Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hapy Halloween!

Got the candy ready and some spooky music playing on the home theater receiver.

And the living room scanner is running on the local PD frequencies so I'll know if anything hinky is going on in the area.

We don't get a lot of visitors. Usually one big bag from Costco is more than enough.

And the neighbors across the street are having a party tonight, so I expect we'll have some extra visitors this years.

Have a safe one!

Friday, October 30, 2015

What In The HELL Happened To "WIRED" Magazine?

I've been reading WIRED (I refuse to link to them, that's how pissed I am) since about 1995, a couple of years after it first started up.

It used to be a cutting edge-of-technology magazine for telecommunications, computers, and the computer/hacker culture.

They broke stories, started trends, and influenced the hacker culture to some extent, and had excellent articles.

Over the years, I noted a left-leaning drift, and within the last 12~18 months they went all East Coast/Beltway/Metrosexual/Global Warming/bullshit/Democratic Party/Renewable Energy/Obama-is-god bat-shit crazy.

Long gone are articles and interviews with the movers and shakers of the PC and Technology Industries.

No more "Japanese Schoolgirl Watch" column, either.

The newest issue came the other day, and who's on the cover as a "guest editor"?

Serena Williams, the freaking tennis player!

I have no problem with Ms. Williams as an athlete, as she's proven her prowess repeatedly. But as a guest editor of a TECH magazine?


And then there's the headline, in red print, on the cover....

"Let's Change The Future.......Race, Gender, and Equality in the Digital Age"

What a crock of CRAP!

With this issue, WIRED has finally crossed the line from being an interesting tech magazine, to being just another East Coast, Big City "Lifestyle" rag, as if there aren't enough of those out there already.

I didn't look inside the "magazine", even for curiosity value. It went right in the dumpster, and so will all the others I get until my subscription expires.

I'm just glad it comes in a plastic wrapper so I don't have to soil my hands with it......

Friday Morning Mellow Music

From John Kay, former lead singer for Steppenwolf.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Took care of getting a whole bunch of hams checked out on the ham gear on the Iowa Wednesday, and did a bunch of housework yesterday.

Today I'm (finally!) finishing up the wiring on the little Harbor Freight trailer I built a few years ago so I can sell it, and be rid of it.

I was going to mount my 8' mini-tower on it so it would be easier to move the mini-tower to Field Day and other events, but when I got the whole shebang finished (except for the wiring) I found out it wasn't quite stable enough for me to comfortably pull behind the Jeep.

And I've also got a pair of Dahlquist DQM-9 speakers in the garage that I'm going to pull out and sell. I got them from a friend of mine, BUT (there's always a but...) the wife say's they're "too big" for the living room, even though they're furniture quality cabinets, and look really nice. They also just had the foam surrounds replaced, so they should be good for many more years.

And The Great eBay Clearance is still going on, although I missed selling things for a couple of weeks due to the Supra event I went to. I pride myself on shipping as quickly as I can, and I lost the two weekends on each end of the event to list/sell/ship things.

And a good friend of mine recently became a gun owner (Glock 17 and Remington 870), so I'll be getting in some range time with him to help him learn about The Modern Technique of the Pistol.

And......well, that's about it. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ballistic Gel Ammo Test by Lucky Gunner

Very interesting test by the folks at Lucky Gunner.

And they have a nice table at the end of the test giving the results.

Thanks to Anthony at Lucky Gunner for sending this to me!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Mechanical Universe

Just on a lark this evening, I punched in the name of one of my favorite science programs into my favorite search engine, and came up with a stupendous (for me, anyway...) find.

The entire series is available for free streaming directly from Annenberg Learner.

It's also available on YouTube, but my first search came up with the episodes all scrambled up.

ANYWHO........if you were ever curious about Physics, this is an excellent series to watch, and I highly recommend all 52, half-hour, episodes.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

JOTA on the Iowa

Totally forget to mention we had the Scouts aboard today for JOTA.

