Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Syncom Satellite Launched 50 years ago

Found the following article at the L.A. Times website while I was perusing the local news.

How a satellite called Syncom changed the world

I remembered watching the Tokyo Olympics, and being very interested in how a satellite could stay put over one part of the earth without having a rocket motor to keep it in place. 

Years (many!) later when I was working for Hughes Aircraft I got to see some of the gentlemen mentioned in the article at company seminars and talks.

And later still when I worked for DirecTV, I got to meet Eddy Hartenstein, who was one of the principles in developing Direct-To-Home ("DTH") television broadcasting.

 The original Syncom weighed in at about 150 pounds, fueled.

The last satellite the place I work at now attempted to launch weighed in at a little under fourteen THOUSAND pounds.


We sure have come a long way....


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Say Hello to Swisher and Pebbles!

Her's the two newest mebers of the family.

Swisher is on the left, and Pebbles is on your right.

Swisher is a joy to walk, and is "helping" me regain some of my stamina by walking with me after dinner.

Pebbles still has a lot to learn, so I've been "walking" her around the back yard so she'll get used to walking with me, and learn some basic commands.

Right now she could be leased out to a towing company, and probably earn her keep by pulling cars off the road!

SS Lane Victory July, 2013 Cruise

The last time I went out on the Lane Victory was in 2006, so when I got an email notice of the cruise schedule for this year, I ordered two tickets.

My wife has never been out on a ship like this, so I thought she might enjoy it, and she did.

This year's cruise are in remembrance of the Korean War Armistice, and the memeorial services were very nice.

There were two wreaths dropped over the side, one for the US Merchant Marine sailors who gave their lives during WWII, and one for all the Korean War casualties.

The Lane Victory helped evacuate people from Wonsan, where she hauled over SEVEN THOUSAND people, plus her own crew, away in one trip!

And she also evacuated 3800 troops and 1100 vehicles from Hungnam during the Battle of Chosin Resivoir.

kq6ea's 2013_lane_victory_cruise album on Photobucket

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Dogs!

Well, we finally found a couple of dogs. We've been working with some Pit Bull rescue places, and last weekend one of the places we were working with brought two we had previously met over for a trial stay.

"Swisher" (named after the Swisher Sweets cigars) is a 3 year old male Pit Bull/Boxer mix, and "Pebbles" is a 10 month old female Pit Bull.

Swisher has had obedience training, and is a joy to walk. He stops at every intersection, looks up at you, and then sits down until you tell him to heel, and away we go. It took him a couple of walks to get used to our style of walking, but he remembered his training, and settled right in to taking our lead.

Pebbles, well....not so much!

She still has a lot of "puppy" in her, and I swear she could pull my Jeep down the street, so we still have a lot of work to do with her.

They've both been fixed, have all their shots, get along great together, and are fully house-broken.

I'll post some pix later.

It sure is nice to have wagging tails again to greet me when I get home from work!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bill Whittle: "The Lynching"

Amazingly to the point, and on target!

....especially the last few seconds.......

Friday, July 19, 2013

"That's One Small Step....."

Apollo 11 made the first manned Moon landing today in 1969.

I watched it live.

I'll never forget it.

Why can't the USA do things like this today? Where are our next generation (I figure we're at least 3 'generations' behind by now) of Engineers and scientists going to come from?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

HAARP Facility Closed Due To Lack Of Funding

Well, I guess we can all take off our tin-foil hats now!

From the ARRL website:

The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) — a subject of fascination for many hams and the target of conspiracy theorists and anti-government activists — has closed down.

HAARP’s program manager, Dr James Keeney at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, told ARRL that the sprawling 35-acre ionospheric research facility in remote Gakona, Alaska, has been shuttered since early May.

“Currently the site is abandoned,” he said. “It comes down to money. We don’t have any.” Keeney said no one is on site, access roads are blocked, buildings are chained and the power turned off.

HAARP’s website through the University of Alaska no longer is available; Keeney said the program can’t afford to pay for the service. “Everything is in secure mode,” he said, adding that it will stay that way at least for another 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime a new prime contractor will be coming on board to run the government owned-contractor operated (GOCO) facility.

HAARP put the world on notice two years ago that it would be shutting down and did not submit a budget request for FY 15, Keeney said, “but no one paid any attention.” Now, he says, they’re complaining. “People came unglued,” Keeney said, noting that he’s already had inquiries from Congress. Universities that depended upon HAARP research grants also are upset, he said.

The only bright spot on HAARP’s horizon right now is that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is expected on site as a client to finish up some research this fall and winter. DARPA has nearly $8.8 million in its FY 14 budget plan to research “physical aspects of natural phenomena such as magnetospheric sub-storms, fire, lightning and geo-physical phenomena.”

Amazing New PC Back Up Solution!

'Nough said......

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ever Wonder What's Inside A Silencer? can go here and see!


OpenSUSE 12.3

Seeing as I was off work yesterday (hint: I bought a lot of Immodium...), I decided to upgrade this PC to the latest version of the Linux distribution I prefer, OpenSUSE.

The download went fast, as we have FiOS here (35 meg service, up and down), and the download, 4.4GB, took about 25 minutes.

I backed up my /home directory to another hard disk, and began the installation.

30 minutes later I was done, and updating the packages. Even though I had a downloaded the latest complete distribution, there are times when the updates don't get folded in to the complete distro that's on the servers. I'm not sure how often they update the served version, but as with any Operating System, you should always do the updates after you finish installing it.

