Monday, October 29, 2012

To All My Friends In The Path of Hurricane Sandy

I'll be praying for you all to be safe, warm, and dry.

I know most of you are far, far better prepared than John Q. Public, and for that I'm thankful.

And while I don't know all of you on a truly personal level, other than the few I've directly talked to or corresponded with, I consider you to be part of my family.

Be safe, my friends.......



Friday, October 26, 2012

Lies, Damn Lies, and Still MORE Damn Lies

Regarding the attack on our embassy, and the MURDER of four Americans, seems the administration is flip-flopping...AGAIN!

Hmm...first it was caused by a poorly made "movie" trailer, then it wasn't, then it was spontaneous, then it wasn't, then the State department knew ahead of time, then they didn't, etc, etc, etc.

Or maybe I got it all backwards?

Well, at least our Traitor-In-Chief is being consistent!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Texas Threatens To Arrest Election "Watchers"

All I have to say is....


Article follows here:

Texas authorities have threatened to arrest international election observers, prompting a furious response from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“The threat of criminal sanctions against [international] observers is unacceptable,” Janez Lenarčič, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), said in a statement. “The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections.”

Lawmakers from the group of 56 European and Central Asian nations have been observing U.S. elections since 2002, without incident. Their presence has become a flashpoint this year, however, as Republicans accuse Democrats of voter fraud while Democrats counter that GOP-inspired voter ID laws aim to disenfranchise minority voters.Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott further fueled the controversy on Tuesday when he sent a letter to the OSCE warning the organization that its representatives “are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place” and that it “may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance.”

And As Far As Big Bird And His "Special Friend" Go......

I think this sums it up pretty well.....


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pretty Much Recovered

From both the big JOTA event on the USS IOWA, and the, uhhhh......colonoscopy I had Monday.

The Doctor gave me a clean (hah...pun intended!) bill of health, although he had to use a couple of "clips" to seal off the ends of one of the 'dingleberries' he removed.

He said I "might" have some cramps, but don't worry about them, as they'd pass.

Monday night / Tuesday morning I woke up repeatedly feeling like a mule had just kicked me below the belt.

Cramps? Yeah, right........POW! here comes another one.

My sweet wife looked at me Tuesday morning, and said she'd call my boss and let him know I wouldn't be in.

Anyway.....I've always been sympathetic to what our lady friends feel every month or so, and now I'm a bit more sympathetic to you ladies.

SO....that explains why I've been out-of-action since Sunday, when I was drinking a freakin' GALLON of this "stuff", and reeeeal busy in the latrine.

And I've been digging out some goodies for a friend who's working on a REAL "Ham" radio.

I should get those shipped out late this week, or early next week so she can continue along on her project.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Prediciton For Tonights Debate

Shamelessly "borrowed" from Hope n' Change Cartoons.

I'm a little 'out of it' today, as I just got back from the Doctor recommended Alien Anal Probe, aka colonoscopy.

Whatever they knocked me out with was/is rather enjoyable, as the bursitis is my shoulder doesn't bother me today.

I still feel it, I just don't give a damn about it!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saturday's AAR

Things went pretty well, but we didn't have any where near the number of Scouts show up that were "predicted".

I'd be surprised if we had more than 200, but I think the weather may have had more to do with it than anything else.

It drizzled and rained a bit driving over to the Iowa, but stopped when I was lugging the last of my gear on to her. Mostly it was cloudy, and started to sprinkle a bit as we were loading the trucks back up.

I had originally planned to operate on FO-29, AO-27, AO-7, and possibly the ISS if they were on-the-air.

It turned out the AO-27 is still being recovered from a system crash, and was non-operational; AO-7 had switched to "Mode A" which meant it was on a 10 Meter (28 MHz) downlink, which I didn't bring an antenna for (DOH!) and so was unusable; and the International Space Station hed their radio operating as a packet radio digipeater, so the was out of the picture, too.

That left ONLY FO-29, and only for two passes.

I was only able to use one of the FO-29 passes we had available, but what a pass!

I made 13 contacts in the 16 minutes the satellite was available, and was able to connect with one of my friends who was doing a satellite demonstration at a Hamfest in Northern Arizona. I knew he was doing the demo, but sure didn't expect to work him!

