Category: Uncategorized

Historical Evidence for Asking Questions

Over the last few years I’ve heard a lot about how we need to “trust the science,” “trust the government,” etc.  Here is a compendium of reasons from reasonable sources (or well cited) that we should always ask questions.  I’m not saying that in every case below people were purposefully acting maliciously, although the Tuskegee Syphilis experiments definitely qualify, but if no one had challenged and questioned …. what would have happened?

I would like to point that as a child I was taught that science never solved anything.  And that by questioning the tests you strengthened the results.

The cases below are offered for your perusal, interpretation, and consideration into “asking questions,” which is not always the same as challenging authority.  The constitution and law has given us a process to challenge authority and it should be followed.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_v._Bell
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange#U.S._veterans
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm Tuskegee Syphilis experiments
  4. https://helix.northwestern.edu/article/thalidomide-tragedy-lessons-drug-safety-and-regulation
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird
  7. https://www.businessinsider.com/army-sprayed-st-louis-with-toxic-dust-2012-10
  8. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/spoonful-sugar-helps-radioactive-oatmeal-go-down-180962424/
  9. https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Shocking-medical-experiments-are-part-of-U-S-11573849.php
  10. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2002/11/gao-military-anthrax-shots-caused-many-reactions-prompted-some-pilots-quit. As a side note, review this. It states, “About 20 percent of those infected will develop difficulty breathing and a bloodstream infection that causes death. If treated with antibiotics, less than 2 percent of infected persons will die.” This is not for inhaled anthrax but for blood infection anthrax. The risk profile is so low that mass vaccination is not recommended. If anthrax becomes a used bioweapon the threat profile would change, though thankfully the vaccine appears to protect (per the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia link above) against inhaled anthrax as well. This is why military personnel heading into a high threat profile are vaccinated.
  11. https://www.atomicheritage.org/history/human-radiation-experiments. Plutonium injections into 18 individuals, who were not informed of the injections.

This will be a rolling post, updated as I feel relevant. 


Trials and Tribulation of my Anet A8 Back Online

Backstory ….

I bought this thing in early 2017, and was never quite able to get it running.  At the time, it was mostly do to my inexperience with 3d printers.  I ended up buying a Monoprice Mini on Black Friday, and there’s quite a few projects on the blog detailing my usage.  At the beginning of the year, I started having trouble with my monoprice. I was thinking about getting a prusa mini, but decided to that it would be a better idea to bring this back online.  I already had the Anet (just never quite got it functioning) and it had a much bigger bed.  What could go wrong, I asked myself.

So, my “process”

The biggest issue with the Anet A8 as I purchased it was that the bed didn’t stay flat.  So, I built a wood cube to both store it in and help keep the flat down.

In the anet OEM firmware, when a thermistor dies the firmware turns the heaters on to try to ramp the temperature up.  This could result in the printer trying to burn your house down.  So, I tried to install the marlin firmware following this guide from all3dp. I had trouble compiling the firmware, but in the process of trying to update the firmware I managed to wipe the board.  So, I had to figure out how to recover the firmware.

A brief guide to recovering the firmware on the anet board

Anet doesn’t burn the bootloader to the board, so to be able recover/upgrade the stock firmware you’ll need and ISP programmer.  While ISP programmers with specific headers are available at various places, I wanted this now at 1AM on Saturday. You can press an Arduino Nano into service as an ISP programmer: http://www.martyncurrey.com/arduino-nano-as-an-isp-programmer/

One modification I made was to put a 1PDT switch inline with the 5 volt power line of ISP programmer so that I could isolate the Arduino (and this my computer) from the Anet’s board.  You could use the switch, or make sure that you aren’t powering the board from the wall while burning the firmware.  Make sure you tie the reset pin on the arduino to GND with a capacitor otherwise you’ll get a weird error that means nothing – in my case one of the three checksums would be correct but the rest would fail.

The design is kind of overkill, but I always seem to get myself into trouble and need random things like this.  Next was to build an ISP header to match my board to the anet ISP header.  I found image below on instructables.

 

After that, connect the arduinoISP to the isp header.  Start the Arduino IDE, and use the “Burn Bootloader” function in the IDE.

