Should I continue?

I have not been posting on this blog because I was considering letting it go or just changing it to an clone for my links.  The main reason is that we seem to be approaching a period where freedom of speech has gone out the window.  We are living in an era where you can be fired for having an opinion.  I have lots of opinions and have become a little squeamish about speaking my mind on virtually anything.  If you look at this blog, I have hidden more than 600 posts because they contain political opinions or views that no longer agree with our society.  I have not changed my opinions on these things but I’ve reached a point where I no longer want to talk about them online.

It truly is sad that our culture has reached the point where right has become wrong and wrong has become right.  Unfortunately, I don’t work like that. Right will ALWAYS be right and wrong will ALWAYS be wrong, regardless of what our culture thinks.  I will not blindly accept these cultural norms as being right when I know they are wrong.  I base right and wrong on what the King James Version of the Bible.  I will not negotiate on these beliefs no matter what the culture says.  I may not speak openly online but I will never accept sin as being okay.  Yes, I am also a sinner but I am not telling the world that my sin is not sin.  For this reason, I’ve not been posting on here very much.  I don’t wish ill on anyone.  Just because I don’t believe in a person’s lifestyle, means that I hate them.

I will have to decide at some point whether I want to keep my page as a blog or just a static page with links to all of my social networking sites.  I really do love having a blog and have posted more than 1,000 posts over the last ten years.  In either case, I will keep a domain name so that I can be found. Social networks come and go so you want people to be able to find you.  I have family and friends that refuse to use any social networks. Others that will only use Facebook. Some will only use Google+ and some that will only use Twitter.  As much as I see the potential of Google+, I have pretty much given up on it.  It seems to be a place that is dominated by those that are politically opposed to my views.  I can only take so much of that.  Also, many people that I know will not use it. I will let you know what my decision is.  You can see all of my social networking addresses to the right on this blog.  Thank you for stopping by.

Getting Ready For Thanksgiving

It is always exciting when Thanksgiving and Christmas arrive because we get to see family that we don’t see very often.  While my dad is not going to be able to make it this time, we have 12 people scheduled to be here.  I will post some pictures and about the visit once everyone is gone.  I’ve just not been up to posting much lately. Since I’ve changed my policy on avoiding politics or anything controversial on here, there just isn’t much to talk about.  I just don’t want to only post on here when I am upset about something giving the impression that I’m even more of a lunatic than I actually am :).

This should be fun to get to see family because ours is one that likes to have a  lot of humor.  We laugh so hard that our sides hurt and that is just the way our family meetings are.  We use to meet at my grandparent’s house in Wynnewood, OK but since they’ve both past, it is usually my house where we all meet, mainly because we have some room.  Soon my sister will have plenty of room and maybe we can get together over there as well.  I am getting dangerously close to another high weight threshold so I have to be careful this weekend. I do not want to cross that 1,600 pound threshold no matter what happens.  It looks like it is going to be a nice weekend in the 60’s and 70’s so it is perfect for Thanksgiving. It is cool but not too cold.  I hope and wish the rest of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with your family. You don’t have them forever so enjoy the time together.

Happy Veterans Day

Good morning and Happy Veterans Day to all American veterans.  While I am not one of those that spends hours on end posting military this and military that on social networks, I do think it is good from time to time to recognize the military and those that were or are in the military.  It is easy to sit back and be political, demanding action from our leaders but to recognize that when we make these demands, it is the military that are used to enforce these requests.

Sometimes we have leaders that have good intentions with good intent and sometimes we don’t but the military complies with the orders given them regardless of the leader.  The military is expected to drop whatever they are doing at any moment and leave their family to go to a foreign land and fight.  That is just the nature of the job.  We often forget what is expected of them and this is the day that is set aside to recognize those that voluntarily go and fight for us.  For that, I say thank you.

