• Category Archives Life in the USA
  • Long Endurance

    Airbus have been testing a long endurance ‘aircraft’ in the backblocks of Arizona, my system has been tracking it.

    https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2018/07/Zephyr-S-set-to-break-aircraft-world-endurance-record.html
    We have been tracking it the whole time, its just that its right on the edge of coverage of one of my systems, so every now and then it drops out, but picks up again, but resets my flight timer.
    Point is, I only track the flight in bits, not a total time. I think the longest I have seen it is one whole day.
    If you are looking for it, it’s the aircraft labeled ‘Kelleher’ and its over the Yuma Proving Grounds.

    Very cool.



  • KM6UWM

    Got my Technician Class radio license today.
    Pretty happy. Pretty excited.
    Now to figure out what I am going to do with it…..
    Well, sort of, there is a pretty active club repeater in the area, I am sure I will be a little active on there, they seem like a great bunch of guys with a really diverse interest base.
    Then there are a few digital modes I am interested in… .So yeah, Im on the air, already had my first contact and am sending my position to the web via my call already, so yeah, super excited.



  • Idaho – June 2018

    We had been planning this trip for about 4 months… Pinning down the date took the longest time. Amy and Cole were busy on the 4th July (Wednesday), so that took that set of dates off the books…. Anyway, the week after was chosen way back and we stuck to the date.

    Training at Opto Wednesday morning, then off at lunchtime. Freddy had the car packed and Krysta was ready for her first big road trip and we were all psyched up for the next 22 hours in the car.

    The drive out to Las Vegas is the first bit to get done, I took us to the rest stop just this side and Terry took us through the city that never sleeps around 3pm. From there, it’s the open road.

    We go through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho, so lots of ‘big sky’ country.

    Got there around 10am, made great time, 20.5 hours. Yes, Terry and I swapped back and forth and so we drove straight through.
    It’s a lot quicker in the summer than in winter, hence the 2 hour quicker than expected.
    I took a quick shower and then left the gang at Amy’s pad to have a snooze while I went into her work and recorded a live feed and a YouTube video for/with her.

    We are just trying to help her do the social media thing, people want to know that the models are just like every day people and knowing their parents helps that.

    From there, we headed back to her place to pick up the rest of the troop and headed off to the island.

    Coles parents are building a cabin on a plot of land that is on a 5 acre island and thus is only accessible by boat.
    Here is the dock you wait at for John (Coles Dad) to arrive at.

    There are a few shanties and tents on the island with some cabins on the other side, so there are a few little boats that come and go from here.
    Everything, EVERYTHING, must be shipped on and off the island by these small boats. There are no services at all on the island.
    Here is the their cabin.

    As soon as I arrived, having been there before, I was looking around and noticed some bugs on one part of the roofline. I straight away told John and so we got out to take a closer look.

    Yellow jacket hornets. They are building a massive nest under his eve.
    I am looking forward to the story of how he removed them as we tried once latter tha night and they attacked us before we even really got close.

    We all piled into the boat and went around to whats called Pebble Beach.
    Its a beautiful beach full of flat round skipping stones. Tons of fun and sore shoulders latter, we headed back to the cabin for dinner and more talking.
    We just low key hung out most of the next day (Saturday) and saw eagles, osprey and other beautiful birds. All in all a very peaceful day.
    Later that afternoon we drove the two hours back to Amy and Coles place.

    Here is a shot of the three guys scheming what to do with Coles very empty back yard. As the evening wore on, the plans got more outrageous. Odd that.

    Sunday Cole had to work, so Amy took us downtown after doing Freddys hair.

    Downtown is rather beautiful. All the street lights have flower baskets under them and Freddy just loves it.

    Meanwhile Terry and I were checking out the cars…..

    We got to the park to do some squirrel watching and got a passerby to get a photo of us.

    Later that night we got to hang out with Cole and Wade, Amys sugar glider.

    The thing is super cute.

    Next morning, quick breakfast photo.

    And then after a whole lot of this….

    We were back in Temecula.



  • Solar Inverter

    I have a small test solar system that I run a few things off.
    It stopped working.

    Did not take long after opening it to find out why.
    Pretty poorly built really. I should have opened it from new and would have seen trouble coming before we put it into service.
    There is no way this thing is rated for the 600 watts it was sold as.
    In a way, it did me a favour. Freddy approved a new 1000 watt version and it really is rated at that. As such, the efficiency of the unit is much higher and I am getting more power than ever and have changed nothing but the inverter.



  • Discone

    As part of my amature radio fun and games I had to add an antenna.
    Wanting to do a little bit of everything, I bought a discone. It’s not great gain, but it covers a broad range of frequencies.
    Because the HOA is pretty strict about such things, its a lot lower than I would like, but so far, after a month, no letters to take it down….

    I just need a way to both transmit and receive through it.

    I have also been more active in using SDR, software radios. It’s a pretty steep learning curve, but it allows all sorts of signals to be picked up.
    We have watched pager messages, weather satellites, aircraft, other hams and weather stations. Not bad from a 20 buck USB radio and some free software.