Saturday, December 29, 2007


REVIEW: BELKIN WIRELESS ROUTER
-
One of the things about moving somewhere else is that you have to deal with gettings your IT stuff going again.
-
I was already in the hole, having to deal with Comcast, which sucks (IMHO), and I've had several battles with WAP's and Wireless Routers to put it off towards the end of things to do.......
-
So I went to Frys and walked down the aisle of doom an each box seemed to tell me the same as the other, but still it was better so I should pay $50 more than the one next to it. One walk-thru and I found the cheapest one and bought it. Rushing home I pulled items out of the package, and hooked up my base station (Hmmmm...."Base Station", sounds familiar), then setup security (that's right Steven, I setup security) and went into the other room and picked up another wireless device - It worked!!!
-
This took less than 15min tops (closer to 1o) and I was really impressed. Later I went back and ready mostly middle-of-the-road reviews and some pretty crummy ones too, but for me, this Belkin wireless router, for under $30 did everything it said it would and more! If I run into any issues, I'll keep you updated as well, and with nothing less to say.....
-
'Nuff Said
Woody
-

Thursday, December 27, 2007



"AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS IT WAS...."

-

Christmas has come and gone and at least for me, it was a nice quiet but enjoyable day. Robin hit the spot with some HAM related stuff like a polo shirt with my callsign, a plaque, and related stickers. This one at the right caught my funny bone just right, and I laugh almost everytime I look at it.




-

Later that evening, at my Dad's, the whole clan was there, even my son Chris who seemingly dropped off the edge of the world for a few months, and finally met his finance, Ada.
-

DAD (Above)

-



Son Chris and Ada
-

There was plenty picture taking (Someone better send me some of them...Oops, Bro Glenn just did and I'm adding them). And I guess we all dispersed around 9 o'clock. I had taken the day after Christmas off and was pretty much a couch slug but finally the "Bourne Trilogy" energized me enough to start cleaning up, and trying to figure out where to put all those Hardy Boys and Doc Savage books. Once again, I bought most of the gifts online, and usually from Amazon (they seem to get better each year).

- Robin and I
-

-Son Josh, his wife Lacy, and Grandson "Jack"

-
The big flat screen TV I'd moved (but didn't work when we hooked it up) was fixed the Saturday before Christmas and I'm not sure if this applies to all of their products with extended warranties, but unlike the nightmare we had in getting our old 60" TV fixed (it took six months and 4 trips) by a 3rd party source, I was surprised to see a "BEST BUY" van pulling up to my apartment (This was surprise No.2 becase No.1 was calling them on a Friday afternoon and having them say "We'll be out tomorrow"). Finally the 3rd surprise was having him fix it in under 15 minutes. I'm impressed.

-

'Nuff Said

WOODY

-

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"MERRY CHRISTMAS"

-

Time to get off the boring divorce thread, friends I've met and yet to meet!! First off, you HAVE to get "Twisted Sisters" rock-Christmas CD called "A Twisted Christmas". This kicks butt, and no other rock group has a Christmas Album that can compare. The problem with past albums is you hear a singer or group you might have listened to in the past, is that they sing the songs the traditional way. Twisted Sister sing's them their way and their way rocks!

-

MOVIES: The next Alien vs. Predator is one to see - take it from me.


-

Looks like I'll have to visit some ham fest's next month and start rebuilding the "Shack", so any great apartment antenna plans, or inexpensive pre-fab'd antennas are welcome. I'll be working some HF, FM, and VHF-SSB.

-

Hope Ya'll have a great Christmas (should I not post until afterwards).

-

H0-Ho-Ho,

-

WOODY

-

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"TODAY WAS THE DAY"
[i.e. - "Divorce of the Common Ham:]
-
Today was the day I came out to collect my personal belongings, chest, computer desk, etc. and we all tumbled into the two vehicles and arrived in pretty good time. The XYL had put her "I'm happy, let's have a party face" on, and I observed my shack with radios that should be in boxes "out", and so grabbed a poster or two, while the XYL handled various calls from her "Support Group".
-
Next came the big screen TV and got that on the van. When I got back to the new place we found it didn't work, which didn't surprise me due to a comment made at our last court hearing. Our 32" flat screen will have to suffice until what happened.
-
The chest was removed and we got that on, but the thought of leaving my radios to potential danger was steadily on my mind. I tried to at least get some of my CB magazines to read, but no, I got the standard answer "I don't care about those but my attorney does - you'll have to talk him directory". Of course, my attorney would do that part. Meanwhile time goes on.
-
Summary: It's sad things like this have to happen. Even sadder when 2 people can just sit down and and say: "I want this item" what do you want? Then file and get the divorce over as quickly and painfully in the wallet as possible. Having built up a collection of rigs from my teenage years meant a lot to me, but I understand her wanting to hit where it hurts hardest. I am in an a apartment now (no more cheapmotels) and things are getting back to normal (with the exception of the radios of course).
-
So my friends, 'Nuff Said -
-
Woody
-

