Thursday, October 31, 2019

Spooky Song.....

Don't know why, but I've always associated this song with Halloween. Maybe it's because I was in high-school, growing up fast, when all the things in the video were happening around me.

Spooky times, I guess.....

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Birthday Party.....

I don't normally post stuff like this, but this picture came out pretty well. It's from the birthday party for the littlest one, in the center, flanked by our Little Guy, and her other cousin. All these little guys are two years old, and they'll be the same age until TLG's birthday in March.

I present you The Three Amigos, in full regalia for Halloween.

Winter Returns After a Short Break.....

Well, it was really nice here the last week. Temps were in the high 60's, nice and sunny, and quite beautiful.

So last night, this big Arctic High came roaring in from the North, and this morning it's 25* and lightly snowing. There was less on the ground than I expected this morning. Forecast is for 1"~3" accumulation today, with another 3"~5" tonight, then Monday should be a break in the snow until Tuesday/Tuesday night.

All the NWS says about Tuesday night is "Snow Could Be Heavy At Times".

Hmm....they don't know, either.

And we're in for some cold nights, with tonight forecast at 9*, Monday night at 10*, Tuesday night at 7*, and Wednesday night at 3*.

And I didn't get my wife's snow tires mounted while she was gone, so I'll either be chilling my tail getting them on this week, or paying to have it done.

I got most of the leaves blown out of the gravel and flower beds, but didn't rake and bag them, as that requires the two of us. We'll probably just have The Yard Guys do it when they do their early Winter clean-up, and drag all the lumber our neighbor's cottonwood tree dumped in our back yard. Some of the branches that dropped out of their tree are several inches in diameter, and although the tree looks OK to me, the tree guys who removed the cottonwood in our yard two years ago commented that it had "maybe five years left in it", so I expect we'll see them removing the tree in the next few years.

So keep warm, stay dry, and I'm on my way to a birthday party for one of The Little Guy's cousins.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Little of This and That.....

Getting ready for some winter weather here. Currently at 45*F, overcast to (very) partly sunny, and it was raining a while ago. We're expecting rain turning to snow, with a low of around 23*F tonight. Looks like a good night to light off the fireplace and watch a movie.

-OR- Play with my radio stuff now that it's all back together.

I had my Yaesu FT-1000D apart to fix some issues it has, and install my Inrad Roofing Filter. The roofing filter installation went fine, but I wasn't able to fix one problem, and while I did fix another, it seems I've now introduced a new one.


The one problem I fixed was a resetting/rebooting problem when I tuned from 6.5MHz to 7.5MHz. The radio would start cycling like the power switch was being turned on and off, and it was hard to get it out of that mode. I traced the problem to the Low Pass Filter board, so I cleaned and reseated all the connectors, along with loosening and tightening the screws that hold that board, and ground it, to the chassis.

Well, it receives just fine now on 40 Meters, but it won't transmit. It's possible it wouldn't transmit before, and the resetting problem was masking it, so it might be a wash on whether I fixed that problem or not.

The other problem is with a printed circuit board with a whole lotta push-button switches on it. Yaesu calls these assemblies "Switch Units", and they're a multiplexed group of switches that use fewer wires than if every switch had it's own pair of wires. The four switches that don't work share a common circuit path, so it should be easy to find and fix the problem.

That's IF I could get the board out!

This particular board is buried behind the front panel, and to get it out would take me a couple of days to disassemble the radio that far. I could do it if I built a fixture like a rotisserie to hold the chassis, but I'm not sure I want to do that. My days of wrestling 55 pound radios around on the bench are behind me, and even if I built a fixture, I'm not sure I want to dig that far into the radio.

One other thing I've finished up while the weather is cooperating has been to get new coax runs installed between my vertical and wire antennas and the entrance box I hung on the house. That also entailed making up some new jumpers for the box on the inside of the house to the coax switch, and coax switch to the radio and dummy load. I now have nice, matching jumpers that are the correct lengths, and the installation looks a lot neater. And there's no more cables running in the house via the small gap between the door and frame! I'm sure my wife will be happy about that.

As far as the radio goes, I'm pretty much in the same boat that SiG is in regarding his Icom Linear Amplifier. I can probably fix it, but it would take a significant effort to do so, and I'm not sure I want to.......

