Mon, Jan 8, 2018 Nick posting

Good morning. As Barbara said she was headed to Winston today, to hopefully move Bob to a Rehab facility, I’ll open the day’s thread.

Let’s further hope for enough improvement to allow removing one or both tubes. No one likes tubes….

Our best wishes Barbara and Bob, and our group thanks to good friends for helping out.

nick

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38 Responses to Mon, Jan 8, 2018 Nick posting

  1. Denis says:

    Amen to all that, and thanks also to Nick for keeping the page active.

  2. Nick Flandrey says:

    Quiet this am….

    happens to be 9 years since I gave up drinking alcohol. Not something I think about on a daily basis, but man o man has that saved me a bunch of money.

    n

  3. Nick Flandrey says:

    Oh, and my battle with rodents eating my preps continues. Last night I discovered the little bastages have eaten ANOTHER two cartons of smoked almonds. That brings the total to three. Over $45 in nuts, which is nuts! The little @ssholes are smart too, they ate one liter of UHT milk, but started at the top. They didn’t spill a drop. Since their compatriot died stuck to the pad next to the maple syrup, they have avoided it. They will move sticky pads if they aren’t stapled down. They move snap traps. Too smart by half.

    nick

  4. JLP says:

    Not something I talk about much, but a couple of weeks ago was the 12 year anniversary of me putting down the bottle. My life has been immeasurably better since that day.

  5. JLP says:

    After I passed my ham radio exam back in the summer I decided explore the hobby rather than just treat it as an emergency prep thing. I’ve only just begun but I’ve answered a few CQs and talked with people as far away as Idaho. I’ve also started to play around on the UHF/VHF bands for local talk. As a present to myself for Christmas I bought a good antenna to put on the car and connected it to my Baofeng radio. Putting a good antenna on a cheap radio does not make the cheap radio better, it just highlights the radio’s shortcomings. So as a second present to myself I bought a Yaesu FT-60R. It’s a huge step up in quality and capability.

  6. Dave says:

    Glad you both made that decision, but you are making me look like the drinker of the group for having one alcoholic drink last year.

  7. Nick Flandrey says:

    @Dave, ha!

    @JPL, yep, I upgraded to the FT-60r too. RBT and I have gone round and round on this question in these pages, but you def will see the difference in quality immediately. Yes, the baofangs are cheap enough to be disposable, but where is your cheap spare when you are out hiking? or on ‘patrol’? If you think you will need to communicate, you need something that will support that, without needing to CARRY two, just in case.

    I still use both my UV5 and the 60, but now the 60 is what lives in my man purse and goes with me. The baofang DOES last a lot longer on receive only. The ft60 seems to run down the battery pretty quick even when just monitoring.

    I look at it like cheap flashlights- you can put one in every drawer, but for a light on your weapon, or for edc, you should have a good one. Same with the baofangs, get one to get started, then put one in every vehicle (with a battery eliminator). They are only slightly more expensive than a good FRS radio and much more capable. Also, it does you no good if your wife doesn’t have one at home to hear you call that you are safe…

    I ask preppers what they think they will do with their ham radio, and who they think they will talk to. It won’t help to have it in your vehicle so that you can check in grid down if no one is at home listening for your check in! There is a reason they sell the FRS radios in blister packs of TWO. (My wife won’t take the step to listen to the radio and she’s the one working outside the home anyway, so, prepper fail for me.)

    Next step is a mobile on your desk, and getting someone to turn it on if there is trouble and you aren’t there. Or a cheap analog scanner set to just the ham band you’re likely to use.

    Anyway, for preppers that are just ticking a box, ie. somedude said you needed a ham radio and your tech ticket and a baofang UV5 variant, one cheap radio is fine. For the NEXT step, actually getting the value of ham radio, and alternate comms, you need a second radio and someone you know to talk too. Might as well buy a better radio for the second and start the upgrade path 🙂

    nick

    added- another use for the dual band HT is as a weather radio. I listen to the beach report before heading to Galveston, and I listen to the weather forecast when I need REAL info, and not the TV weather ‘personality’ to guess. NOAA knows that sailors will die if they get it wrong. Kinda cuts down the nonsense.

    added more– I should remind folks that I WAS the guy who just got my baofang and ticket ‘cuz that was the prepper thing to do, so I’m not disparaging that. I just point out that it is a starting point, and like most prepping things, there is a lot more to it than just stacking the gear…

  8. JLP says:

    My significant other is all on board with the emergency preparations for food and water and weapons, but getting her to do anything with “tech stuff” is an uphill battle. She’s a “just tell me what button to push” kind of person.

