Category Archives: Non-Radio

Non-Radio – Citroen Traction Avant 11BL

1954 Citroen Traction Avant 11BL Sedan


Side view


A 1954 Citroen Traction Avant 11BL joined our fleet.

While having a very gangster/steampunk look, the Traction is technologically an advanced car for its era.

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Non-Radio – False Pings – Using Bluetooth for the Wrong Purposes

The XYL made an elder-care trip to England the moment the travel rules relaxed.  The ten-day isolation quarantine had been dropped for fully vaccinated Americans (she is a dual-citizen) though the testing and administrative burdens carried on.

What was extortionary was a phone call from her old school friend who had hosted my XYL her last four days, telling Alison that her hosting friend had been “pinged” by the NHS (National Health Service) application for a claimed close-contact with someone later reported as positive during my wife’s stay.

As they had been paying particular attention to maintain social distancing and a quick check of everyone they had been in contact with revealed nobody willing to share that they had tested positive recently, much head scratching has ensued.

Consulting with an expert in medical hygiene, we learned that England was suffering under a “Ping Epidemic” as the NHS app used Bluetooth technology as the basis of establishing a close contact.

The NHS has admitted that the sensitivity of Bluetooth in practice is greater than the specified, with the Bluetooth contact tracing software unaware if the “holders of the phones” were even in the same space with each other, and that upwards of 80% of contact Pings could be in error!

Until August 16th a Ping sent you off to isolation-quarantine for 10 days, along with testing.

As the NHS admission multiplied by some 600,000 Pings a week at the peak resulted in an excess loss of available labor of nearly 5 million days of false-Ping quarantine, the economic effects of a misuse of Bluetooth was huge.  To put this in perspective this is like sidelining some 13,000 people for a whole year, every week, because the App was too sensitive.

Recognizing the problems the NHS App was adjusted and the rule for a vaccinated person relaxed to self-monitoring and testing.

Now my wife did not get Pinged.  Why?  Because her main iPhone remained on the USA system and her UK iPhone SIM card had expired, so she was exempted from the NHS App when she entered.

As the woman did swim at the local sports centre, where their phones laid in the lockers for the period of their socially-distanced and managed swim session they had booked, our expert suggests that another person’s phone, who later was reported as positive, whether in their locker room, and adjacent area (like Men’s or Family Locker Rooms, or the Staff Room) was the Bluetooth through-the-wall reason for the later Ping.  Apparently the phones need to be in proximity for at least 15 minutes.

Out of an abundance of caution the XYL added to her virus tests a few more tests, which were negative.

Some tidbits:

  • USA – Fully Vaccinated is UK – Double Vaccinated, as one-shot vaccines are not in widespread use in the UK
  • Alison’s travel involved several Apps, with things that had to happen in certain windows of time – Goldilocks sort of “not too early” “not too late” “just right” sorts of timing needs, broke down in process and in the VeriFly App simply could not be made to work.
  • Expectations are that you have your trip very well planned and can provide an address for each day of your trip.
  • Being without a UK phone at entry was actually helpful, as being under the radar when the system is itself not working well is okay.
  • The UK tests add up, figure $150-200 per test, and presently you need at least two UK side.
  • While you only need on USA test before you go, be prepared to do more on return if you get Pinged.
  • It is useful to have someone not traveling deal with some of the documentation, as  the UK tests come password protected and the USA tests in our case come virtually to a secure medical patient system. Extracting these reports and putting them into a shared folder was helpful.
  • Have printouts of everything, as the bowels of airports are not always good cellphone or internet locations.

Hopefully we will learn from the mistakes of Bluetooth tracking (false positives and non-tracked persons) and other technology based systems.



Non-Radio – Hiding Out with Hummingbirds and the Night Sky

Squeezed in an “extra weekend” at the Washington Island QTH mid-week.

We really had some local work to attend to and made it into an overnight in the process.

The wildlife is rather tame at the Island, and the hummingbirds came to a feeder hanging in front of my chair on the deck.  They were not bothered by me.

Expect they are feeding their young

Family brought a clever night sky photographer setup, and the very low light pollution made for some fine photos.

Night shot (mechanical tracker and digital camera) – click for bigger

For work, jury duty and family reasons I couldn’t stay longer, but the respite was welcomed!



Non-Radio – Bastille Day arrival of a Citroen CX 2400 Pallas Automatic

Writing this on Bastille Day 2021, and hours ago a transporter delivered a 1981 Citroen CX 2400 Pallas Automatic bought in France December 2020, renovated in Holland January to April 2021, and on what must have been a slow boat for the last 8 weeks of land/sea/land transportation.

CX Pallas tucked away after arrival in Wisconsin

A view of the Engine Compartment

Another tucked-away photo – will be waiting for the Wis. DMV paperwork to drive it on the street

My friend Jeremy located the car late in 2020 while he was in France as the widow who had the car had engaged help to sell her late husband’s cars. Based on my friend’s observations, videos and photos I purchased the car as there was no way I could get to France. What interested me about this car is the rust-free and unmolested single-owner history and relatively low miles. So I am the second owner of this 40 year old beauty!

Arrangements were to have Citroen Andre prepare the car as if he was sending his family out in the car for an extended (and unsupported) several month long road trip

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Non-Radio – Parades and Charity Events in a Pinzgauer

Summer weather and greatly lessened Virus restrictions have allowed a number of community and charity events to proceed. As I have found myself double-booked or away for the first few a friend drove my 1975 Pinzgauer 710m. The support of charities and community at events like this benefit from interesting things that pull the public. Seems the Pinzgauer qualifies for that “pull.”

Manitowoc Wisconsin Fourth of July Parade

Hometown 4th of July parade was the latest, where entries simply show their community support and patriotism. For many years as a youth I marched the parade in a band. First school bands and later a few times in a community band. Was nice to put the truck into the 2021 parade.

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Non-Radio – It is a long story, 37 years ago… cars and first dates

Quick background is needed.  I met the XYL at the Manchester Business School (England) while we both were on graduate programs.  As I was on a British “Student” visa I wasn’t going to buy an expensive car, lest I would end up selling it for a loss at the end of my program.  So I drove a 1961 Panhard PL-17 sedan all over England.  That car is red, and eventually ended up restored to museum level residing in Australia.  

Eight years ago I learned of a very low mileage solid PL-17 in Ohio, subsequentially bought it, had mechanical work done by a specialist in Michigan, and the car’s paintwork redone locally.  More about all those step below.  Goal of the 2013 acquisition was to have the car ready for our 30th anniversary in 2016.  Missed that date and Alison finally met our nostalgic car as we started a long weekend celebrating our 35th anniversary.  

She never knew the car existed or that we owned it, the secrecy which was a challenge for eight years.  

Setup was that she had gone shopping and I texted her to come to my office so we could take a car ride before going out to dinner.  As we have some other old cars, she didn’t expect the Panhard PL-17.

Here is the car waiting for her to arrive.  

Our “new” 1961 Panhard PL-17 Sedan

I was uncertain if I would get a “meh” or enthusiasm.  We have had a lot of cars over the years, and I wasn’t very confident my first PL-17 would have made a positive impression back then.  So would this one catch her fancy decades later?

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