I still couldn’t compline the marlin firmware (compilation errors), but wanted to get the printer up and running so I decided to reinstall the oem firmware which is/was available at the Anet website.  Anet distributes a hex file, so off to the command line to flash the firmware

~/arduino-1.8.12/hardware/tools/avr/bin/avrdude -c arduino -P /dev/ttyUSB0 -p m1284p -b 115200 -U flash:w:A8_chuchang20160525.hex a -C ~/arduino-1.8.13/hardware/tools/avr/etc/avrdude.conf -v -v -v -v

Can I print yet?

Technically, yes by running an SD card I could print.  However, I’ve started to really like printing with OctoPrint in control.  Remote control, better file management, onboard webcam.  Mix in a relay to control power to the board (which I had to modify to use a car relay because the anet uses more amps then the stock relay on the board).

setup octoprint to control the relay by some custom mixing in the yaml file

Originally, I had the camera mounted to the ceiling of the cube, but I couldn’t tell if a print was lifting or not. I also had an issue where the filament bound and I wasn’t able to detect an issue from the ceiling.  So, I made an from some 3/32″ tig wire so that as the z axis rises through the layers, the camera maintains a view of the nozzle. Depending on how fast the nozzle is moving I can get some shaking in the camera but I’m not trying for an instagram quality video feed.

I was still having a problem with the print lifting off the bed.  At that time in the basement, start up temps are 5/6°C (42°F).  While the bed and nozzle maintain temp, the rest of the print doesn’t.  I added a panel to the back of the cube, and a door to the front.  This seems to have solved the lifting problem.

I also built a hanger for the filament spool in the cabinet.  So far, its working great.

But can I print yet?

I did run a number of prints.  However, one night I again experienced trouble with getting the bed up to temp.  And here is what I discovered:

The bed connectors are technically rated for the load, but have gone bad. So, the printer is once again trying to burn my house down.  So, off to Grainger for a suitable replacement. I went with these screw terminal connectors.

We’ll see how these work out.

So you can print now, right?

Yes, but I still want to get the marline firmware installed on the board. However, I think I’ll put that in a new blog post once I manage to accomplish that.

Final thoughts:

I should have bought the prusa.


An Update. Not too notable.

Hrm, what to update on?  My last post was released roughly 4 months ago.  Who could have imagined where we would be today?  Corona is … mostly a ploy to destroy the economy in the wake of the November elections.  There are some real medical issues that could be present but its to the same group of people who are vulnerable to the seasonal flu.  Its time to get back to work America.

Having addressed that … what else is there to talk about?  Let me rummage about here.  This is more of a scrap bin update so … things might be rough in places.

Projects

The biggest change is that I have a new shop.  I would love to post pictures but operational security and all.  The new shop gives me better capabilities.  I’ve also expanded what tools I have on site.  A basic stick/tig welder, lathe, and work bench are all welcome additions to my capabilities.  I’m looking forward to starting my own business and maybe escaping from the nonsense that is corporate America.  My sales site is already listed on here, but for kicks, check out my offerings at underthebedstudio.com.

I also built a painting cabinet that helps keep the fumes down in the house and give excellent finishes to parts I need to paint.  One of the first projects that I used it for was a drive over antenna base.  My intention to use this at the remaining service events this year that don’t get cancelled as a result of the Panicdemic.

Another cool project I worked on was a Cigar Punch.  With my 3d printer I was able to iterate through designs pretty quickly.  I threw out the iterations but took a picture first:

Only took me 6 tries to get to the form factor I was happy with.  I also finally found a pre-hardened material to make the punch itself from (drill bushings), which was the cause of Mk4 & Mk 4.1.

While I was looking at a few things, I ended up buying an ESP-12s which I found prebuilt firmware that would let me use it as a serial port over wifi.  Pretty sweet.  So here’s my interpretation of it:

Here’s the Schematic for the protoboard above. It uses an 18650 cell under the board for powering everything. And here is the STL for the carrier. I used standard 8-32 screws to hold the protoboard down.  The charger circuit chip is here on Amazon.

Computer Jazz Hands

A few computer things that I’d like to talk about.