The next pass of that satellite turned into major fail.

The station next to me had positioned his antenna about 10' from mine. Normally, this shouldn't be a problem, as the frequencies I was operating at were about TEN times as high as his, so we shouldn't bother each other.


Murphy showed up, and whenever he keyed up on 20 Meters (14 MHz), my receiver went nuts, and a couple of other things seemed to flake out, but not too badly. We asked him politely to NOT operate on 20 meters, updated, printed, and posted the Operating Instructions for that station, and did some testing with that station on other bands, and all was good, and I went on to make the 13 contacts just fine.

WELL.....90 minutes later when good old FO-29 came back over, this ding-dong decided to operate on 20 again.

About two minutes into the 14 minute pass, he keys up, and everything on my end went bonkers.

My laptop bluescreened, and my trusty Yaesu FT-847 locked up, something I'd not only never seen, but never even heard of happening.

With the laptop pouring gibberish out of the USB port, the rotor controller freaked out, and started the antennas moving all on their own.

I immediately shut down the rotor controller, turned the radio off, and yelled over at the guy to "Get Off Twenty........NOW!" while rebooting the laptop.

He finished the contact he was having, and then went on to make another!

About this time the event coordinator came over, told the guy to shut down NOW, and didn't he READ the printed instructions clearly showing the times the satellite passes were scheduled for? You know, the sheet printed in BOLD, right next to the clock?

By this time the laptop was back up, but the radio was still hosed even after a power-cycle, so I dove into the menu and did a Master Reset to it.

Since the radio is completely under control of the laptop, doing a Master Reset was more an annoyance, as I didn't have any frequencies or other things stored in it, but it took about a minute to find the menu setting, and execute it.

By the time I got everything back online, there was only a few minutes left in the pass, and the only guy I worked was one who I'd worked before, and wondered what had happened when my station quit in the middle of a "CQ FO-29". He said there were people asking where I was, so I explained what had happened, and he said he understood. He then asked me how much weight we tied to the guy before we dumped him overboard.

I don't know how many contacts the other stations made, as I was too busy explaining all kinds of things about satellites to the various Scouts (and their parents) that came by, and doing an interview for a scouting magazine.

Still, for an inaugural event I think we did pretty well. The rain held off until we were finished loading up after the event, and the Scouts had a good time. Multiple Radio Merit Badge classes were offered and were FULL at each sitting, and a whole lot of Scouts will be adding another badge to their sash.

There was also a very large group of young people dressed in BDU/ACU or whatever they're calling it these days, but I didn't get a chance to ask if they were Sea Scouts or the local group of Young Marines who I've seen many times at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro.

The most heartening thing I saw all weekend were the Scouts. Every single one of them was polite, asked good questions, listened attentively, and had excellent attitudes.

Maybe there's hope for us yet......

Friday, October 19, 2012

Equipment Loaded, and We're Go for JOTA!

GROAN.....Five trips up the aft "brow" today lugging my complete "portable" satellite station on to the IOWA.

 The radio and support equipment are stored in one of the ship's secure areas, and the tower and antennas shown in the picture, and the generator, we're lugged up there today and stowed by the #3 turret.

No, we won't be using the tent, and the handsome young guy in the photo (my son the EMT) won't be there as he has to work his "day job".

So, at a little past O-Dark-Thitry I'll be trundling down there with the last few bits and pieces (laptop, 3G/WiFi Mobile Hot Spot) and start setting up.

I had been told we were expecting between 300 and 500 Scouts, but the Scoutmaster in charge of the event, who helped my tote everything down there, has raised his count to almost 1000 based on the inquiries he's been receiving.

ONE THOUSAND Boy Scouts............WoW!

I just hope we do a proper job introducing them to Amateur Radio. God knows we need new blood in the hobby!

73, drjim


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gonna Be Busy On Friday

The good folks who take care of the USS IOWA have agreed to let us prestage our equipment for the BSA JOTA event on Saturday.

So, Friday afternoon I'll be lugging my semi-portable satellite antennas and radio gear down to the IOWA. One of my friends has graciously offered to come by Radio Central here and help me load the big stuff into his truck, and then bring it all back Saturday afternoon.

