Sunday, 25 June 2017

By on June 25th, 2017 in amateur radio, Colin, personal

09:56 – It was 59.1F (15C) when I took Colin out around 0630 this morning, overcast and breezy. Barbara is cleaning house this morning. This afternoon, more science kit stuff.

We spent yesterday afternoon and evening at the local amateur radio club’s Field Day event. First time in more than 40 years I’d pressed the transmit button on a ham radio. It worked.

We had a hard time finding the park where the event was held. That’s not the first time that’s happened to me. For a small town of about 1,800 population, it can be hard to find things around here. When we first moved up here, I went off in search of the local LDS Church. I knew its street address. I found it on a town map. We drove around in circles looking for it. We could actually see it. I know it sounds stupid, but we couldn’t find any way to actually get to it. We even drove through the parking lot and loading dock area of a nearby factory. We spotted a driveway that was a secondary entrance but it had a steel gate lowered to block it. I still haven’t been to visit the place.

Yesterday, we knew that the park we were looking for was at the end of Trojan Drive, which is where the high school is. We drove around for 10 minutes or so looking for a park. No luck. Finally, we were sitting at the entrance to the high school driveway. We’d agreed that no way could it be up there, but with no other choice we drove up the driveway. Sure enough, there was an small access road leading off to the left, up past the athletic fields, tennis courts, and so on. So we headed up that road and eventually spotted a small drive branching off to the right. We took that, and found ourselves in a gravel parking lot, but with no obvious park facilities. So we retraced our route and continued up the access road. Finally, we spotted a shelter with a couple cars parked near it. If this wasn’t the place, I was thinking we should just give up and head home. But it ended up being the right place.

There were only three or four people there, but over the next hour or so more people showed up, until we had 20 or so adults total. Of those, probably a dozen or so were hams, with the rest being non-ham spouses. The average age was probably about Barbara’s and my age, although there was one 18-year-old guy and his 15-yo girlfriend.

There were six or eight rigs set up on the picnic tables. Everything from a home-made QRP rig that dated back to the 70’s to recent Icom and Yaesu base stations. Over the course of the day, different people were operating on 10-, 20-, and 40-meters, talking to other hams all over the US. One guy even ran CW for a while. And, of course, lots of us were active on the local 2-meter repeater.

The email said kids were welcome, so we took Colin along. He had the time of his life. Lots of new friends to pet him and share scraps with him. We kept him on a roller leash all day, just on general principles, but he was so well-behaved that we didn’t really need to.

I was pleased with the performance of the BaoFeng UV-82. It’s a PITA to program, but once I got it set to hit the repeater (with a lot of help from another ham), signal strength was excellent, even using just the stock rubber-duck antenna. The battery also did well. I’d charged it fully before we left the house. It ran for about six hours, at maybe 90/8/2 standby/receive/transmit, and at the end of the evening it was still showing a full charge.

81 Comments and discussion on "Sunday, 25 June 2017"

  1. Greg Norton says:

    We had a hard time finding the park where the event was held. That’s not the first time that’s happened to me. For a small town of about 1,800 population, it can be hard to find things around here.

    Map apps are the only reason I have a “smart” phone. In the last seven years, we haven’t lived anywhere long enough that I am comfortable leaving the house without a map app and paper backup.

    If you are concerned about privacy, I’ve found that OsmAnd from FDroid running on a LineageOS/CyanogenMod device works well. However, the GPS on the older hardware can be slow without Google’s location tracking voodoo.

    OsmAnd is partially crowd sourced, but I have yet to have it fail to display an accurate map even in rural Texas towns. The only place I’ve encountered an issue is driving the back roads around the LBJ ranch — GPS drops out similar to what I saw in WA State on I-5 near JB Lewis-McCord.

    Insert your own conspiracy theories here.

  2. SteveF says:

    Another car plows through a crowd of Muslims. In England, a week after the white, male, middle-aged, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-diversity, literally-Hitler English nationalist plowed through a crowd of Muslims. It’s more anti-Muslim terrorism! Except this driver was Muslim. And a woman. And non-white. And an immigrant.

    Narrative fail!

    (Note also that the Daily Mail seems unclear on the difference between break and brake in an automotive context.)

