Sunday, January 8, 2017

"Every Day in Every Way"

I'm getting better and better.
These words come from a French pharmacist turned psychologist, Émile Coué de la Châtaigneraie. According to him, by repeating this statement every day, you subconsciously influence behavior and produce positive change. I believe there is some power in believing in the positive, especially for the Christian. I'd go as far as to say this is Biblical, and commanded. It doesn't come from the rote repetition of words, but from how we practice sanctification. Sanctification is where our repentance turns to positivity, when the meaning behind our action turns from "in order to..." to "because of". We read this in the Bible:
2 Peter 1:3-11

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[a] his own glory and excellence,[b] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[c] and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities[d] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers,[e] be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


  1. 2 Peter 1:3 Or by
  1. 2 Peter 1:3 Or virtue
  1. 2 Peter 1:5 Or excellence; twice in this verse
  1. 2 Peter 1:8 Greek these things; also verses 9, 10, 12
  1. 2 Peter 1:10 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters

Our lives cannot be stagnant. Jesus Christ has given us the power we need to overcome the world. We must make effort every day, and in every way to get better and better. When we gather around the table, we're renewing the pledge to make our knowledge effective, and effective knowledge makes more Christians, and makes us better and better.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Brief Note for the New Year....

My next post will be about Bromeliads, I promise. I have 7 articles in a draft state, in various stages of completion. One I could schedule for release on a certain day (I might do that), but I think it still needs some work (it's a poem).

Some random Brandon thoughts:

Everyone talks about how horrible 2016 was, but 2016 for somebody somewhere started on January 1 2017. If you faced hardship last year, I promise you, someone this year needs your encouragement.

The old Indian saying about two wolves fighting inside you has some truth. I'm trying to feed the right wolf, but it's hard sometimes.

If you're a Christian, when someone tells you about their past, be ready to tell them about your future.

You can't live life without risking the possibility that something you choose today will make the life you live now impossible. I hope that won't stop you from making the right choice.

Radio things to note:
1. Antennas, I've got some lines over treebranches, but haven't deployed a new antenna yet. I need new support line. When I'm done, I'll have two new antlers deployed. An as yet undecided Ant for 80m (center fed with window line 100' minimum dipole, or end fed half wave?), and the 30-17 meter antenna I've been working on for a while.
2. Gathering parts for radios out of your junque box can be challenging when you seem to always be short a few capacitors. Anyone got a few NP0s laying around, say 1500pF?
3. I got a Baofeng GT-3 mark ii for Christmas, and the joy in operating it astounds me! First, it's easy to program with a cable. Second, my eyes are reopened to the world of local communications. You get to "meet" the other guys in your area that are chasing the same HF DX you are. One of these (or another baofeng like it) should be considered a gift to students who successfully complete a course. For a little bit of effort (programming in the right frequencies) a whole lot of joy could be opened to new hams.
4. Made my first QSO on Jan 1! N3HCN, Dave in MD, on 20m. Band was noisy. Had a short QSO then the kids started getting antsy. Also checked into the first Eagle Net on the NI4CE Repeater system at 8:30 using my new HT.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Winter Build Project

The following message was received tonight via undisclosed methods:

CBLA Field Agent Radio

This communique will serve as Official Notice that the Color-Burst Liberation Army has adopted the KD1JV MAS-80 CW transceiver for use by our Field Agents.  In the spirit of those who've gone before us, the CB/MAS-3579 is the solid-state equivalent of the vaunted PARASET field radio used by Allied agents in Europe during WWII.  Like the PARASET, the MAS uses a crystal-controlled transmitter and a regenerative receiver.  Just like the agents who operated the PARASET, CBLA Field Agents will be required to assemble their own radios.

Construction details can be found here:

The CB/MAS-3579 is powered by 13.8 Volts and transmitter output power is 2 Watts however simple modifications can raise that to 3 Watts.

Carry on,

Generalisimo Stephen Smith
End Transmittal

Seeing as how the glowbug I'm currently using is a tad off frequency, I believe this would be a great second attempt. Beats trying to refreq my rockmite! I'm mostly sure I've got enough parts to get by...
If not, I'll find a TV set somewhere and apply some "Victory Against Ignorance".
Other thing to do this winter:

Get a better Antenna up for 80m!

Craziest idea I've pondered to do this: a vertical loop for 80m where the bottom is 10' off the ground.
I've got the speakerwire, do I have the real estate?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Thank You, Ma'am!