We're expecting about FIVE HUNDRED Boy Scouts, plus their family and friends to swing by. Besides activating the IOWA with her new callsign for the first time, we're also going to tray and connect with the MISSOURI, WISCONSIN, and NEW JERSEY on the HF ("shortwave") radio frequencies.

This will be the first time ever that all four IOWA-class ships are on-the-air on Amateur Radio frequencies at the same time.

Just got an email that the Wisconsin won't be able to be an-the-air with us as they don't quite have their Radio Room space finished.
They're going to be on-the-air the weekend of the 7th to 9th of December for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.

Monday, October 15, 2012

You Know You're an 0bama Voter If....

Yep, here's another one, courtesy of GrassTopsUSA.

Gee....I wonder how many more I can post in the (less than!) three weeks remaining??

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think our dismal economy is all the fault of George W. Bush, who left office 45 months ago, and whose average unemployment rate was 6.3% – almost 2 points lower than under his whiz-kid successor.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think lack of adequate regulation is responsible for the home-mortgage meltdown of 2008, rather than a Democratic Congress that (in the name of fairness) made banks to give sub-prime mortgages to unqualified lenders.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the Muslim Brotherhood is a fraternal order. Their initiation rite is killer.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you believe Joe Biden’s claim that the intelligence community initially told the administration that our Benghazi consulate was attacked by a spontaneous mob – a spontaneous mob of al-Qaeda fighters armed with AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and gun trucks.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the president has done a consummate job of keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons – by enacting more sanctions (which have never worked before), working with our “allies” China and Russia and refusing to draw a red line which would elicit military action against Tehran-- while the mullahs spent the last four years developing fissile material.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Barack Hussein has “got Israel’s back.” By having Israel’s back, the president means sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Palestinians committed to Israel’s annihilation, seeking to dictate Israel’s future borders (so as to make the Jewish state impossible to defend), helping the Muslim Brotherhood come to power in Egypt, and telling the former president of France how much he hates Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if, like your candidate, you think the Israeli “occupation” of Israel is the principal cause of turmoil in the Middle East, and that, before Israel’s rebirth in 1948, from time immemorial the region looked like Woodstock.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Islam really is the religion of peace – and that al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Ahmadinejad, the scholars of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University and the imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque don’t understand their own religion.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the Ft. Hood massacre (where 13 of our soldiers were murdered in cold blood by a Koran-spouting jihadist) was “workplace related violence.”

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think it doesn’t matter that this president skips more than half of his daily intelligence briefings. After all, he reads the reports at night – or on the golf course.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the “undocumented workers” streaming across our southern border (thanks to the president’s non-deportation order) are all hard-working family folk, eager to learn English and assimilate – with nary a hardcore criminal, gang member, grifter or terrorist among them.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Joe Biden is clever and witty, not to mention polite and respectful.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Michelle is hot and Hillary belongs on the cover of the next Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the oil companies, the Arab Spring or hurricanes in the Gulf states are responsible for prices at the pump more than doubling since January 19, 2009, rather than this administration’s insane environmental policies and war on energy development.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you believe that green energy is our salvation – with a wee bit of help from the unicorns, the fairies and the little people.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think drastically limiting off-shore drilling, closing coal-fired energy plants, nixing U.S. participation in the Keystone Pipeline and extreme environmental regulations will make us less dependent on foreign oil.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the GM bailout is a shining success. At a cost of $50 billion to taxpayers, the president saved $56-an hour union jobs, while screwing bondholders and giving Washington 26.5% share of the auto giant.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think “gay marriage” strengthens the family.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you don’t care that the voters of 32 states have overwhelmingly rejected this absurdity by passing defense of marriage amendments.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Obama and Biden care about the middle class – instead of looking at them the way Dracula views a blood bank.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think raising tax rates on businesses, in the weakest economic recovery in history, won’t devastate job creation.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if, like your candidate, you think the question of when life begins is “above your pay-grade” – that you can’t tell if an unborn child with a heartbeat and brainwaves and fingers and toes is human.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think opposition to the incumbent is motivated primarily by racism.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think that Barack Obama – who was raised by his white grandparents, spent his childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii and went on to Columbia and Harvard – was immersed in the black experience.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Republicans want to put black people “back in chains.” That includes Allen West, Clarence Thomas, Star Parker and Thomas Sowell.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the man who sat in a pew in Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Church of God Damn America for 19 years never heard anything in the least controversial – that anti-American, anti-white and anti-Israel sermons were reserved for those occasions when the future president was absent.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Mitt Romney is a liar – but Obama has told the God’s-honest truth about responsibility for the deaths of our ambassador and three other Americans in Libya, getting the unemployment rate under 7% if we passed his $832-billion stimulus bill, cutting the deficit in half in his first term, his Justice Department having no knowledge of Fast and Furious (the ATF’s gunrunning-to-Mexican-drug-lords operation) prior to February 2011 and that he’d never dream of raising taxes on the middle class. The Supreme Court says the “penalties” under Obamacare are a tax – on guess who?

