So we got these new multifunction printer/scanner/fax machines at work, some newer thing from Canon, and they’re absolutely ridiculous. When you walk up to one you’re presented with a login prompt with a horrible on screen keyboard, but also with an RFID reader. Once you’ve logged in you can link it to whatever RFID macguffin you’re carrying.
My director of technology successfully did it with his access control badge, but the machine kinda just… did … things… without any useful feedback as to it linking successfully.
I tried it and the RFID reader beeped and the machine didn’t respond. I logged out and back in (this takes three whole ass minutes). Nothing.
On a whim I tried making my Flipper Zero emulate the UID of my Clipper card.
The actual Clipper card works too.
Clearly this is a sign from the universe of the superiority of public transit
I got an Alta Cygnus video frame sync/processing amp a while back that didn’t work because the cap from its fuse holder was missing. No big deal, just gotta open it up and change the holder.
Well, somehow this completely escaped me ever photographing the process or what’s inside the unit, but it’s got one hilarious “feature” I have to wonder about.
So, the chassis of the unit has the motherboard (enormous square monster utterly tessellated in DIP ICs) screwed to the bottom panel. The top cover slides forwards to remove it and it’s one piece, including that very 1980s chamfer.
Do you…. do you already see what that means? If you were expecting it to be cursed, yes, you do…
See all those knobs? Every one of them is a very nice little molded plastic knob with a metal insert that holds it to the control shaft with a small hex screw.
Every one of them has to come off to slide off the cover.
Yeah. Sure. That was a great idea.
I mean, once I got past that and replaced the fuse holder it looks like it’s gonna work perfectly fine. But seriously, what on earth?!
These brochure pages are all the documentation I can find on the unit, I’d love to score a manual though as there are a lot of internal adjustments and dip switches I’m curious about. But am I curious enough to have to remove and reinstall all those knobs?!
Someone in a chat I’m on asked an AI to write them a story about colonoscopy and 75 meters and this came out
Once upon a time, in a small town called Riverview, lived an elderly gentleman named Henry. Henry was known for his love of amateur radio and spent countless hours tinkering with his equipment, making connections with fellow radio enthusiasts from all around the world.
One sunny morning, as Henry was preparing for another day of radio adventures, he received an unexpected phone call from his doctor’s office. They informed him that it was time for his routine colonoscopy, a procedure that examines the health of the colon. Initially, Henry felt a wave of apprehension and worry. He had never undergone a colonoscopy before and was unsure of what to expect.
As he pondered his upcoming appointment, a thought struck him. Henry wondered if there was any way to combine his love for ham radio with his colonoscopy experience. He thought it would be fascinating to communicate with fellow radio enthusiasts while going through the procedure.
Being a resourceful and creative individual, Henry reached out to his radio friends and shared his idea. To his surprise, they loved the concept and immediately came up with a plan to support him. They agreed to meet on the 75-meter band, a frequency commonly used for long-distance communication, during the time of his colonoscopy.
On the day of the procedure, Henry arrived at the hospital feeling both nervous and excited. While waiting in the pre-procedure area, he carefully set up a small portable radio and tuned it to the designated frequency. As the doctors and nurses prepared him for the colonoscopy, Henry engaged in conversation with his radio friends, who provided encouragement and distraction.
As the colonoscopy began, Henry found himself immersed in lively discussions about radio equipment, antenna designs, and past radio adventures. The comforting voices of his friends resonated through his headphones, keeping his spirits high and distracting him from any discomfort.
Throughout the procedure, Henry’s radio friends shared their own stories and experiences, creating a sense of camaraderie that eased his nerves. They cheered him on, sending their well wishes over the airwaves, while the medical professionals skillfully conducted the colonoscopy.
Time flew by, and before Henry knew it, the procedure was complete. As he bid farewell to his radio friends, he felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for their support during this unconventional journey. The experience had not only eased his anxiety but also demonstrated the incredible power of human connection, even in the most unexpected circumstances.
Henry’s colonoscopy adventure became a legendary tale within the ham radio community. Other enthusiasts began discussing the possibility of coordinating similar experiences, recognizing the profound impact it could have on those facing medical procedures.
From that day forward, whenever the 75-meter band crackled with conversations, there was a gentle reminder of Henry’s story—a reminder that through the magic of amateur radio, people could come together, support one another, and turn even the most daunting experiences into something remarkable.
It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here so I figured I’d gather an important collection:
TV and radio station related vehicles I’ve murdered in the line of duty!
#1 – the Q97 truck. This was my first time ever going up a nasty little dirt mountain road and the truck just… unceremoniously shut down on me right then and there at a switchback in the road. After it cooled down for a few minutes, it restarted and worked just fine. The fault was never identified or replicated by anyone else, but we decided after that incident that it probably shouldn’t go up to the transmitter site again.
#2: The Nissan Frontier that couldn’t take RF.
It made it to the top of Shasta Bally perfectly fine, but as soon as I got back in it, turned it so its back was to the KNCQ-FM and KRCR-TV transmitters, and started driving back down, it decided to shift from 4WD to 2WD. When I tried to shift it back to 4WD the transfer case motor started moving and then halted in a neutral position. An “ATP” light came up on the dash which is apparently the warning that the transfer case is in that neutral state and the transmission’s park pawl won’t do anything to make the vehicle stay put.
