The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team is supporting slow-scan TV transmissions from the International Space Station over the holidays. The images will be related to lunar exploration. Transmissions are available worldwide on 145.800MHz FM, using SSTV mode PD120, and started on 26 December 2021and will end on the 31st at about 1705UTC. The signal should be receivable on a handheld transceiver with a quarter-wave whip antenna. I was able to pick up the signals with my 2m ham radio and using my Android smartphone with the "Robot36" app from the Google Play store Apple Store has an SSTV app here During the pass the first few moments were not captured due to noise. Due in part to the terrain at my location (big oak tree to the southwest blocked the signal and there is rain in the area) but overall the image did look pretty good for what I was using. It's possible to use a handheld radio or even an SDR so long as you have a good path to the ISS with little obstructions. For more information, go to ariss-sstv.blogspot.com. Source of information via Radio Society of Great Britain Website used to track ISS: N2YO.com
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Sunday, August 15, 2021
This is Crystal, and she has been our cat for 15 years. She came to us from the neighbors who were making her an outdoor cat, and she kept "invading" our home.
We adopted her and kept her indoors and she would still love to go in and out at her leisure and cruise the neighborhood. Some crazy cat lady apparently would feed her when she wandered down to her house and we didn't know this and couldn't figure out why she'd come home to eat then throw it up! Only when we were leaving to go on errands and saw her at the cat lady's house did crazy cat lady confess she thought she was a stray (even with a COLLAR???) and was feeding her...
She was loud, noisy, annoying, always hungry (only to throw it up!) and independent. She had a damned attitude about everything and everyone. She would also find time to be affectionate and loving and allowing you her undivided attention. Usually when she was hungry...
I found this damned cat annoying. I kept remarking how I was gonna kill this damned cat if she wouldn't get out of my way, shut up, etc....
Saturday at 5:45 PM, we said goodbye. I've been taking it harder than I ever thought I would. I've attended family funerals and not lost my composure as much as I have with my animals when I've had to make "that decision". 2 dogs and now her. I'm not a cat person. Didn't think it'd hit me as bad as it has.
She had lung cancer and was having trouble breathing. I thought we'd have a week or so but only had 72 hours to spend.
As usual, she didn't want much anything to do with me, probably from having to take her to the vet. But in those last moments, she put her paw on me as if to say it was okay.
We're all hurting, but life will go on. Both kids have their own cats. But they had Crystal first, and they were reminded (like we all were) not to take our pets for granted.
Give your fur babies an extra treat and a hug. You never know when it will be the last time you get that opportunity.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
We're both still sore from the journey but feel very accomplished and it was a beautiful day and could not have asked for a better time (other than the sore feet/back/knees...)
Sunday, October 25, 2020
For our recent anniversary, my wife and I travelled to Myrtle Beach, SC. I decided to attach the dashcam and record the journey! The video (below) is sped up about 32x normal speed, but still took just under 12 minutes for the full video journey to play!
The way the dashcam worked, it records in 5 minute segments. So imagine trying to edit 7-8 hours of videos in 5 minute chunks! Fortunately, Windows Movie Maker allowed for me to upload multiple videos and connect them together seamlessly. It still took about 12 hours of uploading, waiting, adjusting time to speed it up, and then save it on a laptop disk drive begging for more space as it was!
Enjoy the video. It's published to Youtube. I also put it on DailyMotion if Youtube decides it's violating someone's copyright or hurting someone's feelings.
If you must, you can mute the Yakety Sax for the music.
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Is it safe to come out now?
Where to start:
- I got a new position at my job, so I'm no longer on the Service Desk, and while I'm sad I've left a good many friends behind with my new job, I moved my desk one aisle over...for all of two weeks before COVID-19 shut...it...down! I've been working from home, which I'm fortunately able to do, but I miss the camaraderie and the ability to nag my coworkers for questions on the fly. Zoom has been an amazing videoconferencing tool but Zoom Fatigue is real and I can attest to it. While working from home saves on the gas expenses, it also can be costly when you don't use your car for so long the battery dies and needs replacing.
- The plumbing plague from a year ago has not reared its ugly head further. We're still feeling the effects of it, however, in our quest to pay off the costs...
- Comet NEOWISE made a visit through here in the Summer and I was fortunate enough to get a photo of it that got featured on Channel 10 here in Knoxville. I took the picture on Jes' birthday and it was one of probably 1000 pics I literally took that morning and the best one I got from the trip. A slight trip through Photoshop Express made it really turn out amazing:
Comet NEOWISEIt turned out so well I had it blown up into an 18x24 and got it framed in a barnwood/distressed wood frame. I just felt it was the best type frame for the photo:
- I've traveled to Myrtle Beach twice, once after Christmas and again last month for my 22nd wedding anniversary. We were blessed with great weather and great accommodations both times. Just Jes and I were on these trips. We spent the majority of our time beachcombing for sharks teeth and seashells.