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the president is upholding the Constitution – by interim appointments while Congress is still in session, governing by executive order, refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, sending troops to Libya without Congressional approval and not prosecuting the New Black Panther Party for a blatant case of voter intimidation in 2008.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think your candidate’s 2008 resume – law professor, community organizer, Chicago politician, less than two years in the U.S. Senate – trumps Romney’s as a job-creator (Sports Authority, Staples, Domino’s Pizza, etc.)

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Romney would get a kick out of firing Bob Cratchit on Christmas Eve, while stealing Tiny Tim’s crutches and muttering “Bah humbug!”

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think opposition to requiring Catholic institutions to provide birth control through their health insurance plans (in violation of Catholic teaching), constitutes a Republican War on Women.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are Catholics.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you believe that Ann Romney – who raised five sons while running a household, doing charitable work and battling MS – “never worked a day in her life,” unlike Michelle Antoinette who earned a six-figure salary for serving as “vice president of community relations” for the University of Chicago Medical Center and vacations at five-star resorts on the Spanish Riviera.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you’re blithely unconcerned about your candidate’s past associations with (communist) Frank Marshall Davis, (revolutionary communist) Bill Ayers and (Islamist) Rashid Khalidi.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think complaints about the president increasing the National Debt by $5.4 trillion (almost 50%) in less than four years is a Republican campaign gimmick to divert attention from Obama’s economic achievements – like increasing the food stamp rolls to 47 million (50%) since he took office and raising federal spending from 20.2% to 23% of GDP.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think we can provide health insurance to 10 million currently uninsured – without a plan to add a single new doctor – it won’t cost taxpayers a cent and there won’t be rationing of services.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you’re thrilled at the prospect of turning the best health care system in the world over to the same people who bankrupted Social Security and Medicare.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you don’t care that under this administration we’ll soon have a navy that can float in a bathtub and an army that can maneuver in a broom closet.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think your candidate will be carried to victory by the Big Bird vote – like fans of Public Broadcasting would ever vote Republican, without a gun to their heads.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you’re skeptical about putting God in your party’s platform because it excludes atheists, agnostics, animists and most of the president’s appointees.

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think Islam is a civilizing force that’s enlightened in its treatment of women and minorities, but Christianity is repressive, patriarchal and a threat to liberty and democracy.

• You know you're an Obama voter if you think "American exceptionalism" is a ploy devised by Newt Gingrich to stigmatize people who don't think America is exceptional. Just because we have a Constitution that's been a model for emerging nations for over 200 years, we built the greatest economic engine in the world, we created a unique society, and we saved humanity from the horrors of Nazism and communism in the 20th century -- what's so special about that?

• You know you’re an Obama voter if you think the Occupy Wall Street movement is composed of idealistic, humanitarian reformers but the Tea Parties are a gang of race-baiting, neo-fascist thugs.

         You know you’re an Obama voter if you think pigs have their own air force, the moon is made of green-energy cheese and, while standing in a torrential downpour, you wonder why you’re soaked to the skin.


Reasons You're An Idiot If You Don't Vote For Romney

Yeah, he wasn't my first choice, either, but I will admit I voted for him in the primary in 2008.

I think McCain is a bona-fide War Hero, but just not Presidential material.