It was downhill from this spot where the truck died to a space about a hundred feet away, so I coasted it down there and power cycled the whole thing, which was the point at which I found Nissan’s ONE GOOD DESIGN FEATURE:
Those quick release connectors come out of the bottom of the battery positive terminal, uh, conglomeration, and it’s easy to disconnect them to kill power to everything. The big red wire that remains connected is the starter I guess. After it sat to think about its place in life for a while, it was willing to work again.
On a side note, here’s an important warning about Nissan pickup trucks, and it is likely to extend to other Nissan vehicles. I observed this same behavior on two different Nissan Frontiers and one Nissan Titan of three different model years. When you downshift the transmission to descend a long steep grade, it will automatically shift back up to drive and then start upshifting with no user input OR INDICATION on the dash after 15 minutes.
You get no warning that this is about to happen, it’s just suddenly… clunk and you’re accelerating downhill way too fast.
The only way to reset this is to stop, turn off the engine, and restart the vehicle!
#3: Ford Econoline van I seem to have no photographs of. Blew up SPECTACULARLY while hauling a load of e-waste to a recycling center. The transmission began slipping just before I got there and the cooling system went off with a “POP!” sound and dumped everything out in a flash as soon as I stopped. With absolute seriousness, I asked which bin to push it into and leave it there.
#4: Ford Econoline. Is anyone surprised? Heater hoses blew off where they go into the firewall and the coolant dumped. By this point in time I’d gotten tired of faking it with that dark brown and decided to embrace my natural rainbow.
One of my giant platform boots broke apart after probably about two years of me wearing them to work every day. For them being boots more intended to be worn for stompy dancing at a goth club, they put up with that amazingly well.
Duck tape held them through their last day.
My boss saw this and said it actually looked pretty neat – he envisioned a pair where one boot is black and one silver being pretty awesome. I agree.
The hardest part of having false hope is when it all falls apart. Here, I’d been told that the PowerCD transmitter that I lovingly call the Space Station Toilet was going to be replaced starting in April or so.
Oops. Turns out nobody has any of the required supplies for that project in stock anywhere and production isn’t expected until July at least with an estimate on replacement being maaaaaybe September… and every tiny setback adds another fortnight of business days to the backlog. Time to start making this thing as happy as possible to prolong its final year (or decade?) of service…
Another adventure at the Space Station Restroom standing tall in a field by the river… This is cabinet #1 of 3. Cabinet 3 was the one that gave me such elegant fits before when I did a grid scrub. Cab 1 wasn’t causing as much drama but it just wasn’t making enough power prior to the scrub and was occasionally arcing out, roughly once a day. Let’s gooooooo to the wash!
Yes, of course it keeps trying to flip back to BG Heat every few minutes so you just have to stand there in front of it and pwap the standby button each time. Annoying. I thought about just raising the filament voltage in BG Heat but realized that’d be a terrible idea as the cooling system shuts down when you’re in BG Heat! I can’t remember if the air blower eventually goes down, but the water pump definitely does.
As I prepared to do the grid scrub (which requires hooking up an external power supply to the ESCIOT tube grid and cathode), I went into the high voltage cabinet with some isopropanol and blue shop towels and did a, well, scrub.
What’s that now? Oily sticky gook…. just like I found in the other cabinet? Hmm. I’m beginning to wonder if this is ethylene glycol that’s been electrostatically precipitated out of the air, since this rig is known to absolutely REEK of Dowtherm SR-1. The recirculating pump/reservoir unit is far from airtight so it just outgasses.
And now, Deja Moo: the feeling I’ve seen this BS before—
Look at the upper left: this robot has seen some shit, man
Amazingly I did not find it necessary to readjust the grid voltage after the scrub, it just… Worked. I was not expecting this. Not out of this turdly transmitter.
Then came the surprise. I was walking past checking the coolant system pressure on the pumps for the other transmitter in the room (a rather boring solid state ULXT-80) when I saw one of its variable frequency drives blinking “OCL”. Interesting. I first foolishly decided to take the cooling fan cover on the TEFC pump motor off, thinking I was going to find a seized pump. I spun the fan and found no unusual resistance. Upon opening the cover over the drives I was greeted by….. toast.
Not sure what went first, the screw terminal or the crimp forked terminal that was stuck in it, but something got hot until it cratered the poor drive. Ow! And to make matters more fun, as is always the case nowadays…. nobody seems to have these drives in stock anymore. Luckily, GatesAir has them, for about the same price as a better quality Fuji Electric drive from Grainger. Hmm. Do I…? I’ll have to make sure the Fuji has the right I/O first before doing anything that daring. On a side note, if GatesAir is going to charge that much for a drive they marked up like 100% they could at least take it out of the box and program it for you. They do not do this.
Then again this is the same manufacturer that charged us about $500 for four small rubber washers that I strongly suspect were just pieces of EPDM rubber hose cut carefully to length.
It’s my personal opinion that these Toshiba drives are built like damn toilet paper. They were only common in everything because they’re cheap and have tons of I/O options. Bad power will murder them in no time. It didn’t even get a chance on this one as thermal runway at the terminals Popped It.
Well then, all that resolved, it was time for the last silly task of the day: go see why the surveillance camera up top was giving us no usable image….