Friday, December 14, 2007

DIVORCE AND THE COMMON HAM PT.3
-
Apparently there is no way the soon-to-be ex will let go of my radios, but in every cloud, there is a lining. The last couple years I'd be buying broken rigs that I could repair when I had time, so it doesn't do her much good in that respect. Sure, there are some older ones I bought to rebuild the ones I had as a teenager, but as I've often said: "If you've seen it once on E-bay, you'll see it again".
-
Tomorrow is the day where I can retrieve my clothes, dresser, personal belongings (seems like radios would be in that category), computer desk, ups, etc. Maybe I can get the latest QST, and some other CB magazines just to pass the time away. But in December, it's more like "Not enough time", and this year is no different (with the exception of no bonus for 2007). Hope ya'll get what ya wished for in your Radio "Dreamland" and I'll let ya know how I make out too!
-
73

Woody
-

Monday, December 10, 2007

DIVORCE AND THE COMMON HAM, PT.2
-
I'm sitting in the dark with one of those funky USB lights, typing this post. While most people would think that the holidays were the worst time to start a divorce, being a radio guy, I can tell ya, anytime of the year is the worst. I used to have shack, meters, wires, rigs, old cb's I collected, surrounding me and not having that my friends, is the worst. It's like losing a bunch of your old buddies all at once (yeah, I'm locked out of the house, and for at least six months, won't even know if I'll own them anymore.
-
Sure, there are others things that are missed, but if you're any kind of radio nut like me, well, you know where I'm coming from. I've been staying in these "Extended Stay" places which can be good, or a night mare. Needless to say, I'll be a cave dweller at some point and that brings in a whole other set of problems. The XYL doesn't want my radios or magazines but I guess because I do, I can't have 'em...........it makes no sense. Well, that's my update for now - I have some Xmas shopping to do online.
73
Woody

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

DIVORCE AND THE COMMON HAM
-
Divorce - such a ambiguous word. If you're a famous personality, you're still going to be friends and everything is amicable, their lives seem to skip not one beat. If you're the common man (or in this case, the "Common Ham") it's a nightmare of sleeping at work, finding the cheapest hotel room, or imposing on your relatives (last choice). You wake up in the middle of the night with unknown answers to questions like "Will still have my ham gear and CB collection?", "Will she get them?", or will they have to be sold in order to afford an attorney? Why is it always MY stuff that gets taken? (not that I'd want her stuff). Well, next week will begin the process, yes friends, just one day before Thanksgiving! There's irony in that to be found but I have to grab the shower before the other tenants drain the hot water...
-
'Nuff Said
Woody
-
P.S. - Yes, believe it or not, the FT-817 video is still, slowly being done, you'll just notice it wasn't filmed at the same location due to my hit and run style of living.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"OCTOBER No.1"
-
Howdy fervored and anxious fans! Sorry for the delay between posts. I had a weird health problem where one of the symptoms was dropping 25lbs in a month without doing anything different. Many doctors, endless tests, and I believe we're on the right track. During this time I didn't feel like writing, taping, or even ebaying (much), but I'm slowly getting back to my old self!
-
I have a lot of ideas for subjects to write about (I did keep notes) and just this last weekend, started to record a new video which I'll keep you posted on as well. And.....while all of this was going on, I was screwed by Paypal, had my checkcard number stolen, almost cleaning out the checking account. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
-
So check back next week and I should be back in semi-rare form!
-
Regards,
Woody
-

Friday, August 10, 2007

"AUGUST No.1"

-



Well, July went by too fast and had too many problems, but I thought that today would be a good time to do a halfway decent update to the blog.


"Why today?" You ask?



Because the S.O.W. is in the shop, in shock, whilst the able crew at Riverside Tire and Auto Repair try to get her back on her wheels again! Yesterday, I had to drive to work without A/C (not so comfortable in August, in Texas) but not nearly as bad as the blast furnace it was going home. My story doesn't end there - it ends with me exiting the fwy and having the water pump go out! Oh the pain......

-

But that gives us a chance to catch up on things!

-


  • I did not attend the big swapfest in Dallas

  • I did not attend Field Day

  • I did not talk or Tap a word

  • Work, which always has surprises, had plenty for me.

  • I did not work on any new videos

  • And I'll stop here, because the list could end up BEING the update!

-

Today, I'm trying to make some room so I can sort out the stuff I'll be selling off (as well as trying to find some missing items), and organize things a tad better (tubes all in one area, for instance) and it is pleasant doing this because DX has been roaming around all day. So let's start with the Texas Fright Fest!





