Wednesday, 26 April 2017

10:23 – It was 51.7F (11C) when I took Colin out at 0645 this morning, sunny and breezy. The rain is finally over. We have almost 8 inches (20 cm) over the three day period starting Saturday. Barbara is off to the gym this morning. We’re working on kit stuff this afternoon. She’s making a flying visit to Winston tomorrow, leaving around 0800 and returning home in the afternoon.

Science kit sales are holding up better than I expected. We’re in our slowest period of the year–February through June–but units and revenues for each month of 2017, including April, are noticeably higher than same-month 2016 numbers. As we do every year, we’re using this slow time to build inventory of non-perishable kit components in anticipation of the rush that starts in July. By August, we’ll be shipping kits faster than we can build them, so we want to have enough subassemblies already built to let us just assemble kits on the fly.

When Barbara read my page the other day about Sam’s/Walmart versus Costco/Amazon, she said she really, really didn’t want to start going to Sam’s. She just doesn’t like it, and she doesn’t care about the politics. She says Costco stuff is better quality other than name-brand canned goods and so on, and the staff is much friendlier. I understand her position. I even agree with it. It just annoys me to support businesses that take political positions that oppose everything I stand for. Barbara is going to make a Costco run when she’s down in Winston, so I’m doing a shopping list for her that includes more dry and canned foods.

Pat McLene has an interesting article up, What do you have in your prepper radio shack?

I agree with most of what he says, with a couple of exceptions. He recommends the BaoFeng UV-5 VHF/UHF handi-talkies, which I don’t think are the optimum choice. Pat has bought a 20 pack of them, and I wish him the best. But I think he’d have been far better off standardizing on the BaoFeng/Pofung UV-82. The UV-82 is very similar to the UV-5, but it’s more robustly built. Even more important, its receiver’s sensitivity and particularly selectivity is noticeably better. The price is about the same, $30 give or take. I standardized on the UV-82 in part because I can buy five or six of them for the price of one comparable Yaesu unit. And the Yaesu is hard-wired to transmit only on the amateur bands, while the UV-82 can be programmed to transmit on any frequency within its range (136 to 174 MHz VHF and 400 to 520 MHz UHF). I have similar issues with his choice of Yaesu mobile units, which are also limited to transmitting in the amateur bands. BaoFeng/Pofung/BTech make similar mobile units with no such restrictions, and again they sell for a small fraction of the price of comparable Yaesu/Icom units.

If you do buy any of the BaoFeng HT’s, do yourself a favor and order real name-brand Nagoya 771 whip antennas for them. The supplied rubber duckie antennas are what we used to call radial dummy loads. Their performance is pathetic.

* * * * *