Saturday, August 31, 2013


Taking a break from "Garage Reconstruction 101" and thought I'd share this with my friends here.

It was written sixty years ago, but is more relevant now than ever..... 


Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government, or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything. You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.” 


From "Revolt in 2100" by Robert A. Heinlein, written in 1954

Friday, August 30, 2013

Been Hot and Muggy All Week Here.....

And I haven't felt like doing much besdies some benchwork on a couple of radios I'm getting ready to sell on eBay.

95* and 50% humidity does not make for good yard work days, or even "Clean Out The Garage" days!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Yard Work Weekend

Not exactly my favorite thing to do, but it needed to get done.

Bought some sand and topsoil, and filled in all the new "dog holes" that one of the two has been digging.

I also dumped some Cayenne Pepper on the areas hoping that if "The Digger" gets a snoot full, he/she won't do it again.

As of the discovery of any new holes gets a random Paw Check when they come in the house, and with no likely perps found, I hope the pepper works.

Trimmed back our lemon tree, which actually started from some dropped seeds years ago. It's not very big, but grows like a weed.

And like the video somebody had posted a week or so ago, watching a dog play with a lemon is pretty funny. Pebbles loves to play ball, and since the lemons are fairly round, and roll nicely, she has a lot of fun until she chomps down on one.

Did the pooper-scooper routine as it was my week to do it.

Push broomed the driveway inside the gate and the side walks, as these guys go blasting around the back yard at about Mach 2.5, tearing out any weak grass, and scattering it everywhere in their vortex.

I went to water the back yard the other day and found my new $12 garden hose nozzle chewed up beyond belief, so got another one of those.

NOTE TO SELF: Pick up the nozzle off the ground when done using, and don't let it dangle on the hose end where they can get at it!

And did a few more sundry things like blasted all the front driveway and walkway cracks with RoundUp to kill the grass starting to grow out of them. One of these days I suppose I should patch the big cracks in the driveway. The problem with that is that whoever poured our driveway didn't use any metal mesh/rebar in's just a slab of concrete about 2" think, and as it settled, it cracked.

I don't even want to think about the cost of busting it up, hauling it away, and having it done properly. I have better thing to spend $5000 on than a new driveway!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

meh....Got Nuthin' Today

Went to my friend's internment with my wife, and then crawled around on the Battleship Iowa helping to inventory all the radio gear still in the racks.

Drank FOUR bottles of water, and didn't go to the restroom once.

It's HOT down on the third deck where the transmitter room is!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Blow That Killed America 100 Years Ago

I've always hated that elitist snob Woodrow Wilson, at least as much as I detest FDR.

WELL...a lot of Really Bad Stuff happened on his watch, and you can read about it over at Free-Man's Perspective.

Cruise on over and RTWT.

It'll really let you understand how far back the planned destruction of our United States goes.

30-06 Reloading Project

The brass, bullets, and primers arrived Thursday, and my IMR-4895 arrived Friday.

Now I get to fondle the brass, measure it, and resize it. The case mouths are DEFINITELY banged up from being shipped in a bag, and even I, a rank beginner, wouldn't attempt to force a bullet into one of these cases.

And to top it off.....the day after the brass and stuff arrived, I received a shipping notice from the CMP for my 400 rounds of specially loaded Hornady ammo!

Look like I won't have any excuses to not take Duke out to the range Real Soon Now!

I'll post some pix of the brass later today......

Friday, August 16, 2013


I keep trying to leave a reply for your new movie trivia, and none of the 5 I left will show up.

The answer is Red Planet with Val Kilmer.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On This Day....

In 1960 Joe Kittinger made his famous balloon jump.


I'll bet he clanks when he walks, too.....

On The Passing of a Friend.....

I just received an email that one of my dear friends passed away last night.

I'd known him since 1995 when I got back into Amateur Radio, and immediately "clicked" with him, both of us having been involved in the Aerospace business here in SoCal.

We'd both worked on many Things We Can't Talk About, but from little snippets of conversations, and inside jokes over the years, we both had a pretty good idea of what programs we each worked on.

I looked upon him as one of the many mentors I was blessed to have over the years, and through our interaction, I was able to help him with some of the new fangled computer stuff we all take for granted these days.