ME AND "THE MAN"


-

In June I got to greet, meet, shake hands, have a picture taken with, and have a DVD signed by GEORGE ROMERO ("Night of the Living Dead", "Dawn of the Dead", "Creepshow", etc.) I never expected to meet the man in my lifetime but this was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Some Background: When I saw "Night of the Living Dead" it was back in New England, around 1970. It was double-billed with another movie called "Equinox". There was a lot of talk about this movie and how barf bags would be handed out, extreme violence, etc. But I'd been watching horror/sci-fi movies for years, I didn't think it could be THAT different than any of the others....

-



SAME SHOT, LESS FX


-

But I couldn't be more incorrect in my assessment. "Equinox" was okay, the usual fare, but "Night Of The Living Dead" was definitely several floors up the elevator from what I'd ever seen before. I wasn't the only one, towards the end of the movie he ran towards the exit, hand-over-mouth, and not only could you hear people barfing, you could smell it......The world of "Horror" movies had changed forever and George was the pioneer. "Dawn Of The Dead" followed by "Day Of The Dead", with my favorite being the 2nd movie (Dawn). So needless to say, it was great to meet the guy who opened us all up to a new level of emotions. The other half of "RobinWood Productions" (Robin), George Romero, and myself, pictured on the top right.

-



HERE I AM WITH TOM ATKINS & XYL


(BTW - Tom was always very nice, polite, and happy to pose for a photo)-




This guy was really cool!! Not only was he tall, and dressed for the part, he had Michael Myers moves down like he was, "Michael Myers". In this photo, you see him about to kill Robin, but in my video you'll see what I mean about the moves. According to Robin, he never said a word, and while I was taping him coming towards me, he never said a thing, or commented on what I was saying until the very end when he was right in the face of the camera and I said, "Cool outfit dude", and from behind the mask I heard a faint "Thanks".



-





CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO


-


Sunday, July 22, 2007

QUICK UPDATE:
-
Sorry for the lack in posts lately, lots of things going on, and a long drawn out pinched nerved that created havoc on the left side of my body. Coming soon: THAT FT-817 video promised, my adventures at the 2007 Texas Horror Movie Fest (YES...I got a photo of George Romero and myself) which I have a couple stills and then a short video (Who would have suspected so many "Slutty Zombie Nurses"???)
-
Sadly I'll be selling off most of my equipment, and I'll leave you with some quick, yet sage, advice: When driving, if your IPOD slides to the floor and causes problems with either braking or accellerating - forget the IPOD and buy another one!
-

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"IT'S ALL ABOUT ACCESSORIES"
-
Accessories, accessories, oh how thy break me...
-
Let's start with the lesser of 2 evils: CB. So you buy a CB and bring it home, having spent almost all of your hard earned money on the best rig you could find (ed. - well I suppose if THAT were true, you would have bought a pre-90's rig off ebay..'nuff said) and then your remember the accessories: coax, pushup pole, antenna. So you borrow some money and you're on the air! And then you find out you should have an swr/watt meter, and a after market microphone..... Yes, accessories can eat into your funds.
-
The HAM operator has it tougher in every category. He orders an HF rig, without any extras because his XYL said so, but he knows that between Christmas, Birthdays, and Fathers day, he can nickel'n dime his way up to CW and SSB filters, and Autotuner, and more.
-
I'll use the Yaesu FT-897D as an example
=
So, our happy Ham has owned his 897D over a period of a couple years now and acquired the matching auto-tuner, both the SSB and CW filters, internal batteries and the charger, and a nice impressive desk microphone (and if it's impressive it must be HEIL right??). But now our friend has the hots for a different rig, and wants to sell it.
-
We all know what that's like.....ceaseless browsing on the Internet, dog-eared pages of QST and the AES Catalog -What should he do?? The rig he wants cost much more than the 897D sells for, and he's short on funds...but, he has all of these accessories so he figures that he can sell his 897D rig for at least $1000 because he spent over $1300 when you add all the extras in....what a bargain for the next owner!!
-
Unfortunately he is about to learn a hard lesson of hamdom: It usually doesn't matter what accessories are lumped into the sale because the buyer is most likely looking for a used 897D at a good price, he is short of funds, and plans to add accessories piece-by-piece in an unassuming way so as not to alert the XYL (ed. - just like you did).
-
The moral of the story: Either take a beating on the package deal, or sell everything separately.
-
FROM THE FUNNY EBAY AUCTION TITLE DEPT.
-
"Yaesu VX-5R Tri-Band Handheld Transceiver *PARITY NEW*"
-
[Ed.- 'Nuff Said]
-
FROM THE "GOSH THANKS" DEPT.
-
Many thanks to Peter Kendall for donating a pair of E.F. Johnson Walkie-Talkies to my W.T. Collection!! I've always been a fan of handheld transceivers so this was an especially welcome addition to my WT array! One of the days, I'll have to round them all up (yes, they're just like stray cattle that have wandered here'n there) for a photo shoot - Tnx Peter!
-
FROM THE "YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING" DEPT.
-
EBAY AUCTION: Midland 13-885 Buy-It-Now: $795
-
REVIEW UPDATE
-
As promised, I'm following up on the "Finger Dimple" I ordered earlier this year for my Kenwood TS-850 tuning knob. For those who missed it, the Finger Dimple is a stick-on device that allows you to spin-the-dial on the VFO with one finger, when that dial does not have factory "dimple". Now to the update: I'm always a bit leery of stick-on devices living in the moist, humid Southern Texas area because you have to keep re-sticking whatever you're sticking, back on. I'm happy to report that the "Finger Dimple" is still "Stuck" like it was a factory install, and believe me when I say I've given it an ample workout. My Red Sox cap is tipped to the inventor for making a quality product that does what it says it will do, at a decent price!
-
Hey, what do you know - I've wasted some more browsing time (look out, the boss is behind you) and with no pictures! See ya on the next posting -
-

