Tuesday, January 26, 2010


1956, Mardi Gras, Hams, and Photography -


Monday, January 25, 2010

"DAD'S 83rd..."

After a few false starts, we finally got together to celebrate my Dad's 83rd birthday (which was actually January 2nd). Attending the seafood feast was Chris and Ada, Robin, Glenn, myself, and of course...the birthday boy - Dad.

Friday, January 22, 2010


We seen all the stuff on TV, online, and even heard about it on the local radio stations, but I hadn't seen this one until this morning:

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Just the other weekend the local Amateur Radio store had it's annual FREE hotdog day/swapmeet, and while I didn't make it, here's a video from a HAM RADIO OUTLET store which had the same -

And, while looking around, why not visit a HAM "SHACK"?

Meanwhile..... Doug - KB5CEM, sent a link to this article, which while giving Amateur Radio some press, the writer seemed to think that it was "Low Tech". Thanks for sending that link in OM, and my wallet wishes it was only "Low Tech".


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Maunder Minimum"

I'd never heard of this term until just recently, while perusing the latest QST. If you get QST, then you're already familiar with the article called "Where Are the Spots?"

The author mentioned the possibility that our lack of sunspots was due to the "Maunder Minimum", a 70 year period where Sunspots were almost non-existent. Of course, this puts the fear of GOD into a HAM when he realizes, if true, he'll be dead before the Sunspots are blooming again - so, I googled it. Here's one sites explanation. I hope that this QST article was written a month or so ago, before we saw an increase in spots, and activity. As I write this post, 10m is fairly active, but I tend to think it's more weather related than sunspots, but I'll keep my fingers crossed that it is Sunspots. WOODY

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The A.R.R.L. has been busy working on their revamped website!! It's supposed to be easier to get around and more user friendly. The new website goes active the first week of February.


Thursday, January 14, 2010


This one is a first for me. I never knew that there was a radio made under the Smith and Wesson name. This one is on Ebay, currently being sold as a CB, but it looks more like something that would go in a boat, or police vehicle.


If you're a HAM, or even into SWL, the following frequencies are being used for emergency operations going on in Haiti:
  • 7.045
  • 3.720
  • 14.265
  • 7.265
  • 3.977
  • 14.300
  • Echolink node 278173

(source: ARRL)




Take advantage of it while you can! (if you're into the DX scene).
73, from South East Texas.....Woody!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

"Ssssssh.....THE SECRET IS OUT"

The "Secret" is out - well, sort of. I got an email from a radio 'bud the other day and it had a link which leads to several funny videos relating to a book/DVD called "The Secret". Okay, I know that at first you're thinking is "How in the heck is this radio related?" and while I do have a variety of off topic posts (vacations, family events, movie reviews, etc.) follow along with me here.

The basic bottom of the 'pyramid-scheme' idea behind this 'Amway-for-the-gray-matter' is that if you keep thinking positive thoughts, then only positive things will happen to you, or conversely, if you don't have enough positive things in your life, you're not thinking hard enough. So if you're overweight and unattractive, by thinking that you are fit and beautiful - it will happen. The poor will become rich, and sad/happy, because... (here comes the radio link), "your thoughts will project so strongly that other people will see you that way."
"How in the world can that happen", you ask?
Apparently, all of our thoughts have different frequencies and these frequencies are emitted wirelessly through the air into other people, pets, farm animals, and the ether! Back to my friend who sent the email: He wrote: "Woody, I think that if this is true then not only are we generations ahead of the Vulcan "mind-meld" (which requires actually putting your hand on the other persons head), but the FCC should branch out and license the various "thought" frequencies AND, issue permits (licenses) to allow people to think".

"Hmmm...", I thought, "Brilliant". If someone doesn't get a license to think, then they legally can't. Millions of jobs would be created by the FCC for their "Secret" police. Their function would be to just walk around with handheld scanning wands and scan everyone they come in contact with for compliance, licensing, and possible enforcement. The military would hire those with excessively negative thoughts to use them against Al-Qaeda, Communication companies would hire thousands more to build personal thought wave amplifiers (FCC type accepted, of course), Cellphone companies could hire thousands of unemployed Hobos as portable cellphone relays, and best of all - the pressure would be off the Amateur Radio community for further loss of bandwidth! Who knows if that 8-S-UNIT noise on your radio is caused by a bad electrical transformer in your neighborhood or someones thoughts being transmitted on a frequency designated strictly for use by Amateur Radio? And why wasn't someone at the CES this week, in a booth, demonstrating this wireless wonder? After all, you can't keep something like this, a secret for too long.....

Some of the videos contain strong language, so for now, if you want to see some good parodies of something funny on it's own, go to Youtube.com and search for "Parody - the secret" or something similar. I had a good chuckle, and thanks to Roger in the UK for sending me the link! And for those that truly believe...well...."Live long and prosper, oh! and beam me up Scotty".

