Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

12-volt lighting

Last month in Studio wired I showed you my breakthrough getting my studio 12-volt emergency lighting operating. I accomplished a couple of refinements recently. Besides the obvious advantages of having lights regardless of power grid failures, my 12-volt LEDs provide lighting options in addition to, instead of, or in combination with the various 110-volt lights I have installed. Prior to connecting up my antique meters, I was running on a gut-feeling that I had to be real conservative in my use of the 12-volt to avoid excessive depletion of the batteries, thus shortening their lives. The meters tell me I was wrong by A LOT. While modern digital meters consume almost no energy, my antique analog meters have a […]

handheld radio recommendation

Tytera MD-390 Progress in two-way radios is similar to that in all other electronics. That is to say this recommendation will not be the optimum choice years from now. Nevertheless, this radio can serve you well for many years. The other caveat is there are many good choices. This is only one of them. I am making this suggestion to help the novice find a solid handheld transceiver that is well received within the amateur radio community. In a crowded field of feature-rich radios, the MD-390 has most of what you would want while being in the lower part of the $25 to $500 price range ($130). IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you order this in the 400-480MHz UHF (ultra-high-frequency) model […]

Studio wired

I feel like it has been a long time coming. But when I really think about it, we moved into a trashed homestead 7 months ago. We have made tremendous progress on numerous fronts. Nevertheless, today’s big success is the proper lighting and wiring of my studio. I have had a solar-recharged 12-volt grid-independent electrical system for about 5 years. The primary motivation was for my short and long range 2-way radios; my HAM gear. All of these radios run on 12-volts. You either run them on automotive-compatible systems, or you buy separate power inverters to turn you electrical grid power into juice they can use. That decision was the tipping point to have some independence from power deliveries, […]

tool tango

We are a couple months shy of five years since we started our move from our big subdivision home in Kuna, Idaho with my self-insulated, 5-car-garage shop to the Conner, Montana cabin. I spent the majority of that time estranged from my major tools. I had visitation rights, but the tools were not where I lived. I will never forget the gratitude I owe the great friend who housed them in a fully functional shop for me eight miles away. But, they were not where I lived. Today I am doing the happy dance around my tools. First things first, I fired up the mongo wood burner. Spotty insulation keeps my shop from getting real warm on cold days, but […]

alley dominated

In the grand war to make our homestead suitable, the alley between our house and garage has received little attention. The jetsam left behind by our squatters comprised much of what was heaped there, including the cat they abandoned. I am known to be anti-cat, but really am just against indoor cats; house-cats. Marmalade is a cool cat. A poorly kept secret is that I like having her around. She is a good rodent hunter, likes being scooped up, rumbles pleasantly when held, petted and fed, goes on walks with Mom, Missy and Scooter, handles herself with style, follows us around the yard, and is reasonably in control of her life. She and I seem to have worked out a […]

interim shop tour

I am definitely not yet moved in to my shop. BUT I am able to get stuff done in it. I got far enough along to move to getting my studio, radio shack, music room and entertainment center setting up as a bigger priority. The state of the shop is: tour of interim shop from Ted Dunlap on Vimeo.

metric Montana draftsman

Earlier this year I decided to give go at using metric measurements. That system has many advantages facilitating gauging and related calculations. For target ranging through optical scopes using mil-dots, plus calculating hold-offs and hold-overs, it is far more fluid than the MOA, foot, inch, yard system. Thus I have lived in a mixed-system world for the last six months. Setting up my new studio, radio shack, reloading, hobby area requires quite a bit of design, millwork and cabinetry … all needing to be done before I could have a nice mechanical drawing station set up. I am incredibly happy with the cheesy little 30-dollar “interim” drawing board I bought to draw plans for my drawing table and more. I […]

emergency medical inventory

I retired nurse friend of mine shared her list with a group of us. I, in turn, am sharing it with you. Field Hospital Inventory (* denotes essentials) Trauma bag Personal protection gear – each in separate zip lock bags vinyl and nitril gloves – your size and some large size if different (*) surgical masks (*) plastic (food service type) apron eye protection Cleaning supplies sm. bottle of surgical (green) soap or plain dish soap fingernail brush hand towels Normal saline – burn and wound cleanser (*) baking soda – acid burns sm bottle vinegar – alkaline burns plain salt – to make more normal saline gauze sponges 60 cc syringe – or cheap condiment squeeze bottle small pack […]