Friday, October 31, 2014

Haloween Weirdness

While passing out the candy tonight, I had my Home Patrol scanner on so I could keep up with police activity.

While I didn't catch the area where this was going on, it definitely falls into the "YGTBSM" category.....

A guy wearing a hockey mask, and wielding a chainsaw, was chasing Trick-or-Treaters around!

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't heard the frantic scramble by the cops to find the guy......

Thursday, October 30, 2014

BOOOOOO! Happy Halloween!

For your scary viewing pleasure I present THRILLER!

Say whatever you will about Michael Jackson, he sure was talented.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Antares Launch Failure

This was the first flight of the Anatres Launch Vehicle using a new Russian built engine.

The vehicle and the Cygnus CRS automated cargo spacecraft were carrying just under 5000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station, along with a whole bunch of "cubesats" for deployment

The engines are shipped to the US, and modified by Aerojet for the launch vehicle.

I've watched the video several times (and watched "other" videos of it), and it appears to be either a nozzle or perhaps a turbopump failure. If you watch the exhaust plume, you cab see a significant brightening and change of shape right before the vehicle explodes.

This is a major setback for Orbital Sciences, and the loss of almost 5000 pounds of supplies and experiments for the ISS.

And here's a very interesting aerial view:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Make Him Own It.......

As usual, Mr. Whittle makes perfect sense.

Get out there on November 4th and VOTE!

But then I doubt if any of the people who stop by here need to be told that.....

Friday, October 24, 2014

70th Anniversary of the Battle Off Samar

"In no engagement of its entire history has the United States Navy shown more gallantry, guts and gumption than in those two morning hours between 0730 and 0930 off Samar"

Samuel Eliot Morison, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XII, Leyte

Undoubtedly one of the most lopsided Naval battles in history.

6 escort carriers, 4 destroyer escorts, and 3 destroyers held off twenty-three ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, some outweighing them by over thirty times!

The incredible story of Taffy 3 was published in "The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors" by James D. Hornfisher, and it's a gripping read.

The Battle Off Samar was part of the Leyte Gulf Campaign, and was the end of an operational Japanese Navy.

The story of Taffy 3 has also been covered on The History Channel, and The Military Channel.

For a detailed review of this Naval action, please go read the entire Wikipedia entry. It's just an amazing story of bravery and courage.

One of the Iowa volunteer crew was on the USS Hoel, the first American ship to be sunk, and I'm looking forward to meeting him.

New Phone

Well, my trusty AndroidX has been slooowly dying these last few months, and last night it finally got so bad I decided ti junk it.

The trade-in allowance was only $5, and it's worth more than that to me as a sledgehammer target after all the aggravation it's caused the last few months.

The touch screen was getting very hard to use and unresponsive, making it very hard to dial out or return a call. Last night it started ringing, and I was busy, so I ignored it. Looking at the incoming calls, I saw it was a friend of mine, so I spent about 10 minutes ( ! ) trying to call him back before I gave up. He called me back about 10 minutes later! I thought the call never connected, but it did, and when he asked what I needed, and I told him I was returning his call of 20 minutes earlier, he said he hadn't called me all day.

So, I went down to the Verizon store last night, signed in, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

After about 45 minutes, I threw in the towel, and came home. The new Galaxy Note 4 went on sale last night, and the place was a zoo. I spent my waiting time looking at all the phones, and decided on a Galaxy S5, which I went back and got this morning.

Took about 20 minutes in-and-out, so that's one of the bennies from being "unemployed", and being able to do my shopping during the day.

I haven't played with it much as I want it to fully charge, and I'm busy reading how to root it so I can uninstall all the crapware it come with, and have FULL control over the GPS and camera/microphone functions.

When this one wears out, I'm going to seriously look into just getting a TracFone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Inert 16"/50 Caliber Shells on the Battleship Iowa

Had a good day (as usual!) on the Iowa today. We gave the commercial radio test for the Marine Radio Operators Permit to two people, who both passed with 100%.

Then I took some pictures of the Inert 16"/50 caliber rounds, and went "back to work" on the AN/URR-74(V)2 radio receivers.

One of them appears to have a problem on the -15 Volt buss, as the regulator mounted on the back panel of the radio is getting too hot to touch after being powered on for 10~15 minutes. The encoder for the main tuning also has a problem, as no matter which way you turn the knob, the frequency increases. One of the other guys in the Gray Radio Group knows what the problem is, so it's on the punch list for that particular radio, along with troubleshooting what's making the regulator get so hot.

