Sunday, July 29, 2012

Beginner's Reloading Advice?

I'm seriously thinking about getting started in reloading. I'm pretty sure I understand the basics, having helped my best buddy do it many times before I moved out here to Kaliforniastan in 1980, but I'm also sure things have change a LOT since 1980!

SO......I'm calling on my friends out here to suggest

1. Some good beginners books about it
2. Some good quality equipment; press, dies, scales, et al
3. Sage advice about how to do it, and store my supplies, safely.

I know a LOT of you have far more experience in this than I do, so if you had it to do over again, where would you change things, and what "rookie" mistakes did you make?

I promise I won't laugh.

God knows I've made plenty of rookie mistakes in most things I did when I was young and first learning about whatever new endeavor struck my fancy.

Now that I'm older, I ask and read anything I can find before I dive headlong into things!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Too Much Work, But a Bit of Fun Today

I'll be headed out on another launch campaign next Sunday, and since I've been working 10~11 hour days, I haven't been posting much.
We finished our RF System checkouts early today, and since the Meteorologist was MIA, I blew off helping him do the Weather System checkouts (DUH! He wasn't even on the ship!), and headed for home.
I stopped in at my mailbox, and picked up a new Uniden BCD996XT scanner that I ordered the other day. Now, the Uniden BD796D scanner I have here in Radio Central is still perfectly serviceable, and the little Uniden Home Patrol that's out in the living room is a marvel, but my son mentioned the other day he'd like to put a scanner in his car, and since his birthday is coming up in a couple of months, I figured this would be an ideal "excuse" for me to get his present early.
Gee, I have to know how it works, and how to program it if I'm going to support it, don't I?
Now while Uniden includes some "free" software to program these, and there are some other free programs out there that can do it, I'm very partial towards using BuTel software to program these. The really cool thing about the BuTel software, is that if you have a subscription to the RadioReference website, the software will automatically connect, and sort out the frequencies, control channels, Talk Group ID's, and all the other things you need to know about a Trunked Radio System from the online databases Radio Reference maintains, and presents them in a very logical, READABLE manner so you can decide what to save to a local database, which you then upload to the scanner.
Sure beats buying a handful of crystals every time you want to change frequencies!
This all started the other day when he and I were talking some radio stuff, and he told me what systems he wanted to be able to listen to. Some of the things he wanted are on a "conventional" radio system, but the others are on a trunked system, which pretty much killed the chances of him being able to use one of my older scanners.
ANYWAY.....the BCD996XT is quite a capable receiver. You can plug a GPS into it, and as you change areas, it will change what systems it's receiving on-the-fly.
I haven't really begun to scratch the surface of this radio,but I'm sure by the time his birthday gets here I'll have it pretty well sorted out.
Gee....I might even have to buy him a new one, as this one will probably be worn out by then!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Quiet, Relaxing, Goof-Off Day

We're in the midst of our next launch campaign, so I've been pretty busy at work the last week or so.

We busted our tails Thursday and Friday, with the result that we (my little RF group) didn't have to work this weekend.

SO....I slept in till 9 this morning (oh you sluggard!), and I've been just goofing off today. My son is coming over tomorrow so we can work on his car stereo/navigation unit, and I'm taking the Mrs out to dinner tonight to one of our favorite places, George's Greek Cafe.

If you *EVER* get in the Long Beach area, stop in for some of the best Greek food on the planet.  Friendly staff, excellent service, very reasonable prices, and as I said, most excellent Greek cuisine.

And I've been making some drawings and little fiddly bits for the all new-and-improved portable satellite station I'm going to use next year at Field Day.

I've got a super duty, 5' tall all metal surveyor's tripod that I bought for about $30. I'm going to make an aluminum mounting plate to bolt my Yaesu G-5400 Azimuth/Elevation rotator to it, separate the two rotator sections with about 3' of 2" heavy wall aluminum pipe, use one of my "spare" fiberglass cross-booms, a "spare" dual-band antenna, some preamplifiers I just bought from a friend, and I'll have an antenna setup that gives my 90% of the performance of my "big" setup, that's about 1/4th the weight, and 10 times easier to set up and tear down.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Knucle Draggin' My Life Away" on Hiatus

Ken (wirecutter) over at "Knuckle Draggin' My Life Away" has decided to take a break for a while.