Then I spent some time customizing it, and turning off the eye-candy I don't care for, adding the repositories that have the multimedia and Amateur Radio programs I use, and transferring the things I needed from my backed-up /home directory, and I was off and running.

All told, I spent a couple of hours downloading, installing, and tweaking the new version.

I haven't noticed any huge differences between this version, 12.3, and the previous version, 12.1, I was running, but it's nice to be able to upgrade your OS for free.

I've been running Linux since about 1995, and SuSE/OpenSUSE since shortly after that. I started with Red Hat (aka "Head Rat"), tried several other distributions, and one day when I was at CompUSA looking to see if the new version of Red Hat was out, I spotted one I hadn't seen before, SuSE, which stood for " Software- und System-Entwicklung (Software and Systems Development).

Since it listed numerous Amateur Radio packages on the "What's In The Box" side panel, I bought it. It installed easily, and with the included configuration tools, I was online in a short time.

Keep in mind this was back when if you wanted to use Linux, you had to get a couple of books, READ THEM, and tinker with the software to get your hardware working.

And not all hardware was supported!

You had to be careful what video card you bought, and you had to get a real "hardware" modem. "Soft" modems and "Win" modems simply would not work as the hardware was dependent on Windows doing a lot of the processing to extract the data stream from the audio.

The first time I installed a proper modem, it took me the better part of a week to get it running, and connected to my ISP.

And if configured your video card improperly, it would happily send the wrong signals to your monitor, resulting in garbled video at best, and blown monitor at worst!

Ethernet cards were another matter entirely, and 90+% of the Ethernet cards were supported, as Linux has always been a networking friendly OS. Buy a 3Com card, and you were golden!

It really paid off to have a dedicated machine for Linux, as it could be a bit, uhhh, "interesting" to get it running properly, and I finally built another PC just to run/learn Linux on.

Things have gotten much more refined since the early days of Linux, and installing and using Linux has never been easier. Most modern hardware, and almost all vintage hardware, is supported, and Linux is a great way to revive an older PC that doesn't have the horsepower to run newer (XP and newer) versions of Windows.

Long live the lizard!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Not Guilty

I'm staying home and listening to my scanner.

So far it's quiet in in SoCal, other than the usual Saturday night nuttiness.

Let's just hope it stays that way.......


Pretty quiet in El Ay last night.

Nothing happened in The LBC.

Let's hope it stays that way.....

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen....The "Duke" has Arrived!

And boy, is it nice!

Duke came in a nice travel case:

And he's a very handsome fellow.

He must have to some strange foreign place, as the local custom caused him to be branded with a "cartouche".

Hes a very late model, with a serial number in the high 5 millions (57xxxxx). According to one of my books, that would place him in the second-to-the-last batch made by Springfield Armory.

I had hoped for a WWII model, but seeing as I'm a child of the Cold War, I guess its more fitting that I received a rifle from the Korean War era.

When I opened it up today, My buddy who runs the mail box store I use looked at it, held it, and just about drooled over it. I looked at the serial number and realized it was a very late one, probably from the post-war production runs.

He's Korean, and I told him there was a chance that this rifle had helped defend his homeland. He lovingly patted it, and said "Thank you, Mr. Garand".

The receiver is in excellent condition, with only very, very light pitting, which you can barely see.

The tag that came with it rates the barrel as "0+", and the chamber as "1+", which goes right along with it having a new barrel.

So now I have to get the books out and study them. I'll want to carefully inspect it, and properly lube it with grease. ALL the books I've read say to use grease, and NOT oil, and all he has right now is a light coating of oil.

The wood on him is just beautiful, and looks "furniture quality" to me as far as grain patter goes.

Which brings up a question........What do I use on the stock? Linseed oil? Tung Oil? Pledge? I don't remember if my Garand books go into the proper care of a new stock, and this one looks like brand new, bare wood to me.

Besides the travel case, he came with a COA, a very nice instruction manual, a plastic thing to put in the unloaded rifle to tell you the chamber is empty, a new canvas sling, and one clip.

To borrow a line from "Casablanca", I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Duke" Is On His Way


I received the shipping notice from the CMP this afternoon.

Since they ship FedEx overnight, I'll pick him up tomorrow on my way home from work.

Then I'll spend some time learning how to field strip and clean him, and make plans to hit the range.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Meanwhile, at Long Beach Airport.....

A banner tower went down on takeoff.

Looks like he struck a power pole, sheared off a wing, and came down on an embankment of the 405 freeway.

He walked away.....

And he just barely cleared the freeway....


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

I know you all remember what it took to get our country started, and may God be with us if we have to do it again.

And thank you to all who have served. It's a duty and an honor I wasn't allowed due to circumstances.

I'm goofing off.




Well.....not really. The YF is recovering from minor surgery, so I'm doing laundry, swabbing out the head, and flying Mr. Kirby around today.

Be safe and sane out there.....

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Additional Proton-M Video

This is the video I first saw.

About 8~10 seconds after impact and fireball, the shockwave hits the cameraman.

Ours didn't get this bent out of shape. We went pretty much straight up, coasted after the engines shut down, and then plopped down into the water.

This sucker went BOOM in a really big way!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Proton-M Launch Failure

Having been through something similar back in January, I feel for these guys.

Most people don't understand that while we've been launching liquid fueled rockets for over 70 years now, it's still not a 100% reliable process. Even with improved technologies like materials science, metallurgy, instrumentation, and a host of other things, sometimes rockets go BOOM.

Pretty complete coverage over at the "" website.

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...