Coping: With a New Form of Art (Part 1)

Until 3:08 AM Thursday, I had no idea what was going on with my research direction.  While I had lots of reading material (plus half a million must-do projects around the ranch), the websites, investing, etc.) I kept coming back to the art book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: The Definitive, 4th Edition.”

Not that Dean Radin’s new book “Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe,” isn’t great, and a page-turned, too.  It is.  If you have a brain, Radin’s is elegant nurishment.

But, the middle-of-the-night revelation was about to show me, the two books are related and possibly in an important way:  A New Form of Art.

(Continues below)


“OK,” you’re wondering to yourself.  “How does Radin’s new book – which explores the scientific basis of many kinds of Magic – have anything to do with an Art book?”

Well, it’s all about our dream lives, an area of research which has absolutely captivated me ever since 2008 when I launched the National Dream Center what has been ably tended and growth by Chris McCleary, a multiple-master’s fellow.

What happened Thursday overnight was another series of lifelike, but totally immersive dreams.  As mentioned many times, my dreams aren’t just odd bits and pieces.  No.  They’re full-on Imax-like adventures.  And they have an amazing consistency to them.

It’s also driving a lot of my reading, lately.

You see, there’s a common thread to the reading list which I hadn’t noticed before.  While I’m busily working on writing two new books that are firmly planted in our currently-shared, here-and-now reality, the reading list has been working on other realities.

Let me see if I can explain this a bit more clearly.

The two book’s I’m writing on now are Retooling Reality – which is sort of like Radin’s book, but not limited to “magic” and all those implications.  Rather, it’s a different way of considering the evolution of human consciousness in the time-domain and it speculates as to where we’re going and the point of all this evolutionary work.  I won’t spoil the ending.

The second book I’m writing is The Maker’s Encyclopedia of Tools.  This should be simple enough to understand, but it covers the areas I’ve written about here including specialized tools, design and manufacturability of projects, the progression of workspaces and it’s a big compendium of hand, power, electronic, and other tools.  Just the ticket for young people, many of whom today have never picked up a screwdriver, or sawn a board.  We can thank the government/agenda-driven break-up of the nuclear family, and as noted in Peoplenomics this week, the agendizing of “higher priorities” (like gender studies) which are now judged as more important than actually being able to do a damn thing.  I digress, but it’s foundational to what follows.

Let’s talk about the purpose of Art, for a minute.  What’s it’s role?  In other words, what does a good piece of Art accomplish?

Elaine’s got a way of expressing the answer that’s very good – better than mine.  Because of how I’m wired, I look at Art as generalized to non-verbal communications at a distance.

Since I’m still writing Retooling Reality, and the idea is fresh in my mind, there’s what Peter Falk’s character Colombo would frame as “Der’s juss one ting bothering, me sir….”

That is the problem of just where does consciousness LIVE?

In Retooling, there’s an example I use of smashing your thumb while hammering a nail.  Anyone who has done it remembers the experience!

Here da ting…” (*he said dropping into Colombo-mode):  At the instant you smash your digit, where is your mind?

Conventionally, a psychologist would pronounce that it’s inside your skull, where it always is.  But, we know from the literature that’s not a fixed location.  In fact, in some cultures the “mind” exists in the region of the upper chest/heart area.

As you’re inventing creative string of expletives for later sale to longshoremen and frustrated real working people, you may catch a glimpse of your mind being AT THE SCENE OF THE PAIN.

Which gets us dangerously close to the content in Radin’s new book, which is all about understanding our present Reality in a different way.

Sure, we KNOW that when you smashed your thumb, you generated electrical impulses which traveled up your arm, then up the top of spine and into nominal brain where it was recognized as pain.


But, the experiential data counters with a more radical thought:  Namely that consciousness MAY itself moved down out of the brain and out to the scene of the physical pain.

Science (of the conventional sort) will have nothing to do with such offensive thinking.  BUT there’s a caveat – a terrible FACT that is lurking in all the present-day Science which is objectively collected and subsequently hidden behind by “scientists” who are only willing to go so far.

They (correctly) point to their microvolt meters and other equipment which can be used to track the electrical signal path from the injury site TO the brain.

Because they can MEASURE electricity, they argue this is the one-way street of singular inputs and everything else is illusion.

BUT:   Is it?

Let’s imagine for a moment that we have a technological analog to such a system as I’m describing.  In actuality, there are lots, but I’ll use one called BPL (broadband over power lines).  As Wikipedia describes the technology:

Broadband over power lines (BPL) is a method of power line communication (PLC) that allows relatively high-speed digital data transmission over the public electric power distribution wiring. BPL uses higher frequencies, a wider frequency range and different technologies from other forms of power-line communications to provide high-rate communication over longer distances. BPL uses frequencies which are part of the radio spectrum allocated to over-the-air communication services therefore the prevention of interference to, and from, these services is a very important factor in designing BPL systems.”

Let’s use this framework to demonstrate how science is blinded.

What we presently have, in neurosciences, is a basic analogy to understanding of how simple high voltage, alternating current moves around.  Since the power engineers can measure voltage and current reliably, they can poke a Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter into an outlet and declare with total scientific certainty:  This is a power line!

And yes, it sure is.

But, unless they also put a spectrum analyzer on that same power line, they’re going to miss the fact that there’s BPL being used.  The whole entirety of the Internet is on those lines, meaning the world’s entire digital consciousness is moving bi-directionally over those same wires.

Neurophysiology, turns out, propagates this utterly simplistic (and therefore stupid in my view) concept that energy on your nervous system isn’t STACKED.  BPL is a stacking system. But God-forbid consciousness might be similarly stacked on your body’s electrical system.

Yet, we have a working technology (which is bad, by the way, and tends to interfere with HF ham radio and other spectrum users) that does STACKS useful power transmission to keep the lights right alongside modulated waveforms that are invisible to the power engineers.

Which brings us to a major point: There is “greater-than-zero” chance that  consciousness moves around inside our bodies on our nervous system, just like the internet moves around…power lines.

Lacking a way to directly instrument Awareness, though, we do the BPL equivalent of throwing the Fluke meter on the line and proclaiming “This is all there is to the circus!”

Maybe…but then again, maybe not.

I’ve gotten long-winded explaining this, but let’s pick it up with Elaine’s definition of Art and then into the new KIND of Art when we meet up again Monday, OK?

Make something yourself this weekend and,,,

Write when you get rich,

Coping: Advice to Microsoft

Please, brethren of the software forest, pay attention.  Ure is not happy  with ya’ll.

Not that I don’t love Windows 10.  I like it – lots.  And, for that matter, I totally “get” the Office 365 product which we run on our machines here.

But there are multiple areas where you need some guidance from real people and not “professional beta testers.”  You need to fire them and put up a real, more direct path into product development.  Let me give you some examples:

(Continues below)


Let’s begin with Outlook.