Although I'm sure 99% of the blogosphere knew this before me, I understand it.

C'mon back anytime,'ve got a lot of friends out here!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Didn't Build That

My buddy Jeffro found this, and it's amazing.

WELL on it's way to becoming one of the top websites of the year, I'd say....

You Didn't Build That


20 Reasons Why It's Good To Be Barack Obama

1) It's all the golf you can play and as many free vacations as you want. The teleprompter tells you what to say to the crowd and if anybody makes a joke about you, someone calls him a racist!

2) You get a Nobel Peace Prize just for showing up.

3) No matter how much worse black Americans do under you than George W. Bush, Kanye West is never going to say, "Barack Obama doesn't care about black people."

4) You can eat a dog and PETA will still love you.

5) No one seems to find it odd that you simultaneously repeat Harry Truman's famous line, "The buck stops here" -- as you blame George Bush, Republicans in Congress, greedy corporations, the European economy, and even ATM machines for your many, many failures.

6) The Occupy Movement still loves you despite the fact that you've shoveled billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to Wall Street firms via bailouts and loan programs.

7) You can have a net worth of 11 million dollars, go on multiple 6 figure vacations per year, and hobnob with the wealthiest Americans at swanky 40k a plate fundraisers; yet no one bats an eye when you criticize Mitt Romney for being rich.

8) The press doesn't incessantly repeat the body count in Afghanistan in every article about the war, like it did when George Bush was in Iraq.

9) You get to keep Gitmo open, sign on to the Patriot Act, fight in Afghanistan and kill terrorists with drone attacks while leftists complain that you haven't tried to go after Bush for committing "war crimes" because he did the same things.

10) The mainstream press judges you not on what you've done, but on whatever you happen to be saying right this moment, even if it's different from what you were saying yesterday.

11) After creating jobs overseas with stimulus money, you can criticize Mitt Romney for having a Swiss bank account without being laughed at despite the fact you're holding fundraisers in Switzerland, Sweden, Paris and China.

12) The same press that was utterly uninterested in your background when you ran for office in 2008 considers Mitt Romney's religion, what date he left Bain Capital, and how hard his wife worked when she was taking care of their kids much more important than anything you did over the last 3 1/2 years as President.

13) You can simultaneously block the keystone pipeline and ANWR while you hold up offshore drilling in the Gulf and demonize oil companies, yet claim with a straight face that you're trying to reduce gas prices.

14) Despite the fact that you're conducting war across the globe and have never served in the military, nobody calls you a chickenhawk.

15) Even though your administration helped kill 300 people with guns, including an American citizen, gun control advocates have zero interest in getting to the bottom of it.

16) You have the single most important job on earth and yet, most people seem to be thrilled that you're spending more time campaigning for reelection than you do working.

17) The mainstream media is much more concerned with the possible racism or bad motives of anyone questioning you than it is with whether your policies actually work.

18) No matter how much of an utter failure you are, most black Americans feel compelled to pretend you're not a disaster because they're afraid everyone will judge them by how incompetent you turned out to be.

19) You have a National Debt Charge Card with a limit of "Infinity" and you're not scared to use it.

20) Your biggest accomplishments so far after killing Osama Bin Laden are ending the manned space program, having the longest string of over 8% unemployment of any President since WWII, putting more Americans for food stamps than any other President in history, killing the work requirements in welfare, giving up on stopping illegal aliens, adding more debt in three and a half years than Bush did in eight, and decimating America's health care system with the least popular entitlement program in history. Yet, you still have a chance to be reelected. It doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Go Kart Racing

A week or so ago when my son and I were were headed back from the range, he mentioned that we should go kart racing one of these days.

Well.....we went today.

Now I've done more than just a bit of racing in the past. I used to run SCCA B-Production cars, and even won the regional title back in 1974.
And I've done my share of after-hours racing out on the deserted two lane blacktops back in Illinois. We knew the roads very well, and blocked off both ends, and any intersecting roads, and went at it. Not "Street Racing" in the sense that you hear about in the news, but still pretty illicit. The cops knew we did it, and pretty much left the group I was with alone, as we NEVER did anything in town, and strongly discouraged all our peers from doing stupid shit on the main streets, side streets, or any other streets in town.
A few years ago, one of my buddies talked me into going to driver's school down at Lake Perris. My buddy continued his kart racing, and last I heard was doing quite well in the Denver area.

