We live in an area of our county that has poor telephone service, poorer cell phone service, no high-speed Internet services other than very expensive and not so fast satellite providers, and no cable TV other than satellite. It’s kind of a communications technology sink-hole.
I’ve been able to improve the quality of our cell phone service by employing all I learned about Yagi beam antennas, preamplifiers, and amplifiers in forty years of amateur radio involvement. I have a Yagi high-gain beam antenna mounted 10′ above the crown of our house’s roof. The beam is mounted on a rotor so I can point it at the cell tower with the strongest signal and in line with the feed cable is a Wilson “signal booster.” The result is a final inside signal strong enough to provide for reliable cell phone calls.
Well, we won’t have to concern ourselves with it since it’s over. But, Friday was the National Day of Unplugging and participants were asked to totally unplug. To not use anything that included the use of any kind of screen. No cell phone, no tablet, no laptop, no desktop, no TV, no backup camera, no GPS, no camera with a digital viewfinder, absolutely nothing that uses a screen. Could you do such for a period of 24-hours without cheating? Discuss.
When I was a kid we spent a lot of class time learning about the great American inventors whose ideas created huge industries and brought revolutionary change to entire segments of the world’s peoples. With few exceptions, these inventors were white men with little mention given to blacks, women, and other minorities.
One reason for this was the federal patent acts of 1793 and 1836. The laws prevented enslaved blacks from claiming ownership of any patents for things they may have invented or assisted with. Slaves were property and were owned. Simply put, property cannot own property.
Before now there’s only been one time in my life where I felt comfortable telling anyone anything about football. I have never been a hardcore sports fan and much of what little I know I acquired by osmosis from teaching and drinking beer with high school coaches.
In 2012, however, I was in NYC waiting for my daughter and granddaughter to shop themselves out and I took refuge in a corner tavern. Sitting at the bar a couple of stools away from a young woman the Saturday college football game was on the nearby wide-screen TV. Something happened in the game that she didn’t understand and she turned to me for an answer. Luckily it was something I knew something about and with that and a little bullshit, I came away with her thinking I was an expert.
There is a new cell phone tower being built near the corner of 5th and Pine Streets. The rumor has it that it will be an AT&T tower and some are suggesting it may be a 5G tower. 5G, if you don’t know is the newest cell phone technology and promises to revolutionize Internet speeds.
Amongst those who asked questions on a Facebook post were those who wondered about the safety of 5G. I was in communications electronics in the Navy and a ham radio operator for decades. I can speak with some knowledge about frequency spectrum and one truth is that the higher you go in frequency the closer you get to microwaves. And, you all know what happens in the microwave spectrum.
As the old radio news reporter, Gabriel Heatter used to say, “There’s good news tonight.” Just as fast as things went bad for Lordstown, OH, things suddenly got brighter. General Motors has announced it is joining with the Sout Korean company LG to build a new lithium battery factory in Lordstown to pave the way for the companies near future plans for Electric Vehicles (EVs).
While it will take a while the joint effort plans to hire 1,100 new workers but GM refused to address whether any of these would be rehired from the 1,600 laid-off workers from the closure of their auto manufacturing plant in that city.
We were recently in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, near the Virginia and Maryland borders. Driving along US 48 and other highways we were constantly presented with large numbers of wind turbines along the mountain ridges. Actually, we were kind of lost and didn’t expect this much wind energy generation in the mountains of what has always been “coal” country.
Amongst all these towers of turbines, we did come across one old fashioned, genuine, smoke-belching, coal-fired generating plant, the generating station at Mount Storm in Grant County, WV. Mount Storm actually consists of three generating plants that were built in the mid-’60s and early ’70s, and from day one were very controversial. The power company, Dominion Resources, failed to tell its employees and nearby residents that its smokestacks were polluting the air with toxic wastes such as asbestos. Lots of people were cursed with lung diseases, including mesothelioma before Dominion cleaned up its act.