  3. Dave Hardy says:

    72, and last night we got a t-storm and rain coming down in sideways sheets again, torrential, for about an hour. More showers and t-storms in the forecast with scattered sun (although today is gorgeously sunny w/blue skies so fah) through July 8.

    I’ll run a short errand and then try to hit whatever to-do-list items I can manage today; I almost wish for rain so I’m forced to stay inside and work on the taxes and VA stuff but when we get sunny days like this I gotta make hay, so to speak, and try to get some stuff down outside. Looks like I’ll have plenty of chances for rain this week.

    Mrs. OFD should be winging her way to Boise, Idaho today. And Princess is enroute to Bah Hahbuh, Maine, for another harp class with a famous teacher; we are partially funding that caper but she’ll be living out of her car, so I can’t crab about it too much.

    And now to carpe diem and all that…

  4. Dave Hardy says:

    “Narrative fail!”

    Well, let’s see; under sharia law, maybe she should have her hands amputated, be blinded and then stoned to death. You know, the religion of peace.

    Cops on-scene must have been extremely confused as to what to do, so the default is simply arrest, of course. Here, she might have been shot.

  5. MrAtoz says:

    On the plane at 37K feet on the way to the goat rope. Sponging off MrsAtoz’s free Southwest A-List Priority WiFi.

  6. MrAtoz says:

    Check the front page of Daily Mail for the “not like us” story of the day. Black couple beat white fast food owner over lack of fries. Hood rats living off the goobermint teat.

  7. Dave Hardy says:

    Why is it we only get those kinds of stories from the UK press? And certain near-outlaw-status periodicals in this country.

    Reverse the particulars; white couple beat black fast food owner over lack of fries. We all know, don’t we, that the story would go international and be in our own MSM daily for, I was gonna say weeks, but the attention span here has gotten much shorter than that, so days, anyway.

    Bon voyage, MrAtoz, and many blessings upon you, for that goat rope in Disney World. I can’t imagine a more hellish scenario as I gaze out upon our quiet little village by the lake….

  8. SteveF says:

    Why is it we only get those kinds of stories from the UK press?

    Asking that question proves that you are literally Hitler.

  9. Dave Hardy says:


    Which brings up another BadThink question: How come the boogieman is always Dolphie? WTF? When we’ve got mass murderers bigger than him by orders of magnitude??? Working before, during and after his time, too.

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’ve often thought about attacking restaurant owners who don’t give me enough fries.

  11. nick flandrey says:

    Yeah, and punching their 15yo daughters. That’s high on the list of things I think about doing.

  12. nick flandrey says:

    However, I’m starting to think that firebombing certain neighborhoods and subdivisions and possibly even single buildings, is a good idea.

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    These scumbags and millions of others like them are literally parasites. Eliminating parasites has been the goal of public health organizations for a couple hundred years now, so why are scumbags like this still around?

    I don’t want them to be imprisoned, because I don’t want to have to pay for their keep. It would be a lot better to treat them as they would have been in more rational times: hanged from the nearest tree.

  14. SteveF says:

    Or a variation of the golden rule: Do unto them as they would do unto you. It’s not hate or inflammatory rhetoric. It’s simply sauce for the gander.

    (That link is about two years old. That was simply the one I grabbed. There are plenty more, earlier and later, covering statements by many representatives of many ethnic, racial, national, and religious groups. And sexual identity groups. I’m not sure certain militant lesbians have quite thought through the consequences of killing all men.)

  15. Dave Hardy says:

    “…attacking restaurant owners who don’t give me enough fries.”

    I’ve thought about doing that to those who give me too many; jeez, they pile ’em on until the entree has disappeared. I can only eat a small handful of ’em.

    “… I’m starting to think that firebombing certain neighborhoods and subdivisions and possibly even single buildings, is a good idea.”

    Another Johnny-come-lately; I was thinking of doing that years ago, and I can imagine doing it to several buildings here over in the “city.” And don’t get me started about potential targets in Burlap and Montpeculiar. Those other arsonists were doing, and have been doing it, to their own neighborhoods and businesses, however.

    “…treat them as they would have been in more rational times: hanged from the nearest tree.”

    After a fair trial, of course.

    Cumulus clouds building…back to making hay in the sunshine, for as long as my back holds out, within reason. After all, it’s Sunday, the Sabbath, and day of rest. And boy, does that go back a long ways.

