Thursday, May 29, 2014

Great Bass Line!

The first time I heard this song was on "Wide World Of Sports" as the intro to a segment they did on Shirley Muldowney.

I'm not sure what Ms. Muldowney's reaction to it was, but I thought it was a killer song, with the best bass line I'd heard in a long time.

Enjoy the video, and watch out for that HAIR!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day on the Batlleship Iowa

Well, we all had a very nice, and somewhat somber, day aboard the Iowa yesterday.

In my rush, I forgot my camera, but since I was inside most of the day, I really didn't get to see much.

We made about 300 contacts althought the band conditions weren't the best.

I was running my Elecraft K2 on the trussed monopole near the helipad, and the other operator was running our Kenwood TS-850S on the disc/cage antenna.

There were over 3500 paid-at-the-gate visitors, and the local radio stations bought a large number of tickets to hand out.

If anybody will be down this way, let me know, as I have a stack of "Buy One Get One" tickets which will get you and a guest in for one paid admission.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Really Bad News From A Fellow Blogger

Our fellow blogger over at Live From The Alamo City has received some devastating news.

Please keep he and his wife in your prayers, and drop by and give him some support....

Thanks, he's a good guy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Upcoming Amateur Radio Events on the Battleship IOWA

Just got back from the BIARA board/planning meeting for the month.

As of this date, we'll be operating NI6BB on May 26th for Memorial Day, from 0900 to 1800 PDST, along with several other events.

Museum Ships Weekend
0000Z June 7th, through 2359Z June 8th

ARRL Field Day

I'll post the other events here, as we firm them up.

Look for us on frequencies ending in "61" (get it? BB61?), like 14.261, 7.261, etc +/- the QRM!

On announced events, we usually get quite a pile-up, so be patient, and if we can hear you, we will work you!

I won't be operating on the Iowa for Field Day, as I'll be running the satellite station for my "other" club, URAC, K6AA.

Hope to meet you on the air!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Busy Day, Again!

Spent all day on the IOWA, for an orientation class, which was extremely well done, and then a couple of hours in Radio Central making contacts for our Armed Forces Day event.

We're encouraging everyone we meet to write a little Military Service bio on their QSL cards, covering either themselves, or close relatives.

Talked to one older gent who'd served on the IOWA back in the '50's, and he was extremely excited that we have regular Amateur Radio operations going on now.

Then I came home, played with the dog, and built a bookcase for my wife.

My son is coming over Sunday morning to see the Supra, and give me a hand moving some things around.

Gee.....2047 local time, and I'm ready for bed. I remember when this was the time I'd be getting ready to go out prowling the streets with my '73 Trans Am!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


WoW.....We've had three days of 100+ weather, and today is the hottest yet.

The thermometer in may car indicated it was 107*F coming home today, and my calibrated weather station indicates we hit 104.4*F today at 1326 local time, the highest temp so far this year.

And to make it worse, the Relative Humidity has been in the %5~6% range the last several days.

I don't ever recall getting "static zaps" in the summer out here!

It's supposed to break tonight, with high being 93*F on Friday, dropping to 80*F on Saturday, and in the low to mid 70's on Sunday, and through the next week.

AND......I watched my workmates motor out of the harbor today on their way to catch up with the Launch Platform, and then on to 154*W, 0*N (the launch site) for the launch of Eutelsat 3B, which is now scheduled for May 26th, at 1410 PDST, 2110 UTC.

If anybody wants to watch the live streaming web broadcast, drop me an email, and I'll send you the link.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Relaxation

Didn't have to work extremely late Friday, only until about midnight. Was balsting along the access road, and when I turned the second-to-the-last corner, I saw the railroad crossing arms coming down in the distance.


Wound up sitting there at the crossing for 35 minutes as they moved a train back and forth getting all the cars connected.

They back it down one siding, pull forward past the switch, throw the switch, and then back down another siding to connect more cars, finally getting the rest of their load, and then they pulled out of the yard, past the crossing, and off in to the distance.

Here's a screenshot of the crossing I have to traverse every day. Follow "Nimitz Rd" from the lower right, and towards the top you'll see it turn, and this is where the crossing is. It's a choke point for everything out on the Navy Mole besides us, and can really cause a jam, as it's the ONLY road leading on and off the mole.