It went much smoother this year than in years passed, although the count was down.

Last year we had over 160 Scouts when we expected about 100, and this year we had about 65 when we were expecting 60.

Basically, we have three or four stations set up out on the fantail, and give the Scouts their "Air Check" portion of what they have to do to earn their Radio Merit Badge.

Some of the "kids" (from 10 to 17 today) are natural at it, and very comfortable talking on the radio, while others barely speak two or three words each time they transmit.

And this year, the second group had mostly done their "On Air" portion (they had an active Ham station at the campsite), so out of the second group of 30 or so, only 8 needed to use the radio.

And then it was over!

We'd run everybody through by 1430, when we had expected to go to 1500 or beyond, and the afternoon session was only the 8 Scouts, so we were done early, and packed up by 1500.

I think one of the reasons this went so fast was the Scouts were on a very strict schedule. The last couple of years they marched from the campsite to the Iowa, and this year they had a bus, with a strict cut-off time. Everybody HAD to be back on the bus by 1500 to get them back to the campsite, -OR- the cost of the charter bus went up significantly.

As usual, the Iowa staff (besides the radio guys) was magnificent in their support of the event, having pop-ups, tables, and chairs out on the deck for us to set up this morning, and it's always a pleasure working with them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Supras in Vegas 2015" Pictures

Here's the better pix from the show.

I wasn't watching some of the settings on my camera, and wound up with some that are WAY overexposed.

I'll see if I can fix them with The GIMP, as they're nicely composed shots of the engine compartments of some of the heavy hitters.

And as usual, Photobucket transposed the order I uploaded them in, so the first is last, and vice versa.


Monday, October 12, 2015

I'm Home and I'm Beat....

Was on the I-15 South at 0930 this morning, and arrived home about 1400.

Traffic was light most of the way home, but got jammed in a few areas once I was back in the L.A. basin.

And it feels hotter here than it was in Vegas, mostly due to the 40% humidity, compared to the 5~10% humidity in Las Vegas.

At least back there if you stood in the shade, and there was even a hint of a breeze, you cooled off pretty fast.

Guess I finally understand all the jokes about "Oh, but it's a DRY heat"...

Have a ton of pix to sort through, met some people I've been talking to online for a couple of years, and made a bunch of new friends,

Great bunch of people, some real knock-your-socks-off cars, and a whole lot of fun.

And next year, I'll have MY car there to join in the festivities.....

Friday, October 9, 2015

Rotten Hotel WiFi......

I gave up on the "free" hotel WiFi. Even though Windoze declared the signal level as "Very Good", the connection was always dropping, stalling, and sometimes I couldn't even get past the log-in screen.

I dug out my Virgin Mobile 3G/4G "Mobile HotSpot", called them up to reactivate it, and now I have 10MBPS speeds, with a SOLID 4G connection.

Dyno Day was really interesting. A guy set a "new record" for normally aspirated (NON turbo) cars of 299 rear wheel horsepower, and I watched several people easily crack the 800 horsepower level.

It took two or three people sitting on the rear of the car to get the required traction at that level!

I didn't hear who the Top Gun was for this session, but I'll find out about it at dinner tonight.

It was expected to exceed 1000 horsepower.......

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Supras in Vegas 2015!

Just got back from the first "Field Trip" scheduled for the event, where after we all registered, we went to Hoover Dam, and took over the entire top floor of the parking structure.

There's some SERIOUS horsepower on display here, with several of the cars capable of running low 11 second to low 10 second ET's in the quarter mile.

Some of these guys are running TWO intercooled turbochargers, each one big enough to scare a Caterpillar mechanic.......

And there's also people who have completely stock cars that are worthy of being in a museum.

And I've met several people in person that I've chatted with over the last couple of years on the celicasupra forum.

Don't think I'll upload any pix, as the WiFi at the hotel is pretty slow, but at least it's free.

