doctrine", I suggest you go to the EFF and read about their fight to protect BLOGGER'S RIGHTS. Yep, there are subtle provisions in the bill to CENSOR the Internet. Imagine that....censorship in the USA! Guess it goes along with being legally robbed by the tax man to support people too damn lazy to work for a living. You can sign up for a free email feed, and join for the piddling amount of $25, fully tax deductable. Well, at least it is for now, until The Messiah decides to look into their tax-exempt status!
It was fun to see how far Linux has come since I started using it in 1995. Particularly the multimedia stuff, which could always be a little dicey, and the wide range of business-type applications that are out there now.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hello, Radio.....

Finally got my high-pass filters from ICE. I live a few miles away from a 50KW powerhouse, and it really hammers the front-ends of my receivers. Well, the ICE filter works wonders! My noise levels have dropped, and all of the funny squawky noises have disappeared.
I can't operate on 160 anymore, but then I don't have a proper antenna for that band, anyway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nothing Much Happened Today.....

Well, at least not in my own little world!
Pulled a bunch of data files off an ancient laptop running Windows95 ( ! ) at work so we could save some configuration files we need for a piece of equipment. I wound up pulling the hard-disk out, and using a USB adapter to grab the files. It beats fighting with Win95's somewhat spotty USB support for external devices.
*Finally* cleaned my pistol from the Sunday class. I know, I know....I should have cleaned it Sunday night. I gave it a wipedown with a Birchwood-Casey "Barricade" cloth...kinda like the Wet-Nap cloths you get from KFC, but didn't do the "Field-Strip-and-Clean" until tonight. I was shooting Fiocchi 230gr FMJ, and man, is that stuff DIRTY. It makes good "practice" ammo, as besides being cheap, you get a lot of "practice" clearing malfunctions! Out of the 200some rounds we fired, I had 5 or 6 stovepipes, one failure-to-feed, and one double-feed, so besides doing the drills the instructor was calling out, I was doing the "Tap-Rack-Flip-Drop-The-Mag-And-Replace-It" dance. It was interesting seeing the newer students freaking out when they had malfunctions, and the instructors running around yelling "RACK IT, RACK IT!" and "DROP THE MAG! DROP THE MAG!". Some of them got kind of rattled, and some of them did exactly as told. One of the drills in the TAC-I class I'll be taking next month is how to clear your pistol of Type 1 and Type 2 malfunctions, and it'll be interesting to see if I've improved from the first time I took the class, when I was all thumbs! Hey, we ALL start somewhere, and I'm no exception. I got a compliment from one of the instructors about how smoothly I cleared the pistol and got back into the "fight", so I guess I learned something from the previous classes. At least I don't get shook up, forget what to do, and then freeze. Having a non-functional firearm, at the time you most need it, would NOT be a good thing....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obamamerica: Pelosi is a nut job and wants more of your money!

Now this gets me REALLY pissed. Who the H3LL does this libtard thinks she is? The second coming of Karl Marx?
Looks like it's time to start stuffing it all under the mattress so the freaking EVIL SOCIALISTIC LIBTARDS can't get their greasy, greedy paws on it.
NOBODY is going to "redistribute" MY wealth without my explicite permission!

Obamamerica: Pelosi is a nut job and wants more of your money!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Montana Shows They've Got A Pair!

Courtesy of David at The War On Guns.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Day at The Range

Just got back from taking a "Skill Builder" pistol course at my local range. Seven students, some *very* new, and some quite experienced, with two outstanding instructors, Edmund and Fred.
Two hours of classroom, followed by two hours on the range. We did a variety of close-range and "7 Yard" shooting, shooting after moving, tactical/administrative, and emergency reloading drills, and got to sharpen our skills. This was a very abbreviated, 4-hour version of the 14-hour "Tactical Pistol I" class they offer at the range. I've taken "Tac-I" before, and I'm going to be taking it again in March.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Make your alter-ego

HAH! Thanks to Breda for this one.....

The funny thing is....I actually kinda look like that!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Brain-Dead Bill.....H.R. 45

DUH! WHEN are these people going to realize penalizing regular citizens will do NOTHING to keep guns out of the hands of criminals?
Bill like this are a waste of paper and tax-payer resources.

If you go to the site, and hit a dead-end, do a manual search for H.R. 45
Seems it been changing, and sometimes the link gets stale.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Well, I finally broke down and bought a SIG P226 in .40S&W. When I decided to get back into firearms after too many years away, I wanted to get a SIG P220, based on the 10,000 round ( ! ) test I read about. I wound up with a Kimber Custom TLE II as since I'd grown up with 1911's, I just felt more comfortable with one. Still, I always admired the fit and finish and "seriousness" of the SIG pistols. That and the fact that Fox Mulder carried one! Since my local purveyor of pistols was running reeeealy low on stock of anything capable of projecting lead downrange, I popped for the SIG while he still had it. Since it hadn't been 30 days since my last handgun purchase out here in the Republik, I could only put down a deposit to hold it. I'll be able to pay it off "In Full" and do the DROS on the 16th (President's Day!), and then pick it up on the 27th. It's interesting to note that although our brilliant minds in the State Government of The Republik out here demand that you wait "30 days" between purchases of handguns, it actually winds up being FOURTY days because of the additonal 10-day wait after you do the DROS.
So now that I have several handguns, and a couple of long guns, does this mean I have an "Arsenal"? Seems like anytime somebody has more than ONE gun, the lamestream media goes into a hissy fit and screams "They had an ARSENAL!" at the drop of a hat.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Oldie

A friend sent me this quite a while ago. I know it's been around since dirt was invented, but I think it's more timely today than when I first got it.


