The Best of Both Worlds

kx3mountThis year will be my first Field Day since getting my Amateur License last year. My neighbor Chris (KG7NFF) over at HARBORHAM.COM and I will be doing field day somewhere in the middle of the Wenatchee National Forrest. We will be taking the Jeep and do dispersal camping on a high ridge in the Taneum Creek area. Since I’ll be taking my general test just the week before, and if I pass, I’ll be able to participate in HF.

So the plan is to take the Jeep somewhere where only the Jeep can go and set up camp over night on Friday. Field Day stats at 11AM Saturday.

So I will be combining HAM radio and over-landing in the same weekend. I am so looking forward to this!

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New Critter in My Back Yard

Not my photo

Stock Photo of a Long-Tailed Weasel

This morning looking out at my back yard a saw a common sight. A rabbit darting across the yard. Then a millisecond later I noticed a brown streak chasing the rabbit. The streak aborted the chase about half way through the yard and the rabbit made it to safety.

I called Robin to the door to show her the ferret looking brown streak , which we finally identified as a long-tailed weasel thanks to some quick searching on Google. This is a new addition to our back yard menagerie. We have become accustom to our back yard zoo, and know it’s inhabitants well. The deer, the coyote, the raccoons, countless birds and of course THE BEAR.

I did not have the camera nearby this morning when it happened. I hope to capture its image the next time  she “pops” in.

Robin did some reading on the long-tailed weasel and it’s a carnivore that will not only take something larger than itself (like the rabbit) it also has a  love for rodents. So considering this years explosion in the local mouse population I can see why we a . I can only hope I can capture this cute little rodent muncher on film and get something as viral as weasel riding a woodpecker. Because we have those in our back yard too.

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Helping my Neighbor Launch and Antenna

IMG_7943

Wayne charging the launcher with compressed air

So my neighbor and fellow HAM Chris (KG7NFF) had his friend Wayne over tonight to launch a wire antenna up into our trees. I helped a little as it was fun to watch the potato gun launcher that Wayne brought over.

It took three attempts to get the first line up. The first one the fishing line ran to the end before the projectile made it to the top of its arc. The line snapped and it was lost in the woods.

The second attempt was using a spool of twine, turns out that holding a plastic spool of twine while launching a projectile with 100 psi is not a good idea. It really was a good thing that no one was hurt.

The third attempt worked after we laid out enough line behind Wayne as he fired.

Here is the video

Update: Chris is reporting that the new antenna is doing great and he is working stations in Russia with it.

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Mt. Townsend

Mmmm Steak and Peppers!

Mmmm Steak and Peppers!

Took a hike to Mt. Townsend Saturday May 2. I knew this was going to be a steep climb, and this early in the season it might have been a bit too much to try. I survived though, even if I was the last of the  group to make it to the ridge. never been to this peak before and the views were breathtaking. Of course I brought my Bi0lite stove and made my stock day hike lunch of grilled red peppers and steak. Then after lunch I set up the KX3 for my first attempt at SOTA (Summits On The Air) peak activation. Unfortunately I was not successful. The 10M band was nonexistent and the frequency I choose for 2M turned out to be too close to a repeater in the area. So there was really no one to make a QSO with on HF. I figure using a repeater with SOTA is probably bad form. I did listen in on a lot of QSO on 20M (I cannot wait until I get my General License!) that I could not participate in because I only have a Tech License.

On the way up I was focused on taking the next step. The last mile was tough on me. Seems that I would stop and rest every 10 mins. However on the way down I was able to explore Camp Windy which we blew right by on the way up. It has a pleasant little alpine lake and was 40% still covered in snow.

We are talking about going back up at the end of the summer – to see how much better we do after doing  a summer of hiking. I’ll hopefully be a general by then, and I’ll have a better chance of activating Mt Townsend as a SOTA peak!

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Exploring APRS

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.54.20 PMAPRS is a digital packet radio system for amateur radio. I have been wanting to play around with it. It  requires a Terminal Node Controller (TNC) and radio to transmit. I have a radio, and I have an iPhone with a GPS. So someone of course figured out you could create all the functions of a TNC.