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Crazy WINDY Here Today.....

Mother Nature's doing a bit of 'pruning.....

The backyard is covered with leaves and small branches, and most of the leaves are off our maple tree in the front and ash tree in the back.

NWS is predicting winds of 20~30MPH with gusts exceeding 55MPH. The high today will be around 50*F, dropping to '30-ish' overnight.

Glad I strapped the back gate together, but now I have to change the securing arrangements because the yard guys are coming tomorrow to mow and mulch whatever leaves and things are in the front and back yards.

Other than that, I got nothin', and I'm just gonna hang out in the basement today working on some projects.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Here's The Latest On The Ham Radio and Cal_Fire "Dispute"

Per my "Friends In High Places", here's the latest.

Click to embiggen, as I had to do some fancy footwork to convert this through several formats to get an image out of it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Uh-Oh...."Controlled Burn" Gets Out-Of-Control

And there's been a mandatory evacuation declared.

This is up in the Red Feather Lakes area, about 30 miles Northwest of here.

The full story is here, at the North Forty News website.

Prayers sent for those living up there.....

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Great "We Don't Need No Stinking Ham Radio" Flap In California

After having first heard of this a week or so ago, I've found out it's nothing like that which it seems.

Per the ARRL Southwestern Division Director:

The video in response to a lengthy lawyer-generated letter, written in reaction to a harshly worded letter from a CAL FIRE property management employee, makes certain statements about the Governor’s position or State policy that I have been unable to corroborate..

The State of California has not made any determination we can find  "that Ham Radio [is] no longer a benefit."What happened is that CAL FIRE has transferred responsibility for its communications sites to its property management department.  That department has the significant task of evaluating each site, its condition, use and tenants.  If a repeater not known to be associated with the emergency management function of a local jurisdiction is found in a CAL FIRE vault, the default action is to move it out or subject it to commercial rental rates.
Our contact in the California Office of Emergency Services suggests that, if any affected repeater is in any way involved with local emergency or government support activity, they should ask that agency to engage with CAL FIRE concerning the repeater.  If the agency makes the case, there is a good chance that the repeater will be unaffected.

Their advice, with which I agree, is not to elevate this to State Legislators or the Governor's office.

There has been similar activity in Southern California, wherein sites managed by the U.S. Forest Service have required repeater owners to post bonds to cover the dismantling of their sites if they cease operation. Negotiation has resulted in considerable easing of the original requirements and a modification of terms to help mitigate the short-term financial impact on those repeater owners.

So basically, somebody got ticked off, made some angry statements, and it 'went viral'.

Nothing to see here, please move along.....

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Bye Bye, Sea Launch!

I'd heard this was "In Work" a couple of months ago. There was a lot of ITAR controlled equipment on the ships, and it had to be removed before USGOV would allow the ships to be permanently relocated.

This has been removed now, and negotiations are underway to finalize the departure of the two ships.

The entire article can be read here.

So Bye Bye, Sea Launch. It was a hell of a run while it lasted.....

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Here Comes Winter!

Expecting the next three nights to be 25*, 15*, and 25*

I was just up at The Kids place to tend to the dogs, and in a 90 minute round-trip (including doggie time) the temperature has dropped 10*, and the winds are kicking up.

Expecting rain around midnight, turning to snow showers, turning to snow, with snow on Thursday, and a high of 33*.

And since the winds are predicted to be 30MPH or so, with gusts to 40MPH, I lashed the fence gates closed on the side leading to the back yard. I guess I'm getting acclimatized to here, as yesterday I drained and stowed the garden hoses and sprinklers, put the cold weather covers on the faucets, brought in the big sun umbrella after knocking the wasps out of it, and in general tried to clear the task list for "Winter Preps".

I think I got all of it, but we'll see.....

My Sweet Little Wife has departed on a three week vacation, and The Kids are gone until Sunday night, so Pebbles and I are on our own.

And I got this "present" on the way back from DIA:

Yep...a BIG rock came off the back of a gravel hauler, and I saw it milliseconds before it hit with a CRACK! like a rifle shot.