Thursday is "Dyno Day", and it will be interesting to see if these guys really do make the "800 rear wheel horsepower" that they claim. From my experience, it's pretty hard to transfer that much power through the tires into the dynomometer rollers......

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday Already?

Time sure flies when you don't know what you're doin'!

Have to put my 2016 registration stickers on the Jeep, then head to the car wash, check my mail, and do a load of laundry in preparation for leaving Wednesday morning for Supras in Vegas!

I'm looking forward to meeting up with a bunch of my on-line friends from the celicasupra,com forum where I hang out.

Even though I didn't get Ms. Swan ready for the trip (I just have to learn how to organize my time better!), I've volunteered the Jeep to act as a support vehicle.

I'll get her there next year after I clean up the garage (again....) and get her inside to swap out all the worn-out parts for the huge stack of new stuff I have for her.

I'll be rebuilding the front and read suspensions with poly-graphite bushings, new KYB Gas-A-Just shocks and strut inserts, new springs that will drop the front a little over 1", and the rear about 3/4", and some new wheels and tires for her.

And I'll finally get the new carpet installed, the new stereo installed, and my short-throw shifter installed.

The stock Supra wheels for the Mark-II are 14x7, with a 225/60-14 tire, and you just can't get proper performance tires in that size anymore. The new rims are 16x8, and I'll be running something like a 265/40-16 tire. The rolling radius of the tires is the same as the OEM tires, so it won't change the overall gearing, or throw off the speedometer.

It sounds like a huge change, but with the correct offset rims, they fit right in there just fine, with plenty of clearance even considering the car will be lowered a bit.

So, go read the good folks in the sidebar, and I'm off running errands for the rest of the day!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Chris Mintz - HERO -

This gentleman stepped up to the plate, and put his life on the line to try and stop the madman in Oregon.

For this, he was shot SEVEN times.

Please kick in a few bucks if you can.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

School Shooting

Yes, I heard about it.

And again, the ONLY thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.

The school has a strict no guns policy; even the "security" people are only allowed to carry Mace.

Busy Day on the Iowa.....

Spent yesterday on the Iowa helping the Grey Radio Gang in getting some of the original receivers and a transmitter running for a crew tour of the radio spaces next week.

I won't be there as I'll be attending the 5th annual "Supras in Vegas" car show, so I wanted to make sure things were good-to-go.

Didn't work......

We started having receive antenna problems right away (the ships uses separate antennas for receive and transmit), so we never got around to getting the "Aft Twin Whip" transmit antenna connected using the adapter I made up.

The picture was taken before we connected the feed lines to the antennas from the box mounted between them. In the picture below you can see the feeds coiled up on the box:

The box contains a Jennings vacuum variable capacitor, and a length of copper strap used to "tune" the reactance of the antenna to a know value so the antenna couplers located in the transmitter room can work with it.

These antennas, made by a Canadian company, are rated for 10kW continuous duty, so they'll just be loafing along with 1200 Watts. The large feedline coming out of the right hand side of the box is 3-1/8" Andrew Heliax which runs down to the transmitter room. The cable terminates in a flange type connector (I forget the Andrew designation...), and I had to fabricate an adapter to a Type-N connector so we could use a jumper to the output of the coupler.

Back to the receivers....

At first we thought we had dead receivers, then we thought the couplers were bad, then it looked intermittent, then everything started working again. I was busy doing some mechanical "fine tuning" on the adapter (no hammers, just a file and a caliper!), so I wasn't helping with the receivers.

Anyway......the receivers appear to be operating normally, and the GRG will connect the transmitter to a dummy load, and talk to the Ham Radio station we already have aboard.

Not the best, but at least it will show the tour group that we can get audio from the Red Phones, through the Coke machine, down to transmitter room, and on the reverse path, audio from the receivers, back through the Coke Machine, and on to the same Red Phone for the demonstration.

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...