Here's a better view of the stacks of pallets with the shells:

And here's how they're packed, two per pallet:

Here's the label on the end of the pallet stating the weight. Since each shell weighs 1,900 lbs, the weight of a High Explosive shell, this would indicate that the pallet alone weighs 450 lbs:

Off to the end of the stacked pallets is this Shell Carrier. I'm sure there's a more correct name for it, but I don't know what it might be. I don't know if we already had this, or if it came with the shells:

The Rotating Band, which engages the rifling in the barrel, has sure seen better days:

And there's some damage to where the band is attached to the shell. It almost looks like it was deliberately cut away:

Some stenciling on one of the shells:

The pallet stack as seen from the other side. We sure did get a bunch of these:

I have no idea what this equipment is for:

Nameplate on the above equipment:

Looks like this one was NOT "Handled With Care":

Here's another one that tried to escape:

Here's some close-ups of the Rotating Band:

The tip of the shell:

Some markings on the strapping. 1947, maybe?:

Markings on the pallet itself:

And since I was outside, and it was a beautiful day, here's one of the whaleboats, and our BIG forklift:

The whaleboat's helm:

Not sure what these numbers mean, but they're not stenciled on; they're cut into the hull:

Always good to spend a day on the Iowa. I found out the other day one of the volunteers was on the USS Hoel during The Battle Off Samar.

I'm going to have to meet him!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday Already?

Well, I was out-of-it on Monday. Had some kind of stomach bug, and spent most of the day either in bed, or in the bathroom.

Feel a bunch better today.

I'll be taking my camera with me tomorrow and get some pix of the dummy shells at the Iowa.

Also have two commercial radio exams to help with, and we'll be doing some performance testing on the receivers in Radio Central.

Always good to spend a day on the Iowa, almost as good as spending a day at the range!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What a Drone Can See From 17,500 Feet

Pretty damn impressive.

And "they" say they have no idea what was going on at Benghazi.....

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Present for the Battleship Iowa

While I was there today running one of the HF stations for JOTA, I happened to notice numerous pallets of "dummy" shells down by the outdoor crew break area.

I'd read in out crew newsletter that these were being delivered, but hadn't seen them yet.

Each pallet had a tag stating that it weighed 4250 lbs, and we have STACKS of them:

These were freebies from the Navy, we just had to pay the freight.

And I don't even think about how much it cost to ship them from Indiana to SoCal!

Next time I'm there I'll have my Nikon with me, so I'll get some close ups of the individual shells.

And as soon as I get some pix of the JOTA event, I'll post them here.

Suffice to say we ran 130 Scouts, in four groups, through the 4 stations we had running, and got them all signed off for the "On-The-Air" portion of their Radio Merit Badge class.

We even worked W7BSA, and K2BSA, which made some of our Scouts really happy.

And they ALL had a great time exploring the Iowa!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

250,000 Page Views!

Which aint bad for a little blog that's not updated regularly, doesn't run pr0n, and really doesn't have much to say.

Spent all day on the Iowa finishing up the three W-J 8718A receivers we have.

Next week we'll run some tests on them to determine if they all meet the sensitivity specs, and if they do, we'll call it a wrap.

*Most* of the 1051 receivers are working, but about half of them need the belts that connect the tuning mechanisms to the front panel knobs replaced.

We were able to contact the company that makes the drive belts, and they graciously provided us with enough spares to replace all the belts in all the receivers (we have something like 20 of them), along with some extra spares for the parts cabinet.

Now that we have the W-J 8718A's back on-line, my focus is going to shift to getting the original HF transmitters running again.

The first step will be to physically inspect each one to see if any parts or assemblies have been pulled, and "red tag" any we find that have had parts removed.

Then we'll pick a likely one that's easy to get at, and start running the "New Installation" guide in the back of the manual we have.

These are rated at 1000 Watts continuous (100% Duty Cycle) use, and could put out quite a bit more with a different power supply.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Between the Honey Dew list, my time on the Iowa, and doing some "emergency" repairs on PC's for friends, I've been keeping pretty busy these days.

The last of the suspension parts came in for my Supra (new springs! I'm dropping the front 1.5" and the rear .75"), so I'm planning on getting started on her Real Soon Now.

Finished up rebuilding a PC I'll be taking down to the Iowa so we can do computer-based logging on, and that should help keep the records straight.

We're making several hundred contacts per week, and it was getting to be a chore filling out all the cards an envelopes for QSL cards.

AND........Friday was kind of a bummer for my wife and I. I gave one of her best friends a ride to and from the hospital for her colonoscopy, and she's got a major problem. She has an ulcer "the size of a nickle", and the Doctor who did the procedure is already talking chemo and radiation, so she and my wife are rather distraught.