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A LOOK AT AN ANGLED STAND
FOR THE FT-817
-
When I use my FT-817 in the shack, I've had to be creative in forming piles of stuff to put it on so that I could see the display without slipping a disc in my back. While perusing Ebay, I came across a stand for about $60 + shipping, but I didn't really want to spend that much on it because I use the rig mostly portable....so I passed on it.
-
Not too long after that I ran across a stand that was just a stand, no wires or connectors (which was fine for me), and it was only $16 + shipping! So I bought it and yes, it suits my purpose, as the video below shows.
-
-
WOODY
-
"THE ULTIMATE MOBILE SETUP"
-
Here's Part One of a video I ran across on YouTube.
You'll find that this vehicle has all the gadgets
you'd ever need.
-
Woody
-

Monday, April 23, 2007

BOOK REVIEW
"EMPIRE OF THE AIR"
-
"Buy the book and rent the video..."
-


I picked up a used copy of this book off Amazon's website (just in case you didn't know it, they're linked to hundreds of "used" booksellers around the country), and it's a book which is a companion piece to a Robert Burns PBS special, about the who-how-what were invented, the first dynasties created, etc. I can't say I watched the 1991 event as I was between marriages and interested in...others things. But I digress...
-
The book itself is hard covered, and runs about 400 pages. The author, really did his homework as well being involved with the documentary. Before reading the book, I was "Hollywoodized" as far as inventor stories go (if you're smart and honest you'll win at the end), so unlike the movies ("The story of...." ; "The Marconi Story", etc) all of the dirt, greed, backstabbing, and sad endings were left intact - unchanged...to some extent, it was like being a fly on the wall and watching the lives of some of Americas history makers, and of interest to me, because where would Ham radio have been without the tube?
-

The rest of my short review is in this video, which aired on PBS. Ken Burns is well known for extensive, lengthy-yet-interesting documentaries. Unfortunately this is not one of them. The story centers around 3 men who shaped the world of radio and communications for better or worse "De Forest, Sarnoff, and Armstrong". Marconi is mentioned a little in the video (quite a bit more in the book) as well.
-
At 2 hours, the video plays well, and seems to cover the bases, however when mentioning litigation's, deception, etc. the viewer isn't quite sure of the extent or the circumstances which created it. Where they came from, and how they got to where they were is also critically short. That said, if you aren't a reader, then this is your look into the beginnings of Radio! If you are a reader, I would recommend that you read the book first, THEN watch the video.


-


Sunday, April 15, 2007

"BACK FROM BELTON..."
-
"...you can see the difference, as the cool temp's
and crisp air puts a spring in the step,
and an erect wallet in the pockets of each potential buyer!"

-
Yes indeed my friends, the first Belton Texas hamfest of 2007 has come and gone, and unlike the past few years, I'm happy to say I attended!
-
Unlike the last one I made it to (some 3 years ago or so), which seemed to be on a slight decline, this one - despite the weather seemed to be a good success. My oldest son Josh came along with me and we left later than we usually would, pulling out of Sealy around 4:15 a.m. with only one headlight working and many miles to go.
-
Also unlike other late departures, this one was not due to oversleeping, as neither of us slept! I was doing some stuff via the internet, and then got caught up watching a movie that started at 2 and ended at 4. Thus the late departure. I was traveling light for this trip for a variety of reasons:
  1. I had the pleasure (not) of my lower back and upper back "going out" at the same time about 2 weeks ago, so I wasn't eager to load move a bunch of stuff around the shack, much less carry it to the car for loading.
  2. Having been out-of-touch with recent Belton events, I wasn't sure what to bring, and, if I did load the car down with goodies, would that effort be wasted?
  3. And last but not least, I wanted to spend less time selling and more time visiting some old friends, and of course, recording the event.