Do you want . . .
  • A president who has us on the road to serfdom?
  • A president who advocates higher taxes? Wealth redistribution, less freedom and less opportunity?
  • A president coated in Teflon who freely gets away as an accomplice to the murdering of innocent Americans?
  • A president who circumvents the constitution, but bows to Saudi kings?
  • A president who nationalizes sectors of our free market economy and single handedly picks winners and losers?
  • A president who forces you to buy goods and services you don’t want and then fines you for not following his orders?
  • A president who is systematically bankrupting our country while giving away tens of billions of dollars to our enemies abroad?
  • A president who, for the first time in American history, is robbing your children and grand children of the same freedoms, opportunities and dreams that were handed down to you and me?
  • A president who does not believe in the supremacy and exceptionalism of the United States of America?
  • A president who despises our military so much that he jeopardizes our national security by cutting their budget in half?
  • A president who is about to foist the single biggest tax increase on the American people in the 237-year history of our country come January 1st?
  • A president whose political ideology takes delight in a record 47 million Americans now on food stamps?
  • A president who invests tens of billions of dollars in failing green companies that are headed by some of his biggest campaign donors?
  • A president who refuses to approve a desperately needed oil pipeline that would help put many Americans to work while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil?
  • A president who usurps the Constitution, ignores the separation of powers, thumbs his nose at congress and issues executive orders with impunity?
  • A president with deeply rooted ties to domestic terrorists and radical Muslims and Marxists?
  • A president whose upbringing was heavily influenced by radical Communists and Socialists?
  • A president who appoints members of the radical Muslim Brotherhood to his cabinet?
  • A president who shuns the leader of Israel, our only democratic ally in the Middle East, in favor of appearances on celebrity T.V. talk shows?
  • A president who makes back door deals with leaders of Communist countries conditioned upon his reelection?

Shamelessly borrowed from Catch Kevin.

3 Weeks Until Election **REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER**

Not sure if these are real, as they came in an email, but they sure should be!

This just might very well be our last chance to turn the Ship of State around, or least get the course changed enough that we won't crash into the rocks near the shore...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Uh-Oh....I May Have To Go To "Plan C" everything assembled and apparently working, until I tried to transmit. I'm having a horrible case of receiver "desense", which basically means that my local transmit signal is hammering my own receiver. This results in the complete overwhelming of the receiver, and I can't hear my signal coming back from the satellite. I can hear other users just fine, but when I transmit, all I hear is a distorted version of my own uplink.

I had this problem when I first got started many years ago, and followed the hard won wisdom of all those who've gone before me. Namely, ADD SOME FILTERS.

I have a filter on the UHF side which only passes signals from about 380 MHz to 500 Mhz, and another one on the VHF side which only passes signals from 144 MHz to 148 Mhz. These are basically used to keep any 145 MHz fundamental from getting into the UHF side, and to keep any 3rd harmonic from the VHF side from getting out of the transmitter.

The UHF filter is ahead of the preamp, which has it's own helical filters inside, and the VHF filter is connected directly to the output of the transmitter.

Up until now, it's worked "As Advertised", and I haven't had this problem since I started using them.

SO......I either have something connected wrong, or the antenna I'm using isn't real happy with the way the coax runs to it. The antenna I'm trying to use (and it's worked fine before) has the VHF and UHF elements on the same boom, mounted at 90* relative to each other to minimize and cross-coupling. Sometimes the way you run the coax can have unpleasant results, but I don't have the time to troubleshoot a rather arcane problem like that.

Tomorrow I'm going to tip the tower back over, and reinstall the two separate antennas I use for Field Day, on the long cross-boom, check ALL the cabling again, and give it another go.

I *know* that set up works, and I've been using it for several years now, both at Field Day, and here at home.

The big problem with transporting all this stuff down to the IOWA is I'd have to rent a trailer. Fortunately one of the guys who's helping with the event has a full-size pick-up, and he'll swing by here Friday morning to load it up and take it down there.

Hmmmm.....Sure Am Glad I have A "Plan B"!

WELL.......the "Port-A-Sat MK-III" antenna mount was a complete failure.

When I was was playing with it yesterday, I though ut felt a bit sloppy, but didn't think too much about it. I figured the Azimuth rotor was worn, and that's where the slop was that I felt.

