Monthly Archives: May 2009

Well I got reminded again about the Wilderness Protocol for Ham Radio. Not that I needed reminding, but I saw this post over at QRZ.COM and it reminded me about it.

The Wilderness Protocol is where a Ham Radio operator would monitor the simplex calling frequencies for emergency traffic on the top of each hour. When ever I am in my vehicle mobile or in my shack I have my radio or scanner on scan and have the frequencies that the radio will cover programmed in.
I do the same thing with my CAP and even my work radios. I monitor when I am near them.
There are a couple of problems though. Some Hams don’t monitor the calling frequencies for what ever reason. Others simply don’t exercise common courtesy when they make a contact and QSY to another frequency to rag chew. There are Hams in this area that meet up on 146.520 and then sit there for hours. You cant get a word in edge wise if you had to.

When ever an emergency strikes, I turn on my rig and tune to the calling frequencies as well as the repeater frequencies. In both the Ice Storm and the Inland Hurricane there was traffic on 146.520. Repeaters were down etc and people were calling. You never know when someone might not have the tones programmed in or not know the repeater frequencies if they are not from the area and are in need of assistance.

Program those frequencies into your radio or scanner and listen when you can. You might save someone’s life.

Something to think about…………….

Here is a radar picture of the May 8 storm that hit the region so hard. It is easy to understand why it got named “inland hurricane”. The circular motion of the storm had people fooled to some extent because the “eye” was calm and you thought you were out of it when it hit you from the other direction.

Every person in S. Illinois should keep this as a reminder of why it is important to be prepared. Every Emergency Manager should also keep this posted to remind them to keep vigilant that emergencies do happen.

At the same time, the damage that was done as a result of this storm would be nothing compared to the damage that could be done by the New Madrid Fault if it goes off like it is predicted to do some day.

And most agencies have the area hit hardest by this storm as their forward base in the event of a shake by the New Madrid. Maybe they should think about that.

This was a test. And we passed, but we sure found our weak links.

Side Note: Best Radio Traffic of the Storm.
EM Base from EM1
EM1 this is EM Base, Over
EM Base get our auxiliary fuel cans out and have them ready for deployment to fuel up the generators.
EM1 we loaned our auxiliary fuel supply to Alexander County during the ice storm, remember?
Long pause of silence………..
EM Base from EM 1, maybe we should call them and see about getting them back.

Well got my parts in…………….and it was time to do some work to bring this thing to a close and begin to get ready to test it out.

But after W9FX gave us a class on emergency power with generators and battery backups and inverters, I decided I needed to protect my investment a little better. So this began the hunt to make sure that every thing had a fuse, or two along the way. This is something I have not been very good at up until now.

So I remembered a web page I had visited a long time ago that had a lot of good info on Anderson Powerpoles and I looked it up again. There is was at the home page of KB1DIG and KB1GTR and I found the projects I was looking for to being my quest to be better prepared to go it “off the grid”.

In particular was a project where they had used a battery and a fuse block to provide emergency power. I wanted to do something similar for the Cutting Board Portable, so I went in search of parts. And I found my parts I was looking for at and placed and order and waited. When the parts cam in, I spent my rain delayed weekend at the bench.

I started off with a four place fuse block from WiringProducts as shown above.

I had already made a couple of similar type applications using a cigarette plug and two fuse holders I picked up at Rural King. I used some of the tricks I saw on DIG’s website to make them up. I cant tell you how much I love the Powepoles. I have put them on everything in the shack and now am using them on the farm.

The beginning of the project. I had to shop around three different stores to find the 10-12 gauge female disconnects. Everyone was sold out. Must be a run on them for some reason around here.

The beginning of the project was to set up the output side of the fuse block. I had to make sure that I followed the ARES “standard” for how the Powerpoles hooked up and at the same time how they came off the fuse block.

Then used a bit of shrink wrap to keep things from going sparky and attached the plastic connector holders.

The completed output side of the fuse block.
Side view of the ground and positive input to the fuse block. I used the same 10-12 gauge female disconnect procedure on the input side.
The completed assembly. It is now ready to be mounted to the cutting board. My 857D, Tuner and meter will now plug into this, and will be fuse protected, again in some cases, from the power sourse.
Up next is connecting this to the battery project or the generator. Stay tuned for more info……

to beat the rain.

More when I have time.

The cutting board portable project is on hold as I wait for parts………..and as farming starts to kick in. But I did get the ground strap on and the Anderson Power Poles!!

Back to the old Johnny Carson Show………..

Its so wet, HOW WET IS IT?

It is so wet in some places still that farmers are now trying to fly on soybeans in wheat fields.

Based on a few years experience with this on a few clients in the late 90’s, I don’t recommend it.

Esp with the drier forecast from the weather guessers this next week.

I fear this guy is about a week to late to do this.

FWIW file.

To protect the identity and location of these fields, they will be referred to like the guy who always wears a mask in a pro-rassling match, “from parts unknown”.

Scouted a corn field or two today. These fields looked dry but under the crust it was just pure mud. Three pictures today to show some things of interest, maybe.

Picture one is showing some of the compaction caused by the tillage tractor. You can see the dual tire marks all the way across the field. There are also weeds growing in these tracks as well. It must have been heavy when this field was planted. The stand was pretty good but was inconsistent because of the compaction.

