Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year!

 SLW is down with what I had a day or two ago, so tonight's plans have changed. She'll be sleeping, and I'll be down in the workshop tinkering.

Good riddance to 2022. As for 2023? Who knows.....



Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Christmas "Bug" Hit Me

 So I was pretty much off-line all day Tuesday. Nothing major, just aches, pains, nasal congestion, and being really tired feeling.

Sitting here listening to the various street departs and County agencies who are out spreading "materiel" and reporting the road conditions. It started as rain, got everything soaked, and then changed to light snow as the temps dropped. Which means icy roads under a thin coating of snow. I've already heard of multiple spin-outs on the traffic circles here, and people are sliding off the roads.

An inch is forecast, but the ice under it changes things from minot annoyance, to Watch Your Step!

Be safe out there!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Merry Christmas To All!


 

 Hope you all have a joyous Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Kids are all coming over tonight, then the Full Clan descends on us Christmas Day to feast in celebration of His arrival.


And for those who can't be home for the holidays....Thank You For Your Service, Sacrifice, and Dedication.



Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Here Comes The COLD Front!

 Just arrived about 1600 local.

At 1545 is was 46*, and here it is 15 minutes later at 1600:

5 minutes later:


A 5* drop in 5 minutes!

Local forecast at 1600:


 Definitely going to be unpleasant out there!

Be safe, keep warm!


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

BRRRRR! Gird Yor Grid For a Big One, Mac!

 

 

Got a serious Arctic Cold Front coming in tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon. Temps are expected to peak at 40something, and then start dropping as the front moves in bring snow at approx 1400. Then the front really slams in here, and temps are expected to drop to -15 or so, with winds of 20~30MPH, making the wind chill around -30 or lower.

 


My heart goes out to those who have to work outside in this, like ranchers, farmers, utility workers and such. I've worked in mind-numbing cold before (-40, Montana, February), but we were sheltered from the wind. My flashlight froze and went out, and my 20 Watt pencil-type soldering iron needed the assistance of a propane torch to get it hot enough to solder with. I can just imagine what it's like to be out in -20 weather with a 35MPH wind blowing.

The basement clean-up is proceeding quite well, and The Little Ones will have much more room-to-roam now. Yes, it's all properly kid-safed, as are the more delicate items I have down there.

Be safe out there, and I'll have a Christmas post or two coming up shortly for all six of my regulars here!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Been Busy, Proper Post "In Work"

 Been busier than a one-armed paper hanger doing house stuff, and getting things squared away for Christmas, which we're hosting this year. Should be about 25 people, and SLW is gathering all the fixin's to feed that many. Wood's been cut, split, and stacked in case we want a fire, but with 20+ people in the house, it won't be cold.

Anywhoo....got a real post in work, and I'll get it up....whenever?

Have a safe weekend, keep your head on a swivel, and always be in Condition Yellow outside!

Ciao -

Friday, December 9, 2022

Minor Upgrade Issues With Kubuntu

 Not fatal, but very annoying. I have a Netgear "Nighthawk" USB WiFi adapter plugged into it, and while it supports Mac, and by extension Linux, it's cranky to get set up. I should have plugged an Ethernet cable directly into the router and ran that to this PC, as I think it may have borked the drivers for the WiFi adapter last night, losing connectivity.

Running things on Good Old Ethernet for now until I get the driver issues sorted out. I like the new menu layouts, but as with all "upgrades" a few things got moved (simplified, really) so it'll take me a few days to get used to it.

And it definitely borked all the user info in my Ham Radio programs, so now I have to go back and set them up again for my station, Again, annoying but not fatal, and I now have all the newest versions of the software I run.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7th

  I don't usually do posts on historical dates, as others do them much better than I do. Suffice to say, December 7th is an important date to remember, as is September 11th. There are similarities and differences, but both have immense historical relevance to the United States.

Never Forget. Never Give Up. Never Surrender..... 

 


On a lighter note, I was able to make contact with NEPM today, even though conditions weren't very good. I was using the 14 MHz frequency instead of the 18 MHz frequency, and while my noise level is very low there, in the "S1~S2" range, the propagation was mediocre. Their signals were in the "S5" range, but there was slow fading up and down.