Several weeks ago a fellow on Facebook was seeking input on what local high-speed Internet ISP services were available, he was still using telephone dial-up. Almost instantly my eyes bugged out and my ears rang with the memories of 56K squealing as they strained to make a connection to AOL (America Online) or some other provider.
I’m sure those who work at the Lima, OH tank factory were happy to see their jobs saved. But economically speaking, everyone needs to remember that jobs building military hardware are in no way as economically valuable in the long-haul as nongovernmental jobs.
Those lost private industry jobs making consumer products at Lordstown, Ohio were far more important than those jobs saved at Lima. Every car made at GM plants affects the economy in every corner of the nation. The same is simply not true about rebuilding a decades-old war machine. And for Trump to put any part of the blame on the closing of Lordstown on union workers is simply assinine.
Some of you may recall that at one time the only option we mortals had for home movies was an 8mm silent camera. Other than being the only option, the product sucked. All the neighborhood kids running round in blurry, grainy, flickering black and white globs of motion and dust.
Then came Super 8mm cameras and the quality became… I haven’t a clue. Other than costing more money I can’t say much more without Googling.
It was in March of 1989 that some in the world became aware of what is now a part of most people’s world, the World Wide Web. The joining together of millions of computers all over the world to facilitate the exchange of information. Its effects have been enormous ranging from vast social changes to revolutions in how we learn, how we spend our free time, how medicine is practiced, how business is conducted, and so very much more. Just think, thirty-years ago there wasn’t an app for anything! Today, in this era of omnipresent smartphones, there is hardly a person who doesn’t have the WWW at the swipe or tap of a finger or two.
Back in the 1950s president Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex; the ever more powerful relationship between those who make the weapons of war and those who buy and use them. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to Ike’s warning and the MIC is more powerful than ever.
I recently heard an economist state that the cost of Medicare for All could be covered if we ever got serious about reigning in our military budget. America currently spends more on its military that of the world’s nations combined.
When I was a very young child a railroad conductor gave my dad a copy of his QSL card to give to me. This is a special postcard that contains all the personal information about a licensed amateur radio operator, better known as a ham. It has his name, address, and most importantly, his call sign.
From the moment dad gave me this man’s QSL I became interested in international communications. The idea of listening to and maybe talking with people around the world fascinated me. The easiest and cheapest way to get started was by making your own crystal radio set out of some telephone wire and an oatmeal tube. The next step was saving your paper route money and buying a shortwave receiver kit from Allied Electronics in Chicago.
I’ve got two Samsung smartphones left over from upgrades. Both are in great shape and will provide many years of service.
SAMSUNG EXPRESS 3, Model SM-J120A:
Android 6.0.1. Made to work on AT&T 4G LTE network. It may be unlocked but I can’t remember. Not under contract and in near new condition. I don’t have any of the original paperwork but will provide a wall charger and charging cable. The battery was replaced with last 6 months. Buyer will have to take it to AT&T agent for sims card and activation. Will work on pay to go plans. Asking $60.00 cash only local pickup only. I live near Petersburg, OH. Click HERE for full specifications.
SAMSUNG GALAXY GRAND PRIME, Model SM-G530A
Android 5.1.1. This is leftover from an upgrade and is in great condition. It is a 4G LTE phone and works on AT&T plans, including pay as you go. Comes with owner’s manual, and an unused wall charger and charging cable. Asking $60 cash only and local pickup and my home near Petersburg. Click HERE for complete specifications.
Yesterday I did a little Googling about using drones to get up and over border walls and I didn’t have to dig too far to learn that the technology exists to inexpensively smuggle large amounts of drugs into America via an air force of drones.
Drones vary widely in both price and payload. A few thousand dollars on Amazon will buy one a drone capable of carrying a payload of 12 kg. At an average street price of $200 a gram in the US a 12 kg cargo could be valued at as much as $2.4 million. For several thousand more one could buy a drone with a cargo capacity of 660 pounds. You do the math and don’t forget such a drone may be able to smuggle a couple of people over a wall.