Monday, March 28, 2016

Conserative Alternative to Wikipedia

I've always known that Wikipedia is pretty left-leaning. The technical articles are pretty good, without much bias that I can see, but an awful lot of the other categories are pretty biased.

Mr. Rawles over at the Survival Blog has just published an excellent article on his experiences, and has posted numerous links to other sources that have investigated this.

I highly suggest you go RTWT, and follow the links to read more.

One of the links is to Conservapedia, which I've now added to the "Link-O-Rama" sidebar here.

Thank you, Mr. Rawles, for your post, and the links!

"Bulb Auger" Planting Tool

Got an email from I place I occasionally buy tools from for a "Bulb Auger":

Goes into the chuck on your cordless drill, and augers out a hole for you to plant your bulbs or other plants into.

Kind of a neat idea, especially if you have really hard soil, like a lot of places do.

I don't know how well it works, as I've never used one, but I thought I'd pass it along as I know some of my readers are into gardening.

Learn more about it here, at JTS Machinery and Supply.

Since the above link takes you to the Bulb Auger page, and the "Home" button doesn't take you to their main website, here's the link for the main JTS Homepage.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

No chocolate bunnies or egg hunts here, just remembering what Easter really means to us, and being grateful for what was given to us.

And on another note....I'm finally feeling much better, and have resumed Massive Cleanup 2016 in the Radio Room, and then on to the garage.

I have three big tubs of stuff to donate to the IT department on the Iowa, and probably a couple of more waiting to be "stacked and racked" out in the garage when I get back to that area.

I've also got half-a-dozen 500GB drives that have very little time on them I'm donating, but I have to check them for any data/files on them that I haven't got backed-up elsewhere, and then do a good scrub on them to nuke any data.

And a huge pile of stuff that's going on eBay in the next week or so, after I photograph it, write the descriptions, and get it scheduled.

I've found I get better results by having the auctions end on Sunday afternoons or early evenings, with the last few bids coming in the last 10 minutes or so of when the auctions end.

In some cases I've had the bidding on the item double or triple in the last few minutes, but that's generally only for items that are somewhat rare, and with a proven history of people paying insane prices for the item.. I had a little DAVCO DR-30 receiver that I bought for $15 at my radio club's White Elephant sale some years ago that went from $600 to almost $1400 in the last two minutes!

I had a $5 "Brown Bullet" crystal microphone that went from $20 to over $80 in the last 30 seconds, and a PK-900 packet radio TNC with the DSP option that went from $75 to $300 in the last 10 seconds, so if my items that start on Sunday haven't done anything by Wednesday or Thursday, I don't generally sweat too much over it.

This time around I don't have any items quite that interesting, so I'm not expecting anything like that to happen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Off Limts" Area Tour of Battleship Iowa

People keep asking me "Can I go see...." on various places on the ship, and I have to tell them no.'s a "Behind The Scenes" tour of up to the O-10 level, the engine and fire (boiler) rooms, the Main Battery Control Room, and the Combat Engagement Center.

The CEC is about 75% restored now, and will be open soon, along with getting the Com Center on the tour route, possibly this year.


R.I.P. Col Avery Kay, "Father of the A-10 Warthog"

God bless you, sir, for your service, and the wonderful work you did in designing and developing this fine aircraft.

Full story here at CNN.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Finally Getting Better.....

Well, I'm pretty sure I'm on the backside of whatever it was I had. My fever is gone, I'm not coughing all night long, and the aches and pains have pretty much subsided,

I haven't been this sick since 2009 when I moved in here, so whatever it was really clobbered me.

I'm talking "stay in bed for 7 days" sick. Since last Saturday, I wasn't out of bed for more than a couple of hours at a time, and that was mostly to go to the bathroom, get something to drink, or do a quick email check.

And I was finally able to eat some soup last night, and not have it exit me within 45 minutes.

On the "plus" side of the ledger, I haven't had a cigarette since last Sunday, and haven't had any cravings for one, either.

I guess when you're sick enough to need 18 hours of sleep a day, your body isn't thinking of getting a nicotine fix!

Helluva way to finally stop smoking, but I guess I'll take it.......

