Archive for the ‘Politics’ category


November 22, 2009

When I was in school, I was in the ROTC program. Folk in this program were rewarded with merits. They were also given demerits for things not rewardable.

Some of us thought that it was okay to have demerits as long as you had at least as many merits. Sort of like the merits cancelled the demerits.

No such thing! Our stinking thinking was quickly corrected when the officer in charge expained the situation. He informed us that having an equal number of merits and demerits merely indicated that we did the right thing half the time. The other half we were not flying right. Since he could never be sure when we were going to fly left, he could not depend on us for anything but the most trivial tasks. In short, he would not let us fly at all for fear we would hurt someone.

I think this lesson is something politicians should take to heart. It is not good enough to do good things. They also need to avoid doing bad things. Good things do not offset bad things. Doing both merely marks a person as being unreliable.

For instance, being a moderate has nothing to do with moderation. It merely marks a person as being moderately good at times and moderately bad at other times. Essentially unreliable.

Are you listening Gov Perry and Senator Hutchison?


Moxon or KT34XA

October 5, 2009

I have been thinking about turning my KT-34 into a three element moxon for 20 meters. Why? Because I think it would reduce the weight by a bunch and work better with my old AR-22 antenna rotator.

Yesterday I was reading up on moxon performance. The two element moxon was consistently 2 S units below a 160 meter loop at 50 feet. Granted, the loop has a capture area the size of Texas compared to the moxon, but this moxon performance is just a little better than what you can expect from a normal two element beam, about 5db.

I am already getting close to 8db from the KT-34 on all three bands. Why would I settle for about 7db on only one band. That is what I would end up with using a three element moxon on 20 meters.

No, it would make more sense to reinforce the mast so that it can take the additional load and just hope the rotator will slip its moorings when the strong winds arrive. It will screw up the feed line but at least save the rotator.

I am pretty much convinced that the winds that did in my HD-73 would also have taken out a prop pitch motor. So going lighter on the rotator should not make that much difference as long as it is not pinned to the shaft of the mast like the HD-73 was.

I am not about to spend 1000 bucks on a heavy duty rotator when I am pretty sure it would get shelled out too.

So the KT-34 is being rebuilt as is the mast. The antenna just needs the feedline attached and the capacitor insulators replaced. The mast needs to be taken down and the bent portion needs to be cut out. Then I need to come up with a clever way to mary the 2.5 inch pipe to the 3 inch pipe without welding. My guess is slip the smaller into the larger for a couple of feet and use two bolts spaced 90 degrees appart. Will also find a solid steel shaft to insert into the hollow of the 2 inch pipe at the junction. The lower 15 feet of the 2.5 inch pipe will be reinforced by welding some heavy streached chain to its backside. This may result in a future bend closer to the top. However, the 2.5 inch pipe is only 20 feet long. That puts the reinforcement just five feet from the top. I am hoping that will be enough to support the additional weight of the extra boom and two elements to convert the KT-34 to a KT-34XA custom.

Custom because the wide spaced additional three band director is going to be an old Mosely tri-band driven element sporting two traps. The extra ten meter director will be made from tubing scaps of which I have plenty.

I have already used the two Mosley traps and tubing to build a rotatable dipole using some scrap tubing. It worked very well on all three bands. All that needs to be done is telescope the tubing further together to make the element shorter and turn it into a director.

The only thing I am short on is boom material. I need to double the length of the existing boom. Increase it by 16 feet to a total of 32 feet. I only have about 13 feet available and it is not all 3 inch. Got three 19 inch sections of boom from an old single bander beam that was destroyed in a storm. Got another six foot section of 2.5 inch steel mast I would rather not use since it is heavy. Then there is a five foot section of scaffold tubing which is extremely light weight and hopefully extremely strong.

There is another 16 feet of mast now being used on the second tiltover but I believe that mast is steel (heavy) and about 1.5 inches in diameter. Probably not at all suitable.

I might be able to use three feet of the 1.5 to make up the difference in boom length for the KT but I am tempted just to let is go short. A three foot reduction in boom length can’t effect the gain that much.

The first task is to securely mount the gin pole mast by drilling holes for bolts in the top plate of the tower. Then removing the tiltover portion and loweing it to the patio. Secure both ends and the middle. Then cut the bent portion of the pipe out of the middle. Move the 3 inch pipe into the garage to weld on the uppper cable stays and paint it.

Next comes the 2.5 inch pipe. Move it off the roof and into the garage to install cable stays and reinforcing chain. Also need to figure out a good way to bolt the two pipes together. Paint the smaller pipe.

Move the finished pipes to the patio and position to bolt them together. Install the cables before raising to the hinge point. Once it is at the hinge point you wont be able to get to the cable stays.

The cables will be installed with a little more foresight. Will be using four cables. One RG6, two RG 213, one rotator cable, and one openwire 450 ohm line.

