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.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

More Blooming Tillandsia

If you haven't read about the continuing saga of "Choo-choo Cha-cha" the Tillandsia simulata growing in the backyard, by all means, get caught up. When last we left, four blooms had come and now, is way gone. This is the tale of bloom five.

When bloom four emerged, it emerged along a predictable pattern. Alternate bracts produced blooms, and four blooms in a row had me convinced I knew where bloom five would emerge. I was wrong. Bloom five skipped a bract!
bloom 5, in bud
I know the picture above is a little fuzzy. It shows a dried bloom four on the bottom, and a new bloom five, I wanted to see that they were next to each other.

End Shot
We're getting toward the end of the spike!
Typically, the bloom emerges like this on one day, and blooms the next. Here's what I found the next day.

At Bloom
This is one of my favorite shots of the plant so far. I've learned a lot about how to hold my camera phone, and exposure. I believe I've really pressed the hardware as far as I can to get the best shot I can get from the limited resources I have.

I like how you can see how far the anthers project from the tube. The tube mouth is just tight with all the business going on right there.
These flowers last a day, and then they begin to wither.
Bloom 5 gone!
Bloom 5 is gone, but at the very tip of the spike, you can see bloom 6 starting, right were it should be, on the terminal bract of the spike.

Five flowers have gone, I'm glad we've gotten to know this plant. Stay tuned for bloom six!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hey Daddy

Remember that conversation we had over twenty years ago about saying "thank-you" to God for the day? Well I found my sunrise over the bridge. My cell phone camera does nothing to capture the grace, majesty and presence of these epiphytes, but I did say "thank you" to The Creator.

Maybe an Oncidium?
 The orchid on the left grows on a tree in downtown Lakeland. I'm not sure what it is, my knowledge of orchids is limited, but I am learning. My initial guess is that it is a Oncidium hybrid of some kind. Judging by the growth into the tree trunk, and overall maturity of the plant, I'd say it's been there over a year. The raceme is awesomely long, at least 40". I haven't counted the blooms. I just noticed it the other day while on a post lunch walk at work. The yellow flowers are mottled with brown.

Definitely a Phalaenopsis.
 This beauty on the right is most certainly a Phalaenopsis hybrid. I care for a couple at the house, one was a Lowe's clearance cart special. No flowers, half dead, and all the potting material was bone dry. There was one root still alive. It took about a year, but it bloomed. I'll write about it another day. This particular plant grows on the same tree as the first picture, on the opposite side. Faces West. I don't think it's doing as well, but I am also nearly certain that this isn't the first bloom spike for this plant.

Double Shot, Straight
This plant is on an adjacent tree, it's the same species as the first picture, only larger, and it has more flowers. The over all effect is amazing.

I don't know who put these plants here in the trees, but I am grateful to see them. They weren't born there, but they are doing the best they can where they were put. That's the lesson they're teaching me. How about you?

Saturday, May 7, 2016

W3EDP Over Time

It's the antenna I keep in the back of my car because I never want to be caught without an antenna.
It's the antenna that keeps people coming to my blog. The original post I did about the antenna has more views than any other post on my blog so far.
It's the antenna I've sold before because I believe in it that much, and as of right now, it's the antenna that I make the most QSOs with at the QTH.
It's the W3EDP.

While not the best solution in every situation, it's a solution in almost every situation. Here's some examples of how versatile it is:

1. I've used it QRP, and QRPp
2. I've used it with up to 100 watts.
3. I've taken it into the field
4. I've used it in a semi-permanent deployment at the house.

Only thing I haven't run, is one up a kite, and I've got plans on doing that one day.
I have a shack logbook (Don't you?), and while not every quibble I do in my shack gets recorded into the logbook, one thing that I always try to do is record the tuner settings for the W3EDP currently deployed in the backyard. The W3EDP remains true to its tuning, generally, if I write a value down, I can switch bands and come to that setting later.

