Saturday, December 31, 2016

Quiet New Year's Eve....

Not much going on here. My wife went to visit a dear old friend from High School, so I'm just snuggled in here tonight with the dog, listening to the scanner, and seeing what mischief other people are getting into tonight.

Quiet night so far, but then it's only 1930 here, and I expect the "action" will pick up several hours from now.

Went to In-N-Out for dinner tonight, so I'm nice and full, and will be hitting the hay early tonight.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Terrific Apollo / Saturn-V Launch Composite

This one of the best I've seen.

Just about makes me shed a tear....

Also reminds of standing on the Launch Platform Odyssey at 154*W, 0*N with one of my friends one night. The Moon was up, and I said to no one in particular, "Gee....We went there once"....and he almost started crying.

Funny what makes grown men tear up, isn't it?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

OK....It's **OFFICIAL**....I'm Going To Be A GRANDPA!

We've known for a while now, but wanted to wait until The Kids In Colorado announced it.

Making the announcement of the wonderful news are, left to right, Coco, Obie, and my big lovable moose-of-a-dog, Diamond.

As expected, my wife is absolutely ECSTATIC.

Any doubts she had about moving to Colorado went POOF! the moment my daughter-in-law told her.

Gee....looks like I'll have to buy another set of tools in around 15 years or so......

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to All My Friends and Family!

Me In Full-Geek Mode c.1967~1968

A high-school buddy of mine on FarceBook found this photo of me and posted it.

The ham gear is the Heathkit "SB Series" I built, consisting of the SB-301 receiver, the SB-401 transmitter, along with the SB-600 speaker, SB-630 station console, and HD-10 single-lever keyer.

The receiver had the optional 400Hz CW filter, and the transmitter had the optional "crystal pack" so it could operate as a stand-alone transmitter. If you didn't install the optional crystals, you were locked to the oscillators in the receiver. You could operate "split" or slaved together in "transceiver mode", but the transmitter couldn't operate by itself without the heterodyne crystals installed.

The box with the large meter to the left is the control box for my "HAM-M" antenna rotator, which was installed in my 70' fold-over tower that I bought used and refurbished.

The antennas in use were a Hy-Gain 402 2-element 40 meter Yagi at 75', and a Hy-Gain TH6DX about 10' above that.

Yep, I put out a pretty BIG signal, and then added about 10dB more when I built my dual 4-100 amplifier.

The receiver has my Renwal "Visible V-8" kit on it.

This is down in the basement of "The House I Grew Up In" back in Joliet, Illinois, and is before my Dad's buddy, Master Carpenter Al Poole, built the beautiful L-Shaped desk/console for me along the back wall, and down the left side of the picture for about 6 feet. I can't pin down the exact year for this as I don't remember when the desk was built.

I don't remember which one of my Dad's buddies did the electrical work, but I had him install  a 220V/25A circuit and outlet for when I had my linear amplifier finished. I knew I couldn't get enough power from a 110VAC outlet to be able to run a 1000 Watt DC Input amplifier, so the 220 outlet was a must.

Here's a shot without yours truly in the picture, showing the 220 Volt outlet directly above the transmitter:

The "Visible V-8" was one of the hundreds (possibly more) of model kits I built over the years, along with the "Visible Man", and the Monogram P-51 Mustang that was molded with a clear skin, and has numerous changes over their silver-skinned version of the same model.

I used to drive my poor Dad nuts every time I built a Monogram WWII Navy plane, and asked him if "I got it right"!

Took me a while to understand that my Dad was a SeaBee, and while it technically qualified as being "In The Navy", he never served on a carrier, knew very little about Naval Aviation in WWII, and the only time he spent on ships was going between islands in the Pacific on his way to build the next airstrip, bridge, base, hospital, and all the other stuff the SeaBees did.

As far as the Visible V-8 was concerned, it was a pretty neat kit, with little bulbs for "Spark Plugs" and a "working" distributor to light them up at the right time.

I was always jealous of the Visible Chrysler "Slant Six" that my best buddy Joe had.

His model actually had real metal screws to hold the connecting rods together, and as I recall, piston rings you had to install on the pistons! How cool is that!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Rainy Wednesday on the Iowa

Been raining here again (.7" last night, with more to come), and it was a pretty soggy day yesterday on the Iowa.

I dropped off a new Ben-Q "Short Throw" projector that my wife and I donated after a plea for a donation at the Crew Dinner we went to, and then headed to the Comm Center for my typical Wednesday stint.

I'd noticed one of the projectors down in the museum area by the gift shop was off, but didn't know it was broken and "beyond economical repair", but that's taken care of now.

And I replaced the video card in the NI6BB station computer as the fan on it had failed, and the computer would shut don with a "video hardware fault" after being turned on for around 10 minutes. I put one of my "in stock" high-end video cards in it until I can get the fan replaced on the card that was in there. Since the $50 card that was in there was more than adequate for the programs we run, I'll pull my $300 card out after I put a new fan on the card that was in there.

During on of my forays out on the deck, I answered some questions from one of our visitors and his little boy. Turns out he was a Combat Photographer for the Army, and was in 'Nam from 1965 to 1967. He'd been from on end of 'Nam to the other, and told me he was currently working on a book about his experiences.

Unfortunately I didn't get his name, as I got too wrapped up listening to the stories he told me!

As always, it was a great day on the Iowa!

Monday, December 19, 2016

RATS! Dead Battery in the Jeep....

Ran out to Walgreen's last night to get a magazine ("Super Street", not the kind of car mag I typically buy) that has coverage of the "Supras in Vegas" event.

Came out of the store and BZZZZZZT! when I turned the key to start the Jeep.

Called my wife, who got dressed and came to the store (God bless her heart!) so I could jump the Jeep from her little car. Got the Jeep started and drove around for a bit to put some charge in the battery.

Got home, and ALL the parking spots on the street were gone!

That's a post I've been wanting to write, but hadn't been ticked off enough to do.

Coming Soon!

Had to pull her car all the way up to the driveway gate, and then crept the Jeep up right behind her. Turned it off and tried to restart it and BZZZZZZZT!

SO....this morning I took my super-duper-charge-any-battery-known-to-man charger to the Jeep, pulled the connections to the battery, and connected the charger.

The charger went into "analyze" mode, declared the battery to "OK", and then started charging. The state-of-charge as measured by the charger was only 65%, BUT I noticed the battery clamps were somewhat loose on the battery posts when I hooked up the charger.

Absolutely NO corrosion on them, as I greased them pretty well when I put this battery in the Jeep a few years ago.

Hopefully it's just a case of the battery clamps loosening up over time, and things will be OK again after the battery charges up, and I properly tighten the clamps.

This model Jeep uses an obscure size battery, and last time I replaced it cost around $200. It's the biggest battery I've ever seen in a passenger car, and looks like it belongs in an 18-wheeler.


Well, it's not the starter. Charged to 100%, and all I get is the BZZZZT!

Jumped it with my mammoth Optima "Yellow Top" I use for my portable solar-powered Ham operation, and it started right up.

THREE times it started flawlessly.

Connected the charger back up, and charged to 100% again. Disconnected the charger and no start. And after ONE attempt to start it, the charger showed that the state-of-charge had gone from 100% back down to 65%!

Looks like it developed a bad cell, literally overnight.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Obamas Legacy.....

The wife and I are off to the "Crew Appreciation **Christmas** Dinner" onboard the Iowa tonight, so I thought I'd leave you with this little video, passed on to me by a good friend.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rain and Cold Weather for L.A.

So far the rain gauge says about .15" over the last several hours. NWS claims we could get 1" to THREE inches of rain tonight. That's a whole lot in such a short time for out here. Most of the soil here is adobe, a clay/sand/"black dirt" mix, and after an inch of rain or so, not much soaks in, and it starts to pool and run off.