    My current plan (early stage of development) is to have a preprogrammed radio always charged up with detailed written instructions. Basically: if something crazy is going on and the phones don’t work turn on this radio and follow these instructions and we can talk.

  9. lynn says:

    Oh, and my battle with rodents eating my preps continues. Last night I discovered the little bastages have eaten ANOTHER two cartons of smoked almonds. That brings the total to three. Over $45 in nuts, which is nuts! The little @ssholes are smart too, they ate one liter of UHT milk, but started at the top. They didn’t spill a drop. Since their compatriot died stuck to the pad next to the maple syrup, they have avoided it. They will move sticky pads if they aren’t stapled down. They move snap traps. Too smart by half.

    They can have all of the almonds and the UHT milk. I am allergic to both. Walnuts on the other hand, yum. Had a handful of crushed walnuts in my oatmeal this morning.

    I took the wife to Salt Grass Steakhouse yesterday for our 37th anniversary. We had a great time and the sirloin steaks were great. I forgot that they put a huge dollop of butter on the top of the steak but I did not scrape it off as I decided to live on the edge. Boy, did I pay for that later. And the butter on the bread (I put that there) and the buttermilk in my dressing on my iceberg wedge salad.

    I am continuously amazed at the woman I married 37 years ago. She is amazingly tolerant and caring. She puts up with all of my crap (but now she tells me that I am crazy). I knew and liked my mother-in-law before I married my wife, my wife managed to get most of her best traits. My MIL has been gone to her reward for 22 years now and my wife still grieves for her.

  10. lynn says:

    Glad you both made that decision, but you are making me look like the drinker of the group for having one alcoholic drink last year.

    I surpassed you 4X last year. If I remember correctly, I had four beers last year, spread out over the year. I go to two conventions per year and the open bars are very temping. Wait, I may have had five beers with that Belgium Raspberry beer.

  11. lynn says:

    Dadgumit, my new LAN backup on Friday failed. The WD external USB drives come formatted ExFAT and I forgot to say /ntfs on my reformat. So, about 2 TB of data was taking up 6 TB of space due to the huge blocks on the drive.

  12. nick flandrey says:

    It’s like each block of data had “huge tracts of land” !

    37 years, man o man.

    @jlp, treasure a spouse that’s onboard.

    n

  13. nick flandrey says:

    Well, that was almost bad.

    Fell asleep at my desk, having found someone on youtube that puts me to sleep even better than studying for the amateur extra test. Problem is, I put a pot of water on to boil for tea. Woke to the smell of hot metal. Hurried to check the LiOn batteries in my new tablet, then rechecked the solder iron. Finally remembered the pot. REALLY hot dry pot.

    Those Ceran glass cooktops can certainly take a lot of heat differential….

    n

  14. JLP says:

    She’s not a spouse, hence the term “significant other”. She moved in a little over a year ago. A big change for two people who had both been living alone for a long time.

    She has been through enough in her life to know that emergency/disaster preparation is not just for fun. It actually gets used sometimes.

  15. SteveF says:

    I’ve never “put down the bottle” because I was never been a big drinker.
    It’s hard to say how much I drink, as it’s been years since I’ve drunk anything I didn’t brew myself and I seldom bother to measure the alcohol, and I don’t actually drink too much and it’s a couple ounces at a time but I use a fair amount of beer in cooking stews and not all of the alcohol boils off. -shrug- I certainly have more than a beer a year, and probably more than a six-pack, but I’m not sure beyond that.

  16. Dennis says:

    @JLP – same situation with my wife; she’s happy about me preparing for emergencies, but wants me to keep it simple and cost-effective. I, on the other hand, have a problem with too much detail and am trying to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple for stupid). Guess 15 yrs as a military planner kinda sticks with you.

    @Nick – I like your idea of starting with a Baofeng and then upgrading later to a more reliable HHT. I have a few -82s set up for vehicles/GHBs and will consider the -60r for our INCH bags. I’ve started this month spending more time planning on my HAM/COMM setup. Re-reading all the posts on this blog and others about requirements, hardware, operating parameters, etc. Lot to take in while studying for my tech & general tests. Guess I need to learn the basics first before trying to plan on operating…

    Dennis

  17. nick flandrey says:

    “Guess I need to learn the basics first before trying to plan on operating…”

    NO!!!!!!!111!!11!11!11111

    (Ok, maybe, depends on which basics…..)