First up is the Retroflag GPi.  This is a pretty slick little box that takes a Raspberry Pi Zero (Wireless if that’s your thing) and turns it into a self contained Retropie gaming machine.  Being that its a Pi Zero, it struggles with anything over Super Nintendo but works pretty well for lots of other things.  If you’re into gaming I highly recommend it.  I just wish every single pi unit with the exception of the Pi3 wasn’t so damn finicky.  I do have scripts that allow me to turn off the wifi and the bluetooth and also rsync over wireless.  Code at the bottom.  One thing I would recommend to everyone – just get a bluetooth keyboard at the same time.  Normally I would recommend a 2.4ghz USB keyboard (I’m a fan of this one) but with the Pi Zero and the GPi case – bluetooth is best. I ended up with this one.

Ah, the Hak5 Jasager.  They released the firmware 2.4 for the Mark V a month or so ago.  I hate to say it, but I’ve never really gotten the thing to work as well as I would like.  I’m always fighting with it, and it seems to be always corrupting sd cards – which kills my plugins.  At this point, I would be hard pressed to buy the Mark VI.  Hak5, thanks for all you’ve taught me.  Best of wishes.

What about a Pwnagotchi?  A wifi auth key hacking tomagotchi?  Sweet.  But my dislike of RasPi’s still applies.  Also, its 2020 and now that I ponder the idea – I only see a couple of wifi configurations in the “wild.”  The first is with a proper WPA2 password which can be tricky to catch and crack.  The other is a captive portals with open associations.  And no, fortune 500 employers and authentication portal doesn’t secure the traffic of the users.  With open associations, no reason to associate.  Just grab it from the air.

I built myself a FreeNAS box last year as well.  This makes it super easy to back up my laptop across the network.  A few recommendations

  • Wire your network.  Seriously.  The speeds of a wired 10/100 easily exceed the speeds of wireless.  While you’re at it, this is an excellent time to learn how to make your own network cables.  Pick up a 100′ Cat5e cable and a crimpers + ends and go to town.  Custom length cables make management much easier.
  • Put in a “dumb” gigabit switch between your main computer and the freeNAS.  I bought this one, but I couldn’t tell you if it would better then any other.  Going to gigbit?  Amazing.  Most files get transferred before a status window can open.  And backups – ironically 10 times faster.
  • RAID.  RAID all the things!
  • And, do yourself a favor.  Get a cheap UPS to put the freeNAS on so minor (or major) power outages let it fail gracefully.
  • Having a well spec’d FreeNAS box lets you run servers all the time.  I have one that starts up to handle my DNS requests.  I’m running the Pi-Hole distribution because I’m not a fan of ads.  Or the tracking nonsense that they do.

Getting a FreeNAS box set up was awesome.  I highly recommend it.  Right now, I’m loving everything about it.

I’m still running Fedora 30 on my laptop.  I’ve never really booted to the Windows 10 installation that came with it – just to shrink the partition and I’m considering getting rid of it when I update to Fedora 32.  I’ve held out against Fedora 31 long enough that I think I’m going to wait for 32 now.  I usually do a fresh install.  To many things can get muddled when doing an update and a fresh start it always nice. Probably make an image of the HD again before I wipe Windows 10 though.  Shout out to Clonezilla.  Thanks guys!

Miscellaneous Topics

Affiliate Links.  There’s still no affiliate links here on the blog, and there will probably never, ever be unless the players change their tune.  As I figured, they’ve started to weaponize the Terms of Service and its just not worth it for the little money.  If the Youtube Adpocolypse can hit somebody like Demolition Ranch …. it will happen to anyone.  Free Speech is important – don’t let yourself get caught in the trap.  By the way, COVID-19 is totally Commie China’s fault.

Social Distancing.  Ugh.  Seriously?  Why did it take this for people to realize that door knobs, pin pads, and people are nasty?  They’re just nasty.  And, stay the hell out of my face.  COVID or not, I don’t want you within reach.  Just back off.  If you’re close enough that I could reach out and kick you … maybe you should back up just a touch.

Drones.  I would love to get a TinyWhoop with FPV.  I think it could be super useful and handy.  But then I look at my other drones that I never touch and convince myself its to much.  Drone guys, keep it up.  I’ll have to live vicariously through your youtube videos.