-

One thing that didn't change, was the traditional cold front blowing in. I'm not sure of the how's or why's, but usually, a cold front comes in just before, or during the hamfest, dropping the temperature and humidity to the point where everyone is energized to stop by Belton. Once there, you can see the difference, as the cool temp's and crisp air puts a spring in the step, and an erect wallet in the pocket of each potential buyer!

-

We arrived at the "Dome" after 6 a.m., and the air had been steadily getting colder the closer we came to Belton. A quick look at Josh told me he was thinking the same thing:

"We'd be stuck outside, freezing our butts off"

As we crossed the parking lot though, it became apparent that there was NO LINE of vehicles waiting to go inside. I drove slowly by one of the large doors to see half the area still vacant, so we pulled right in and got a spot. Happy to be inside, I was a bit worried about the lack of people coming to sell items, but within the next hour or so, those worries were gone, and the building was full.

-

We setup what few items were brought, then I took off, camcorder in-hand (In one hand. The other hand was gripping mad money). It was good to see some of the long standing vendors, as well as seeing my good friend Val from Oklahoma. Val makes the Belton trip twice a year, and it's the only time we get together to compare notes, and talk about rigs, and of course...the old times. It was his email in fact that got me to this Belton event by writing "If I can drive six hours from Oklahoma to Belton, surely you can spare two" (or something close to that). He was on a buying mission this time so each stop by my space was short, then he'd dart off in another direction. If I recall correctly, this was the 17th hamfest he'd been to since the first of the year.

-

Surprisingly, Friz wasn't there, and I did attempt to look for him, outside in the tailgate section, but I didn't last long - the wind was strong and the temperature dropping. And of course "Repeater Steve" was there!

-

There were at least 4 Amateur Radio Stores with tables and booths, including George's shop in Spring, along with several other multi-faceted dealers. I saw quite a few CB's, the only collectible being a Browning Mark IVa, and the rest were solid-state, somewhat beat up, but still usable. Used Ham radios were quite abundant, just not the model I was looking for, and if I were to guess at ratio of HF vs HT's/Dualband I'd have to give the nod to used HF rigs with a whopping 75% or more presence. HT's were almost non-existent (used). I found a sweet deal on a HEIL PR-40, but chickened out at the last moment (yes, I'm regretting it already).

-

I'm now fairly renewed from the trip and plan to start work on the video tonight. Yes...you read correctly: A NEW B-E-L-T-O-N VIDEO!!

-

Woody




-

Sunday, April 08, 2007


"HAPPY EASTER"


PICTURE GRAPHICS - ROBINWOOD STUDIOS

-
Happy Easter on this chilly (at least for my part of Texas) day! I believe our temperature is in the 37-38 degree range, and we've had wave after wave of rain (some steady, other just steady drizzle), but it hasn't helped the yard/swamp situation. Before Saturday I still had puddles on top of puddles from the previous week's rains, now they're expanding to what looks like a scaled size of the "Great Lakes". Speaking of Saturday - What a change! Friday was one of those rare, GREAT days with low humidity, a nice breeze from the North, and a nice Blue sky. I woke up Saturday to clouds, rain, and the mid-40's. It may seem like I'm making a big deal out of this, but the usual Easter around here involves A/C, shorts, and lots of heat and humidity.

-
WOODY
-

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

"TWISTED FINGERS"

-
Yep, that's what you get if you spend a lot of time turning that VFO dial on the Yaesu FT-817. I'll be sprinkling some hints now and then regarding this wonderful all band, all mode QRP rig, but this one required immediate attention!
-
Fortunately, it only cost $20 + shipping to fix the problem, and the video explains the rest...
-

-

-

Sunday, April 01, 2007

"THE OTHER SHOE HAS DROPPED"
-
I had my suspicions about sinister motives when the FCC dropped the CW requirement, but I never, N-E-V-E-R would have imagined what is to come for the Citizens Band.
-
From a post on the FCC website (recent news) I read that the FCC was going to add the CW requirement to CB licensees! My first thought was: "Who in the bloody Hell thinks up these proposals??"
-
But then, logic set in....."Uncle Charlie" has been trying to kill 11meters almost since it's inception (and they created it), so what better way to do this than require that all CB users pass a CW test. Apparently they realize that they can't stop the tide of "10m radios" with am-fm-ssb and CW, so they thought "Why not put that to use?" and indeed they will. This will accomplish two goals:
  1. Get rid of 11 meters
  2. Increase Amateur Radio licenses (as they no longer have the CW requirement). Yes - the buck was passed to us.

-

They are apparently mulling over standard license fee's again (back to the $20/license), and several other vague, foggy notions that they aren't willing to put to press as of yet. I'll be following this closely (you can too) to see exactly what will happen when the dust settles....well, anyways, may you all enjoy this first day of the fourth month of the year!!

