Quotes

Happiness is a shadow of harmony; it follows harmony. There is no other way to be happy.
-Osho

solar controller upgrade

The beast of a solar panel was too much for the economy controllers I tried. As I mentioned in my previous article about it, solar power upgrade, I put an antique ammeter on the incoming power that I could know how much was hitting the controller and a blade switch in the line so I could cut off the incoming juice when it became too much.

This was not a system I could just leave on its own. If I was ever going to be able to ignore it, and if I wanted to absorb maximum power […]

solar power upgrade

When I set up my ham radio shack six years ago, I chose to go solar-powered 12-volt because amateur radio needs to work regardless of the grid up or grid down situation.

Last year I upgraded to second and third deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. I added other uses to the system and last winter was frequently running low on stored energy. So I upgraded the panel and controller to modern, more powerful ones. The new panel overwhelmed the new controller.

It should not have according to the specs on both, but there it was. Controller said, “Too much juice”. […]

Ted Dunlap, STEE

You have-to have initials after your name to lend credibility to your projects and pronouncements. My latest creation inspired me to append “STEE” to my name. Further explanation will wreck the aura, but I’ll go ahead anyway. It stands for Shade Tree Electrical Engineer… similar to the Shade Tree Mechanic title I earned repeatedly with my auto/truck/motorcycle/tractor repair toolset.

Running a ham radio shack requires steady, clean 12-volt electricity. Handheld transceivers, HTs, or walkie-talkies if you prefer, have their own batteries. Cheaper ones use AA or AAA, but most use rechargeables whose chargers plug into standard 120-volt […]

two-way radios

can be indispensable in emergencies and other times normal communications tools are not working.

For my current amateur radio Technician Class students, I just bought 7 of the make/model I feel gives the best cost/benefit for ham radio operators. The TYT MD-UV390 operates on both the ultra-high-frequencies (UHF) of the FCC’s family radio service (FRS) and general mobile radio service (GMRS), it also transmits and receives on the very high frequencies (VHF) commonly used by hams, public and private agencies for regional communications.

Their MD-UV380 is the lower cost version of the same radio without the water-proofing. TYT, […]

electricity, components & circuits

Chapter 3 in the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio License Manual is the most challenging to most students. Remember that out of the 35 questions on your written exam, 26 correct answers is a passing score. You can afford to miss nine, or one out of every four and still earn your Technician’s License. You could miss, or even skip over every component and circuit question without failing your exam.

Do not get all balled-up in this one chapter.

On the other hand, it is cool, and even useful to understand a bit of this stuff. So […]

wave behavior

Whether it is a stone tossed into a glassy-smooth pond, sound waves coming out of a trombone or electro-magnetic waves enabling radios to communicate, the wave behaviors are direct relatives to the physicist.

One such person built a model to demonstrate wave behavior then his employer, Bell Labs, produced a movie of it. I almost called it a video, but those were not yet invented in 1959 when this was created.

Last year I pounded enough correct answers into my head that I passed my Amateur Extra exam. My motivation was that I really wanted to UNDERSTAND radio […]

Why The Fixer was AWOL

I changed my web hosting plan to save a few bucks. It has been a MAN VS MACHINE struggle to get my websites back up and available ever since. Perhaps old brain VS new technology … or patience VS intracacy … or something like that.

Machine slapped me around for several days now.

My web host encourages the use of a third-party service to prevent malicious players from flooding my website with bogus requests that would bury it and their servers hosting me. Siteground was wonderful, backing up and moving my stuff intact from one server to the […]

**Auction** Lot of 63 Vintage Electronic Tubes – update

I just listed a collection of vacuum tubes on ebay. This is my first attempt at selling through them. It will be interesting.

Something with such a small audience so widely dispersed is just right for this venue, I think.

It is a fascinating tour of early electronics, which at the time they were settling in on calling them “electronic tubes”, “radio tubes” and “electron tubes”. I particularly love the last phrase as it conjures up a vacuum tube teeming with loose electrons.

You can watch the bidding along with me. The listing is here:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Auction-Lot-of-63-Vintage-Electronic-Tubes-13-in-boxes/264595795476?hash=item3d9b236e14:g:sGoAAOSwgedeGhPK

They sold, […]

final day of registration for ham class is Friday

This a repeat of my previous announcement. There is one more day of online registration for Darby Adult Ed classes. We stand ONE STUDENT SHORT of having enough to make it happen.

I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana via the Darby Adult Education program in its Spring 2020 schedule. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 40 or 50 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby library.

The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing […]

GOES 17 – understanding the satellite’s viewpoint

This view of the Earth is so informative that I keep it programmed in Firefox as my Home Page. Unless I’m rushing off somewhere specific, I get this image of our area from a cosmic perch every time I fire up my Internet browser.

In my video below I go over some of the finer points of what can be learned by looking down at our segment of Earth from The Heavens. Obviously we can see moisture and major storm activity, but thoughtful study reveals so much more.

For decades they denied this activity. Recently the geoengineers […]

understanding geostationary satellite images

I have been a weather watcher since I began working outdoors a lot about 35 years ago. It was also around then I studied meteorology in college. Nowadays we have much better tools readily accessable to anybody. We also have geoengineers working the weather over on a massive, global scale.

One of my favorite tools is geostationary satellite GOES 17. Geostationary means it stays in a fixed position relative to our planet. I check this daily. It is, in fact, my home page.

Learn to read it and The Weather Underground regional infrared satellite image and you can […]

personal Victory!

I determined to UP MY GAME in amateur radio knowledge this year. My primary methodology was to work towards passing the final hurdle in amateur radio to earn my Amateur Extra ticket. It demands a wide range of knowledge covering the spectrum of radio construction, operation and transmission.

Two unanticipated things I learned from this effort were: 1) I really don’t want to know how radios are constructed… though much of that is required to pass the exam. 2) Simultaneously teaching a class of newcomers to pass their Technician level exams while studying to pass the third […]