    Constantine I said:

    “On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.”

    And there it is. Common effing sense from a Roman emperor 1,750 years ago.

    Instead, Sunday is another major shopping day for many Murkan derps and also one of the two weekend days that we can frantically rush about trying to get all the chit done that we couldn’t do during our frantic work/school/soccer mom and helicopter parent week.

    In that vein, let us hark back to those halcyon days of yesteryear…

    Remember Nehru jackets? Did you wear one?

  16. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    “After a fair trial, of course.”

    No need for a trial if a violent criminal is caught red-handed. These scumbags are outlaws, in the original sense that they aren’t entitled to the protection of the law.

  17. MrAtoz says:

    We always rolled up our flight suit collars before takeoff. Does that count?

  18. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Speaking of which, whatever happened to Wanted Dead or Alive posters? My favorites were the ones that paid more for Dead. Saved the cost of a trial. And whatever happened to cops routinely shooting scumbags who’d resisted arrest?

    As you might guess, I’m getting really tired of this shit.

  19. MrAtoz says:

    I read Bernie and wife have lawyered up now that they are under investigation. No cheap lawyers either. You know, the kind up peons could afford. I wonder if the Dumbocrats will run interfence for the Sanders, or, yell “here comes da bus, here comes da bus.”

  20. SteveF says:

    Popped collars? MrAtoz was a douchebag before it was a fad.

  21. SteveF says:

    And whatever happened to cops routinely shooting scumbags who’d resisted arrest?

    Haven’t you been watching the news? Police kill “civilians” with some regularity. At the inquest (there’s always a pro forma inquest) they invariably say “He made a suspicious move” or “He help up an object which I thought was a gun” or, ever popular, “He was resisting arrest”.

  22. MrAtoz says:

    The TSA agent arrested in Orlando for stealing cash was 22. How does a 22-year old get a plumb TSA job? He does look Black, though.

  23. MrAtoz says:

    He was resisting arrest

    Don’t forget the ever popular “I feared for my life…BLAM BLAM!”

  24. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Which reminds me of my favorite police report, from back in the 40’s, which included the phrase, “so I fired three warning shots into his chest”.

  25. nick flandrey says:

    86 and 80% atm… and we seem to have received .91 inches of water from the sky since midnight….

    Partly sunny, sporadic and light water from the sky. Just enough to mess up my plans with the lawn mower.

    Supposed to have a CL purchaser by later today to buy some of the crap in my driveway. We’ll see.

    Stuff to do anyway… some outside, some in.

    Had to shut of my secondary PC for a while, the one with all the radio stuff on it, and now it won’t turn back on. Bugger. Shelf that for the moment. Other stuff to do.


  26. Nightraker says:

    “Remember Nehru jackets? Did you wear one?”

    I had a leisure suit a bit later, close enough? 🙂

  27. Dave Hardy says:

    “As you might guess, I’m getting really tired of this shit.”

    Multiply yerself by a few tens of millions. Just waiting for the right trigger event…

    “I read Bernie and wife have lawyered up now that they are under investigation. No cheap lawyers either. You know, the kind up peons could afford.”

    Yes. A very pricey shyster from Burlap, plus more shyster firepower from Mordor. Stuff that won’t make the MSM nooz. Jane Sanders is a real piece of work and may well end up facing jail time. I say that knowing that these sorts of people usually skate; they could also lose the new house on the island out there, but I’m guessing enough rich commies will see them through this. I appreciate what he’s done for vets but by now I’m all out of appreciation and he’s long since cashed in that chip with me. He’d been the only politician up here who’d show up at Legion and VFW post meetings and spaghetti suppers, and he got us the out-patient clinic in Burlap which has been a godsend for vets in the northern half of the state. But like I say, time’s up, buddy.

    “I had a leisure suit a bit later, close enough?”

    Yeah, I guess, but that was the 70s, dude. Nehru jackets, tie-dye stuff, fur hats, bell bottom jeans, Jesus boots, and long hair on both sexes was my groove, baby. Well, I never wore a Nehru jacket at least. Didn’t do the fur hat thing, either, which was weird.

    I came back from SEA in the mid-70s, smack into disco and funk, but was pretty effin alienated from everything and everybody for some odd reason. Worked factory and cop jobs well into the late 80s. Hung out in in blue-collar and cop bars, so weird hippie and disco attire was frowned upon greatly.

