Do you know what I did last summer?

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I bought a new car!

Well, almost new. A 2019 Ford Fusion, with 2,600 miles. A “lease return”, whatever that means.

I’m really loving this car. It has a bunch of bells and whistles that I’m still figuring out how to use, but I’m getting there.

Took it on a road trip earlier this month, put 4,100 miles on the car, and couldn’t be happier. It averaged 35 mpg, with sections of the trip hitting 40 mpg. It’s very comfortable to drive, and I’m ready to go on another trip. I just have to decide where. Fires and smoke have limited the choices here in California, but I’ll figure something out. Maybe Oregon and Washington before the rainy season starts. Oh, wait… is there a rainy “season” there? Or do they just call that “a year”?

If you see me on the road, give me a wave. If you’re a HAM radio operator, call me on 146.520 MHz. I might even be listening on CB, on channel 17 or 19 or whatever the highway (trucker) channel is in that area.

Happy motoring!

What Dreams May Come – breaker breaker

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I seldom remember my dreams.  They fade as I wake, if I recall them at all.  Today I awoke remembering the dream that just ended, and it starred my old CB radio.

Cobra CAM 88

I own a Cobra CAM 88 Citizen’s Band radio.  It’s a 23 channel, tube type AM transceiver, and I have a Silver Eagle D-104 power mic connected to it.  I bought the radio used in the mid-to-late 1970’s from my buddy Marc Cooper, who I believe got it from his uncle.  It’s probably a mid-60’s radio.

D104In my dream, I was showing the radio to a friend, and hooked it up to try it out. Now, I haven’t even turned on a CB radio in probably ten years or more, let alone keyed one up and talked.  But I did in this dream, and heard distant stations coming in by skip.  (skip is when a radio signal bounces off the ionosphere and travels much farther than normal.  When sunspot activity is high, you can hear stations from the east coast easier than you can hear locals.  High power amplifiers add to the noise factor!)

The odd thing about this dream is More

The ‘Trophy Wall’ has an addition

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On Saturday, September 21, 2013, the local newspaper, The Visalia Times Delta, published in the print edition an article I wrote on September 18 and posted to my blog “Alternating Currents” (where I post as one of three community bloggers on their website.  You can read “Hate in a small town” here).  Partially visible is another Times Delta article from 1996 that mentions me and other HAM radio operators as we were preparing for Field Day.  The two identical looking plaques are the 2012 and 2013 proclamations issued by the City of Visalia, proclaiming June LGBT Pride Month in the city.  These proclamations were signed by the Mayor Shuklian and the four other City Council members.   (Take that, Porterville!)  Also on the wall is my certificate from the Visalia Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy, issued in May 1999.  Down in the corner is my Starfleet Academy diploma, certifying my status as an officer in good standing in the Federation Starfleet.  Not visible are documents and diplomas that are work related, including POST training certificates, Dispatcher of the Year (2005), my HAM radio license, and other work related items.

Watching a balloon launch using HAM radio

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High altitude balloon w HAM radio. K6RPT-12

High altitude balloon with HAM radio. K6RPT-12

The last balloon this group launched ended up in Tunisia!  This one was launched just before 7pm, Pacific Time, on Sunday December 2, 2012.  As I post this blog, it’s already at 36,500′ and moving east from the launch point south of San Jose, California.  The HAM radio gear in the payload is sending telemetry, including altitude, latitude and longitude, direction, speed, and other data relevant to the flight.  You can watch this one by simply returning to this page and hitting ‘refresh’ or ‘reload’ to see the latest picture from my website.  (Or you can watch it directly from my website, KC6YRU.NET)

You can spot the balloon on the map, it’s callsign is K6RPT-12, and it has a red circle around it.

The data is being transmitted from the balloon using a format called APRS, received by relay stations along it’s flight path, rebroadcast by those stations, then fed into the Internet by gateway radio stations.  I get the information from that internet feed, and using a program called UI-View32, display the location on mapping images from Precision Mapping Streets and Traveler.

HAM Radio is so much more than morse code, or grumpy old men sitting around talking about their hernias or their views on politics!  Someday, I’ll write a blog about my live television broadcasts on HAM radio!

UPDATE: My mapping software won’t follow the balloon now that it’s left the US. Watch here.

Your signal is fuzzy….

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Maybe up the power or something, you’re not holding the repeater!

The Doctor Is IN


I’m such a geek!  And proud of it.

Well, OK. A minor geek, but still a geek nonetheless.

This computer died on me sometime last week.  I’m not really sure when, since I didn’t notice till Friday night.  Normally, it wouldn’t be a big deal to me to have a computer die (I’ve killed quite a few), but this computer is different than most.  It houses not only the Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) that you see,  it’s also a web server for my radio related pages, as well as my personal website.  When it died, those sites went dark.


We can’t have the very important KC6YRU.NET down and unavailable to it’s myriad fans on the interwebs!  That just wouldn’t do at all.    The APRS web server that I run, along with it’s feed to and from the APRS internet servers was also down, leaving me cut off from the rest of the APRS world.  Or would have left me feeling cut off, had I noticed it earlier!  But anyway, I rolled up my sleeves, tossed the patient onto the floor, and proceeded to perform emergency surgery.  Due to an insightful before-surgery diagnosis, and after a careful transplant operation,  the patient survived.  Since the surgery was performed with such skill and ability, there was only a short recovery time, while the computer checked to make sure all it’s blocks and sectors had made it through the operation.  Satisfied that all was well (what did it expect??) it booted right up, and is now happily shoveling electrons around hither and yon, making the interweb thingy that much more a better place to be.

The Doctor is IN.

P.S.  There are a couple of parts left over.  I wonder if that matters?

Amateur Television

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One of my hobbies is HAM radio.  On some of the frequencies, we can do live television.  Here’s a picture of something on my TV right now.  The Ham who owns the repeater has his ID running now, earlier another operator had some live video broadcasting from his “shack”.  Here are some links that can show you more.

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