My new iPhone 6 Plus

iPhone 6 Plus 10/30/2014


Yesterday, October 30, 2014 my wife and I made a big decision to buy the iPhone 6 Plus. There were several reasons for this, chief among them were the fact that my old phone, the HTC One had all sorts of problems. The biggest problem that it had was purple pictures.  My wife had the Samsung Galaxy S4 and she had a broken power plug and a shattered glass.  Also we had eight months left on our contract so we took advantage of T-Mobile’s payoff of early termination fees (ETF).

iPhone 6 Plus 10/30/2014


My son bought the LG G3 phone that also has a 5.5 inch screen with a very sharp camera.  In the pictures above, you can see the photos are not the greatest quality but it was a busy night and I just didn’t have time to take the picture right. We had company and I wanted to keep in line with past phones where I posted my new phone the same day I bought it.  You can see on May 3, 2009, I posted about my brand new phone, a Blackberry Curve 8900.  On April 29th 2011 we bought an iPhone 4. On May 12, 2013 I bought the HTC One.

On all of those phones except the iPhone 4, I had horrible experiences with poor quality and outright failure.  While I’ve never been a fan of Apple in general, I have to admit the phone is pretty good quality.  So I once again decided that the ridicule was worth it to once and for all have a phone that works.  You can be assured that if this new phone fails me, I will say so.

With about six hours under my belt on a busy evening, I have to say that I really like it.  I do think the new iPhone is way too thin. I would rather have a bulky thick phone that is proportional in thickness than a phone that is so thin that I am scared to death that I will break it.  So far that is the one thing that I do not like about this phone.  I am going to do some research and find the most bulky, thick case that I can find.  This phone is very expensive and I don’t want to risk breaking it.  Last night was a bad time to try to work on the phone because I have very little time to test it.  I charged it for maybe an hour and then used it off and on for about two hours and the battery seemed pretty good. My old phone would go from 100% down to 90% with 10 minutes of use.

With my limited use, I would recommend it so far.  It does have one negative other than being too thin and that is the slippery surface.  I dropped it within 10 minutes of opening the box.  Thankfully it was on a couch cushion so there was no risk of damaging it.  I will post more information later because I have to get to work.

Doing Some Cleanup

Over the coming weeks, I am removing posts that I think either infringes on someone’s privacy or comes across too political. Just going by my own frustration, I am getting really tired of reading politics on social networks.  The last thing I want to do is read it on my own blog.  There are enough sites out there that are dedicated toward politics and even some that are not but somehow spend a disproportionate amount of time talking politics.

I am cleaning up other posts that mention people in my family or others that I know that did not ask to be mentioned.  I am also removing older things that were posted more than five years ago. I am not deleting them but just removing them from this blog.  After all, this blog is sort of a history of what was going on in my life at a certain time. While I’ve had a web presence online since 1996, I created this blog in 2006.  I have about 1,300 posts as of this day and I expect it will be reduced down to about 500.

I’ve found that often times, I get angry reading the stuff that is shoved in my face on social networks. Almost all of them have trending topics that you cannot remove or hide.  I really don’t want to hear about how our culture is crumbling to pieces by those that are all too happy about it. These stories are designed to rile half of the audience, similar to those stories that you see on TV.  Journalism seems to have morphed into a situation where keeping the audience stirred up is the primary objective. If your audience is not emotionally charged, then you are failing.  I don’t believe that but apparently most journalists believe that.

Having your own blog gives you control over what you want to talk about and allows you to be in charge of the message. I have very strong beliefs that are non negotiable. I am not going to play the journalist game where I get some journalist that is completely opposed to my view point being in charge, while shoving these stories in my face.  At that point, all the reader can do is respond to them and most likely all of those that agree with them will spend the day bashing on the reader.  Google+ is a perfect place to argue, if that is what you are into.  Simply post an opinion, any opinion, and you will find yourself in an argument within moments.  If you avoid any opinions, political or social views on Google+, you can enjoy without too much heartache. Just keep in mind that people in the tech community are pretty much in lock step in their views and they are pretty much opposite of mine.  If you follow those in the tech community expecting to read tech, you will be surprised. They are very political.