It was a great program.  Note the past-tense was.

When the newest versions of Win-10 Outlook (in 365) came out three things went completely off the rails here.

First, the program decided (rather than the user – moi) that we needed to convert to IMAP for email.  No, no, and HELL NO.  POP is fine…or was.

I don’t want my emails which may contain things like, oh, user issues, account balances, passwords and such, left on a server managed by a bunch of half-wits at  Dear God…save us from that fate.

It took me hours to get rid of IMAP email.  Which gets me to the…

Second Point:  Who the hell dreamed up the double-thinking piece of crap called the “Mail and Calendar” App?  That turns out to have been one of the hang-ups in getting rid of IMAP (spawn of the IT Devil itself) from my machines.

Workaround:  I think Microsoft, in the interests of Transparency, ought to include in all future updates something like this BEFORE the installation happens:

“Hi Microsoft User (Paying Beta Testers)

We’re going to screw up your computer in the following ways with our latest attempt to lock you into our computing environment.

  1. We are going to put in Xbox compatibility all over hell and gone.
  2. We’re going to screw up your mail by making Mail/Calendar fight it out with Outlook for supremacy.  Not going to explain how that battle will take place, either.  We’ll just guess at what’s best for you.
  3. When you burn a DVD of data, we’re going to leave a message laying around “You have files waiting to be burned” the will persist until the Second Coming or later.
  4. When you get new software directly from a trusted source (CCleaner, Nuance, etc.) we’re going to put up another horrible nag screen about not getting it from the Microsoft Store so can you trust them any more than us?  If we can get you out of manufacturer-direct habit, we can build another revenue stream!  Adds cost to you, but gives us a story to tell investors at the next dog and pony show for investment firms and that’s a Biggy if you’ve been watching the market here lately.
  5. No!  Stop asking!  We’re not taking the damn App Store off your machine or put it in some place where you can find it to delete if you want.
  6. We’re expanding the useless roles of Cortana.  We won’t go over and have lunch with Bezos’ crew and use a good, existing voice platform like Alexa (Echo, Dot, Spot, etc.) and bridge right to Skype because instead we wish to be a “own a software eco-system” trying to make it in audio Vegas.  Sure: Siri’s class, Alexa rocks, and the recognition rates of Nuance are spot-on.  But we don’t support cooperative computing if it costs us on the story side or in Accounting.  We want it ALL.  Like North Korea.  Following?
  7. We’re not going to turn off every SVHOST call until you specifically approve it because you’re a victim, not a customer and you can’t be trusted.  We know best.  You don’t.
  8. We’re not going to hold vendors like NVIDIA from running more than one app at start-up in their efforts to cram 3D rendering into the marketplace despite the fact that in Ford and Chevy Land, there’s no product worth installing yet. May never be.  But come on, don’t you want to see you’re kid’s face when you open the fridge?

If you agree to us screwing with your computer, please click “Agree” and make our day.  We’ll hop to it.  Otherwise, do nothing and we will screw with it anyway at the next update time which we’ve made about non-apparent to override.  Seriously, you can’t be trusted to decide how you want a computer to work.  It’s not up to you.  Go buy an Xbox and stop all that bothersome thinking in your life…

[   ] Agree        [   ]  Decline  (System may puke)

There are answers.

I was able to get part of my PST contacts back from a backup.  But the method of adding one PST to the current PST file in Outlook makes as much sense as Barney Fife who may have moonlighted.  Remember how simple field-level imports are in SQL?  Not in email, lol.  Ask Apple how it’s done.  See how Open Source works?

Now to the useful part of this morning’s rant.

To get rid of the files to burn nag, try this: Hit Google’s results here and go shopping.  The “Shell:CD Burning” option didn’t work for me – but going into the drive and removing stuff did…but then they came back.  So good luck with that.

Huge amounts of data on the SSD being eaten by updates?  Oh yeah…

I gained 4.2 GB by removing the Windows Update temp files. That’s a decent gain. Why am I having to do othat?

When done with your clean up, do a whole fresh system restore point…can’t be loose on those.  The more the better.  But even with a fresh one, I’ve had a computer fail to restore.  Go figure. Do another backup to the NAS (network attached storage) and go to church.

Then I got rid of unwanted programs (the mail/calendar that fights with Outlook, the Xbox junk, the App Store, and more) by using the remove programs tool in CCleaner. But some came back.  What to do? Ah…

If you use CCleaner, look for the Tools tab (on the left) and then visit the Uninstall tab on the top.  This will get rid of lots of stuff.  I know, 3D mixed reality sounds like fun, but seriously?  Where are the Bluetooth head-on displays that make this work wirelessly in my office for under a zillion bucks and a processor upgrade?

Go to and look for CCleaner links.  Defraggler is good, too, if you’re on an (ofd-fasioned) hard drive.

If you find nuisance programs keep re-appearing, there were some things on my system that I had to remove manually using PowerShell (be sure to right click to run as Administrator) and then get rid of offending junk.  Great resource is and How-To over at:

Well, now that your computer is screwed up, it won’t matter that last week was a four-day workweek, will it? I mean, if your computer’s down for maintenance, can’t work can you?

April Fool’s Day

Judging by the headlines, it has been extended to this morning.

Was it a coincidence Easter was April Fool’s this year?

Off to see the open…maybe stocks will be “risen.”

Write when you get rich,

Coping: With 3-Finger Aliens and Phones

A bit of something for everyone this morning,.  I mean if the aliens aren’t of interest, surely your telecom costs are?

The alien story – now this is something.  Got an email from Chris Tyreman up at

“I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but the Jewish blessing is done by holding your hands like Spock’s greeting, live long and prosper.  I always wondered if it was not a mimick of the Originators when they originally blessed Adam and Eve….Then these guys show up.  (Link to 3-finger alien story)

(Continues below)


The three-finger critters are pretty darn interesting…not sure who was breeding who (or is that whom….) but it certainly goes along with the notion in religions of others being here prior to, oh, the iPhone 6, for example.

Also related:  Story in the Washington Post this morning about how “Humans bred with this mysterious species more than once, new study shows.”  Question then morphs to “Did 3-finger visitors around 800 AD visit Peru and breed there?”

Three and five finger Monte, perhaps?

“Evolve or die: “Why our human ancestors learned to be social more than 320,000 years ago” sayeth the L.A. Times.

Sex & marketing – things never change in the barnyard.

Danger for Budding Capitalists

By the way, don’t know if you remember, but Chris’ son Judah has a remarkable business up in Saskatchewan called “The Sesula Mineral & Gem Museum” in Raddison.

Recently, his business was burgled.  Made the papers up there under the headline “Thieves hit museum of 13-year-old rock collector in Radisson...”

