Friday, March 30, 2018

Easter Weekend, Late Snow, Another "End Of An Era" Picture

And since we're the  most "centrally located", we'll be hosting "The Family's" Easter Sunday dinner. The Kids will be bringing over their BBQ grill, and will prepare Carne Asada. The family's Easter dinner is a pot luck affair, and since we're hosting it, we're not expected to provide anything. We have the little fridge stocked with beer and soda anyway, as all who come here are welcomed with beverages and/or food.

Wednesday morning, we woke up to this.

Started as itty-bitty flakes and progressed to large, wet flakes over the course of 90 minutes or so. It was a good day to stay in and just tinker on stuff, and do some general house cleaning in preparation for Easter Sunday.

I went through every box in the garage, and sorted Supra parts by where they go on the car. One big box has all the rear suspension bits and the new braided stainless brake lines for the rear of the car; another big box has "Front of the car" stuff, like all the belts and hoses, the new flow-tested and matched fuel injectors, all the fiddly bits to replace the injectors, the new timing belt and tensioner, the new water pump, fuel filter, upper ("air box") and lower ("ram tubes") intake manifold gaskets, and so on. A third big box is reserved for stuff I'll be shortly taking off the car to attend to, like the wiper arms, window trim, and various interior pieces. Besides the unknown history of some of the items on the car, I have a YUGE amount of cosmetic items to take care of.

My "End Of An Era" pix represent a permanent dismantling of a section of my Field Day equipment. These were the lines we used to guy the tent we operated out of. If you didn't have your tent up by 1000, you'd better start looking for extra people to help, as once the winds come up it could easily double the amount of time required to set up your tent, AND severely try your patience.

I was cleaning and organizing that corner of the garage, and took a side trip to pull the stakes out of their disintegrating storage bag and unwind the line.

The orange colored bits are a type of DayGlo caution tape.

This is about half the number of stakes I have on hand. Not too long ago this would have been about one-quarter of my inventory, but these things get lost, grow legs, get given away, loaned away, or don't get pulled out of the ground where you last "Put Down Stakes". These particular stakes are listed as an antenna guying anchors, and I used to be able to get them dirt cheap. Literally "$10 per Dozen", and sometimes twice that when they were on sale. Now they go for $70 for 76 stakes, almost a buck each.

These things are indestructible! They made out of some unknown aluminum alloy, and heat treated to fairly high hardness, and I've never seen one break, even when concreted in to the ground, they'll just bend, not snap.

As far as the line goes, it was 5~20 years old, each line was multi-section, it had been soaked in both salt and fresh water while under tension, rubbed across rocks and other sharp pointy stuff, and in general treated like doo-doo.

Bye-bye, line, and thank you for your 20 years of faithful service. Some of the stakes will get used to anchor the far end of my ground radials, and the rest will patiently wait until called again.

Hope you all have a joyous Easter.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Window Replacement Finished

And we already notice a difference!

Monday the two guys installed all 10 of the new windows and most of the interior finish work. Today they're finishing up all the exterior "foaming and flashing", and they also finished the interior trim for the two new swing-out casement windows in the Family Room/Den.

That night we noticed that all the rooms were warmer by the windows. With the old aluminum framed windows, as soon as you got near a window, you could get a pretty good idea how cold it was outside because the aluminum frame was almost the same temperature as it was outside. You could quite literally feel the heat in the room being conducted away.

And on the South side of the house, the window frames in my wife's future office and our grandson's room no longer blast heat into the rooms, they're pretty much about the same temperature as the walls and rest of the room.

This is the bare frame for the dining room window, the first one they did.

And here's Chris, one of the installers, pulling the old frame out.

Sunday afternoon my stepson came over and helped me remove the curtains and blinds from the windows so the installers could have unfettered access to the windows.

And here's the new dining room windows installed.

They look much nicer than the old aluminum framed windows.

On to the living room, which is a pretty big window. "List Price" on this one window was over $5k!

Here's the old one from the outside before removal. This shot was cropped and enlarged from the one I posted of a snowfall we had before Christmas, so it might look a little wonky compared to the others.

And from the inside.

Several hours later, the new window was installed. This exterior shot is from Wednesday after all the "Final Foaming and Flashing" had been done.

New inside....

And of course it's "Pebbles Approved"!

I forgot to get a picture of the old window in the den, but it was basically a smaller version of the front window. The new one looks much nicer.