Friday, March 18, 2016

On-Line Index of Shortwave Radio Broadcasters

Stumbled across this, and thought some of you might find it interesting.

I doubt if you'll hear "The Chair Is Against The Wall", but you might hear some interesting news and/or music!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

B-29 "DOC" First Engine Start and Test

I'm one of "Doc's Friend's", and I donate to Doc, along with donating to help keep "Fifi" flying for the CAF.

Just got this in an email, and somehow I missed the live event.

I'm still feeling pretty wiped out, but this brought a smile to me.

Believe me, if I wasn't helping on the Iowa, I'd be volunteering right alongside these guys!

Watch it in full screen 1080 for maximum effect.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Feeling *slightly* better. Not coughing as much, but still feel like a truck hit me....

From a friend:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

There's Somethin' Going Around....

And I've got it.

Kinda felt "off" the last couple of days, and last night was miserable.

Had this cough that would start right about the time I was falling asleep, so I didn't get much uninterrupted sleep last night.

Didn't climb out of the rack until about 1500 today.

On a brighter side, the Radio Room is about 75% cleaned up, and the garage is getting close to 20% finished.

I have two huge Tupperware tubs of stuff to donate to the Iowa, one of which came from the Radio Room.

Mostly more computer stuff, as the Radio Room also does double-duty here as the Server Room for my media server, and it's also the networking center where all the cables to/from the Verizon FiOS Optical Network Terminal pass through. So, I had several spare 10/100/1000 network switches that I'm not using, FOUR KVM switches to donate, half a dozen brand new 160/250/320 GB hard disks, half a dozen EIDE and SATA CD/DVD burners, and other assorted bits and pieces, all new-in-box.

And I have at least one more (probably two) Tubs 'O Stuff still out in the garage.

I was able to get one set of the plastic shelves emptied, and now one of my big rolling toolboxes is back against the wall, freeing up about three feet of "horizontal" space by the workbench that runs along the entire back wall of the garage.

And I'll have a big box of stuff like coax jumper cables, slightly used VHF/UHF antennas, and misc radio stuff/junque/goodies to take to the White Elephant Sale my radio club has every May to raise money for Field Day.

Off to have some soup and crackers, watch the Reunion, and Final Episode of "Mythbusters", and then hit the hay early.....

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Ex-Military - - Approach With Extreme Caution"

Just heard it on the scanner.

Didn't look over to see what agency sent it out, but it was a dispatcher's voice that I recognized.

The reason I didn't look at the display, or notice the rest of the call, was that the advisory took me a few milliseconds to process, and then I stopped cold.

I've heard a lot of weird stuff on the scanner, but that's a completely new one!

Next time I hear that dispatcher's voice again, I'll update this post with the agency......

LAPD, North Hollywood Area, Division 15

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Rain Day - No Garage Work This Weekend

Since I need to pull a lot of things out of the garage to get to other stuff that needs sorting/classifying/junking/selling/etc, and it just started raining, I'll be working inside today in the Radio Room, a.k.a. the middle bedroom.

Yeah, like most hams I tend to be a junk collector. Some of it isn't really junk, except in my wife's eyes, but all hams proudly own what's called a "Junk Box" where we keep spare parts for the gear we own, and new/used parts used to build things.

WELL.....the entire Radio Room has turned into to one of the larger Junk Boxes in Southern California, and needs the same treatment the garage is getting.

There's books scattered all over that need to go back in the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves I installed when I moved in here, there's empty boxes from The Great Jeep Radio Replacement Project, there's a whole "eBay Pile" that's waiting to be photographed and listed, some items that really need to be tossed, some boxes of smaller Supra parts, several interior pieces from the Supra (the glove box door, and the two lower dash panels that have the (yet to be installed!) front speakers in them), and I'm sure a whole bunch of other "stuff" to be taken care of.

All-in-all, a nice "Rainy Weekend" project that needs to be done.

The "Blown Scanner" problem was solved by buying a new Uniden BCD536HP model, along with the correct Butel software to easily program it.

The BCD996XT will be returned to Uniden for repair, and then go into the "Radio Reserve" collection.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Surplus" PC Parts Disposal

Had a nice chat Wednesday with my "Boss" on the Iowa.