-

WOODY

-

Monday, March 26, 2007

THE BEST DUAL-BAND HT
FT-530
-
Well, I had to rush this posting because in my youtube video, I said that I had a link to download the FT-530 manual so you could read about the various features first hand. So, now I'm playing catchup, and I'll be adding more to this as I have time!
-
HERE is the link to the manual(more info coming to this post)
-

PART ONE ON MY VIDEO ABOUT:

THE YAESU FT-530

-

Saturday, March 24, 2007


TOM "TOMCAT" KNEITEL
-
Tom Kneitel - almost everyone has heard of him. He was my hero in the 60's-70's because of his column in S9 Magazine, where he let loose on a variety of subjects, and didn't pull any punches.
-
From S9, I backtracked him to a brief stint with CB Horizons Magazine, and before that, Popular Electronics and Electronics Illustrated in the 50's. When 11m CB became official in 1958, he began writing about it (as did Don Stoner) and you could tell he was enthusiastic about the new band.


-
But what else do we know about "Tomcat"?
-
Well, for starters, Tom was born on January 28, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York, and he married his wife, Judy, in 1961. As we all know, communications was his passion - from Popular Electronics, CB Horizons, S9 Magazine, S9 CB Radio Magazine (when CB Magazine folded their subscribers were drafted into the ranks of S9 readers), and then when CB began to die off, the magazine re-invented itself into Popular Communications, which covered a variety of topics related to radio communication. Unfortunately, only a few pages were devoted to CB.

An early "Tomcat" Article
-

WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW

-
Tom Kneitel is the grandson of Max Fleischer (animated cartoon producer), the son of Seymour Kneitel who was an animator and Director (he drew some of the Popeye images and directed the Baby Huey Show, and Casper the Friendly Ghost and others as well), and the nephew of Director Richard Fleischer (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Fantastic Voyage) so, while Tom chose communications, it's now easy to see how he came about his cartoon drawing talent in S9 Magazine. His mother, Ruth, wrote several uncredited scripts for some cartoons as well. Tom also wrote several films for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Judy and Tom had a total of seven children. In the early 70's he and his wife Judy were briefly in charge of a WICCA "Coven" under the names "Theos" (Judy) and "Phoenix" (Tom). There's not a lot of information about the Coven and I don't really know much more than that, regardless, that information does not diminish my respect and admiration for all that Tom has done for 2-way radio communications.
-

Besides magazine articles, Tom is an accomplished author, having written many books. Here's a listing of just some of them...

  1. Air Scan Guide to Aeronautical Communications


  2. Tomcat's Big CB Handbook: Everything They Never Told You


  3. 103 simple transistor projects


  4. National directory of survival radio frequencies


  5. CBers' SSB handbook (my favorite)


  6. Radio Station Treasury 1900-1946


  7. Air-scan directory of aero band scanner frequencies


  8. 101 Easy Audio Projects (Hardcover)


  9. Rail-scan directory of railroad scanner frequencies


  10. The "top secret" registry of U.S. Government radio frequencies: 25 to 470 MHZ


  11. UNDERSTANDING AND USING CITIZENS BAND RADIO


  12. Directory of U. S. Army Forts, Camps, and Airfields 1789 to 1945


  13. Electronic circuits handbook

-

Just to name a few of them.

-

The CBer's SSB Handbook, from the mid-70's is one of my all time favorite books to read. I came across this book by accident, in the early 80's when I was killing some time at a local parts store. In the back they had some books marked "Clearance" and of course the title of the book and it's author caught my eye immediately - I had to own it! I liked it so much that I've bought several copies of it so when my 4Sale page is activated, I'll have them listed in the book section. I just recently picked up another used copy, signed by Tomcat himself! Where is he now? Tom has retired and currently lives in Florida (strange, how both he and Don Stoner retired to the same State).

-

Well, this is where the information ends. I hope I've given you a good look at Tom, as well as at least a couple things you didn't know until reading this article.

'Nuff Said

-

WOODY



-





Thursday, March 22, 2007

"I MISSED ONE..."
-
Well, probably more than one, but when I wrapped up my last post about CRAZY CB prices, a little alarm went off, like the one you get when you're getting ready to bolt from the house for work in the morning, mentally going through the checklist of things to have with you, and while everything seems o.k. that little alarm goes off (which I tend to ignore) and it's only when you're walking to the car do you realize that the car/house/work keys are still on the washer (inside) where you left them the night before. But, I digress...