And I know "cold" is a very relative term (just ask Rev Paul!), but THIRTY SEVEN degrees and raining in SoCal is a bit "unpleasant" for the natives.

Just hope we don't start getting mudslide in whatever burn areas there are this year.....

Monday, December 12, 2016

Virgin Galactic's "SpaceShipTwo" Completes Suscessful Glide Test

Full story here at SatNews.

Hard to believe it's been two years since they lost the first one due to an inadvertent pilot error.

For those that don't know the history of this interesting mothership/spacecraft combination, here's the article at the Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor Day on the Iowa

Had a great time today playing radio on the Iowa, and also the somber experience of the ceremonies held in commemoration of 7 December, 1941.

The press was everywhere for the noon time ceremonies, and if you live in the L.A. area I'm sure you'll see it on the news.

We made well over 300 contacts using the "regular" Amateur Radio equipment, but the guys running the 1980's era "legacy" Navy equipment had problems. Seems one of the R-1051 receivers we've been using has developed a problem with the frequency changing mechanism, a complex arrangement of gears, chains, and rotary switches.

It looks to be a simple problem, as these things go, just requiring a bit of jiggling one of the switches to wake the receiver up again, so I'm guessing dirty or slightly misaligned contacts. A bit of DeoxIT should clear it up, but getting the receiver apart enough to actually get at the contacts is a bit of a PITA. Fortunately we have a person who has restored several of these, so we're going to go through the required paperwork to get it off the ship and let him go through it. We have the complete service manuals for it, and a good supply of spares he can use. We really don't have the facilities on the ship anymore to drag it to the Electronic Repair Shop and do it there, as all the test equipment was removed before the ship went into the Reserve Fleet.

The legacy transmitters we've been using have been working 100%, and we now have a "new" antenna, with an autocoupler, for use with the legacy transmitters, and just having the autocoupler makes using them much easier, as we don't have to manually adjust an antenna coupler for lowest reflected power when we change frequencies.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Election Post Mortem: Tucker Carlson Makes a New York Slimes Columnist Really Squirm

This is great! The only other thing I've seen that's this good is the NewsWeek Managing Editor squirming around try to explain not only how their "Madam President" issue went out in error, but why it was so stridently anti Trump, and some would say anti American.

Hint:......NewsWeek doesn't produce their own "Commemorative Issues"!

I'll post that one later on.

In the meantime....enjoy this twit from the New York Slimes getting raked over the coals.....

'Tis The Season!

Shamelessly borrowed from Irish......

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Scopes for Air Rifles?

A very good friend of mine has a really nice 22 cal air rifle. I forget what brand it is, but it cost him around $450, and got very good online reviews on several of the air rifle forums, and it's served him well in keeping the rabbit population under control on his vegtable farm.

WELL......he dropped it a couple of weeks ago, and the optics on the (CHEEP!) scope got knocked out of alignment to the point that when I looked through it, instead of seeing a round circle of light, I saw an oval.

And it kind of rattled a bit when you shook it...

So, I gave him the scope that came from Marlin on my 336 (I replaced it with a Nikon scope), along with several sets of rings of various heights so he could get it mounted to his preference. I helped him sight it in, and all is well. The rifle is a real ass kicker for an air rifle, and will punch clean through one side of a galvanized trash can, and almost through the other side at 25 yards. Pretty impressive to my thinking!

HOWEVER....he keeps reading on the forums that you need to use a specially designed scope made specifically for air rifles to withstand the back-and-forth shock that comes from the piston slamming forward to compress the air, and then the recoil from the pellet going out the barrel.

I'd never heard of that before. Can anybody with air rifle experience shed some light here, or is it just an "Internet Myth"?

He's worried that that "expensive" scope I gave him will get damaged, and even though I don't want the scope back, I'd like some info to put his mind at ease.....

One Upsmanship.....

From an email a buddy on the Iowa sent....

I know it's fake, but it's funny, too....

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Not Much Here; Carry On!

Just been cleaning up the Radio Room a bit, mostly sorting through all the magazines (the paper kind) that have stacked up, and deciding which ones to keep, and which to dump.

I'll probably box up the car mags I don't want and ship them to one of my friends back in Illinois. Not too expensive if you use Media Mail, but it can take up to 3 weeks to get there from here.

And I've dug up a bunch of electronic items for eBay. I've got one of the original "FunCube Dongles" that's basically an SDR receiver-on-a-stick, and is the one that kicked off the whole "Cheap SDR" craze. Far better than a $20 dongle as it should be, as it was about $150 when I bought it.

The little "SDRplay" will also go on the block, as the AirSpy outperforms it by a wide margin.

A couple of RCA and Heathkit VTVMs, a couple of Heathkit Code Practice Oscillators and a Heathkit electronic keyer will go, along with some Toyota suspension parts I bought that are just too track focused to be relevant to street operation. The urethane bushings I installed are plenty "good enough" for my car, and I really don't think the Techno Toy Tuning track control rods, with their spherical rod ends in place of compliant bushings, would work OK on the street. The car I rode in that had them would rattle the fillings out of your teeth, and I don't want that.

I'll get started in on the garage cleaning ('s a never ending battle) on Sunday, and probably wind up with full "garbage" and "recycle" bins for Monday's trash pick up.

We used the last one of our "Large Item" free pick-ups for the year from the city last week, and got rid of a 75 gallon fish tank, some furniture that had been left outside and was deteriorated rather badly, and a "glider" type swinging chair/bench. It's like a porch swing, but has it's own frame so you can put it any where flat. That was gone before the city truck even got here, as we have some "junque dealers" who prowl the streets looking for items like that that can be refurbished, and sold at swap meets, or kept for their own use.

ANY large item made of metal will disappear, sometimes in minutes depending on what day of the week it is, and I doubted that item would make the city truck before it got here. It just needed a new canvas awning, it had no rust on it, and probably made the guy who picked it up smile.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Interview Wirh General Mattis

This is about 40 minutes long, and worth every second of your time.

I think President Elect Trump has made a wise choice....

And I just saw this over at the Western Rifle Shooters Association:

Be Safe, and Stay Alert

a.k.a. "Condition Yellow".

We won a major battle in November, but this war is far from over.....

Saturday, November 26, 2016

CBS Comes Clean

Or about as close to it as the lamestream media is capable of doing.

Go RTWT over here.

More Rain

Which is cool because drought!

It started an hour or so ago as a light sprinkle, and now it's a genuine RAIN storm. It's under .1" as of a few seconds ago when I checked my weather station, but NOAA says it should continue most of the day.

Good news for the Central Valley area where a lot of farming is done. We didn't have any reported mudslides from the last storms that came through, but if this one dumps a lot of rain that might just change.

And the little Airspy SDR radio just keeps plugging along. I did some monitoring of the APT Weather Satellites, and although I didn't save the audio files to convert them to images, I saw NO signs of strong-signal "breakthrough" like I did with the USB dongles I was using.

If you're looking for a Software Defined Radio receiver that's far better than the $25 dongles, this one gets my vote.

And I've tried almost all of them....

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Having some family members and friends over for dinner and some board/card games.

Hope your day is a happy one as well!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Airspy SDR First Report

I didn't need to find a USB extension as the USB cable that came with this little was plenty long enough to reach from the back of my Linux PC all the way around to the front and still have a couple of feet left.