  28. Dave says:

    No need for a trial if a violent criminal is caught red-handed. These scumbags are outlaws, in the original sense that they aren’t entitled to the protection of the law.

    With all due respect, I disagree. I have a friend who is encountering a problem with his criminal background when looking for apartments and jobs. The problem is that he has never been arrested let alone convicted. Some other guy is using the his name and has racked up a criminal record. It’s not a case of identity theft because the criminal has been using the name since before my friend was born.

    While I think that most of our police are decent people, I am concerned that under the immense pressure of doing their jobs, they might make a mistake and not be able to differentiate between my friend and the criminal with the same name.

  29. Dave Hardy says:

    The key phrase was “red-handed.” A group of people and/or the cops catch someone committing a violent crime in the act. Red-handed. Time to swing ’em.

    Background checks and identity confusion are not the same thing. And if the cops can’t or won’t do the gig anymore, citizens will probably start, at some point. As some of them have already WRT the antifa antics in various cities with crowds and during events.

  30. nick flandrey says:

    Got the grass cut, (nice breeze and sun behind clouds), sprayed the grape vines. Discovered some nasty little buggers killing my tomato plants. Interwebs said ‘try Dawn in water spray’ and that dropped the little fukcers. Don’t know if it will keep them down, but it got them off the plants. Almost killed one plant.

    One problem with the web and gardening, it’s completely full of dilettantes doing “organic” gardening. This is not the first time that the advice for pests was to ‘pick them off by hand.’ Given no other choice, sure, but if you’re trying to survive on your garden, you need something quick and a lot less labor intensive. Come the fall, organic might be all that’s left, but until then, and while alternatives are available, use them.


  31. Dave Hardy says:

    Indeed. Life is hard enough; use what makes it a bit easier for ourselves.

    And then we have the MSM vs. the AM and the proposed INC.

    Kinda long, but worth the read with one’s light supper or late-night wee sip or the morning coffee.

  32. Dave Hardy says:

    3D snowpack images from the Sierra Nevada:

  33. Greg Norton says:

    Mrs. OFD should be winging her way to Boise, Idaho today.

    Nice town. I half joke that civilization ends in Boise. Any further west on I-84 is a descent into madness IMHO.

    Boise used to be the limit of Chick-Fil-A’s territory in the Northwest, but then weed legalization happened in OR and WA.

    Plus a line in the first season of “Silicon Valley” pretty much neutered the boycott effort against Chick-Fil-A. On HBO of all places!

  34. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    How much Dawn did you use?

  35. lynn says:

    Five of our muslim neighbors sent blessings today for the end of Ramadan over our neighborhood email list.

    Life is getting XXXX XXXXXX has gotten weid.

  36. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I didn’t realize you were infested with muslims.

  37. SteveF says:

    3D snowpack images from the Sierra Nevada

    Fake news! Don’t you know that we’re now living in a world without snow in the winter, let alone snow in the summer! There’s probably a Photoshop snowifier tool that let someone make that fake image to allow people to continue denying the Truth!

    How much Dawn did you use?

    And does it need to be reapplied after every rain? Every few days regardless? And when you say “almost killed one plant” do you mean the bugs did or your spray did? (Probably the former, but I want to confirm.) My mother-in-law is frequently messing around with critters in the garden, both mammalian and insectoid, and probably fungal and I-don’t-know-what-else-oid.

  38. RickH says:

    Couple of drops of Dawn in a 8 ounce spray bottle ought to work, IMHO.

  39. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Hmmm. I made it up at one ounce of Dawn diluted with tap water to a quart.

  40. Greg Norton says:

    Five of our muslim neighbors sent blessings today for the end of Ramadan over our neighborhood email list.

    Texas was the first place we saw burquinis in action. Three muslimas headed into the Galveston Schlitterbahn on Labor Day, 2014.

    We see a *lot* more hijabs/burqas here in Austin than we ever did in the Northwest.

  41. nick flandrey says:

    Just back from running some errands.

    Re: Dawn, just a few drops really, about 20? in a quart spray bottle. The soap is supposed to clog up their respiratory system and kill them. Look like little orange bodied spiders, with only 6 legs, Leaf Foot something or other. They eat fruit and tomatoes. They know when you reach for them and the 30-40 on a single tomato shuffled to the other side to avoid my hand. they got twitchy and dropped off the plants soon after spraying.