Picture two is another field, this one had large skips in it, and when you dug, you could find the rotted seed. This field must have had a lot of water over it. the ground was sealed tight.

And the last picture is one where I am trying to show how uneven the emergence was with this first round planted corn. Lots of plants at lots of different stages of growth.

All in all the corn that is up looks OK, if there is enough corn to call it a stand. It needs N and Oxygen. It needs sun and it needs the roots to get a break from the water.

Having said all of that, there is a lot of corn that needs to be replanted. And that corn is standing in very wet fields. I don’t know if it will go in those places by end of the week or not. Then there is rain in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday.

From the field…………

Ok, weather forecast is for 6 days of sun and no rain. Farmers are already getting jumpy. It reminds me of a bunch of horses about to be loaded into the staring gate for a horse race. Nervous as they can be and jumpy.

A few tips.

1. If you did plant three weeks ago and you are going to have to replant, then call your crop insurance agent first. Before you go to the field call him or her and save yourself a bunch of heartache.

2. Replant plans are best made while sitting in the tractor seat. You can scout and look all you want but when you get up above the crop is when you decide if its spot in or replant.

3. Be calm and don’t hurry. Now is when those little mistakes like going a day to soon when it is still really to wet will get you.

4. Don’t switch. Calls come in every time we have a spell like this: “Should I switch to a short season corn?” Only if you want to switch to a short season yield.

5. Don’t worry about tomorrow, keep an eye on day 5. Look at the longer term forecast. No reason to rush if it is going to get wet again.

6. Give up preplanting your N. Sidedress. Save time, save N.

7. Remember your not the only one farming. Be nice to all your suppliers who are servicing grumpy guys just like you. And everyone wants it yesterday.

8. Keep track of what you do. Now is not the time to split the planter with a herbicide resistant and non resistant number and then forget and spray the whole field.

9. No one can read your mind. No one. Speak coherently.

10. Remember this: Its not what day you plant, its what happens after that determines yield.

Now, deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Repeat.

I love this video, it makes you think. He reminds me of my Stats Professor in Grad School.


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Well here is Part 2 of my “Go Kit” radio project, or Operation: Cutting Board Portable. (Came up with that name today, and like the last song you hear on the radio, it stuck in my head!).

Anyway……….When we were last at the work bench, we had finished attaching the radio mounting bracket. Next we mounted the radio and then position the Z11-Pro and marked it.

Then I had to make a decision: Did I want to screw the tuner to the board, in which case if I were to want to use it else where I would have to take it apart to get if off the cutting board, or did I want to mount it in a way that it could be moved if necessary? Answer: Velcro. Yep, had a ton of this stuff left over from mounting my patches and insignia on my flight suit for CAP. So we started on the bottom of the tuner with the fuzzy side of the Velcro.

Using the mounting lines I had drawn in with a pencil, I affixed the “fingers” of the Velcro to the cutting board. But before I did that, I did a test with a scrap piece of Velcro to make sure it would stick to the cutting board. It did!!

Not to dull up your reading, I did the same procedure with the Signalink on top of the 857D.
All this leaves is the grounding, putting Anderson Powerpoles on all the power leads, and mounting up the LDG 857D Meter. Then it will be time to test this out.
Look for more exciting reports in Part 3, Operation: Cutting Board Portable!!!!


I have started on many occasions to build one of these ARES type go boxes for my radio in the event that I would ever get called out for EmComms. Two or three times I have build something that I really didn’t like because it took up so much room and really didn’t suit my thoughts of what would be needed.

So I had an idea for a new “go” kit. This one starts off with a 12 x 18 lexan cutting board and progresses from there. I finally got all the parts that my mind thought I needed to make this work. So here are the results of last nights “step 1”, mounting the radio bracket.
When I get done, I will have the Yeasu 857D, LDG Z-11Pro, LDG 857 Meter, Tigertronics Signalink and a clock with temperature mounted on it. Or something like that.
Phase I Anyway here are some shots that are most likely not QST worthy! I marked and drilled the cutting board for the bolts, counter sunk the back for the heads and then mounted the bracket. I marked the bolts once mounted, disassembled and cut the bolts so they would not stick out past the nuts when mounted (that shot not shown).
Phase II tonight……..Mounting the LDG Z-11 and the grounding strip.

Hey, I didn’t notice but last nights post was my 100th. That’s 100 times I was able to come up with something to put up here. Some were better than others, but at least they stuck to the wall when thrown at it!

On the old Johnny Carson Show, Johnny would start off a joke by saying something along the lines of “it was so wet today”… and the audience would respond in unison “How wet is it?” Then he would finish with a bad joke.

Last night we had high winds again, hail and if my electronic gauge was correct, 1.56 inches of rain. You know it rained a lot by the looks of my yard when I left he house at 7 am.

Then this is how it looked at 5 pm.

It only takes about two tenths to make water stand because the soil is so saturated.

There is a promise of drier weather ahead from the weather man. We shall see. For now I am tired of the weather box going off at all hours of the night and day with storm warnings. We will want the rain one of these days, so best not to complain (to much) right now.

Current Farm Weather


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