The 450 ohm line will be terminated to PVC insulators support off the tops of the cable stays. Rotor cable and both RG 213 runs will come down through the cable stays as will the RG6.

One RG-213 to the KT-XA. One RG-213 to the vertically polarized two meter beam. RG-6 to the TV antenna. Maybe use RG six for the two meter beam too? Then there will be the UHF TV antenna wich will use the 450 ohm open wire line for feedline.

It may not be entirely obvious but the two TV antennas need to be fixed mounted. That is, I know where the TV stations are and I need those antennas to point in that direction and stay there. Dont need the TV antennas rotating around with the ham antennas. The UHF TV antenna does not present much of a problem. Just mount it to the mast with two u-bolts. (might need to get new U-bolts to fit the larger mast.) The VHF/UHF combo TV antenna will probably need to be mounted to an extension arm off the side of the main mast. Ten feet below the large HF beam would be a good place. Need to determine the length of the extension arm

There will be a junction box at the top of the mast. Perhaps one at the hinge point as well. All cables will terminate in connectors at the juntion box at the top. This being done so that the antennas can be removed or serviced without worry about feedlines. Just disconnect at the junction box. The juntion box will be located high enough on the mast so that it is accessible from the roof of the garage as the mast it tilted down.

Getting the beam up onto the mast is going to be trick. The last time we did that, we used the step ladder straddling the garage roof peak to gain enough height to attach the boom to the mast. The beam was fully assembled as we installed it this way.

This time we will fully assemble the entire beam on the patio so we can test it. Then dissassemble and take the main boom section and short elements up to install the boom to the mast. This should be fairly easy because the balance point of the beam will have shifted to one end of the boom. My guess is that three elements will be up and one down as the boom is mounted to the mast.

Further assembly will be done at standing height from the roof by rotating the beam to position it then raising or lowering the mast by tilting it to bring the elements into play one by one.

Once all four original elements are installed we can to the XA modification. Add boom sections to the first ten meter director. Install ten meter director. Raise beam higher, install more boom lenghts, install the tri-band director.

Raise the antenna to full height and hope the swr is acceptable on all bands.

The official weight of the factory KT-34XA is 69 lbs. I am hoping my version will be under 60 lbs. Still, that is very heavy. Some of the weight of the previous installation will be offset by lowering the mounting point of the rotator. I am guessing I can set it lower by about ten feet. The only problem there is going to be attaching the saddle shaft to the antenna. Ten feet lower may put off the edge of the garage roof. My extension ladder is not long enough to reach that point. Will just have to play this by ear. I might only get a five foot lower mounting point. I definately do not want to have to install the rotator before I raise the pipe to hinge point. The whole purpose of the rotator mount is so that is can be accessed for replacement since it seems to be most likely part to fail.

Need to make some cable clamps and stays to support the new longer boom. There is a sturdy pipe extending ten feet up from the point where the beam is connected to the mast. The upper reaches of that pipe need a clamp with two ears to enable attaching the ends of two cable stays, one on each side. The cable stays will connect to boom clamps located a few feet in from the boom ends. The stays will be preadjusted to length to keep the boom level and prevent any sag or droop. I have a length of aluminum bar stock that is heavy enough for making clamps. I just hope there is enough to make three clamps. The mast clamp is no sweat but the boom clamps will need about six to eight inches of material per side times two. Need at least three feet of stock. Clamps will be bolted together and have extensions to permit attaching the stays. They should be a tight fit to the mast and boom so that they will not slip.

This is longer than I intended. Sort of thinking out loud and sort of off topic at the end. Then this is the ‘Off Topic’ blog. (more…)

How to Lose Votes

March 3, 2008

Folk seeking political office should be aware that some of the people who can vote for them have certain rules they expect prospective candidates to follow. I will not vote for anyone that participates in any of the activities listed below and will admonish my friends to do likewise. This, regardless of what the candidates claim to accomplish in a positive light.

1. Telephone solicitation: This is an abuse of my personal property. You think I want this kind of miscreant to occupy a governmental office of any kind? No! We keep an accurate and complete listing of every incoming call. You better hope yours is not in there if you want my vote.

2. Negative ads: A candidate for office is not qualified to voice opinions regarding their opponents. I am smart enough to figure out that part of the equation myself. I am much more interested in why a candidate cannot come up with positive attributes of his own. Could it be he does not have any?

3. Too much advertising: Ads are a good way of letting people know your intentions. Don’t let them become a nuisance. Nuisances do not get my vote. Over eager candidates are viewed with suspicion.

4. Don’t claim experience you do not have or experience that is not even remotely applicable to the political office you seek. Claiming to have old military experience, to having been an eagle scout in your youth, or other long lost accomplishments do not say anything about your qualification for or suitability to any current political office. In fact, reference to inconsequential or very old experience merely raises suspicions that current applicable experience may be missing. Such suspicions cause prospective voters withhold their support.

