Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

become an amateur radio operator

Thursdays 4:30-6:30pm Darby Library meeting room July 13th – September 7th Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach Ham radios start where walkie-talkies leave off, with licensed radio operators communicating around the corner and around the world. ARRL License Manual costs $29.95 includes chapters on every aspect of the licensing exam and numerous practice tests Darby Thursday study sessions are FREE YOU can be an amateur radio operator No electronics background required Click this link for a .pdf poster advertising the class:Ham-radio-class-poster-7-2017 Below is a .jpg image of the class advertisement. TESTING SESSION JULY 17th For those ready to test for Technician, General or Amateur Extra […]

analog calculators

In this age of converting everything to digital, bits, bytes and button pushing, my recent trip to a beginners’ long-range shooting school (see my first 1K) brought the power of slide rules back into my world. I am also [re-]discovering the beautiful metric system of measurements. The normal, average, mundane, commonplace answer to everything today is “I have a computer that does that”. Substitute “smart phone”, calculator or other electronic alternative to knowing how to actually do stuff and you have the answer to 99.9% of the computational questions asked today. I am not going to conjure up ways in which that dependence on electronics could fail us. Needless to say there are times, places and circumstances where it could. […]

midnight prowler

At 0030 last night Beagle Brain went off as if the zombie apocalypse had begun at our door. In a flash I had my robe on and was in the front room. The motion-detector flood lights were on, but everywhere I looked was vacant of mammalian beings… or anything at all visible but the snow, river and trees that normally occupy our riverside yard. Yet Beagle Brain was barking at extreme pitch, far more so than the normal ‘won’t shut up cuz there is a deer walking in the woods’. I continue investigating, then see a flash of a man walking by our front window! Briskly. I dash to the side window to catch a retreating view… big parka, fur-faced […]

radio communicating options

Handy in many situations, radio communications can be life saving when phones and Internet are down or out of reach. This 2-hour overview covers walkie-talkies across the yard to ham radios around the world. What radios should you have for emergencies? What do they cost? What do they do? How can you be sure they will be available when you really need them? Regular, non-technical people become Ham radio operators all the time. Should you? If so, how? I am offering one of the classes on the calendar for the Darby Adult Education Spring 2016 session. Darby School District Adult Education The class currently has 5 people signed up. It will be canceled if there are not 7 or more. […]

woodshed

I just finished expanding last year’s winter heat storage unit and improving on it a bit. With 20-bucks-worth of new lumber, I was able to scrounge the rest of the needed materials. Good thing, because that left me cash to pay someone else to cut and split a cord of wood for us. A neighbor charges $120 for a fat cord of dry lodgepole pine delivered. It is hard to beat a deal like that. Lets me focus on my mountain of projects that I cannot easily subcontract… like building the woodshed. Stacked inside is one-third of a cord left over from last year. Piled on the lawn is the first of two cords I’m hiring done. He would have […]

radio, reloading bench

I am more than a little surprised today to discover I never shared my finished product here. Ta Da! One of the endearing bits of me as far as the Missus is concerned is my role as “Shelf-Meister”. I have squeezed just about as much shelf space into this (and prior) homes as imaginable. Of course they are STRONG, but also functional and suit the spaces handsomely for us. The white shelves to the left were TEMPORARY with those metal shelf brackets that everybody uses and scrap lumber that happened to be somewhat close to the right shape. Lots of putty and paint later, they are as temporary as the rest of the house (and probably nearly as strong). The […]

emergency radio cards

Assuming that phones and Internet will work unfailingly forever is extraordinarily popular. This is despite the fact everyone knows they don’t, can’t and won’t. Worse, they will fail when everyone most wants information on what is going on and wants to share information on their needs and situations. I recognize this better than most. While to me the need for a radio-based communication network seems obvious, it obviously isn’t. Planning and preparing for the uninterested is challenging, but I’m up to the challenge. Here you have the best tool I’ve heard of. I made up this graphic intended to be printed two-sided on cardstock, cut into fourths and shared with people who might store it near or with their radio. […]

fixing bad dreams

I understand the dream state of sleep, also known as REM or rapid-eye-movement sleep, to come when we have had enough deep sleep. It is no less important, but we can get by without it if necessary. I have outgrown giving great meaning to my dreams… it’s just your mind doing random exercises like running down trails in the woods. This one occasionally shows up where I have to drive an incredibly steep bridge that gets steeper as I go up until it is almost impossibly straight up. I was quite surprised recently to find that something like it actually exists: the River Island Bridge in Japan. I think I won’t go there. I mean, it would be tempting fate […]