Ted’s essays

dam + ladder

Beagle Brain, aka: Scooter, our Beagle/Lab cross, the BLAB, inherited the beagle willingness to follow her nose wherever it leads, whenever she can. Our containment fence was not up to the task. She would challenge it. I would fix it. Rinse and Repeat. FINALLY I shut her exit down while the rented backhoe was available with a dam and its backwater flooding where the fence crossed the creek. Yay! Success! BUT The tiny dam I rebuild every spring to enable my irrigation to draw from what little bit the upstream irrigators leave in Bunkhouse Creek posed no barrier to the little trout living in the year-round stream. My Scooter dam and culvert, however, did make a barrier… One I was […]

building pad adjustments

My equipment operator skills returned quickly, but my foundation layout talent never existed, and did not magically appear. Said another way, my first shot was off a bit. I had to rework it before the concrete partners did their job. Part of my weakness is not having the cool tools that the real guys use, like a laser-transit and two-man tape measure. Watching them work had me forgiving myself for incompetence where I was outside my skillset and toolset. Thanks in part to a great community, the recovery was quick and not overly expensive. The track hoe I rented was just as cool as I remembered from past experiences. The first phase needed the loader bucket of the back hoe, […]

busy

I have been rushing a bit setting up for winter which solidly arrived last weekend. I was almost ready. I threw a wrench into the works by starting construction of a quonset hut storage building I decided to ‘need’ before this winter. My tractor operator skills came back quickly on the rented backhoe, as did my ability to visualize re-sculpted earth in useful ways and get grades right from the seat of a tractor. I filled in as a presenter to the local garden club playing show and tell with my carnivorous plants. I finalized the lot line adjustment project enabling us to sell two adjacent parcels just over and under 3 acres each. In my younger days, ten […]

doers vs critics

Said many times in most cultures, this quotation from Teddy Roosevelt phrases the sentiment as good as any I know of: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows […]

working in groups

“My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.” – Indira Gandhi While the quotation is clever there is a third, much larger portion of any human gathering: the passive watchers. I cannot claim certain knowledge of what’s going on inside of them, but am guessing it might be like a comfortable perch near a construction site or in the stadium at a sporting event. They are close enough to genuine action to keep their interest, and earn “I was there” / “I saw it happen” credits. It is buying […]

letter to radio friends

Yeah, I’m kind-of busy like a one-armed-paper-hanger, but not THAT busy that I don’t intermittently attempt to get the code plug built into my (our) TYT VHF/UHFradios.  My latest attempt at using technology to pull an existing one out of another brand, make, model radio has not yet born fruit.  My repeated requests for a current list of repeaters, frequencies and PLs have also produced nothing… other than a curt “All Wrong” response to the old list I do have and submitted ‘for corrections’. The pair of Bitterroot repeater gods is in the middle of taking several repeaters down and installing new or reconfigured hardware. THAT changes the programming and their list. SO they don’t want to bother with a […]

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 club, 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. Paul’s White Paper covers the same turf from the technical side. Read it in .pdf form here: 72 repeater analysis Their relationship is that I used the data and analysis from his white paper to build my slides. My pictures provide the visuals while his […]

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. […]