SO....I plugged it in, ran dmesg, and was reqward with the following:

[17442.607014] usb 1-1.6: new high-speed USB device number 4 using ehci-pci
[17442.700026] usb 1-1.6: New USB device found, idVendor=1d50, idProduct=60a1
[17442.700040] usb 1-1.6: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[17442.700042] usb 1-1.6: Product: AIRSPY
[17442.700044] usb 1-1.6: Manufacturer:
[17442.700045] usb 1-1.6: SerialNumber: AIRSPY SN:573064DC314023C1
[17443.788553] Linux video capture interface: v2.00
[17443.818345] airspy 1-1.6:1.0: Board ID: 00
[17443.818350] airspy 1-1.6:1.0: Firmware version: AirSpy NOS v1.0.0-rc10-0-g946184a 2016-09-19
[17443.819047] airspy 1-1.6:1.0: Registered as swradio0
[17443.819050] airspy 1-1.6:1.0: SDR API is still slightly experimental and functionality changes may follow
[17443.819079] usbcore: registered new interface driver airspy

 This tells me it discovered a new USB device, queried it, and the device responded with it's ID, and the revisions, including what firmware is loaded into it. Very nice!

Then I started GQrx, selected "AIRSPY" from the choices, and brought up KLOS, 95.5MHz.

After that check, I tuned it to 162.550MHz for NOAA Weather Radio, and set up the filters and gain settings appropriate to listening to narrow FM voice.

It's been sitting like that for about an hour now, and there's been NO "break through" from strong local transmitters, and no funny images or spurs appearing in the panadaptor/waterfall display.

This is quite a bit better than any of the USB dongles I've tried, and I suspect it would be quite a bit better than the SDRplay receiver I have, although I gave up trying to make that radio work with Gqrx.

I haven't tried it with Linrad yet, but I'm sure it will work just fine.

And I suppose I'll try the GNURadio Companion program again, but it's pretty obtuse to use, and assumes you know a whole lot about exactly what you want to do with your hardware, and also understand the hardware extremely well.

So far, this little receiver looks like a real winner!

Radios and Rain!

It's raining cats and dogs here right now. Rate was was up to 1.5"/hr, and we've received about .65" since it started this morning. It's backed off to .45"/hr and the NWS radar shows the major portion of the storm has gone through, but there's another one right behind it.

We sure need the rain, but I hope it doesn't cause flooding. Airspy Software Defined Radio  arrived the other day.

This one uses a 12-bit ADC, which gives it much better dynamic range than any of the inexpensive dongles have, and it's built into an aluminum extrusion with metal end plates, something lacking in both the SDRplay, and the vaunted HackRF One.

I haven't connected it to a PC yet due to some problems here. My KVM switch has failed again, and although this one has everything I want, this particular model just isn't very reliable. It's been "stuck" on the port for my Linux PC  for a couple of months, and I've tried everything I can think of to get it "unstuck". At first the mouse was acting strange, then the keyboard started giving me double, missing, or wrong characters. I wound up attaching a mouse and keyboard to the front USB connectors which made the PC reliable, and then it pretty much failed completely, with the buttons on the front panel becoming unresponsive. It still passes the video, but otherwise it's just a $125 lump. Replacing it with something different will require tearing apart about half my radio station due to the fact that I've got all the cables routed "nice and pretty". I'll probably just run a USB extension cable from one of the back ports on this (Linux) PC so I can try out the Airspy, and scratch my head a while longer on what to do about the KVM problem.....

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Quiet Day....

Just sitting here enjoying my 2nd cup of coffee, and waiting for a laptop to decide if it's going to boot up or not.

Friday night I'll be running the auction for one of my radio clubs, and Saturday I'll be on the Iowa from 1000~1700 to help host a large Ham club visit. No word on if we'll escort them down to the transmitter room, but if we have enough people we'll take them down there. There's a "Two Man" rule in effect anytime you go down to Broadway, and we're required to have flashlights and a radio so we can keep in touch with Security.

December 7th we'll be operating NI6BB in memory of Pearl Harbor Day, so I'll be down there all day for that.

And the progress on getting the house ready for sale continues. I've got a ton of stuff I'm going to get rid of, and we have a "Large Item" trash pick up scheduled for the end of November. We've got some old furniture, a 75 gallon aquarium tank, and some other misc items to get rid of. I'm willing to bet some of it won't make it on the trash truck, as we have a couple of "junque dealers" who cruise the neighborhood two or three times a week looking at the items people kick to the curb, and they haul them away to do whatever with.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Did Angel Just Get A Mention On "Day By Day"?

I think she started the "Trump Acceptance Resistance Disorder", a.k.a "TARD".


Poor Little Snowflakes!

My daughter-in-law was FarceBooking with all her friends the other day to attend this anti-Trump rally in Fort Collins. Even though she was born and raised in Colorado, I think the time she spent out here at CSU Long Beach might have addled her a bit.

Read the whole article here, and enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Anti-Trump Idiocracy

Ye gawds....the flying monkeys and professional troublemakers ("Protesters"?) have sure come out of the woodwork.

As I was leaving the Iowa yesterday after having spent a wonderful day on the radio, escorting Veterans around, and meeting some amazing Vets, one of the security guys told me they'd received a 'heads up' from the Port Police that a demonstration was going to target the Iowa for "supporting Trump" during his visit to the ship last September.

It doesn't matter that Trump was invited to speak at a private event, or that Bernie Sanders and his group had approached the ship to hold a rally and were stunned to find out anybody wanting to use the facilities had to pay. The Iowa just happened to host an event where Mr. Trump spoke, and as such was a convenient target

Reminds me of why I nuked my first FarceBook account when I posted something about how having a handgun saved a woman's life.

One of my wife's "best friends", the screaming liberal loony moonbat female minster that married us, has gone off the deep end. Tuesday night/Wednesday she and her husband were actually physically ill over Mr. Trump's victory.

She's been continuously posting on FarceBook all the usual tripe that liberals spout when they get all butt hurt, and now she's proudly posted pix of her wearing a safety pin indicating her support of whatever wearing a safety pin means these days.

Some of the Supra people on FarceBook have also started getting rather upset on their personal pages, although the FarceBook Supra MK-II page has stayed civil.

And outside tonight, there are helicopters buzzing around, and sirens screaming in the distance.

Nothing so far on the scanner other than the usual Saturday night DUI traffic stops....

OK, just heard some scanner traffic from the West Side division. One of the officers on the scene said that after he made a few arrests, the rest of the crowd "seemed to be a bit abiding".

Just heard part of a call from El Segundo requesting that "all available units get down here".

CHiP has just called for more units to one of the ramps on the Harbor Freeway, RTE 110 South. From the area (Wilshire District) I suspect troublemakers protesters are trying to shutdown a freeway again....

Thursday, November 10, 2016

President-Elect Trump's September 2015 Speech Aboard The Battleship Iowa

I wasn't there for this as it was a private (By Invitation Only) event.

The podium was just aft of Turret #3, and if you'll look closely, you'll see a red, ribbed "thing" behind the speakers. This is the antenna mount for the Trussed Monopole antenna we use for BIARA Amateur Radio operations. The antenna itself has been removed as otherwise it would have been a distraction.

And security was very tight for the event, with "Men in Black" scurrying around before, during, and after the event.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What Alternate Universe Did I Get Zapped Into?

The British withdrew from the EU......

The Cubs won the World Series......

And Donald J. Trump is now President-Elect......

It's amazing the amount of downright hostility that's being expressed by the Lamestream Media, losers on FarceBook, and others.

My wife is the office manager (#2 to the principal, which means she really runs the place...) at a very prominent magnet high-school that specializes on teaching the STEM type of program.

She said quite a large number of students (mostly girls, but some boys, too) were in tears today over Trump's victory.

And further, they were wondering when (not if...) the grief counselors would be on campus to help them in their time of need.

I was stunned when she told me that, as all of these students that I've met do NOT seem to the special little snowflake type.