The old swing-out casement windows in the den had never been maintained, and as a result the crank mechanisms suffered the fate of anything greased with 40 year old grease....they wore out! This makes the windows difficult to get open and/or shut, so they were replaced also.

Here's the new after it had the "returns" and other trim installed, but before we stained the new oak trim. The screen is in the photo, and is new stuff that Andersen calls "TrueScene", and is made from very small diameter coated stainless steel wire. The "weave" of the wire screen achieves a good balance between hole size and strength, and they have increased light transmission compared to aluminum, fiberglass, or plastic screens.

After the staining and urethane application is finished we'll pull the blue tape and I'll get a picture of the finished trim. It looks nice in the photo, but now that it's stained, it looks gorgeous. The stain really made the grain stand out, and I'm anxious to see what a couple of coats of semi-gloss urethane do to it.

And I totally forgot to take pix of the window in the laundry room, but it's pretty much the same, so let's go upstairs (from the outside) and see what's next....

These two windows are for the two of the upstairs bedrooms. Pretty ugly, eh?

As we used to say at Boeing, "In Work.....".

And after all the trim work was finished.....

These, as well as all the others, are "Double Glider" windows, which means each glass pane can slide independently. I'm going to have to check out how the screens go in on these, as I don't remember......

Meanwhile, around back.......

Hiding behind the bush is the new laundry room window, and directly above it is an original window of the same size. You can get an idea of how much bigger the new frame is compared to the old frame. You lose some glass area, but you stop the horrendous heat loss caused by having large areas of uninsulated aluminum acting as heat pipes in and out of the house.

And a little further around back......

The two second story windows are for the guest room on your left, and the grandson's room over to the right, directly above the laundry room. This room would turn into a furnace on warm, sunny days. You could feel the heat from two feet away, and the frame was almost too hot to touch. Tuesday the weather was nice again, so we dialed all the thermostats to 60*, which is pretty much OFF, and we'll bring them up as we need them. Besides the fact that the frames no longer conduct heat like crazy, the new glass is better quality "Low e" glass, and I can definitely notice a difference when I stand in front of a window in full sunlight. With the old windows, you'd get a feeling of "warmth", even on very cold days. With these windows, you're standing in full sunlight, but the Sun doesn't feel as "warm" as it did.

Anyway...we're both pretty happy with the new windows, and hopefully we'll save a noticeable amount on out heating bills.

YouTube To Remove/Ban/Forbid ALL Firearms Videos and the Internet Routes Around It

Thanks to Borepatch for bringing this to my attention. I now have a site to go to to replace YouTube for all those nasty, mean, and evil gun videos!

Go to to check it out!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cringley On The Facebook/Cambridge Analytics "Data Breach"

I don't always agree with Mr. Cringley, but he explains what's going on here.

In particular, his advice to never take any of those "quizzes" on Facebook, is spot-on.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Window Replacement Starts Today

The guys from "Renewal by Andersen" are here, and are "In Work" replacing the windows.

The windows were finished a few weeks ago, but the requested new installation date was the week my wife was back in SoCal, so we scheduled it for this week.

The new windows look great, are twice as thick as the "OEM" aluminum frame windows, and should help knock down our winter heating cost. The installers are telling us must people see a 20%~30% reduction in their heating cost depending on what their source of heat is.

Our first big electric bill was $550, a bit of a shocker, but we also didn't have a ~$150 gas bill, so all-in-all our energy cost for that month was about $100 more than in Long Beach, but we also had much colder weather, and a much bigger house to heat. The cost dropped about $100 the next month, achieved mostly by dialing back all the thermostats a notch, and slightly warmer weather.

Pix to follow later.....

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Easy Round Trip to DIA Monday Night

Drove back down to DIA ( or DEN, depending on who you talk to...) Monday night to pick up my wife, and man, what a difference.

Her flight arrived at 2210, so I left at 2030, filled up the car, grabbed a medium-sized Diet Coke, and hit the road.

Practically zero traffic headed South, and I was in the parking structure at 2145. I didn't check the maps of baggage claim vs parking spaces, so I wound up taking quite a hike from where I parked to where I needed to be. Since she always uses the same airline, I'll map out my parking spot ahead of time the next time.

139 miles round trip, averaged 18.6MPG, and took 3-1/2 hours round trip, including a brief wait while she deplaned and rode the little choo-choo from the gates to the baggage claim.

We were about 30 miles or so outside of Fort Collins when the overhead signs announced a "Crash 29 miles ahead expect delays"

Turns out the crash was just past our exit, so we were able to motor along without delay, and got home right about midnight.