She won't know for sure until the biopsy results come back, so we've got our fingers and toes crossed.

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Failure To Fire" Is Going Offline

One of the more, uh...."interesting" webcomics has published it's final episode today.

Yep, "Failure To Fire" is going dark.

The author might do a few "afterword" comics, but for the most part he's decided to close up shop and get on with his other projects, and life in general.

I don't remember when I first started reading "Failure To Fire", but it sure was a fun ride while it lasted.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

NRA Basic Pistol Class AAR

Well, we taught another 14 people the NRA Basic Pistol class yesterday.

We started with 15, but one young lady vanished after about an hour. She's an LPN, so we figured maybe she was called in to work or something.

As usual, we had quite a wide variety of people, from Patent Attorneys to web designers, to a retired Navy Officer who brought her son with her.

 Some of the students had prior shooting experience and were taking the class to improve their skills, while others had never handled a gun before.

They were all very interested, followed directions well, and we had no safety or firearms handling issues at all.

After the classroom session was over, we headed out to the range to let the students get some hands-on practice.

The basic format of this is to fire 20 rounds at a blank sheet of 8-1/2x10 paper, then 20 rounds at a target, and then 10 rounds at a fresh target for scoring.

The blank paper is used so we can get a feel for the students handle the gun, and correct any errors they might have with stance, grip, and sighting in. I always tell them to try and hit the center of the paper, and then use you first hole as a target and try to get the rest of the rounds "in the same hole", or if you're really off, then try and get your next shot closer to the center.

We had one little Ruger Mark-II malfunction (magazine wouldn't go in), and some ammo problems, mostly failure-to-feeds. The lead instructor told me the Mark-II's are a bit finicky about what ammo works in them, and with 22LR still being a bit scarce, we just try and live with it.

We also saw a bunch of stove-pipes which I assumed was from limp wristing, but after instructing the student who was having the problem to grip the pistol tighter, the problem lessened.

The 20 rounds on a target went well, with ALL of the students shooting 100% in the black target area, and a several getting 100% in the orange bull's eye!

Te retired Navy Officer had some problems with her stance (she was shooting her own pistol, a Taurus clone of a Beretta 92), and once I corrected her, she came right on target.

The 10 rounds on target was a bit different, as the students felt some "pressure" for being in competition.

Two scored 100%, so we had a 3 round shoot-off, with one young lady getting 100%, and the guy she was up against getting two in the orange, and one on the edge.

All-in-all, it was a great day, and we trained 14 more people in the proper handling and the basics of shooting.

Friday, October 3, 2014

"An OBLIGATION To Defend Ourselves"

Latest from Bill Whittle.

He says the title of this post at 3:03 into the video.

I'm going to assist with another "NRA Basic Pistol" class tomorrow.

Hopefully it goes as well as the last one I helped with.

Coming Soon To A City Near YOU!

Enough said.......

When I got my flu shot yesterday I asked if it also protected against Ebola.

Half the staff busted up, and the other half didn't know what to make of it.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

James May at the Edge of Space

"Top Gear" (the English one, not that poseur American version) is one of my favorite TV programs.

One of the presenters, James May, is an avid Space enthusiast.

He did a spectacular show a few years ago on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landings.

He's also one of the few civilians to get a ride on the trainer version of the U2 aircraft, and did a film about it.

It's quite entertaining in a low-key sort of way, and I found it quite enjoyable to watch.

These days, 70,000 feet isn't considered the "Edge of Space", but he also explains that.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I've almost always carried some kind of knife. I'm not a knife aficionado or anything, but in all the jobs I've worked at, having a decent knife, in your pocket, has come in handy more times than I can count.

I really like my Benchmade knives, but sadly they need to be sent back to sharpen, as I just can't seem to put a decent edge on them.

Something else I need to learn!

My second most recent purchase was a Gerber. A nice, sharp knife with a "Tanto" blade, but I just HATE that damn stupid mechanism they have on it to fold the blade back in. It takes both hands for a clumsy doofus like me to fold the blade back, and that's just unacceptable for me.

So, I recently purchased a nice little SOG knife. It has assisted opening, and a release button like my Benchmade knives, so I can easily fold it back when I finished using it.

It's one of the "Rescue" knives, with a blunt tip, perfect for sawing through seat belts and such without putting a 22 stitch wound in the person you're trying to save!

And I've also got some serious "Survival" knives that I keep "just in case", and a sweet little Cold Steel tomahawk, just in case the Zombies show up.

So what brings me to talk about knives?

This hilarious post over at Tam's place.

Genius that woman is!

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...