He’s set up a GoFundMe account over here which we’ll drop a few bucks in.

There’s a lesson in here about alarms, insurance, and all the rest…but I hate to see a really good start-up by someone as young run headlong into the “world’s an evil place” – but it is in case you missed it.

Communications Costs

Mentioned that we have our new cell phone going and we now have coverage down to “hog holler” which is 0.8 mile hike to make a call if the land lines and satcoms go out.

Oh, and if I don’t hit the autopatch on the ham radio repeater, too, I suppose.

Friend warhammer sent in some good shopping ideas to consider if becoming ruralized is in your future:

“We had shaky Verizon cell coverage in my neck of paradise, so we went with Vonage 7 or 8 years ago.  I’ve since switched mobile carriers, first to T-Mobile, now to ATT.  Each has their good and bad points.

Vonage is VOIP.  The company sends you their router free of charge.  As long as your cable modem doesn’t block the Vonage VOIP data, their router works like a champ, all for $40/mo with taxes and fees in the Quaker State ($25+ all the hangers’ on gov’t stuff).  Along with great coverage (as good as your Internet service), you can call to most overseas countries, unlimited, for no extra fee.  You can also get a Vonage App for your (non-flip) cell phone that allows you to call for free (including overseas) the same as the home Vonage service.  Home phone can also be call-forwarded to your cell for when you travel.

We’re happy with the company and the service.  We had one problem and after speaking with a customer service rep, they sent a new Vonage router free of charge.

Most cable companies also offer VOIP, however, most do not provide unlimited overseas minutes as Vonage does.

If you don’t have a wireless set, you can get one from Walmart/Sam’s Club or Costco (recommend one which can connect to your cell phone using blue tooth).  With these box stores, you can always return for a full refund if you don’t like the quality or the phone and/or the Vonage service.  Each location has it’s particulars.  I’m not sure what Vonage has for their return policy, as it’s been so long since we first signed up, but I recall it being fair.

My two cents.”

Good shopping info.

We’re STILL waiting for the turn-up to high speed here, although our Exede/ViaSat is now 10-down/4-upping OK.  Should about double when the new modem is turned on..

Balanced Reading?

This weekend, I’m not doing a “making” column Sunday.  In fact, that whole idea may end up being shelved.  To busy “making” and writing takes time.

Not that occasional features on ham radio won’t come along, but I am drawn to writing a second novel and that’s got more “temporal carry value” than  do one-off Sunday columns.

I’m trying something new that you may wish to consider in your studies:  Trying to “feed” all three of my “brains” about equally.

For the right brain, this weekend’s book is “Urban Shaman” by Serge Kahili King.  Story about his path into the ancient huna traditions of Hawaii…which (when mastered…lead to being a kahuna.

For the left side of the brain, I’m munching slowly through “A Computational Introduction to Number Theory and Algebra” though honestly, I’m more interested in a visualization approach to the underlying computational parts, as I think in pictographs, more than spreadsheet cells…

And while that feeds the two sides, the Middle Brain – the ante chamber of bicameralism? – is still soaking up Rothbard’s “America’s Great Depression.”

There’s  a mega-project on the Peoplenomics side that I need to get huge blocks of time for.  I’m integrating the m ajor day-by-day news of the 1928-1930 period with the roughly 2,000 pages of Federal Reserve notes from the period.

This weekend a collection of “rhymes” off present news from the Library of Congress collection.

(Library of Congress is a joke.  We know congressoids don’t read crap.)

Non-trivial stuff but time-consuming and there’s only so much “me.”.

Thing is, to be a good writer (non fiction as on PN) there’s only one way to fly:  Continuous mountains of additional facts, figures, and logic, though to borrow from the phrase from the old Donovan Leitch song Roots of Oak….

“Let me not hear facts figures and logic
Fain would I hear lore legends and magic”

“Fain” is olde-enggy for yes, I’d love to..”

Which leaves only the mountain of test gear in the shop as I try to build a “lifting sound” using fragments of sounds  (know what fractional cycle modem technology is?)…oh, and the garden’s got to be in…

So, too busy doing and making to make a Making…while making non-making makes work.  Perfect clear.

UK Radio Interview

Other than predicting a market crash for next week, our next interview about projects in Old Man Labs will be on British radio Sunday.

Will be on (with Howard Hughes – not the dead reclusive one) and there are lots of listening options: streaming and apps for mac&droids.

BTW, has anyone built a Mac software program called “Cheese!” yet?  Mac & what?

Been one of those weeks.  The pun police will have the place surrounded any minute.  I better go cover my dangling participles.

Write when you get rich,

Making: The Rest of the Amplifier Story

Making:  The Electronic Detective version of the story was fun to write, but it didn’t get deeply into the  making/fixing part of the linear amplifier project so this morning I wanted to run through the process of restoring an old piece of electronics.

Process, you see, is a HUGE factor in whether a person is successful at anything.  And, just as we have reduced the complexity to building a home to just four basis processes (measure, cut, join, finish) there is a similar series of steps that can be applied to “all things making.”

Those steps are:  Assess, hypothesize, troubleshootize, repair, re-assemble, and test.

(Continues below)



When you use a piece of gear for the first time, you put it through all of its paces and figure out what isn’t working right.  So for the amplifier, here were my observations before putting the unit on the bench:

  1.  Switching was all working normally.
  2.  An odd arcing was sometimes seen, but there was no component smell.
  3.  The amp would not make full power.  Max power out was about 300-350 watts with very little screen current and plate current was only hitting 250 ma. maximum.
  4.  Observationally, the bias voltage regulator tube was not igniting under any of the Mode settings.

There are (sadly) people in the ham radio world who will take their “golden screwdriver” to a perfectly good piece of equipment and just start twisting things (almost like an ape, randomly trying this and that hoping a fault will cure itself).  Surprise:   That won’t!  BUT all that “magic screwdriver” will almost certainly break other things!


I knew that the amplifier SHOULD be making full power output which I would expect to be in the range of 500-800 watts.    I looked at the schematic from the output of the rectifier where the jagged DC is cleaned up:

Starting at the Upper right (-BIAS) I knew this would likely be where my issues were.  I circled the actual faulty component which we will come back to.

The point is that I had hypothesized ahead of time which section of the amplifier was giving me problems before getting the cover off the unit.


Sure enough, measuring things out with an ohm meter, and following the manual’s “typical resistance readings” I measured from pin 2 of J102 to ground.  By the book, this should be either  4,000 ohm or 9600 ohms, depending on mode.

The 4000 ohm resistor had failed open.  So I had my problem solved…or nearly so.

