Ted’s essays

Bitterroot Community Band videos

Here are videos taken from our July 25th Daly Mansion gig. The canopy of trees overhead does not reflect and focus our sound like a real bandshell, but it came out fine… probably better live than with a compact camera on video mode. I, on the other hand, never get past the back row while we are playing. Thus this is as close as I can come to hearing our music from the front and thank my wife for shooting us. ๐Ÿ˜‰ – – – – – – The musicians involved fondly call this “The summer sight-reading program”. We practice a generous fistfull of charts on Tuesday, then play them later in the week for an audience. Next week we […]

Bitterroot Community Band remaining summer schedule

There are a few opportunities left to catch this band before they close down for the winter … okay, more accurately, the non-summer season. We play while public schools are not in session. That is because a significant number of our musicians as well as the director are music teachers during the school year. Thus we only run our “summer sight reading program” during the non-school period. Everybody is welcome. Thus the skill levels vary a bit, but I happened in front of the band while it was practicing Tuesday and it sounded sharp! In the trombone section at the back of the band I rarely get the big picture. But it is good. The reviews are good. The price […]

Jungle Antenna Building Workshop

July 6, 2019 – Darby, Montana Six of us came to my Bunkhouse Road workshop from SE Darby hills, Hamilton and Alberton canyons – Technicians, Generals, Amateur Extras Some white-board work explaining the math in metric and inches Our calculations were primarily done in metric (Ted’s slide rule prefers it) 300,000,000 meters per second / 147,000,000 Hz = 2.04 meters = 204 cm a quarter wave antenna will be about 50 cm long, as will each radial Measurements were done with metric + inch tape measure Hardware: dual binding post to BNC connector BNC to SO-239 Adapter choices of light and heavy electric fence wire electric fence insulators home-made pvc pipe insulators Poly-pipe Tees and drip irrigation pipe for radial […]

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 […]