The RFI issue with the keyboard turned out to be a short USB cable plugged into it that I use to charge my phone. I plugged the cable into a USB port on the PC, and that problem went away. The RaspberryPI I use to decode ADSB transmissions has been given the full Snap On Ferrite Core Treatment, and seemed to tolerate transmitting 200 Watts on 14 MHz without getting wonky. It remains to be seen if it will tolerate 200 Watts on other bands, but for now it seems OK.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Had A Little Self-Inflicted RFI Today....

Just noticed this today when I was trying to contact the lads on the Iowa. The Iowa  received a special waiver from the FCC to allow them to contact Amateur Radio stations on December 6th and 7th this year for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day using their NEPM callsign, and transmitting on military frequencies.

Normally, Amateur and "Federal" radio stations are not allowed to contact each other. The one exception is for the Armed Forces Day Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test, which I've mentioned here before.


I couldn't hear them today on 14 MHz, so I went up to 18 Mhz. They were there, but very weak, so try as we might, we just couldn't cut it.


In the process, I noticed that transmitting on 18 MHz caused my PC keyboard to lock-up, and the RaspberryPI I have for ADSB would also lock-up. This is *most* annoying, so I'll have to look into it. That means digging out my collection of snap-on ferrite cores to put in a few places, rechecking all my outdoor connections, verifying all my ground connections, and sweeping the coax for the frequencies I use. No big deal, but it "didn't used to" act up like this. I'll probably add some cores under the heading of "Good Amateur Practice", but I prefer not to do that. Some consider ferrite cores "band-aids", and I'm on the fence about that. If they work, and I don't see anything else abnormal, then it'll be one of those times when "They Really Do Work".


We shall see.....

Sunday, December 4, 2022

All Put Up For Her "Long Winter's Nap"....

 Today was just gorgeous. Sunny, little wind, and FIFTY DEGREES! It was a painful decision to make, but instead of taking her out, I spent the day cleaning things up, moving things around, sweeping out the garage, and getting her up on stands, and covered.

"SWEEPERS, SWEEPERS, MAN YOUR BROOMS!"



Shhhhh.....She's sleeping....

 And as a bonus, I was able to give SLW another 12" of room where she parks her car. Still have some things to pick up and organize, but the bulk of Winter Prep in the garage is finished. It also gives me more room to maneuver the snowblower in and out of it's parking spot.

And I split a bunch more wood, and played around with putting an edge on the Harbor Freight hand axe I've had for quite a few years. The as-supplied edge wasn't very good on it, but I didn't know much about sharpening anything other than a pocket of kitchen knife, and I was mediocre at even doing that. Anywhoo......I examined my Estwing "Camp Axe" to see what a good edge looked like, read a bit, and went at it. I used an 80-grit flap wheel in my Dremel to even things out, then the 80-grit belt for my Work Sharp sharpener. I then switched to the 220-grit, and finished with an Extra Fine 6000-grit honing belt.

Came out OK, and works WAY better than it did. I'm still a Novice at sharpening things, but I'm getting the hang of it.

Hope you all had a Blessed Sunday, and have a safe week!



Friday, December 2, 2022

Fast Moving Front, and Hi There, 63-9792!

 Had a really fast-moving front go through shortly after 0900, and it brought about 30 minutes of the "little snowballs", which I'm sure there's a meteorological term for.

Look at the timeline of the graphs, and you can see the humidity spike, the temperature drop, and the wind shift from SW to NW. The little step up in the barometer is the front coming through.


 

 Almost all the snow we got earlier this week has gone, and it was very windy. My winds speeds don't record as high as officially reported because of where and how high my anemometer is mounted. It's in the clearest spot I could use, but it's not 10 Meters high, and is shielded by the trees and houses here. As a result, my "Gust Speeds" are closer to the NWS sustained speeds, and the gusts here would most likely be 40~50% higher than indicated. So, we had gusts of up to 60 MPH or so. It was howling pretty good last night! And the new double gate came through unscathed, although it did pop open. I didn't have a lock or anything through the holes in the hasps, and from the battering it got, the hasps turned, and the gate opened. BUT....the Big Wheels out handyman put on the front kept it from rolling all the way open and beating itself itself to death like the original one did. I closed it, and put a 3/8" x 2" bolt through the hasps, and using two nuts to keep them from loosening. Should be good for the rest of the year, I hope.