The best news about that resistor being open was that it solved all of my problems in one fell-swoop.  That’s because:

  • When the resistor opened, bias voltage INCREASED.  And, as we all know from Tube Theory 101, too MUCH bias reduces an amplifiers output.  Bingo!
  • Further, we then knew why the 90 Volt regulator tube was no longer working:  When the voltage went up, it went past its design specs and that was the end of the regulator tube.

Since I had figured this might be the case in Hypothesizing, I’d taken the preemptive step of ordering both a new rectifier and a new regulator tube on eBay this week.  Both came to like $11-bucks.


This is where having large hands is not a good thing.

The replaced part is that white boxy-thing (a 10 watt 4.7K ohm [k is 1,000 so 4.7K is 4,700 ohms) resistor plus a couple of other resistors from the junk box).

There’s a good story to the resistor:  All I had in my junk box was the 4.7K which was too big.  And, I didn’t have a large second resistor that would work.  So hitting one of the Online Calculators, I did the substitution using 4.7 K plug (2) 56K ohms in parallel.

This is where the two most important formulas in troubleshooting are useful.

I knew that the likely output voltage of the unloaded power supply might be as much as 150 volts.  Using  Volts divided by resistance to get current (E/R = I) we solved current as 0.03191 amps, or about 32 milliamps.

Using this current, we could then use the voltage times current to tell us how much Power would need to be dissipated.  This is remembered as P=IE.  Power equals (I is current) time (E is voltage).

With the voltage across our resistor network being 150 (we’re guessing), and current of 0.03191, this means about 4.8 watts.  With the 4.7 K being well over, we were safe.  But, what about those two 56K resistors?

150 volts divided  by 56K (56,000) gives us current of 0.00267 amps.  And take that times our 150 volts 0.408 watts.  We’re in luck!  The 56K resistors are 1/2 metal film types!

Repair 2:

The other problem that remained on our list was the mysterious arcing.  You may recall, one of our readers said it might have been a cat hair…

It turned out, however, to be a loose circuit board on the top side of the chassis.  You see, the fan is mounted to this board and as you can see in the picture what happened.

When the board slid to the right, only ONE of the blades on the fan got close enough to arc…which it did in fine fashion.  All the while, though, I was looking to replace the cracked-insulator on the plate RF choke, or tear out the door-knob type high voltage capacitor  (the brown thing left).

Since the arcing was only happening when the board heated…well, it was one of the stranger problems I’ve seen.

Repair of this problem was not fun.  It involved taking out the entire filament transformer to get at the bolts, long-ago covered-up.

Reassemble and Test

With all the faults identified, it was almost heartbreaking to wind up the project.  Repair of tube type radio equipment is incredibly satisfying to me.  Tell me if this looks like something built in 1964 when I got done with it:

Almost hated to plug it in and have it just work.  Oh well, another day, another Making.

When I did plug it in?  My oh my!  Key down the amplifier will put out 750 watts to the antenna.  More cool than the raw power is that the amplifier also gives a reassuring thumping sound (as the big power transformer such down the line voltage) when keyed.

Yep…that’s what we love in ham radio:  Something that will dim the lights when keyed.

Totally tactile world-changer for those brave and bright enough to use Morse…the original digital mode.

Write when you get rich,  (de ac7x)

Making: The Electronic Detective, Case #1

Making:  it’s what people do on weekends.

In our first episode, we will tackle a medium-complexity problem in electronics.

While many people are put-off by such endeavors, with an almost superstitious belief that there “is magic in all those wires and parts” nothing could be further from the true.  In fact, electrons always follow the rules of simple physics – much to the consternation of poor humans, ill-equipped at times as we are to understand and follow such rules…  So to this weekend’s adventure!

(Continues below)


The Electronic Detective

The Case of the eBay Amplifier

Allow me to introduce myself;  I am the Electronic Detective but my parents named me Phaselock Home. I operate my detective consultancy from L-21(b) Inductor Street, not far from High Pass in the Filter district.

The case began with an amateur operator trying to recreate his ham radio childhood.  His “Elmer” had owned a Drake 2-B receiver with the 2-BQ Q-multiplier.  The transmit side consisted of a Gonset GSB-100 and a Johnson-Viking Courier linear amplifier.  A TA-33 (Junior) beam sat squatly on top of his single-story house, raised by only a 6-foot tripod.  A repurposed AR-22 TV antenna rotator moved antenna headings.  It was 1964.

Amazingly, in side-by-side testing, my client’s Drake 2-B was as sensitive as his recent (2015) Kenwood TS-590S transceiver.  Not as stable for digital modes, though.

The GSB-100 worked well, also, save some sideband suppression issues that promise another case, should my client be unable to follow the straight-forward directions for alignment common to to phasing-type SSB equipment.

The amplifier?  Well, that was a different matter.

My client, you see, is a vintage radio addict.  He learned to always enter a “Make Offer” bid 40 percent lower than the “Buy It Now” (BiN) prices on eBay.

In this case at hand, a $400 offer, plus a small fortune for shipping, was accepted for a complete, working Johnson Thunderbolt amplifier.  Buying with the “make offer” option ensured that if later resold, the odds of a profit would be higher.

Upon its arrival, additional help was hired to help move the beast.  Watt’s son was fortunately at hand allowing 125-pounds of “desktop” equipment to be moved into position.  My client had inspected the unit, and installed necessary tubes.

But, he was confused by large number of voltage regulator tubes.  The marking of tube numbers were unreadable on most.

Here, my years of experience paid-off.  Taking a tube, I rolled and rubbed it through my hair as my astonished client picked up his jaw.  “Those things are dirty!” he exclaimed.

While indeed they were, the fine oil from the human hair adheres to the places where the numbers used to be. As the numbers appeared, we were suddenly able to sort out an ancient OC3 from a a nearly identical looking OD2, and so forth.

Next came an appearance issue:

The Thunderbolt had a crank to move the rotary inductor as it left the factory.  So I demonstrated how a piece of wooden dowel, and a 1-inch long 8-32 screw could be made in one’s drill press.

Esthetically, it was not a permanent repair.  A painted screw head, preferably Phillips, would be located later, along with some hollow black plastic tubing of suitable diameter.  But, when prosecuting crimes against the spectrum, expediency is paramount.

A further problem was the antenna change-over relay – smashed in shipping.  Its robust mechanical parts were intact, but the leaves of the relay, where contact is made, had been bent into useless condition.

With 20-minutes labor, the relay was disassembled and parts bent-around, just so, to make them work as desired.

Those “buttons” at the end of the relay were the issue.  They are shown here after my client learned the art of “relay detecting.”

The Thunderbolt, I instructed, was an odd duck having no internal provision for transmitter-receiver switching.  The most solid arrangement, although a bit 20th Century, involved the use of two antenna relays drive by switched transmitter AC provided by the GSB-100.

