Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Radio Contest Results

Well, first of all, I didn't operate anywhere near the alloted 36 out of the possible 48 hours, from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. The YF (that's wife in ham-speak) had an event at the school where she works, so we went out to dinner, and then to the event. I didn't feel like getting started at 10PM Friday night when we got home, so all I did was tune around a bit to see how much activity there was. Saturday morning I got started, and decided to run my FlexRadio Systems rig exclusively, along with the logging program that I recently installed. I stumbled around figuring out the logging program, lost the first half-dozen contacts I made when I hit a wrong button on the logger, and then decided I'd better RTFM. Finally got serious around noon, and started cranking out contacts on the 15 Meter (21.000MHz~21.450MHz) band. I use a method called "Hunt And Pounce", where I'll start at one end of the band, work my way up (or down) in frequency, and work all the stations I can contact. Contests like this don't give you a chance to sit and talk to people, but rather encourage making as many contacts as fast as you can. You give out a signal report and contact number, receive the same back from the station you're talking to, and move on to the next contact. A really good operator at a powerhouse station can sit on one frequency and bang out contacts at better than 200 per hour! When I'm doing 20~30 per hour I feel like I'm doing pretty good considering my modest station. I operated about 6 hours on Saturday, took a break for dinner, watched a movie with the YF, and then hit the hay. I got back on Sunday for about another 4 hours. I only made 116 contacts, with 100 different multipliers, for a total score of 20,800. Some of the station I worked had over 6,000 contacts, so I'm sure their score will be astronomical. I mostly used this contest to get used to operating my FLEX-5000A under fire, and left it on all weekend. I have to say this thing has the absolute BEST receiver I've ever used under crowded band conditions. The adjustable filters are nothing short of amazing, and to be able to hear a signal barely above the noise (S2), sandwiched between two extremely loud signals (S9+30), and to be able to make the interference just go away, is staggering. My other Big Rig is a Kenwood TS-950SDX with an INRAD Roofing Filter kit, and INRAD 1.8kHz crystal filters in both the 8.83MHz and 455kHz IF stages, and outstanding combination in what was, and still is, Kenwood's top-of-the-line Amateur Radio transceiver.
Yeah, I know it's time I could be spending at the range keeping my skills really sharp, but hey, activities like this help keep my "Signal Corps" skills sharp, and it sure beats sitting on the couch drinking beer and watching ESPN all weekend!

2010 Elections In Jeporady?

And I don't mean the game show!
There's an excellent "Open Letter To America" to read over at our friends the JPFO's website. I'm hesitant to just copy and paste it, so please follow the link and read the letter.
H/T to Fuzzy's Dad.

Obama's Business Experience

...Is absolutely ZERO, or maybe even less. In the news of several large corporations taking huge writedowns due to the passage of ObamaCare and their loss of tax breaks, here's a good article to read about Teh One and his cronies reaction to it.
Obama In Rude Denial

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The FED Wants Your 401(k), Too!

Man, I'm *seriously* considering buying a few mattresses to stuff my money into!

Unions Want to Take Over Your 401(k)

Oh, boy.....
Found a link to this article at The Market Ticker. And it's not just any union, it's the scum sucking SEIU, one of the Obummer's bed pals.
Pretty damn scary.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I think it's getting to be "The Time".

Our oldest dog hasn't been doing too well the last couple of days. She's almost 14 years old, went deaf about 8 months ago, has an enlarged heart and fluid buildup in her lungs, and gets small fatty tumors. She's been pretty listless the last few days, and she has a bloody mucus discharge from her nose that just started. She was pretty quiet yesterday, but as soon as I got the leash out after dinner, she perked right up, tail wagging, ears up, jumping around like a pup, and we went for a nice long walk. Well, with her it's more of a nice long SNIFF anymore, as we'll walk about 30~40 feet, and then something on the ground or in the parkway requires her attention for a a minute or two, and then off we go again.
This afternoon she was shivering, so I covered her up on the couch, and she napped. I got the leash out after dinner, and she didn't want to go, so I'm worried we might (or maybe should....it's wrong to let them suffer) have to take her on her last trip to the vet tomorrow.

