Good morning from yet-another writing location.
No, not on a road trip, or anything like that.
Instead, this morning I am using the music studio computer which has not enjoyed our publishing software until this weekend when I did some major “surgery”on the room.
This morning I have that 49” UHD monitor online in here and it’s working just sweet.
I can not say enough good things about these ultra-high-def screens. They make writing a joy.
We have the 49” Avera which we picked up for $268 from Walmart. An Avera 55” will show up today – another one of those casualties of the Amazon-Walmart wars for pricing dominance. I think the 55” was $321 including the tax and shipping.
Until recently, I’d been using the three 24” monitors, but the larger screens make it possible for me to whip out a column without putting in the hard contacts that are a (miserable) part of life now. This way, I can save the eyes for when the contacts are really needed.
As I warned you before, though, there are a couple of gotchas that go with the bigger of the big screens. The main one is you will need a bigger video card. I’ve gone to the NVIDIA 730.
The “stock” onboard video cards built into most computers (including laptops) will only hit 1080 resolution due to screen pixel density. The new ones will do an honest 5K.
Another little slice is the problem of connectors: You will need to be HDMI on both the computer end as well as the new monitor. If you run a DVI connection,, you may not get the full UHD McGillah.
Today, the third UHD (55”) for the office shows up and that may lead to a bit more visual contend around here since we will be able to use a video capture card to pull down a few frames from Iranian TV and other Free-to-Air (FTA) satellites that we monitor now and again.
Stick around – life is never boring around here…,
The Art of Parts
I think it was KAYO newsman Dave Langley who first got the idea of serious parts-shopping into my head.
This was back in the early 1970s, best I can recall. Dave and I were covering some news story, or other (might have been the Seattle Grand Jury that was looking into police corruption back when) and we were having a smoke (yes, bad, don’t lecture) and Langley was telling me a story.
He and a buddy of his (this is 40-year old memory stuff,m remember) had gone over to either Wenatchee or Ellensburg, Washington the weekend before because he’d gotten a line of a ‘23 Ford T-bucket in good shape.
Dave had great taste in restored cars. Expert fellow. At the time (I think 1973 come to study it) I was restoring a 1939 Chevy.
Asked about using a few parts for it from J.C. Whitney, I was advised that there are much better sources for parts and a fair discussion about shagging parts ensued.
Ever since then, I’ve remembered his advice – still solid after 60 years is pretty damn good advice, too.
If you want to have a REAL fine collectible, you have to cast your parts net wide and then – almost like panning for gold – you have to sort through lots of potential nuggets and then pick out only the best.
Fast forward to a month ago.
I think I’ve mentioned that in my spare time (what’s that?) I have been restoring a pair of old Hallicrafters radios.
The receiver is an SX-117, the transmitter is an HT-44 and the power supply is the matching PS-150.
If you’re not a ham radio geek (having a life, perhaps) you would not immediately see the missing piece. I’ll help: It’s the HT-45 Loudenboomer linear amplifier.
Picking up on Langley’s advice from back when, I watched eBay for some months and couldn’t find a complete unit. So I posted an ad on QRZ.com.
Turns out there is a fellow down in Austin who has what might be almost the perfect amplifier, but he doesn’t have the power supply.
However, a fellow ham up in the Woodland, Washington area does – he’s got only the power supply – and so I’m waiting for pictures and prices from them.
I n the meantime, though, a fellow in Shreveport checked in to tell me he has both units (power supply and amplifier) but he doesn’t have the tube for the Amp.
You can see pictures of the Loudenboomer over here. The first versions of it were made by Radio Industries. It was built around an Eimac 3-400z but most hams updated to a 3-500z which provided for a bit more power at the expense of not being able to have a piece of sheet metal inside precisely where it should be.
Over the coming weeks, I hope to get this all sorted out. The Shreveport fellow is interested in some of my trading stock – another skill to have if you’re into collecting real collectibles.
This is not something unique to cars and ham radio, either.
In airplanes, you can find a zillion parts in Trade-a-Plane and every group of collectors is something like a school of fish: They tend to read the same websites and such.
Once you find them, you can get as deeply into restorations as you want.
In the case of Ham Radio Disease, the best source of fine-tuning and upgrades is a magazine called Electric Radio. (www.ermag.com)
They have many fine articles on updating and upgrading old ham gear. About the only things you’ll need besides that would be a hot soldering iron, the eBay store of K5SVC who has great deals on complete sets of tubes, and of course the Hayseed Hamfest store where you can find replacement capacitors in shiny, new containers.
So weekends between ripping the stairs off the front of the 180-room (getting ready to put in another deck, lol) and mowing the south 16, this is what passes for recreation around here.
The only thing better than tube radios (which glow in the dark unlike these silly SDR and chip things) is knowing that you have restored a little bit of American and can talk all over the world with it.
Like reading a good book, casting your parts net wide is one of the finer adventures in life…damn shame to spoil it with Monday, eh?
Write when you get rich,