Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Who-wee, it's Fall, ya'll

It's 5 weeks or so since I heralded the arrival of what was going to pass for Fall, at least for a while. That weather, I guess something like an Indian Summer, hung on and kept beating back the occasional Fall day that managed to sneak in.

Boy howdy, that's over. It's Fall, the leaves are turning and falling and it's cooled off to more or less what it should be at this time of year. It was 70, give or take, today, and that's the warmest it's going to be, as far as the 10 day forecast is concerned. They've even got the little snowflake icon out for next Tuesday night.

We did get to enjoy the likely last Fall weekend by pulling the RV up toward the Virginia border. I was able to enjoy setting it up Friday afternoon in a driving rain, but the rest of the weekend was actually quite nice. Now the RV is sitting in the driveway and I'm frantically trying to complete the Fall project list for it before stuffing it under the cover and calling it a season. Some projects may just get skipped if their fellows on the list don't start going better.

I have gotten some fall projects around the house under way, but rain has been a constant delaying factor. Well, the long range forecast for my area did say wetter than usual. There's still a lot to do, and things get added all the time. At least I can always put on more clothes. This summer I would have needed to carry an air conditioner strapped to my back to work outside during the hot part of the day.

Some of the new project items are nothing more than necessary maintenance caused by using various pieces of equipment. Those are boring by and large, so I won't bore you with them. Use your imagination.

Some of them, though, are more fun-for various values of fun. I obtained a good deal on a Bearcat TrunkTracker V scanner. Too many local government agencies, the NC Highway Patrol, the state Department of Transportation and a number of  local utilities have moved to digital trunked radio systems, and my old Radio Shack gear wasn't able to deal with that during our hurricanes. When there are trees down, power outages and floods, I like to listen in on what's going on.

Of course, this means another antenna if you want to drag in the best signal. Fortunately I have the antenna and all the parts except for cable (now remedied) , and I just have to hurry up and get it up. The antenna-you people have dirty minds.

Then there's that mast for the weather station. That's going to wind up needing a bucket lift, so I want to combine that with some other high work. I'll need an extra pair of experienced hands, and that's where the hold up is. Mountain Man is willing, but currently swamped with his own issues. I may get to experience a bit of what the linemen get during the winter by the time he frees up.

Then there's the pickup truck that followed me home. Well, it followed me after I tracked it down on Crag's List. I've wanted one for years, and I'm not getting any younger. It's a 2001 GMC Sierra 1500, rather gently used for it's age. I'm pretty sure I bought Granddad's pickup. It has 140,000 miles on the clock; is in excellent shape mechanically and very good condition cosmetically. I am making some changes, including undoing a rather unfortunate chrome fetish. Most of them are reasonably low cost. The three big things will be replacing the headlamp housings and lighting with new housings and LED lighting, getting a bedliner shot in and putting a modern stereo into it. The stereo will wait for a while due to cost.

I'll be selling my Subaru to pay for all this, and I really don't feel bad about stepping back 10 years on the age of my vehicle-I think of it as "Back to the Future". While the Subie's been an OK car, I have learned to detest CVT transmissions, smart keys and all the rest of the techno idiocy that has been crammed into recent vehicles. The very few things I may want can be retrofitted for a reasonable price should I decide to do so.

Mrs. Freeholder is convinced I've slipped a gear or two, but she is being quite accommodating. As I live in large part on her suffrage, that's a good thing.

Lastly, Fall has brought the inevitable infestation of politics. I'm watching the post mortem with interest. I think the Democrats are convinced they won bigger than they did, while Republicans don't seem to understand why they lost the House. (Hint, Paul Ryan and his posse of assclowns.) I figure the next year or so is going to be very entertaining as the Dems find out they haven't won all that much and the Republicans in the Senate flounder about trying to figure out how to lose that majority in 2020. My belief is that if the Republicans listened to their President, 2020 will be a run away victory in the Senate and they will be able to take back the House, but politicians oddly don't listen to me.

So enough of all this. I still have some things to do before I can settle in for the evening. Laundry, here I come!

4 comments:

Robert said...

The price for the scanner replacement ac adapter is obscene.

I'm not at all up to speed on the new-fangled digital trunking stuff. Does the scanner actually follow the QSO as it hops around the spectrum?

"Erect" can only mean putting up an antenna or sitting up straight- what else could you possibly be referring to? Good luck with your high work.

Poly-ticks hasn't bothered me much lately as I use "Off", the switch, that is.

Hang in there.

The Freeholder said...

I've always had the attitude that I need to pay attention to politics, since politics sure pays attention to me. However I get your point about turning it off, and I have become better able to do that over the last year or two.

Yep. Erect means up high. Given the weather forecast for the next week I may have to put it off for a while. It'd be nice if I could add that to the list of things to be done with the bucket lift, but there's no way to get the lift I expect to be renting to that part of my house. Stupid landscaping. :-)

I'm not sure if the Bearcat will follow the conversation as it skips or not. I figure I'll find out, but I'd be surprised if there isn't some way to do so. Eventually they'll encrypt all this traffic and I'll be sitting on another expensive piece of equipment that works fine but doesn't do the job.

But let me encrypt a radio transmission-or text message, email or phone conversation-and the world will end. Government.

Robert said...


"I'm not sure if the Bearcat will follow the conversation as it skips or not. I figure I'll find out, but I'd be surprised if there isn't some way to do so."

Someone nameless once somehow acquired a digital transceiver the same as used by his local PD; he needed to enter a numeric key so the radio would know where to jump. Dunno about the scanner.

"But let me encrypt a radio transmission-or text message, email or phone conversation-and the world will end. Government."
That includes on-air cryptic comments, too, doesn't it?

The Freeholder said...

Now that you say that about the numeric key, that rings a bell. I'll ping Mountain Man; he works in that arena. He'll probably have that answer on the top of his head. A local municipality just bought a crapload of that same model and he's the one who programmed them.

On cryptic comments on air...(FCC Part 97) "§97.113 Prohibited transmissions." Paragraph 4 states:

(4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically provided elsewhere in this section; communications intended to facilitate a criminal act; messages encoded for the purpose of obscuring their meaning, except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification. (emphasis mine)

The "otherwise provided herein" relates to the encoding of control signals to satellites. §97.215 Telecommand of model craft. states in subsection (b) "The control signals are not considered codes or ciphers intended to obscure the meaning of the communication." This is to keep the control signals secure from unauthorized use.

Based on that, I'd say that a cryptic comment isn't prohibited. But if you and some friends put together a code made up of normal sounding phrases, like "Can you pick up a gallon of milk on the way home" and equated them to other things, such as "You may pick up the bomb at the usual place", they yeah, you're in the wrong. I think that it's unlikely you'd be caught, though, unless you're doing it so much that someone's suspicions are raised and they report you.