Oh, well....a goodly number of supposed "adults" were crying, too......

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Nobody at My Polling Place

Except the workers.

The lady there who took my mail-in ballot, marked it "VOID", and gave me a new one said the turnout was extremely light for this election.

And I saw one sign for Shillary in the neighborhood, and a clapped-out POS car with a "Fuck Trump" sticker on it.

Not quite what I'd expected in this mini "Diversity City" part of town.

Monday, November 7, 2016

T minus One Day

Whichever way the election goes Tuesday, I fear we're in a for very bumpy ride in the next four years.

Since I didn't get my mail-in ballot mailed-in, I have to go to my local polling place, turn in the ballot I received in the mail, get a new one, fill it out, and submit it.

Our polling place is on the grounds of the church we were married in, and the actual voting is done in the gymnasium, where we had our reception. It's in North Long Beach, a place that's, ummm..."diverse".

I've never seen any signs of voter intimidation all the times I've gone there, but I'll definitely be in  "Condition Yellow", which I always am when outside the home, and usually when I'm inside as well.

I don't do predictions as that's not a business I was ever in, but I'll leave you with this message from Rev. Paul:

A Prayer for America

Father God, we humble ourselves before You, and ask you to forgive this nation for its sins. The United States of America has turned its back on You and Your commandments. It has condoned the taking of innocent life, rebelled against Your authority, and made it illegal to even mention Your name in many public venues.

Father, we ask You to have mercy on us, and grant us not the judgment we deserve, but Mercy. Please Lord, give us one more chance to fulfill our original promise to You, and proclaim Your lovingkindness to the nations of the Earth.

Lord, let Your will be done here, including tomorrow's election and in the days to come.

We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Hope you all had a pleasant day.

I finally finished the last of the laptops for the Marine Mammal Care Center. I got stalled for a bit after they picked up the first one because the took the power supply and it took several days for my friend to bring me another one.

Rather than fight with cleaning up the existing Win 7 install, I whacked the drive with DBAN and proceeded to do a clean installation of Win 7, and then snagged all the correct drivers for it from the Dell support website.

The third one was a bit more involved, as the "pointing stick", a little nub in the middle of the keyboard that you can use like a mouse, had failed, and sent the cursor sailing over to the left side of the screen as soon as it booted up.

Since I've never met anybody who uses that thing, I took the laptop apart and unplugged the cable for it where it plugged into the motherboard.

Then lather, rinse, and repeat as I did the #2 laptop.

These laptops originally came from Dell with Windows 7 Professional, but it was the 32-bit version. This limited memory to less than the 4GB that was installed from Dell, and made my collection of used memory useless. When I did the fresh install I used the 64-bit version, and was able to bump the installed memory up from 4GB to 8GB. It took a bit of searching on the Dell support site to find the 64-bit versions of all the drivers, but it was worth the effort to give these old laptops double the memory.

And I installed the GWX Control Panel to keep these machines from getting infested with the Windows 10 OS.

I'm glad these are finished, and now I can get back to doing my own projects again.....

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Growing up in the Chicago area made me a life-long Cubs fan.

I've seen their ups and downs, wins and losses, and all the heartbreak that goes with being a cubs fan.

Tonight they finally did it!

Congrats to the Cubs.

This just makes me wonder if The End Times are near......

Record Number of Early Voter Democrats Seen in Chicago....

Hmmm...maybe I should have posted this as "LATE Voters".....

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Uh Oh....Looks Like Blogger "Burped" Again....

Hmm....lost all the recent post updates that show under everybody's blog title, and when I got to one of your sites, it's just a strange looking "index" type of page.

Wonder what the NSA is "secretly" embedding in the code.....

AND...two minutes later everything is fine again.....

Monday, October 31, 2016

Ghosties and Ghoulies and Long-Leggedy Beasties....

and Things That Go BUMP in the Night!

Didn't have too many Trick or Treaters tonight, possibly because it was a Monday night. wife will be taking the rest of the candy we bought into work tomorrow so I won't have to eat it all, and blow my newly lowered A1C to smithereens......

Hope you all had a pleasant evening!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Flu Shot Gave Me The Flu!

Well....not a full-bown case of "The Flu", but I definitely had a reaction to it.

Monday afternoon was my quarterly medical check-up (I'm Type II diabetic), and besides the confirmation that I've lost 15 pounds and the blood draws they always do, they asked if I'd had my flu shot this year. Since I hadn't had one yet, and I was there, I said to go ahead and do it.

By Tuesday afternoon my arm was really sore, I had a serious case of the sniffles, and my stomach was more than a bit upset.

Wednesday morning I was really out of it, and spent a good portion of the day either in bed, or in the bathroom.

I'm back to about 99% today, so I either had a definite reaction to the shot, or I was "coming down with something", and it just happened to hit me 24 hours after I had the shot....

I never used to get the flu shots, and there were only a few times I ever got really knocked down sick.

Right after I'd moved in with my wife-to-be, I got really sick.

Since we weren't married yet, and her medical insurance wouldn't cover me until we'd been married something like 30 days, I just toughed it out and was miserable for a couple of months. I told her to remind me to get the shot the next year, and if I squawked about it, to remind me just how sick I was when we got married.

ANYWAY....besides the weight loss, my A1C was DOWN 2 points, so all the frantic activity I did during the 7~8 weeks I worked on the Supra definitely helped. and my Doctor was quite pleased, and told me to keep doing "The Toyota Physical Fitness Plan" I was on.

Not going to get much done today, as we're expecting some heavy rain starting late this afternoon, and running through Friday. I've staked down/tied off the canopy I got to cover the Supra, and cleaned out the garage enough to get the OEM wheels and tires strapped down to a small furniture dolly, and tucked under one of the big shelves.

And threw away/consolidated several large boxes of "junque" parts that were beyond saving.

If I keep this up, I'll be able to get the car in the damn garage where it belongs before the winter rains hit.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bob Hoover Slips The Surly Bonds....

I watched him fly many, many times. For a while the yellow P-51 was hangared at the Torrance airport when it was in the Rockwell livery.

His performances was always the highlight of the airshows for me, right next to the Blue Angles and the Thunderbirds.

God bless you, Bob.

You were one of a kind.....

Reposted from Murphy's blog....

Bob Hoover dies at age 94

Monday, October 24, 2016

Rainy Days....

Didn't get any automotive work done this weekend because by the time I got ready to go out on Sunday, it was raining.

And it rained today, too.

Had a bunch of indies work to do. I rebuilt a laptop for a local non-profit group, and got most of the audio interface box I'm building for the Iowa finished.

Our CTO, who served on the Iowa from 83 to 89 (I think) and is a computer guy, built up a Raspberry Pi to act as an audio playback device. We'll use this box to interface to The Coke Machine and route audio up to one of the bridge speakers, where our visitors will hear such things as "Helmsman, 30 degrees to port", along with other bridge commands.

And I found out today from my quarterly Doctor's visit that I've lost 15 pounds from the last time I was there.

Now to keep it off.....

Friday, October 21, 2016


Found on Brigid's blog, and I just had to share it......

“Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made. ”

― Roger A. Caras

Thursday, October 20, 2016

I'm Gonna Be A Grandpa!

OK, the DIL has told her family, so now I can tell you.

My wife's youngest son and his lovely wife are expecting. ETA is May 2017.

Any doubts, reservations and/or fears my wife has harbored about pulling up stakes here and moving to Colorado have just gone POOF!

I'm just praying that things hold together long enough that we can make a graceful, stress free exit from The People's Demokratik Republik of Kalifoniastan....

Not Too Much Going On Here....

