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.

Been Busy....Follow-Up Post Coming Soon To A Browser Near <i>YOU</i>!

 Been a week since last post. Been busy herding grandkids, playing with the dog, yard work, house items, and working on all manner of stuff....