The sidings with all the traffic are to the left of Nimitz Road, while the sidings on the right take a different route off Terminal Island, and never impede vehicular traffic.There's been a couple of times in the past (a derailment, and a fatal accident) that kept the crossing blocked for 24 hours, so we had the railroad guys open up one of their access roads for us, so we could get off Terminal Island. It wasn't easy, but we had access.

SO.....I didn't get home until about 0045, which means by the time I get into my jammies, and wind down, I finally got to sleep about 0130.

The Launch Platform is leaving Sunday morning, and the Command ship will be leaving Thursday morning, and I'll be standing on the pier waving to them.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Finally Friday!

Been pretty busy the last few days getting ready for tonight's final testing of the "Integrated Launch Vehicle".

I'll be going in about 1600 to finish training the guy who's going in my place, and supervise him during the test.

The RF portion of the test will start about 2200, although the customer has told us they *might* be ready to go as early as 2000.

If all goes well, I should be able to get out of there at midnight, otherwise it could be a looooong night!

The last time this particular customer was there, they dragged things out, left for dinner without telling anybody, didn't follow the printed schedule we gave them, and in general caused the whole operation to be in Charlie Foxtrot territory all night.

I wound up being there almost 16 hours!

This morning I'm going to go by the Social Security office to ask a few questions about my upcoming retirement, and then I'm going to a farewell lunch for another person who's leaving the company. She's one of the "Export" people who handles a lot of the paperwork, and she'll really be missed.

After this launch, we have NO idea what's going to happen. The launch for fourth quarter of this year isn't going to happen, and the customer the management was in talks with for next year has yet to commit. Considering it takes anywhere from 6 to 12 months to get some of the specialized hardware built, if they don't commit pretty soon, that launch just aint gonna happen.

Several people have told me in private they're going to bail after this launch, which will really out the company in a bad position.

As for me, I'm out of there in August!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Just heard via Tam's blog that my friend Jeffro has passed away.

I always enjoyed corresponding with Jeff about Big Rigs and stuff, as he was a wealth of information, and always willing to patiently answer my Dumb Questions.

God Bless you, my friend, and may you Rest In Peace.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Duracell Battery Problems

Has anybody had problems with the big "24 pack" of Duracell batteries lately?

I bought a pack at Home Depot some months back, and they're pure GARBAGE!

I use them in my LaCrosse digital clock here in the radio room, and they not only go dead in a month, but they LEAK!

I've never had problems with "AA" size Duracells before, and a pair of them used to run this clock for about a year.

And it's not just this clock, either. They don't last more than a month or so in the various remotes we have, and those leaked, too.

I'm beginning to wonder if somebody slipped Home Depot a fast one, and they got stuck with some counterfeit batteries.

Guess I'll have to write Duracell directly, but just wondered if anybody else out here has noticed this.

I've gone back to Energizers in the meantime.......

Busy, Busy!

Besides being busy helping to support the next launch, been putting a big dent in the Honey Dew list.

We bought a new air conditioner for the living room, and after my wife's #1 son helped me install it, I noticed the plug was the "T-Slot" type. Well, it needs a "20 Amp" receptacle, I thought, so I went to the Cheapo Depot, bought one, and swapped it out. ALL the breakers to our 120 Volt outlets are 20 Amp, so changing it was no big deal.

I went to plug the new A/C unit in, and WTF???? The "Tee" was wrong, and wouldn't fit the new outlet!

Then I looked at the GFI that's built into the plug, and realized she'd bought a 240 Volt unit! Then I looked at the part number I gave her, and realized I'D given her the wrong model number to buy!


Luckily her BFF's son-in-law is an electrician, so for $70 worth of parts, and $160 in labor, he came over with his dad Wednesday night after his normal shift, installed a new outlet, ran new cable, and put a new breaker in our Service Entrance box.

It cools much better than the 10 year old 120 Volt unit we had, and as a bonus, the lights don't dim when it kicks in.

ANYWAY....then I had to spackle the one hole he had to drill behind the baseboard so he could run the cable, nail the baseboard back on.

For Phil......

 My buddy Phil from Bustednuckles brought up a good point on my previous post. Since I have things on the engine torn down this far: It wou...