Saturday, June 25, 2022

Busy Week, Beautiful Weather, Amateur Radio Field Day

 Having gorgeous weather the last few days, and got some (more!) yard work done, and enjoyed evening strolls around the 'hood with SLW, and Pebbles.

We're headed to the CSU Flower Trial Gardens tomorrow where various types of flowers are grown to evaluate how well they do here in this environment. Some things grow here very well, and others croak rather quickly. Then it's off to Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers for some chow. Very good Patty Melts, burgers and fries, and their shakes and root beer floats are excellent.

  Thursday night I cleaned out one corner of the garage so the drywall guys could fix the damage from the plumbing leaks caused by the Incompetent Floor Guy.

The got here on-time at 0830, cut out the damaged drywall, trimmed new fire-rated drywall to fit the area, and had the tape and mud finished by 1130. They came back after lunch, put the final coat of mud on it, and cleaned up the area they worked in.

Very nice job:

They were a guy a some younger than me, and his 20-something son. who wants to go into business with his Dad, and Dad's teaching him the ropes. Great to see somebody doing that "live, and in-person". I wish them both well.

And I dove into the Pioneer cassette deck I bought a week or so ago. 

Pulled the knobs:

Then the front panel:


Then pulled the tape Transport mechanism out so I could do a full service on it. New belts, idlers, and pinch rollers, along with cleaning out all the 40 year old lubricant, and replacing it with synthetic lube and grease, and where required, "Light Machine Oil", a.k.a. "Sewing Machine Oil", "Honing Oil", "Gun Oil", and all its other names. You NEVER use products like WD-40 or 3-In-One Oil on a mechanism like this. Well, you can, but you'll be working on it again "Soon", to "Very Soon" if you do.

Trust me, as this is the level of disassembly involved in doing a rebuild of the transport mechanism:


In the picture below, you'll probably notice  a crack in part of the "Supply Reel Assembly" at about the 4-o-clock position. They're only replaceable as a complete assembly, and somewhat hard to find New or New-Old-Stock parts, so I'm going to rebuild them. The idler tire is mounted on the yellowed plastic wheel for it, and will require care in replacing so I don't damage the wheel.


These are the heads, capstans, pinch rollers, and tape guides before disassembly. This all has to be taken apart, cleaned, properly re-lubed, and the rubber rollers replaced. Then the spring tension has to be checked and adjusted as necessary using a spring scale. You can't see it here, but one of the rubber "Brake Pads" is missing from the Brake Lever Assembly. Since they both get replaced it's no big deal, except for the fact that they're getting very close to be NLA. I'll probably just fabricate some from a bit of neoprene tubing, or a couple of layers of heat-shrink insulation. They're not like the "Brake Pads" on an Indy Car of Formula 1 Car, at all. so there's quite a bit of latitude in replacement material.

And this all has to be properly reassembled.

Since I needed a few cassettes to test with, I found these at the local used records and books store:


I'll keep stopping in there to buy these whenever they have them, as they're much more reasonably priced there than on eBay and Amazon. The first two, left to right, are a "Type II", or CrO2 tape. The third one is a "Type IV" METAL tape, which this machine can use. It can also use the "FerriChrome" "Type III" tapes, but they're pretty much unobtainium, and are insanely priced.

And it's "The Last Full Weekend In June", so that means it's Amateur Radio Field Day, and the bands are wall-to-wall signals. 

So enjoy your weekend, be safe, and Viya con Dios.





Saturday, June 18, 2022

Friday, June 17, 2022

Drywall Damage Repair "In Work", and Scratch One Pergola For Now

 Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there! 


 Had some quotes to repair this damage from the botched flooring install:

$500 for Labor, and $250 for materials. SLW is waiting for other bids to come in before she cuts the P.O.

Several places called back about building a pergola over the concrete back patio. Every One Of Them told us to hold off, as the price on cedar is through the roof right now, as in $60 each for the size posts, and the other lumber is equally expen$ive.

So, no pergola/antenna support for now. I'll go ahead and install the other two 4x4x8 posts I have for my 20 Meter and 6 Meter verticals, and I'll site them in place to clear the eventual pergola. Even after we get the pergola installed, they'll be in better positions than they are now. I've been soaking the soil where the posts and ground rods will go, using my "Deep Root Watering"  spikes. These can wet the soil thoroughly down to about 30", which is deeper than the posts get set, and deep enough to get the ground rods easily started down far enough to really wail on them with a Demolition Hammer and adapter to drive them down the remaining 6 feet.


Enjoy the weekend, Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there, and be safe.


Monday, June 13, 2022

100 Degrees, 8%, RH and a 10 MPH Breeze. I'm Headed to the Basement!

 Where's always a comfortable 72* +/- 2*, year-round.

I put the RH in italics because I know SiG gets amazed by it.

So, back to the basement. I finally got around to swapping out the "Two Sawhorses and a Door" worktables I'd thrown together a few years ago (that long?) for the new folding leg tables I ordered. I kept the doors to put on the new tables as a pound-the-snot-out-of-it work surface, and been getting the "Electronics Lab" back together and recommissioned again.

 Gives me more elbow room, and gets a lot of things off the floor. I'm already regretting getting 4' long table for the side table, so I'll get a 6' long one, and keep this one for the other side.

I'll rearrange things on the left side of this worktable, and put the 4' table there.

When I get to it.....

Have to make a dump run tomorrow, and run some errands. 

Which means I'll get BillB's package to FedEx, finally! It's sitting in the truck as I type this, Bill, so it'll be outta here tomorrow afternoon!