Peddling as hard as I could, beating my fastest time home consumed my thoughts. My feet and lungs synchronized and as speed built, the force of my breathing intensified. 1, 2, 3, 4, in, out, in, out, right, left, right, left; everything happening at once.
Focused, I took in data from around me, seeing everything I could see while going. My wheels, flowing with the pavement, moved my arms and legs up and down, smoothing the path, absorbing the blows of terrain and transitions.
Determined, I needed to prove I could get home in under a certain time, and since this was Friday, I could go all out and recover my sore legs over the weekend.
I am my fastest, and then, I hear a car approaching and slowing down, prepare for evasive action! But then, a woman's voice called to me:
"You lost a shoe!"
The flow of traffic took her away quickly as I stopped and took off my backpack. The open cargo compartment mocked my best efforts at riding. The missing shoe lay on a transition from a cross street back to the bike path, a place where there's a puddle when it rains. I'm glad it hadn't started raining yet that day.
The lady was gone before I could say thank you.

So Lady on New Jersey Avenue in a Pontiac (I think):

Thank you very much!

This is a true story that happened Friday, September 30, 2016 at approximately 4:55 PM. I rode home in 19 minutes even with backtracking and stopping to get the shoe. I have changed the way I zip my backpack to minimize losing cargo in the future.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Barred Owl, Permitted...

random picture:

"Barred Owl Permitted to Build"
   Not even nature's creatures can escape the long reaching grasp of home owners' associations. Billy the Barred Owl applied for a permit that allows him to build a Cornell Ornithological Laboratory designed nesting box after receiving a notice that his attempts to nest in a natural tree cavity were against his CC&R.
"I'm a wild creature, I'm use to doing what I please," said Billy. "I've nested here for years, but because the best hole faces the neighbors this year, I have to pay somebody to have an approved nest box installed."
Billy's struggle began when his previous nesting tree suffered damage during Hurricane Hermine.
"Hermine, yeah, that storm! Lots of rain, a little wind, I guess the ground got soft, and crash! Over goes my house!" Billy recalled that the storm displaced a family of squirrels he was close to " Yeah, I eat squirrels, but this was a nice family, wouldn't touch them, ya know, we'd get together and watch football, cookout, they went deeper in the woods, I hope they're ok."
Billy's frustration continued when he moved into the Choice Domain* neighborhood, a planned community with many old growth trees.
"Lots of nice ready to use holes in these trees," said Billy when he recalled first moving here. "Plenty to eat running around too, but soon as I found a nice place to nest, I got slapped with a letter. I mean, I understand the rules and all, but hey, it's not like I'm a ham radio operator trying to put up an antenna!"


*not a real neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bicycle, Bicycle, I Want to Ride my Bicycle...

It was Monday, June 27, when I decided to start riding my bike more.
Every week since then, I've ridden at least one day a week. Most weeks I ride at least three days. Sometimes, I ride my bike to work, other times, I ride around Lake Hollingsworth, or other points. Occasionally, I ride out to Holloway park for a little birding.
Recently, I was on vacation, visiting with my parents and enjoying nature. I did a lot of walking, enough to make up for the lack of bike riding. I did ride my bike one day, in the course of doing a little birding.

Here's my advice for riding your bike to work:
1. Leaving early and getting to work early is great. The day ends sooner!
2. Drink lots of water all day long.
3. Rest if you need to, you'll go faster the next day.
4. Stay safe. The Law may be on your side, but it's powerless to protect you. You are responsible for your own safety.

Other news

  • All the kids are in school, and life continues to pick up speed.
  • My Dad gave me a Raspberry Pi, I've got plans to turn it into a WSPR beacon (ham radio related)
  • Other radioactivity has been non-existent. All my CQ's go unanswered, and it seems there are shenanigans afoot on 7.200 MHz recently.
  • The new job is good, there's lots of new things to learn all the time.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Last Bloom on the Spike

Here's the end of the Spike for "Choo-Choo Cha-Cha" the Tillandsia simulata growing on the back yard oak tree.
End of the Spike

The bloom seems to come straight out of the spike, I don't think there will be any more from this particular spike. I've waited several days now to post these pictures. We shall see.

Next Day

The next day, the bloom developed into a flower, as all the others have. Bud, then bloom.

Bud then bloom, then die.
It only takes a day. The next morning, the bloom started drooping.

By 4pm, this is what it looked like. I haven't seen any pollinators (hummingbirds or moths) but I think these flowers can and do self-pollinate. Now I begin monitoring for seedpods.