When my stepson was helping me extend the legs today, he noticed part of the hub where the legs go into was cracked...?!? I took a close look at it, and sure enough, the thin-section aluminum casting on the top of the legs was split in a couple of places.

After muttering a few choice words, having a soda and cooling down a bit, I decided that since this type of tripod was never meant for loads like this, it would be a mistake to get another one, and I should probably just go ahead and transfer the smaller antenna, shorter cross-boom, and the preamps over to the 9' tower I use here and for Field Day.

I took the antenna off, and as I was moving it over out of the way.....WHAMMO!......the whole shebang fell apart and smacked into the driveway.

I'm glad I was a few feet away when it "rapidly disassembled" itself.

Turns out that the legs had failed at the top, and it just toppled over after the weight of the antenna was removed from one side.

I only paid about $25 for the tripod, but had 20 or 30 hours wrapped up in it making the adapter plate for the Azimuth rotor, new cables, calibrating the rotors, and chasing down parts for it.

Oh, well.......sure glad I have a Plan B to fall back on!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Going Shooting on Sunday

Hah! Bet that got your attention.

Actually, I'll be shooting some RF up at the Amateur Radio Satellites as I test out my "Port-A-Sat MK-III" antenna system.

This is the one I built using a surveyor's tripod, a used (very used!) Azimuth/Elevation rotator I bought from a friend, an AMSAT "LVB Tracker" interface that I bought several years ago, and just now got around to testing, and a "Dual-Band Easy Satellite" antenna from Gulf Alpha antennas. The rotator interface is one of the original "LVB" trackers designed by Howard, G6LVB. I always get a lot of "static" from other members of the Amateur radio satellite community about using a "cheap knock-off" of Howard's design, even though he published all the specs, designs, and printed circuit foil patterns and files. The one I've been using is a clone of it kitted up and sold by a really nice Ham in India.

Seeing as I'll be seen by LOTS of people next weekend, I figured I'd use the "authorized version", and avoid any PR flack.

I spent today getting the last bits and pieces arranged, making some cables, and testing/calibrating the interface box and the two rotators.

So far, so good, BUT the surveyor's tripod has spikes instead of feet, which makes it pretty dicey to use on hard surfaces. I'm going to make some blocks out of a 2x4, and bore a hole about half-way through for the spikes to rest in. I've got some 1/2" thick, adhesive backed rubber sheet that I'll glue to the bottom, and hopefully that should give me some traction on the deck of the IOWA next week.

It's one thing to have "Technical Difficulties" in front of a crowd, but having the tripod legs go scooting in different directions resulting in the whole thing crashing down is a bit of an embarrassment I'd rather not endure.

Once I have it aligned North, and level, I'll run some paracord between all three legs to keep them from separating.
, and doing a "split"

I'll try and post a few pix on Sunday.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Political Quotations

    "If you put the Federal Government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” — Milton Friedman

    “I need a job. My family can’t eat healthcare.”

    “Romney can tell us when he left Bain Capital when Obama tells us when he left Kenya.”

    “Let’s not look backwards and look at Obama’s past. Instead, let’s look backwards and dwell on Romney’s past.”

    “He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin

    “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” —Winston Churchill

    “INTAXICATION:  The nice feeling you receive a tax refund until you realize it was your own money in the first place.”

    “Romney supporters sign their checks on the front while Obama supporters sign their checks on the back.”

    “If you can afford beer, wine, drugs, cigarettes, manicures, and tattoos, you don’t need food stamps or welfare.

    “We should measure the success of government programs by how many people leave them not how many people are added to them.”

    “When the government fears the people, there is freedom. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” — Thomas Jefferson

    “If someone is so fearful that they are going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, it makes me very nervous that these people have any weapons  at all!” — Democrat Congressman Henry A. Waxman (California).

And one of my favorites.:

"If you think it's time to start burying your guns......then it's probably

time to start digging them up".

I tried to find out who first said that one, but the best reference I could find was here. 

I thought it was Claire Wolfe, but it looks like Tam said it first.

You go, girl!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

1941 Chevrolet Pick-Up Truck

Had to get my Jeep smogged last week, and while I was there, I spotted this 1941 Chevy Pick-Up truck in the lot.

