I cooked today. I cooked sausage and eggs with toast for breakfast. I roasted a turkey, dressing, and sweet potatoes. I made mashed white potatoes. I served cranberry sauce and gravy. I ate too much and cleaned up all the dishes. I was busy all day and almost got a cramp from standing too long. Now I am sitting at my computer listening to the packets on the ham radio channel and the repeaters identify. I got my ham radio license a month ago or so. I made my first QSO two days ago on my handheld on a UHF repeater seven or eight miles from the house here. I am too tired to do much talking on the radio tonight. It’s a holiday and I hear no ham traffic anyway. All I did today was cook and clean and eat. I got to watch TV for half an hour or so as well. It has been a busy day, but I survived the first of the winter holidays. In my spare time this morning I put up the first of the Christmas decorations. Perhaps tomorrow I can take it easy and relax.
I wasted time again today cooking and going to the park. I tried to fix a solar lantern, but it was a piece of junk that rotted out because the Chinese assemblers put the battery contacts in backwards and somebody put a non-rechargeable battery into the thing and it leaked and rotted out the wiring.
I am trying to listen to the amateur radio repeaters this evening on my scanner but there are no hams on the air right now. I don’t know why they have so much bandwidth if they don’t use it for something. I am looking into getting a ham license, but with the government shut down it looks like this might take some time. I passed an example test online without so much as studying, so it shouldn’t be a problem. The problem is there may not be anyone to talk to on those bands these days.
You would think that with 50 visits a day to this blog that some people might want to talk about what I write here. It never happens though. I am not that popular. I tried to get popular by submitting this blog to directories and by making comments, but you know, it’s not something that will be worth my while. The only people I have ever met online are scammers, and those were in a game I seldom play any more.
The Idiotic government is still shut down over two weeks later. We are being held hostage by the morons who got themselves elected. Money gets you elected. I blame everyone in government as they are all devious and crooked. I can’t even watch the news because it does nothing but bother me. There is some ham traffic now on the scanner and some image of air traffic because the front end of the scanner isn’t very selective. I am just sitting here typing about whatever is going through my mind. Well the hams talked long enough to trade call signs and get a radio check. What is even the point of such a pointless conversation? It’s like CB radio and truckers calling for a radio check. Sheesh, all the pointless stuff in the world.
I have my solar powered radio stuff going well around here now. I probably didn’t get much solar energy in the old shortwave today because it was cloudy. I figure it should power that thing for a couple weeks without any sun at all. I did some electronics today but my experiment failed. I have to get some good parts to build things with. I have some packet channels going on the scanner now, but it just sounds like some annoying noise. I have no idea why I am even writing any of this because nobody follows this blog. I think I am going to go read a book or something for a while instead of wasting my time writing things nobody reads.
I went out yesterday and bought some solar panels from Radio Shack. I also got various parts like a battery holder and some connectors and battery clips. Today I built a stand for the little 4.5 volt solar panel I am using to charge my shortwave radio battery. It is just some wood and some nails and it holds the panel at 45 degrees to the sky for better solar incidence. I soldered a 1N4005 diode in series with the cell for reverse current blocking and chucked some dead NiMH batteries into the holder to charge.
With the setup in my bedroom window I got a charging current of 89 mA, which isn’t bad considering it’s just sitting in the window. Out in the yard later with the thing pointed right at the sun I got a current of 284mA, which is pretty good for a charging circuit. I soldered a pigtail onto the battery connector this evening and a power plug for the shortwave and powered up the radio for the first time on solar energy. It worked well and I should get 20 hours or so out of the thing with just charging it today. I could have left the batteries in the unit but I didn’t want them sucking power out of the rechargeable batteries.
This is my first solar energy project in a long time. I can see that having a clear area and some clear skies is going to be necessary, but I think I can keep a set of AA batteries charged enough to use the radio without having to burn up alkaline units. Over the coming days I will see if the batteries hold a charge, which might be a good question. I want to get some eneloops to use in my gear because they don’t leak current and self-discharge. Also I just like the designation of the battery type, LSD NiMH. There isn’t a single store in the area that sells these things, so it looks like I will be ordering them from Amazon at some point.
The electronic design of my solar battery charger wasn’t too complicated. I did some reading on Wikipedia last night about nickel batteries and learned that you can basically charge them at a low rate for a long time without too much of a problem. The batteries didn’t get hot like they do in the wall charger, which can’t really be good. I am surprised they sell chargers that fry batteries and then bitch and moan about how hard it is to design a charger to charge batteries. My battery charger circuit was a solar panel and a power diode. It charged a pair of dead batteries and I will see if it keeps the radio running without having to keep wasting disposable units.
I have decided to work on electronics again as opposed to just writing shit on the blogs I have. I see no future in writing about things for no reason. This post is about my latest electronics project. I have another project to build a solar charger for my scanner, for which I have all the parts. I looked for books on solar power electronics design, but there are few and they are very expensive. Perhaps I should work on a book about electronics. For the time being I am working on my projects and will log my progress from time to time. The first solar charger was a success, though somewhat expensive. Perhaps I can work this up into some kind of business, who knows.