If you inspect the picture, you will see that un-powered, the top two buttons are connected.  We call this a “normally-closed” (often abbreviated NC) position.  When energized, the relay center pole (the next leaf down) disconnects from the NC and contacts the third leaf down.

When not transmitting, as in the photo, there is no path from the second leaf to the third making this contact “normally open” – abbreviated “NO.”

These three wires are mechanically pressed into a jack  (lower middle) here, in the lower left of the photo.

I’ve given my client instructions to continue his quest for a proper plug to make with this socket.  But, since this is a 1964-era amplifier, the number of necessary components to create a “factory-fresh” restoration are very limited.

My client is still looking for Johnson Part # 22.1190 to mate with socket Part # 22.1191.

Our time is limited, but the Electronic Detective does offer elucidation to his clients.

Related to this case, observe as follows:

1.     The amplifier in question offers a superior product compared with typical grounded-grid designs.  “Modern” amplifiers, you see, were designed to be drive by the prototypical 100-Watt (output), usually Japanese-made, single sideband transceiver.  “Old” ham gear can be virtually any power level.  In fact, you can drive a Thunderbolt to a full 2KW PEP (input) with a low power radio such as an Elecraft K3 or even the new uBITX, a $119 (including shipping!) all band transceiver out of India! ( )

2.     This flexibility comes because the Thunderbolt does not drive the cathode (which is how grounded grid amps are driven).  Instead, they are grid-driven.  Admittedly, there is more complexity.  Those three wires on the Thunderbolt switch operating and cut-off bias on the two 4-400C amplifier tubes which are nearly the same (though shorter) than the 3-500Z tubes.

3.     While grounded-grid amps are most commonly cut-off when not driven, a grid-driven amplifier is not.  Which is why bias-switching becomes important.

4.     Sources for restoration parts include eBay for most things, including tubes and such.  The Boat Anchor Manual Archive (BAMA) []  is the premier source for FREE copies of manuals.  Surplus Sales (of Nebraska) has many odd connectors – they’re moving so we haven’t found a Johnson 22.1190 from them yet.  K5SVC (who runs an eBay store) has good prices on tube sets, while Hayseed Hamfest offers an assortment of newly-built (to spec.) can-type capacitors and complete radio re-cap kits.

The Electronic Detective doesn’t recommend a serious boat anchor project of this sort for your “first-time, out-of-the-box” encounter with ham radio’s glowing tube-enabled past.  Not only are there LETHAL VOLTAGES involved (which can hurt ‘all the way dead’), but you’ll need to remember that mercury-vapor rectifiers (such as the old 866-A’s) need to be “cooked” for several hours before first user after shipping so as not to arc-back internally.  That can be expensive.

In a further adventure, perhaps with the help of Watt’s son, we will tackle something simpler: A quick restoration of a triple-conversion receiver.

For now, I’m back to chasing Moriarty, again.

No, not the villain.  You see, I have as my goal this year to work half of the 80 hams who live in Moriarty, New Mexico!  I missed all of them in yesterday’s running of Winter Field Day.

To the bench, Watt’s son!  And bring a meter.  The solder’s a-smoke!

With that, the Electronic Detective put on an oddly shaped piece of head-gear:  A Danish Army helmet replica from WW II.  No point holding to convention, around here…

Coping: Prepping Shortwave Antennas

Prepping and Comms:  I mentioned last week that I’d offer my 2-cents worth on a comparison between off-center-fed dipoles (OCFDs) and conventional 1/4-wave dipoles.  But, in one of those senior moments that somehow ended up not happening.

Before we rectify that with a (nearly) grown-up ham  radio antenna discussion, however, a word (many, actually) about emergency antennas.  The kind prepper sorts (like us) keep in mind for The BIG ONE, should it ever get here.

The first core concept has to do with the two kinds of radio wave propagation you are likely to encounter in any good, Irwin Allen (Hollywood’s master of disaster director) scenario.  Though neither will work inside the Poseidon gone turtle, very well.  Say, there’s a film that took the joy out of cruise ships, didn’t it?

(Continues below)


The first main thing to understand is the “right antenna” depends on the kind of radio frequencies you are trying to pick up.  So toss this summary into your Faraday Shield garbage can (*metal, of course) so you will know how to use that shortwave receiver if/when time ever comes.  Lots of reading time when the power goes down.

AM Radio:  The built-in ferrite rod antenna in most AM receivers is adequate for most needs.  For nighttime operation and to hear long distances, you might ad the longest, highest piece of wire you can  find.  There should also be a ground wire for this kind of lash-up.  A $3 grounding clamp from Lowes and some hook-up wire is all you need.  The longer the wire run, the bigger the wire should be:  Under 35-feet, or so, anything works.  35-150 feet AWG #14 will work. A little sag won’t hurt.  Longer?  #12.

Otherwise, radio wire doesn’t have to be big – unless you are running consideration transmitting power.  Perfect receiver antenna for AM at night?  Clamping onto railroad tracks for your ground and using a sling (to swing a water bottle up into a tree in David v. Goliath using it like a sling) and get 50-100 feet of wire way the hell up in in the trees.

Receiving only, a simple wire down from the top is fine.  Transmitting?  RG-58 coax feedline works.  This leads into the longer discussion of 1/2 wave dipoles, end-fed half wave antennas, the importance of grounds and tuning antennas.  Few preppers will care, though ideally some kind of standing wave measuring tool in the Faraday garbage can is ideal if you’re planning to transmit.

You will be flat amazed at the number of AM and shortwave band stations you can pick up on a good quality general purpose and shortwave radio when it’s hooked up to a high and in the clear antenna.  OMG – it’s like magic.

SILVER LINING OF DISASTER:  I hope you’re not as into ham radio as I am:  I’m the guy who has figured out that EMP could take down most of the nation’s power grid and that in turn will shut off all man-made radio noise for the most part.  My first box of MRE’s will be devoted to enjoying the suddenly quiet radio spectrum.  (That, friends, is one sick preppery puppy, but we make no apologies since we worked a UA0 station (Russia) with just 25 watts on the low end of the 20-meter band Saturday which was fairly noisy with the beam looking out over eastern Europe and western Russia…but I digress…)

Antenna Golden Rule:  Longer and Higher for all antennas up to about 14 MHz. When you go up from there, the length isn’t as important as additional height.

The Only Formula You Need:  This is so simple:  468 divided by the frequency being used will give you the half-wave length of an antenna in feet.

So, you’re driving around The Big City and see a radio station with what looks like a 250-foot high tower.  Having attended the ultimate short cuts for preppers with radios, you would know that the vast majority of AM stations are using 1/4 wave vertical antennas.  So, you first convert that into a half wave by doubling your estimate from 250 yo 500 feet.

Then, you take the revised estimate (the half wave) and divide it INTO 468.  This means the antenna you’re estimating ought to be resonant at 0.936 Megehertz.

