I seems that we are bombarded with experts at every turn anymore.  If there is no one to serve as an expert, someone seems to always self appoint themselves.  In some cases there are gatherings of experts walking all over each other trying to get to the top of the expert pile.  Most of these folks while possibly well meaning or even good hearted generally have no clue what the heck they are talking about or they come across so absorbed in their own self promotion that they are not tolerable.

Case in point #1:  I got a notice that a person to whom I have a very casual knowledge of had passed away.  Upon following a link to read what happened I found a gaggle of experts on a discussion board that not only knew what happened to him and how it happened, but his life story in many details.  The kicker is that the 4 or 5 pages of comments were dominated by three or four people who were telling all the other people they were wrong.  The funniest post was were one person commented on the deceased’s connection with Illinois, to whom the lead expert on this fellow admitted he didn’t know he had any ties to Illinois then wanted proof that the commentator knew what he was talking about.  Funny to me but I can just imagine how sad it might have been for any of the family members who might have happened upon this mess.  I do know the “one”  head expert mentioned above in this discussion, he is an expert on everything he talks about, just ask him.  He is one of the skid-marks in the underwear of life that we, regrettably, cant dispatch in a burlap bag with a concrete block  tied to it over a bridge into the river.

Case in point #2:  While I was trying to find some ballistic information online I came across a discussion on how the .17HMR was not suitable as a coyote round and would not kill anything bigger than a prairie dog.  Having dispatched coyotes, at range, with my .17HMR I thought that I must hurry out into the fields and tell these coyotes go get up and run along, despite the smell and decay, as they must be mistaken that I had killed them.  The expert was using all kinds of “math” and “physics” to show that the .17 lacked the punch and power to take a dog down beyond 50 yards etc so forth at nausea.  Despite testimonials and the comments of a real hunting expert (a person acknowledged as knowing what he was talking about), this fellow held to his guns that you needed a big gun to kill coyotes at range.  Maybe coyotes in Ohio wear bullet proof vest or their fur is like Kevlar due to difference in their winters or something.  Despite this expert, I still dispatch ole wile coyote with a .17HMR at every opportunity.

Case in point #3.  I have been bombarded with propaganda to attend a farmer/consultant field day on growing corn and soybeans like a “high yield expert”.  I do attend field days, when there is something to learn or there is a topic of interest.  Its just part of the learning and educational process that farmers must go through if they are going to compete and stay profitable.  That being said this particular field day is a big JOKE.  Its put on by a couple of self promoted and self proclaimed experts whom I wouldn’t let on my farm.  One half of this Abbot and Costello team I have know and been some what acquainted with for over 10 years through a friend.  They are only about the sale and what they are selling today is better than what they sold yesterday.  Did I say this was a joke already?  What do they know?  NOTHING.  Most of what they are going to present is either stolen from universities, picked from other companies with similar products or services and other field days or is not proven with independent non biased research and is only being used to end up selling a couple of products that they get kick back for.  Yet, with no industry certifications or qualifications, they have set themselves up as experts, and got the backing of people who should know better,  on growing high yield crops and are fleecing attendees for big money when its all said and done.

Case in point #4.  The University of Illinois Extension.  A complete Chinese fire drill of experts who have never “been there or done that” trying to tell the world how much they know about the real world.  Nuff said there.

Yes, I have had my fill of experts this year already.  That is why I wont be going to any more field days, conferences or meetings other than a very select few for the remainder of the year.  That is also why I have assigned junk and spam status to a lot of emails from experts and why I have erased several talk and discussion boards from my internet favorates.

The result of riding myself of so many experts is that my blood pressure is much lower lately.

Trust me, I know what I am talking about…………..


The VA disaster drill I participated in with the ITECS group gave cause to think about several things ARES/RACES/CAP Comms related.  Overall we didn’t do much and there wasn’t much comms during the drill.  That’s not a problem in my book because time for observation means time to learn. 

Two observations that I made during the exercise were driven home pretty clearly and need to be explained to those who believe and don’t believe in the need for radio comms.

Two more observations gained from the exercise, but not realized until after the exercise, also drove home some pretty important points that need to be addressed. 

Then these four observations made for a reality check with regard to the Illinois ARES SET exercise, the new Illinois RACES program and to CAP communications in general.  So in this first part of most likely a three part blog I will address the first two simple observations from the exercise. 

Lesson Learned #1:  When confusion sets in, the fecal matter hits the forced air impeller and the “usual” methods of communications break down, the “guy with a radio” is the automatic go to man (or woman).  While not a “gee wiz” moment by any means it was a point driven home very clearly when in the middle of the exercise, when all was going wrong (as it appeared to me just watching) the ER nurse came running up the ITECS trailer and said she “needed us to call an ambulance”.  When we told here we were there just for support of the training and not really there she said “well, you have the radios, your communications!”.  I think we broke her heart when we told her that she needed to go about calling an ambulance via the “scenario game plan”. 