And our old friend 63-9792 from Offut swing by for about 6 hours. Didn't screenshot the flight track, but this is what she looks like all cleaned up. Hard to believe the airframe was built in 1963! Wonder how may times she's been rebuilt/reengined?


They also made several touch-and-goes on their return to Offut, so most likely another training flight.

Hope y'all have a safe and Blessed Sunday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

3~4" Of Snow Last Night

 

And from garage door open, to snowblower parked was only about 25 minutes. That 24" Ariens just laughs at 4" of snow......

Monday, November 28, 2022

Supra Mission 28NOV22 Scrubbed

 The weather didn't cooperate very well, in that it was overcast and cooler than expected. 

With road surface temps cold enough to make the "High Performance Summer Only" tires get greasy, no heater, and no wipers,  it was a NOGO for today.

These tires (Toyo Proxes T1R) are astounding when it's >50* outside, and then they start losing their grip. Tires designed for "Summer Use" are very, very good when the road surface is warm-to-hot, and not so good when it gets cold. I've only had the car "loose" once, and it gave me plenty of warning, and recovered beautifully. But it was 80something degrees outside in SoCal, and that's a bit different than 40something in NoCo.

It's still sitting on the ground, and this coming week doesn't look too promising. so I'm still debating whether to put her up on stands.

So, I spent today cutting and splitting some more firewood, and helping SLW with the Christmas decorations, and the seasonal rearrangement of furniture.

Better safe than sorry!


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Ritual Change Of Tires Completed

 And we're supposed to get 1~2" of snow tonight with more coming Monday through Tuesday night.

Had the usual fun hanging out in the garage with my son while working on SLW's car, and Pebbles was quite happy to see him again. He's pretty much settled in to his own little place now, and got out his Charley Brown Christmas tree for the coming holidays.

Didn't get out in the Supra on Friday due to post-Thanksgiving bloat and some chores, so now it's decision time.....Do I wait another week or so for one of those brilliant early Winter days, or put her up on jacks for the season? I'll take her out if it's dry outside, but since the heater is disconnected, it can be a bit uncomfortable when it's less than 50* or so outside.

Just another First World Problem of no consequence to no one....

Hope you all have a Blessed Sunday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving To All....

 

We'll be up in Cheyenne for the day, giving thanks with family and friends.

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Flow Snurries and COLD!

 It's 20* at 1640 local, and we have about 2" on the snow table. The NWS is predicting another 2~4" overnight, with temps going down to low single digits.

Be a real good night for a mug of hot coffee, and some work in the basement. The big SX-980 receiver is back on the bench, and I'm doing the basic checks again, as it's been like six months since I last touched it, except to move it. So far, so good. I'm aware of some of the issues, but a new one cropped up in that the FM Stereo drops out, but comes back when things are gently tapped. I know, another intermittent to track down!

Well, that was easy. Went down to take the pic, turned it on (no FM...) and then punched the select button between AM and FM, and the FM came back! OK....another dirty switch to clean....le sigh... I should have cleaned them all when I had the panel off, but it's moot now because I have to take the panel off again to clean the dial properly. 

And an update on the Great Rye Bread Experiment of two weeks ago. I made two mistakes, one major, one minor. The major mistake was not giving it a full second raise. As a result, it came out a bit denser than it should. The flavor was wonderful, but a bit too dense. The minor mistake was not dividing the dough into two loaves before the second raise. It made HUGE (2 pound) loaf of bread:

Sure was tasty, though. This weekend I'm going to make it again, and correct the two mistakes I made. And I've collected enough bacon grease to make two batches of Skillet Cornbread, one test batch, and one batch for Thanksgiving dinner if the test article doesn't self destruct....