REALLY sweet! The paint was the best I've seen in years, and EVERY nut and bolt was either chromed, or polished stainless.

The guys at the shop said it had a 350 in it with a Turbo-Hydramatic.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dividing a Circle Into Thirds, Without a Protractor

One of the things I'm doing in preparation for the JOTA event on the USS IOWA, is (finally!) building up my new "more portable" antenna mount for my satellite antenna.

I started with a 5' surveyor's tripod I got really cheep on eBay. I have numerous "spare" Yaesu Azimuth/Elevation rotators and control boxes, so I figured I could mount one of my spares to the tripod with an adapter plate.

I bought some good 6061 1/4" thick aluminum sheet, and proceeded to cut out a 6"x6" square. I marked it, and using a set of trammels, laid out a circle the same diameter as the bolt circle for the Azimuth motor. Then I drilled and countersunk some holes to bolt it to the motor with flat-head machine screws.

Now the task was to mount the plate to the tripod, and there was the snag I hit.

The top of the tripod is triangular, and where the legs mount to it there's a lack of space on the underside of the plate to use four mounting screws. So, I decided I'd use three screws instead, and they'd have plenty of room between where the legs meet the top of the tripod.

The problem was, how do I lay out 3 equally spaced holes on the correct 3" diameter circle I just scribed using my trammels?

I remember from way back in high-school geometry (or was it trig?) that dividing a circle into thirds was a very complex, tricky task, and you were better off to just get a protractor, and lay out your marks every 120*.

A quick Google search found this very ingenious method of equally dividing a circle into three sections, WITHOUT the use of a protractor.
I was so amazed that I thought I'd share it with my friends here, in case any of you are metal cutters like I am, or perhaps woodworkers.

Enjoy the little video. I found it quite amazing!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

ARRRRGH!......Garbage Disposal Blew!!

WELL.....I was right in the middle of machining some adapter plates out in the garage when my wife walks in.

"You're NOT going to want to hear this.........."

There was a massive water leak under the sink, and since I put a nice new faucet assembly on it a couple of weeks ago, I immediately thought the worst.

Turns out the water was POURING out of the circuit breaker ( !! ) button on the garbage disposal!

And the breaker hadn't tripped, and the panel breaker hadn't tripped......

I unplugged it, and off we went to Home Depot.

I looked up the specs on the "Badger 100" that was in there, and found out of ALL the reviews listed, the HIGHEST review was a "2".

Her oldest son had installed it about three years ago, and all the reviews said you were lucky if you got TWO years out of it. It's been jamming a lot lately, and tripping the breaker once in a while, so I guess the "extra" year we got out of it was just luck.

Now in the process of installing the new one, and just about finished, but had to take a break. I'm not as young as I used to be (who isn't?), and working on my back, under the sink, has a tendency to put kinks in me.

The replacement we bought got 12 "5 Star" reviews, so I'm hoping replacing a $79/ 1 year warranty disposer with a $180/ FIVE YEAR warranty model will be worth the money and effort.

It's pretty cheap of them to NOT include a $3 power cord, so I'm going to reuse the old cord.

And the conduit fitting.

And the wire nuts.


It's all connected, no leaks, and works as expected.

It's very quiet, and seems like it could grind up small branches. Everything we've put in so it so far just disappears with a 'whoosh'. This one is a two-stage grinder, which is supposedly "Better for the Environment".

Now while I'm by no means a "greenie", we do some commons sense stuff like separate the plastic bottles and aluminum cans, flatten them, and take them to a place that buys them for more than the CRV.

Since we have two trash containers here in Long Beach, one for regular garbage, and one for 'Recylables', I wonder how long before The Gubmint will demand we turn our valuable trash over to them instead of selling it ourselves.

Back to the disposal.....This "Better for the Environment" pap is proudly printed on the box, showing a "Circle of Political Correctness", printed in GREEN, showing food being put down the disposer, going to a Sewage Treatment Plant, then a picture of a tractor, and finally a picture of an apple, all proudly printed in GREEN, with a "vegetable based soy ink", the idea being that since this unit grinds the waste to smaller particles, it's easier to process in the STP, making for better fertilizer, which grows pretty green apples, and all is wonderful in the world.