He's willing to take a LOT of the collection of PC parts and spares off my hands as a donation to the Iowa.

We'll get a tax write-off on it, which is probably better than the $.02-on-the-dollar I'd get selling it on eBay, and what the ship can't use, they'll take care of selling off through the network of conatcts they have, and the ship gets the money.

Sounds like a "WIN-WIN" to me.......

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Battleship Iowa On The Air NOW With Original Radio Gear! UPDATED

We're up and running on 18.146 right now......

Make that 18.155. Had to move due to QRM....

Should be OTA for the next hour or so.....


I made 10 contacts from coast-to-coast. They all said we had "great audio".

The R-1051's have a front end as wide as a barn door. The specs say "3.2kHz" bandwidth, and I'm guessing that's @ -6dB, but no spec (that I could find in our manual) on the -60dB point, so I don't know the Shape Factor of the filters in it.

Whatever it is, it's NOT good enough for even a moderately "crowded" band.

Signals the we could not hear on our TS-850 came bleeding through on the R-1051 receiver, making it difficult to copy the stations that were calling us.

And we had a huge pile-up after I "spotted" ourselves on the DX clusters.

Next time (next week, I hope) we'll try using the URR-74, as it has selectable bandwidth crystal filters in it.

It's a bit cumbersome finding a frequency that sounds "clear" on the R-1051, and then tuning the transmitter, and then adjusting the antenna coupler down in the transmitter room, but by the time we'd done it a few times,the guys helping me were getting pretty good at it.

We used the "Twin Whips" up on the bridge for the receive antennas, and the "Goal Post" antenna back the #2 stack for transmitting. We were running around 200 Watts output, and found that if we go much lower than that, the transmitter got unstable.

We had very few visitors today, so our "RF Safety Monitor" we posted at the TX antenna didn't have much to report to us.

So, today was a "learning day", and we had fun.

1) The r-1051 receivers are not very selective. We used three different receivers, and they're all the same

2) They desense badly, and take about 2 seconds to recover after you unkey the transmitter. This equipment was never meant to be used like this, operating "simplex", so desense was to be expected. We just didn't know it would take that long to recover

3) The dial accuracy of the receivers and transmitters was very good. We could tune the receiver to one frequency, and tuning the transmitter to the same indicated frequency was "plenty good enough" to use, with only very minor fine-tuning of the receiver required to get on exactly the same frequency as the transmitter. This would be a non-issue if we had the 10 MHz master oscillators that were originally installed, but we don't, so we run the receivers and transmitters using their own internal oscillators

4) The guys in the transmitter room retuned the antenna coupler each time we moved in frequency. I don't know if this is required if we only move 5 or 10 kHz at the low power levels we were running. I'll take one of my antenna analyzers with me next time and see how bad the match changes as we move in frequency. The guy doing the tuning is new at it, he's following the Navy tuning instructions "to the letter", and it winds up taking several minutes to "Peak and Dip" the controls with every frequency change

So thanks everybody for bearing with us! We're still learning about how to actually use the equipment now that we have it functional. We were juggling receiver line-out levels, transmitter line-in levels, antenna tuning, and the lookie-loos who came by to kibbutz while we were up to our rear in alligators!

Next week we should be better at it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

RATS! My Uniden BCD996XT Scanner Died!

Went to turn the scanner on the other day, and it wouldn't power up.

Figured it was the cheep little switching supply that came with it, so I ordered another one.

WELL....still wouldn't power up, so I measured the output of the original power supply, and it was NINETEEN VOLTS!

Ugh....double plus ungood.

So, looks like I have another project to do. I'll have to pull it out of the case and see if I can find anything obviously wrong. Otherwise I'll have to pack it off to Uniden for repair.

The good news is that Uniden charges a flat $80 repair fee for these.

The bad news is the it's their power supply that killed the radio!

Guess I'll have to get my trusty BCD796D off the shelf and return it to service.

Oh....and I DAMN sure won't EVER power up a $500 scanner with a POS $2 switching supply again!

Still Here, Just Busy, Busy, Busy......

 Doing mostly home owner stuff. Cabinet hinges, hanging things for SLW, and trying to knock out a bunch of "little things", like m...