Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Scratch Hazel behind her ears.
In the Old Days radio operators were called "Sparks" from
the early use of Spark
Gap Transmitters. What are we called today?
The CDI APU has failed to start. Troubleshooting
on-going. This old ONAN has a Wasted Spark Ignition. New
concept for me. The wasted spark system is an ignition
system used in some four-stroke internal combustion
engines. In a wasted
spark system, the spark plugs fire in pairs, with
one plug in a cylinder on its compression stroke and the
other plug in a cylinder on its exhaust stroke. No
distributor. The two sparking plugs and the coil are wired
in series. If either plug or wire fails, neither sparks. I
see no spark on the cylinder I can easily get to so I am
up to the point of testing both plugs together. Tomorrow
maybe. . . . o 0 O (Do you suppose my ONAN is somehow
related to that other Onan?)
Thursday, 17 January—Solar Powered in Quartzsite
I'm out to Quartzsite for a couple weeks: one at The Magic Circle
and the other at Roadrunner, visiting nude friends in the
former and Ham Radio
friends at the latter. Totally solar and relatively
slow connectivity. When I am the length of my extended
extension cords near shore power I can leave this computer
on from wakeup to bedtime and stop by from time to time to
check mail, play 3D Pinball or Solitaire, read the news,
explore the nooks and crannies of YouTube... But here,
with partly sunny to mostly cloudy skies I am at the mercy
of what solar insolation is at hand. And to make matters
worse, my APU is at present nonfunctional.
Saturday, 19th, Breky With the Locals
This year the Weekly Saturday Breky is held at Taco Mio.
The table was too long for me to see the far end but there
must have been more than twenty Hams present. On my right
was a new friend, Scot, with whom I have a lot in common.
The bad news today is that my all-purpose biscuit mix
stuff was fraught with weevils. Not really all that bad I
suppose. They'll bake up nicely I'm sure; in my World
Famous Male Banana bread they will be indistinguishable
from the dried cranberries and blueberries and walnuts.
Sunday—Commuting to Rover Robotics
Interesting Show&Tell at Q'Fest Opening Ceremony. The
local school kids have a class/club project combining
robotics and ham radio where they are using the DTMF pad
on their handheld radios to control a model Mars Rover.
The Rover provides video feedback to the operator, just as
NASA views the desert of Mars.
Mile99 - 14 Day Roadrunner Camp
Tuesday, relocated The Cat Drag'd Inn to the
radio encampment at Mile99 for the remainder of my second
week in the boondocks. Helped out with volunteer exams for
new ham radio operators, visited with friends old and new,
pimped Hurricane Hazel-Rah to a few ailurophiles, explored
new possibilities with Mesh Net equipment, and
generally over-ate for a few days.
Back to Tonopah & Propane Leak
Upon return to Tonopah, the bill for refilling all the
propane tanks came to an hundred dollars; I came to the
conclusion that the time had come to deal with the
leak. Took two days of crawling around under the
bus, breaking down the plumbing and pressure testing
section by section, to find this break where the 3/8"
copper tubing passes through the steel-foam-plywood deck
into the head under Hazel-Rah's litter box. Along the way
I replaced twelve feet of tubing, and added one shutoff to
facilitate future pressure-testing of the propane system.
Cause of the break is still under investigation. Could
have been corrosion or vibration. Perhaps the tubing was
damaged in the original installation before my time.
We have passed the tipping point, the temperatures are
rising on the climb toward another long hot Summer.
Another few weeks and "Be Warm" will become "Stay Cool".
This Tuesday, 5th of febter, we will have a celebrity
guest from north of the not-yet-wall. Jack says Canada
will build a wall and get US to pay for it. Personally I
canna believe anyone (right mind notwithstanding) would
want to go someplace colder than here. What about my ten
years in Antarctica? “That was then; this I snow”.
Winter Stalling Febutarry
This just in from my Winnipeg Corresdespondent: Heard by
the side of the road whilst trash-picking: There is a
British Tea Room in Mersey Point Nova Scotia where a
certain young couple were enjoying the first day of their
engagement. The day was rather warm, for Nova Scotia
anyhow, too warm for a nice pot of hot tea, so they asked
if any iced tea was available. “There is indeed”, the
waiter said, “we have this very fine tea from Australia of
the Koala brand”.
A Binary Sudoku
Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
Sunny breezy weekend at the Yuma Ham Fest. Follow-up to
Quartz Fest last or precursor to Quartz Fest next? Does
anyone care to debate that? For my part the getting ready
for this little side trip excursion was fraught with
prognostication, precipitation, and procrastination.
Between cold weather and abject laziness I only just
barely accomplished the necessary fixing of the propane
leak and biannual lubrication of the bus chassis in time
to do a dump and fill before departing on thursday
Now, where was I...