- I've developed tendonitis in my shoulder. Currently undergoing physical therapy twice a week in order to prevent Frozen Shoulder from happening. I'm still not sure how it happened, but at first I thought it was a slight soreness that got worse while on our Myrtle Beach trip. As soon as I came back I went to the doctor who determined it was tendonitis. Hopefully it will heal sooner rather than the 1 year they gave me!
- Both of my daughters are starting college at UT Knoxville. Lauren finally took the plunge and enrolled and Amber graduated L&N STEM and went right in to UT, both have been taking mostly online courses and are hoping to get more on-campus classes once COVID-19 ends. So far they are doing well, and adjusting to college better than expected.
- I have probably made more treks up to Clingman's Dome this year than in previous years. While the Comet and COVID were a part of a few trips up, I've also gone up to watch SpaceX launch a Starlink batch from the Dome one morning! The pictures didn't turn out well, but hopefully I will have plenty of opportunities to see many more as they continue to send up Starlink satellites. I've been to the parking area probably over a dozen times this year, but not to the Dome itself except once. The reason was most of my journeys were at night. Other times were to catch a sunrise. It could make for some exhausting days, but capturing moments like this were worth it:
A sunrise from the Dome Nothing better!
- In case you've not noticed, I've ramped up my interest in photography. I've snapped a lot of pics during the pandemic, but most have been less than stellar. I'm still a rank amateur. I've been asked for my Instagram from some others I've run into when snapping the Comet, but I haven't posted a lot of my pics (yet!). Here's a few of my favorites:
- And finally...on top of a Pandemic that's cancelled sports, forced many companies like mine to work from home more, created a fashion statement with masks, and has altered the way we look at the world and how we go about our daily lives, there's also going to be a Presidential election in less than two weeks.No matter who you prefer to be in the Oval Office, go out and vote! Both of my daughters will be participating in their first election this year. Vote early, vote often!
Until next time, whenever that is...
Sunday, October 6, 2019
Besides K4HSM.com, this blog page also comes up when you enter KHAOS.net. Believe me, it's very appropriate for what's been going on! Where to begin...
BE WARNED: This is a long read. Grab a beer, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
- Tear up the yard with a backhoe and run a new line to the main or,
- Have a ditch witch drill underground using a guided drill to bore a new line
|The easier option?|
However the more we thought about it, the more that a soaked carpet over the weekend introduces mold and other problems, so we call ServPro and they opt to come Friday morning. We contact our insurance company and give them a heads up.
|Kinda giving us the middle finger, no?|
Rest in Peace, Uncle Jack.
|Attempting shot #2|
|Shot #3 succeeds...barely|
Ironically enough, a week before the main break, we returned the overstock flooring back to Lowe's to get refunded!
All morning long the jackhammering was insane! I decided to record it, and give a breakdown of events:
|Uncovering the sewer line. |
The break is underneath.
When they finally broke through, the break was below and towards the bottom. They pulled out the pipe and worked on replacing it. They also had to dig down on the outside of the house in order to replace the pipe and inspect the masonry for damage. The break was right at the brick masonry boundary apparently.
|Removal of the offending piece...|
Yeah...I'd see him again...
|The second leak|
Not what I wanted to wake up to, but what else is going to surprise me anymore...
I rush back to the house (we're still at the hotel, remember?), and call the plumber....AGAIN! Same guy. He says he thought I didn't want to see him again and we laugh about it. This would be the last time we'd be jovial towards one another...
The plumber inspects the line once again, going through the sewer cleanout and finds what appears to be a hairline crack, right at a joint, halfway down the line from the house to the city line.
Even better, they call it a "pre-existing condition" and will charge us for this one. I'm having trouble believing that a leak on the far LEFT (looking at the house from the street) is causing a leak into the street from the MIDDLE of the yard. But he insists that the boring job did not interfere with this break.
I'm skeptical that this is the break causing the leak, but he's insistent that it was pre-existing, and that the leak is just now coming to the surface and is coincidental.
Jes is furious, I'm beside myself, and the plumber is not exactly thrilled with telling me this. The funny thing was, the previous visit (Tuesday) he ran the camera down to that exact spot and I pointed it out and he seemed to brush it off as just a joint connection slightly off center...and NOW it's a problem!
And of course they can't work on it until MONDAY because it's "not an emergency". Plus the logistics of getting a bobcat ready would take most of the morning. Fine, whatever, just get...it...fixed! He marks an "X" on the grass where the locator had the leak. I'm still skeptical this is the right leak but at this point my nerves are shot.