On our way back she asked if Colorado had any other airports, meaning large commercial aviation airports, and I replied that Denver was the only "big" airport, which took her aback a bit. She then mentioned how close everything was in Long Beach, and the ready availability of air flights, and how small the Macy's is in Fort Collins, and........

Yup....another tinge of Culture Shock.....

But she had a great time hanging out with her friends and doing stuff, including a trip to The Getty, one of her favorite places, so I don't mind two round trips to DIA when she goes "home" to see her friends.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

GROAN.......Round Trip To DIA This Morning

And the I-25 South wasn't pretty due to a 7 or 8 car accident on the I-25 Northbound side just North of Johnson's Corner. At first I wanted to say that the lookie-loos on the Southbound side slowed everything down, but really, a seven car accident involving the center divider takes up a lot of room. They were using the frontage road for emergency vehicle access, something I haven't seen since I lived in Illinois, and we had frontage roads alongside the Interstates. past that minor irritation and it was smooth sailing in and out of DIA at 0900 this morning. Everything was cleaned up, and the crews were repairing things in the center divider on my way home.

And the weather was gorgeous! Mid to low 30's, clear as a bell, and not much wind.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Antenna Pix, and Grandson's 1st Birthday Party

No party pix, but here's a few of the vertical in the backyard.

Yes, the installation is "Pebbles Approved".

Each one of the grey tote boxes has a 50lb bag of sand in it.  I have another tote that size with the SGC-230 autocoupler in it, and a smaller one with the line isolator in it that's also my junction box for power to the SGC-230. I still have to fabricate some radials from the YUUUGE spool of #10 THHN wire I bought years ago, and then install the coupler, radials, and cabling. Monday will be very interesting, as we're expecting sustained winds of 30~37MPH with gusts to 50MPH. I'm expecting it to do some scary gyrations, and I'm sure I'll be lengthening the legs.

As of 2022 local time, and I can hear the wind really blowing. Flipping on the yard lights, the whip is flexing about 30* in the gusts, and the base looks stable.

It's actually pretty "plumb". The apparent tilt to the whip part is caused by the whip being deflected by the wind.

And......up it goes! The "Tip 'O The Whip" is at 35' AGL.

This thing is FLEXIBLE! What looks like an "S" bend in the whip is the antenna reacting to the wind. I've seen photos of the antennas bend over at what looked like 90* in 100MPH winds.

And they survive......

And one last one from the far corner of the lot.

The "windmill" tower in the background is for my satellite antennas, seen here many times in the past. I haven't decided where I'll site that system for its permanent spot. The tree trunk will get carved a bit later this year. And peeking out from behind the tree trunk, is the 5' tripod with the Davis Instruments sensor suite on it for my "real" weather station.

The snow is 99% gone, except for some patches on the North sides of houses, and the yard has dried out enough to walk through it without getting 10 lbs of MUD on your shoes! It shouldn't be any where near this bad next year, as our landscaper/yard guy is going to start seeding and feeding at the proper time. He says he's seen yards here in worse shape than ours, and with some fertilizer, and the right type of grass seed, they bounce back in one summer. The snow here doesn't bother me, but the mud does!

And our grandson's first birthday party was a smashing success!

Besides the 16 family members, we had another 8~10 people drop by, including three of his neonatal nurses, and several work friends and their little ones.

The little guy made out like a bandit, and he now has "doubles" on some toys between here, his parent's place, and his other grandparents place! And he got real silver dollar from his Grandpa Jim to put away for a rainy day.

And the best part? After things wound down and it was only immediate family, everybody just pitched in, and we had the house clean and back in order in a very short time.

All in all, a VERY pleasant day spent with family and friends.


As of 1400 local time, the vertical is still standing, the base shows no signs of movement, but the Tip 'O The Whip is swinging back and forth through what looks like a 45* angle.

One minor casualty occurred during the night. One of the black lids wasn't fully snapped on to the tote box, and is now laying against the fence. I'll put it back on the tote, and put a couple of cable ties on it and it's mates to keep the lids on the boxes......

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Vertical Antenna Up

Pix tomorrow.

I think I'm going to have to lengthen the base legs. I'll get another 3 pieces of angle iron that size, overlap them, clamp them together, and then drill them. Right now they're only 6' long, and even with a 50lb bag of sand on each leg, it might not be enough to keep it from tipping over.

I still have to fabricate some ground radials, and then I can install the autocoupler and line isolator, along with the feedline and control cable for the autocoupler.

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...