Not too much going on here other than we got .3" of rain the other night. Just enough to wash most of the road dirt off the Supra, and turn my Jeep into a bloody muddy mess.

Spent yesterday on the Iowa, and volunteered myself for another project, but this time it's a small one.

We have several unused audio inputs to the "Coke Machine", and some of the Grey Radio Guys decided that it would be nice to have them available to use with "external" devices.

These lines are in the "Crypto Room" (FACCON 2), and are just cables hanging on the bulkhead right now. They used to connect to some audio encryption equipment, but that stuff was stripped out of the ship many years ago, and FACCON 2 is now the server room for all the various things on the Iowa that need a server. Somebody had purchased a conduit box, and some cable clamps, along with a mismatched set of XLR audio connectors. They asked me to fab a top plate that would mount the connectors, so I brought the stuff home. When I told them I didn't think the finished project would look very good, the response was "That's OK, nobody will ever see it".

Yeah....well since I'm building it, I'll see it, and it will gall me knowing that I contributed to the hack job hanging on the bulkhead in FACCON 2.

SO.....I stopped at my favorite little hole-in-the-wall electronics parts place on my way home, and picked up a nice cast aluminum box and some nice XLR connectors and mating plugs for them. I'll get the XLR jacks mounted on the front panel, drill some holes for the "cable glands" where the .625" audio cables will come into the box, and fab some mounting brackets out of aluminum angle so we can bolt this thing to the bulkhead. We've got the green light to just drill and tap holes in the bulkhead (it looks to be 3/8" steel plate, possibly thicker, with nothing on the far side), but I think there might be a nicer way to do it. I'll worry about that after the box is built.

I'll post some pix of my progress, which should be pretty quick as the garage is cleaned up and sorted out after The Great Supra Suspension Rebuild.

And as far as the "Coke Machine" goes, the last time our pillage/plunder/salvage crew was up in Bremerton while I was in Vegas, they found a COMPLETE SET of the plug-in cards, and the manual patch cards, for the Coke Machine!

Not only was this stuff was considered to be unobtainium by people that know these things, but also to be ULTRA unobtainium, the rarest sort, so we really lucked out in finding a set of these.

Rather than having to manually patch audio connections by using small wire between the card connectors and a "patch block" I ginned up, we can now just push the buttons on the front panel to set up the circuits we need. I think the Iowa is probably the only museum ship with a fully functional "Coke Machine".

And that, in itself, is pretty cool....

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hillary's New Campaign Theme Music

Couldn't find any music about flying monkeys, so this will have to do.

After all....Halloween is just around the corner.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Busy Day for Radio on the Iowa

Today was the Scout "Jamboree On The Air", or JOTA.

In years past we've had 100 to 150 Scouts come aboard to yak on the radio, and have had up to six stations in operation.

Today we only had TEN Scouts.......

Not sure what's going on, but one of the other guys checked around, and attendance at all the SoCal JOTA events was waaay down this year.

So, we got to spend some extra time with the Scouts, and show them more things than we normally do. I gave them a tour of the receiver and switchboards area, and then fired up one of the Model 28 teletype machines, and ran some test tapes so they could watch it print.

I wound up running the tapes ten times, so each Scout could have their own hard copy to take home, along with their souvenir NI6BB card:

After they were gone, I checked out two new members on our Ham Radio equipment so they can come in and operate on their ow. Out of the 50 members we have on the roster, maybe 5~7 are active and come in regularly, so having two more people who want to come operate will be good.

Sunday I'm getting a haircut and beard trim in the Iowa's barbershop. One of the Old Skool barbershops in San Pedro has their barbers come in several times a year to offer up haircuts in return for a $20 donation to the ship. I had mine cut the last time they were here, and since I ned a haircut again, I'll go down to the ship and make use of the service.

We also have shore power fully functional now, and that happened right around Fleet Week. I was too busy bashing away on the Supra to report it, but it's soooo nice to not have the huge generator hammering away next to the ship. We were able to get almost all of the equipment and labor donated, so what would have been a five MILLION dollar project wound up costing us about $300k.

Thanks to our donors, and well done to all who made it possible!

We also have another acquisition, a 1950's Piasecki "HUP Retriever" helicopter.

We were able to purchase this for under "market value", and after it arrives Sunday morning, it will sit at the ship until it get transported to Torrance airport where a volunteer group will restore it.

There are very few of these left, and from what I've been told, this one is in better condition, and came with more spares, that we originally though. I've heard a couple of people say there's enough stuff to get it airworthy, although I don't think the restoration will go that far.

I'll take some pix of it tomorrow if it's there when I am......

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jeremy Clarkson on the SR-71

I always thought these aircraft looked very sad when I saw them on display.

They belong in the sky.....

Friday, October 7, 2016

Wife In Another Accident

Just got back from the body shop where they took the car.

She was pulled over to the side of the road for a fire truck, and some young kid slammed into her.

He said he saw the fire truck, but not her.

TONS of witnesses, including the crew on the fire truck, the paramedic truck following them, and the ambulance following the paramedic truck.

And the owners of several stores at the intersection saw it, and came out and gave witness statements to the police.

The fire truck and paramedics said the car that hit her was traveling "well over the posted speed limit", and the two store owners said it looked like "he was going 70".

The driver that hit her admitted to the LBPD that he was going "over 45, maybe 50" and it's a 35MPH zone.

The ambulance crew wanted to take to the ER, and like a dummy, she refused. She had some weird kind of neck surgery some years ago before I met her, and that's why she can't shoot a rifle or ride a horse, because those motions could possibly injure her.

She was more concerned about saving the $$$$ for the collar, back board, and ambulance ride (they charge separately for all those things these days) than she was about getting checked out.

She's on the phone with the kid's insurance company right now (some place named "Alliance" who appears to have really crappy customer service), and I just heard her say she's calling her Doctor to get in today.........

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sea Launch Finally Sold?

Well, at least they signed a contract this time.

From the ROSCOSMOS website:



27, 2016, 17:54 GMT

September, 27, within the framework of the International Astronautical Congress IAC-2016 in Guadalajara (Mexico), a contract was signed which provides for the acquisition of the assets of Sea Launch - S7 Group signed a contract with the Sea Launch group.

The subject of the transaction includes: the ship Sea Launch Commander and the platform Odyssey with their installed rocket segment equipment, the ground support equipment at the Home Port of Long Beach (USA) and the Sea Launch trademark.
The deal is to be completed in six months – after obtaining approvals from the proper US authorities and signing a number of contracts which are a part of this deal. The deal must be approved by Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) и Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Also today, RSC Energia and S7 Group signed an agreement on cooperation and joint work aimed at resuming the operation of the Sea Launch system. RSC Energia will provide to S7 Group the necessary engineering support, assistance in organizing the launches and in systems integration work.
Joint activities of RSC Energia and S7 Group also envisage cooperation aimed at development of a transportation infrastructure in space.
RSC Energia General Director Vladimir SOLNTSEV: “We are happy to have singed this contract – we have travelled a long way to structure the deal and implement it. The project is fairly complex, but S7 Group has a new business approach, and I’m certain that with our support the project will be a success”.
General Director of S7 Group Vladislav FILYOV: “For us, acquisition of a space launch system is an ‘entry ticket’ to space industry. Space infrastructure grows by leaps and bounds, this is a very interesting line of business, the long-term outlook for which is good. There are plans to de-mothball the system and start launching activities 18 months after the deal is approved – tentatively, in late 2018. We expect that without large investment in the Sea Launch upgrade we will be able to make up to 70 launches over the period of 15 years. Our approach to business is radically different from many companies – we are not going to sell promises, we are going to only sell launches only on the already built launch vehicles. Rockets first, and only after that – a buyer”.
The rumors of a pending sale began in earnest  around six months ago. Bits and pieces leaked out, and the "S7 Group" was mentioned several times. Considering how many times Sea Launch has been "sold" in the past since I separated from the company, I took them all with a grain of NaCl. These rumors persisted, and RSC Energia announced that there would be a big announcement "At the end of April". Of course, nothing was announced, as they work on "Russian Time". My friend who still works there assured me that there really was something to it this time, and it looks like there was.