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Jay Leno Suffers Serious Burns In Car Fire

 Jay is a good guy to the car community. He supports many educational programs, and gives freely of his time and money.

Full details on the Hagerty website.

 

Please say a prayer for Mr. Leno.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Hang In There...It'll Be TGIF Before You Know It...

 And I've been keeping busy doing some yard work some wood cutting/splitting/stacking, cleaning the house for SLW, and just enjoying a nice, quiet, mundane life.  BTW...the new Hammer Drill splits small logs quite well, once they're dried. And it drove the ground rods in quite well, too.

Took the Supra out the other day for a couple of hours, and came back all invigorated. It's not a powerful car, with only 165HP in a 3,000 pound car it can't be, be it's very rewarding to drive it quickly. It's an "Analog Car" without Traction Control, ABS, Air Bags, or any of the other electronic nannies today's cars have. With the suspension work I did it corners extremely flat and predictably, and the larger, wider wheels with modern low profile tires give it an astounding amount of grip. The upgraded brakes are so good I constantly worry about getting rear-ended in traffic, as almost happened a couple of times back in Long Beach. Still have a bunch of cosmetic and interior work to do, along with some well overdue maintenance items (cam drive belt & tensioner, for one), but I don't want it off the road again as long as it was last time, so I'll portion out the remaining mechanical work into "weekend sized" chunks, and get the tasks crossed off as I do them.

The Pioneer cassette deck is on hold for now, pending some discussion with Those Who Know About These Things. I have a few things to try based on suggestions, but for now it's off the bench, as I really, really, really want to get my SX-980 receiver finished and back in service. I was almost finished with it, and then I found some scratchy, noisy switches that (still) need cleaning, and as I was doing the dial alignment, I noticed I hadn't properly cleaned all the dial behind the glass. Since that requires pulling the front panel (again), which is also required to get at the dirty switches, I put the project on hold while I did the Great Heathkit Audio Analyzer Rebuilds, which wound up taking months longer than I anticipated. I learned a tremendous amount in rebuilding the two analyzers, both honing my tech skills and i understanding how the measurements are made, which leads to a better understanding of what the measurement is all about. Worthwhile, but very time consuming.

And then I decided to get a cassette deck.......what was I thinking?

Anywhoo, just been hanging out with Pebbles while SLW is out, and using the fireplace a lot. I spent a couple of hours figuring out how the pull-screens in it work, and why they were so awkward to use. Turns out a couple of places had come unraveled, and were dangling about getting snagged on each other. I double twisted a few inches of stainless picture hanging wire, strung it through the floppy parts, and secured it off by twisting the ends together. Works fine, and now I can easily slide the screens back-and-forth.

And it beats paying $300+ for a whole new glass door/screen assembly, as I can't seem to find just the replacement sliding screens.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

It's Not Monday, and It's Not Stormy, but I Like This Song....

 Overcast and 45* outside today. Was going to either take the Supra out, or do yard work, but Da Wedder ain't conducive to either.


SO......I'm going to bake some bread, and listen to music today. Have a nice fire and watch a movie later. SLW is up in BC with friends, so it's pretty quiet here. Just me and the dog....


Hope you all have a pleasant and blessed Sunday.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

First "Real" Snow Of The Season

 We had some snow showers last week that covered the grass, but it was gone by 0900.

This started around 1600, and went until about 1900. Looks like about 2" on the snow table.


 Supposed to get another 2" tonight, but we'll see. Temps will be in the low 20's at night, so looks like Winter approacheth!




Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Only In Colorado....

 Do you hear a police call on the scanner for "Two Men Driving A Large White Truck Chasing A Deer Around A Traffic Circle....."

I think it's better than hearing of another 7-11 getting knocked over in Lost Angeleez.......

Monday, October 31, 2022

BOOOOO!!!! Happy Halloween!

 Hope all the little ghost and goblins out tonight reap their harvest of Fall Candy!

Be Safe!



Saturday, October 29, 2022

Annnnnd..... The Pioneer CT-F950 is Still Messed Up.

 As soon as I put the front panel back on the CT-F950 deck the transport problems started again.


