Monthly Archives: April 2009

Well last week, or maybe two weeks ago, I don’t remember time is moving so fast in some ways and so slow in others, we went to Rural King, the Tractor Supply Co of our area, and purchased 29 chicks. They are predominately Rhode Island Reds and Silver Lace Wyandotte with a few Black Sex Link thrown in. We have had the chicks in under the lights in the garage sense we got them and now it is about time to move them out to the chicken pen.

As we were getting ready, either Tommy or Pumpkin (I cant tell the difference no matter what my daughter says), one of our tom cats, was eyeing them and trying to make a play on them. However I give him credit, he was smart enough to know between me standing there and the wire not to try it. On the other hand, Tiger, one of the female cats on the place, tried to take a chick out through the wire. Pretty funny to watch and pretty stupid on the cats part.

We had Rhode Island Reds the last time we had chickens. They were fun to watch of an evening, were great bug control for the yard and the 8 or so that we had made enough eggs to keep not only us in eggs but quite a few of our family members.

I am thinking that we should get some quail later this summer. They are even more fun to watch than the chickens……………..

Today is the 100 day of the administration of the new President.

Or as I like to call it, day 100 of America Held Hostage.

Pundits and Partizan’s a like are commenting today on how Hussein Obama is doing.

This morning I heard the White House spin machine on a couple of different channels, and they have him walking on water and healing the lame.

So I thought I would put my 0.02 worth in. Like anyone wants to hear it.

In the first 100 days of President Hussein we have lost half of our wealth, half of our personal freedoms, been labeled a terrorist and have seen the POTUS bow down to a foreign leader.

If you don’t know what Chicago politics are like, your getting a taste. Blojo trained Obama well.

In short, I fear for my country in the next 1360 days.

68th Wedding Anniversary!!!

Yesterday we had an open house for Roy and Betty, my grandparents, who were celebrating their 68 wedding anniversary. We had about 100 guest show up, plus others who called and who send cards. It was a very good time and great to see a lot of people whom you haven’t seen in a long time. Everyone had a great time.

Additionally, I took this picture and then realized today that there is 184 years of living between these two. Roy, ~90 yrs in a few months, and his older brother Howard, 94. We just celebrated Howard’s birthday on Tuesday. Both are still getting after it.
And for those who kept asking, yes PawPaw was out disking ground today in his 4WD Tractor.

Not much time to post today, so its a Random Thought Day: Ham Radio Style.

Found a new blog while surfing Google for APRS info Educational Radio Net is a blog that has some pretty good information on it. Worth the time to visit and read.

I think there are some people who are finally getting the idea that ARES doesn’t issue while pith helmets, web belts and badges. Lots of emails and chart board discussion on what is really a “trained” and “qualified” volunteer and what it takes to be more than a doughnut gopher in a real emergency.

Maybe some clubs and ARES groups should consider Health and Welfare services than Rescue Rickey comms roles. Without ICS classes, they are kidding themselves. What is it about free online training that Hams cant do? Then again how many ARES agencies have ever talked to their “served agency”. Then again how many “served agencies” know they are being served?

What is up with the New Madrid Fault Zone EmComms Group? Beginning to wonder if it is dead. After a great start the reflectors down to spitting contest on digital modes. Who cares? You can talk all day long about what mode is best and it doesn’t matter if you never talk on the radio. There is no leadership or rudder to steer the group. There is no purpose it appears other than that the purpose is to show that we need a plan. Was it the chicken or the egg that came first? Well I can eat eggs every day or I can kill the chicken and eat once. Think about that.

(There is a great chicken joke there, but I wont touch it!)

And last but not least, I took my TinyTrak4 to the SILWA meeting and we had a good discussion on my experiences with it. And as I get more and more familiar with it, I am more and more pleased with it. Once again good job to Byonics for the technology.


Well I realized that I had failed to mention that the D3C came home with me the other day. We have been playing around with it in the drive way a little trying to learn how to run it and all the little things that go along with owing a dozer.

There appear to be a lot of little things………but as per usual………… you don’t learn much from reading the book, more from getting your hands dirty and figuring out what the book leaves out. But those lessons stick.