 Doesn't work all the time, but it works often enough. Take the time to notice that where you are in the band affects the tuner settings, but not overly drastically. For instance, on the date of 31 October, 2015, the setting for 3.930 was "5/6 H 3/4" That means between 5 and 6, closer to 6, H, between 3 and 4, closer to 4, but only slightly. On 11 November 2015, I went to the bottom of the band, 3.505, and the settings were similar, 5/6 H 2/3. I expected this change. Sometimes I experiment with different settings on purpose, hoping to get a better signal. You see this especially on my settings for 20m. On 30 October, I had the tuner set to /6 B /4. That indicates "Touching the left edge of 6, B, touching the left edge of 4". Typically, when using the W3EDP, this is the go to setting for most of 20m, but sometimes the tuning can be touchy. I experimented with the vertical antenna I have for 20/15m. I wanted to find a tuner setting that was close for both, and was pleased with the results (See settings for dates 16 Dec 2015).

"Silky Wire"

Corrosion on the end is intermittent along whole wire.

The W3EDP currently deployed in the backyard is built of bare "silky wire." It seems to weather well in Florida weather, and I can detect no adverse performance characteristics, despite some apparent corrosion.

 I've also built it using Radio Shack outdoor grade speaker wire, bare #14 antenna wire (wireman #511), and Flexweave. I'm torn on whether I like Flexweave or Silky better. I will say that using #14 antenna wire seems to be the best if you are going to use it in a permanent setting, as long as you won't have it touching trees, buildings, etc. One change I might make to the setup I'm running now is to the tuner.
I think I want to create a dedicated tuner, but I need to do some analysis on the antenna, maybe model it out on different frequencies, sweep through the bands. I've learned some interesting things about modeling while planning an antenna that performs well on bands that don't do well with the W3EDP. That means I'll have to change my model, but because I've learned something, I don't mind so much.

That's how things are going currently with my W3EDP. I haven't made many QSOs yet in 2016, but I do promise some more interesting antenna posts soon in the future! I'm working on building an antenna to work around the pesky tuning problems I seem to have with the W3EDP on the WARC bands, notably on 30m and 17m.
73 es HV FN,
GB Hoyt

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Serious Contest Log Submitted

Just finished submitting my first serious Contest log. Over the weekend, I casually operated the FL QSO Party. I'm kind of nervous to see my score. I got 62 QSOs, 22 phone, 40 CW, and 39 mults. I was "low power" (100w) and claimed a score of 8136.
Nervous I am....
I hope I did ok!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bloom Number 4

Bloom 4 from Tillandsia simulata.
Number 4
This is the bloom that I predicted in a previous post about this airplant. I've been so busy with finals, projects, and life in general that I didn't manage to get a picture of the unopened bud, but I do have this shot at least! Something about these temporary tubes of pollen and purple make me smile. I don't know if it's the brevity of their duration, or their gaudy appearance on what most might consider a drab plant, but it's there, and I like them. Even the three withered blooms hold a charm all their own. I shall keep vigil for bloom #5! School draws to a close, and I begin a new schedule Monday.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Final Countdown

Que Europe!

Sing along, I guess.

Here's what I've done recently:

Here's what's coming up:
  • Starting a new job
  • Continuing the series on Skeleton Sleeve Dipoles 
  • More ham radio! 
  • Planning more college classes
To borrow some lyrics, I'm "optimistically discontent" over what the next month will hold, if only we can all hang on that long.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

KG4GVL Skeleton Sleeve Pt 1

In my quest for finding an antenna that gives me two bands without a tuner, one of the most interesting candidates so far is the "Skeleton Sleeve Dipole" featured in the Appendix of Small Antennas for Small Spaces.
This antenna fascinates me because it's one of the physically simplest multiband antennas I've seen. I know an EARCHI type endfed could be called "simplier", I also think they could be called "lossier" too. I've built a couple Half-wave end fed antennas, and while they are impressive, I am not really sure about how good they are. the SSD has no tuner, no traps, no matching section. When deployed to the proper height, they can exhibit gain when compared to a dipole of similar height, especially on the higher frequency band.