BUT – again since you are studying under the Master’s watchful eye, you will realize that AM radio stations in the USA are spaced every 10 KHZ.  Since 1000 KHz is 1 MHz, this means that the calculation points to a station on EITHER 930 or 940 on the AM dial.  Your eye may be off.

Gee, ain’t this special and fun?  (If you are male and way off in your estimated length, ask a woman to help.  They have a much better eye for distances…though we will leave the cheap “estimated 6-inches” jokes for a less politically correct site than Urban. We realize that estimating 6-inches has little to do with gender, anymore….)

What’s a BAND

(On the run, or otherwise.)  This is a small piece of the radio spectrum.  Formal definitions are tough…so think of a band as the amount of spectrum where a single antenna will cover the desired frequencies.

A bit of broadcast engineer trivia:  With a sharp (narrow passband) receiver, you can actually make an intelligent guess at what kind of antenna matching system is being used by the transmitting station involved.

This is because those GREAT BIG HUGE AM antennas are often required to be operated (especially at night) as DIRECTIONAL arrays, which is done with 2 (or more) towers in total.

Here’s the deal:  What made some of the legendary AM Rock Stations famous was almost as much their antennas as it was their content.  You see, all else being equal, an antenna matching network (in a building at the base of the main tower, usually), can either be built at a pi-section filter or a T-section filter.

The rockers were always playing the game of “apparent loudness” back in the day, so we took great pains not only to line up the antenna arrays (just so…) but ALSO to make sure that the network of coils and capacitors comprising the antenna matching network didn’t have too high a Q.  Q, you have to understand, is what determines how sharp a tuned circuit is.  Higher Q circuits are great for some things (carriers) but terrible the further you get off the stations main carrier frequency.

What KJR in Seattle or KFRC in San Francisco had was marvelous tuned antenna systems.  At other stations – because this matching network discussion is a hard concept to convey to a general manager of a radio station who’s busy trying to bed the receptionist, lol –  the money went elsewhere, so that station just always sounded a tiny bit weaker.

Of course, this could be partly compensated for with additional equalization and more compression (which is why AM music always sounded different than FM), but the real fact is that if a carrier is on (for example) 1,000 KHz and matching rolls off sharply, then by the time you get higher range vocals and instruments, they have become slightly muddy and not so “punchy.” 

Remember:  On AM, when you transmit a 5 KHz (5000 cycles, a high whistle)  tone (audio) what you see on a spectrum analyzer is a main signal at 1,000 (the carrier) while there’s another signal (called the lower sideband) down at 995 KHz while the other audio appears at 1005 KHz and is the upper sideband.

If you ever play with AM on the ham bands, remember that a lower Q (usually larger) antenna will sound better on AM than the same transmitter in a very peaky high Q antenna.  Ah, the trivia of it all…

The AM broadcast band up to about 15 MHz (at this time in the 11-year solar cycle progression) is the region of F2 – skip/bounce – which is how low MF and HF (medium and high frequency) radio gets all over the world.  Wait for night which is when the F2 layer “comes down” and bounces things like crazy on lower frequencies.  This is why KGO in San Francisco could be heard up and down the West Coast.

Called the MUF (maximum useable frequency) the best bounces are higher in the daytime (around 14 MHz in winter in the cycle we’re in right now) and then at night low frequency AM can be heard all over the place…

Back to the Bands discussion then:

One antenna will work fine for most of the 80 meter band around 3.5 MHz.  BUT the high end of the band up around 4 MHz could be separately optimized hence hams refer somewhat interchangeably to the 80 or 75-meter bands.

Band in meters is the full wavelength.  80 meters – converts to 264 feet.  Half of that is 132 feet (a half wave length) and since a 1/2 wave dipole is two quarter waves fed in the middle, each half of an 80 meter dipole will be around 66-feet.

As you go higher in frequency, the antenna becomes shorter.

Example? Sure!  AS you work up the ham bands, and let’s look at 10 -meters, 28 MHz, the antennas are getting much, much shorter:  One wave length here is 33 feet and a quarter of that is?   Around 8 feet – which is why those CB whip antennas were mostly around 96-inches in length.

The Higher  Frequency means the Shorter the antennas.  Call 2-meters 6.56 feet.  Divbide by 4.  Now you have a quarter wave antenna 1.54 feet times 12 inches gives us?   19.68 inches.  Easy, huh?

The high bands are called the VHF and UHF bands.  This is mainly line-of-sight comms.

How far is VHF or UHF signal path under normal conditions?  Standing on flat ground (or on a stable boat?):

If your walkie-talkie antenna is up 25 feet, then the distance out is 6.15 miles.  If there was someone 12 miles out, you MIGHT be able to contact them direct, but depends on frequencies since microwave signals tend to “droop” in the middle.  This is about where the conversation devolves into a microwave engineers discussion  of “shot alignment” which I was doing for the .mil in Alaska at age 19 as a defense contractor employee…where were we?  Oh yes…

If you’re on a cell tower at 250 feet, the comms range is 15.8 times 1.23 which is 19.434 miles.  So yes, two 250-foot high towers 40 miles apart will be at the very ragged edge of each-others line of sight.  Make it 35 miles and it’d  be mucho reliable. Before fiber there was a real AT&T terrestrial microwave system which is why phone calls cost oodles back when, yeah?

If you EVER get stuck and don’t have cell phone coverage?  The quickest way to increase your odds of getting signal is to walk up hill.  Of course, then you get lost and search and rescue doesn’t have a clue since your iPhone died.  It doesn’t matter since you got eaten by a bear…but you didn’t expect the End of Life on Earth to be easy, now, did you?

The Grown-Up OCFD versus Dipole Antenna Seminar (Lite)

Lite means you shouldn’t need to plot Smith charts to follow…but here goes.  The easiest antenna is a dipole.  Two quarter waves fed in the middle.  Easy.  But a “dipole” can be fed about 1/3rd it’s length from one end.  Still a half wave long overall.

A “dipole” is a hunk of wire that has two radiating portions of about equal length.  Since we know the resonant frequency may be estimated as 468/frequency divided by the frequency in Mhz, a simple dipole for the bottom of the 80 meter ham band would be 468/3.6 =130 feet.

Divide this by 2 and we have 65 feet either side of the center of the antenna.  Because I’m lazy, I will call it 66 feet and toss it into Roy Lewallen’s dandy EZNEC antenna modeling platform which every radio junkie who transmits should have for designing and optimizing antennas.

In the modeling program the antenna is assigned a height  (Z axis).  Here I use 40-feet.  I laid this antenna out along the X axis, but the Y axis lets you model loops, spaced multi-element (beam) antennas and such…

You also set where the feed point is (the circle with a 1 in it) and the wire size which I’m calling 0.09 inches corresponding to about #12 AWG wire if my brain’s awake and functioning yet.