Despite the learning curve, like with the TindTrak 4, we are getting the hang of it. Now as soon as it dries up a bit, were going to turn some dirt. Lots of waterways and ditches that need to be fixed after the big rains of the last three years.

By now you all have heard of the “Fart Tax” and other left wing terrorist groups efforts to destroy animal agriculture in the U.S. If you haven’t then your head is buried in the sand, or mud around here.

Keith Good reports over at his FarmPolicy blog that we are about see another round of terrorist activities from these groups, this time in Ohio. Keith quotes mostly from a Cliff Galldin article from FeedStuffs magazine on the topic.

If you are interested in Ag at all then you should be really interested in this. Really. Because it is going to affect you one way or the other. If you eat your going to be affected by this. Yes.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am no way in favor of mistreating animals for production purposes. I am not in favor of mistreating anything for that matter. I am in no way in favor of pumping up animals with growth hormones or such to increase their production or increase their feed conversion efficiency.

But lets get real, as an example farmers know from research done in the university system that chickens lay eggs better when they have light, feed, water and air. We also know that they are healthier when not out “in the open”. And to meet the demand for eggs you have to have a lot of chickens in one place, you have to have a way to collect the eggs efficiently and manage the birds efficiently. Research has showed farmers how to do that humanely and safely.

The same can be said for pigs, cows, sheep, fish, shrimp or what ever animal you want to discuss as a food product. Even corn, soybeans, wheat, tomatoes, lettuce and other crops.

These terrorist are using the same old wore out tactics they have used before. But now they are winning because they are using the social media to get their point out. Fiction over facts, emotion over reality. And it is working. And good people are sitting by doing nothing, as usual.

For the record no farmer wakes up and looks out is window and says “What can I do today to destroy my farm?”. This is what these terrorist groups communicate to the world.

And just the opposite is true: “What can I do today to make my farm better?”.

Lori and I along with John and Karen went to see Garrison Keillor last night at Shryock Auditorium on the campus of my Alma mater Southern Illinois University.

GK got up on stage promptly at 7:30 and proceeded to do two hour monologue almost to the minute. It was very, very good. Not only was it funny, but also thought provoking, as he told a story, really a couple of different stories intertwined from Lake Wobegon.

If you don’t listen to A Prairie Home Companion on NPR then I suggest you and your kids tune in. It is on Saturday Nights here in the Central time zone from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. When we go camping especially we sit and eat on the picnic table while the radio plays GK and the gang.

I took a while for my kids to get it. I had to explain to them that you have to pay attention and think about what he is saying. Its not a visual that they are use to with all the computer screens they have now in everything. Once they got it, they enjoy it. Epically my son who listens intently. Now if we could get him to listen to me that way!

It is a language thing, as GK pointed out last night. Language and listening are art forms that our kids are missing out on with their new social media. Kids walk around with wires in their ears. Wires that play the same thing over and over. There are no stories in that they hear.

Stories is what it is all about. And stories is what we heard last night as we listened to language.

Very well done GK!

Well I don’t feel well at all today, between the weather changes and the head cold I have acquired again and the weather changes, wait I already mentioned that once. Maybe its the weather changes that is messing with me.


I had about 3 inches of rain last night. Just what I needed I guess. In the mean time I keep reading where field work is going to start “soon” in the corn belt, but I cant find anyone who can wade the water to do it. Half of the east part of the state here in the south is under a flash flood watch and a few counties to our north and west are also. Northern Illinois is wet as well. Good for them!

The markets are reacting to the strong dollar and weak crude oil prices and the news that we are all going to the field this week…………OK, two out of three truths in that one. Still the market move with such volatility that you don’t know when to get on of get off.

Fertilizer prices are now officially said to be “lower” all over the place. Yet I am still getting calls of high prices. And my “people” aren’t telling me much in the way of cheaper prices either.
One interesting thing is in the middle of everything else is the Fertilizer War going on between Agrium, CF Industries and Terra Industries in there three way attempt to take each other over. The link takes you to a blog that follows the daily ongoing saga between these three as they try to wiggle around and get the better of each other.

The wheat crop is looking good but the wet weather will have some effect in the short run I would think. Then again there isn’t that much wheat out there in places this year.