5. Experience can be both good and bad. If yours is not good, no amount of spin will change that.

6. Endorsements are meaningless when compared to a full disclosure of your political views and objectives. Endorsements can be bought. Influential people are not above taking bribes. Endorsements from unusual places raise suspicions. If you have ever received a ‘Powers’ award, best keep it a secret.

7. Should you be unfortunate enough to receive the enthusiastic endorsement and support of some famous entertainer or actor, you might as well quit now. Such endorsement is the kiss of death. You can’t possibly think that voters would take seriously the advice of people who have chosen to make a career of fantasy and make believe.


February 2, 2008

Seems that no political ad is complete without the candidate staking claim to leadership qualities that are the envy of all. This is particularly true if the candidate has had any military experience. Sometimes any experience at all with the military is enough to set off claims of extreme heroism and leadership.

We voters need to understand that while leadership and the military go hand in hand, military leadership is a special brand of leadership. Leadership in the military is largely created through conscripted followship. Even in a military populated with volunteers, there is threat of punishment for those unwilling to follow orders. This is necessary but it does not give rise to the kind of leadership that is useful in anything but a dictatorship.

Keep this in mind the next time you hear an ex-military candidate for political office make claims of his superior leadership skills.

Qualifications to become President

November 29, 2007

Lately there seems to be an unusually heated debate on what qualifies a candidate to serve in the capacity of President of the United States.

Other than requiring that the candidate be born in the United States and be a citizen of the United States the only other major requirement is that they receive a majority of electoral votes.

Does not matter if you are a congressman, senator, governor, mayor, or janitor. It is that final vote tally that bestows the final qualification.

I wonder why that simple fact is being ignored by those debating qualifications?

for the Children

August 23, 2007

This is what we are told by folks running questionable, even fraudulent charitable organizations. They put the bite on us by claiming it is for the children hoping the plea will pull at our heart strings.

Here is something that might pull at your brain strings.

When have children ever been sole principles, alone responsible for their own welfare? Okay, I will help you. The answer is NEVER!

Children are members of families. They may not be members of perfect families but most do have some sort of adult supervision.

Charities that minister to CHILDREN while ignoring their adult supervision are overstepping their bounds. There is no higher authority than a child’s parents when it comes to a child’s welfare. Charities that ignore this simple fact may also be ignoring other basic rules of society and family.

Such charities are not helping anyone but themselves and should be avoided like a plague. This includes politicians who claim their efforts are ‘for the children’.

Remember the bigger the lie, the easier it becomes to believe it. That does not make it any less the lie.


June 21, 2007

We often hear candidates for political office claim that leadership is important and they can provide all the leadership anyone could want.

Look out Nelly! Any time a politician uses the leadership card you can bet that he is up to no good.

Leadership is a commodity that gets in the way of good representation. Not only that, but most leaders are convinced that they alone have the answers. Their answers are not open to debate. They are compelled to carry out their agenda and the activities that follow may be hazardous to ordinary normal people. It is not at all unusual for such persons to belong to organizations that also think they are the answer to all of humanities woes. The one true belief. The only path to salvation. The biggest lie ever swallowed.

History is full of leaders. David Coresh was a leader. Jim Jones was a leader. There were leaders demonstrating how to deal with heretics during the Spanish inquisition. Stalin was a leader. Hitler was a leader. All of these people were leaders by the simple fact that they had a following.

No, not all leaders are evil, but why take a chance? In a representative democracy we need representatives, not leaders. Since our political representatives do not have to be leaders why take a chance at attracting someone that has a personal agenda of evil.

Facts, just the facts. Find out what the candidate claims to do if elected. Research to see if he kept his promises in the past. See if he has changed his positions on issues near and dear to your own. Has he engaged in negative ads? Is he claiming to be a leader?

If a candidate cannot be trusted, is wishy washy on the issues, attacks his opponents instead of the issues, makes unsubstantiated claims of leadership, such a person is not fit for political office.

Of course we are all aware of those factors. Some of us may not be aware of how senseless claims of leadership really are. Strong leadership qualities benefit despots and dictators. Leadership qualities are not desired or useful in a democratic environment because they have potential to endanger the freedoms we hold dear.

Look at the most recent history. The history after WWII. Nearly all of the politicians who claimed to be leaders, lead us into adversity and harm. These so called leaders have grown government beyond all reason. It has become a nanny to the people. An nagging spiteful entity that is more interested in dictating every detail of our lives than helping us live in the freedom we desire. Expecting us to serve it instead of the other way round. As old offices of this dysfunctional governing body fail, they linger on and on, sucking up tax dollars while new offices are created to take care of the failures of the old. Yet only seem to promise even greater failures in the future.

We do not need leaders. We need representatives who can be trusted.

So when you hear some politician claiming to be a leader, show him how much you understand and appreciate his foolishness by voting for someone else.

Unfortunately it is becoming more and more clear that there may not be anyone else. At least no one who qualifies to past standards that seem to have disappeared overnight.