I wanted to build an antenna that was easy to operate on bands that it's hard for my W3EDP to tune, namely 30m and 17m. Especially 30m. With the the solar minimum upon us, and the potential for a larger Maunder minimum type event, I figured it would be wise to have something dedicated to 30, that may be the best daytime DX band.

The Original 40m/20m Folded skeleton Sleeve Antenna Courtesy W1ZR

I started, by taking a spreadsheet and calculating the length of the antenna depicted in the book as a percent of a standard dipole in feet ie: L/(486/f) * 100%. L = total length of the folded skeleton sleeve in feet, f = Frequency in MHz.

After that, I calculated the similar percent needed for 30m and 17m, and soon discovered that if I was going to keep what I thought was similar spacing and construction as the original, 17m would not fit! I decided to go with 30m and 15m instead, figuring it would be a better fit. I came up with the model mentioned in a previous blog post. It didn't take me long to figure out that the model didn't quite work the way I expected it to work. I had some questions about why that could be, so started out by fiddling with the lengths of the antenna, and even putting it in freespace. Eventually, I emailed the expert, W1ZR, the original designer of the antenna. He sent me some wonderful information and tips about modelling these types of antennas I want to share.

First off, here's what a generic image of the design looks like:

I plan on building the top style. The bottom one has some potential, too, but the top style is the one I want to build because it's over all length is shorter than a traditional dipole.

The particular dimensions I'm after

Above is some of the excellent information W1ZR sent me. Notice the dimensions for most band combinations. I asked him if he used any formulas to come up with the numbers, and he said no. He created the model with trial and error, and then built it out to see if real life fit the model. That's dedication the ham radio way! I circled the information for the 30/17 model so you can get a rough idea of the dimensions. I got all this information last fall, and over the winter I began building the antenna with the idea that I would have it up in time to catch some winter QSOs and Spring E-Skip on 17. Turns out, I busted my timetable all up by going back to school! 

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Blooming Sequence Prediction UPDATE: Prediction Accurate!

So the third bloom on the T. simulata in my backyard has completely dried out, and there are no more blooms showing for now. I have a prediction to make, though. I believe I know where the next bloom will emerge from. Now that I've seen three, I believe that the next bloom will emerge from the bract opposite of and above the previous bloom. In other words, they bloom in a zig-zag pattern. I've been reading a lot of technical documents about plants, and T. simulata in particular, so I'm sure there's a technical name for this action, I haven't deciphered it yet. Below are some pictures of the area where I believe the next bloom will emerge, and some pups that the plant has. I'm keeping this short because I bet there's going to be a fourth bloom in the morning, and I want to spend more time talking about  that!
detail of the end of the spike
 Right in front of the 2nd blossom to bloom (blossom that's dead and hanging on the right side of the picture.)
Little Tiny thing in the middle is a pup
 Tiny Tiny pup in the middle.
Another detail shot
This picture gives the appearance that the bud may already be on its way! It seems to be open just ever so slightly on the right.

big pup
Big pup! Still has some growing to do.

So I saw the barest smidgen of the tip of a purple blossom on the bract I had predicted the next bloom would emerge from!

About 1mm of bloom showing!

Monday, April 18, 2016

What do you Call Ham Radio Shenanigans?

Doesn't really roll off of the tongue.
Something, I don't really like that either.
Anywho, I did get up to some ham radio shenanigans recently, notably on Sunday March 12th during the WES (Weekend Sprint-a-Thon). The family went to the beach, and I brought my SW-20, and a vertical antenna I've been working on. I didn't figure I'd get much time to do radio, that's why this fits in the category of "shenanigans". I had two goals:
1. Set up in less than 10 minutes.
2. Make one QSO.

Anything else would be gravy.

