Thursday, September 20, 2012

To See Something Cool....

Tonight I was sitting at the PC doing some homework and decided to take a break. I looked out the window and saw five deer under the apple tree having a snack. One was a big doe with two fawns and the other two looked to be yearling does.
I had to grab the camera and see if I could sneak out and around the corner to get a bit of video. Sure enough they hung around and posed for some pictures. But, not long after that they decided to move on to pickings else where.
With fall coming on I am sure they will be returning to snack until the apples are gone. Check out the video below.

Deer Munching Apples

Just one of those things that brings a smile to your face.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

To Enhance My Icom IC-910...

I have been evaluating the Baofeng UV-5R 144/440 handy talkie. So far I am really impressed with the function of the radio. I have read many reviews about the radio over at 
Like any product there will be folks who like it and folks who don't. As I mentioned above I am having good luck with the radio.

Anyway, I wanted to expand the capabilities of my IC-910. Off to the internet I go in search of how to do this procedure. The internet is such a wonderful place, filled with how-to's for everything under the sun. Some of the IC-910 radios have the ability to receive much more than they can transmit. Older generation radios need to have a few diodes removed. When this is done the radio does not turn into a super receiver/transmitter. It just opens up the receive more like the modern radios available to day. Of course the transmit can be opened up, but be careful.

I purchased the filters and 1Ghz module and got those installed. Found a couple of places that had procedures for increasing the performance of the rig. Here are the links to those sites. These are .pdf files, download them and file for future reference.

Icom IC-910 Mods

Icom IC-910 Mods plus all the other Icom mods.

** Transmitting outside of the amateur radio bands is illegal, as well as operating an amateur radio station without a license. Had to include that one.

** Any modifications you do are done at your own risk.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To Make A Sheath...

I recently picked up a few Mora knives. To be specific I got hold of a:
                                 hook knife,

                                 carving knife,

                                 bushcraft series knife.

I am happy with these knives so far. I have heard or read only great comments about these tools. I do forsee a fun time trying to sharpen the hook knife, but nonetheless I am happy and having fun.

I made a pot stirring spoon with a piece of white cedar. Still needs to be sanded. The latest spoon is a smaller one carved out of birch. Coming along well, still much more to do.
The carving knife came with a decent plastic sheath to protect me and the blade while not in use. The hook knife needed something as it came with no sheath. As a result I felt I needed something to safely pack the knives. Many moons ago I cam across some scrap leather. Not good for much as the thickness was uneven and there were some holes in the thinner part of the pieces. But, I figured I would find use for the leather at some point. I could use it to patch something or in this case make a nice little sheath.
What would someone need to sew leather and not get to carried away with poking holes in ones fingers? How about a sewing awl? I think these gadgets are wonderful and an absolute must for the pack or having around the homestead. Having one of these awls lets you fix canvas, leather, and just about any heavy fabric. Just be sure to have some of the heavy duty thread that come with it. Sewing awls can be found at Amazon, e-bay, etc. Just about anywhere. Prices are reasonable, but be sure to shop around. A sewing awl that I purchased came with two needles, wrench, one spool of thread. The wrench and needles stow away in the handle when not in use. Be sure to purchase extra thread, needles.

The sheath I made is wide enough to accommodate both carving knives. This allows me to keep them together and not take a chance and lose one.

Another one of those tools that is perfect for any kit.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Book With A Map & Repeaters Listed...

If you are a amateur radio operator more than likely you have a repeater book on your desk or in your car. These little books are handy, especially if you are on the road. Technology today finds us with a cell phone with GPS or a GPS on the windshield. What happens when there is no cell coverage or for some reason your GPS dies? I guess it is time to break out the good ole' road atlas. Some of them are gigantic and a pain to keep from getting torn up as they float around the inside of your car/truck.

I have this bag I keep in the car. Has a few items in it that would prove useful in an emergency. What can I keep in the bag to give me a basic map? How about amateur radio repeater frequencies (That I forgot to program into the radio)? Hmm...

Check out this handy little book. Maybe not so little as it is bigger than the repeater reference book. But, it is smaller than the average sized road atlas. Artsci Repeater Map Book is published every year or so. Contains all of the amateur radio repeaters across the US and a map of each state. Each state map has the major routes listed as well as a few other goodies. A very handy book to have in your kit.

Can be ordered from here:

** I am not associated with Artsci in any way.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Radio To Communicate...

In times of emergency or while you are out and about having a way to communicate can be handy. It may even save a life. Now, there are several types of radios; FRS, GMRS, MURS, Amateur, etc. Cell phones are every where, but maybe there is no coverage. Something has caused the local cell to be off the air? What to do now?

FRS & GMRS operate up in the 400 MHZ range of frequencies. Good for keeping in touch for everyone in a two to five mile radius. The user can set up privacy codes, but the transmission is not secure. The privacy codes just let the users "call" each other by setting a code up in each radio. Prevents unwanted contact in the band.

Trisquare TSX-300 and its variants are pretty cool radios that operate in the 900 MHZ range. Limited in distance, maybe on a good day a user can get a mile. But, that depends on the terrain. The best I could do is half a mile. You may ask what good these radios are? Well, they use spread spectrum frequency hopping, texting capability radio to radio. Each radio has a specific address. This means users can communicate directly without people listening in. Or use the group frequency and talk to all radios. More frequency codes then you can imagine.This results in a very secure means of communications in your AO base camp and vicinity. Some users have complained that they cannot sync more than three radios. At the moment I have two of these with plans to get more to test out. Amazon has these radios at a reasonable price for two.

Lastly, the one radio I found to be a bargain; Baofeng UV-5R. This little hand-held radio is excellent for the money. Less than 60$ at Amazon. Has more features than you can shake a stick at. Single LED flash light, FM broadcast band reception, transmits high and low of the 144 and 400 MHZ ham bands. Can be programmed by a USB cable attached to your PC. Takes a little bit of time to get it programmed, but I found some useful Youtube videos to help out. Once again the price is great for a radio that will do as much as more expensive radios.

Baofeng UV-5R Setup Operation By AB5N

Give some thought to how your family, friends, and neighbors will communicate during an emergency. Develop a plan and acquire the equipment you need to keep everyone safe and in touch.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Smile...

Nothing will bring a smile to your face like the birth of a grandchild. On 31 Aug 12 @ 1239 Caden Elliot was delivered into this world. Mother & father, and Caden are doing well. He weighed in @ 8 pounds 12 ounces. A Blue Moon baby. How much better can life get... What a gift and blessing. This is what life is about... Family.