    Short form-

    My advice to PREPPERS who wish to become licensed hams:

    NB: this is not the ‘traditional way’, nor will it make you a ‘ham’, and there used to be a bit of push back in the ham community against it since it wasn’t ‘traditional’. (as much as some hams lament that interest is falling off and ham radio is greying out, or just old white grey men- MANY did not welcome the influx of cheap radios and preppers who just want to communicate and don’t really want to join a culture.) This has changed a bit as reality hit the old guard and they realized they could convert some of the newbies into hams.

    So, for preppers and people who are interested in using radio to communicate, and aren’t looking for a hobby, a community, or a rich and well developed culture to become part of, this is the fastest, cheapest, and least difficult way.

    Don’t worry about reading the books, getting an “elmer” (advisor guide), or taking a series of classes.

    Do take the free online tests for Tech whenever you have a free couple of minutes at your computer during your day. Read and learn the answers to what you missed. KEEP taking the test until you can comfortably pass every time or at least 9 of 10 times.

    Once you are passing the Tech consistently, do the same with the General.

    If you spend a few hours overall taking the tests you should become proficient in just a couple of days, if you have even the vaguest knowledge of electronics and math. General extends the Tech test, and covers a bit more depth, and if you get lucky with test questions you can pass it the first time without even studying.

    Don’t worry about reading the guides, and the ARRL books, and having a full understanding of the material. YOUR GOAL= PASS THE TESTS and get on the air.

    After you are consistently passing the online practice tests, (or even right away) find where and when there will be exam sessions in your locale. This sets your schedule for passing the practices.

    At the exam session, tell the examiner that you would like to take the General test after you pass the Tech. Assuming you DO pass, you can take the test for General for the same money you already paid, and go right to HF! Hooray! Even if you don’t feel ready, TAKE the General! You’ve got nothing to lose.

    You can actually miss quite a few questions and still pass so don’t sweat it.

    MANY of the questions have obviously correct answers. Many are stunningly simple. Like select the picture of the symbol for a resistor. -ww- not hard. From a test design standpoint, the test isn’t well designed. Many of the questions have hints or even the answers to other questions within the text.

    Then with your new license still warm from the electrons hitting your screen…. you have lots of time to actually learn and understand the material, and can actually PRACTICE some of it.

    Remember, your goal is to get the tickets. Learning more about the hobby, or the physics of radio (which are quite amazing considering the tiny tiny amounts of energy involved and the HUGE distances), or electronics, or any of the other myriad aspects of the hobby are secondary to USING a radio to communicate.

    To learn about USING a radio, it used to be an ‘elmer’ would help you along. Now Youtube can be your elmer, and youtube won’t judge you for not being part of the culture or the ‘big club’ of ham radio.

    The ironic thing is that all that studying wouldn’t even be that much help when it comes to actual operating. Getting my radio set up to key the local repeater took a youtube video. It also took actually hitting transmit, which you can’t legally do until AFTER you get the ticket (hence the need for elmers.)

    Most preppers will want to be able to talk outside their local area, and that takes HF, which is a whole different animal from UHF and VHF on local repeaters, and requires the General Class license. (So get it while you are already there, it’s not much harder to pass.) You will (typically) get started on an HT (cheap baofang, forex) for local repeaters (although you can talk to people all over the world if your local repeater has an internet link to a ‘conference server’ and onward to other repeaters.) You move up to a more expensive radio, bigger antennas, and lots more ‘learned’ knowledge about propagation, times of day, which bands are ‘open’, and a whole bunch of stuff that is at least a bit more “art” than science when you want to get out past 30 miles and get on HF frequencies.

    The key is to get started, get on the air, and see what works. Radio is actually very hands on in the sense that even if you buy all your gear, you still need to put together the whole system. And there is a long long long tradition of building your own gear to save money or learn more, which is fun and rewarding in its own way. Ham radio is the only service where you CAN legally build your own gear.

    So that’s it. Get the tickets, get started, learn as you go, and ‘backfill’ the actual knowledge as you can (I kept the ARRL prep book in the bathroom.)

    Also, it’s important to note that you don’t need a license to LISTEN. Find your local repeaters, get them in a radio, and start listening. This is why I have an old bearcat scanner in the garage- I leave it on all the time and I quickly learned which repeaters in my area have traffic. By listening, you’ll learn how a net operates, what the local manners are, if any of your local repeaters are internet linked, etc. then when you pass your tests, you’ll be ready to get a toe wet, so to speak, and join in.

