The Digital Audio Cable

So, managed to get the digital audio cable built and tested out over the weekend. I can’t get it to reliably trigger the VOX, but I managed to figure out where to put it to keep the ALC from spiking, and everything looks good so far. Tore down the station to bring it with me to CQ duty on Friday. Here are some notes:

Originally intended to use one of those USB to PS2 adapters I had laying around in a box with random cables and computer stuff. Underneath the rubbery shell the wires are encased in a waxy, plasticy substance. Managed to pull the 6 pin portion off, but after messing with it realized that it wasn’t suitable for me to solder on(I am still learning how to do that, by the way).

So at one of the local thrift stores, I managed to snag for a whopping 50 cents an old microsoft ball mouse. Works like a champ. Well, after some snipping of some wire, and checking for which wire went where, I jotted it all down and cut my 6 ft mono cable in half(had that running from my rig to my aux in port in my car, had to use some ferrite chokes to cut down on the engine noise on the highway), and checked the wires on that. After that, just needed to solder it all together. And it’s a rough, but serviceable, solder job. After a few strips of electrical tape to help insulate the wires and some heat shrink tubing to seal it all up, it works. Not exactly awesomely or anything, but it works. For a mix of what I had on hand and 50 cents at a thrift store(which I need to go back on payday and snag the few sets of BDUs they have for cheap), I have a working cable.

Hopefully this week(or weekend) I can test it out and see how it does.

In other news, I hope everyone was able to stop for a moment and remember those who have served before, and what they sacrificed. HH6 had the idea of doing this paperĀ garland with the names of soldiers, sailors, and airmen(where do the marines fit into this?) who have fought and died. I think the names she got went back to WW2 (She asked people on facebook for names and dates, plus some of my friends I’ve lost). When she brought up the idea, I thought it was awesome. Apparently so did some older vets she’s talked to. Teach the real meaning behind Memorial Day. I think we did ok.

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Mike Tango Oscar

So, Family comes first. Easy enough.

Second, Added a project list to the side. I’ll explain this a little.

My intentions are to do the project, and then a write-up of the project, with kinda a lessons learned bit. Maybe some pictures if I think it’s necessary. And then I’ll add another text box of completed projects underneath (or above) with a link to the write-up. That’s the plan.

So, I try to list them in priority (of sorts). First one being the soundcard cable. Essentially going to use a cable from an old 6-pin mini-DIN device to wire up a pair of mono jacks to use with my laptop to transmit and receive digital modes.

The 4-port feedline switch box is so I don’t have to switch the antenna cables out every time I want to move to another antenna(such as, 10m to 40m NVIS). 4 ports for expandability.

I have an old, well worn Hustler 6BTV antenna (got for free a few years ago) that is in need of some work to get it running. Mainly the mounting bracket is bent, and I need to figure out where I want to install it.

The 2m/70cm J-Pole is so I don’t have to switch out cables to run those 2 different bands. I hear that VHF/UHF switch boxes don’t work too well.

The H-250 is mainly for the coolness factor. Even though I use the stupid things, kinda the coolness factor. But it would make it handy if I ever set up my 857D up in a Manpack configuration. That, and give this more of a TOC feel.

Also, made a demo dipole out of some scrap Cat5 cable in the shop to demonstrate to a couple of guys how stupid easy it was. Looking back, with a longer run of cable, just use the same twisted pair for both the dipole and feedline. Knot it where the insulator would go, and you’ve still got the twisted pair for you Jungle Coax. (Thanks, Dailtone!)

Hell, he probably doesn’t even know this exists. That’s cool though, I’ll have to do some meet n greet with these guys soon. Would rather do meat-space, but interwebs will work.

I’m going to bed. I need to get a horse again… and baby goats eat a lot of milk.

Introducing, the Chocolate Starfish…

So, new to this whole writing thing, I figured in one of my moments of inspiration (you know, that small chunk of time on a weekend where your family is in bed, but you figure you’d rather trade sleep for catching up on things that you couldn’t get done earlier), that this would be a good idea…lets just hope it’s not the Good Idea fairy messing with me.