SOOOOO.....At this point I'm going to set it aside while I contact a guy on the AudioKarma forum who rebuilds the Reel Hubs and Spindles. The consensus is mine are excessively worn, and need to be refurbished. New clutch pads, replace any broken parts, test them, and send them back. I'm not sure what he charges, but it appears to be reasonable per other forum members.


Besides....I've had my SX-980 receiver on the back burner WAY too long, and I need to get going on it again.



Thursday, October 27, 2022

Huh.....I Think I Fixed It....

 Spent a few hours going over the Pioneer CT-F950 cassette deck. I wicked all the solder off the switch connections, cleaned the board, and resoldered them all. I also went back over the areas of the board where I reflowed some of the connections that didn't look quite right, and yep....I caused a solder short in the right channel, effectively shorting the signal from the tape to ground. Cleaned all those up, and it appears to work.

Here it is playing an old Van Halen tape I paid a buck for.

Sounds good through the headphones, too. All the scratchy/screechy noise the switches caused is gone, and the switches work very smoothly now.

Now I can go through the Electronic Alignment procedure, set all the levels, and test it to see if it meets specs.

After that's finished and it's all cleaned up, I think I'm going to send it down the road. I just don't trust it as far as reliability goes. I just want to put a tape in it, or make a tape with it, to listen to. I don't want this back on the bench every 3 or 4 months.....


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

XM-4 A Sea Launch Mission

 Back in another life, I was a Satellite Chucker. We were basically a delivery service, getting your payload from 154*W, 0*N to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. Our Senior Photo-Optics Specialist was a very creative photographer and videographer, and would put together a mission DVD for the launch crew as a souvenir. This one was made for the XM-4 mission, and was posted on YouTube courtesy of one of my Sea Launch friends.

Enjoy the show!



Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Meanwhile, Back On The Workbench.....

 Well, it looks like I fixed the transport mechanism, finally. I carefully watched how it worked through my magnifying lamp, and learned a couple of things about how the idler tire (driven by the reel motor I rebuilt) engages the take-up reel for either Fast Forward, or Play/Record. I could see it slipping (?!!?), so I blasted that entire portion of the transport with some CRC QD Electronic Cleaner, blew it out with air, and the damn thing works OK now.

BUT.....and there's always a "But"....My preemptive strike on resoldering all the connections for the Source/Tape Monitor switch was a flop, as now the right channel is completely dead when in the "Tape" position. I ran my audio generator into the Line Input, and that section works like it should. SO.....I either missed a connection, or wound up with a solder bridge on the board, most likely caused by using too large a tip in my iron. I didn't even think to change the tip from the "Heathkit Size" down a bit to "Pioneer Size", and it may have bit me.

The offending group of connections are dead center in the picture. Yeah, I had to pull the bottom panel, and take all the screws out of the motherboard to push it away from the chassis so I can get at the little critters.

I'll also recheck all the wired connections to the board in case I broke one loose.

And yeah, I'll check to make sure it works BEFORE I bolt it all back together!


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Made A Nice Dent In The Woodpile....

 Cut, racked and stacked four wheelbarrow loads of wood today, and put the hurt on the woodpile.

Found some pretty little flowers growing in one of the junipers:

And as always, my faithful companion had Guard Duty. Gotta keep those pesky squirrels out of the yard!


This gave me four fully loaded shelves in my "drying rack", and left a bit less than half the wood I started with. I'll continue cutting tomorrow, but I'm rapidly running out of indoor storage, so I'll have to figure out something for the rest of the wood. Based on our past consumption of firewood, we have three years cut and stored, and at least two years remaining in the uncut pile. When properly operated, the fireplace is capable of keeping the house at a tolerable level, with little supplemental electric heat required.

That could change, and my stock of firewood might only make it three years total.....


 


Friday, October 21, 2022

80 Degrees, 8% Relative Humidity - This Is October?

 Been really nice the last few days so I was puttering around outside. Finally got the rest of the wood from the apple and ash trees sorted, and somewhat stacked.

