Coping: Grounded Airplanes, Sheets, & Ham Radios

Ah, where to begin this morning’s ramble of an honest guy who’s just trying to thread the many needles of bureaucracy?

To begin with, our airplane is STILL in annual inspection as we await the FAA approval for trivial variance from an existing airworthiness directive (AD) via an alternate means of compliance (AMOC) which has been approved by an FAA designated engineering representative (DER). 

In the meantime, we have a 2,250 pound maximum gross takeoff  paperweight on our hands…Go ahead, make me an offer…Meanwhile, it’s time to update the medical so that’s on tap for tomorrow.

Speaking of medicals:  A good hour was spent yesterday talking to my doctor and dentist and filling out online forms because one of the FAA medical questions asks for the date of every doctor visit in the past three years and the reason.

Since I get regular 6-month check-ups, I’m trying to figure out WHY anyone would care, for example, that on 10/15/2013 I had a routine check-up?

Hand me that pressure can of whipping cream…oh wait!  There it is!   I can see a couple of FAA bureaucrats arguing the point now: “I think Ure should have had that check-up on the 12th…15th was a questionable pilot decision, I think Fred…”

“Yeah, and did you see this filling on February 20th of last year?  Wasn’t there an inter-departmental memo from Home Land on how people who have fillings on 2/20/2014 may be at elevated risk of something?”

Medical geomancy with a side of Empire Builder, please.  If it’s too early for Eng rish Rit, geomancy is the art of  “divination from configurations seen in a handful of earth thrown on the ground, or by interpreting lines or textures on the ground.”

In a technologically advanced culture (or so we allege) we have graduated from handfuls to dirt to exabyte’s of data pretending it’s different than geomancy.  And it is.

I call it compumancy but others insist calling it  Big Data — makes it more r’spect’ble.  Uh huh…but the fact is the world runs off statistics rather than common sense for two reasons.  No one has any common sense anymore is one.  The other reason doesn’t matter, but it has something to do with selling math books, computers and statistical packages in order to keep the economy afloat.  And pretending we’re an advanced something or other.

Still, with no airplane to fly, and needing nothing (except maybe saving up for lawyer time depending on how long the paperweight sits) that leaves time for lots of tractoring, yard work, and the ham radios  even got fired up last weekend.

Quakes and Ham Band Conditions

Conditions on the ham bands always seem to be especially interesting when earthquakes have been popping off.  My pet (read: nutter) theory is that since the Earth is like a big piezoelectric crystal in some sense.

Take this morning, for instance.  We had a M7.5 – 130km SSW of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea.  Nutjob theory says the 20-meter ham band should be interesting as a result.  Next day or three.

Back to point, I talked to a guy in Jakarta, Indonesia on SSB, and then knocked off a couple of contacts in Morse code down at the bottom of the 20-meter band.  No, SSB is NOT Super Smash Brothers, it’s something else, see here. (Gamers!  Sheesh!)

The fellow in Jakarta was complaining about a very high noise level in the city.  Something on the order of S-9, which is something most people don’t think about.

High noise levels mean something:  There is lots of electronic pollution about…and that means – since all humans are sensitive to electrical interference at some level – that all city-dwellers are slightly nuts.

Every time a read a poll, or don’t like the way a particular election turns out, I flip open a few reference books on the low level impacts of electronic pollution and presto!  Everything is explained.

Try Robert Becker’s The Body Electric: Electromagnetism And The Foundation Of Life.  I trust you know there are people who make special grounding sheets because humans used to sleep literally on the ground.

They are not cheap, especially if you happen to have a king-sized bed, but Amazon sells a Earthing Fitted Sheet Kit, King for about $210-bucks.

OK…why would you spend so much money?

The main reason I can think of is the possibility that having your body in contact with the ground may improve the caliber of your sleep.  And yes, that would improve mental condition, improve dream clarity, and oh, so many other things (like possibly anti-aging) that it would be a very long discussion, indeed.

People often comment that Elaine and I don’t look our ages.  Again, let me hold up another nut-job theory:  I think it has a lot to do with stress – and one kind of low-level stress that you’re not even aware of is the radio spectrum.

There have been tons of books written about the dangers of electricity at a subtle level and again, a good starter is Paul Brodeur’s Currents of Death.

You may not realize it, but there are countries in the world where electronic noise pollution is limited to levels about half what they are in the US. 

I don’t want to tell our expat friend Bruce down in Ecuador that maybe the reason Americans are crazy has to do with too much exposure to electricity.  His competing theory has more to do with sick souls, corruption of values, and what have-you.

Prepper’s Corner:  A Note From Ray

I don’t think my buddy Ray would mind me sharing this with you:  He’s been feeling a bit…

Pissy… The starter on my Deere, which has sounded like it was full of rocks for at least 10 years, finally cranked its last. Reading has yielded the following:
1. The small/garden/utility tractor forums provide a wealth of information.
2. The engine almost MUST be pulled, to replace the starter.
3. The starter should always be rebuilt, rather than replaced. New starters are Mitsus, expensive and subpar, or of Chinese manufacture, and complete junk.
4. The starter is like the old GM Delco starters, and must be precisely shimmed, or will eat the engine’s ring gear.
5. Onan engines are beasts, but begin to wear out at ~1200-1400 hours. Mine has nearly 1900. Ergo, pulling the engine now and not rebuilding it would be stupid.
6. I estimate the rebuild at not less than $380, but possibly as much as $1760.
7. Neither John Deere, nor Small Engine Warehouse have all parts necessary, so with Onan being the only source, I’ve a 7 day turnaround time for any parts orders.
8. Grass mowing and tilling season just started, here.
9. I shot my May play-money budget last week on a cherry Loudenboomer…

For those who don’t collect primo early SSB tube-type radio gear, the Loudenboomer Ray refers to is the venerable HT-45 which eHam reviews as a perfect amplifier over here.