The new "owners" still have a long climb ahead of them before any launch operations can resume. First, the sale has to be approved by several USGOV agencies, and then there's that pesky ~$480,000,000 judgment that Boeing won against Energia and Yuzhnoye/Yuzmash.

Assuming that the sale gets approved, and that the Boeing judgment doesn't derail things entirely, there's numerous technical issues that will have to be resolved. A lot of the equipment I worked with is totally obsolete, unsupported, and in many cases, completely nonfunctional, or barely functional. Whether they want to replace this equipment or go to entirely new systems remains to be seen, but whatever course they chose, it's going to take several cubic tons of money to get things running again.

They're going to find their $150,000,000 expenditure is just barely the tip of the iceberg.....

Monday, October 3, 2016

Random Updates and Musings......

Just been busy cleaning up and attempting to organize the garage after The Great Suspension Rebuild.

Still have tools to put back in the two rolling cabinet/top boxes I have, and this will be an excellent opportunity to get them sorted and organized. One set of boxes is from Sears, and the other was a mid-line set I bought from Harbor Freight a few years back. The Craftsman set is fairly well organized, but the Harbor Freight set is a rhyme or reason as to why I put what things in what drawers, and that annoys me.

One of the drawers in the Craftsman rolling cab has a case of WWB JHP 45ACP that I bought years ago, and the Harbor Freight middle box has one drawer full of 22LR from years ago, and one drawer full of WWB JHP 357 Magnum, also from years ago. Seeing as I have 8 or ten EMPTY ammo cans, I think a bit of sorting out is in order.

Oh....and when I was moving things around from under the work benches, I found a case of 12ga 00 buck made by one of the Russkie companies. Good ammo, always went BANG, patterns nice in my 870, but kicks like a pissed-off mule, probably why I never fired much of it.

After I clean out the Harbor Freight set, I'll have a place to put all the deep and standard length impact sockets I bought during this latest car escapade, and get get them OUT of the nice canvas bag the Makita impact, batteries, and charger live in. That bag is heavy enough, and taking 10 or so pounds of sockets out of it will make it easier to move around. Plus, having all the sockets snapped on to one of these "socket rails" will make it easier to find the size I want, rather than pawing through ALL the sockets rolling around in the bag.
I've been keeping my sockets on these things literally "forever", and for the couple of $$ they cost, you're silly not to buy them if you own as many different sizes, drives, and types of sockets as I do.

I have 1/4" drive, 3/8" drive, 1/2" drive, metric and standard in each drive size, deep and standard in each drive size, a set of Torx bits, Hex bits in metric and standard, and numerous "special purpose" sockets. I probably own at least a couple of hundred sockets now that I bought several sets (metric, standard, deep, etc) of impact sockets!

AND.....I still have the "SDRplay" software define radio project on hold. I totally lost track of where I was using that thing with Linux, and I never downloaded their "new and improved" Windoze application for it. After reading several reviews of all the decent mid-line SDR boxes out there, I just might sell it and get an AirSpy, which seems to be the favored SDR in the mid-price range.........

Friday, September 30, 2016

"Ms. Swan" On The Dyno

One of the guys over at SupraForum posted all the pix he took of Dyno Day, and here's a couple he caught of Ms. Swan making her run to an earth-shattering 143rwhp.

Vegas Trip Stats

I covered 745 miles door-to-door, used 30.59 gallons of Shell 91 octane "V-Power" (24.35MPG) , and the engine consumed approximately 1/2 quart of oil.

The hotel was $349 for 5 nights, and I didn't keep track of what I spent on food, soda, coffee, and Gatorade/Powerade.

The amount spent for fun and friends?


And a quickie "Thought For The Day" from my buddy Harry over at Self Sufficient Mountain Living....

Monday, September 26, 2016

Back Home and NO, I Didn't Watch The Debate

Back in town safe and sound.

BOOOORING drive, though. And thanks to the advice from one of the Supra guys who drives from SoCal every year, I took the 210 freeway to the 605 instead of staying on the 10. The 210 runs much further North, towards Pasadena (where that "Little Old Lady" is from....), and isn't nearly as crowded. I probably saved at least 20 minutes.

But man, was it HOT! It had to have been at least 100* where I was driving through, and with no A/C, it was brutal. The car ran nice and cool with no "extra" heat load from the A/C condenser in front of the radiator, but the driver came pretty close to overheating a few times!

I was just glad I'd loaded my cooler with Gatorade and lots of ice before I left Vegas, where it's only been in the 80's all week.

And the wife and I watched about the first 15 minutes of the debate, and then switched the channel.

I can't stand watching the Hildbeast talk, although she seemed somewhat "normal" tonight, and I thought Trump kept going off topic.

But then we only watched about 15 minutes of it.....

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Quiet Day, Headed Home On Monday

Had a great time yesterday at the Show-N-Shine on the grounds of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mostly just hanging around with my friends, looking at (a doing some slow drooling) the other cars, and talking with other "People of the Car".

The weather was pretty nice this year, about 10* cooler than last year, pretty windy early in the day and settling down to a nice breeze, but when you're standing around on an ocean of asphalt it still gets pretty warm.

The Car Culture is a lot like the fabled "Gun Culture" in that these are true enthusiasts who are pretty well immersed in the hobby. And just like you have little pockets of interest in the many types of firearms, Car People also have different groups for trucks, sports cars, street machines, drag cars, and all the different variations of anything with wheels and an internal combustion engine.

And just like you'll have groups within groups (Les Baer vs Kimber vs MilSpec 1911A1), you have the same with cars. Even among the Toyota Supra Clan you have the Mark-I people, the Mark-II people, the Mark-III people, and the Mark-IV people. We all have Toyota Supras, but the people owning and driving the different Marks are different.

It's pretty interesting to get back to this stuff after a decades long layoff, and to find that while the cars and technology have changed, the people are still pretty much the same.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Dyno Day!

Got to All Access Tuning about 1000, and signed in by 1030. I was #10 to get on the dyno, but car #8 was front-wheel drive, so he bumped to last because they have to reconfigure the dyno for FWD, and car #9 had some "Technical Difficulties" (blown fuse on his boost controller), so he wasn't ready.

Got the car strapped down, the dyno run began, and the final results were 142.9 HP to the rear wheels, and 161 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

It's anybody's guess what the loss in the transmission and differential are, but running the Red Line synthetic lube like I do lowers the loss, freeing up a few HP, and the Accepted Wisdom / Tribal Knowledge for these cars is that you lose around 10% in the driveline.

So, considering the original horsepower for this engine was 161 bhp at the flywheel, and factoring in 10% loss, the car should have put 144 HP to the rear wheels.

I have no idea how/when/if the dynamometer we used was calibrated to any traceable source, so I'll just take the readings they gave me, and accept them.

All I know is that it runs really well, gets better gas mileage than I thought it would, and is a pleasure to drive.

I'll take that!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Supras in Vegas Update

Well, the car fine just great driving here. I stopped in Barstow for fuel and a bladder break, and then drove the remaining 200 some miles to Vegas.

I most probably could have made it here on one tank (16 gallons) of gas, but would have had to stop for a bathroom break anyway, so I stopped in Barstow.