Saturday, June 11, 2022

99 Degrees, 12% RH, 8 MPH Breeze......

 Yup....Summer arrived today with a vengeance. So warm even the Sacred Windmills wilted!



Gonna be HOT most of the week, with a slight chance of thunderstorms late in the afternoon. Glad I got our portable A/C units installed yesterday, and spent some extra time correct some of the installation issues all sorted out. Had to trim one of the plastic panels where the exhaust duct goes out the window, and now the filler panel/duct fit nice and snug in the windows without rattling or leaking air in/out of the room.

I had a drip system all planned out for the front garden, and SLW keeps planting more stuff, so now I have to layout the system again. From what I've been reading, installing a drip system is pretty easy, like building something with Legos. Lay out the tubing, cut it, add taps and smaller line, and install the drippers.

BUT....I'm sure it will be another "Adventure" in home owner stuff before I get the hang of it.

Have the new work tables set up in the basement shop, and slowly getting all the test gear recommissioned in it's new spot, along with another new item, an HP 8903B Audio Analyzer.

This will replace the two old Heathkit instruments I rebuilt, an IM-5248 IM Analyzer, and an IM-5258 THD Analyzer, and do what they did with greater accuracy and repeatability.


Stay hydrated, and be safe out there!


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Sweet Little Wife's Front Yard Garden.

 She's been toiling over this since we first moved in, when it looked like this:

There had been junipers growing in the "red bark" area, and the previous owners had them removed. For a weed barrier under the bark, they used the bags it came in! That was a preview of coming attractions as far as the quality of workmanship we found elsewhere. 

We had the junipers by the tree removed, and it looked pretty desolate and messy:


We hooked up with a cracker-jack A-1 True Handyman (God bless you, Mr. Berkley!) who removed the red bark, set the concrete pavers for steps, and installed metal edging:

And SLW immediately set about getting some nice flowers planted:

Things have changed some in the last several years, as she learned the hard way to 1) ONLY plant perennials, and 2) DO NOT plant anything before Mother's Day.

So after the rains yesterday, I thought it looked so pretty that I'd post some "After" pictures showing the progress she's worked at.


Had to use the flash on this one, so the colors are a bit off....

 

It's still a Work In Progress, and always will be, kinda like a "Project Car". It's never done, just in between upgrades!


Oh...Note to BillB....Your packaged rotor was put in the car after I took this, and will be dropped off at FedEx in the morning. I'll send you the tracking number....



Monday, June 6, 2022

YOW! Look At The Rain!!

 Big thunderboomer is currently cruising through the area. Been raining heavily for the last 20 minutes or so.

So, no radioactivity for now. If I hear thunder, I disconnect the antennas!


Friday, June 3, 2022

Welcome To The Weekend!

 And I have yard work out the gazoo to do. Glad my son is here to help, as some of this stuff is getting hard for me to do.

We're doing hand-to-hand combat on the weeds this year, and are attempting to reseed and regrow the backyard ourselves. Our "Landscaping Service", basically a lawn care service, came and reseeded it, and then a few days later, a different guy came and sprayed Preemergent weed killer, which kills the weed seeds before they can germinate.

And gee, guess what? It killed the new grass seed, too.

So, profuse apologies were offered, and they took the cost of seeding and the weedkiller off our bill.

We've spent the last week getting rid of the last of the dead junipers (stuff cuts like it's steel!), and raking out the HUGE pile of sawdust the tree carver left. We figured it would decompose and make some decent mulch, but Mother Nature had different ideas, as in a mushroom infestation. I've NEVER seen as many mushrooms come up, repeatedly, as that pile of sawdust produced this year. HUNDREDS of the little bastiges at a crack, in several clumps. I bought some 30% "Vinegar" and cut it back and sprayed everywhere they came up, but now I know how Michael Caine felt in Zulu. "They Just Kept Coming...." SO....we raked and dug the pile of sawdust out of there and bagged it. I'm still spraying vinegar almost daily, but I think we broke it's back. For now....

Got another 100' hose, and put it on the rear faucet with a "Y" connector. This lets me leave one hose in place, running to our "South Forty" (the large front yard to the South of the garage) to water it, and one hose for the backyard that has a sprinkler we move about. We looked into getting a sprinkler system "Pre-Covid", and they wanted $5k~$6k to install a system. I'll bet it'd double that these days.

The front yard I can nicely cover with one sprinkler head and a hose thanks to SLW's garden area in the front. I have soaker hoses for the plants now, but I'm gathering up the stuff to install a drip system. Looks pretty easy, as it all snaps together.

Meanwhile, down in the basement, I've been reorganizing things, and (finally!) getting rid of the two-sawhorses-and-a-door "workbenches" I've been using. Really bugs me that a hollow-core door would sage when supported by the ends, and loaded up with 100 pounds of test gear!

I went and ordered two eight foot, folding leg, utility tables and one four foot version of the table. I've got the "mechanical" bench replaced, and I'm surprised how much floor space getting rid of the two sawhorses made. Geez....now I can store things under the benches, and not have to worry about tripping over a box of electrolytic capacitors.

These tables are also 6" deeper than the doors, so large pieces of equipment fit nicely, and leave 6" of table sticking out so I have some maneuvering room for what I'm working on.

The four foot "side table" will be great to keep my hand tools, soldering gear, and variac readily at hand.

That's it here. Have a great weekend, and be safe out there!

Busy Week, Beautiful Weather, Amateur Radio Field Day

 Having gorgeous weather the last few days, and got some (more!) yard work done, and enjoyed evening strolls around the 'hood with SLW, ...