    You might find (like I did) that you like it as a hobby, and you might have more in common with the culture (it can be very ‘hacker-ish’ in the good sense) than you might think at first. It is also a good way to meet people who are into preparedness and volunteer service.

    Well, there you have it…

    nick

  18. jim~ says:

    @Nick
    I had a glass-top once too and hated the damn thing. I did discover a cool way to clean it, though. Go to an auto store and buy a $1.00 bottle of ‘Scratch-Out’. After you get rid of the crud with a razor blade it works really well.

    If you have easy access to a 220V line, go looking for an induction cooker from overseas, with as many watts as you can find. You would NOT believe how cool they are. Cast iron? No problemo.

    Re shortwave, I have an old Sony IFC-SW1 I play with occasionally. Yes, I had the capacitors replaced, so it works fine. I seem to recall there was a time signal on some frequency, but last time I looked I couldn’t find it.

    Anyone happen to know it? Or any other vital signals I might want, like FEMA?

  19. nick flandrey says:

    FWIW, I saw much the same thing in the hobby of HotRodding that I saw in the hobby of ham radio. The older guys (because of education/time/money/homeownership the hobbies tends toward white mid- to upper-mid class white guys in the US) were inculcated to the cultural aspects of their hobby by their peers when they entered the hobby. In Hotrodding, the guys who think the hobby = 57 Chevys were very dismissive of the young guys who were tuning up Honda Civics and other ‘rice burners’. Hams had a bit of the same when the preppers started showing up, and were very dismissive of the influx of cheap chinese radios. The preppers brought their cheap radios and were generally younger, and just wanted to communicate. The ‘car club guys’ just wanted to go fast, with their cheap and plentiful Hondas and Mitsubishis. Both hobbies had forgotten their root cause, and become huge cultural phenomenons (ok ham radio was never huge, but it has a very strong culture.)

    As far as I can tell, both hobbies have relaxed a bit and been refreshed with the influx of new blood. Not everyone is happy about that, but it’s pretty easy to ignore the ‘old farts’ no matter their age.

    nick

  20. lynn says:

    “Warning: Microsoft’s Meltdown and Spectre patch is bricking some AMD PCs”
    https://betanews.com/2018/01/08/microsoft-meltdown-spectre-patch-bricks-amd-pcs/

    Jumping out of the frying pan into the fire ? Or is this the ultimate air gap ?

  21. nick flandrey says:

    Time is on 5.oooMhz, and 10, 15, 20 and (I think at least sometimes on 25 too.)

    The canadians and russians have their own time signals on different freqs. It’s an easy way to check band conditions to see what time signals you can here.

    Most shortwave broadcasting in the US is religious in nature, some more fire and brimstone than others. I like 5.085 out of Tennessee when I can hear them. They do a ham show on Tues night, and a wide selection of music most nights. Locally I can hear Inforwars on 4.840 most nights, after 10pm. Cuba comes in well down here, as you can imagine.

    http://www.shortwaveschedule.com/index.php?now=true

    Has a listing of everyone on the air, and you can usually figure out who you are hearing based on freq and language.

    http://www.short-wave.info/index.php

    has a neat map and shows the ‘grey line’ which connects TX with RX, in other words you will have better luck hearing stations that are about the same distance from the grey line as you (dusk and dawn) on the map.

    nick

    added- at the moment I’m getting 9.980 mhz out of TN good and strong. They’re listed as “Overcomer Ministry” who usually have a ‘mush mouth’ preacher ranting, but he recently got arrested for child rape, so I haven’t heard him lately. The current programming is a financial show, with emphasis on prepper themes like self managed IRA with precious metals. They just ran an ad for the Big Berkey water filter system.

    RMI has news aimed at the right, and possibly leaning toward tin foil time, but usually worth thinking about.

    Romanian national radio has nice classical music, as does vatican radio. cuba has some good jazz…

    n

  22. nick flandrey says:

    “I had a glass-top once too and hated the damn thing”

    yeah, it’s “Easy to clean” and dammmmed impossible to KEEP clean.

    n

  23. nick flandrey says:

    Hey Greg Norton, any further experience with FreedomPop, the free data only sim card plan?

    I did get my tablet working, but it’s att and needs a sim to even turn on the wifi.

    And I might want the data anyway….

    n

    BTW, their website is a complete mess with FF….