Anyway… Over time, I would like to clean up some posts and remove the irrelevant stuff.  While my audience is about two or possibly three people, I am sure they don’t want to read political rants anymore than I do. :)

Great Trip to Colorado

IMG_2604This past week, my wife and I took a trip to Denver, Colorado.  We both had histories in this city before we met 26 years ago.  We both wanted to go back to visit and really had a great time.  Since my history involved the U.S. Air Force, I thought I would take the opportunity to drive down the road, I-25, to Colorado Springs to see the Air Force Academy.  In the picture above, you can see the famous cadet chapel located on the North side of the campus.

In this picture you can see the Downtown Aquarium in Denver.  This was a very interesting place to visit that I had never heard of before this visit.  My wife and I stayed here for several hours because it was a pretty unique experience.  I guess if you are from a coastal area where this is a common scene, it may not be so interesting but since we are from Oklahoma City, it is very unique.
Though we never got an opportunity to see the Denver Broncos play, we did get a few pictures of the Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  This past weekend the Broncos were playing the New York Jets at their facility.
Of course, what would a visit to Denver be without a trip to Casa Bonita restaurant?  If you have never been here, it is worth the visit.  The food is marginal at best but the entertainment value is really enjoyable, particularly if you have kids.  I really think this should be a stop on anyone’s visit to Denver.
We have some friends that use to live here in Oklahoma City that moved to Arvada, Colorado to open a couple franchises of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and we had to stop by and see them. As always they were incredibly cordial and went above and beyond on their giving us a warm welcome.  Unlike Casa Bonita above, this place has some really awesome food and an atmosphere that is very modern and young.  If you want to visit a place that is very popular with twenty somethings, this is the place to go. I am 48 years old and enjoyed it as well.  Be prepared that on weekend nights, you will have quite the line.

I did get a chance to go see my old Air Force Technical School dorm room at the defunct Lowry Air Force Base. The building is now an assisted living center.  My dorm room was that window, second from the left on the third floor.  This was the place that I learned how to load bombs on aircraft and repair and overhaul bomb racks and missile launchers.  This was the place that I went after Basic Training.

We really enjoyed our stay in Denver and hated for it to end. We’ll have to schedule another visit in the future.

The Drought Continues

Western Sky.


I am just amazed at how long this drought is going on. We’ve been in a pretty steady drought since 2008.  Yes, we’ve had the odd storm now and then but it is usually followed by two or three months of no rain at all.  We’ve been below normal in all but one year since 2010 and that was a fluke. That one year, Oklahoma City managed to get some good storms but once you got away from the city, they got nothing.  That is the way this year has been.  When you watch the radar, it looks like rain will be coming to the city and just fizzle out before it gets here.  This picture shows the sunset we had on October first.  It looked like we might get rain but this is the best we got.

I’ve read that our droughts are usually around seven years long if you look historically since records have been kept.  Oklahoma City seems to be just close enough to the 100th meridian where the 20 inches of rain threshold is located that droughts are pretty common around here.  The most famous one was the dust bowl days.  We’ve had many droughts worse than that one but we’ve learned to farm better than we could back then.  If history holds true, we should be close to the end of this drought.  I am hopeful that it is true because we are on a water well and I am worried that eventually our water supply will be affected.  It is October  5th and I am still running he sprinkler to keep the lawn in show condition.  We are trying to sell our house and so we need the lawn to be in show order.  While I don’t think the lawn should be a factor on selling a house but I do think that it adds to the attractiveness as you come up the road.  I really would like to turn off the sprinklers.

Oklahoma City Area TV Stations

Digiwave ANT7285


Since American TV stations made the conversion to digital back in 2009, most of the stations abandoned their VHF signals for new UHF signals.  In fact, in Oklahoma City, only two stations remain on the VHF band, KOCO 7 (virtual 5) and KETA 13 (virtual 13).  The rest of them, while claiming to be channels in the former VHF are actually now on UHF but using the virtual channels they use to be on.  KFOR use to be channel 4 but now on channel 27 and KWTV use to be on channel 9 but now on channel 39.  Recently I bought this eight bay UHF antenna to see what I could tune in.  I was surprised by how many channels there were over the air these days right here in Oklahoma City.

