Thursday, June 30, 2016

108 Years Ago Today

The Tunguska Event occurred.

And scientists' still aren't sure what caused it.

I tend to think it was a comet or air-burst meteor rather than a spaceship from elsewhere, but, since nobody knows for sure, who's to say.....

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Independence Day: Resurgence"

Took the wife out to dinner and a movie tonight.

We hit Panera Bread for dinner, and then went to see the new "Independence Day" movie.

They got most of the original cast back, except for Wil Smith, who wanted a cool $25 million, so they wrote him out of the script.

It's a fun summer action movie, a bit corny in places, but fun enough if you don't mind the price.

I got the Senior ticket for $9, but it cost $12 for my wife. Dinner was $26, and two boxes of Junior Mints and an ICEE for her brought the evening's total to a bit over $60.

Makes me feel like a Real Old Fart when I say I remember taking a girl to dinner and a movie for $11!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Field Day AAR

Well, it turns out I didn't set up my satellite station at the Field Day site after all.

My son's knee was really bothering him, so I told him to stay home, and I went down Friday afternoon to help the others get set up.

Hung around for a while, and since they had everything going well, I said hello to some of the guys I only see once a year, and then came back home.

Worked on the Supra for a while, took a 'mini-nap', and then jumped in the shower.

Saturday evening was the "Crew Appreciation Dinner" down on the Iowa, so I went down there, had a bite to eat and hung around a while talking to my friends, and watched the awards ceremony.

Hot and muggy here today so I'll get to work on the Supra a bit later after it cools a bit and the breeze kicks up....

Friday, June 24, 2016

Field Day


I emptied out the Jeep last night and loaded all my stuff into it.

As soon as my son shows up we'll load the tower, antennas and cross-boom, and the generator, and head down to the site.

I'm NOT going to push hard this year. I'll have the "100 point" satellite contact on Saturday as soon as an analog/linear transponder bird goes over, and then just goof off and hand out contacts to other stations.

We have three new analog satellites in orbit this year, but I didn't manually add them to my tracking program, and since I also didn't set up and do a dry run this year, I'm not sure if they were automagically added when I updated the Keplerian Elements for the program.

I usually have lots of "dead time" between passes, so I can always add them manually if I have to.

And I see our friends in the UK have decided to withdraw from the EU.

Good for them! One of the guys I volunteer with on the battleship is from France, and they don't like how Brussels runs things, either. As I was watching the news about 0100 this morning, I saw items rolling by in the banner that several other countries are stirring with demands for a referendum. Maybe the EU will crumble, and maybe it won't, but all the "Doom and Gllomers" were spouting the standard party line, and wagging their tongues about how the breakup of the EU would be a bad thing.

Yeah, right.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Nice Cool Down

Down into the low 80's today with a nice breeze.

SO....rather than go pummel away on Field Day stuff, I'm going to work on the car.

I really think I'm going to blow off operating the satellite station this year. I just don't feel like lugging everything down there, and then lugging it all back home, and spending a day putting things back in storage.

The "Supras in Vegas" meet is coming up in mid September, and there are some things I simply have to get done on the car before I feel comfortable driving it to Las Vegas and back.

I've been doing Field Day with the club since 1996, and except for the times when I was at-sea to support a lunch, I never missed one.

Plus my son injured his knee a couple of weeks ago at work, and he won't be able to do as much stuff to help me this year as he always does.

We'll still go down to the Field Day site and support the other guys, but I'm going to sit this one out......

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

To all the other Dads out there.

Enjoy the day.

I've got most of my Field Day stuff rounded up, and ran the generator for about 30 minutes this morning.

Put a heavy load on it, got it all warmed up, and changed the oil.

Just kicking back for the rest of the day. It's 96* and climbing here. Supposed to hit 105* on Monday.

Too hot (for me, anyway) to do much outside.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Question for the Mainstream Media.....

This is all I have to say about the Orlando massacre......

And some advice from the Brevard County Sheriff:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Field Day is NEXT Weekend too busy on the Iowa and messing with the Supra this year, and now Field Day is one week off.

SO....that means tomorrow I'm going to have to drag out the generator and fire it up, go through my "Field Day" tool bag and round up the usual suspects that always turn up missing, drag the antennas, preamps, feedlines, and control cables out, and set everything up.