Oh, The Humanity......Wikipedia GLOBAL Outage

Wikipedia is down due to some servers in their European Data Center overheating and shutting down.
They transferred the data traffic to the USA, but it's going to take the DNS servers a while to catch up.

Civil War Has Started......

Well, at least Dennis Prager thinks so, and he has seven actions we need to take.
#1 Know and teach America's core values
#2 Recognize we are fighting the LEFT, and not LIBERALS
#3 Start referring to the Democratic Party as the Social Democratic Party.
#4 Work tirelessly to repeal the bill
#5 Our motto should be The Bigger The Government, The Smaller The Citizen
#6 Do not let other matters distract
#7 Acknowledge we are in a non-violent Civil War

Monday, March 22, 2010


My buddy Old NFO says this should be our rallying cry.
I agree!
I'm looking into getting some nice bumper stickers made with this printed on them. Let me know if you're interested.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Help Repeal Obamacare

Don't know how much this will help, but we have to start somewhere.
I think today will be known as "The Great Democrat Cliff Dive day", as they *ALL* just cut their own throats.

Please sign the pledge!

Dear Granddaughter....

I know, this, or a variation of it, has been around for a while. I just thought it was appropriate in light of what The Gubmint is planning on passing today.

John G. is 63 years old and owns a small business. He's a life-long
Republican and sees his dream of retiring next year has all but
evaporated. With the stock market crashing and new taxes coming his way, John assumes now that he will work to his dying day.

John has a granddaughter. Ashley is a recent college grad. She drives a
flashy hybrid car, wears all the latest fashions, and loves to go out to
nightclubs and restaurants. Ashley campaigned hard for Barack Obama. After
the election she made sure her grandfather (and all other Republican
family members) received a big I told-you-so earful on how the world is going to
be a much better place now that her party is taking over.

Having lost both roommates, Ashley recently ran short of cash and cannot
pay the rent (again) on her 3 bedroom townhouse. Like she has done many times in the past, she e-mailed her grandfather asking for some financial help.

Here is his reply:


I received your request for assistance.

Ashley, you know I love you dearly and I 'm sympathetic to your financial
plight. Unfortunately, times have changed. With the election of President
Obama, your grandmother and I have had to set forth a bold new economic plan
of our own..."The Ashley Economic Empowerment Plan." Let me explain.

Your grandmother and I are life-long, wage-earning tax payers. We have lived
a comfortable life, as you know, but we have never had the fancier things
like European vacations, luxury cars, etc. We have worked hard and were
looking forward to retiring soon. But the plan has changed. Your President and his Congress are raising our personal and business taxes significantly. He says it is so he can give our hard earned money to other people. Do you know what this means, Ashley? It means less for us, and we must cut back on many business and personal expenses. You know the wonderful receptionist who worked in my office for more than 23 years, the one who always gave you candy when you came over to visit? I had to let her go last week. I can't afford to pay her salary and all of the government mandated taxes that go with having employees. Your grandmother will now work 4 days a week to answer phones, take orders, and handle the books. We will be closed on Fridays and will lose even more income to the local Wal-Mart.

I'm also very sorry to report that your cousin, Frank will no longer be working summers in the warehouse. I called him at school this morning. He already knows about it, and he's upset because he will have to give up skydiving and his yearly trip to Greenland to survey the polar bears.

That's just the business side of things. Some personal economic effects of
Obama's new taxation policies include none other than you. You know very
well that over the years your grandmother and I have given you thousands of
dollars in cash, tuition assistance, food, housing, clothing, gifts, etc., etc. But by your vote, you have chosen to help others -- not at your expense -- but at our expense.