He was 87 years old, from Montana, and served in WWII during the Battle Of The Bulge as a "green kid from nowhere". He went on to college after the war, and into Electronics and radio.

He was also an avid sailor, and was my go-to-guy for any obscure questions I had about ships, sails, and rigging.

Every year my radio club has a "White Elephant" auction to raise funds for our Field Day activities, and there was a floating "Booby Prize" that passed among the club members from year to year.

It was a long running joke that somebody would place a bid like "I'll bid $10 if Dale takes that home!", promptly followed by "I'll bid $25 if JIM takes it home".

One of us always got "stuck" with it, and we always brought it back the next year so the game could continue.

It was my turn to "win" the item last year, and since we weren't able to have the White Elephant Sale this year, it's still sitting out in the garage, wrapped in plastic.

It's an HP 200AB Audio Oscillator, a direct descendant of the model 200A that launched Hewlett-Packard.


I'm going to get it out of the garage and restore it to it's former glory and keep it, as it's really a very nice piece of test equipment, and other than the decaying leather carrying handle on top, and an unsafe cracked and split AC power cord, the case, front panel, main dial, and all the knobs are in very good condition.

I think my friend would approve.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Smith - "Baby It's You"

Great oldie cover tune, and she's actually singing it!

Gayle McCormick was quite a singer, but man, does that headband ever date this video!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What Kind of D&D Character Would You Be?

I've never played the game, but have friends who are quite good at it.

Found over here.

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Wizard/Sorcerer (4th/4th Level)

Ability Scores:







Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Manufaturing TV Sets in the 1950's

Even though it's not from the people who put the quality in before the name went on, it's still pretty interesting.

It's 26 minutes long, but worth the view if you like Electronics History.

And check out the Lissajous pattern on the scope in the beginning.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Reloading 30-06 For "Duke"

After all I've read, it looks like the best ammo to *safely* shoot through my new ( ? ) M1 Garand is ammo loaded to the US Military "M2 Ball" specification.

I bought some Federal 150gr ammo a while back, but "expert" opinions are split on using the particular load I bought in an M1. Some people say it will be fine, while others say NOT to stray from the M2 Ball spec.

I prefer to err on the side of caution, so I *might* shoot a couple of the Federal rounds to see how it feels and acts, but until I get more experience, I'd rather stick with a round that's loaded to the spec the rifle was designed for.

Since I can't find any "M2 Ball Spec" factory loads (CMP has Hornady, but it's back ordered) in stock anywhere, I ordered some brass, large rifle primers, Sierra 150gr HPBT bullets, and some IMR 4895 powder.

From what I've read, it's good practice to _at least_ neck size new brass as it can get banged around in shipping, and I'll also check the OAL, and deburr the flash hole, and chamfer the case mouths.

IOW, unless you're loading premium brass like Lapua, treat new brass as old brass, and reload it as such.

From posts on the CMP forums, I'll start with 45gr of powder, and see how it goes.

And since my Honey Dew list is getting much smaller, I'll spend some time this weekend in the garage cleaning up the workbench,  getting the "Reloading Area" cleaned up, and maybe mounting the press.

At least this a good way to get off my duff and get the press set up. I've got a couple of huge boxes of once-fired brass I've been collecting over the last couple of years, and setting up an official "Reloading Area" will let me get stuff sorted out and organized.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Or however it's spelled.

Just had one over at Sipsey Street that was "autowee".

Sounds like something Phleghemmy, Tam, or Roberta would say when confronted with new shoes, a BMW, or a Johnson Invader.....

Sun's Magnetic Field Is About To "Flip"

Oh, boy....wonder what the loonies will do when they here about this...


But then again, it doesn't have the media value of "Carrington Events" (Remember "Ellie" from "Deep Impact"?) that never occurred, or "Massive CME Ready To Wipe Out Humanity", or any of the other pseudo-science that the products of the public "education" system take as Gospel from the 6pm Talking Heads that can't even see through a bad joke about Asian aircraft pilot names.


Anyway....go here to read the article. This is nothing new, and is associated with the Sun's activity during the solar cycle.


Monday, August 5, 2013

U.S. Governemnt Suspected In TOR Hack

Courtesy of Wirecutter.