There are calls for farmers to start using more “sustainable” methods in light of the economic down turn in a way to save money. Really. Most of the sustainable Ag I have seen isn’t that sustainable.

And last but not of the least is the continuing saga of the new farm program and the battle over whom is giving out the best information. It seems like one university professor is tripping over the other trying to trump each other right now. And none of them are saying a thing. Then again, they are government employees………..

Ok so the DHS has all but sent me my terrorist name tag. So the Glen Beck produced video expresses my feelings today about the direction our government is headed.

To me this seems a little to close to reality, it gives me chills.

Well after some experimenting and trial and error, I got the TinyTrak 4 working good enough to suit me, for now.

I hooked it up to the Icom 2720 and after some mods found that it was working fine. My next experiment is to use the smart beaconing and see if it does a better job of following me as I make so many turns and such.

All in all, Well Done Byonics! I like it, it works and I can say that while I am not an APRS expert yet, I am well on my way to understanding the process.

Now, time for the Signalink sound card interface for PSK31, Olivia and the rest of the HF digital modes!!!!

Well I have operated two days with the TT4 and so far I can say that I am not unhappy with it. I cant say that I am happy either, but having said that understand that most of my problems is me, not the TT4. With little time to experiment I am doing the equivalent of hunt and peck with the settings.

I am having trouble understanding the setup instructions, mainly because I have very little knowledge of APRS “language” and verbiage. And the net is a wealth of information if you are techno savvy in the “language”. I am not. So I have to experiment, read, experiment read again, test and then start all over. Doing so in short one hour burst when I am not tied up with something else.

I will get it nailed down though. I have complete confidence that when I get the clutter out of my head and get down to it, it will all fall in place. Or I will continue to him my head against the wall at an odd hour or two a day and keep plugging along. “Do or do not, there is no try.” said Yoda. And to him I say 10-4.

You retain and learn more when you fail or mess up something. That has always been the way I have learned computers and GPS. I have complete confidence in the TT4. I have little confidence in my knowledge of it right now……but that will change.

Do, there is no do not.

Ok, I liked it so much I stole it from the Micheal Bane blog.

Are you white? (yea I know pretty politically incorrect of me)

Are you economically disadvantaged? (aren’t we all?)

Own a gun?

Go to church?

Vote for republican candidates?

Believe in the Constitution?

Believe in States Rights over the Feds?

Former military?

Hold conservative values?

Belong to the “wrong” club/lodge/PAC, drink beer at the wrong tavern or bar, have the wrong bumper sticker or window sticker on your pick up truck?

Believe our country is headed down the wrong path?

Then guess what? Obama and DHS consider you a terrorist.

Yep right up there with Che Guevara and Osama Bin Laden. Oh wait, they are our friends now, forgot about that sorry. Your worse than they ever were you terrorist!! Sham on you!

Of note is:

The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

I guess it is only fair: I DON’T trust my Government, so they don’t trust me.

Fair trade I would say.

I finally jumped into APRS, be it not head over heels, but I did jump in.

I purchased a Tiny Track 4 APRS TNC from Byonics last week to beginning experimenting with APRS. It was an eventuality with all the work I do with GPS but I just couldn’t seem to justify the purchase of a radio just to do APRS.

I have used APRS on long trips last winter by borrowing a Kenwood radio from W9FX. It worked great for out trips and was a real life saver in Orlando when we got lost. But I couldn’t see the need for a radio for GPS for just running around the country side.

I had been looking at the TT4 for some time and decided that not only was the price right for me but that the idea was right also. Use a radio I already had to do something that I don’t always need or have a use for so to speak. Save money and utilize resources better. What a novel concept.

There is a learning curve with the TT4. Or maybe its more of a learning curve for me to get all the lingo and programming concepts into my head. But either way I am slowing getting it into my head as I read and experiment with it. And I am about ready to go live with my first test.

I think APRS has a place in EmComms and CAP. EmComms will use it and use it effectively. CAP will, in typical fashion, screw up and make sure that APRS is not an option for its SAR efforts. Why? Because it makes sense.

I will keep you all updated on my progress with the TT4 over the next few weeks. I had better get it working, as I am going to give a short presentation on it at the next SILWA meeting!

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