If you need money now sweetheart, I recommend you call 202-456-1111. That is the direct phone number for the White House. You yourself told me how foolish it is to vote Republican. You said Mr. Obama is going to be the
People's President, and is going to help every American live a better life..

Based on everything you've told me, along with all the promises we heard
during the campaign, I'm sure Mr. Obama will be happy to transfer some
stimulus money into your bank account. Have him call me for the account
number which I memorized years ago...

Perhaps you can now understand what I've been saying all my life: those who
vote for a president should consider the impact on the nation as a whole,
and not be just concerned with what they can get for themselves. What
Obama supporters don't seem to realize is all of the money he is redistributing
to illegal aliens and non-taxpaying Americans (the so-called "less fortunate")
comes from tax-paying families. There is no government money.
It is money taken from one group, distributed to another, minus a "handling fee."

Remember how you told me, "Only the richest of the rich will be affected"?

Well guess what, Honey? Because we own a business, your grandmother and I
are now considered to be the richest of the rich. On paper, it might look that way, but in the real world, we are far from it.

As you said while campaigning for Obama, some people will have to carry more
of the burden so all of America can prosper. You understand what that means,
right? It means that raising taxes on productive people results in them having less money; less money for everything, including granddaughters.

I'm sorry, Ashley, but the well has run dry. The free lunches are over. I have no money to give you now. So, congratulations on your choice for "change." For future reference, I encourage you to try and add up the total value of the gifts and cash you have received from us, just since you went off to college, and compare it to what you expect to get from Mr. Obama over the next 4 (or 8) years. I have not kept track of it, Ashley. It has all truly been the gift of our hearts.

Remember, we love you dearly.... but from now on you'll need to call the
number mentioned above. Your "Savior" has the money we would have given to
you. Just try and get it from him.

Good luck, Sweetheart.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

RATS! Traffic Accident

Well, I wasn't in traffic, but it's still kinda-sorta my fault. I stopped for gas today, and pulled into the pump to fuel my Jeep. There was a guy in front of me, so I took the pump behind him, and fueled up. Wrote down the mileage, gallons, and price like I always do, LOOKED BEHIND ME since the other guy was still in front, and started to back up. Heard a BEEEEP-BEEEEEP! and then *crunch*.
Oh, shit.
Got out of the Jeep, and there was a 2008 Honda Civic _right_ behind me that I backed into. He wanted to know why I backed up, and I pointed to the guy in front of me who was still filling his car. Considering the Jeep is about twice as tall as his Civic, and he must have been _right on_ my bumper, I simply could NOT see him out the back window.
My trailer hitch punched in his grill and scraped the paint off his bumper, but no damage to those expen$ive headlights. His car must have been a re-paint, as the paint came off his bumper in big strips, which doesn't happen with the flexible OEM paint.
We both have the same insurance company, so it should be interesting to see how this plays out....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Auto Work, Part II

Well, that was relatively painless! The OEM plugs were put in DRY, so I was very careful to pull them with a cold engine, but still, the SQUEAK! as they came loose made me shiver. I know there's some controversy on using anti-seize compound on the plug threads, but I was always taught that a steel bolt into an aluminum casting should NEVER be put in dry, or you run the risk of pulling the aluminum threads out the next time you remove the steel bolt, especially if it's been hot/cold cycled, like a spark plug in an aluminum head. One old hot rod book I had said even a drop of engine oil from the dipstick was better than putting them in dry!
And speaking of dipsticks, when I first opened the hood, I noticed hers was missing! She just had the oil and filter changed last week at the local Jiffy Lube, so she's going to go back there Monday after work and give them Hell about it. They're either going to replace it, or reimburse us for a new one from the Nissan dealer. There wasn't any oil around the top of the tube, and it's doubtful if much dirt would get in there, so I think it's OK to drive the car until we get it replaced.
The belt change took all of 15 minutes, which is one of the things I like about serpentine belts. Loosen the tensioner, remove the belt, and slip the new one on. Easy as cake!
And since there was a layer of blue-green crud on the negative battery post, I pulled the terminal, scrubbed it, greased it, and put it back on all nice and clean. The positive one looked great, and has neat little plastic cover that snaps over it.
All in all, a pleasant Sunday afternoon out in the driveway doing something I enjoy.