    I think they just about killed on tomato plant. There sure were a lot of them.

    Re: burkas, yeah there’s plenty around here. Good sized muslim ‘center’ cum mosque near our rec association. Halal grocery too. See them shopping in the regular grocery, in stores, etc. IKEA was practically a mosque last time I was there.

    dinner time….

  42. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    That’s one thing I like about Alleghany County. It’s about 96% white, and even the 4% who aren’t are no different from anyone else.

  43. nick flandrey says:

    Just re-checked the tomato plants. Two of the little orange buggers. Sprayed them with soap solution. Knocked them off the plants. I’ll keep an eye on them for a couple of days. Gotta get the catty pillar problem on the grape vines treated too. It would be nice to have a couple days without rain.


  44. nick flandrey says:

    Getting some grey line propogation from the Mediteranian Sea area…

    It’s a lot easier to get some DX if you have a guide, and listen at the right time…


    Radio Romania on 9.730mhz

    China radio Intl on 9.570 out of the Med

    (Editor’s note: an updated link … the site for the original link is dead .. 21 Jan 2020)

  45. OFD says:

    “…Alleghany County. It’s about 96% white…”

    Hmmmm….you say that like it’s a good thing. Another micro-aggression here, most likely. Guy never heard of diversity and inclusiveness, I guess. Re-ed camp forthwith.

    This AO is about 99% Cock-a-Soid. There are about a dozen black people living near downtown over in the “city” and the young males are constantly in the police blotter or front page crime stories. They compete for that space with the hordes of underclass white shitbags, and the other, weekly, nooz rag, mostly devoted to local skool sports and ads, also has the crime stories. This week the usual mix of domestics, robberies, and DUI’s. Lots of the latter. And you know that must be the tip of the iceeberg. How many operators out there that are near you on the roads are driving drunk or drugged up or both?

    WRT to garden plants; peas are out, in purple pods; forget what variety they are but they’re ready to pick. No tomatoes yet but the plants are up to my chest. Kind of odd not to see even little fruits by now…Artichokes and rhubarb doing swell, too. We’ve had a lot of rain and some sunny days, almost perfect.

    Thanks for that SW link, Mr. Nick. Will try it out regularly from now on, or once I get this office corner squared away, probably this week. Gotta cut some wood to raise the desk here and then bin out a bunch of stuff for the attic.

  46. lynn says:

    We’ve got a mosque with about 5,000 muslims down the street from my church. They are very nice and quiet people. We’ve got about 100 of them at our church learning English using the book of Luke.

  47. Greg Norton says:

    That’s one thing I like about Alleghany County. It’s about 96% white, and even the 4% who aren’t are no different from anyone else.

    The small towns around us are like that, but Austin wants to be Portland. God only knows why.

    In our immediate area, the upside of Dell importing so many Hindu employees is that they don’t mix well with the Musloids.

  48. lynn says:

    My dad just told me that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been dead on the supreme court for three months. The Democrats have been febreezing her every day hoping that no one notices.

  49. lynn says:

    I didn’t realize you were infested with muslims.

    Fort Bend County in Texas is the most diverse county in the USA. At least 25% Asian.

  50. OFD says:

    “They are very nice and quiet people.”

    Sure they are. For the time being. And I bet they’re really quiet when it comes to a musloid atrocity somewhere in the world about every ten minutes nowadays.

    “Austin wants to be Portland.”

    That’s a shame. Wife has been there a few times for work and says there a lot of cars with the “Keep Austin Weird” stickers on them. Swell.

    “… Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been dead on the supreme court for three months.”

    She needs to get gone ASAP so another justice can be appointed during this National Administrator’s tenure, however long that may be. Of course there are no guarantees that any tRump appointments will not be a grievous disappointment somewhere down the road. Scalia and Thomas held on, but a bunch of others have sucked, despite their early promise.

  51. OFD says:

    We could see some SHTF over in Europe very shortly, a possible chain-reaction/snowballing effect:

    Maybe Mr. Eugen, being closer to the scene, will have some insight; hope he’s OK.

  52. H. Combs says:

    “I had a leisure suit a bit later, close enough?”