Macro Lens.  Why did I not buy one of these before?  They are super awesome.  I’ve messed with macro tubes, but they don’t work as well as a macro lense does.  I highly recommend buying refurbished lenses and flashes directly from Canon.  They’re a little more (like … $20) then what you would find for used prices, come with a warranty, and free shipping.  I’ve always been super happy with Canon equipment and their repair shop.  Seriously though, is this not gorgeous?  Having a macro lense is great for documenting any of the fiddly things I do, like below.  And honestly, I can see it being “one lense to rule them all” for me.  The kit lens is a close second.

I recently went through an purged my youtube subscriptions.  I think I got rid of half of them – many had been deleted or I no longer watched them.  A few channels to shout out:

  • Andrew Klavan – I love his satirical intros.
  • Marling Baits – He makes fishing baits, and good videos just to have playing.
  • This Old Tony – Dad Jokes and Machining.
  • AVE – irreverant as f*ck.
  • Ivan Miranda – massive scale 3d printing projects.
  • Project Binky – in Colour! Dry british humor, and the only car show I’ve ever liked.
  • Townsends – this man would have killed it on PBS when I was a kid.

The DS213 o-scope.  Not a bad little device.  Short on features, but for the price tag not a bad deal either.  It let me see some things I couldn’t see with my multimeter.  I have a proper oscope I need to repair, but to be honest I’m scared of the high voltage that’s inside.  I found a drybox case online that holds this and the probes perfectly.  Standard USB charging nonsense.

While I’m at it, check on the NanoVNA.  I’ve only really used it for checking SWR but there’s apparently a ton more that it can do.  Here’s my kit, with the adapters I’ll need to get it to work with my equipment.  As big as my go box and antenna setup is, its nice to know I can through this in my messenger bag or goruck with my laptop and be able to make some quick checks.  This does standard usb charging as well but it wants a USB-C cable but doesn’t implement the fast charging spec.  A waste.

Other Life Stuff

Still need to get digital working in my go box.  Hopefully taking the time this week to put my HF rig on a dummy load and do the experimenting that I need to do.

I could really use a vacation.  Somewhere tropical, sunny, and hot would be nice.  Maybe via a cruise ship?  Prices went through the floor now …..

Mentioning drones and how its not really something, I’d really love a Yaesu FT-818.  Oh well, I probably wouldn’t use that either.

In Closing

Rock on folks.  I’m going to peace out for a bit.  Hope you enjoyed the randomness presented above.

RetroPie Scripts

Make a folder in the RetroPie roms directory called “bash” – mkdir -r ~/RetroPie/roms/bash

Copy over bash scripts. I have scripts for enabling and disabling the wifi adaptor, as well as using rsync across my LAN for rom directory syncing

Copy bash-mod/configs/bash into /opt/retropie/configs/

Copy over bash-mod/theme/bash into /etc/emulationstation/themes/carbon (or whatever theme you’re running is)

sudo /etc/emulationstation/es_systems.cfg and add the following code to the <systemlist> tree:

						<system>
							<name>bash</name>
							<fullname>Bash Shell</fullname>
							<path>/home/pi/RetroPie/roms/bash</path>
							<extension>.sh .SH</extension>
							<command>/opt/retropie/supplementary/runcommand/runcommand.sh 0 _SYS_ bash %ROM%</command>
							<platform>bash</platform>
							<theme>bash</theme>
						</system>

Restart Emulation Station

bluetoothdown.sh

#!/bin/bash

sudo rfkill block bluetooth

bluetooth-up.sh

#!/bin/bash

sudo rfkill unblock bluetooth

wifi-down.sh

#!/bin/bash

#sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
sudo rfkill block wifi

wifi-up.sh

#!/bin/bash

#sudo ifconfig wlan0 up
sudo rfkill unblock wifi

“EDC” Tool Kit

I thought for this month’s blog post, I would break down the tools I keep in my desk drawer at my main work space at home.  My desk tool drawer has a small pouch with a basic set of tools (broken down below), a fluke 87v multi-meter, x-acto knife, calipers, micrometer, imperial/metric set of sockets, and a small battery powered screwdriver.  My main tool box and tools are in the basement, two flights of stairs down and then back up.  95% of the time, I can deal with a problem, or get better eyes on it, by having these tools at hand.