This is from the ash tree that lost the big limb:

And there's another couple of big ash limbs here, along with the rest of the wood from the crab apple tree:

The wheelbarrow has some pretty good sized apple logs in it, covered by usable, burnable smaller branches.

And up at the top of the ash tree, we have a squirrel condo:

There's two that live there, and if you look carefully, you can see on here. They're both in the picture, but the MRS is very hard to see:

 And I brought in most of the garden hoses and sprinklers I use. Haven't put the little styrofoam anti-freeze hats on them, but that'll happen in a week or so after I give the trees their Winter feeding.

Bought a "3-In-1" blower/vacuum/mulcher that should significantly reduce our bag count at the dump this year:


 It's a corded one from Horror Freight that cost $5. Even if it only lasts one season, it's a lot cheaper than paying somebody to come do it. I looked at cordless ones, but YOUCH! By the time you buy the tool, the battery, and the charger, you're looking at $250! I don't mind dragging a cord around behind me to save $200!

First official Winter Storm is creeping up on us, and should be here Sunday through Monday. Rain and snow showers are forecast, with significantly cooler temps.

Have a safe and blessed weekend, and keep your head on a swivel....

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Bought My Son Some Tools For His Birthday

I asked my son about his tool collection when we were working on his truck a few weeks back. He said he didn't have many, most were mismatched hand me downs, some were worn out, and what he had was pretty much a mish-mash of junk.

This should hold him for a while.....



Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Hmmmmm...Wonder Who's in Air Force Two tonight

 Interesting. AF2 callsign, and the USAF tail number of 99-0003 indicates it's a Boeing C-32 (a version of the 757), and exclusively assigned to the VP. Yes, I know the protocol of Air Force One, and Air Force Two.


 


Monday, October 17, 2022

Cookin' With The Doctor.....

 Got a mean hankering fer some cornbread tonight. So I made some. Got it out of the oven to cool, got distracted, and by the time I got back, some vandal had attacked it!


Said vandal proclaimed it was "good". I tried something a bit different from the "box recipe" tonight. I added an 1/8th tsp of cinnamon to "see what happened". Turns out 1/8th tsp isn't enough to give you more than a hint of cinnamon. You catch a whiff as take a bite, but there's no "cinnamon flavor" as such. Next time I'll up it to 1/4 tsp. I expect that will have the flavor, but I'm thinking I'll have to increase the sugar a bit to take some bite of it it. Too much cinnamon can be a bad thing.....

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Geez...Lots of Heavy Thoughts Out There Today.....

 I don't mean "heavy" as in sad, ponderous, dreadful thoughts, but rather "heavy" as in "Heavy, man.....Really Heavy" from my yute.

First LL over at Virtual Mirage gave me terrific version of his "worldview", if that word is encompassing enough.

Then the Silicon Greybeard gave me something similar, but different.

LL is more philosophic and theological, while SiG  is a more Hard Science, no BS way of thinking. I kinda blend both, with my own recondite viewpoint mixed in.

They both sense a disturbance in The Force, and give us their version of Where We are, And How We Got Here. I agree with both of them to a very high degree. As I've gotten older, I find myself thinking about this stuff (a lot), but I lack the eloquence to write my thoughts down as well as they do, so I don't. I'm better talking about these things than writing about them. Which is why this media, somewhat similar to a forum, is so appealing to me. We can talk to each other about these thoughts.

Anyway....Me? I refurbished the wheelbarow today:

New wheel and tire from HF. I painted the entire handle with some left over "Bumper and Trim Paint" from the Supra, and sprayed the handle areas with some Rust-Oleum "Bed Liner" paint, as it gives a nice, grippy surface for the handles.

And I cleaned out the fireplace: 

I wound up with a small garbage bag full of nice, clean, fluffy ash, which I sealed away for future use. Why would I save hardwood ashes? Well, they make the best Potassium Hydroxide. Why KOH? It's excellent to use for homemade SOAP. This coming Spring, I'm going to show TLG how soap is made, and anybody else who's interested. Pretty simple, really. And since we have tons of lavender and lilac, we can even scent it. All Organic! Vegan Free! GMO? We Don't Know!

