Monthly Archives: July 2022

SPOT BBS – Running Strong

The Physical SPOT BBS

SPOT BBS continues to run strong.

Address is port 8888 for HTML, port 1122, for SSH and port 1123 for Telnet connections.

There is Gopher access via the /+ command at the main menu, Multi-Relay Chat with the /M command, and extensive message and file areas.

And yes it is old school BBS menu navigation, so consider that a feature rather than a bug.

The original SPOT BBS ran OPUS Software some 30 years ago, on a Columbia PC with an MS-DOS OS, using a Hayes HST Modem.

Today’s version runs MysticBBS Software on a MintBox under Linux Mint, and has direct TCP/IP access.

I’d like to think that SPOT had something to do with this famous “Spot:”

Spot the Munster’s pet dragon

But that is not the case. SPOT was from S.P.O.T. which was from “Someone Playing On Transistors” which made sense back in the day.

Anyway, SPOT BBS is open and you are welcome to join in!

Links to my previous SPOT BBS posts:




An Early K9ZW station

Found an old photo taken when my original station was being replaced by a TenTec transceiver.

FT-101EE and gear

My original station was a Yaesu FT-101EE which I tried to load some of the gutter work at the first house we bought stateside.

For several years it sat unused, including one house move. It was easier to use the radio club’s station.

Eventually it was replaced with a TenTec Pegasus which for many years fed a Gap Titan DX vertical antenna.


Steve K9ZW


Back on the Air after 12 days of Covid Virus

“Thank you!” to Vincent KX4SR for the 20m FT8 QSO that marked my return to the airwaves after a 12 day absence due to Covid.

When back on July 15th after a 20m QSO with Joseph KF0EIR I shut down, I didn’t expect it would be 1-1/2 weeks before I would be back on the air.

While I could have remoted into my station while in isolation, I really wasn’t up to it. SSB/Phone wasn’t in the cards given the deep cough and sore throat combined with sleeping most of the time. Doing FT8 when awake would have been possible, but I was motivated with a focus on getting well.

It is good to get back on the air, even if it will be just digital mode for a few more days until the random coughing episodes abate.



Tagged , ,

Beat the Algorithm by Not Playing that Game

Alternating between “Algorithm Madness” and “Caged by Algorithms” seems to be the new norm. There are strategies worth considering to avoid the game.

Recently I was told by an insurance broker would I accept less coverage on a pickup I had purchased, as their system’s underwriting AI (Artificial Intelligence) “thinks” I paid too much for the truck.

Then in an semi-spam email I picked this out about “auto-pricing”:

Most bullion websites run on an algorithm that automatically prices products based on demand. If Goldbacks or other product appear on zerohedge or other publications and there is a large uptick in traffic, these bullion websites will automatically raise their prices to earn more money on the increased sales volume. It is best to buy when no one else is looking for your specific product to get the best price.

Then in Amazon Prime and its algorithm pricing models featured in several articles I skimmed while in isolation.

In each case a significant impact of the output from an algorithm is affecting us as the end consumer. An Underwriting Algorithm that doesn’t have direct access to the market values, a Pricing Algorithm that will punish those who follow the popularity side of the market, and a combined Shipping/Price Algorithm that works against the value proposition the consumer was sold.

So how to mitigate these sorts of impacts?

One suggestion is so simple – Do Not Play the Game!

Specialty/Collectors Car insurance on non-exotic cars seems to run between 0.5% to 2.5% of “agreed value.” (This sort of ratio seems to apply to radio collections as well.) The AI being used in my case expected a contemporary vehicle not a nearly 60 year old trophy winning classic. In many cases your big name insurance company assigns-out collector’s policies but retains the administration inhouse. Misuse of inappropriate AI is not uncommon. I’ve asked my broker to get their central office to have a human review things before I place the coverage elsewhere. I already have one vehicle insured this way because their AI wouldn’t accept the vehicle as something that exists, and if I am shoved across on this second one, I may as well price all my vehicles with both carriers.

As I don’t buy bullion and have long observed that the premium above spot price goes up the more PR a base metal receives, it is easy to sidestep this gotcha completely. But the same pricing game applies in other markets, so there I need to be careful that  my interest doesn’t drive up my potential purchase price.

The Prime game deserves a whole post on its own, as there are several different axis that as a consumer that I am hoping to optimize. Purchase Cost (all up) is one, Availability, Convenience, Time between order and receipt, are a few others, and minimization of time lost to shopping another axis. This is a complex area to evaluate, one that takes on a wholly different complexion if you ascribe a value to your own time. In my case I use Prime a lot, and largely ignore the cost impact on small sundries, but do price check is an item exceeds $100 or experience has suggested that Prime is a poor value proposition for that particular product class. Not a perfect work-around, but I value my time enough that losing more to questing for possible but not always available bargains quickly has a poor ROI.

So you can work the algorithms, but not head-on disputing their actual calculation process, but by seeking human pricing, avoiding purchasing against algorithms, or setting up your own rules & heuristics to mitigate their impact.



Collins Collectors Association – call for helpers

This recently was sent to the CCA membership:


Help Wanted — CCA
From: Scott Kerr
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2022 15:24:09 PDT 


As you know, I am no longer on the CCA Board since I have termed out and have to stand down for a couple of years. I still am very active as an advisor and still retain some of my former duties. Therefore the following is not from the Board — but I have been around long enough that I feel that I can speak freely.

Several of the leaders have approached me in the last few days with concern about the state of the CCA. They have made it known that it increasingly hard to find members that want to contribute to the workload that is required to keep the CCA going at its current level. When you consider that we have a huge website, a reflector on, the membership to keep up with, updates to payments, addresses, email addresses and call signs, money to keep up with and tax returns to file, nets that run every week all across the nation and Dayton to plan and execute, plus the biggest workload is publishing the Signal Magazine. The guys that are doing the work now are doing a super job……but are used up! If you are one of those guys helping out now then a big thanks to you!

The Signal used to be a newsletter with some technical articles but Bill Carns N7OTQ turned it into an incredible four color magazine. Very few know just how much work that endeavor was. Since Bill is a very close friend, I saw how much time Bill put into the that work. It was basically a full time job and the body of work was unbelievably good.

This club has been around now for over 30 years. Those that started it back in the 90’s and made it into the fine organization that it is, are now a lot older! Now we have lost so many dear friends and many of those that remain are not as able to contribute like they used to. It is no secret that the generation behind us are not as excited about collecting boat anchors and of those that are, most are still working full time jobs. As someone who is still out in the workforce as an owner of a small company, I can say that work is not what it used to be. There is just little free time – as the internet and email has turned work into a 24×7 affair. Combine that with the changes that COVID has brought to our world and now inflation ravishing our economy we are living in a very different world than we enjoyed 10 or 15 years ago.

I get it. 

Continue reading

Tagged ,

Island Tower Base is in!

Amazing what a checkbook can get done while you are laid up with the virus.

New Base installed

Think the hole is next to the pile of removed rocks

A few weeks back I walked the layout with my island contractor, who said his team would squeeze my project in.

Seems the time was now, which of course conflicted with my home quarantine and sleeping 20 out of 24 hours virus isolation.

The pour will take several weeks before I can erect the tower. First the tip-up/fold-over attachment goes on.

Then the rest is easy.

Even though I have a taller Skyneedle that could have gone up, I settled on my proven crank-up tip-up/fold-over antenna to avoid needing a lift for any rotator/antenna servicing.

Why the concrete cures I will have plenty of time to get the antennas ready. Uncertain if I will dig in the cables before all the heavy work is complete.