  24. Dennis says:

    Nick,
    Great info; I like the passion! I’ve downloaded some study apps and am taking a few tests a day. Slowly picking up percentage passed. I hope to test in six to eight weeks at the latest. Scanning YouTube is easy when you know the key words to work with; that’s what I’m starting to pick up on. “DIY hf antenna” returned about 270k results – uh, yeah. Again, great info!

    Any suggestions on what I should look for in a scanner? I’m not trying to get Dublin, Ireland but do realize it’s a combination of radio and antenna to pick up “whatever.” Budget is a consideration, but I’m willing to cut back on my gun collection growth (you know, replacing what fell into the river a while back) to get this going.

    “It is also a good way to meet people who are into preparedness and volunteer service.” THAT’s another biggie why this interests me…

    Thanks again for sharing what you’ve learned!!
    Dennis

  25. paul says:

    I sent OFD an Xmas card to 84 Cherry St in Saint Albans Bay. It was returned today.

    “Not deliverable as addressed”.

    Google finds the house. Two story red brick about 4 blocks from the Post Office. Just as he has described. If you switch to Street View, while in front of the neighbor’s house you can swivel and see part of Mrs. OFD’s craft shed.

    I don’t know the answer. I do know I sent my Mom and Dad an Xmas card one year and it was returned as “so such address”. Ok, I wrote “1117 N 83rd St.”, an empty field, instead of “1114 N 83rd St.”. Right across the effing street… and the only Anglo name on the entire street.

    Post Office people are either Stupid or Too Lazy To Live.

  26. RickH says:

    You could send a UPS or FedEx package and see if it gets delivered.

  27. nick flandrey says:

    If their mailbox isn’t being emptied the post office drones will mark it abandoned. Happened to my parents while they were on a trip.

    My card hasn’t been returned yet…..

    No reply from email to OFD though either. Things must be dire.

    nick

  28. CowboySlim says:

    From nick: “No reply from email to OFD though either. Things must be dire.”

    Oh-oh, unfortunately, you might have surmised correctly. On my two recent emails to him (last on 12/28), I received quick, same day responses.

  29. medium wave says:

    There’s been no reply to my snail mail letter to Mrs OFD, either in kind or here.

  30. Greg Norton says:

    I sent OFD an Xmas card to 84 Cherry St in Saint Albans Bay. It was returned today.

    “Not deliverable as addressed”.

    The USPS was seriously overloaded this year. I had two Christmas cards returned marked with the same reason, and the recipients haven’t moved.

  31. Dave says:

    Does OFD live in an area without mail delivery? Did he say something about his mail going to a PO Box?

    Say mabye PO Box 53 and changing the last two digits of the 5 digit zip from 78 to 81.

  32. jim~ says:

    @Nick
    Too bad your name isn’t Kenneth, or I’d ask you for the frequency. Thanks all the same. Will have to go print that out on main machine.

    @Paul
    Shite… just when I thought we had it nailed. Saw the Postperson pick up the book for him just this evening.

    @CowboySlim
    Let’s hope your address is within means of said Postpersons, because I’m sending you a slide rule whether you like it or not!

  33. nick flandrey says:

    I’m off to bed. Hopefully we’ll get some good news in ‘on the marrow’.

    Have to meet the gas company to turn on the meter at my rental house, so may be radio silent for part of the day….

    n

  34. Miles_Teg says:

    Nick wrote:

    “Problem is, I put a pot of water on to boil for tea. Woke to the smell of hot metal.”

    I never understood the American aversion to electric kettles. Mine just switches itself off when the water boils.

  35. Miles_Teg says:

    I went teetotal for eight months about 10 years ago. Just in case I was told “Give up booze OR ELSE.” I wanted to know if I could do it. I guess I average about one drink a day so it’s not a problem for me.

  36. Miles_Teg says:

    Paul wrote:

    …“Not deliverable as addressed”….

    Didn’t OFD complain about stuff from some senders (Amazon?) not being delivered, or stopping being delivered after years of no trouble?

  37. jim~ says:

    @Miles
    Not only do I miss electric kettles, but also 220V. You can get 3000 Watts without tripping a breaker, no problem! (I live in 50s apt building, so that may no longer be the case)

    And I’ve often wondered why someone doesn’t make a dedicated microwave kettle. Seems to me that would lower CO2 emmisions, save the polar bears, and boil water really, really fast.

  38. lynn says:

    Not only do I miss electric kettles, but also 220V. You can get 3000 Watts without tripping a breaker, no problem! (I live in 50s apt building, so that may no longer be the case)

    Yeah but that 50 hz 220 volt ac is a lot slower than our 60 hz 120 volt ac.

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