Saturday, November 3, 2018

Saturday Puttering

GAF Meter still on the left peg. The Evil Party has pretty much expended everything they had, and achieved nothing. Whether the Stupid Party can manage to squeeze out defeat from the jaws of victory is an open question. Tuesday evening should be epic, either way. I don't think we will have business as usual, no matter what happens.

1) Fall fell, right on time, like it does here, the morning after Halloween.
Fans to storage, space heater out and cleaned off.
Still t-shirt and shorts weather in the daytime, but breezy and cool at dusk, and chilly late at night.
And I'm a night owl, by decades of trade and predilection.

2) Cleaning here at Castle Anthrax is Spring and Fall, not just Spring.
Fresh batteries in the smoke and CO detectors, fresh chemlights over the doors, change out the go bag clothes and update the supplies that need it, inventory the stores on hand, and make note of what needs stocking up for the rest of the year.
I'm big on canned goods, both individual serving-type, as well as #10, and green ammo-.

3) Long-term project: Camp Snoopy, has hit a snag, as one of the desperately short-staffed ERs I work at has decided they're not that desperately short-staffed after all. (They are, but jettisoning my contract saves them more than firing two regular full-time staffers, for zero costs. Other than being short every night from now until New Year's, but budgets have to be met. They'll come crying back on Jan. 1st, like they do.) This is why I take Spring contracts, and prefer to pass on ones in the Fall. They'll do last-minute number crunching, then decide to do exactly what they did.

4) The Tank needs some minor engine work, but it can wait until paychecks get predictable again.

5) A solar project and a better genny can wait a bit too, and it doesn't look like I'll be nailing down that HAM license before 12/31. There's always next year, and food and monthly bills take priority over a ticket.

6) Baby Brother seems to have finally unloaded the 1903A3 I'd left on consignment, so Christmas shopping should be more fun.
I have the needs taken care of in the toy safe, so I may indulge a want or three.
Or turn The Tank, which formerly hauled my mini-ER to TV and movie gigs, and a sand buggy, into a dedicated homebuilt RV. Nothing fancy, just something in the bed I can overnight in, wherever and whenever the necessity strikes. It would be nice to have an off-the-ground mattress available rather than choose between either a sleeping bag on the ground, or relying on the local innkeepers'.

If I had the final relocation plan fully in place, this would be the time I spent cutting wood, churning the last of the garden into compost for next year, and setting aside a hog and a couple of sides of beef for the year.

That day cannot come soon enough. When Orange Man goes away, or the economy finally craps the bed, like it will, things are going to get medieval. I'd much rather be behind twenty acres and a berm at that point, than stacking sandbags in town.


1chota said...

you do a very good service with your blog. stay healthy. I hope the bad things aren't as bad as the predictors say. peace, bro!

Anonymous said...

Im just east of Kingman, 5000' acres and acres. Bring your sarcasm out for a visit.
Billybob, Still missing weaponsman.

Anonymous said...

Been living at the bug out site for some time. Honestly a big financial hit, and 20+ miles to a real grocery store, but thoroughly worth it. Just wish all those futurists" predictions of most white collar jobs being available on via network (internet) were actually true, but still worth it. Practice my hardware in the back yard whenever I want, and when the boy is in town we shoot skeet and never worry about down range - someone else's uninhabited tree farm.

Good luck to you on the soonest possible move.

Bill Cthulhu

Old NFO said...

Hang in and hang on. Tuesday night 'should' be interesting, and I for one am going to be holed up, just in case the stupid breaks out.

boron said...

Please spend your extra/spare time getting a ham license - it's more than worth it should regular communications disappear

Anonymous said...

RE: your chemlights. Can I be as bold as to suggest LED motion sensor lights? I use ones intended for use in safes. I have them positioned all over my place (in the loo, near essential doors and near cars). They're great

Unknown said...

Now seems the perfect time to get your HAM license, since you should have the time to study. I passed all three tests in one sitting using only the ARRL license manuals for about 6 weeks. Not sure how your VECs work, but where I tested, you pay for the first test ($25) and there is no charge for subsequent tests on the same day as long as you pass.
Radio is a skill that must be practiced to be proficient, similar to firearms.

RandyGC said...

+1 on the Ham license. If you look around, you may find a club that does not charge a testing fee. A couple of clubs around here do not. There is no fee for the issuance or renewal of an amateur license (unless you get a vanity callsign)

(The FCC does not mandate a testing fee. They only allow a maximum fee the VE (Volunteer Examiner) can charge to cover administrative costs). The current maximum fee from an ARRL accredited VE is $15.00 per session (one try at each of the 3 exams).

In addition to studying the manuals, all of the testing pool questions are online:

There are several sites that generate tests using the FCC algorithm:

When I was moving up the food chain (when there were 5 license classes) I was passing the online practices tests consistently which made the actual test a breeze (except for the code test, which you young whippersnappers don't have to take. Now get off my lawn!).

Drop me a line if you have any questions or I can help.

Glenda T Goode said...