ANYWAY....we went to the K1 Speed  indoor track today, and I had an absolute blast. The karts are electric powered, with a 20 h.p. motor, and can reach speeds of 40~45 mph.

The facility is clean, well-equipped, and the staff are very friendly and helpful. If you have a question, or need some help, somebody is there pronto to assist you.

Now some people might say this isn't "real" racing, but then they've probably never raced anything in their lives.

Trust me, this IS "real" racing. The karts accelerate very quickly, have more than enough power to slide through the corners controlled by the throttle (NOT the fast way around), have hydraulic disc brakes, real racing tires, a 3-point harness, roll bars, and look to be fairly well built.

My first race had me throttled back electronically, but the second race they let me have full power. Took a few laps for me to get on my game (it's a perishable skill, just like marksmanship), and I started turning faster laps.

I'm sure we'll be going back, as my son wants a rematch after I beat him!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Get OUT!

Courtesy of USA_Admiral


This whole current flap about the Coronal Mass Ejection that happened earlier this week is a big ZERO.
We've had MUCH larger Solar Flares and CME's in the last several years, and there's been little to NO damage on the Earth.
The satellite operators have far more to worry about, but even they haven't seen anything from this one.
The fact NOAA and NASA can't agree on how big/damaging this one is/was/MIGHT be should tell you something.
Personally, I tend to favor NOAA, as they've always had a better grip on Space Weather than NASA.
The lead-in picture is from an M7.9 solar flare that occurred on 24 March 2012, and the bottom picture is from today, 14 July 2012, at 19:16 UTC.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Police Action In Downtown L.A.

Been listening to my scanner for a while, and there's something going on around 4th/5th and Spring/Broadway.
They were using an air unit (chopper) to vector the police around to try and box up a crowd that had attempted to roll over a van and torch it.
"Less Than Lethal" approval came through about 15 minutes ago, and I just heard them give the order to fire:
"Bean Bags Only, Target The Instigators".

Hmmm....wonder if this will make the news tomorrow?


It's Raining.....

In Southern California.
In July.
Huh....must be GloBULL Warming!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

50 Years Ago Today......

Telstar was launched.
While not a Geostationary satellite, it never the less ushered in a new era in telecommunications.
Since it wasn't in a Geosynchronous orbit, it had to be tracked across the sky, using the Andover Earth Station, built by AT&T.

Launched from Cape Canaveral using a Delta rocket, it had an orbit with a perigee of approximately 590 miles, and an apogee of approximately 3680 miles.

Telstar I and II are both still in orbit, though they have long since gone silent.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Antique Power, Modulation, and Audio Transformers and Other Things

Whilst stumbling around the Web, I came across this site, which has TONS of specs and catalogs for old, ancient, power, modulation, and audio transformers.

If you're into old tube gear, check out The Bunker Of Doom!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Day At The Range With My New Buckmasters Scope