I turned the antenna to a direction that I thought most stations were located and managed to pick up 52 channels right off the antenna.

52 channels in OKC 9/22/2014

Another thing that surprised me was the number of channels that were in Spanish.  More than 20 of them were in Spanish.  We have been considering dropping our satellite simply because it is more than $90.00 a month.  We don’t watch that much anyway and since we have Netflix, and a Roku, many things are already available online. I like to watch the “This Week in Tech (TWiT)” podcasts that is also free.

There are some negatives to the digital conversion and that is the loss of sporadic “E” DX propagation that we use to enjoy during the summer months. I really use to enjoy the occasional channel two signals that would come in from great distances, up to 1,500 miles away.  Those were some fun times. I only wish that we had digital cameras, both still and video back then so we could have captured those memories.  Also, we use to be able to receive many stations in Tulsa, 115 miles away and now we need a tropospheric ducting situation to receive any of them.  On occasion, we will have an inversion where the air is warmer above ground than it is on the ground and we can have some good tropospheric propagation.  Those are fun times when we get them.

Modern Methods of AM Radio DX

Setup used to capture distant stations on video and the uploaded to YouTube.


Back when I was a kid in the early 1980’s a friend and I would sit at night listening to night time DX stations on AM radio. We would document the times and dates, research the station and then mail them a letter requesting a QSL card. These were the days before I became a ham radio operator.  I have not done this for years until recently.  I’ve regained contact with my old friend and continued this practice.  We even created a Facebook Group for our activities.

Things have changed in recent years due to the Internet and the fact that most stations stream their audio online.  Today, it is easy to hear stations all over the world on the Internet so a letter telling them what was playing at a specific day and time is no longer sufficient proof that you received their signal.  You could easily listen to their streaming audio online and then just tell them you received their signal.  My friend came up with a way to prove it was indeed over the radio, and also keep a record of the event.

He started making videos with his tablet and then  uploading them to Youtube, creating a visual proof of the event.  Then he emails the station and attaches a link to the video.  He’s had such great success that I am doing the same.  In the picture above, you can see how I have put a camcorder in front of the radio to make the video that is later uploaded onto Youtube.  You can see my videos here.  I just have a couple for now but I plan to add more.

In this video, you can see where last night I was listening to KFAB, 1110 KHz from Omaha, Nebraska.  This is right off the AM radio with no special antennas installed.

It may seem strange to be a licensed amateur radio operator and be focusing on AM station instead of other amateur stations.  Well this is not in exclusion of other amateur stations, but rather another hobby. There are only so many AM stations and many of them are low power.  I received a 28 watt station that was more than 300 miles away on AM radio.  I thought that was pretty cool.  We have a 50,000 watt AM station here in Oklahoma City (KOKC 1520 KHz) that is very powerful.  Fortunately for me, the station has a directional night time pattern toward the North and West and South.  It nulls out the East and I just happen to live about 15 miles toward the East of the station. At night I can barely hear them at my house and so I have been hearing some weak signals coming in on that frequency.  My next goal is to get a contact with a station on that frequency while inside the Oklahoma City limits.  Since KOKC is weak at night at my house, I believe I can null out their signal enough to be able to get the other station.

This really is fun because you  can find many stations on the same frequency by nulling out the other station.  You can build external loop antennas to strenthen one station while nulling out another.  My friend and I started doing this in 1982 and believe it or not, he still has his original log and QSL cards from back then.  I’ve moved many times since then and so I lost my logs.  Now that I am back home in Oklahoma City, I have begun receiving these stations again.  If you are into distant stations, ham or CB operator, you should give it a try. It is really fun.

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