So those of you that know networking, APRS uses a standard OSI mode AX.25. Sound familiar networking guys? Yep, it basically a X.25 protocol for amateur radio and it’s been around since the 80’s.

Of course with TCP/IP around these days it did not take amateurs too long figure out how to connected the two. So these is also APRS-IS (Internet Systems) which means a radio gateway to TCP/IP for APRS.

So one of the more common uses for APRS is to hook up a GPS to the TNC so that it broadcast your location on a regular basis.

IMG_4301So I tried a IOS application called PocketPacket and simply hooked it up to my Wouxon HT radio with a standard 3/8″ audio cable to my iPhone 5. Since I an located in small geological depression which can make it hard for an HT signal to get out, I also attached the HT to my UHF/VHF roof antenna. It worked!

So I then moved this set up into the Jeep and took a drive over the bridge to the UP area and voila a map of my movements!

There is a lot more you can use APRS for, like messaging, remote weather stations, there is even a ARPS email gateway. I can even use it for SOTA events to announce when I activate a peak!

When looking at the APRS.FI site fellow pacific north westerners may notice all the marine  stations. They are not amateur stations on a boat, they are marine vessels using APRS and APRS-IS. You can track Washington State Ferries along with cargo ships in port on this site.

So I think the next step will be to build an actual TNC and use an old Delorme GPS – or just maybe buy a APRS ready radio for the Jeep.

 

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Our Niece Dannielle has Graduated from the USN Academy

Our niece Dannielle graduated today form the USN Recruit Training at the Great Lakes training facility in Illinois. We were not able to be there, however we could be there in spirit via streaming. We are so proud of her.

The file it too big to place here on HAWS.NET. Since it’s over 15 min I cannot place it on my youtube channel either. If you want to see it, drop me a line and I’ll get a copy to you.

 

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The NYPD Is Investigating This Giant Bust Of Edward Snowden Erected In A Brooklyn Park

Here I was just talking about Snowden earlier today. I’m hoping all this attention will raise awareness. I wonder could this all be part of media campaign?

The NYPD Is Investigating This Giant Bust Of Edward Snowden Erected In A Brooklyn Park.

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The Red Blinky Thing!

195-0290I remember back in the 80’s when I started to noticed what I called the “Red Blinky Thing”. I use to even keep a list of what movies I saw it in. I abandoned the list long ago, because it was just showing up everywhere.

So when this episode of Cracked’s “Obsessive Pop Cultural” showed up in my youtube feed, the title made me think of the Red Blinky Thing. Well they called it out. The video is only 8 minutes long. If you need to jump right to  Red Blinky Thing… it’s at 2:41.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve actually researched it, and in the 80’s the internet was not there… so it turns out you can still rent this prop for $777 for the first week.

I knew about the re-use of the Ghost Buster prop, and some of the others. However a lot of these reused props I never knew about.

 

 

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Surveillance

I’ve been reading the book “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State“. It’s a fascinating and alarming book. It’s a complicated issue, and raises many questions on how to have a conversation as nation about privacy. I find it hard to explain to non-technical people just what this all means. Not because they don’t understand, I’m just bad at trying to explain things like this.

Well thanks to John Oliver’s style of comedy journalism, I think he has found a way. Oliver  traveled to Russia and interviewed a very calm and intelligent Snowden and put the issue in perspective – D Pics. As crude as they may be to some people, it really send the point home. If the government can access your D Pics it suddenly sheds light on how troublesome Section 215 of the patriot act is. I’m just going to let Oliver explain it to you. This segment from Last Week Tonight is 33 minutes long. So take the time to watch it, or add it to your youtube watch later playlist.  So the next time you hear someone mention Snowden, you’ll know what this issue is all about.

Note: If this video spurs you not looking for how to secure you email conversations – they are lots of way. Mine is just using PGP. You can get my public key here. If your a Mac user check out PGP Tools.

There is an even easier and way to secure email that came out of CERN. If PGP is too complicated for you, and trust me it is for a lot of people, then check out ProtonMail.

 

 

 

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Rugged Justice

This gallery contains 7 photos.

I’ve been ignoring this on the blog and doing more on social media. However there is a show on Animal Planet that is showcasing the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. It’s called Rugged Justice and Season 1 just finished a … Continue reading

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