Antenna is Up
Radio Deployed
I had some trouble with the first goal. I would get a wire stretched out, and then have to chase down a kid. All said, we were there about an hour before I was fully set up. I probably spent just over ten minutes of that setting up. My biggest issue came when I undid everything. I had to spend most of my time untangling the radiator from the radials. I remember this problem last time I set this pole up, and remembered that my solution was to wrap the radials up first, and then the radiator, so that the radiator could be deployed without undoing the radials.Everything should have taken under 5 minutes to set up. After setting up, I tuned around where I thought the WES would be taking place, and I was rewarded with signals! That's a plus! Throwing the antenna tuner into tune mode, and twiddling knobs for maximum noise, I quickly discovered that tuning this antenna in this configuration is not easy. I don't know if it's the twists around the pole, or interaction due to proximity to the radio, but it would not tune well at all. I've tuned this before at the house, but not with the center conductor spiralled around the support pole. Some more trimming may be needed for the wire. I tuned around until I heard the loudest signal I could, and tried to call him when I had a chance. It was Bill in TX, K8DN/5, and his fist sounded great. After two tries, I managed to get Bill to copy my call, and give me a 339, but he couldn't hear me complete the exchange. That was ALMOST a QSO. QRN was just too great, plus my transmitting situation was suboptimal. Still glad I had the practice. After tuning around a couple more minutes, I shut the station down, the kids were needing me, so time to stop being a sun baked ham, and time to start being dad at the beach.

The whole experience goes to show that perfect practice makes perfect, and I've not been practicing enough. Perhaps some mini-trips to the outdoors after school one day? IDK, Most of the time I'm too busy to bother fooling with radio, but I might start trying to set up. Maybe during lunch I can pop out to the car, set up, call CQ long enough to be heard on a reverse beacon net, then pop back in. I carry the stuff in the car now just in case.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Great Bloomin' Bromeliads!

This is "Choo-Choo Cha-Cha"
New bloom in the yard!
New bloom in the yard!
Tillandsia simulata has bloomed in my yard!
That makes a Tillandsia quartet of blooming airplants that I've seen in or from my yard! (The Neighbor's house had blooming T. setacea. Right now, all the T. setacea plants in my yard are too young to bloom.) Recently, I finally noticed a purple bloom sticking out of  "Choo-Choo Cha-Cha" the airplant Grace found in the backyard back in January, after our last trip to the Ichetucknee. I still haven't located the source of this particular plant, I'm thinking the live oak in the neighbor's yard. It's mature enough that it has a flower spike, and side growths. The plant is pictured on the right, shortly after I tied it to the tree with some nylon twine. I've seen pictures of this plant growing out of cypress tree trunks, and it seems to have attached itself to a hardwood twig. We'll see if it latches on to the live oak.
It's been just over one year since my first post about Tillandsia bromeliads. My affection for them continues to grow. They have such amazing depth of existence! Consider this: the T. simulata above is Florida's only endemic species of Tillandsia. It's only found here, in this state in the wild! It's considered common, but that could change. It's believed that the Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona) could use this as a host plant. This pest is responsible for making many once common species of bromeliads rare, and is considered a serious pest for the State's most rare native bromeliads. I've been keeping an eye on this plant, and so far, no issues with weevils! The only critter I've found living in it is a green spider who can barely be seen below.
Itsy bitsy spider crawled up the Tillandsia spike!
The Upshot
Sometime Later, in flower!
Try as I might, that was about the best picture I could get of the spider. I've seen it's web in the morning occasionally, so I know it's out there! Maybe it'll keep the weevils at bay. The biggest issue I have had with this plant so far is keeping it on the trunk. There are a couple of side shoots growing, I'm hoping that they will produce roots that will anchor the tree to the trunk of the Live Oak.

