Ted’s essays

The Vaccine is The Show – all else is distraction or preparatory

This is the most important video you will ever watch in your life. Doctor Carrie Madej and Richie from Boston know full well the risks they take producing and publishing this information, but know it would be much worse for them and us if they do not. These two epitomize Fearless and Knowledge; devote themselves and their lives to helping others understand The Big Picture. What do these troubling things we are witnessing today all have in common? What is the goal? What is the end game? Please give this video 10 minutes – I promise you will want to watch to the end – and share in every way you can. Both Carrie and Richie are fully aware of […]

plumber’s 10-meter ham radio antenna

One avenue for local two-way radio communication is through the use of the 10-meter frequencies. I have not had a decent antenna for joining the conversation that is exercised most Wednesday evenings at 1915 hours on 28.350 MHz. For visualization purposes, CB radios are just slightly longer, around 11 meters – that is, very similar in antenna requirements – a fairly tall antenna like the spring-mounted whips you sometimes see on pickup trucks. I have had an antenna that transmits and receives ten meter okay, but it is in my little canyon (problem one) and is a horizontal while the rest of the local operators are using verticals (problem two). So I launched a project to design, build and […]

solar controller upgrade

The beast of a solar panel was too much for the economy controllers I tried. As I mentioned in my previous article about it, solar power upgrade, I put an antique ammeter on the incoming power that I could know how much was hitting the controller and a blade switch in the line so I could cut off the incoming juice when it became too much. This was not a system I could just leave on its own. If I was ever going to be able to ignore it, and if I wanted to absorb maximum power from the sun on this system I needed to upgrade the controller. When my refund from the smoked controller arrived I did […]

solar power upgrade

When I set up my ham radio shack six years ago, I chose to go solar-powered 12-volt because amateur radio needs to work regardless of the grid up or grid down situation. Last year I upgraded to second and third deep-cycle lead-acid batteries. I added other uses to the system and last winter was frequently running low on stored energy. So I upgraded the panel and controller to modern, more powerful ones. The new panel overwhelmed the new controller. It should not have according to the specs on both, but there it was. Controller said, “Too much juice”. Readily admitting to my ignorance, I contacted a company with a long history of servicing the off-grid community and ordered a […]

Ted Dunlap, STEE

You have-to have initials after your name to lend credibility to your projects and pronouncements. My latest creation inspired me to append “STEE” to my name. Further explanation will wreck the aura, but I’ll go ahead anyway. It stands for Shade Tree Electrical Engineer… similar to the Shade Tree Mechanic title I earned repeatedly with my auto/truck/motorcycle/tractor repair toolset. Running a ham radio shack requires steady, clean 12-volt electricity. Handheld transceivers, HTs, or walkie-talkies if you prefer, have their own batteries. Cheaper ones use AA or AAA, but most use rechargeables whose chargers plug into standard 120-volt household outlets. Our mobiles and base units all run on 12-volt direct current in our shacks, vehicles or deployed field stations. I […]

two-way radios

can be indispensable in emergencies and other times normal communications tools are not working. For my current amateur radio Technician Class students, I just bought 7 of the make/model I feel gives the best cost/benefit for ham radio operators. The TYT MD-UV390 operates on both the ultra-high-frequencies (UHF) of the FCC’s family radio service (FRS) and general mobile radio service (GMRS), it also transmits and receives on the very high frequencies (VHF) commonly used by hams, public and private agencies for regional communications. Their MD-UV380 is the lower cost version of the same radio without the water-proofing. TYT, also known as Tyterra builds well-reviewed radios in relatively affordable price ranges. The transmitters, receivers, speakers, microphones, displays, controls and antennas all […]

electricity, components & circuits

Chapter 3 in the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Ham Radio License Manual is the most challenging to most students. Remember that out of the 35 questions on your written exam, 26 correct answers is a passing score. You can afford to miss nine, or one out of every four and still earn your Technician’s License. You could miss, or even skip over every component and circuit question without failing your exam. Do not get all balled-up in this one chapter. On the other hand, it is cool, and even useful to understand a bit of this stuff. So let’s try to GET IT, without stress or strain. You likely already found my favorite online exam preparation tool HamStudy.org I […]

wave behavior

Whether it is a stone tossed into a glassy-smooth pond, sound waves coming out of a trombone or electro-magnetic waves enabling radios to communicate, the wave behaviors are direct relatives to the physicist. One such person built a model to demonstrate wave behavior then his employer, Bell Labs, produced a movie of it. I almost called it a video, but those were not yet invented in 1959 when this was produced. Last year I pounded enough correct answers into my head that I passed my Amateur Extra exam. My motivation was that I really wanted to UNDERSTAND radio much better. I did not clear that hurdle on pure expanded knowledge of radio, but I found several tools that helped. […]

why TedDunlap.net went AWOL

I changed my web hosting plan to save a few bucks. It has been a MAN VS MACHINE struggle to get my websites back up and available ever since. Perhaps old brain VS new technology … or patience VS intracacy … or something like that. Machine slapped me around for several days now. My web host encourages the use of a third-party service to prevent malicious players from flooding my website with bogus requests that would bury it and their servers hosting me. Siteground was wonderful, backing up and moving my stuff intact from one server to the less expensive one. They gave me a couple things to do with clear instructions and I was off and running. BUT […]

final day of registration for ham class is Friday

This a repeat of my previous announcement. There is one more day of online registration for Darby Adult Ed classes. We stand ONE STUDENT SHORT of having enough to make it happen. I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana via the Darby Adult Education program in its Spring 2020 schedule. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 40 or 50 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby library. 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. […]

personal Victory!

I determined to UP MY GAME in amateur radio knowledge this year. My primary methodology was to work towards passing the final hurdle in amateur radio to earn my Amateur Extra ticket. It demands a wide range of knowledge covering the spectrum of radio construction, operation and transmission. Two unanticipated things I learned from this effort were: 1) I really don’t want to know how radios are constructed… though much of that is required to pass the exam. 2) Simultaneously teaching a class of newcomers to pass their Technician level exams while studying to pass the third and final level was not helpful. Other lessons along the way. The ARRL study manuals are worth every penny and every hour […]

computer back-oops

I had a couple careers in computer operations and office automation. I know more than a little about preserving electronic data. Therefore I have multiple back-ups of my important files. I don’t do it as often as I should, but intend to at least monthly. I save files from my most active computer onto two USB backup drives and onto my backup computer. If you are counting, that is four copies of every file I deem worth preserving. With my mind working on a couple other things I copied my most treasured files onto one of the backup drives. Well, actually that is what I meant to do. Since this is a process I have been doing FOREVER I really […]