    Not quite but I did adopt Miami Vice fashion for a season. Pastel Jacket over a T shirt and jeans. I quickly discovered that I was no Sonny Crockett and put my leathers back on.

  53. OFD says:


    Got a safe space, bro?

  54. SteveF says:

    Scalia and Thomas held on

    Mostly, though Scalia’s limp dicta in Heller provided a huge loophole for the gun-grabbing scum to slither through. (Not under any valid legal rules, as dicta do not comprise the binding decision, but when control freak governors and mayors are supported by dishonest judges, a fig leaf is all the cover they need.)

  55. lynn says:

    I wore a baby blue leisure suit with a pasley shirt to church every Sunday from 1975 to 1978. My momma picked it out and said I looked very nice. I had long side burns and my hair down to my shoulders.

  56. OFD says:

    I agree with Mr. SteveF’s cogent analytical summary of Scalia vis-a-vis Scalia on Heller and:


    “I had long side burns and my hair down to my shoulders.”

    Damn hippie-dippie radical maniac junkie.

  57. Miles_Teg says:

    Lynn wrote:

    “Five of our muslim neighbors sent blessings today for the end of Ramadan over our neighborhood email list.”

    I hope they don’t suffer the same fate as the Glasgow shopkeeper who wished his customers happy Easter a few years ago.

  58. lynn says:

    There is a rumor floating around that SCOTUS kennedy is going to retire tomorrow. He has called all of his clerks in.

    Trump could have the opportunity to appoint five SCOTUS judges in his four years. Trump would leave a decades long influence on our legal system.

  59. OFD says:

    Still, Mr. Lynn, no guarantee that any of them will do the right thing. As we have learned from other Repub Presidential appointments over the decades. Don’t forget: they come to Mordor and inhale the toxic Potomac vapors.

    And with that, ol’ OFD gotta slide off to the Land of Nod again…much to do tomorrow depending on weather…if it’s nice, I gotta hit the outside stuff. If it’s raining again, it’s back to taxes and VA paperwork. And partial office re-org. Oh yeah—finished draining the chest freezer in the cellar. Can I have ten minutes in a room with the engineer/s who designed it to have the external drainage hole about one inch from the bottom? HTF are we supposed to find a pan shallow enough to fit under that? I did, but still made a minor mess on the cellar floor. And now I gotta scour the whole thing, baking soda and water on the inside, and bleach on the gaskets. I’ll move it to another location down there where the electrical cord isn’t stretched out like a rubber band to the overhead outlet, too. Hadn’t noticed that before, damn. Prepper fail. Gotta order more shelving for down there, too.

    And even if I didn’t have all that to work on, I still have a chit-load to do in the attic. But the lower back is shot for the day/night now.

    Pax vobiscum, fratres…

  60. SteveF says:

    Dave, why not put your chest freezer up on blocks? 2x4s might suffice to get the drain hole off the ground and to de-stretch the power cord.

  61. SteveF says:

    My daughter found her missing Kindle. She’d lost it while we were out running errands a few months ago. She was upset but accepted responsibility, for which I give her full credit.

    Turns out the Kindle was in the pouch on the back of the seat in the car. Uh duh. She never uses those, nor does anyone else. There’s no good reason she’d have put it in there three months ago and no good reason she’d have looked in there recently. But she did, and she found it, and she’s delighted. Early birthday present to herself, basically. The battery still had enough charge to turn the thing on, barely, and after charging seems fine.

    One tiny win eked out of the usual running failures. Woo-hoo!

  62. nick flandrey says:

    Mine dropped her fire about a week ago. She was taking it out of the kid safe foam cover to put it in a not foamy cover. Smashed the screen all to F. MUCH wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Turns out Mom had the “no matter what happens” coverage, and Amazon replaced it with a refurb. No charge. I guess that paid for itself. New one came, set up the account, and back where we were. I gotta say I was quite surprised that it covered screen damage.

    I’ve got a bunch of fires at the moment, but they are all early models and don’t have an SD slot or camera. The kid stuff takes a LOT of room so you really need the slot.

    Amazon’s customer service was aces ..


  63. Harold says:

    All this radio talk has prompted me to get off my backside and plan a visit to the local ARRL club. I have two B*Fang handhelds with antennas and all accessories. Just need to understand how to use them and get my license. Next meeting is 3rd Monday of July so I have time to read up on the manuals. I took the General test on line a few times and passed 3 out of 4 times simply from my memory of high school electronics class from 50 years ago and what I learned in my CB days. Not bad but not good. More study is required.

