Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

become a Ham radio operator

UPCOMING FREE CLASSES Want to obtain your technician license? A tech class will be held October 7th.Classes will be every Tues from 7-9PM at the Stevi Library for 10 sessions. At the end of the ten week session a FCC Volunteer administered exam will be administered to qualify you for your FCC Amateur Radio License. Technician, general and extra class books are available through the club or at class for$29.95. Study online is also available. If you know of anyone who is interested in becoming a ham please give them this information. Lawrence can be reached at 777-0238 for more info. Less in-depth, but focused specifically on passing the tests are study sessions coming up in the Darby Library nearly […]

spinning plates

You may be familiar with keeping the plates spinning metaphor. Competent managers can keep numerous tasks, projects and/or people going the right direction much like a juggler keeps multiple plates spinning on sticks or a housewife operates a home. At some point, however, one might realize there are just too dang many plates on sticks. I finally started grabbing plates and setting them down gently on the floor. What do I really want to get DONE in the near future? WINTER IS COMING SOON! I am IT. I am the limiting factor. I am not managing some great team or crew. I darn well better focus on one task at a time starting with the more important ones and working […]

All About That Bass

While I have no hope of ever singing anything like this, I can still dream of playing bass at least a little. It IS, after all, my second choice for instruments that I treasure hearing and, therefore, want to play. Nevermind all that however, I LOVE THIS TUNE. I have discovered Kate Davis and will definitely be hearing more of her music. P.S. Make sure your BASS is turned up when you play this.

my radio shack is grounded

Coming out of the radio shack is a piece of 3/4″ copper pipe bent into an S for a radio-frequency (RF) ground. Also coming out is a chunk of #6 multi-strand serving as chassis and 120v ground. The ground wire itself is mostly #6 multi-stranded copper wire running a continuous 160-foot loop. At every turn, there are scraps of 3/4″ or 1/2″ copper pipe pounded two feet or so deep until stopped by rocks. electrical and RF grounds out of shackground loop heads north and east ground at south east cornerwest side of ground […]

adult ed class: preparedness

I am offering two classes for the Darby Adult Ed program this fall. Pre-registration officially lasts through Monday, September 22nd. If there are 7 or more registered, the class will take place. One is a 2-hour short course called “Radio Communicating Options“. It covers walkie-talkies to HAM Radio with primary focus on emergency communications. It runs from 10-noon on Saturday, September 27th. Related, but a separate subject, the next 9 Saturdays will have study groups leading to HAM licenses if there is enough interest. Here is what the flyer says about my big fall class: Being Prepared The Boy Scout motto is just at least as valid now as it ever was. Nature and man have a way of delivering […]

monster cookies

My daughter-in-law requested a cookie recipe I developed over 20 years ago. I delivered. Of course I still have it. I LOVE those cookies… they are delicious, healthy, hearty … and fattening (oops). Perhaps in moderation … Much like me with cafe’-racer motorcycles, I don’t seem to know about moderation with awesome cookies. So I don’t make them. In our correspondence, she responded that the ingredients specified, and I suppose natural foods in general, are expensive. She does have a very large family to feed. Monetary expenditures are certainly a necessary consideration. She is also responsible for their transportation… with the same family-size considerations. Little economy cars are simply not going to work. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. […]

Conner sunset

I had been working several hours in the yard with Scooter’s willingness to explore Western Montana limited by a 20′ rope. She’d had more than enough of that little world view while I had over plenty of digging, scratching in the stubborn soil and hooking up ground lines for my ham radio. We took our walk up along the river and back. The sunset was lovely. It deserved more respect than just passing by. I sat down by the west side of our house and respected it. But almost immediately decided to grab a snapshot, so I took my camera up the knoll a bit and shot this one. There are a hundred million sunset photos out there with most […]

another fan of our fireplace

Scooter seems to enjoy the heat of our fireplace. She has discovered a new lounging spot. It puts her near my office chair. That is always a priority to her – being near Missy or me whenever we sit still. This spot has an advantage of proximity to a major heat radiator. So here she is soaking it in. However, look at the temperature on the far side of the living room that contains three of her other favored lounging spots. Holey smokes dog, how much warmth do you want?

surveying the East Fork

Not because the world has some screaming need I am fulfilling, but merely because I want to… I slipped on my 14″ dairyman boots to walk across a river varying in depth from 10″ – 18″. If your math skills are average or better, you will correctly guess those boots were quite full of water in short order. During last year’s low tide, in my first iteration, I staggered out with rattle cans and tape measure in a backpack to paint marks on the center support of Conner Cutoff Road over the East Fork Bitterroot. You can see the close-ups of this river-height gauge at river is a-risin’ and “river running by” from last May. A major shortcoming of that […]

feeling smug and toasty

Our new woodstove is starting to earn its keep and has me feeling a bit clever with a couple of my installation innovations. First off, it is definitely warm in my studio. Actually, as predicted, a bit over-warm, truth be told. Sitting a tad over three feet from the cabin’s heat source will do that. Darn-near everyone is eager to explain to me that noisy fans are the answer. I’m more inclined to dress for the occasion, rather than adding noise pollution and electrical consumption to my heating system. Back to my innovations. I have been dragging a couple sheet steel chunks around for over a decade. Unrelated to that or the woodstove in the then unforeseen future, I found […]

infinite grid-free firewood

I finished installation of an efficient woodstove in our river-side cabin. It is a small woodstove, but we live in a small house. This should easily keep us warm so long as we keep it fed. Nice that we have electric central heat on the programmed thermostat I installed. Extra nice that we don’t have to freeze or leave if the power goes down on a cold winter day, days, week, or weeks. Living next to a river that never stops flowing and a forest over-full with pine-bark-beetle killed trees standing gives us a really comfortable feeling that we have two of the primary human needs handled for the long-term, with or without the power grid deliveries that make life […]

how to make a trillion dollars

In five easy steps, you too can be a trillionaire. Earn unbelievable income without any hard work or risk of your own money. 1. Make up your own currency. It should look like a trusted currency, but does not need any backing such as gold, silver or real estate. Just so long as it resembles one that does. Change a few letters or words, but nobody will notice subtle differences. 2. You will have to print some percentage of it onto currency-resembling paper with unusual, cool-looking inks. Happily, most of the money you spread around can just be made up on your home computer. Transfer generous amounts of money from thin air electronically to bank accounts as loans. 3. Collect […]