The first thing we run is a frequency sweep across the intended main band of operation to see what the Standing Wave Ratio (or SWR) is.  And it’s not bad…  Most transmitters are quite happy with a 2:1 SWR or lower,  but when you get over 3 to 1, then you’re asking for issues. Solid-state gear dials back transmit power in order not to overheat, and so on.  See why a second antenna, tuned higher in frequency would be nice?

Notice on the dipole plot above that the lowest SWR occurs at 3.56 MHz and is a 1.15 to 1 SWR.  It would work great.

Now let’s see how the Off-Center-Fed-Dipole compares.  In this super simplified example, I just move the Feedpoint from the dead-to-nuts middle to 33% from one end.  The antenna still works dandy, BUT the SWR is not quite as peachy so the signal is almost immeasurably weaker.  The SWR has climbed to 1.5 to 1 at its minimum point.

Now let’s view the models and see what the wireframe view of the antenna pattern looks like.  Big balloon shaped thing.  Most of the radiation pattern is perpendicular to the X -axis (which was figure 1 in this diatribe).  That’s what turns it “eggly” out the Y axis.  A kind of broadside push.  Simple dipoles are broadside firing.  This broadside tendency becomes more apparent as you move the whole antenna up from the ground.  Once you get 1/2 a wavelength above ground, which is 130 feet which even Ure doesn’t have the money for a tower that high…. it is nevertheless almost magical.  You become one of the legendary BIG GUNS on the band.

The good news is that on the 20 meter band (call it 70 feet up), magic happens there a 1/2-wave up, too.  And that is the tower height we (nearly) have at Uretopia.

So Why Mess with an OCFD?

Fine question, yes sir, yes mam, or yes [other]:  The reason is that the OCFD is inherently multiband capable.

We will only go to the next higher (harmonically) related ham band to illustrate this point.

Our conventional Dipole antenna seems to look OK.  But it has a few of what Elaine would call troublems.

The first of which is there is almost NO radiation right straight up along the Z-axis.  Since right up (and right back down again) is the basis of NVIS (near vertical incident skywave) propagation, daytime use on 40 meters, the conventional dipole would be (how you say?) sucky.

Our off-center-fed-dipole, on the other hand is consistently consistent!  Still plenty of broadside energy but more important, there’s a hoop-dee of NVIS component.

To break it down, there may be signal paths where the conventional dipole operated on its second harmonic might be better, but on average the OCFD would be more effective on (even) harmonically related bands.  Fed with the right feedline,  a 7 MHz dipole will give a good account of itself on the 15-meter/ 21 MHz band.

There is no free lunch with antennas (or democrats):  Pipers are there to be paid.  What changes is the inherent impedance of these antennas.

This comes into focus when we look the 200 ohm SWR plot of the Dipole (top SWR plot and sucking mightily) compared with the bottom SWR plot of the OCFD antenna:

Since transmitters generally like 50 ohm feed impedances, the OCFD and a matching device for 200 ohms looks like this on 40 meters:

This can be further optimized by using a slightly longer antenna (67-feet like the formula said…) and that would push the low point of the OCFD down to middle to lower end of the 40-meter (7 MHz) band.

The OCFD is a compromise antenna, though, because of a human factor:  OCFD’s like to be fed with a 4:1 current balun stuck on the end of 50 ohm coax cable. 4 times 50 gets you to 200 ohms.  (A Balun is a balanced to unbalanced feedline device) and it likes to have an RF choke at the antenna to feedline point to keep common mode components off the feedline.

The electronic nomenclature for “common mode components” is “noisy sh*t”.

As a practical matter, No ham I know would climb up 40 feet and install (or uninstall_) a Balun (or matching unit) just to change operating bands.  The Balun may not be perfect on 80 meters, but close enough…

Because people who use OCFD antennas generally leave the 4:1 balun in the line on the lowest band all the time – THAT is one reason the regular dipole is still the winner on the lowest operated band. Going up?  OCFD’s are fine.

Well, EXCEPT the way I I tried to beat that was by putting up a HUGE antenna – all 746 feet of OCFD at the 40 foot level and this gives me YUGE antenna gain toward Europe and the south Pacific from here on one particular ham band (80 meters) though I do use a 4:1 Balun.

There is marvelous gain (on  the order of 8.58 dbi compared to a dipole in the 5.5 dbi range) so call it 3 db – which is a doubling of received or transmitted power.  Almost as good as two 5/8th wave lengths back-to-back fed in the middle which is called a Double Extended Zepp (DEZ) antenna.  The folks over at West Mountain Radio have a DEZ calculator online here.

Just remember, for low band radio antennas, it’s a design call between all kinds of factors:  Gain comes at the expense of directivity:  You might have a pattern that leave Japan out of the equation.  Height above ground changes feed point impedance.  1/4 wave verticals – even two of them – can give you a cardioid antenna pattern which is useful.  But the gotcha with verticals is that over-the-horizon noise tends to be vertically polarized, which is why a beam (or cubical quad) is a better choice for weak signals work.  Unless you put in A MASSSIVE copper ground system under a vertical and bump it up to a 5/8ths wave…OMG this discussion goes on all week…

Antennas – like sailboats and politicians – are always a design compromise.  If use an OCFD I liked the reviews (and price) of MacconUSA OCF 3K80 so much I bought it along with their RF line isolator as well.  Well pleased.

The other company that does an outstanding job of the OCFD is Buckmaster which has a whole page related to their versions of the OCFD over here.

BUT, if you are looking for a mono band solution, then the four-legged “horse fence antenna” is a must-try, as well. These give outstanding performance on a single band.  The KF4BWG four-legged horse fence antenna page is here.  I’m saving up for one of those…   The reason that both cage dipoles and horse tape antennas work so well is they have a lot of capture area.  Single conductors are not as broad-banded.

The less expensive (2 elements) Horse Fence gets great reviews on here.  And you can waste several weekends just going to the eHam antenna ratings, clicking the reviews (5.0 is best) and then modeling them to see which is really the best in terms of price per dbi (decibels, isotropic) in your modeling….

At some point, I should stop writing on this…

Ah…how’s that…something nice to contemplate as the week begins…

PS How to Spot a Phony:  There will be some hams who will insist on pronouncing the word balun as BAY-lun.  These are idiots.  The word as explained, derives from balanced-unbalanced which makes it BALun.  Unless they are willing to make up a BAY-lunced antenna feed, discount their advice by 50 percent (or more).  I use a 99% discount on such.

I learned, though, not to correct such people.  It’s very useful to listen to people because over time, they all expose how much they know – or don’t – about the topic at hand.

Write when you get rich,

Coping: How Social Media is Killing America

Communications:  There has been increasing chatter in social media circles about what the ‘next business model’ will be.  Social is running its course; like a bad case of flu.