  64. nick flandrey says:

    Just keep taking the tests, look at the correct answers for anything you miss.

    Don’t forget, you have to pass the Tech before you can take the General.


  65. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yep, don’t forget the Tech. It’d be embarrassing to have General down cold and fail the Tech.

    I had the ARRL manuals for both Tech and General, but the truth is I didn’t need them. I could have passed just using the sample tests from

    But the Tech manual will come in useful anyway. At field day Saturday, some of the guys mentioned doing a Tech class this autumn. They asked if anyone was interested in helping, and I told them to sign me up. I’m completely comfortable teaching a Tech class.

  66. nick flandrey says:

    After getting your ticket and on the air by “cheating” [old school attitude] it’s very useful to actually learn the material. I read thru the ARRL books while in the smallest room, and the knowledge ‘filled in’ and explained the why of things.

    I still maintain that if you want to communicate, get your ticket the way we’ve been discussing, then get more actual understanding of the material, and if it appeals to you as a hobby, you’ll naturally seek out more learning later.

    If you are looking for a hobby with prepper utility, by all means, go the traditional route in ham radio. It will be fulfilling and a great learning experience. It is the ‘right’ way to do it as you get a course in the culture as well as learning the technical aspects, and getting lots of practical experience.

  67. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I agree. You don’t get any actual experience by just studying test questions, but neither do you get any by reading the books. You get experience by actually working with the radios and working with other hams.

    I thought twice about volunteering to help with a Tech training class. I’m kind of an odd duck, a “newbie Elmer”. A lot of what I know and remember still applies, but a lot of it doesn’t. Most of the latter is conventional stuff–bands, FCC regulations, etc. I mean, half the bands currently allocated to ham radio didn’t exist back in the 60’s. Anyway, ham radio is very much a learn-by-doing hobby, particularly since hams don’t really need to understand much about electronics any more. When I was active in the 60’s, probably 80% or more of the radio gear was home-built. Nowadays, that might be 2%, other than antennas. Hell, they don’t even make vacuum tubes any more.

  68. nick flandrey says:

    The russians still make tubes, and there is a large and active community of tube radio (boat anchor) hams on the air. The high end audio people still hand-build tube amps, and guitarists still use tubes….

    There’s a guy here in Houston called ‘glassslinger’ who custom builds tubes and has a youtube channel. He’s a bit eccentric…

    MrCarlsonsLab on youtube is a channel for tube electronics and repair enthusiasts, as are several others that youtube will suggest.

    There is a subset of preppers who are convinced they need tube radios as part of their preps (in case of emp or cme). In fact, prepping seems to have led to a run up in price for older tube sets that is lamented online by a variety of commentors. Heck, I sold an old tube set for $600 in as-is condition….


  69. OFD says:

    “Dave, why not put your chest freezer up on blocks?”

    I thought of that but it would have meant more crap for me to do cutting blocks from scrap lumber out back, etc., etc. I will, however, put it up on blocks once I’ve cleaned it and relocated it six feet away to another outlet. That will give me more space for storage shelving down there. It will also make it easier for us orcs to reach in to get stuff; I am all about making life easier for us orcs here in the hobbit house.

    “One tiny win eked out of the usual running failures.”

    I know that feeling; meanwhile wife’s (formerly mine) large-format iPhone has been MIA for months now; it’s gotta be here on the property somewhere. She’s now lost it twice.

    I’ll get back on the radio stuff when I have more free time here; whenever that is. I’m point man all summer for just about everything. It’s amazing how much chit there is to do in an old house constantly and every day something goes wrong or there’s some other minor hassle.

    Sunny w/blue skies so far, so I gotta try and get laundry out on the line and do some outside stuff for a while.

  70. nick flandrey says:

    for home brew these days, hams are more likely to build a QRP kit, or cobble together a raspberry Pi ‘nano- node’ for IRLP linking, or build a balun, than any other sort of project. It’s a bit ‘higher level’ than the old days, but still plenty to do. QST magazine has a couple of projects in it every month. Some time ago, Nuts N Volts magazine (a great mag for any kind of electronics tinkerer, along with its robot focused sister pub- Servo) added a ham radio column with projects. There is a concerted effort in some parts of ham radio to leverage the Maker movement to get people interested in ham radio. It is the only radio service that allows and encourages experimentation. And radio is EVERYWHERE these days.

