Ted’s essays

Grubsteak

Also known as Downing Mountain, or the 146.720 North Repeater, this site presents extreme challenges to the engineers keeping it alive for amateur radio users. I put together a presentation for the local ham clubs, but the projection format washed out my drawings making them unusable for the back half of the room. I put them here for anyone who wants to see a pictoral representation of the challenges our tech team is dealing with. […]

2-meter directional antenna for ten bucks

Two way radios, and particularly the little 5-watt Handheld Transceivers (also known as HTs or walkie-talkies) put their little bit of power in every direction. Yet we sometimes know exactly what direction we want to transmit and would prefer all the power go that way. A century ago two Japanese scholars created an antenna design to do exactly that. We call the design by one of their names, Yagi, but it seems the other, Uda, was the real inventor. Such is history. Following 100-years’-worth of radio technician footsteps, I have designed a simple hardware-store Yagi antenna to focus 147 MHz signals in a primary direction. I used some heavy copper grounding wire and a 4-foot piece of PVC pipe, […]

upcoming amateur radio class

My favorite radio instructor is presenting a class leading to the second, middle level FCC amateur radio operations license. Eric brings comprehensive knowledge, empathy, and energy to the classroom. A fine set of qualifications for anyone who wants to learn the subject. If you have your Technician license, Eric will lead you to successfully cresting the next hurdle into the world of short, medium and long range radio communications. If you do not yet have any amateur radio license, grab both the technician and general books and learn from him while you study up for the first … and quite possibly pass them both by the end of class. – Ted – In case you wish to print it out, […]

time warp floor covering

Our bedroom has been mired in 70s shag carpet for two years of our residency. Obviously for over 40 years before as well. Who made this stuff thinking it would sell? What miracle of marketing moved it into people’s homes? What kind of people thought this looked good? Ever? Not me then, now or anywhere in between. Even more mind boggling is the nicely finished hardwood floor the red/orange/green shag hid. Yesterday we began the chore of moving OUT of our ‘master bedroom’, uncovering the hardwood, cleaning it up, hauling a couple hundred unwieldy pounds of stinky 50-year-old carpet outside, then moving back in. Today we finished moving back in and cutting the carpet into manageable, moderately-heavy, stinky chunks […]

chicken art

My chickens produce this art. They do this work for chicken feed. We unceremoniously eat their art work. This is the third iteration of my Easter Egg Chicken Ranch. Pictured below is a two-day collection. Then there is the supply in our fridge… numbered to insure we rotate the supply.

Gary Owen by Bitterroot Community Band

This chart in my music folder caught my eye. I’m playing the euphonium book on my slide trombone. The parts that are intended for a 3 or 4 valve instrument are more challenging on a slide, but they have some very interesting licks. Gary Owen is A CONSTANT RUSH of notes, but a heckuva lotta fun … even if I only come close to getting them all right. Mid season we had a euphonium player join in the fun. I did not let that move me away from this particular part. Besides, between the two of us each missing some of the licks, together we got ’em all. Or so. Gary Owen March from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo. […]

hanging out with young chicks

I had a heckuva fight going on for several days with a hen who set her mind on raising a brood of chicks. NO. I have enough for now. No more this year. YES. It is my turn. I took to wearing my heavy leather gauntlet arc welding gloves to remove her from the nest. She graduated from pecking my hands and arms to flying at my face. I figured she would give up eventually. Then I thunk again. What is the problem? Don’t have enough eggs? No. Got some problem with free chicken dinner? No. Can’t give away excess birds? No. So I let her set on them. This afternoon was the coming out party for momma and […]

Bitterroot Community Band videos

Here are videos taken from our July 25th Daly Mansion gig. The canopy of trees overhead does not reflect and focus our sound like a real bandshell, but it came out fine… probably better live than with a compact camera on video mode. I, on the other hand, never get past the back row while we are playing. Thus this is as close as I can come to hearing our music from the front and thank my wife for shooting us. ๐Ÿ˜‰ – – – – – – The musicians involved fondly call this “The summer sight-reading program”. We practice a generous fistfull of charts on Tuesday, then play them later in the week for an audience. Next week we […]

Bitterroot Community Band remaining summer schedule

There are a few opportunities left to catch this band before they close down for the winter … okay, more accurately, the non-summer season. We play while public schools are not in session. That is because a significant number of our musicians as well as the director are music teachers during the school year. Thus we only run our “summer sight reading program” during the non-school period. Everybody is welcome. Thus the skill levels vary a bit, but I happened in front of the band while it was practicing Tuesday and it sounded sharp! In the trombone section at the back of the band I rarely get the big picture. But it is good. The reviews are good. The price […]

being 17 again for an hour

Years before I entered high school, my dad began teaching me the game he LOVED and excelled at. I entered a high school of 3,000 baby boomers (and graduated) as a distinctly small boy of 5’2″, 98 pounds, but was the 3rd best tennis player on the team all three of my high school years. I was the only one who could beat the coach because the better players followed the muscle-bound pin-head’s instructions while I was not so predictable. Tennis is a fast-paced, thinking, strategy game with an athletic skill set thrown in. I enjoyed the game then, but only found tennis partners once or twice after that. The last five years has found me teaching quite a few […]

great handgun ammo test

AmmoToGo.com published the results of an excellent, thorough and hugely informative defensive handgun ammunition test. I have never seen one better; rarely one even close. Quite noteworthy is that a bullet design may be excellent in one caliber but perform poorly in another. Velocity is an interesting factor, but penetration and expanded diameter are more important. Anybody with a chronograph can give you the former. It is normally listed on the box and in promotional literature. Only shooting into ballistic gel provides the latter. The best test fires bullets through simulated winter clothes into ballistic gel. AmmoToGo.co did exactly that with this test. In addition to their great knowledge base, they include good prices on ammunition you can order […]

K9GT

Amateur radio call signs, also known as station identification, are issued by the FCC to all amateur radio stations much like commercial broadcasters. There is a specialized protocol and pattern for the stations. The first license issued to an amateur has two alpha characters, their region number 0 through 9 followed by another three alphas. They come out sequentially as each new license is issued. Once licensed, operators can submit requests for a call sign change (aka: vanity call sign). The pattern is specific which limits creativity as well as selection. Achieving the highest license level (Amateur Extra) allows for a shorter call sign though still very specific and limited in number/letter pattern. In honor of getting there, I submitted […]