If there are no phones and no Internet and no radios that work and you hold a radio and look like you know what you’re doing, you just became the go to guy in an emergency.  The question is if this new found faith in you valid?  Can you use your radio, do you know who to contact, when to contact them and how to contact them?  Do you possess the tools and most importantly the training to be the go to guy when that badge is pinned to your shirt, like it or not and ready or not? 

What happens when you’re the only one who has a working radio?  Hams who had working radios became the go to guys during the IceQuake in Kentucky not to long ago.  Operating from their homes or vehicles these Hams became the ones who kept things together when all systems failed.

Take Home Message:  Train and prepare now………before your designated as the go to guy.

Lesson #2 All the comm assets in the world are pretty useless if no one knows how to use them.  Better yet all the comm assets in the world are useless if no one know how to use them effectively.  I said we were there to support the exercise with comms.  We passed out radios, no one used them.  We set up antennas; no RF went out of them.  People didn’t know who had a radio and who didn’t.  When you have an asset that no one is using or know how to use then your asset it pretty much in the way. 

I am in no way putting down the ITECS team, trailer or equipment.  Quite the contrary, I am saying that when you have these kinds of tools and trained people and they are not utilized then you are missing the  boat.  Yes, ITECS was there for support but even the radios passed out for support were not used. 

Communications has to be part of the plan.  As part of the plan, people have to know how to use that asset.  They have to know who has that asset and how that asset is to be used.  You can’t assume that everyone will know who has what and where and how when its time to do it for real.  That’s more than push this button to talk.  No they don’t need to know the rocket science behind radio theory, just who has them, who knows how to use them and what they are to be used for. 

Take Home Message:  Plan the work and work the plan.  Designate people to know the asset, use the asset and exploit the asset in a time of emergency. 

As I will explain in Part 2, Lesson 1 and 2 have a great bearing on what happens with Lesson 3 and 4.  And all 4 lessons have an impact on what happens when you suit up and play for real……….TRAIN LIKE YOU PLAY.

Train like you play and plan for problems so when they happen they just become part of the plan!

Nothing specific today but lots of odds and ends: 

Recreational Spraying has begun!  It’s that time of year for farmers to begin spraying fungicide and insecticide on corn.  I call it recreational spraying because in a lot of instances, if one knows their hybrids and scouts, there is most likely little need of an application.  And at about $35 with the plane, that’s about 10 bu or corn you have to “add” to make it pay.  Plus an insecticide that gets a “free” ride that may or may not be needed.  I am not against fungicide on corn.  There are times and hybrids where it pays and pays big.  And it also adds plant health for some hybrids that a farmer might not get to harvest in a timely manner.  But for the most part, its not needed with a lot of our hybrids.  And this explains why I am not on the Christmas card list of the aerial applications in the area.

Canola Yields:  Got the last ticket back from Ty Jones who trucked our canola to Golden Gate and of the 130 acres 100 of it averaged 48.X, close enough to call it 49 bushel and acre with the worse 30 acres averaging 20.  Take away the 1o acres of drowned out spots and it made 30, but you can’t do that………   I am very happy with the yields knowing that we had one 26 acres make near 60 and another 40 acres make over 50.  So the potential is there for some outstanding yields, and profit vs. wheat here in Southern Illinois. 

Soybeans:  The bean crop over the country side looks mediocre at best.  Some beans are waist tall with a dark green color but there are a lot of short beans that are puke yellow and a soil probe reveals that they are root restricted.  The recent rains help color some up again but that is fading pretty fast today in the low humidity.

Double Crops in Canola fields:  I have to say that I absolutely love planting double crop beans in Canola stubble.  Sure beats wheat straw any day of the week.  And the ground plants so much better and mellower.  Another strike against wheat and a mark in favor of canola in the future. 

 Civil Air Patrol Encampment:  Is 8 days from starting and 17 away from being over.  I am looking forward to this one being over.  This is my last year as Commander and I am ready for it to end.  Just to much junk going on to make it worth the while for me personally any more.  Attendance is down 50%, with the economy the main reason, but also a lack of support in the local units where commanders are over burdened with a lot of junk for higher headquarters. 

 Civil Air Patrol:  The stupidity of the leadership at NHQ is unbelievable at times.  Due to their agreement with their “only licensed supplier or licensed merchandise” (I refuse to mention or promote in any way that company) I cant get any gifts for the staff of the encampment with anything that refers to CAP on it.  And that company sells crap for “gift” items and those products are about twice as the same thing from other companies.  I have started my own one man protest not to support CAP in any fashion with my money other than my membership dues.  Nuff said.