Ok, so the intent of this is to sorta document different things that I do/have done that might help others out. Pretty strait forward, right? Well, I’m still learning, so I figure triumphs and failures alike can be fun. I actually have a few examples to throw in here tonight. Here are some of the basics I plan(we should all know how that works) to cover(in no particular order):

Homesteading-ish type stuff.

Commo

Tacticalishness

Guns

Projects

Etcetera, etcetera…

So yeah. There you have it. Now I’m betting that some people are wondering why “scavenger xray”? Well, Scavenger7 was taken. Simple enough. Scavenger because I’m actually pretty decent at it. Among other things, of course. Xray because, well, for those non-military(Army, maybe?) peeps, X-ray is the letter designation of a units command post. Which in my case would be my place. Why 7? Well, 7 is the designator for the highest ranking NCO in an element. 6 would be the commander, 5 the XO, so yeah. HH6 is already the 6. She runs the roost. My job then, is to get shit done. How well that works is debatable, but in the grand scheme of things, it works out. Happy wife, happy life.

Now, I don’t use twitter/instagram/whatever else kinda garbage there is. I only use facebook when I’m deployed to keep in contact with the wife. Otherwise, it’s rare I get on. That junk takes too much time from the more important things, like PT, and training. And getting shit done. Also, you might notice a lot of references to a lot of random things. That will probably stop once I run out of things to reference. But I’ll try to keep it going as long as possible.

Anywho, those examples I was telling you about earlier. So, I have chickens, and goats, and trying to figure out rabbits. Some chickens for eggs, some for meat. First of our meat chickens I killed a few weeks ago, didn’t go so well. HH6 gave me a jug from her work stuff and had me make a kill cone with it. Easy enough. Got the bird in the thing, it calmed down, and I couldn’t find the arteries to cut. Brilliant. So it got a reprieve. Not a long one, mind you. Wife looked up different ways to kill the thing, found one using my bare hands…supposedly quick and painless. Minimal suffering. What the hell, I’ll try it. That didn’t work too well. Ended up using the broomstick method. (Put broom/shovel/rake/hoe handle over neck, grab legs and pull up until head pops off.) That worked. And got blood everywhere. Not a big deal, boots are meant to get dirty. So lesson learned: There is more than one way to skin a cat, learn them. Makes it easier to adjust fire when needed. Like last weekend, killed a few more birds. Home made kill cone worked on the first one. Only because HH6 held the chicken in place. They are like small turkeys. About 8lbs of meat each. Had to broomstick the other 3 because they wouldn’t stay in by themselves. Then the crappy knives from the cheap walmart kitchen knife sets…those suck. Had to pull out the seal pup to cut the things with any efficiency. Lessons learned: Invest in a good knife dedicated to processing and keep it sharp. Make sure your home brewed stuff will work for the task, or expect to use plan b, c, or d.

So, here is my request from everyone. If I put something out there that is wrong, please tell us that I’m wrong, and why I’m wrong. I would prefer not in an asshole-ish way. I’m very receptive to constructive criticism. Really. More people learn from it that way.

So to close it up, I’m not some uber badass SF operator, I don’t try to act like I am. I’m a guy who used to be Infantry, realized I couldn’t make a decent living on the outside with it, then reclassed to commo. Yes, I went POG. But on the up side, I still bitch about POGs doing POGish shit. And I still call them that. Hmm, never really figured out the really correct spelling. Oh well.

So, enough with my rambling for the night. There you have it. I’ll leave with this important announcement.

Check out these links:

http://www.radiofreeredoubt.com

http://www.amrron.com

Yes, I’m a member(redoubter, due to time or lack of) of AmRRON. Good organization.

You can’t stop the signal.

Oh look, another one!

0707 ZULU and I’m up doing this… WTF, O?

Yep, another blahg in the giant interwebs. Over the next week I will figure this out, namely how to customize it and get it set how I want. Hell, maybe I’ll even have something worth writing about.

Until then, do PT. No, I won’t harp on it like Mosby does. He makes me feel weak and frail when I read his blog.

UPDATE: Yeah, 0723z and I’m going to bed. I will figure this out later.