T. simulata is commonly known as "Broad needleleaf", "The Manatee airplant", or "Florida airplant". According to  the Atlas of Florida plants sponsored by USF, it has been vouchered in twenty-one counties in the state, all in a band across the middle of the peninsula. They bloom in the spring, and judging from the absence of a seed-spike, I'm guessing this is the first year for this particular plant to bloom. In the closeup picture of the flowerspike below, you see a new bloom emerging from the spike, and an old flower hanging off the side. According to the University of Florida's page on the species, it should produce 5-30 flowers. I'm still monitoring for further development.

 In investigating the history of this plant, I discovered that it was at one point considered the same species as T. bartramii, but that it was reclassified as a separate species in 1982 by Sue Gardner. She now operates as an artist under the name of Cecelia Sue Sill in Texas. I haven't been able to locate the exact reason for the split, but I figure I can research it more later.

When the flowers bloom, they seem to emerge from the bract for a day, then they open up for a day, then they begin to wither after the second day. These three pictures were taken about a day apart. Notice how the old flower is still attached to the bract. I haven't attempted to see if I can remove it. As of April 16, there were no further emerged flowers.

Enjoy the pics! I'll monitor the spike for further flower development.
2nd Bloom

Two Blooms Done

Other Side notes: I didn't get any really good pictures of the first bloom, My phone camera isn't all that great. I need to get a new lens for the Canon, I've been thinking something along the lines of a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 so that I can get nice, low light, high quality shots. Add a 25mm extension tube, and I would be set for 85% of the pictures I would want to take of  plants and people. If anyone has a good line on a good camera deal, let me know. I like Canon, and have a Rebel. I need a new/new-to-me lens.


I took the following pictures Sunday, April 17th. They show a THIRD BLOOM! Looking closely, you can tell that the bloom is old, close to withering. Since there was nothing on the spike before I left for school Friday, I believe that this must have emerged from the bract sometime Friday, and bloomed all day Saturday. Just goes to show you, check your plants every day, you never know what's going to happen!
Third Bloom!

Whole plant

Info about Florida's Bromeliads:

Info about the Mexican bromeliad weevil:

Atlas of Florida Plants:

Monday, March 28, 2016


Life is Good!
Right now, I work the evening shift, I'm always off by midnight. I also have a funky schedule where I'm off Friday nights. Friday nights have become a thing in my house where we have supper together, and watch a family movie. Right now, we're going through the Star Wars series of movies. We just finished Episode III and couple of weeks ago, and Episode IV last friday. The kids have really enjoyed it. Their friends at school talk Star Wars, so it's good for them to have a frame of reference.

After Episode III, everyone went to bed, but me; I was wide awake. I decided to head out to the shack, and was glad I did. I made several contacts very quickly, and came back inside. Soon, I was in the bed, before midnight even! I did discover that my NoGA Twin Tube 80 is out of commission again. I'll have to trouble shoot that later. Winter's over, so 80 is getting noisy again. Last week,

I got my log caught up, and even found time for a few more contacts. Slowly but surely, I'm logging contacts this year. It's got to get out to the shack and enjoy myself. Sometimes I just clean off the desk (there's always a mess). Sometimes, I just check the tuner setting for the W3EDP. Occasionally, I check into the SoCARS net (10360 is my bus ticket number).When school (for me) ends at the end of April, and I switch jobs, my availability to do things will change too. I hope I can go to field day this year!

Life is Good!
On to the next project, I need to get another antenna up. I'm still working on it. When I can. Not stressing out about it. Still working on portable operations. When I can. Like I said, I'm keeping things fun.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Things I've Learned

I Learned some interesting things about JavaScript.
It started with an assignment, and I just had a moment to hack out what it was I was discovering during spring break last week.
First thing:
When using JavaScript, you have to be mindful of your objects. It's very easy to change them, because when you pass an object to a variable, you pass the reference, and not just the values. In other words, the variable is the object, and not a copy of it. I captured this behavior in the screenshot below.