Breakdown, from left to right:

  1. Mini Needle Nose Pliers
  2. Mini side cutters
  3. Pump pliers
  4. #0 Phillips
  5. 1/8″ Flat head
  6. Utility Knife
  7. Crescent Wrench
  8. Custom 3d printed bit organizer, with 5/32 Hex end, T20, T10, #1 Philips, 3/16″ & 1/4″ flat head bits.
  9. Bit insert & ratcheting handle set. I bought this originally as a bostisch but now Stanley is selling them. The Wiha 74996 is a good alternative as well.
  10. Klein Mag2 tool magnetizer & demagnitizer.
  11. Stanley 68-107 screwdriver
  12. Hakko Wire Strippers
  13. Tape Measure I got from a trade show long ago. Standard\metric.

 

 

 

 

 

And packed down.

This is the small tool kit I’ll grab to throw in my goruck if I think I’ll need tools while traveling.  It covers my bases pretty well.  Any more, and I probably need a work bench to.  Off to the basement.


Cloning the Fluke T-Pak

I own a Fluke 87V meter. It has more buttons and features then you could ever hope to shake a stick at. It’s probably an overpowered choice for what projects I’ve done but since I never quite know what I’m going to end up working on, I feel its better to be over rather then under prepared. I bought it because of my dad’s Fluke 83. He’s had that for longer then I’ve been alive and I wanted a one and done meter as well.

One of Fluke’s accessories for their meter line is the Fluke T-Pak, which allows you to hang the meter from any metal surface, by means of magnets.

I was browsing thingiverse, and came upon a clone I could 3d print.

So, I commenced to print the insert. Once I had printed the insert I needed something for the magnets to press in to. I had to try a few different magnets to get the size that I needed, but finally settled on these magnets from grainger. I did have to epoxy & press them into the insert.

The end result is that for about $10 of materials I had successfuly cloned the fluke t-pak. With fluke charging about $45 for theirs, well I definitely had enough left over for a cup of coffee at Starbucks to write this post. What a day to live in. 3d printing is revolutionizing our world, whether we like it or not.

And in action:

Download the Base STL for free. Viva la Revolucion!


Fedora 28 Move In Day

Fedora 28 was released this month. Here are my notes from moving into a new install. I make periodic backups on some external hard drives, so for $BACKUPDIRECTORY$ I’m using the path to my backups on the externals. The $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$ refers to where I store the key that I made for my UEFI system to self-sign my virtual box drivers.

Notes are offered, questions may be answered.

use ‘mediawriter’ (install from repos first) to make a bootable USB

when installing, delete sda8 & sda9. These are the /boot/efi && luks-encrypted root partition (Note – I’m using a guided install but not separating my Home folder from the root drive like Fedora does. Your sda8/9 will vary.)

use the guided partioning, then delete /home, and delete the partition size of /. Apply, so that /home is stored in /

Reboot to fresh os

copy dotfiles back from backup drive

run move-in.sh

pop a terminal run this:
time cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/Documents/ . > /dev/null && time cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/Music/ . > /dev/null && time cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/Pictures/ . > /dev/null && time cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/Downloads/ . > /dev/null

pop a new terminal and run this:
su -c “dnf install -y cura youtube-dl chromium firefox thunderbird wget pulseaudio-equalizer hexchat vlc geany geany-plugins-* gimp yakuake keepassx ImageMagick optipng php && dnf groupinstall -y ‘Development Tools’ && dnf -y update”

With firefox & thunderbird installed:
cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/.mozilla/ . && cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/.thunderbird/ . && cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/.config/chromium/ ./config/

Now at least you can get firefox & thunderbird back up

With thunderbird, you’ll need to do “Repair Folder” on your inboxes/folders/etc

Fixing themes:
Window Borders: Adapta
Icons: Breeze-dark
Controls: Adwaita-dark
Desktop: Adara-Dark

Install Virtual Box:
su -c “dnf install VirtualBox system-config-users VirtualBox akmod-VirtualBox kmod-VirtualBox -y”
add user to groups vboxsf & vboxusers
reloadvbox in .bashrc