I'm tempted to tray and have it repaired, BUT with the rain/snow, and below freezing temps the next two nights, it might get much worse before I can get it in to the glass shop.

I haven't lost a windshield to a rock hit since about 1986, so I suppose I'm overdue.


As of 2230 local time, it's down to 32*, there's a LOT of lightning and thunder, and it's snowing.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

First Frost Warning of the Season

Going down to 30* here tonight, and the first "official" front warning has been published by the NWS.

It got down to 35* last week, and there was a frost 'advisory' released, but looks like we're getting a real frost, with below freezing temps tonight.

And the NWS is predicting snow showers beginning Thursday, along with lows of 15*~20*.....

Other than that, I got nuthin'.....

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Friday Already?.....Again?

Well time sure flies when you're keeping busy!

Got the 3D printed camera mount so I can strap my GoPro to the car, And the taller tires for it so it can bounce off these wacky curbs easier. And that requires changing the pinion gear on the motor to make up for the taller tires. So as of right now, I've got the car partially disassembled to change the pinion gear, do some inspection of the bits, and then put it back together so I can go bombing around the neighborhood again, and TLG can giggle and laugh as he watches me get better at driving it.

And I corrected the error on the timing cover by sanding off the yellow I had applied, and then kept on sanding until the wrinkle paint was completely removed from the lettering.

Took about two hours with numerous small pieces of 220 and 600 grit paper, and a teeny-tiny sanding block I made. Got the first coats of color on it, and it looks the way I wanted from the beginning.

I took a trip up to the "E-Team Hobbyplex" track ans store the other day, and I'm impressed! The owner is another Old Guy like me, and he's been doing R/C cars, trucks, and boats for about as long as I have. He's also an Uber Gearhed, and has quite a collection of AMC muscle cars. He has Javelins, AMX's, a Rebel Machine or two, and the S/C Rambler, which was AMC's version of the Chevrolet Nova SS, a "compact car" stuffed full of V8 power with a manual transmission, limited-slip differential, cold air hood, and a bunch of other "Hot Rod Parts" installed at the factory. Cool little cars!

And the track is impressive. It's set up as a road course right now, but they put some temporary ramps, jumps, and stuff over it, and run indoor off-road events. They even run a "class" for the ARRMA Senton truck like I have, so I'll probably go up there with the Senton and have some fun. He's been in the building for over 15 years now, and has parts out the wazoo, along with cars and trucks from $150 entry level rigs up to the full-blown, very high-end cars that go for $1200 without wheels, tires, motor, speed controller, or radio. You can't even call those kits "rollers" because they don't have wheels included, so they're called "sliders".

And I knocked out some quickie projects in the basement, including rebuilding the Heathkit IM-103 Line Voltage Monitor I got on eBay.

I've always wanted one of these things because only the Really Cool Guys had them when I was a kid. The guys who had their Amateur Extra class license, and knew everything about radio. Like all items this age with 1960's vintage electrolytic capacitors in them, this one had a bad capacitor. So I ordered a few of them, along with a 5W replacement for the 2W resistor that is dissipating 1.8Watts in normal operation. Running a part at 90% of it's max rating isn't a good idea, so doubling the Wattage rating on the replacement fixes a design flaw in the meter.

And I've been cleaning up stuff out of the basement by dumping it on eBay. It brings in some "hobby money", and gets rid of some of the bubble wrap stored in the basement from when we moved.

Hell yes, I saved it! Only used once, perfectly clean, and why buy more when I have a two year supply!?

Just doing my part to be green, and recycle responsibly, ya know?

And I showed TLG the video I took of UP 4014 last week. When they blew off the steam, and then blew the whistle, he was quite impressed! There's a "Vintage and Antique Toy Show" this Saturday down at the Larimer County Fairgrounds (aka "The Ranch"), so I'm going to head down there and see if I can find him a little toy tractor. Gotta be green and yellow because he gets really excited when he sees a green and yellow tractor, so he should have one.

Hope y'all have a good weekend. Sorry for no pretty pix, but when I start taking pix, it slows me waaay down on some of these projects.

Egad....'Tis a Trifle HOT This Week

 Or for what's remaining of the week. It was 97* today, and is expected to be 100+ through Sunday. The humidity is only 17%, so you step...