-

So...back to the little alarm. I published the Blog posting and kinda swish away the alarm, much like a mental "snooze", but this morning, after leaving the house (with keys) and sitting in the car, somehow I feel a connection. Car....Carr....Kar....KAAR!!
-

EXAMPLE NUMBER 5
VINTAGE KAAR TR-327
-

Here we have a slightly different example of a "Crazy" price. With only a few minutes left to go, this Kaar will probably go unsold. It's not in bad condition, but it's not in "NOS" condition either, and the seller put a starting price of $765.00 on the auction. I forgot to mention this was untested as the ac cord was not 100%.
-
This is one of those occasions where the seller has placed a very high value on something that isn't worth it (except to the seller perhaps). Unless...[ed. - take a deep breath of fresh BS]...
-
The Kaar was used by an International diamond smuggling ring! Should the box have been opened it would appear to be a normal Kaar TR-327. However, if they had diamond sniffing ferrets back then (remember, it was the "Olden" days), they would have discovered that by peeling the cap off the capacitors, a treasure trove of diamonds would be found!! Sounds far-fetched, but then, so does a starting bid of $765.....
-
I like my version better.

-

Woody

-

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CRAZY PRICES ON VINTAGE CB's
-

It comes in waves....waves of money that is, and each time I say to myself "I can't believe these prices", I end repeating that same mystified quote over and over again!
-
Sometimes you can see why the rig sold for a very high price, like this Poly-comm Pro, which has to be one of the nicest I've seen. Most Poly's show their age, and if you find one that looks good cosmetically, sometimes the "Guts" appear as if they were left out in the rain...for a couple decades.

-
But this one has it all, inside and out, and the final auction price was $330 + shipping, which compared to my next example is a good deal! I know, you're wondering, "THAT'S a good deal??" But I guess you'll have to trust the 'ol Woodster on that.


-

EXAMPLE NUMBER 2
MIDLAND 78-999
-

Now we're jumping ahead a decade or so to a 40ch solid-state am/ssb Base Station. I've heard wonderful things about this rig from current and past owners, although I've never actually owned or operated one myself, but this is where the good deal / bad deal comes into play. While the Midland is relatively hard to find, it is a fairly modern rig (compared to the Poly-Comm), so you would expect to find more of these in nice condition as opposed to a tube rig. Yet the 78-999 sold for $360 + shipping! If you're looking for something new to use today, then you'd probably buy this, but for a collector, the Poly-Comm Pro (in the above condition) is a far better investment.

-
EXAMPLE NUMBER 3
EFJ Gold Award Messenger III
-

As most of you know, whenever a CB had gold plating, or even a microphone like the D-104 "Golden Eagle", they looked good for several years, but a quarter of a century or more later, it's hard to find one that looks like it just came off the assembly line. Here is such a rig. Recently on Ebay, this E.F.Johnson "Gold Award" Messenger III sold for a whopping $560!! Not bad for an AM-only mobile rig.
-

EXAMPLE NUMBER 4
Lafayette Telsat SSB-140
-
This rig is a favorite in several different respects: There is a hardcore Lafayette collector bunch out there (I'd include myself in that group), so anything marked Lafayette, and ecspecially "boxed" is desirable, and it also has a good reputation for being a solid rig - something a person would want as a daily user radio. Once again, the pricing is not what you would expect. For instance, if I had to rate them, I'd pick the Poly-Comm Pro as the highest price, next in line the Gold Messenger III, followed by the Lafayette SSB-140 in the box, next, and last but not least, the Midland 78-999. But, go figure...
-
THE BLUNDER THAT MADE YA WONDER
-

I think every company has made a blunder of some sorts. I suppose you could rate them on a scale of 1-to-10 (1=hardly noticable vs. 10=like a thumb in the eye). When someone asks me what the biggest marketing blunder was, usually Coca-Cola's decision to ditch the old Coke for the "New Coke" comes to mind, but not far behind that was Cobra's "Plus" Series of radios. Not only were they ugly, but reportedly a bear to repair as well!

-


Cobra, as a rule, started to put profit over quality, usually picking the lowest bid from a manufacturer. That manufacturer was then blessed with slapping a Cobra name on the radio. I don't think you see many of these forsale (compared to their usual line)because there aren't many that still work. Nonetheless, the mistake was made, and corrected shortly thereafter.

-

Once again, I've managed to waste your precious time on items of the past, and of course, I'll do it again! 'Nuff Said -

Woody

-



Monday, March 19, 2007

THE EARLY DAYS OF PODCASTING

-

Very little is known about the early days of podcasting - it was such an underground movement where documentation and photos were burned for fear that the Broadcasting Network Goon Squad would pay them a visit.

-

But thanks to IcomDave (a.k.a - CWDave) a photo has turned up from the early, early, very early days...