A chemistry professor in a large college had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke. 'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in The last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America . The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc.. While we continually lose our freedoms -- just a little at a time.

One should always remember: There is no such thing as a free lunch! Also, a politician will never provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

Also, if you see that all of this wonderful government 'help' is a problem confronting the future of democracy in America , you might want to send this on to your friends. If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life then you will probably delete this email, but God help you when the gate slams shut!

A Trillion Dollar TURD....

And we all have to take a bite.
I feel sorry for my son, and his children if he has any.
I wrote both my congress critters, and HRH Obama.
I was polite.....
I did not rant......
And I don't expect to hear back from any of them, as what do "The Little People" know?
After all, if I knew what was best for the country, why I'd be in the government!
Depressing, but as of Sunday morning, it still hasn't passed.....

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Looks like new hampshire has a good idea!

H/T to

Friday, February 6, 2009

Template Tinkerin'

Trying to find one I like, that displays the text and sidebars in a way that I find "appealing".
Looks like I'll have to dig out the HTML books and start turnin' the adjustment screws down inside the code...haven't *quite* found anything that really trips my trigger.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rain, Hot Rods, and Memories....

YAAAAY! It's been raining most of the day, and do we ever need it! According to my rain gauge we've received .36" as of 6:30 tonight, for a total of 3.98" for the California rain season, which starts July 1st. We're still around 3" under "normal", so hopefully we can pick up another couple of inches before February and March pass by.
It's supposed to rain some more tonight, and most of the weekend, clearing Sunday, and then another front passes through Monday night.
When I lived back in Northern Illinois and was going through my Hot Rod phase, it *always* seemed to start raining on Friday night, and clear by Sunday, ruining the Weekend Cruise Nights. We'd still hang out at our haunt, but it was a "Beater Night", and we all drove our grocery-getters or parts-chasing vehicles. Even though I don't care for Springsteen's politics, every time I hear the line in "Jungleland" about the "Barefoot girl sittin' on the hood of a Dodge, drinkin beer in the warm summer rain", the memories come flooding back. The closest I ever came to that was seeing a barefoot girl sittin on the hood of a buddies Chevelle drinkin beer under the warm summer skies (no rain that weekend!), and then everybody realizing she had on STUDDED jeans.....ARRRRGH!
When she did her coy little slide off the hood, she took about $500 worth of paint with her, and was never welcome back to the group I hung with. I seem to remember her going over to the 4-wheeler guys, most of who had trucks too tall for her to climb up onto the hood.
Mostly we listened to Arrowsmith, Foghat, Thin Lizzie, Sammy Hagar, and others groups like that. I was the older one, so I introduced the younger guys to Pink Floyd (You mean they had albums BEFORE "Dark Side of the Moon"??), and the girls to Steely Dan. "Hey 19" was popular, but the first time some little sweetie asked me "What's Cuervo Gold?" I felt old. Still it always impressed them that I knew all the words to "Your Gold Teeth" (1 AND 2!), and "Bodishatva".
Plus, I had the fastest street-legal Trans Am in the territory......

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More Radio

Just got home from work, and I'm going to try and finish doing a good cleaning job on the copper-plated chassis of my Drake R-4B. One of the things I've found works quite well is bore cleaning patches. Soft, absorbent, and very flexible. WAY better than paper towels wadded up into little pads, and they last longer than Q-Tips or other swabs.
After that I have a few more mods to do, clean the PTO shaft and carefully lube it, and I'll change out the old, crusty line cord for the new one. I'll have to open up the hole in the chassis for the new bushing, but that shouldn't be too hard. The do the alignment, and she'll be ready to go, just waiting on getting the case shells redone. Ummmmmm...POWDER COAT, and by the same company that painted them for Drake back in the 60's.
Then on to the transmitter!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Or "Other People's Blogs" for the acronymn challenged.
Geez, every time I visit some of the blogs I follow, I'm amazed at the creativity, passion, and scope of subjects covered. I wish I could write as well as they do, but unless you want a first-class Technical Manual or set of instructions on how to operate something, I think you might be better off reading some of the people I follow!
Maybe I should get a little pocket note-taker so I can record some of the random thoughts I have during the day, and then expand on them before I commit them to the bits, bytes, and electrons this medium offers.
Great job, everybody!

Meet Luna!

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