I got here about 1830, checked in to get my room key, and then drove over to our reserved/patrolled area, and parked the car about 1930. Wound up meeting several of my friends that I hadn't seen since last year, and we all spent the next four hours catching up, showing each other our cars, and what we'd done to them in the last year, so I was pretty tuckered out by the time I got back to the room, and just went 'lights out'!

Today was check-in, and our Scenic Drive. We drove up to Mount Charleston, crossed the 8500' pass, and then dropped down to 7500' at the visitor center. We were supposed to have a burger and hot dog BBQ, but with the wind whipping up to 30+knots up there, and the fire danger at "High", the park rangers asked us to NOT light up the BBQ pits 'cuz if things got the slightest bit out of hand, you'd be hearing about a wildfire in Nevada on the 11 O'Clock news!

I left the hotel with approx a half-tank of gas, but by the time we got the the visitor's center, it was showing less than a quarter, and the low fuel warning light had come on several times during the climb up and over the peak.

I was a bit freaked, as there's NO service stations on the road leading back to Nevada Route 95, and it's several miles down the highway to the nearest gas. I had visions of getting stuck on the peak, with no cell service, trying to flag somebody down to give me a ride! turns out the "back way" out of the visitors center is a straight shot down the mountain to Route 95, and the reason we came up the other way was because, you know, that's the "Scenic" route to take.

Since we couldn't cook up there, and the temperature was in the low 60's, nobody wanted to hang around in the (relatively) cold wind, so we all decided to head back to the hotel.

I punched in "Excalibur Resort" in the GPS, and it led me out the back way, which is where everybody else was headed. After a very minor climb, I put the car in neutral and let the engine idle, and coasted the 16.8 miles downhill to Route 95, using just the breaks to moderate my speed.

The "back way" out was also several miles shorter to Route 95, so that helped save gas.

Made it to a Shell station, and filled the tank, taking 11.7 gallons with a stated tank capacity of 16.1 gallons. Figuring that most of the time you can't really use the last gallon or two, I figured I still had about 3 gallons of usable fuel in the tank, enough to get me 70~75 miles driving conservatively on the flat area we were in.

I guess it's "better" to have a gas gauge that gets you worried earlier than one that lets you completely run out of fuel showing there's still some in the tank!

Tomorrow is "Dyno Day", and I'm putting the car on the dyno to see how much power gets to the rear wheels. I'm thinking 125~130 rwhp, while others here are saying 135~140 rwhp.

Guess we'll find out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Real Busy and Real Tired....

Interior is 95+% back together. The "missing" things are cosmetic, and don't affect the function of the car.

Stereo is installed, and it works.

Laundry is in the dryer and I'll finish packing when it's dry.

I took a break and went to the closest Radio Shack in the area that's still open so I could get a three-way splitter for the cigarette lighter socket. Say what you will about Radio Shack, they do have a lot of useful stuff there that's hard to find at other brick-and-mortar stores.

The car only has one receptacle, and I'll need to run both my GPS and Valentine One on the drive there.

And I'm trashed. I have bruises in places I forgot I had, my hands look like I went three rounds bare-knuckle and lost, I have scrapes on my knees like a ten year old gets, and I'm sweaty, grimy, and beat.

And the car needs to be washed. At this point, I'm just going to clean the windows inside and out, and drive it there crummy.  I don't care what other people think. They don't know the effort I've put forth over the last month or so, so screw 'em!

I'm going to Vegas in the Supra.......

I'll post again after I get there.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Alignment Passed!


I was afraid I'd either done something wrong, or there were worn parts that I'd missed, or that Murphy would exact his revenge, but everything turned out GREAT!

My setting the caster adjustment on the front strut rods was spot on, so close in fact, that the young guy didn't want to adjust it, as he said he doubted if he could get it any closer.

The "specified range" is 3.69* to 4.69*, and my shade tree measurements wound up giving me 4.19* on the left side, and 4.29* on the right side.

Front toe specified range is .09* to .16*, and I had .39* on the left, and .29* on the right.

After adjustment it was .14* on the left and .12* on the right.

Front camber measured at -.25* left, and -.30* on the right, the result of dropping it.

At the rear, the specified range for toe is -.09* to +.09*, and mine measured .13* on the left and .12* on the right.

After adjustment I have -.02* on both sides.

Rear camber measures -2.14* on the left, and -2.22* on the right, also the result of the drop.

So, the alignment is probably as good as it's ever going to be, and I'm cleared to go to Vegas!

Gonna have a bite to eat, finish up the adapter plug/wiring harness for the new radio, and then get back to work so I can have most of the interior back in the car.

One thing I noticed when he was pulling the car on the alignment rack is that one of my brake lights was burned out. So, I stopped at the O'Reilly's store I always go to and bought all new bulbs for the rear.

The bulbs I took out were "Koyto" brand,made in Japan, and might very well be the original bulbs that came with the car.

The young guys at O'Reilly's came pouring out of the store when I pulled up, and were all smiles, thumbs up, and hand shakes/fist bumps to me.

 They've been hearing about the car for two months now, and really flipped out over the wheels/tires and stance.

They were amazed that all the bodywork is straight, that the paint is original, and none of the flares are cracked or broken.

More to come.......

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Interior Work Today

Got my new 3-1/2" "Kicker" speakers installed in the dash panels today. It took a little "Precision Dremel Work", I had to flip the speed nuts around 180*, and use some other screws with washers I scrounged out of "Jim's Stainless Hardware Emporium", but I got them solidly mounted.

The original 30 year old speakers were still in the dash when I pulled it apart, and I tell you....tin cans and string would have sounded better!

The rears had been replaced some time ago with some junky off-brand speakers (IIRC, they were "Spark-O-Matic"!), but one was blown out with an open voice coil, and the other sounded really scratchy, so essentially I had NO sound system in the car until I replaced both rear speakers with some decent Pioneer units I got on sale at Best Buy.

As of right now, the passenger side of the interior (dash, kick panel, door sill) is back together, and the driver's side is partially together (kick panel and door sill), but I needed to take a break.

I'm pretty sure I can get the dash panel installed tonight, but I have to hit the hay early as I have an 0800 (groan.....) appointment with the alignment rack that I can't miss.

I've got my fingers crossed (founding member of the "Crossed Fingers Workgroup" here!) that all goes well with the alignment, because if it doesn't, I'll be pretty upset with myself for not being at this point six months ago, when I would have had enough time to rectify any problems before heading off to "Supras In Vegas".
Hopefully all goes well with the alignment, and I can finish up plugging in the radio with the harness I'll be making shortly, and installing the rest of the radio surround and console Monday afternoon.....

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Minor Repairs" Day

Did some minor repairs today.

Pulled the driver's seat so I could get at the lever assembly that operates the gas filler door and the rear hatch release. They'd been "broken" since I bought the car, and while I could get the door and the hatch open, I had to hold both levers together, while pulling on the one I wanted to open.

Sure enough, the bolt had come out, and was right next to the mechanism under the carpet. Put it back in place and tightened it down, and one more item crossed off the list.

And since the driver's seat was out, it makes it a whole lot easier to get at the clutch pedal to measure and adjust the pedal height and free-play adjustment.

The pedal height was "in spec", but the free-play was waaaay off.

The car had the clutch master cylinder replaced some years ago when it failed and dumped the contents of the fluid reservoir (standard brake fluid) into the interior, and all over the carpet, ruining the carpet.

I don't think they bothered to set the free-play when they replaced it because it was always a bit reluctant to go into first gear at a stop (typical "crunch" when you put it in gear), and I could always feel it "snag" a bit when shifting. The clutch still feels a bit "soggy", so I'll put the car up in the air on Sunday and flush the fluid and bleed the system like I did for the brakes.