    If I was looking to inspire a child or young person, the magic of wireless (and its practical application) seems to have a bright future.


  71. nick flandrey says:

    “I’ll get back on the radio stuff when I have more free time here”

    Put one on your desk. You can tune around while doing other tasks. Put a scanner and a mobile dual bander on your desk. Turn it on from time to time. Radio is a good “also” thing that you can reach over and mess with while doing other stuff….


  72. nick flandrey says:

    went from 80F to 90F in the last hour. Gonna go higher too. 88%RH. FEELS cooler than yesterday, but that won’t last.

    Ebay stuff today… and alternating with garage and driveway stuff. It behooves me to come in and cool down regularly. I am not really comfortable task switching all the time, but that is how my life has been since the kids and leaving full time work. Bit-o-this, bit-o-that. 10 hours focused a the job at hand just doesn’t happen.

    So now I stockpile stuff, slowly, and in fits and starts, so when I need a short task, I can grab the waiting thing and do a bit of work on it. It’s not as efficient as my old way of working, but an argument could be made that by filling in short periods, it does use time well. Doesn’t feel that way, but I do keep chipping away at tasks and projects.


  73. OFD says:

    “Put one on your desk. You can tune around while doing other tasks. Put a scanner and a mobile dual bander on your desk.”

    Copy that. Will do once I’ve excavated this corner of the office and made room for them accordingly; amazing how much chit piles up here. A rainy day project.

  74. nick flandrey says:

    Dude, I’m using my desk drawer as a SHELF. I know from “piles up here.” The kids aren’t allowed in my office because of the piles. I’ve got 12 flip top tubs stacked in my office. My second chair is stacked, and the space under it is filled.

    If I waited for space to be ‘ready’ I’d never get to anything!


  75. OFD says:

    Good point!

    Gee whiz, by comparison, I actually have ACRES of free space in here!

  76. nick flandrey says:

    “I thought twice about volunteering to help with a Tech training class.”

    listening to various nets, and the winsystem, there are a lot of older hams returning to the hobby. The gear has gotten SO cheap, and there are so many new things to do, and far more people to talk to, that people are re-discovering their love of radio.

    Whatever issues purists might have with the internet linked repeaters, it has dramatically increased the number of people you can reach with just a cheap UHF or VHF HT and a repeater. No linked repeater in your area? Well then, roll your own nano-node and get connected anyway. (it’s an issue for pure radio guys because the links are voip over the internet) One thing I found strange was that there often is absolutely NO traffic on local repeaters. Lots of lurkers, no conversations. The links open that up to the world and you are much more likely to find someone to chat with.

    In other words, IRLP, and the others (allstar, etc) have brought some of the fun back into what seems to have become an insular and shrinking hobby.


    (not everyone is happy that new kids are playing in their sandbox with THEIR toys, but that attitude is becoming scarcer)

  77. nick flandrey says:

    Oh, got distracted. @RBT, your mind is organized to teach by virtue of all the instructional writing you’ve done. THAT IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE from most volunteer teachers. Granted you don’t get immediate feedback like you will in a class, you are miles ahead of some.


  78. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    The last time I actually taught face-to-face was when I was in grad school back in the 70’s, but I suspect I’d do okay. That’s assuming they actually want me to teach. What they actually asked for was people willing to “help out”. For all I know, they just need someone to hold the horses’ reins or something.

    But other than the stuff you just have to memorize, most of which is regulations, customs, band plans, etc., what do you really need to learn? Ohm’s Law, the Power Law, deciBels, S-units, speed of light and relationship between it and frequency/wavelength, and maybe a couple of others. Not a whole lot of math. Hell, some kids in elementary school get their Tech or even General.

  79. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I may even tell students to save their money if they wish and just print out the complete list of questions/answers. I can fill in around that…

  80. SteveF says:

    Amazon’s customer service was aces ..

    My experience, too. No matter what you may think of Amazon as a business (I’m glad I’m not a stockholder and even gladder I’m not an employee) they’ve always been responsive to any problems or complaints I’ve had.

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