Monthly Archives: January 2009

Winter Reads – 2008-2009 – Batch III

Another quick update on my third batch of books read so far during this nasty early winter, and I have added a cumulative list to help me keep track of my reading goals:

  • Seed to Seed – Seed Saving & Growing Techniques, by Suzanne Ashworth
  • Molon Labe – Come and Take Them (A Novel), by Kenneth W. Royce
  • Everything You Know is Wrong, by  Russ Kick (ed.)
  • YASME – The Danny Weil & Colvin Radio Expeditions, by James D. Cain
  • Earth Sheltered Houses, by Rob Roy
  • Small Strawbale – Natural Homes, Projects & Designs, by Bill Steen & Others
  • Building Green, by Clarke Snell & Tim Callahan
  • The Age of Bede, by Betty Radice (ed.)

Previously Read This Winter:

  1. Ten Years Behind the Mast – The Voyage of Theodora R, by Fritz Damler
  2. The Polically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, by Kevin Gutzman
  3. When All Hell Breaks Loose, by Cody Lundi
  4. Transfer (A Novel), by Jerry Furland
  5. The Electric Car, by Michael Westbrook
  6. The Adventure Motorbiking Handbook, by Chris Scott
  7. Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen
  8. Patriots – Surviving the Coming Collapse, by James Wesley Rawles
  9. The Unthinkable – Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – And Why, by Amanda Ripley
  10. Celsius 7/7, by Michael Gove
  11. The Blacksmith’s Craft – A Primer of Tools and Methods, by Charles McRaven
  12. Leaving the Left, by Keith Thompson
  13. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science
  14. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades
  15. Rocket Mass Heaters – Superefficient Woodstoves You Can Build, by Ianto Evans & Leslie Jackson
  16. Flirting with Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental, by Marc Gerstein & Michael Ellsberg
  17. Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, by Ori Brafman & Rom Brafman

I am continuing to do better my goal of reading a book-a-week, and again it looks like the continued hard winter will let maintain the pace.  Sure glad I paid attention as a child on learning how to read rapidly.

Let me know if you want information on a specific title, as unless it is Amateur Radio focused they won’t be reviewed here.

73 & Happy Reading


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Golden Rule and Imagined Worlds

It is an unfortunate aspect of our humanity that “People Talk Themselves into Bad things.”

Skirting Legal issues, Tax Issues, and genuine Moral Issues – we search for justification of what we want to do, rather than what we know we should do.

People self-select facts, ignore those that don’t fit their wishes, resulting in a self-distorting take on reality.  Most of use have even seen people self-select physical symptoms out of a larger reality of symptoms to fit a self-selected diagnosis, so it is no wonder we do this in less important parts of our life.

What has this to do with Amateur Radio?  It is the simple cause of many conflicts in Amateur Radio when the Golden Rule is abandoned and as a result at least part of a Radio Club is in an Imagined World.

The balance of the Golden Rule?  What has that to do with Imagined Justifications for incorrect acts in a Radio Club?

For the Golden Rule to work, there must be three things present concerned the situation – First there must be a shared equal perception of the whole situation, Second there must be a closely held mutual value set, and Lastly there must be a shared willingness to to “play fair.”

So the Golden Rule gets muddled up when people don’t quite see it the same way, or hold different values, or simply have no intent to be fair.

In a club this is often manifest in a period of leadership where a small group of people start to operate as “Kings, Queens, Princes & Princesses” skipping the input of the membership, written constitutions & by-laws and usual decision making process.

They imagine for themselves that this is a “benevolent dictatorship” – that without their taking initiative the club wouldn’t function.

And of course they are quick to be upset if any aspect of the club escapes control (the first place where the Golden Rule breaks down.)

With the transparency and checks & balances of usual club operation & input circumvented this distortion often quickly descends into the putsch becoming self-serving in their dealings, claims of all sorts to support the back-room operation, like “since I’ve been a ham for 50 years….. blah blah blah” and running amuck for not being able to take legal & financial advice.

Parts of the finances are often moved “off books” and other parts commingled enough to cause distortion of accounts.  Often they stop keeping records of their back-room decisions and will even start destroying documentation to make audits impossible.

Money, when the Golden Rule is set aside, is a powerful solvent eroding away deeper and further at any trust within a club.  When the records are suspect, known problems brushed over (what do you mean taxes, we don’t pay no stinkin’ taxes), off-books books kept (or rather “kept while not kept”), audit trails erased and transparency a problem, the money becomes so possessive to distort what values remain.  The idea of Gollum & The Ring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy comes to mind.  