A suggestion on how to prepare for the technicians test.

Buy Gordon West's study book for the Technician's test.

Review it but don't devour it.

Find an online site that has practice exams.

Take the test. If you do not know an answer, look it up. Gordon West's books are well organized and a pleasant read while learning.

Keep taking the practice tests until you pass easily. There are so many questions in the pool and you will recognize them quickly.

All told, this should cost $30 or so for the book and the exam fee. If you need help with either let me know. I will keep a watch on this thread. I am on wordpress too.

Troy Smith said...

Tuesday... if the Marxist muppets win, they'll be emboldened. If they lose, they'll be enraged.
Plan accordingly.

MoralFracas said...

With all due respect to your modesty, you could end up/break down in anywhere usa, send out a quick message via your website and people you've helped out over the years with wit and wonder would converge like magic. Hell, there probably be a traffic jam and an argument on who wins the right. Bugged in, vittled up, doped out and surrounded by good neighbors with no little help from you and your posting. Count on it. Heartland.


Aesop said...

I appreciate the tips, and I'm under no illusion about the utility of HAM skillz come whatever, it's simply not a priority I can indulge this year, despite best intentions.
I'm going to get it if it can be got, but having a three month "contract"* pulled out from under me has made other things priority for the moment.

*(Apparently they only work as such in one direction.)

Anonymous said...

Hey Aesop, how did the eating-out-of-the-pantry exercise go some weeks back? Any new lessons this time?

Anonymous said...

The Tank? A regular now but it sounds like I missed something somewhere.

Somewhere Behind Enemy Lines
Peoples Republik of Kommiefornistan

Aesop said...

"The tank" is a duallie SuperDuty truck. (What can I say? I must've subconsciously missed my USMC M923 series ride.)

It has killed Chevy Suburbans in head-on collisions.
Not lying.
Killed them dead. Totaled. Didn't even set off my airbags, and I walked away unscathed.
Lesser-lugged vehicles have been crushed asunder just on the bumpers.
We're talking driving ace quantities of inferior contests.
I'ma start putting kill flags/silhouettes on the fender.

I'll update the pantry experiment this week. It's probably worth a post.

Mike_C said...

@Billybob: You're not the only one. Paid Kevin a visit on Sunday. It was a sunny, cold, good late-fall New England day in Boscawen, NH. Fall colors are about over, though not all the leaves have fallen off yet.

Pat H. said...

About that ham radio license.

I'd held the entry level Technician license for a long time, 21 years in fact, and at the urging of a friend, I began work on an upgrade to General. After studying and taking sample exams, I was passing them 100% of the time. So I purchased the study material for the Extra license, and was working up to passing them 70-80% of the time. I traveled to a club site where the club had a scheduled exam night, took the General exam, easily passing it. Since I was there and could take the Extra exam for no additional fee, I gave it a try. Passed it, but likely not as high a score as the General exam. I didn't ask.

Depending on which smart phone or tablet computer you have, there are very good apps that run on each operating system. I have iPhone and iPad, so went with an app for those. One app runs on both.

I think you'll find the Technician license material is very easy to pass, and so you'll be ready to take that exam in about a week, or less. I'd suggest you go ahead and acquire the study/exam materials for the General license and then take both exams at the same test session. While you can also take the Extra exam after a lot more study, it's really not necessary to get on HF for long range commo. I did it just for personal satisfaction because it is difficult, lots of wiring diagrams to identify and so forth.

Once licensed at any level your license is good for ten years and can be renewed online for another ten years, no costs or exams required.

Pat H. said...

A couple more items.

One, you do not need to own a amateur band transceiver to take any of the exams.

Second, some folks I know are reluctant to get a license since, in theory, the FCC can enter your "station" for inspection by law. In actual practice, unless you're operating well outside the parameters of amateur radio bands, jamming other stations or broadcasting music or programming, a visit by the FCC is remote to non-existent. My first "station" was located in a rust bucket of a 1975 Chevy Blazer, that's what the FCC would be inspecting should they have wanted to see my "stuff". Because amateur operators can have a signal that enters the antenna feed line at 1500 watts, I know of no ham that gets busted for using too much power. Amplifiers at that power level start at about $3500.00 and go up to about $10,000.00, so not too many amateur operators have that kind of equipment. I do own amplifiers for use on some of the bands available to Tech license holders, my most powerful one was 350 watts for the 2 meter band. Haven't used it for over 13 years. I'll probably be breaking it out soon, there are some folks in Northern Georgia I'd like to work simplex, not through a repeater. The owner of WRSA being one.

Go to for some free exam material, and then go to their review pages for evaluations of equipment.

The Freeholder said...

I agree with Pat H., the Technician is easy. Study for a day and you can pass it. The General is harder, but not overly difficult. I passed mine at 100%. The Extra, though, is a different matter, at least for me. All that theory is killing me. My old many could probably have passed it with his eyes closed.

If you can work it out, at least get your Technician's. Radios can come later when funds are easier to come by.