Oh yes. Jack and Nancy arrived in Tonopah for a second
time this Winter and we started out in the drizzle to
convoy to Yuma. They turned off at the east end of Gila
Bend for propane, I continued through town looking for a
grocery market. The one I remember from a previous visit,
that shared a carpark with the Postal Office, is boarded
up. There is no super market. Can you imagine: a city of
2069 (based on official 2017 estimates from the US Census
Bureau...is the 79th largest city in Arizona) has no
proper grocery. I stopped at one of those "convenience"
stores that has one wall of beer coolers, one wall of fast
food, one or two check out registers (Does a register
count if there is no clerk in attendance?) and a large
expanse of plate glass front cluttered with adverts. The
three aisles of tinned and boxed foodstuffs contained no
freshies. Typical “Eat Here and Get Gas” place.
Frosty The Table—Taco Tuesday Again
Overnight low temperature this morning was 28f. Frost 1mm
deep snarled work table traffic until crews were able to
get the sun above the shed to melt this rare visitor. One
commuter on the way to the bird feeders said: "To hell
with this; I'm going back south!"
4/3 A Prelude to 3/4
Mar10 Day & π Day
Day slipped past quite unnoticed at The Cat
Drag'd Inn until Mike exclaimed just as I was about
to tuck my self in for the night: Wait-Wait! he cried,
perhaps we can still find a pizza someplace around here.
Maybe one of those pre-baked, cello-wrapped,
reheatable-in-the-nuker kind at the Eat Here & Get Gas
place at x94.
Springquinox—Escapees Escapade and Xscapers Convergence
I think I have found a new enclave within my extended
family. I used to be a super-hero, I told them, before I
lost my cape; here I can feel right at home. The 59th
SKPade happened at the Pima County Fairground, same place
as two years and four years ago. This one was a little
different tho I would be hard put to say just how. Maybe
later; I have to think some. Getting there proved to be
fraught with stops and starts. The controllers of both
pairs of fans on the main engine radiator failed. When the
secondary backup fans came on I knew there was trouble
with the Cat in the Back. Hasty fix to get them going and
on the road again. Proper repair will await new
controllers. Next week.
The Titan II
second-generation, 2-stage, silo-stored, silo-launched,
liquid-propelled Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
(ICBM). It was stored in a hardened underground silo with
its liquid propellant on board, so that it was ready to
launch at all times. An ICBM is a missile specifically
designed to carry a nuclear warhead from one continent to
another. These missiles are ballistic because, like the
shell from a gun, they receive a brief but powerful
initial push from a rocket motor, then follow a ballistic
free-flight trajectory to the target. The Titan II was the
largest land-based missile ever deployed by the US.
Incite Of Spring Before Summer Reigns
I've got to get this letter out... 78 now but I've not
found any theme music yet. 77 Sunset Strip doesn't work
anymore. The secret was hidden in my phone number all
along and I didn't notice. So much for all my training as
an observant observer, eh? Jack and Nancy wrote: Maybe the
theme for your 78th year is in your phone number? 1-19
don't count, you're just a kid getting an education on
living. 20 to 77 gives you a lot of experience, much of it
fun, most useful. Somehow, just to keep the records
spinning, speeds within 5% tolerance OK, especially for
hindsight. 43 33 78, adjust within tolerance to 45 33 78.
So you need the prefix code (2077), need the exchanges,
it doesn't go anywhere without the last numbers: 2077 43
(+/- 5% to 45) 33 78—a good tune getting better. Watch Steve Key sing
the rest: 33,45,78...
9th April—Taco Tuesday Not In Pie Town
Sixty-seven miles east of Tonopah, just a few miles up
the road towards Payson, TinyTruck suddenly started
bucking and snorting. Then there were two loud !BANG!s and
she crumped by the side of the road. The loud bangs were
the muffler blowing apart. Engine would not restart. Took
me four tries to get through to AAA and then the
dispatcher was really confused about where I was. Seems
they trust their automagic call center to route the
incoming call according to Area Code. My 207 number was
answered by Chris in Maine. Three calls later I finally
got past the computer to a dispatcher in AridZona. So much
for A/I. In the meantime the local constabulary had been
and gone, satisfied that I was safely off the road with a
tow on the way.
Good Thing This Friday Is a Twelfth
TinyTruck is fixed Twice! Or was it thrice. Long storey.
The first fix went well except that in my haste and
ignorance I neglected to observe the orientation of a part
called the "reluctor". Went round and round with forensic
evidence, pictures in the repair manual, gut feelings, and
in the end reinstalled the reluctor backwards to the way
I'd removed it but correct according to the repair
manual—resulting in the timing being 55 degrees off. So we
had to do the procedure again. Finally got it right—or
wrong depending upon how you looked at it—and a test drive
I do not know what I may appear to the world;
but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on
the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a
smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the
great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
—Sir Isaac Newton
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Copyright © 2019, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.