Gotta get ready for the NDA (thanks, SiG!) don'cha know? Might be nice to take a bath with decent soap after a hard day in the fields, or hunting/fishing to sustain yourself and family.

Be safe this week, and Viya con Dios.....



Saturday, October 15, 2022

Random Ponderings.....

 Hope you're all having a good weekend. I was flat on my back all day Friday with some stomach bug, so I missed posting anything. I think I brought it on myself by wiping out my coffee mug with a not-so-clean scrubby pad! The mug went in the dishwasher tghis AM, and the scrubby pad went in the trash. Note to Jim: Do NOT do that again! Ever!

ANYWAY.....Fall is upon us!

The maple tree has been turning the last few weeks...

And the birches, ash and aspens really kicked off this week. Yellow is everywhere here! 

The Front Garden is slooowly shutting down for the season, and we're bringing in all TLG's "Fairy Garden" stuff.

I did manage to get some shopping finished Thursday night. SLW has been hacking and coughing all week, so she didn't go to her Sheriff's "Citizen Academy" meeting. And since it was her turn to take the break snacks for class, I ran them up to the Sheriff's Office, and got to meet some of the Deputies. Then it was off to spend a few $$.

Picked up a new wheel/tire for the wheelbarrow we rescued from somebody's trash three years ago. It was cheaper to get a complete assembly, rather than just a tube and tire!

She asked me why I wanted to replace the old, crusty, dry-rotted tire, and I told her new wheelbarrows like this cost $110, and the replacement parts cost $15. Plus, I'll tighten everything up, and paint the handles so they stop deteriorating.

Like Dad always said..."Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or Do Without".  I guess "Repair" comes under "Make It Do"...

And to (finally) get those pesky ground rods in, and drill the concrete here for Other Projects, I bought a hammer-drill, and a bunch of bits.

I have a couple of other Hercules-brand power tools from Harbor Freight, and so far they've been worth every penny. FAR superior to their "Bauer" and "Chinesium Electric" brands. Plenty of torque, very good battery life, and that "good feel" achieved by proper balance of the tool, along with good quality plastic. BTW....I still have my Dad's Craftsman 1/2" corded drill in the brown "hammer tone" box. It's gotta be sixty years old, and has required exactly ONE change of brushes. I also renewed the lube in it years ago when I swapped the brushes, "just because".

And SLW felt well enough today to do some errands, so she brought home some Chick-Fil-A chicken noodle soup. It's verrry good, as LL clued me on.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I have a wheelbarrow to get in the garage.....





Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Pioneer CT-F950 Rebuild....The Saga Continues....

 Well, let's see......What have I done so far?

1) Completely rebuilt the Tape Transport Mechanism. It needed a complete cleaning, lube replacement, new belts, idlers, and pinch rollers, and several mechanical adjustments for things like the brake pads (which I had to fabricate replacements for...), Head Azimuth Adjustment, and a couple of other things.

This required not one, not two, or even three tear-downs. Nope, I had to pull it out of the chassis, take it apart, and reassemble it, and put it back in the chassis.

The first time was initial "rebuild", where I botched the rebuild of the pinch rollers.

The second time was to replace the pinch rollers with completely new ones.

The third time was to remove and recondition the Reel Motor. I had to polish the commutator, clean the brushes, and carefully clean the contacts that control what the speed the motor runs at by switching the windings. It's a teeny-tiny set of centrifugal contacts that are very delicate. The motor also had the lubrication renewed.

The FOURTH time was to address and issue with the clutches on the tape spindles. These are supposed to let the tape spindle slip and freewheel if something gets jammed, saving the tape from getting stretched to oblivion. They're just little felt pads between two spring-loaded plastic pieces, and as they wear, the torque they break loose at drops, meaning that any extra drag on the tape spindle will cause them to slip.

That repair wasn't photographed because I've found if I take the extra steps to photograph everything it slows me down. It was a real bear to remedy this, as I can't find any info on how to disassemble the "Reel Tables". All I did was spread the two plastic pieces, and put a drop of soldering flux in there. Say WHAT? Soldering Flux? Yep, it's just rosin in an alcohol carrier, and once the alcohol evaporates, it's leaves some sticky residue behind. Kinda like putting some belt dressing on a belt you know should be replaced, but just can't do it at that moment.