And what a day we had!
My new Nikon Buckmasters 3-9x40 scope is just what I needed! I can't say enough good things about this scope. Incredibly bright, clear viewing, plenty of eye relief, I can focus it to compensate for my glasses (YAY!), and each click moves the shot the amount it's supposed to.
Well....I was moving it 4-clicks at a time to start, because I needed to move it several inches, and 4-clicks moved it one inch. Each click equals 1/4 MOA, which works out to be 1/4" at 100 yards.
I got settled in with my Lead Sled, and fired a few shots to see where it was hitting, and went from there. I walked it in up/down, took several shots to confirm it was holding the new settings, and then walked it left/right until it was hitting right where I aimed.
Yeah, I "wasted" some ammo getting POA to equal POI, but I'm still pretty new at this, and I'm still learning how to do it, and watching carefully as I changed the adjustments on the scope. I looked at this exercise as not so much in getting the new scope zeroed, but rather as getting a feel for how to do it, and a feel for the how the adjustments reacted.
It turned out to be well worth the 20 or so rounds I spent experimenting.
I brought along some Remington 150gr Core-Lockt, some 150gr Sellier&Bellot, some 150gr  stuff I got from another place, and some 150gr Hornady LEVERevolution.
The Remington and S&B shot extremely consistent, while the "other" stuff was all over the place.
The Hornady was very interesting stuff. The box said that at 100 yards, it should shoot +3". Now, they don't tell you +3" compared to what, but compared to the Remington and S&B, it shoot just slightly above the black circle on my 5.5" targets, which is pretty damn close to 3".
And wonder of wonders, 12-clicks down put it where it was supposed to be!
Compared to the last time I took the Marlin 336 out to zero the OEM scope, this was a joy to do. The OEM scope didn't seem to adjust correctly, and it seemed to change it's zero over the course of the day. I understand that I was basically paying the rifle, and the scope and rings were just gravy. The prices these go for seem to bear that out, as a 336W is $500, and a 336WS is $548.
I don't think $48 can get you a very good scope and a set of rings!
Oh, yeah, the OEM rings. Couldn't use 'em. While I could get the scope and rings off the rail as a unit, I couldn't get the screws holding the top half of the rings loose! To start with, they're metric socket head caps screws, and the only hex keys I have in metric are ball drivers. These screws were in so tight, I was afraid of either stripping the head, or the ball-end of my driver, or both.
Since I had purchased some Warne rings in high, medium, and low, I decided to just use those, and leave the Marlin scope and rings together as a unit.
Since I was into it this far, I tried all three heights to see what best fit me, and wound up using the low rings.

The picture was taken at the end of our session on the long range, and shows some interesting things.
The bottom target shows (on the white paper) where I was walking it in, the top target shows me shooting off-hand standing at 100 yards, and the middle target shows the result of the barrel getting hot. The middle target was shot last, and although I kept it pretty much on center left-to-right, the elevation was changing. By the time I'd finished the middle target, the barrel was too hot to touch!
Yes, a 30-30 lever action rifle is NOT meant to be rapid fired for 10 minutes straight, and boy, I sure do understand that now!
 The bottom target only has two "big" holes from my 30-30, and the rest of the small holes are from my son's Mini 14 with aperture sights. It was the first time I've ever fired a Mini 14, and although that target sure won't qualify me as a Rifleman at Appleseed, I'm actually surprised I did that well at 100 yards with iron sights.
After spending a couple of hours on the long range, we went down to the short/pistol/steel target range for another couple of hours. I had a ball shooting my Marlin 1894C in 357 at the steel targets, and was clobbering them out at 100 yards with those funky "Buckhorn" sights it comes with. Took me a few shots to get the rear sight adjusted for elevation, but after that it was BOOM.........CLANG! My son got quite a kick out of the 1894, too, and said he didn't know how much fun it was to shoot a little rifle like that.

So all-in-all, we spent five hours tromping around out in the fresh air, went through 80 rounds of 30-30, 200 rounds of 223, 100 rounds of 17HMR, 100 rounds of 357, 100 rounds of 45ACP, and 100 rounds of 40S&W.

And we had a ball!

Off To The Range

I'll report back when I get home....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lifeguard Saves Man...AND GETS FIRED!

This is just freakin' NUTS.

He's sitting in his tower, and somebody comes running up to tell him about a struggling man in the surf.

He goes, rescues the guy, fills out an incident report, and gets fired on the spot!


Several of his fellow lifeguards quit in protest, and now the contracting company that manages the lifeguards is back pedaling on the issue.

Ya think?

Anyway, read all about it here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day

Happy (?) 4th of July, everybody.
I'm still in a dizzy over what our crumb-bum-in-chief is getting away with, and the recent Supreme (double??) Court decisions.
Oh, well.....
Going up to Angeles Shooting Range on Friday with my son and his cousin. I'm going to sight-in my new Nikon Buckmaster scope (3x9x40) on my Marlin 336, and blast some steel with my Marlin 1894 in 357.
My son will be bringing his step dads Mini 14, and I'm looking forward to shooting one of those.

Everybody be safe, and watch out for each other!

And I'll leave you with a quote from General Curtis LeMay's 1968 book, "America Is In Danger":

"People who wish to remain free must be willing to bleed for freedom"

Meet Luna!

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