And copy over all your old VirtualBox stuff:
cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/VirtualBox\ VMs/ . && cp -r $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/.config/VirtualBox/ .config/

Sign the drivers with:
su
/usr/src/kernels/$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.priv $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.der $(modinfo -n vboxdrv)
/usr/src/kernels/$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.priv $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.der $(modinfo -n vboxpci)
/usr/src/kernels/$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.priv $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.der $(modinfo -n vboxsf)
/usr/src/kernels/$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.priv $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.der $(modinfo -n vboxnetflt)
/usr/src/kernels/$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.priv $DRIVER KEY DIRECTORY$/driversigningkey.der $(modinfo -n vboxnetadp)
systemctl restart systemd-modules-load.service
exit

Thanks to https://gist.github.com/gabrieljcs/68939c7eeadfabfdbc6b40100130270d

Cura preferences – Cura does not like restoring from the backup.

Install your printer software again, HP Deskjet 2600 is still not supported:
su -c “dnf install hplip-libs hplip”
system-config-printer
Add with the system-config-printer wizard
Change the page size – right click the printer, properties, Printer Options, Page size

Chirp
system-config-users
Add user to tty group
will have to reboot to take effect, or you can su – $(whoami) && chirpw to get around it temporary like

Good time to make a waypoint in your backups
mv $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/ $BACKUPDIRECTORY$/$(date +”%Y%M%d”)


A Simple Pencil Cup

I just bought myself a new camera lens for my rebel.  The venerable nifty fifty.  I also just built this, so … photo time.

Smart self would have also taken photos with the kit lens to compare against, but I was not operating as smart me at the time.

 

Bonus feature:  my janky photo booth!  That’s three sheets of Dollar Store foam board (in eggshell or white or ivory or puce if you like) on a tv tray and a <a href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016YPA9Q4″>Aputure Camera Light</a> duct taped to a microphone stand.  Janky for sure, but it works.  Remember, if it works, it works and 90% of the time – that’s what matters.


Another Skip Month

This time, 4 months have come and gone. What have I been doing this time?

As luck would have it, not much. I have honestly been quite stagnant over the last few months. But I’ll try to mention a few things.

Diplexers

To follow up on last month’s comments building a diplexer, I ended up deciding that the completed ones I have are functional. My meter shows the same amount of reflected power regardless of if an antenna is connected directly or if I have the diplexers connected into the circuit.

I did learn something. Crossing coax causes the signal to “jump” from one line to the other. How I learned was this that the line going into my SWR meter and then out to the antenna was crossed. Also, it looks like the BF-F8HP has built in SWR protection.

I do have another board with coax connected. Anyone want to buy one? I’m selling for about 1/2 the price of the Arrow diplexers – basically cover the parts and a pittance of time.

National Parks On The Air

My amatuer radio club recently did an activation for the ARRL’s National Parks On The Air. I did the 2M station, managing about 7 quick QSO’s. I did learn about band plans, in a capability I didn’t have before. I purchased a Yaesu FT-857. The event went well, and we qualified (10 LotW certified contacts).

Speaking of ham radio, I also tested and passed for the General Class license. This means I have useful HF privileges. Only an autotuner and HF antenna away from getting on the HF bands.

Oh the HandiFinder

Well, I won’t be uploading of a soldering the Handi-Finder. It works fairly well. I will try to get a video of it in use …. sometime. It’s not the best kit or instructions but it is doable.

Anything Else New?

Well, no, not really. Over the course of the summer I decided to forgo my vacations this year instead to purchase firearm parts and gear. So I did.


Nerf Maverick. None are like it, and it is Mine.

IMG_1876.JPG-convert


Skip Month

Another month has come and gone, so what things have I been up to?