 And last for today……..

 I am SOOOO ready to go to an Appleseed Shoot that I can’t stand it.  Just got to get the Encampment out of the way and then I can concentrate on something important for me and Matthew to do.  Maybe even Morgan and Mom…..?

Spent the weekend at Pere Marquette State Park north of Grafton, IL with the Civil Air Patrol on a field training exercise. I was running the radios, so I was for the most part high and dry all weekend. However it did rain, and rain and rain and rain and blow with the storms that went thought on Saturday afternoon.

First lesson, is to make sure you get your tent staked down!

Second thing is make sure you get your stakes in the ground good!


I hate to guess how much rain we had there. But here at the farm it look like a total for the weekend of 1.5 inches. Not bad, no water standing and it doesn’t look like it rained hard this morning.

Now to dry out all the equipment……….

It’s going to be one of those weeks it seems where the list of things that need to be done is going to far exceed the things that get done. 

It’s getting cold again and snow is in the forecast.  So, outside work is now down to nothing, again.  Not that it got a good start, because of the mud.

The two biggest things besides finishing up some soil sample reports, are getting ready for the crop insurance meeting on Wednesday where I am going to present some record keeping information, and getting the new record keeping program up and running  here on my computer. 

Winterfest is this Saturday in Collinsville.  I would like to go, but unless I go with someone else, I don’t see making the trip by myself for no more than what I would be looking for.

Plus, on Saturday, Group 1, Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol, is having their Dining In.  I guess I will go and make an appearance, shake a few hands, and watch the festivities. 

Side note:  Isn’t it funny that you buy the latest release of a program, install it, and then the first thing it wants to do is look for updates?  It takes twice as long to get a program installed as it used to. The last couple of programs I have installed took longer to update than it did to install the the initial program. 

Did I mention that it is getting cold again…………

The new Illinois Wing Summer Encampment Website is up and running. Check it out at .

Still being updated, wanted it up and running by 15 Jan. So I am ahead of schedule, but it is still not finished…………

But drop by and give it a look.


Here is a short video I did on the Glow Green glow stick that I got a HomeDepot. It is pretty good for the money, replaces the chemical glow sticks that “give up” after a few hours of use or not being used for that matter. Plus it has a flashlight.

Great for ARES go bags, Bug out Bags, 24 hr packs etc.

Found out today via CAPTALK that I am not a real Ham Radio Operator according to “Major Lord”. What a bunch of useless piles of human flesh over there………………….

I have to delete that bookmark forever from my favorites list.

While going through a box of stuff I was cleaning out I came across this unit patch from the now deactivated Chanute Composite Squadron, Illinois Wing Civil Air Patrol that was based out of Rantoul, Illinois.

John Wenzel give me the patch either last year or the year before at the Summer Encampment. He was passing them out to some of us “old timers” who remembered when CAP was at its glory days and we went to Chanute AFB for training, encampments and tours.

It seems like CAP squadrons in the east central and southern part of the state are dying off pretty fast any more. They are sure few and far between.

Civil Air Patrol Communications will be changed forever on 31 December. That is when all the wide band radios will go silent. No more will they be allowed to use the airwaves. Instead CAP will follow along the road of a lot of other agencies and go Narrow Band for their radios.

What does this mean? Well it means several things in my mind. First is the end for the most part of member owned radios. Most all members who own a radio of their own right now are not going to fork out the dough for one of those narrow band radios. First off they are sky high in price for the quality, the quality part being my opinion. Second only Communications Officers are going to be allowed to know the actual frequencies sense CAP has deemed their frequencies FOUO and will use channel designators. And lastly I think that most members are about tired of the BS that NHQ has shoveled out on this and will say to heck with CAP Communications.

So radios will be handled by Wings who will issue them out in accordance to a TOA (Table of Authorization). What that means is that you can be a radio operator, a mission qualified radio operator and not have a radio if you don’t fall in the right slot in accordance to the chart. This will run off the remaining communicators who are not “charted” and kill, again in my opinion, our readiness to serve in an emergency.

What will the end result of all of this be? I mean when the dust settles out after the big switch, what will we have left in CAP for Communications? A big goat screw! It is going to be a mess. Communications will resort back to cell phones and the Internet because people will not know which designator is which and what channel to use for what zone or what area or what ever.

I sit and watch with guarded optimism that CAP can pull this off. Guarded in the sense that I know that even if it does work we have developed a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and found the problem to justify the solution that was created.

OK, maybe I am a realist after all………….