I have been looking for one to complete my Hallicrafters classic 1960’s station.  I’ve already cherried out an SX-117 receiver, the matching  HT-44 transmitter, and the matching PS-150 power supply/speaker.  I also own a classic Hallicrafters T.O. Keyer which I dearly love.  Although I’m ashamed to admit my code speed has rusted to about 20 WPM from its all-time high of 40+.

Hallicrafters keyers used a mercury whetted relay which would handle enough current to key Hoover Dam, if necessary, with no clicks or contact bounce.  I exaggerate only slightly, we are talking ham radio here, after all.  It’s a lot like fishing stories, in some respects, with fishermen being a tad more honest, but barely…

If you ever get around to getting some REAL ham radio gear, there’s nothing like classic early to mid 1960’s tube type gear.  I picked the Hallicrafters series  because they had such nice audio.  While I always found the mechanical filter set-up on the Collins 75-S3B was dandy, the radios seemed to induce hearing fatigue when working weak signals for 8-12 hours non-stop during a contest.

But for real cool radios from the era, Hallicrafters, Collins, and the R.L. Drake company up in Ohio were the best ever.  The Collins 75-S3B receiver with the 32-S3 transmitter, or on the Drake side, it would be an R4-C and TX-4.

The three companies also made wonderful transceivers – transmitters and receivers in a common box, all with external power supplies:  Hallicrafters sported the SR-150, Collins was the KWM-2, while Drake had the TR-4C.  If you ever find the TR-4Cw (which included offset tuning for Morse code work), let me know.

When my son comes down in a few weeks, when he’s not skydiving down at Skydive Spaceland, he’ll be working on gear restoration.  KF7OCD is George II’s callsign and I will put him to work restoring a Hallicrafters SX-101 and HT-32B combo that has been sitting waiting for resurrection.

Generally, you can trust the eHam reviews…and if you ever find old ham radio gear when cleaning house and want to get rid of it, keep me in mind.  Flying, gardening, boating, and computing should keep a fellow happy.  But there’s nothing like sitting around a warm soldering iron on a cold winters night…listening to a tube-type radio with the night time pack of geezers solving all the world’s problems on 75-sideband till the wee hours.

To me, it’s magic.  But then so are convertible subordinated debentures and derivatives.

Write when you break-even (or want to sell a Loudenboomer cheap!)

George  george@ure.  -.  .   –   (net)

Comments

Coping: Grounded Airplanes, Sheets, & Ham Radios — 5 Comments

  1. With my now 3rd class flight physical I have found as far as admitting any kind of problem is still answered on the no side, my AME kind of whispered that he did not want to see any Yesses Like the government admit nothing, as of now the great god in Dc pays no attention to them.

  2. I don’t mind in the least, George. It took me more than four years of dedicated searching to find the Loudenboomer. That’s why, when one came up which was both intact and working (and pretty, BTW), I jumped. There’s a guy in PHX who’s been trying to peddle one on eBay occasionally, but he keeps listing it for “local pickup only” and so, no takers yet. That’s the only other turnkey ’45 I’ve seen. They seem to only show up at eHam and the antique radio forums after someone has latched onto one from a rummage sale or estate auction and wants restoration help or advise…

  3. http://www.thelazycaveman.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/caveman+cartoon.jpg

    Amazing how many terms of mental illness you use in your columns. Life in America seems to be like a patient who is taking 17 medications, most for side effects from other medications. They have to go off ALL of them and reevaluate to see what the basic problem really is. Use that as a metaphor for the usa legal system, or just life in general for that matter. You desire/acquire something and a cascade of necessaries and musts occurs.

    That was our experience living out of four suitcases for six months before our container arrived. It’s called life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness under a government that is only a wannabe when it comes to controlling the population.

    Ecuadorian see Americans like an ADHD child. Interesting at first, until they realize they are experiencing a person totally out of control of their life. And BTW, my wife’s Ecuadorian friend Irina who owns a pharmacy says there are no children in the local schools on Ritalin.

    That’s how it looks from Ecuador.

  4. I’ll stick with my AL-80B and Yaesu mobile. I don’t nearly use it enough when the weather warms. But I bought it for the command bunker for when the balloon goes up.

    George I always appreciate the timely advice you give. It was a major driver to get me my General ticket.

    KB1ZZH

    73’s

  5. Amen on the TR-4Cw. I got one with RIT a year or so ago from Universal Radio and it’s one sweet rig. I get solid SSB QSO’s mostly on 40 meters. Its receiver is solid too for its era, although no where near as selective as my Yaesu.

    73’s.