So far it's been playing OK now, EXCEPT for all the really bad noise when you jiggle the Tape Monitor switches.

The picture shows the Tape/Monitor switches at the left, and two other switches that worked OK. If you look at the top end of the brown plastic strip, you'll see a black dot, which is where I drilled into the switch so I could flush and lubricate it.

 BUT.....I noticed the switches flex like crazy where they're soldered to the board when you cycle them. Oh, boy.....visions of cracked solder joints on the backside of the board danced through my head.....

So, in a preemptive strike, I pulled all the screws out of the Main Board, wicked off all the solder, and replaced it with fresh solder and a dab of flux.

More pix and a follow-up to come. And I haven't even begun the Electronic Testing, alignment, and level setting.........


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

tap, tap, tap... This Thing On?

 Ah, there we go......

Been pretty busy here doing Fall Cleanup, both in the garage and the back yard. The back is getting carpet bombed with crab apples this year, and the number of maple seeds on the front yard maple are staggering. Looks like a good feed for the squirrels this year!



 

And mushrooms. These things are like "Aliens"; they just keep coming!


Fortunately, a good blast of 10% Acetic Acid (about 2-1/2 times as strong as household vinegar) takes care of them in about 24 hours. 


I buy the 30% "Agricultural Vinegar", and cut it 3:1. The full 30% strength is quite potent, and will attack concrete. This is a small spill that I didn't promptly dilute and flush away. Or maybe a bit of Baking Soda would have helped....


And work (still) continues on the Pioneer CT-F950 Cassette Deck. Crikey....what a pain this has turned into. Granted, this is the first cassette deck I've ever worked on at this level, but geesh....Make a mistake or maladjustment in the transport mechanism, and it ALL has to come back out to correct. I'm pretty sure I finally have all the mechanical bits, belts, rollers, and idlers properly installed and adjusted, but we'll see.

Since I'm pretty sure the transport is OK, I started listening to some prerecorded tapes I picked up at the local used records, tapes, and books store. So far, the transport seems to handle the tape OK. All the tape handling functions work as they should, and the Fast Forward/Rewind functions really rip now that I've rebuilt the reel drive motor. But in the process of trying all the switches and knobs for functionality, I hit another snag.

There are four slide switches in the photo below. A small one, a long one, another long one, and the fourth is another small one. They're the things with little "teeth" sticking up, and a strip of brown phenolic acting as the "coffin lid".

From left-to-right the switches control the Monitor Function (small selects Tape, large selects Source) Dolby (large is On/Off), and Input Select (MIC and Line), and were quite noisy. I mean like REALLY bad. Not only did the Monitor switches have the typical Crackly/Poppy/Scratchy sounding stuff, but also a high pitched squeal, like feedback happening as you cycled the switches. Once I got it in a Sweet Spot so it played OK, I checked the other two switches, and they appear to be OK.

So, time to give the four switches a good internal cleaning and lubrication. The first hurdle was that these are semi-sealed switches. There's a line of small holes drilled in the top cover, but they're blocked by the white plastic slider that moves the contacts. I took a #50 drill bit in a pin vise, and drilled an extra hole through the phenolic, far enough away from the slider that it uncovered the contact cavity when the slider was all the way forward. Flushed them with alcohol, blasted them with electronic contact cleaner, then  gave 'em a shot of DeoxIT, followed by a drop or two of switch lube. And that's where we left off once the weather dried out enough to resume outside work.

Back in the garage, a new 50MHz, 5/8th wave vertical is being assembled, soon to be mounted on the lonely mast bolted to the side of the carved tree.

It's the long, shiny thing on the table. Yes, I'll dull out the finish (camo, maybe?) before I put it up. I don't think SLW would approve of a shiny aluminum "thing" stuck on the tree!




Minor Snag with SX-980, and Plumbing Problems

 The plumbing issues are on me. I'd been flushing my coffee grounds through the kitchen sink disposer, with lots of hot water, for 5 yea...