Ted’s essays

Bitterroot Community Band

— This is a summer-series concert band open to anyone who wants to play their band instruments. We play high school level charts at various free-to-the-public gigs around the Bitterroot. — I encourage you to print one of these schedules for your bulletin board [and another one or two for public bulletin boards.] 2019 Summer Schedule .pdf

emergency communication

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, once again I address the subject of what do you do when your phones and Internet stop working? Wonder and Nothing useful Are the two answers most people will default to. I know I am unusual in planning and preparing for such a scenario. I not only think of ME and mine, but want others to have value in their radios as well. So I produce an attractive, sturdy laminated card that they just might keep with their two-way radio enabling them to find value in it when no other means of mid-range communication is available. I hereby introduce GEN III of my cards. I will distribute as widely as […]

Darby Volunteer Fire Department – thank you

By happenstance I met two of the local firefighters in my yard last winter. They informed me that were I to request it, Darby VFD would send trucks and crews to monitor my slash piles during their more dangerous phases of burning down. I have been working over the last two years at reducing the fire hazards to our homestead and had developed four piles of brush and wood that were far too fuel-rich to burn without crews exactly like theirs. I made the call. They scheduled a “TRAINING” for yesterday evening. All of their trucks and many of their firefighters were on hand to keep the fire contained and as safe as possible. I am incredibly grateful. They […]

emergency comms plan

BEARS, that is the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services, works towards having viable communication resources in place when our neighborhood most needs it. A radio and operator are useless without another radio and operator at the other end. Two-way radio is by definition a sending and receiving operation. The more operators on the network, the better our information is and the wider we can spread it. Likely more than 99% USofA adults ASSUME their phones and wi-fi devices will never fail them. In real-life emergencies, they are nearly always shocked and hopeless because those systems do fail. I print, laminate and distribute 4″ x 5″ cards with information enabling unused radios in the hands of unpracticed operators to receive and […]

Bitterroot Emergency Radio Plan

BEARS, that is the Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Services, works towards having viable communication resources in place when our neighborhood most needs it. A radio and operator are useless without another radio and operator at the other end. Two-way radio is by definition a sending and receiving operation. The more operators on the network, the better our information is and the wider we can spread it. Likely more than 99% USofA adults ASSUME their phones and wi-fi devices will never fail them. In real-life emergencies, they are nearly always shocked and hopeless because those systems do fail. I print, laminate and distribute 4″ x 5″ cards with information enabling unused radios in the hands of unpracticed operators to receive and […]

letting go

Parents, grandparents, siblings and good friends often enable destructive bahavior. Letting go is quite difficult, but more often than not is the right answer. The Declaration of Independence jumped into my head: …a long train of abuses and usurpations… We forgive, cover-for, assist, fret, lose sleep and so-on while they flit in and out of acceptable behavior. It is a show I watched from ringside a generation ago, though then I missed darn near every clue while I struggled to make my business feed and house us all. I am one row back today, but able to play reruns in the face of similar behaviors. Most likely, there was nothing I could do then to change the trajectory. I’m pretty […]

constitutional sheriff

Elizabeth Hodge interviewed me when I was running for Ada County sheriff. I just tripped over it today. The interview explains the concept as well as I have seen it done. It is still valid, and incredibly valuable to those USofA counties who have elected constitutional sheriffs. Coming out of nowhere with no significant support, I shocked the 20-year incumbent by garnering 40,943 votes. The incumbent was startled. He had not been in any contest that close, and sure as heck didn’t expect it from my campaign. Unfortunately, it was only 26% of the votes. I suspect $10,000 in campaign finances could have won it for us. I’m happy nobody did that to me. I like where I am. […]

popular class

Turnout for the Spring 2019 ham radio class first day was outstanding. Icing on the cake is that a highly-knowledgable, skilled, professional teacher is bringing his young son to every class. I could not ask for a better co-teacher. Sixteen students and two instructors filled the Darby Library meeting room. They came from all over Ravalli County most planning to earn their FCC Technician license, but a few will be testing for the next level, the General class. I’m studying double: their book to insure good mentoring every Saturday plus the Amateur Extra manual so I can take the third and final step up the amateur radio licensing ladder when we all test in May. My drafted co-teacher came from […]

Bitterroot Ham class starts Saturday

I am reposting this to catch any stragglers. Response has been good enough to assure the class will take place. I will know in a few days how many new FCC license holders will be testing mid-May. One thing that holds many potential licensed hams back is their lack of electronics, radio, electrical or related background. I absolutely promise that electro-mechanical incompetents can and do pass this test. Another question I get is the expense. Paperback Technician Manuals are $30. Spiral-bound are $33. The testing session costs $17. Passing your first test earns you the FCC Technician license with no further costs between now and renewal ten years from now. Radios can be purchased for $25. It goes up…up…up from […]

ham class begins in March

I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 15 or 20 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby, Montana library. My track record garnered me the assignment as the local ham club (BARC) education coordinator. The club has many people who know radio A LOT better than I do, but none who can teach as well. The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing that. Good instructors are as rare as good anything else. I did not choose this calling, blessing or curse. It chose me. Run with your talents. If you […]

Darby Dog Derby 2019 review

The 12th annual Darby Dog Derby sled dog and skijour races at Lost Trail and Chief Joseph Pass ski areas is now history. You can go see the official race results at the BITTERROOT MUSHERS website. My part in these events is to arrange and manage communications across the course over the weekend. This was my fifth year in that role. We learn from our mistakes and failures each year and improve the next. Along with getting better and better at comms comes being more appreciated every year. We received this nice letter of gratitude from the mushers for our help this year (jpg to the right; pdf here: 2019 Bitterroot Mushers thank you letter) call sign JOE This […]

Darby Dog Derby – January 19, 20

Sled dog racing is on the agenda this weekend at the Lost Trail Pass cross-country ski area at the Montana/Idaho border right off Highway 93. The Bitterroot Mushers are running their 12th annual sled dog races with the first skijor race starting 9:00 Saturday morning and wrapping up with the 4-dog teams finishing around 3:00. Sunday will be a repeat of that schedule with the addition of the Awards Ceremony after racing is complete. This all takes place adjacent to Montana mile marker ZERO. It is as close to you as whatever your nearest Highway 93 mile marker indicates. That is to say, in my neighborhood sled dog racing has practically come to you so you don’t have to go […]