On Building Diplexers

So, I started working on an amateur satellite duplexer. Due to the nature of the Icom W32a, it makes sense to do this. Suffice it to say, its been troublesome. My problems started like this:

  1. No SWR meter. Okay, order one.
  2. Testing with an antenna shows no appreciable change. Call success.
  3. Be paranoid! Check again! And … wait, what’s going on?
  4. The cable that I was using to get from PL259 to BNC was bad. Took a bit to figure it out.
  5. Decide that I need to check with a dummy load.
  6. Need a dummy load
    1. After going to 4 different stores find out that only one had a gallon paint can.
    2. Find out that I would need about $32 of mineral oil to fill
    3. Find a quart can at Menards
    4. Purchase $4 of oil to fill
  7. Get weird readings\behavior on SWR meter? Why does my power go up then drop?
  8. Why the feedback on 70cm?
  9. Wait, why the behaviour on a dummy load?

So, this must be a cable problem. I decided I needed to order new cables. They’ll be here Wednesday, but it will be Monday before I can test everything

I ordered all my cables from Air802. They’re quick and I’ve heard that they’re priced competitively. I can’t recommend them enough. They’re very willing to help you with finding exactly what you need. Another plus is that I get my order a day or two later, even with the cheapest shipping. After my trouble with the cheap crap I ordered from fleabay, the extra price is worth it.

Other then my issues with testing them, I have to say that Digikey did as well as they always do. I’ll have to do a full write up on the diplexer, but Lee (K0LEE) was very helpful in getting replacements for the inductors. I tried to find exact replacements and ended up giving up and contacting him for help. A prompt response later and I had the information I needed. If you build them your self (and build 2), expect to spend about $32 for each. If you’re inclined, this is quite a bit cheaper then Arrow’s list price. The paranoia in testing comes from having the Icom that I would hate to destroy.

Fox Hunting!

Went on another fox hunt with the club. We changed up the technique quite a bit. I’ll be lazy and pretty much copy\paste my after action report on the event:

One thing I did think was effective was when Kris and I were using the arrow antenna/yagi to track it (the fox) in the truck with the antenna through the moon roof. I think if we had the time, and had I brought it, my handifinder would have been a good thing to deploy paired with a baofeng in the cemetery. Since we were about two blocks away, proceeding on foot would have made it easier to note the subtle changes. This make me excited to test this arrangement a member of the club purchased. I think it be an excellent replacement for the yagi-through-the-roof arrangement. I wish I had been able to get on the parking garage in town to get an initial bearing.

Orlando

Normally I don’t talk about guns here on the blog. I love guns. I even have some of the scary black ones. Now, I could like to various jokes about them, liberals, or whatever. I’ve wanted to, and that’s why there are not ads on this blog. I feel that talking about firearms could easily be misconstrued as encouraging violence. Not a thing I want to have to explain. This blog will always be ad free as a result. (If you think I deserve a reward for wrting, the homepage has my amazon wish list.)

Being a gun lover though, I feel the need to talk about Orlando. The media (and the Democratic Side of Congress) is in outrage about the events, and demanding that law-abiding citizens submit to their demands despite the ineffectiveness of those demands where implemented (stateside with California, cityside with Chicago and more). While I’d love to be brief, Orlando doesn’t lend to brevity. Not out of laziness, but due to the succinctness of what I wrote, I will quote Core Concept Podcast.

At Core Concept Podcast, its no secret we strongly support the 2nd Amendment and the right to Concealed Carry. We do not agree with the opinion of the 9th Circuit Court of California(Commy-fornia if you must). The Constitution was written as a whole to guarantee the safety and freedom of every citizen of the United States. It was not written to guarantee the prosperity of its citizens, though as a whole it has created one of the most prosperous nations in the world.

The attacks in Orlando are terrifying. Its not about being a gay, lesbian, or straight person. Its about an individual mass murdering defenseless people. Regardless of your position (a split decision here on the podcast), these attacks were, and any imitation there of, are immoral and wrong. We both believe that all people can find reason and ways to live in peace with each other.

But we also believe that a person should be ready to defend themselves. That it is better to be a warrior in a garden then a gardener in a war. That personal security is the duty of each and every individual for them to secure for themselves. Even when relaxing, you must not let your situational awareness fail. To stay “left of bang.” When your awareness fails, you’re right of bang, and being right of bang means that people will die.

Our world is a dangerous place, full of evil people doing evil things. Regardless of your religion, orientation or race, life is always precious. As the days continue (and they will), let us all remember that. Let us guard ourselves and each other. Because those who walk the path of darkness will always look to spread it.

Expect gun posts in the coming months.