To refresh:  The social hoodwinking of established web sites and creative content for all, began with the simple premise that if established websites (like Urban, for example) wanted to increase readership, the smart thing to do would be set up social media pages.  Let people talk.

We saw right through it, of course, and figured what the real “mater plan” for what it would be:  A way to get major corporations (and freelancers like us), to migrate their audiences to social.  But that, predictably, was just to “lead the cows into the social slaughterhouse.”  Someone was going to make a killing.

(Continues Below)


You could see the moment of the change:  It was when enough of the BIG (but arguably dumb) had made the foolish mistake of trusting the Zuke Markerbergs of the world to continue free access to their own clients and social-migrated readers.

Recall a few years back: Corporations found that they when “posted” on social media sites, only a small fraction of their audience would be informed of their posts.  Once on the slaughterhouse floor, they discovered they would be required to buy access to their own audience.  Mind you, the same people who – prior to social – had interacted via stand-alone websites.

We called it in a Peoplenomics discussion about “time-circular” business models.  “Free” up front – and then the bigger switcheroo.

Goes like this:

Step 1.  Invent an ego-addictive software platform.

Step 2.  You social media to allow unfettered access to your migrated audience who promptly get hooked on “social” heroin. Egos are nasty self-management demons.

Step 3.  Social slams the door and begins to rent-back the very people that businesses and websites brought to the party.  Because runaway egos are rampant on social, resulting in YUGE numbers of eyeballs, companies started underwriting it.  Thus, letting the foxes of social begin counting the chickens.

The problem with social has continued to evolve on two front, now::

First, they need to find out new ways to get people  to otherwise don’t care to spend useless hours generating FREE CONTENT for the czars of social companies to spend MORE time doing so.  This sells more ads.  Which in turn makes them richer.

Social media is gasoline thrown on the national emotional state.  It’s where social justice warriors, not to mention anarchists and ISIS, go to recruit.  Land-o-Link-Bait.

Secondly, social has sold its soul to  the Deep State in America – which is (presently) seen as the liberal/progressive left alliance with the liberal “intelligence community.”  The folks who don’t seem to be able to read The Constitution and fully abide by its terms.

Little details – like unreasonable search  and having reasonable rights to an expectation of privacy..

The undocumented tactic is simple:  Ideologies that make sense to grown up people (things like balanced budgets, national borders, gun control, auditing the welfare state, and questioning the whole ‘climate scam’) may be posted, but then it just “disappears” a few minutes, hours, or whatever, later.

Thanks to social media addicts, we can safely predict a whole new  genre of political ideologues who will claim the specious SJW high moral ground (after screwing the people who built them, yeah?).  That’ll be their platform from which to preach.

Looking ahead, it’s easy to predict that in either the 2018 or 2020 election cycle, one of these “social giants” will run for office.

Public service is one of the few gigs that can be more abused than social media power.

If you think your Federal government is crooked now (as in prone to over-reach, and no, the creek on our property is – for now – not a navigable water of the United States, for crying out loud), just think what social will be able to do as government.

It will be the accidental revolution that has – in our view – the potential to bring global mob violence.

Already, social media is moving to strengthen its mind-control lock (go read on shadow-banning) to “control the narrative.”  We’re asked to overlook the worst-case of social:  Streaming murder (and attempted suicide), radical recruitment, and thought viruses related to climate and causes.

The worst is yet to come as we near elections.  People with a taste for power (and big money) won’t be able to resist going for the gusto.  I will bet almost any amount imaginable that the Big Three of Social Mind Control (which is what social is) will generate both an “election process” and maybe its own slate of candidates.

Thus, arrives the third party in America.

The “Stupid, Lazy, Egocentric, Me-Oriented Dopes.”  Call it the SLEMOD Party, for short

From an historical standpoint, we are appalled that as a country has cast off it’s “chains of oppression” from past wrongs, we’re anxiously lining-up to be fitted for the new chains.

You have to be a fool not to see it.  If you spend more than 5-minutes on social a day, congratulations, you may have passed curable.

The problem isn’t just social media taking down America.  It’s a much bigger topic.  And we’ll jump into that in our subscriber report tomorrow.

Because the real problem is Network-based Business Models, in general.

Around the Ranch

Colder than a well-digger’s but.  Disappointing, though, that our much-warned “Big Winter Storm” has brought only cold and not nearly enough precip.  Still, one of the coldest years ever in our 15-years in the East Texas outback.

It will mean fewer bugs, snakes, and critters when summer finally appears; usually in March, or so.  So much for climate change.

Ham Radio Corner: Something as loud as an inch-and-a-half firecracker went off at the ham radio desk Monday as I was banging out Morse code to a fellow up in W9-land.  (Ham radio call signs are loosely assigned by regional numbers.)

That new to me (restored to near its 1963 manufacture date condition) Johnson Thunderbolt linear amplifier was still acting strangely.

Seems that the bias power supply is having issues.

It’s on hot standby this morning – a kind of auxiliary heater for the office!

Through the top of the cabin et, you can see the happy glow of a pair of 4-400Cs.

So far, no idea what the problem was, though there were lots of sparks from the final amplifier tube area.  Strangely, though, no odor.  I suspect either a parasitic oscillation or a non-critical bypass capacitor.  But, I’ll have to be help moving the 125-pound beast before opening it up for inspection. 

But, with low plate current and idle plate current for AB² operation low (only about 500 watts input), it likely comes down to either a screen or bias voltage problem.  Which is the stuff that makes troubleshooting electronics so rewarding.

Real serious hams can look at the power supply schematic third from last page of this manual and see both V-104, a 6BY5GA rectifier along with the related switching of the bias (as J-102) and the associated regulator, an OD3/VR90 which will also be replaced.  Ure’s rebuild of the switching relay has been ruled out, so says Mr. Fluke.

An Eye Update:

Oh, yeah, still trying to keep my vision which continues to display mood-swings.

Trip to the eye doctor Monday was OK.  20/30 to 20/25 continues in the “good” (operative) eye.  So next on the shopping list is monitoring corneal vascularization.

I’m still skeptical of Allopurinol for reasons found here.  Although it you have “cat eyes” maybe not an issue. You see, in one study here, it was found that Allopurinol helped moderate xanthine oxidase free radicals.

Here’s the personal problem that presents:  If I buy up enough lab equipment to do self blood-draws, and enough chemistry set goodies to make meaningful blood serum level checks, that might be noticed by some federal agency.

Which could (wrongly) conclude instead of breaking the bank and doing personal blood checks, I’d gone off on the Breaking Bad track.

So, for now, we let the docs order the lab tests and we’ll just keep going through through the modern medical smorgasbord lines.

Write when you get rich,