-


-"IcomDave and The StonerGuy relaxing before their weekly Podcast"

-

Saturday, March 17, 2007

"IT'S THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH"

-
And do you know what that means?? Nope! Nothing to do with bills, paychecks, or goat sacrificing....it's that time of the month when the modern "Radio Operator" begins to feel anxious, sometimes including panic attacks - it's the time of the month when QST Magazine will arrive in your mailbox!
-
My QST time-clock is adjusted fairly accurately, and quite sub-conscious. It starts around the 12th of the month with an anxious "I-drank-too-much-coffee" feeling and progresses from there. By the 13th, I'm aware of the impending arrival, and begin to wonder: "Hmmm...I wonder if it will come EARLY this month?", so the phone calls to the XYL begin -

-
"Have you checked the mail yet?"
-
"YES, I KNOW it's only 7a.m. but the mail carrier could be early"
-
[CLICK]
-
"Have you check---d....oh, you have? was there anything in the mailbox?"
-
"NOTHING?? I'll call back in 10 minutes"
-


Or, if I'm the one with the first look in the mailbox, I'll walk briskly towards it, slowing as I approach. "Do I really want to check it?" and if I do, "Am I prepared for rejection?".
-
OK. I'm there. The hand is ready. The mailbox is pulled opened enough to slip my hand in without seeing the boxes contents...and "EUREKA" it feels a semi-thick magazine!! Grabbing the contents the hand jerks out in one swift motion, useless bills flutter to the ground [I'm in this for the magazine].
-
In sync with the arm and hand, the eyes slowly drop down to view my prize...."WHAT???"....."It's not QST, it's a damn R-O-S-E CATALOG....Crap"....My head grows heavy, as well as my feet (it seems like such a long way back to the house now), and I know I'll have to repeat this process again.
-
Today, the 17th, was my last chance until Monday, and there it was - my new QST issue! I know, some of you don't like QST, but it's the only REAL radio magazine around (that is full of articles and nice, precious, glossy advertisements that smell so.....fresh. My precious.) So, I'm a happy camper, and I've almost got it to where I parcel out my reading until the following month, but it's tough.
-
It was alot worse before I joined the ARRL. First, I'd have to find a magazine store that even carried it, and then, towards the middle of the month, it was "Stakeout" time. Even before I became a HAM, I read QST - especially after S9/CB Radio Magazine went under. But enough about that. This wasn't a plug for QST (although it may seem to be), but more of a plea for something else to look forward to (nope, no CQ - I'm NOT into contesting).
-

FROM THE "I KEPT MY WORD DEPT."

-
Oh, I'm keeping to my word in not writing about the subject below, however, I didn't mention video...
-

-

Woody

-

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

PICKING UP WHERE I LEFT OFF...
-

-
After reviewing the book on Microphones, both on this blog, and in a video report, I thought I'd share some of my meager knowledge in how they work. There are some crazy looking microphones out in the market; different shapes, sizes, etc. but they all follow the same principle of acting like a transducer [a "Transducer" converts one type of energy into another]. In the case of a microphone, it converts sound waves into varying electric signals. I say "varying" because sound is not one constant push of energy, so when it comes out on the other side, the voltage must vary as well or we would not understand a thing.
-
The big question is "How does it do it?" Obviously it has to do with electronics/electricity and varying two variables - in this case, resistance, which then varies the voltage, and all of the magic takes place inside the microphone element. I'm not going to go over all the different elements (heck, buy that book I reviewed) because the theory is the same. Basically to vary the voltage you need a variable resistor. So how does that fit in?
-
Well first, if you were to look into your microphone you would see a microphone "element" (a.k.a. - The Transducer). The element can be a Crystal, Carbon, Ribbon, etc. type element, but what's important to remember is that while they may be different - they basically work the same way. It's not nearly impressive as the outside of the microphone but it is the "heart". The element has a couple wires soldered to it, to complete the circuit.



If you look at my crudely drawn diagram to the left you'll see the inside of the microphone. When you speak into the mike the first thing the sound waves hit is the diaphragm - a very thin material than bends easily.
Behind the diaphragm is the ingredients that make it work. For example, let's say that this is a Carbon microphone. Carbon is a conductor, and it's made up of small carbon particles placed in a container of sorts. I believe they call the container a "button".
-
As you can see, there are two wires - one on each end of the button to complete the electrical circuit. With no sound waves at all, the button is a constant resistance so there's no change in voltage. This is where the diaphragm comes in. As you talk, the sound waves hit the diaphragm and the diaphragm pushes in towards the button (remember, the diaphragm is VERY thin). As it presses against the carbon particles, pressure moves the them in a variety of ways (tighter, looser, etc.) and with each change, the resistance value changes, and with each change in resistance, we get a different voltage. If this sounds like a variable resistor, you're correct, and the circuit to the right is basically all it is! No black magic or slight of hand, just a circuit with a variable resistance that changes constantly due to the force of the sound waves. Below, you'll find my video review of the book in it's crudest stage. Once I polish it up, it will also be part of my Spring Video 2007.
-


WOODY


-