We have three new satellites this year, so I'll have to make sure that they show up properly in SatPC32 (my tracking program), and make three new uplink/downlink frequency "cheat sheets" that I use to keep track of the frequencies used for each satellite.

Here's an example of the one I made for FO-29:

My tracking program is set to tune the radio to the middle of the downlink passband, in this case, 435.850MHz. The corresponding uplink frequency is 145.950MHz, +/- any Doppler shift. If the middle of the transponder is busy, and it usually is, I'll tune up to 435.870, or until I find a clear spot. The transmit VFO in the radio should tune to 145.930, but if it doesn't, I'll hit the "unlock" button on the radio which separates the two VFO's, and tune to what the corresponding uplink frequency should be, and do a "1,2,3" transmission to find myself, and center my signal through the satellite to my downlink frequency. Then I "lock" the two VFO's back togther, and the tracking program will send frequency corrections to both the transmit VFO and the receive VFO, keeping my signal properly tuned.

The chart just helps me keep things straight, as FO-29 uses an inverting transponder, which means the signals come back through the satellite on a different sideband (LSB up, USB down), and with the tuning direction reversed.

I'll be back at Angel's Gate Park this year, working with my other club, URAC. We ran Field Day on the Iowa last year, and although we did rather well, lugging all the satellite gear aboard, and getting placed in the location we were allowed to set up in, made satellite contacts difficult.

More to come as the week progresses......

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

400k Hits!

Wow....if I had 10x that amount I'd have something to cheer about.....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Well, So Much for "Be Back Later"!

DUH...posted that on Tuesday, and here it is Sunday.

Museum Ships Weekend went well on the Iowa. We made about 350 contacts, and the guys running the "Legacy Equipment" (the 1980's Navy-installed gear) made about 50 contacts.

If you worked NI6BB and want a QSL card, follow the directions on the NI6BB webpage. I can't link to it, as QRZ does not allow direct links; you must be logged-in on the QRZ page to do lookups.

I spent my "shift" for the legacy guys down in the transmitter room. I don't care to operate the Navy-installed equipment even though I have, as it's all tied through a telephone-type handset. Not my style of operating, but I'll support the guys when they need it.

Got the differential lube changed in the Supra. The "Mark II" Supras only have 1.3 quarts in the differential, which is pretty "light", so keeping fresh lube in it helps preserve the parts inside.

Getting the fill plug out was a pain, as it's a "Low Profile" hex plug, and they're usually in there "Gorilla Tight", which means you DO NOT use a typical box-end wrench or 12-point socket to get the plug out.

The wrench WILL slip off the plug, and you'll round the corners off, making it even more difficult to remove. I know people that wound up pulling the cast aluminum differential cover off the car so they could get the plug out!

Instead, use a 1/2" drive SIX POINT socket with a 1/2" drive breaker bar. PUSH DOWN on the socket with one hand to keep it in place, and smack the breaker bar with 5 or 6 pound "Hand Sledge" (or what my son calls my "BFH"), and after a couple of good whacks, the plug will come loose.

I refilled the differential with Red Line synthetic 75W90 GL-5 gear lube, with 2 oz (half a bottle) of their synthetic limited slip additive.

I just took the car down off the jack stands, and I'm going to take her out for a nice little Sunday Drive to get the transmission lube nice and hot, and then drain and refill the trans with Red Line synthetic MT90 gear oil.

One "bonus" to using the Red Line synthetic products is that they don't stink to High Heaven the way "regular" gear lube does.

And since the easiest way to refill the trans in the car is to pour in the 2.5 quarts of MT90 in through the top, AND most of the interior is out so I can get started on installing the new carpet, I'll just pull a few bolts and remove the shifter mechanism from the top, and pour the fresh lube in through there.

And since the shifter will be out, I'll replace it with the "Short Throw" unit I bought a while back from Raptor Racing, one of the very few places that sells aftermarket parts for these cars.

Time to go for a drive!


Car is up on jacks, and the trans is draining. The drain plug came out fine, but the fill plug is being obstinate. It's not critical to get the fill plug out, as once I pull the OEM shifter, I can pour the 2.5 qts in through the top before I replace the shifter with my new one.