The NEC of the CAP has phased out the “TPU” or the “corporate uniform”, a kind of cross of the blue uniform with the white aviator shirt. Anyway it allowed those who wanted to look Air Force who did not meet the requirements to look “professional”. Or like an airline pilot or mall cop or something.

For the record, I didn’t own a TPU or want one. For the record, I don’t even own a set of AF Blues anymore. I either use the polo or the white aviator shirt and call it quits.
Why not wear the AF Blues? Cause 1) I am not in the Air Force, so I don’t think it is appropriate to wear their uniform, even if authorized. 2) I don’t think the Air Force wants us to look like them anyway base on how they keep changing how we can wear the blues. 3) Except for once a year, I have no reason to wear them…………
If and I say if CAP is an official branch of the Air Force, then we should only have the uniform conbinaitons of the Air Force and if you cant meet the standard for wear then you dont wear them. No alternate uniforms.
If and I mean this is what I really think, that CAP is now the read headed stepchild of the Air Force then we should dump the AF uniforms all together, go to one utility uniform, one dress uniform and one flying uniform and call it quits. And something distinctive at that, like OD or Khaki or what ever but not related to the Air Force.
Anyway you look at it, CAP is at a crossroads with their uniforms and policies toward uniforms.
And true to CAP form, they will screw this up as well………….
My .02 worth.

Anytime you do a practice exercise of any kind you should take notes so that you can compare the outcome of what happened to what you expected to happen and learn from it. To many time we don’t learn from our exercises, no matter whom the exercising agency is (CAP, ARES, Ball team etc..) because we are just glad to get the exercise over or we make a note of what went wrong and say “we don’t need to do that on game day” and go home.

My mantra has been on this blog “practice like you play”. So I am happy to report that at least the last couple of ARES type Ham Radio exercises I have been on that the participants are at least trying to train like they would play. The result for me has been some real lessons learned.

I wish I could say the same for CAP, but I cant, they continue to fantasize about their capability and their role in the world and train in ways that are not even close to what will happen on game day. But I digress……….

The SET (Simulated Emergency Test) Exercise that ARES runs each year is to simulate passing emergency radio traffic. Some years the test has been pretty, well, bland and the players less than energetic. This year things were different. Our SEC had the scenario laid out that there had been a major earthquake on the New Madrid and had each county ARES work with its served agency to pass traffic.

And it worked. It worked pretty good from what I could see. VHF and HF traffic were passed across the state with great success. And people learned quite a bit about what worked and what didn’t. I ended up with 8 “lessons learned” on my part for me and my ARES group.

The biggest thing I learned personally was that no matter how prepared I seem to be with my “go kit” that I always seem to leave out my radio instruction manual. No that might not seem like a big deal but it is when you need to put in a tone or change an input or what ever that you don’t do every day. So you sit by the sidelines fumbling away with your rig while the world marches on by and you don’t get your job done.

My words of wisdom and what I need to focus on is that I need to make sure that I keep a radio manual in each one of my go kits. So the world doesn’t pass me by while I sit fumbling with my rig.


Just for fun this morning………….

These numbers are pretty close, still figuring up the final totals on some of them.

203 total attendance

153 cadets

50 seniors

150 O Flights

5000 meals served

One whole box of paper to run off the Incident Action Plan every day for the week.

151 cadets with encampment credit.

Not bad…………….

Encampment Preview.

Not crazy about the song but it isnt that bad either………………..

I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, at least not the major main stream ones. I don’t care about BHO’s birth certificate or who “really” dropped the WTC on 9/11.

I do believe what Dennis Miller said about conspiracy theories: “The greatest conspiracy theory in the world is that there are on conspiracy theory. No one cares about you. Now do you feel better?” Or something like that. Man I miss him on his TV show on HBO.

Any way while not a conspiracy theory, I believe someone is in cahoots with each other as in someone is getting their pockets lined……….

Civil Air Patrol’s legal idiot has been sending out C and D letter to vendors who are selling CAP merchandise. Seems that they have given Vanguard the total lock stock and barrel on this one. I don’t know this as fact, but have been seeing lots of CAP stuff disappear from vendors I frequent.

Plus when I went to order challenge coins for encampment, I was told by our vendor that they had got the C&D from CAP and that they couldn’t sell any CAP items.

My experience with Vanguard is that they could screw up a one car funeral. Plus the merchandise is way overpriced and lacking in quality sometimes.

So who at NHQ is getting the big kick back? Someone has to be.

How can a public organization keep someone from making items related to CAP? I am not a lawyer, thank goodness, but they sure have found a way to make a lot of people unhappy.
CAP once again blows its foot off. Foot shooting by NHQ is getting to be a spectator sport.

How many lawyers does it take to grease a combine? Three. But you have to feed them in real slow……………………….

Same can be said for our members at NHQ.

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