73, Woody


Thursday, January 07, 2010



Just a general question as to which speaker you prefer and which ones are junk. But before I get into that, I ran across this Realistic TRC-480 EBAY ad from some store and had to wonder, "Would anyone pay $80 for this?" I wouldn't, but would you? [auction here]

So back to speakers (mobile). My favorite is the ICOM SP-10, but sometimes you could use another speaker or two and I haven't tried any of the brands currently available like the Cobra HGS100, HGS300, Bearcat, etc. These tend to come at various prices while the specs are fairly close, and I'm sure, like radios, some are the same speaker with just a different manufacturers logo on it. Let me know which one you like - 73, Woody



My brother, myself, and our friends used to shoot ESTES model rockets off into the blue yonder waaay back when - but we never thought of this one!

73, Woody


Wednesday, January 06, 2010


It would be the first SS-9000 I've run across that does. This is one impressive Heathkit.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010



It's hard to believe that a Decade has gone by, yet here we are in 2010! From certain viewpoints, nothing has changed much: FT-101's still bring in an average of $400, TS-440's - $500, and TS-50's around $500. While our country was in a recession last year, driving some prices downwards, these older rigs (and others) remained flat, and in some cases rose. I have a TS-50 and while it's over a decade old, it is my first choice for a mobile HF rig (provided there is room to mount it). I have the matching AT-50 tuner which makes this a nice rig for base or mobile operation.

Occasionally you'll find the TS-60 on the market, but I don't know of too many buyers willing to pay over $500 for a 6 meter ONLY rig. I can do this on an FT-100, FT-817, or 6m AM with an old Heathkit or Lafayette tube rig. Bumping up from six to two meters, do you want to spent $450 for a Kenwood TM-255e 2m allmode, or do it with your multi-function rig?


Older CB's seem to have kept their value throughout 2009, with premiums paid for "just discovered" classics like the Cobra 2000, Lafayette SSB-140, President Grant, and Johnson 4740 (to name but a few). These rigs, while collectible, are usually purchased for daily use - because they're quality transceivers, and not the junk you see on today's market of surface mounted component rigs. Many shops won't even touch these when a repair is needed, while analog parts are usually available for the older rigs. Speaking of analog devices, here's a great quiz on transistors on the A.R.R.L. site:


While doing research for my book, I got in touch with Harry Helms, a good friend and co-worker of Tom Kneitel. Sadly, Harry passed away in the early fall after a gallant battle with cancer (see ARRL SK story here). Yes, those that we knew via one magazine or another in the 60's-70's are coming to the end of their life cycle - yet when we read articles in older S9's or Popular Communications magazines, the information seems non-antiquated.

One of the excellent gifts that Robin got for me this season was a book on the history of Crosley radios. At 400+ pages it would be easy to assume that I (who has a hard time getting through a magazine article) would read it, but no, I love historical books like this and finally finished the book last night. I was very surprised by the history and fervent non-radio goal of Powell Crosley, and even more surprised to read fifty pages or so before the radios even appeared. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has similar likes and it's sitting next to my other great historical book "Empire of the Air", which has my book review still floating around cyber-space, I suspect.
Check out Dave's CB nostalgia section on his website - IT'S G-R-E-A-T, and a permanent link has been entered on the right of this page. I really get a kick out of his stories and updates, and I think you will too.

73, Woody

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Ah yes, time for another word-to-the-wise: Be careful and ask plenty of questions when buying from the 'ex. Just because it looks "pretty" doesn't mean it works. How she's gotten two negatives erased is beyond me, but then the following "GREEN" (supposedly positive) remarks do the same - Kinda puts the buyer in a false sense of security.

"the radio stinks of cigarettes" (guess she decided to come out of the smokers closet)
"merchandise inoperable, appears to have had fluid inside electrical cabinet."
Johnson Messenger 23 channel transceiver, Model 124-M (#350273420361)
"Took way to long to ship .......to many problems ....never again"
"makes a good paper weight/nite lite"

Long story short: If it's a magazine, book, rock, etc. and if it looks okay, it's probably okay. But when it comes to electronic items, ASK QUESTIONS,as it looks like she's getting to the junkers at the bottom of the list.

Friday, January 01, 2010


Considering how great the holiday week had been it came as no surprise that the last day/night of the year would not be any less - and it wasn't, thus this is the best holiday that I've ever had(with the exception of the one where I got that used Comstat 23, which started me down the path of two-way radio. 'Nuff Said).

While perusing various things to do on New Year's Eve, Robin came upon an interesting venue - Sugar Land's big New Years Eve extravaganza! What made this a bit different was that it was also the 50th Birthday party for the city. The heart of the event was at City Hall in an area paved with bricks, with places to hang out on either side of the no-car zone. Occasionally we'd duck into a warm area inside to get warmed up....

Outside there were street vendors, candy sculpturing, "stilt Dinosaurs" roaming about the many street performers. It was kinda windy and damp, but well worth the trip.

Here is a clip of the band performing on the steps of City Hall, complete with a great light show, and below, two clips of the fireworks lighting the sky of the New Year! (one clip pans away with a shot of the full moon, which was a moon that happens only every 19 years. Called a "Blue" moon, which is the rarity of having two full moon's in one month - but not real tinted blue).