Fnord over IP.

The best thing about voice over IP / digital voice networks for amateur radio is that there are so many of them!

You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike, yet none interconnect. There is a mailbox here.

> open mailbox

The mailbox contains a QSL card.

> read QSL card

Dot matrix printer ribbon fun (TFT EAS 911 and others)

This post has been technically deemed a shitpost because WD-40 is involved. Also something that looks like Comic Sans.

Shitposting loudly

This is the tiny printer ribbon used on the TFT EAS 911 and many other devices using a small dot matrix printer mechanism. This particular unit is hilarious, it’s less than half an inch thick and appears to contain a one pixel printhead!! The way it works, noisily, is that the printhead cycles back and forth on a bihelical gear as the paper feeds one pixel height at a time. It takes like a minute and a half for the log output from a RWT (Required Weekly Test) to creep noisily out of there.

So the ribbon was fading away on this one and i opened a fresh… new… old stock (uh oh) box of ribbons. They were all dried up in the box.

The ribbon feed knob wouldn’t move the cloth ribbon at all. Curious, I carefully pried the top off.

Larger ribbons as used in some dot matrix printers like the Citizen 200GX/GSX140 models had a big boxy space filled with lots of ribbon that kinda folded up in there and flowed to the other end. Smaller ribbons that went on the carriage (Okidata, IBM, and Apple printers were like this) usually contained a foam roller that stored ink and transferred it to the ribbon. They were easy to re-ink; I always just applied stamp pad ink and WD-40 with good results. The light mineral oil from the WD-40 helped the ink transfer and lubricated the print head pins.

This just has a small band and two foam rollers. The ink was there but dried, so I just applied WD-40 to the ribbon and both rollers.

Success.

I tried this on a second one in the box but it seemed its feed roller had separated – the plastic core spun free in the foam sleeve. That seems to be the game over point on these things, it can’t feed anymore once that happens.

I’m not sure if these are still made fresh somewhere. I’ll have to check later. For now, Fun With Subcarrier Audio is on the agenda.

Mystery thing on the Sacramento River

I noticed this odd thing near the Sacramento River next to the Bonnyview bridge south of Redding and wondered what it was. A closer look reveals more interesting details, but still no great clues.

View from the bridge. I used enhancement filters in Pixlr that took a very impressionist view??

Another less detailed structure across the river; no sign of a similar spout on it. Maybe a flap gate though??

Water valve at the base.

Bolts and remains of some wooden piece that was attached to the end of the spout

The top has an interesting shape with pointed ends. I keep thinking maybe it supported a pier or bridge deck?

Climbing rungs are present. Also, note form marks. Whatever it is, it was poured in place concrete using wood slat forms. The spout has marks suggesting that either water flows from it (why and from where??) or that’s just the path rainwater takes while draining off it.

So here’s what really gets me about this thing. It sticks way up beside the river. There’s nothing nearby in sight that’s up higher than it is, which would logically drain from it. It’s fairly small and very very high up so it doesn’t make much sense that water from the Sacramento River would divert through it in a flood. The angle of the spout with its sweeping curve does sort of suggest an inlet though. Could it predate the Keswick Dam regulating water levels and reducing seasonal flooding down here?

I’ve found nothing looking it up online; there’s gotta be somewhere it’s documented, but I’m not sure where to look.

Bizarre.

You go away, Pennywise. Nobody asked you.

Breaking News!

Dow Jones Industrial Average Reaches 23,000! Some hedge fund manager goes squirt squirt and cleans up after themselves with a Balenciaga snot rag that cost more than your net worth.

In other news, the economy is still total shit unless you’re already rich.

25 Cent Life Hack: Stop Ceiling Fan Wobble

Got a wobbling fan?

Stop the fan and tip it with your hand. Don’t hit the ceiling.

Move it slowly and watch as it rocks and settles down. The high side needs a balance weight.

As suggested by the title, I stuck a quarter up there with a double sided tape pad from the junk drawer.

Adjust / repeat as necessary.

* may also work with a penny, dime, two quarters— your mileage may vary. Probably won’t work on “hugger” style low profile fans as easily as you can’t tilt them – just try the weight on each blade until you see the best improvement then fine tune by moving it in and out on the blade.

Frequently Asked Ridiculous Questions (FARQ)

How did you wind up in California?

I went to the left. Then to the left a bit more. Then up and down a few times.

So you traded hurricanes for earthquakes?

I’m nowhere near the San Andreas Fault, but thanks for your concern.

Are they REALLY still using old Moseley PCL-505s?

Yes. And they sound just fine, thanks!

Rain please

This California fire season is unusually scary. Early in the week, high winds whipped up massive, fast moving fires that consumed dry vegetation and in some cases wiped out entire neighborhoods. I’m very glad to see CALM conditions have appeared, so the fire activity is settling down a bit.

Wouldn’t mind seeing some nice rainfall hit though. I’m told it usually rains in the winter here. How does California winter work? I don’t know yet.

(This is a screenshot and is not current data! Please see links below for live data.)


The red dots on this map show recent fire activity; yellow dots are historic points.

For current data please see the following:
Cal Fire’s live map

GEOMAC

MODIS Fire Detection data in Google Earth (as seen in the screenshot)

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