I spent the last years of my life cooking and cleaning. I suppose it is my job. I cooked today. I made scalloped potatoes and pork chops for dinner. They are in the oven now. I hope they turn out well. It took me 20 minutes to peel and slice the potatoes and chops. Then I poured some milk over the potatoes, dotted them with butter, sprinkled on salt and pepper, covered them with foil and put them on a tray to catch any overflow. They are in the oven now. All I have to do is uncover them later for a few minutes to brown the chops and then put them on the table. Then I eat and clean up the mess.
I need a better job. I am thinking beer reviewer. I go to the bar, order some beers, drink, then write reviews. If I get hungry I can order some food as well and review that as a bonus. The thing is, this is not so far-fetched. If I had a pro blog I could publish my beer reviews and run advertisements. If I was corrupt I could extort money and free beer from bars for good reviews, but I am not corrupt. Bill’s Beer Reviews might even make a good title for a blog but I am pretty sure it might be taken. Also, it would cut me out of the whole wine, food and whiskey review market.
So I have some more cooking and cleaning to do this evening. I have more to do tomorrow. I was a laundry gnome today as well. I have more laundry to do later or tomorrow. I can’t concentrate on any decent projects like writing a book with all the damned distractions in my life. TV is the worst distraction. The shit they show on those channels annoys and bothers me no end. I have a book to read now for a while so it’s time to shut down the old net and find something useful to do with my time, like get more educated.
A still life arranged this morning. Some kind of wildflower from the garden.
I have been building a plastic model of a 1957 Chevy Bellaire for the last three days. I completed the engine today after dinner and am waiting for the paint to dry on the last few details. The model is not of the highest quality as the molds didn’t line up properly and the pieces don’t fit right without some gaps. Still, the engine looks like an engine and it is painted well. I used the old enamel paints with the old paint thinner vehicle. The paint takes some time to dry well, but it looks nice.
I will be working on this a bit every day probably for the next month. The engine is a bit small to get a picture of and I haven’t tried. I am enjoying myself with this hobby. I used to make models when I was a kid, but now I am careful and try to do a good job. So I am not really into writing up my life any more on the net here. I have to find better things to do with my time than sit around reading the kind of nonsense they publish these days on the web.
I managed to get a picture, but this small engine really would need a macro lens to shoot properly. I cropped it down to eliminate most of the background. I have it resting on the underbody of the model upside down and it will be some time before it gets glued into the car. That’s about six hours work there, but hey, it was fun.
I did some car stuff today. It started when I took a ride to the health food store to pick up some herbs. I was followed by an SS Chevelle and a Model A. There were a lot of classic cars on the way back from the store as well. I figured there had to be some kind of car show in the area for so many people to be out and about in their classic cars, even though it was a nice Saturday morning.
When I got back from the store I fired up the computer and looked up local car shows. It took some effort and some tries with Google but I finally found a listing of Michigan shows on Hemming’s Motor News website. It seems there was a show listed for today at a church in Canton that was not far away. The weather was nice with a few sprinkles of rain, so I got Mom and Dad and after lunch we went to the show.
There were about 40 cars at the show and not a lot of people. They were playing loud classic rock and trying to sell food, but we skipped that part. The show was free to spectators so we wandered around looking at cool cars for half an hour or so. Dad brought his camera and took several pictures of all the cars. I didn’t bring my camera so I have no shots, besides it’s not cool to go posting pictures of other people’s rides without their permission and I didn’t feel like taking along releases for people to sign, which would just be weird but would be proper and legal for anyone wanting to use pictures in published form.
So we had a good time and looked over all the cars a couple times. There were a lot of muscle cars and hot rods and old cars from the 1930s and 1940s. There was also an AMC Gremlin, which was nothing I would expect to see at a car show, even though it was the fuel injected model. Dad was like a kid at a toy store looking at all the cars and talking to the various people. I walked around with Mom and showed her some of the cooler cars.
I did some poking around the Internet when we got back looking for hobby shops that might sell plastic model cars. I have wanted to build a model for a while and figure it will take my mind off all my other problems. I got a coupon from a local shop for 40% off one item and after some trouble getting a printout I went off to the store and looked around. I went to Hobby Lobby and had to wander to the back of the store and search for the plastic models. I noticed they sell model rockets as well, even F engines, which run $14 each, so no thanks. I found the plastic models in the next aisle and looked them all over. I ended up getting a 1957 Chevy Bellaire and paint, glue, and brushes to finish it out. The whole thing set me back $30.11, but hell, it costs money to do anything these days and it will give me something simple to do instead of writing these long-winded blog posts for no reason.
After dinner this evening I turned the computer back on and looked up plastic model car building techniques. It seems the hobby can get very involved. It seems some people go way too far trying to get their models to look realistic. I did learn to use Elmer’s Glue to glue in the clear plastic windows because it doesn’t craze or warp the plastic. I also learned that I could use wire to add details to the engine bay, as well as the little files I bought years ago to clean up the parts, if I can remember where I squirreled them away. I am not about to start on this model today as it has been a long day and I have to do some other things like try to read part of a book or something. As far as this blog goes, that’s about it for today as well. I had a good time today and got to see some cool cars for free. I also have a project that involves me building a tiny little plastic car and trying to make it look real. Perhaps I will pick up some books on building model cars from the library tomorrow. I saw them the other day but decided to wait. Now perhaps there is a reason for me to read those books.