So we spend the weekend lightly using water (toilet, washing hands, etc.) and wait for Monday to roll around to fix this issue once and for all...again!
|My brother-in-law replacing the drywall|
Today would be spent replacing drywall in the bedroom. My brother-in-law Dave owns a drywall business and so we would naturally choose him for the job.
I assisted as best I could (I don't know anything about this stuff to be honest, but it's complex and fascinating as well when you do this type work) and we spent most of the late morning and afternoon working on it. We worked on it during the UT/Florida football game, but we didn't miss much of anything...
|Behind the washer|
Dave was able to fix the holes with amazing work. Especially the ceiling. Other than a very slight discoloration, it looks almost invisible. We'll be repainting it anyways, so it's no big deal.
|"X" marks the spot???|
He begins digging where the spray-painted "X" in the yard was placed, and gets down to where the pipe SHOULD be...nothing there. He then goes back into the house and re-runs the camera down the sewer cleanout...AGAIN...and turns on the locator and heads back out into the yard, and he's off by a foot to the left.
First off, why would the other plumber mark it wrong? Second, why wasn't this checked FIRST BEFORE DIGGING???
And then...as if we didn't have enough going on from all this...when he digs, his Bobcat is scouring our driveway! Seriously?!?!?!?
I can just feel my hair turning gray.
He continued digging and found the pipe, and the "crack" was actually where the joint had started to come off due to roots under the ground working it upward.
|Uncovering the "crack" in the pipe.|
He then looked at it further, and there was no glue to keep it together! There was also no base underneath the coupling (concrete or gravel) to support it. I could not see any erosion around the "leak", but what do I know? I'm not the plumber, right?
|Coupling replaced and reinforced with concrete|
I holler at him to look and he was startled at the water flowing.
My yard just got torn up for NOTHING.
I told him to get a supervisor over here and he said he was already on the phone with the office to get someone out here. Within 15 minutes the owner is there and the two of them go back to the camera to find out just what the hell is going on.
A few minutes later the owner spots the problem. Remember when the contractor hit the sewer line? They hit it TWICE!
So it appears that the first shot hit in the sewer line inside the house, and all the water was draining through that new "tunnel" and came out next to the meter. When they fixed that hole, the second hole then was getting the water and coming out the second hole they drilled, which was in the middle of the yard. It wasn't even reaching the pipe that was just dug up.
So after 4 visits into the sewer line with the camera, how is it they missed the second hole? The only things I can surmise is that:
- The camera cannot pan around, only straight. So wherever the cord goes, it can miss something if it's not aimed in the right direction going around elbow joints.
- There was a leaf in the pipe in front of the hole. I asked about that and was told it could have entered the line when the previous leak was fixed. What it did was block the hole they were looking for!
- When they initially ran the camera down the pipe they might have mistaken that 2nd hole for the first one.
He was about as fed up as we were, and he was definitely NOT happy with the contractors who caused this whole...well...shitstorm!
|The sewer pipe from the first repair. Had they gone down |
about 6 inches further they would have found the 2nd break!
They brought asphalt patch for the driveway, put down grass seed and straw in the yard and patched everything up as best as they could. The front yard has straw all over it and the area underneath the spigot has a new sewer cleanout, and now we have to focus on the carpet.
|Picture taken the day of the boring. The eventual sewer leaks are shown but not thought to have been an issue as they used water to assist the drill with boring the new holes. They would eventually show themselves over the next several days|
|New wall is painted|
The bed will most likely be put back in tomorrow (Monday) and my ham radio gear re-set up in the back corner.
We will finally check out of the hotel Tuesday morning and this chapter can finally be put to rest.
On a positive note, my grass is regrowing where the sewers leaked quite nicely...
- Know your home's plumbing both going in and coming out. It will save you a lot of headaches later.
- Keep all your receipts! Everything you do both during and after the event may get reimbursed if you have the right insurance coverage. Which leads me to the next point...
- Get good insurance! My insurance is through Farm Bureau and I can't recommend them enough! Cut-rate insurance will come back to haunt you in the end if you don't have good insurance. Just because Big Box Insurance Company has a lot of flashy commercials doesn't always mean they are the best out there. Your mileage may vary, however.
- Keep your plumber honest. Question EVERYTHING. Watch over their shoulder if you have to.
- Patience. Patience. Patience. But know when it's time to stop being patient.
- Your relationship will be tested with your significant other. There were a few times Jes and I felt we were going to have lawyers on the phones by the end of this. Trust in the man upstairs and in each other is essential.
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Thursday, August 29, 2019
"Just so you know, in my view, Pluto is a planet. You can write that the NASA Administrator declared Pluto a planet once again. I'm sticking by that, it's the way I learnt it, and I'm committed to it."
- is in orbit around the Sun,
- has sufficient mass to assume hydrostatic equilibrium (a nearly round shape), and
- has "cleared the neighborhood" around its orbit.