I'll just have to jack the car up a bit more and reposition the jack stands to get a better "angle" on my ratchet handle so I can PULLLLL harder on it.

I tried the breaker bar first, but there's not quite enough room to get the socket on the plug using the breaker bar as the head is thicker than my 1/2" drive ratchet/socket combo....

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Busy Day....Be Back Later!

Title says it all.

Have some errands to run, and then I'll be back with a post about Museum Ships Weekend on the Iowa!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Supra Passed Smog.....BARELY....

Passed fine on NOX this time, but just barely squeaked by on HC.

Max limit is 130ppm, and the car tested at 129ppm.

That's a bit too close!

The test tech agreed that the converter should probably be replaced, based on the numbers out of the tailpipe.

SO....I now have until next April to get a converter, and install it.

Magnaflow never replied to my emails, and never called back like they said they would, so even if they make a converter that actually fits my car, I won't be buying one.

Walker makes one, and I'll probably get that one.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

YAY! Supra's All Back Together Again, and the EGR System WORKS!

Whew........watta PITA, though.

To start with, I followed the recommendations of the celicasupra forum members who have been down this path, and took everything apart to clean it.

The first problem came when I took the EGR valve off the "Upper Intake Manifold". The valve is held on by nuts on studs, and taking the nuts off freed the valve up, BUT the big line bringing the exhaust gas to the valve was rigidly mounted. The 27mm (!!) nut came off OK, but the rigid mounting of the pipe, and the studs protruding through the valve mounting flange, didn't allow for much movement.

So, like a dummy, I grabbed my BIG pry bar, and pried the valve off.

Guess what? The valve is made of very thin section CAST iron, and the threaded part had two sections break loose from the rest of it.


I used some good old, field-proven "JB Weld", and bonded the pieces back together. After letting it sit in the hot sun for several days, I cleaned the JB Weld off the threads with some jeweler's files, and used a sanding drum in my Dremel tool to clean up the back side where the inlet tube slides into it.

In order to put it all back together when all the cleaning was finished, and not fight getting the valve over the studs while trying to get it to line up with the exhaust gas pipe, I pulled the studs out of the manifold, chased the threads on both ends of the studs, the hold-down nuts, and the threads in the manifold so they'd all go together "finger easy", as it's a cramped spot to work on.

I knocked the core plug loose from the manifold at the passage junction where the exhaust gas dumps into the manifold via a small, pressed-in brass tube, and found the brass tube was plugged solid. I cleaned that out, and then removed the threaded plug from the back of the manifold, and ran a Hoppes 45 cal Bore Snake through the passage to clean it out.

BTW.....Hoppes #9 Powder Solvent works GREAT to remove baked-on carbon on car parts!

Then I took the "EGR Vacuum Modulator" apart and cleaned it, and cleaned up my now "repaired" EGR valve.

I started putting it back together last Friday, but got sidelined a bit with all the Memorial Day activities I helped with on the Iowa.

I put the cleaned EGR valve on the manifold loosely and got it started on the inlet pipe, and then run the studs in. They threaded in easily since all the threads were chased, and once I had the valve and inlet pipe aligned and the BIG nut kinda started, I put the nuts on the studs and tightened the valve down solid to the manifold.

After a bit of fiddling with the BIG nut (and a few choice words....), I got the inlet pipe tightened down, made sure the hold-down nuts were tight, and put the rest of the air-intake piping back on.

The engine started on the first crank and came up to fast idle. I put full manifold vacuum on the EGR valve, and the idle speed dropped like a rock, and the engine ran really rough, just like it's supposed to.

After it was fully warmed up, applying full vacuum to the valve makes it stumble and stall, just like my Toyota Service Manual says it's supposed to.

SO, even though the only part that "needed" cleaning was the little brass tube that channels the exhaust gas into the manifold, the whole shebang is now cleaned about as well as it can be without pulling everything off the engine.

Tomorrow I'll take her out for a good, long drive and make sure everything is up to operating temperature, and then head to the smog test place.

If she doesn't pass this time, I'll put a new converter on her, but the Toyota guys seem to think she'll pass, given as she failed on NOX, and the EGR system was essentially NON-OP.

For Phil......

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