Screen shot of JavaScript and output

Another thing I learned:
Double quotes can bite you. When using a button to perform an action, I was having difficulty passing a parameter to a function. The reason why is because I had to pass the parameter using double quotes (it was a string id of a page element). I discovered that when you create a button, it's best to pass the action of the button in double-quotes. I then had to pass the parameter in single-quotes The code looked something like this:

getComp is a function I wrote to display the attributes of objects, hal2000 is the object whose attributes I will display, and conComp is the id of a p tag in the HTML of the page. I use it to display the object's attributes.
If I left out the 'conComp' part, and modified the function so it wasn't necessary (I hard coded a particular ID in place), then worked just fine. I even tried to single quote the second parameter, but that didn't work. The only way the javascript would run right was to Double quote the whole action parameter, and single quote the string parameter passed to the getComp function.

I'm more than halfway done with the school year and I'm learning a lot!

Sunday, February 14, 2016


Love is a battlefield
Love hurts
Love me tender
What is love?

I'll tell you what love is.
Love is nothing to take lightly. I don't know how I feel about having a day devoted to "love" and having the primary color for the day be my least favorite (red).
That's right, I don't like Valentine's day because red is my least favorite color.
And it's a made up holiday designed to sell candy and cards.
No card can express how I feel about my wife.
How could it?

it was literal love at first sight. I knew when I saw her that I could marry her and be happy for the rest of my life, or learn to be content as a single man knowing I'd met the one, and said no. It's a strange thing to relate to you.
A better color for today is green,  because green represents growing, and I want to grow.
I don't want to be content with who I am. I'm not worth my wife's affection, she makes me grow. That's what love is.
Love always will be. According to the movie "Interstellar" gravity and love are transcendent to this plane of existence. I don't know about gravity, but I do know that love certainly is. It's the one thing God said we will have when we die:
1Co 13:1-13  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  (2)  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  (3)  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  (4)  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  (5)  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  (6)  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  (7)  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  (8)  Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  (9)  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  (10)  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  (11)  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  (12)  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  (13)  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love never ends.
One day we'll be faithless (for we shall see), hopeless (because we'll have won our rest), but we'll never be loveless.

You can't be loveless if you're going to be with The Father.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Do Lists and Task Priorities

Things for me to do:
  1. Update everyone on what's going on in my life, I'm busy
  2. Finish out the Two articles I have written about antennas
  3. Update LOTW to include my final entries from last year, and the QSOs I've had so far this year.
  4. Clean out the Ham Shack, and demo it
  5. Update my BASIC blog with a few Communion meditations

Update on What's Going On!

Short story: I've been working and going to college full time. Slightly longer story: I've been at Publix now 10 years. Last year I interviewed twice for jobs related to programming. Both were entry level jobs, and I was turned down for both. I believe that my lack of Computer Science degree was the main culprit for why I didn't get the jobs. To help alleviate that, I enrolled in and started taking classes at Florida Polytechnic University. Shortly after my classes began, I was given another interview, this time on my team. I landed the job! They are letting me start the job after the semester ends at the end of April. This has been a long time coming. I'll be a support programmer. I'll be on call, get woken up at Oh Dark:30, but mostly I'll be on dayshift, and I'll have weekends off. It should be great! I also get a raise.
Being back in school has been good for me so far. I'm learning a lot, calculus is fun again, I get to use a bunch of neat stuff, and I've even been given MS Office! Only bad part is that I'm always busy with school work. No real time to do radio, get outside, learn the programming languages I want to learn, etc. I'm busy. Very busy. I often wonder if I'm too busy. So far the answer is "not yet", and that's good. Somethings about being so busy have been a bonus. For instance: My oldest daughter is learning HTML because I have to learn it, and I showed her how it makes web pages work. She's getting a kick out of it. It's nice to discover that we could have this thing in common.
I'll say more soon, namely in my next blog about antennas. All this hard math I'm taking in school should be somewhat useful for building antennas, or at least that's my hope.