BTW...the fluid that came out of the rear calipers when I did the flush and bleed a couple of days ago was actually worse than what came out of the front!

I'm not putting in the new carpet kit before I leave for Vegas as it's just too much work. One of the guys I met there last year has the same carpet kit, and agreed that it's very high-quality. He also said it's cut very "generously", and he had to trim 4~6" of carpet from the door sill area, and about the same at the top front where it goes up against the firewall. He told me it took him two full weekends, plus an hour or so per night between weekends, to get it installed really nice.

I'm sure the carpet installation will be another whole series of posts.....

Small Block Chevy Time Lapse Rebuild

Yeah, yeah, yeah....I know I've posted this before.

I like it. It's cool. Watch it again.

Pretty low-perf engine they started with. Two-bolt mains, cast iron crank, cast pistons, pressed-in rocker studs, no push rod guide plates (only used with screw-in studs), and a two barrel intake manifold.

But they rebuilt it properly, with an overbore and hone, decked the block and surfaced the heads, installed hardened valve seats and a roller-type timing chain. The intake manifold and carb they used are Edelbrock street performance types, and I bet that little motor just purrs......

Friday, September 16, 2016

Maiden Voyage......

Well....She's back on the road!

Cleaned the windows, and took her around the block a few times.

Brake pedal is rock solid, and the steering wheel is straighter than before I started.

NO pulling to either side, and she tracks straight down the road, hands off the wheel.

So, since things seemed OK, I kept driving her, and went out on the streets around here. Ride is very nice, definitely a bit stiffer than before, but no more floating or wallowing in turns.

Tires barely rub at full lock and going over a bump.

Called the alignment shop and he said "Bring her down". Drove down there, and he was expecting me to drop the car off. Since I didn't make arrangements for a ride home, he said he'd call as soon as the alignment rack was open, and I could wait while they did it.

And he knew quite a bit about the car.

SO...I took the long way home, and enjoyed driving her a bit.

Post alignment follow up to come.....


The alignment shop couldn't get me in today. As the guy said "Fridays are NUTS!".

So, I'm scheduled for a 4-wheel alignment on Monday, at 0800.

There's not much that's adjustable on these cars. The front only has toe-in and caster, and the rear only has toe-in. Since the front adjustments interact somewhat, you go back-and-forth as you're doing them. The manager at the shop is well-versed in "Old Jap Cars" as we both called her, and says their alignment guy has been doing alignments for over 20 years.

This place isn't cheap, but they do superb work, from complete "frame off" restorations, to general body and paint, and collision repair.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Back On The Ground

WELL.....after a several week adventure, the suspension work is finally finished. I still have a few things I want to do, and some more parts to replace, but nothing that's on the "Do It NOW!" list like replacing the top strut mounts was.

And since I had to pull the struts and compress the spring to get the Big Nut on the top of the shock absorber insert off so I could change the strut mount, why not just replace the shock insert and springs with the parts I have on hand?

And since the hub and brake disc had to come off, better check and repack those wheel bearings! Whoops...the bearings show definite signs of wear (they're probably the 167,000 mile OEM bearings) better replace those, too. AND, since I have new brake discs, and the old ones are already off, why put the old ones back on?

Gee...the ball joint boot on the lower control arm is split and spilling grease all over the place. Better replace the boots. AND, since the control arm is now on the bench, why don't I just replace those ratty old bushings with my new Energy Suspension polyurethane ones?

AND...gee, the sway bar is disconnected, and those rubber bushings are (quite literally!) cracked, split, and falling apart, so I'd better install that new kit of end links I have in The Big Box Of Supra Parts.

WHOOPS! The front brake hoses are cracked, and the outer jacket is (really!) peeled off in a few spots! WoW! That's a Safety Issue. Sure glad I bought some braided stainless steel replacements a year ago!  Installing the speed bleeders took all of 10 minutes, so I won't discuss that further, other than to say I was absolutely stunned that all four of the OEM bleed screws came out with ZERO drama.

Otherwise I just would have sprung for new calipers.....

I think you get the picture.

If you've been following this escapade, then you already know that I (finally) got the front finished a couple of days ago. And yesterday I completed the right rear refurb, with relatively little pain.

The plan for the rear was never as ambitious as the front was. It was pretty mach always a straight "Spring and Shock Swap", along with the new rotors. Since I had no idea what shape the brakes were in when I bought the car, I ordered the new pads and rotors TWO YEARS ago, and they've been sitting in the garage taking up space all this time.

Today I knocked out the left side rear suspension, having learned a few things in doing the right side. A small bottle jack I bought last night at O'Reilly Auto Parts (they know me by name now, and the young guys always ask how the car is coming along) proved to be well worth the $25 it cost. It saved me at least an hour of farting around with the floor jack, some big wood blocks, and a jack stand when I had to reposition certain things to R&R them.

Here's the left rear, all refurbed and pretty:

Yep, new cross-drilled rotors there, too! Hey, why buy two rotors when for twice the price you can get FOUR?

And as the sun sank slowly in the West, all four (new!) wheels and tires were on the car, torqued, and ready to support the car, whereupon I unceremoniously pulled the jack stands, and let her drop

Here's the famous Car Magazine "Rear Three-Quarter Shot":

Never mind the mess, it's all cleaned up now.....

SO...Thursday should be an "easy" day, compared to what the last 6 weeks or so has been. I (just) have to torque the lower control arm bolts (one on each side, 80ft-lbs, please), and torque the Big Nut on the left and right strut rods to 76 ft-lbs.

Then it's cross my fingers, and take her for an easy drive around the block. Then I'll recheck the torque on the wheel lugs, check everything else I've fiddled with to make sure nothing bad has happened, and call the alignment shop for an ASAP appointment. I'd really like to get at least some of the interior back in, along with the new stereo, but the carpet can wait, as my friend I met at Supras In Vegas last year tells me to allow a good, solid week-end to install the new carpet.

That means a month, considering how dog-slow I work on this stuff.

Time to hit the showers and then go to bed......

Funny, But Sadly True

Just taking a quick break during the disassembly of the right rear suspension....

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rear Suspension Work

Well, I'm shutting down for the night. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped for, but then that's nothing new for me....

I followed the TSM, and dropped the outer flange for the half-shaft, and as soon as the shock was loose at the top, I lowered the jack, and the spring about fell out.

The upper isolator/cushion was in pretty good shape for being 30+ years old.

 But, WOW...the bottom one was toast!  I'd say it deserves retirement after 30+ years and 167,000 miles of faithful service.

 Had to do some finagling to get the shock installed, and it really would have helped if I'd had an extra floor jack, or a bottle jack, but I finally got the shock installed, and all the hardware tight.

 I also replaced the top bushings for the sway bar end links. They were really shot, and you could rattle them around a good 1/4"!

Some info on the new and old springs for those that keep track of this stuff.

The OEM springs are wound from wire that's .570" / 14.5mm in diameter, and have an overall free length of 14.25" / 360mm.

The new Dobinson C59-059 springs are wound from wire that's .604" / 15.3mm in diameter, and have an overall free length of 12.6" / 320mm.

Bigger wire, and a shorter OAL equals a stiffer spring, so even though it's specified to drop the car about .75", the rate should be higher. I know from my "bounce test" the other night that the front seems a lot stiffer, but I won't know for a day or two until I drive the car.

Final picture for the night I'm going to call "3 Down, and 1 To Go!".....

At this point all I have left to do is a preliminary bleeding of the brake caliper using the MityVac, and recheck everything to make sure all the hardware I touched is torqued properly. I'm playing hookey again from the Iowa on Wednesday (sorry, guys...) so I can get the left rear knocked out. As with the front, now that I've done it one time, the next time will be easier.

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...