Having worked in many Sewage Treatment Plants in a former career as an Industrial Controls Field Service Engineer, I can safely tell you that the size of the food particles coming out of your kitchen disposal has absolutely NO effect on the efficiency of the treatment palnt.


You could practically stuff a whole cow through one of these plants and it would reduce it down to sludge.

I'll admit that smaller bits going into a home septic system is probably a Good Thing, but to an industiral-scale treament plant? HAH!

And somebody at Insinkerator probably got a nice bonus for putting this crap on the package.

Oh, least the new disposer works very well, and it's extremely quiet.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Busy This Weekend

So I probably won't be posting much.

Saturday morning I have my monthly radio club breakfast, and then we're giving a Commercial Radio License Exam, and then I have to go over to the USS IOWA and turn in my paperwork, and get badged.

JOTA (Jamboree On The Air) for the Boy Scouts for our area is going to be held onboard the IOWA on October 20th, and since I'm running the satellite station, I have to finish my paperwork to be a volunteer.

Which means I have about 12 days to finish building my new "portable" satellite antenna system, get it tested, and round up all the gear I'd normally take out on Field Day.

The last of the parts I needed came in this afternoon, so I can begin in earnest Saturday afternoon. I've got most of the small sub-assemblies, cables, mounting plates, etc, all made, but I still have to bolt everything together and see how it plays.

Should be an interesting two weeks.....


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yes, I Watched/Listened To The "Debate"

I didn't quite get the impression that Romney "mopped the floor" with 0Bama, but I did get the impression that he came across as intelligent, sincere, and full of energy.

I particularly liked the part where 0Bama was crying about the 2.8 billion "Tax Breaks" being given to the oil companies. Romney countered with it was mostly an accounting method, and came slamming back with the 100 billion 0Bama had spent on "Green Energy", and he proceeded to name the companies 0Bama has bestowed all this wealth redistribution upon, and commented that in one term, he spent FIFTY TIMES  that amount on failed "Green Energy" programs.

 “You don’t just pick the winners and losers. You pick the losers.”

I think that will go down in history as the entire 0Bama policy.

Brietbart has an excellent review of the debate.

Be sure to read the comments. Some of them are hilarious.

"The new tingle Matthews has is urine running down his leg from peeing his pants."

" And we all know that if Obama did nothing more than belch and drool all over the mic for the entire debate the alphabet media would still say Obama won big."

" Does anyone have one of those 23 million jobs the president created?"

It should be very interesting to watch the Ryan/Biden spectacle.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sail On, Sailor

Another one of my Beach Boys favorites.

From their album "Holland".

I sailed an ocean, unsettled ocean
Through restful waters and deep commotion
Often frightened, unenlightened
Sail on, sail on sailor

I wrest the waters, fight Neptune's waters
Sail through the sorrows of life's marauders
Unrepenting, often empty
Sail on, sail on sailor

Caught like a sewer rat alone but I sail
Bought like a crust of bread, but oh do I wail

Seldom stumble, never crumble
Try to tumble, life's a rumble
Feel the stinging I've been given
Never ending, unrelenting
Heartbreak searing, always fearing
Never caring, persevering
Sail on, sail on, sailor

I work the seaways, the gale-swept seaways
Past shipwrecked daughters of wicked waters
Uninspired, drenched and tired
Wail on, wail on, sailor

Always needing, even bleeding
Never feeding all my feelings
Damn the thunder, must I blunder
There's no wonder all I'm under
Stop the crying and the lying
And the sighing and my dying

Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor
Sail on, sail on sailor

Monday, October 1, 2012

Endeavour's Final "Flight".

Courtesy of NASA Dryden Flight Research Center/


Verizon Email Down

SO.....I won't be getting any notifications when somebody replies to my scribblings.

Looks like it's nation wide, too.

Oh, well....we've had FiOS for several years now, and been quite satisfied.

Guess I can cut them a little slack when the system craps out once in a (great) while!

Meet Luna!

 Great name for our new pup, eh? She's camera shy, and "Red Eye Removal" doesn't work for dogs! She's two years old, p...