Happy Birthday Linux!

Today, in 1994, Linus Torvalds released v 1.0.0 of the Linux Kernel. And the rest, as they say, is history.
No word what Bill Gates was doing......

Automotive Work Today

Not much, really. Have to change the spark plugs and serpentine belts on the YF's car. No points or cap/rotor, as her Nissan Sentra has the "Coil On Plug" design, so all I (should!) have to do is carefully remove the coil assembly, remove the old plugs, put the new ones in, and put the coil back on. She got the dreaded "Check Engine" light the other day, so I put my OBD-II scanner on the connector, and it read out "Cylinder #3 Misfire". Hmmmmm.....47,000 miles on the original plugs, so probably time to change them even though the Service Manual says they're good for 105,000 miles ( !!!! ). Cleared the fault code, and it's been running happily ever since. On the other hand, I could probably just give it an "Italian Tune-Up" and it would be good for a while, BUT...she's big on replacing consumable parts if there's the slightest doubt they might be bad, and *I'm* big on "Happy Wife, Happy Life", so I'll swap them out.
The serpentine belts might take a little longer. When she got her oil changed last week the guy was like "OMG!!! You NEED your belts changed NOW!!!!", so she called me. Rather than pay the oil change place $85 to install new belts, I told her to decline the "service", and bring the car home. Were the belts *that* bad? NO....glazed a bit, but no cracks or missing ribs on the drive side.
Got 4 new plugs, and both belts, for $54 at the Autozone down the street, so today I get to play mechanic.
Hmmm...where'd I put my silicone dielectric grease?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CBS Poll on His Royal Highness' Performance

Wow....and this is from his lap-dog lamestream media!

America Under Socialism

From our good friends the Sipsey Street Irregulars comes this.
Read the whole thing. It's amazingly prophetic.
Reagan warned us of this years ago in his speeches.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hello Radio.......

WELL.....I was having great fun in the ARRL International DX Contest this weekend running my Kenwood TS-950SDX, and then the YF turned on the TV. A few minutes later she came in saying I was coming in over the surround-sound speakers. Since I had just changed bands from 15 Meters (21 MHz) to 20 Meters (14 MHz), I thought maybe something was more sensitive to the different frequency in use. I went back on 15, and had her go listen while I sent a "test" transmission.
No dice!
I come in *equally* well on both bands, and don't bother the video one bit. Since the home theater setup is fed from a Verizon FiOS cable box with HDMI for the video (I disabled the HDMI audio pass-through in the Onkyo receiver), and a TOSLink optical cable for the audio, I've now got to figure out where the RF is leaking in to the system.
My computer speakers in the shack don't pick anything up, her computer speakers don't pick anything, and her son's computer speakers and stereo don't pick anything up. And I've asked the neighbors on both sides if I ever bother their TV's, and they've said no.
The Onkyo receiver is the likely culprit at this time, as the AC line cord is only two conductors, so the receiver really isn't grounded. Luckily it has a *real* ground connection on the back panel, so I'll try tying that to one of the other pieces of gear in the home theater setup that has a ground connection.
In the meantime, I'm going to fire up my FlexRadio Systems 5000A, and see if the problem goes away. The Kenwood runs a solid 150 Watts output, and the Flex is set for 100 Watts max.
Sometimes you just have to back off the power a wee bit, and the RFI will go away.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

McDonald v. Chicago

Turk Turon has been standing on the steps getting great photos, and is keeping a running blog on this important case.
Drop on by his place, and see the latest!

Supras and Stereos.....

 The repairs on the Fisher RS-2010 are proceeding, but a bit slower than I expected. The failed transistor is an obsolete part number, so I ...