RTWT over at

In case you don't know what it is, here's an article on TOR from the Wikipedia.

Wouldn't surprise me a bit..........

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Current Solar Cycle 24 Is Weakest In 100 Years

I've been "Radio Active" since about 1961, and got much more involved about 1963 when I built my first Real Radio, a Knight-Kit "Star Roamer".

My Dad took me up to Allied Radio on 100 N. Western Ave. in Chicago, and one of my buddies at Holy Family grade school helped me get it built properly.

I missed out on Cycle 19, the Grand Daddy of all recorded solar cycles, but I've been through all the rest, if not on-the-air, then at least as a Short Wave Listener.

The next few cycles weren't as "good" as Cycle 19, at least for radio propagation, but I had fun listening anyway.

Here's a more expanded view of Cycle 23, the last one, and Cycle 24, the current one:

Cycle 24 doesn't even look like it's going to break a Smoothed Sunspot Number (SSN) of 100, which is a real bust for radio guys like me. There are daily peaks well above 100, but the smoothed numbers give you a better general overview of the state of Solar Activity, and brother, Old Sol is sleeping!

Now while its possible that even a "Quiet Sun" can cut loose with the Mother of All Solar Flares, with general Solar Activity being so low, it's highly improbable that it will do so.

Predicting this stuff ranges from the Highly Scientific, to the level of people reading chicken entrails.

I've met some Solar Cycle "experts" in my Amateur Radio travels, and these guys are laughable. They're always preaching their own pet theory that the upcoming cycle will be "Bigger Than Cycle 19!!!", and they are always wrong.




Then they disappear back to wherever they came from, and hibernate until the next cycle is starting, and pop up at Amateur Radio club meetings and seminars pushing their Snake Oil again.

The reason I'm bringing this up, is the recent (well, over the last several years) spate of ZOMG! SOLAR FLARE!! CME!!! TEOTWAWKI!!!!  and other such nonsense that appears on the TV and Web, some of it by people who should know better.

I'm not saying it's not possible for some massive CME/Flare/X-Ray Burst out of our own Sun to completely turn all electrical systems to toast, and plunge the world into a new Dark Ages, but that the probability of that happening is so small that I'm sure not going to lose any sleep over it.

There are far more nefarious forces at work among men, than to worry about Mother Nature dropping the hammer on us.

More info for those who care:

Solar Terrestrial Activity Report

Space Weather

Cycle 24 to be weakest in 100 years

NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

SOHO Space Weather

Grover Washington, Jr. **Mister magic**

heard this on the way home from Home Depot and realized I'd forgotten how good it is.

Too bad Grover passed away in 1999. He was a fabulous musician.

Everybody who played on this album was 1st class, and I think it was his best album.

Enjoy a little smoothness........


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Oh, Boy....Might Have To Send One Of The Dogs Back.......

Things seemed to be going OK with both of them, but over the last couple of days Swisher (the older one) has become very aggressive towards Pebbles (the younger one).

We first noticed it at dinner time, when Swisher would get very defensive about his food. It's gotten to the point now where we have to feed them separately because Swisher will "Evil Eye" and intimidate Pebbles until she walks away from her food.

Today we had to break up two fights, and as far as we can tell, the older dog just "went off" on the younger one without provocation.

The second time he had her down and by the throat, and she was in quite a bit of distress. I was afraid I was going to have to use something to bust them apart, but Swisher finally let go of Pebbles after I *really* yelled "NO!" at him.

We're starting to get pretty attached to both of them, and like any dog, they both have their good points and bad points, but we're worried about leaving them alone together at this point.

Swisher is well-trained to walk, obeys all the commands we give him, but has gotten this aggressive streak all of a sudden.

Pebbles is a sweetheart, but is (still) a handful to walk, and can be stubborn at times. She's getting better about walking and obeying commands, and needs more work, but she's showing great promise.

Swisher would be a great dog for a one-dog family, but we really want two dogs.

We'll make the decision tomorrow, but I think we're going to send Swisher back to the rescue organization.......

Been Busy....Follow-Up Post Coming Soon To A Browser Near <i>YOU</i>!

 Been a week since last post. Been busy herding grandkids, playing with the dog, yard work, house items, and working on all manner of stuff....