The repeated claims of “unequal status of membership” by the claims that they have been a Ham since radio was invented and a Club Member for x number of years really flies in the face of the Golden Rule as well.  That 99% of their Ham Years have been “Ground Hog Days” where they did exactly the same thing somehow doesn’t factor in their imagined worlds, nor that as long term club members there is even less excuse for their allowing, much less participating, in the circumvention of honest & open club operations.

For a club to survive this sort of episode it is necessary for the membership to reinstate the Golden Rule in terms of club operations.  They need to treat ALL members openly and the same. There are no “heavier or lighter” votes in a club, except the need to set aside votes of any person insisting to vote while in conflict of self-interest.

If the putsch group cannot immediately return to fairness, legality and honesty, they need to either “go on time out” disinvolved in the club, or be removed from membership.

The membership must reaffirm the principles of transparency, accountability, ethics and responsibility to the club.  

It the bad-dealings of the club are so grievous as to incur tax & legal exposure, it may be more expedient to move the values-driven membership into a new organization, and let the putsch keep the former club.

Yes it is an unfortunate aspect of our humanity that “People Talk Themselves into Bad things,” but they can also talk themselves out of those bad club situations into normalcy.



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What is a QSO & QSL with Your Station Worth Today?

EDIT August 2022 – With the passing of GlobalQSL’s founders the service ceased operation circa 2020.  More at the comments of

Received a very unusual letter about a GlobalQSL QSL Card that somehow had made it through the domestic QSL Bureau to a fellow ham.

Unfamiliar with the look of a GlobalQSL he thought it somehow was a fake.

Looks like I must have made a logging error with for this QSO, but unless I spend ages looking through thousands of QSOs in my various logs I’ll never know. The fellow forgot to include a single hint as to the date.

K9 to K9ZW QSO QSL Letter

He’s kindly offered to set a Sked for a “real QSO” if his gear holds up.

At first I was very put off by the letter. Then I wondered if it was “real” or a “send up?”

Then I realized my fellow hobbyist puts a whole lot of value on a QSO and a QSL. Sort of a bit of chivalry from a time when QSOs & QSLs stood out in one’s life. Surrounded by less noise, they mattered.

I’m not likely to take the fellow up, as I think I have every county in his state on Voice already, and I’d feel bad if his gear was smoked trying to make a QSO my way.  I will drop him a note in a  couple weeks after I read your comments and ponder a bit more.

His letter does beg the question though, “What is a QSO & QSL with Your Station Worth Today?”

Is it as much as it appears to be for this chap?

Or are you much more casual about it, as I am?

Makes one think…….



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MacLoggerDX v5.0 for Cocoa Beta Launched

Don Agro, VE3VRW has completed his rewrite of MacLoggerDX for Apple’s OS-X systems in the Cocoa environment.

Looks fantastic!



MacLoggerDX - Map Screen

MacLoggerDX - Map Screen



Link to MacLoggerDX v5.0 Beta for Cocoa:

The new features of this version are:


100% Cocoa – Complete rewrite.
SQLite data base:
Unlimited log size.
Instant edits.
Shared access to microHAM keyer ports.
Serial Ports recover from sleep.
All internal databases can be updated over the Internet.
Exports ADIF, Imports ADIF and MacLoggerDX v3.5+ Logs.
Map Full Screen Mode.
Can automatically check for software update at startup.
Expanded DX Alarms capability.
Contest mode data entry.

MacLoggerDX is: 

The Swiss Army Knife of Amateur Radio !

MacLoggerDX logs into your favorite Telnet or TNC DXCluster and as DX Spots are received, tunes your radio to the spot, looks up the call and displays the DX station on the real time grey line Map with distance and bearing from your station.

If you decide to work the station, MacLoggerDX is ready to instantly add the QSO and your Radio’s VFO information to your log and can swing your beam around to work the station Direct or Long Path.MacLoggerDX supports ADIF Import/Export which is fully compatible with and the ARRL LoTW.



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World Radio Publishes First On-Line Issue

World Radio Publishes First On-Line Issue – per their website:


Welcome to WorldRadio Online!

Welcome to WorldRadio Online. We are quite excited about our first issue and after viewing it, we’re sure you’ll agree your new “one click” access to hobby websites and advertiser homepages is quite amazing.

You now have the option of viewing your issue online, printing a single page or the entire issue. In addition, while viewing a page, if a product in an advertisement catches your eye, click on the ad and we’ll bring you right to the advertiser’s website for more info. You’ll also find links to hobby clubs and organizations that bring their websites within a mouse-click.

Most of you already have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computers and are familiar with its usage – all you need do is click on the issue’s front cover above to get started. For those of you who do not have Adobe Acrobat installed and not familiar with it let us give you a brief explanation. Adobe Acrobat is a family of computer programs developed by Adobe Systems, designed to view (open, enlarge or reduce) and manipulate (download and/or print) the pages of the issue, which are created as PDF documents (files created in Adobe’s Portable Document Format-PDF). There are a variety of versions which have been developed to suit the needs of your computer. Adobe Reader is available free and can be downloaded from Adobe Systems Inc. via this link

Once you’ve downloaded Adobe Reader click on the front cover above and you’re in! You’ll notice a reference bar across the top of the page – with navigation tools for viewing the issue. You can scroll through the issue page by page, enlarge or reduce the page size to suit your view, print a single page or the entire issue, the choice is yours with every issue, each time you view it. There’s also a help section should a question arise.

It’s important to remember that every computer monitor has its own unique characteristics. It’s normal for some monitors to display pages slightly differently than others, particularly with color rendition. We find that some elements of a page can occasionally appear slightly fuzzy when small, but razor sharp when enlarged slightly for better viewing. We encourage you to experiment to find the settings that work best for you. Regardless of the monitor you’re using, though, if you choose to print pages from WorldRadio Online, the printed image will be extremely sharp and pleasing to the eye.

We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions for future issues! E-mail the editor at Happy viewing from all of us at WorldRadio Online!

The direct link is

The first issue is in color, as 40 page PDF download.

There is a listserver to sign up for email notification at:

Quick analysis is of the 40 pages, roughly 9-1/2 are commercial ads and other three filled with either small ads or offers to advertisers/ad administration & indexes.

The 27-1/2 pages left are roughly 1/4th graphics and 1/8th “overhead” of indexes & admin.

This leaves about 17 pages of actual material, which is not a very high content-to-noise ratio for an on-line publication.

Once the obvious filler articles are set aside (like the Boy Scout like article on Knots and the useless opinion on FCC rules column) there is perhaps 8 to 12 pages of material, most which might appeal to only a segment of amateurs.

I didn’t see anything this issue I was going to print a hardcopy of, and if I printed the full issue (our internal cost at work is $0.08/page for color) I don’t think it worth $3.20 out of pocket plus my time.

Expect the format will change from this colorized clone of the former print version into a usable on-line edition, or the poor return for time invested to download and possibly print locally will finish the project off.



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Bits & Bobs Around the K9ZW Shack

Rambling smattering of small items:

Have started planning the Dayton 2009 trip. Encourage & reminded by Mark W9OP I guess it is time to get off dead-center and get Dayton planned. Have not 100% decided on Contest University or perhaps taking in another opportunity. Have invited George W9EVT to again be my Dayton Elmer. If he cannot make it, I may ride the BMW Motorcycle if the Weather looks good enough (likely not) and I feel up to it (it is a mostly boring Interstate Drive, which is my least favorite motorcycling).  Actually I hope he will go, as then I have a better excuse to run the truck (which I can fill with purchases!)

Gave a presentation on the Flex-5000 to NEWDXA (Northeast Wisconsin DX Association) last Saturday. Was a test run for new presentation equipment at work, and of all thing the supplied Universal Power Cable for the projector failed. Sending middle son Winston KC9FVR to the nearby Office Depot fixed the problem. Presentation went very well and running the PowerSDR software in Demo-Mode was well received. For the core I used the PowerPoint Flex-Radio has in their download section.  I’ve been asked to repeat the presentation for one of the Michigan based NEWDXA meetings later this year.  My youngest son Vic KC9NWB and a ten year old nephew Cole were good lads sitting through the presentation & meeting.

FedEx dropped a large parcel containing the homebrew Buddipole Paul AE5JU built for me. Can’t wait for this week’s rehearsals and Big Band performance gig to be over so I can get into the Buddipole. Expect more and a write-up with build pictures on this antenna project.

Likewise should finally get to set up the 6m amp. Several family needs and houseguests having departed make way for getting at this soon as well.

Ordered a NUE-PSK Type #11 Cable for use with my SGC SG-2020 Transceiver. Easier than trying to find time to wire one myself.  Details at (see page #13)

Just got in a TG Electronics N8XJK Boost Regulator for use with the Aircraft Gell Cells I’ve been using for portable. The N8XJK Boost Regulator will maintain a usable voltage even when the Battery has dropped lower. Should improve my operation time, specially in cold weather.  Interestingly TG Electronics is located in Houghton, Michigan where my eldest son Tom KC9GJD is an ROTC Cadet studying Chemical Engineering.  



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