Doing Projects to Pass the Time…

Since I have 2 weeks before I see the surgeon for a post-op appointment, I have decided to test some “proof of concept” ideas that I have been kicking around.

This build was based on the Quick Pi Kit from http://www.back7.co

I have wanted a rugged and portable computer setup for taking out to the field. I figured a Raspberry Pi 4 would be ideal because it is cheap and relatively functional for my needs. So basically, this is a Raspberry Pi 4 in a waterproof Pelican Case utilizing 3D printed parts from back7.co. It is a friction fit so no holes are drilled in the Pelican 1150 case to preserve its waterproof-ness.

Keyboard, Battery, RSP1 and Quick Pi Kit.

I downloaded a free Pi image containing CubicSDR from the SDRPlay website and flashed it onto a MicroSD card. The SDR (software defined radio) that I used was the SDRPlay RSP1.

As I’ve stated before, I enjoy listening to various radio programs spanning Mediumwave (AM), Shortwave (HF), NOAA weather, Airband and VHF/UHF frequencies. The CubicSDR software is pretty basic without a lot of features, but it is simple to run and doesn’t require a high end processor to function. I can connect to my Apple Airpods via Bluetooth or you can plug in a speaker or even opt for headphones.

Full setup running. I’m using a Baseus 65watt 30,000mAH battery and I am not getting voltage error messages from the Pi.
Basic image on screen.
Screenshot of CubicSDR in operation
Portable antenna I was using.

It was fun to test out and it works well. My compliments to Jay over at back7.co for the very well made 3D printed panels to go inside the Pelican 1150 case.

This is a fully functioning Raspberry Pi so I can pull up files from a thumbdrive or connect to wifi if needed. The only limiting factor for a build like this is your own imagination. It’s not quite a “cyberdeck” nor is it an SHTF backup computer, but it has lots of possibilities.

Quick Pi Kit insert.
7 inch Pi touchscreen, Raspberry Pi 4 and cable extensions. I added a small fan to help control the temperature of the Pi.
Wired up and ready to fit inside the Pelican 1150 case.

I know it’s not fishing related…but it’s wintertime and I do have other interests. Thanks for reading…

Alleviating Boredom…

As I’ve stated before, I am an Amateur Radio Operator as well as a Shortwave Radio Listener. In short…I’m a nerd! For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the airwaves and what I could pick up on a radio.

Tecsun PL-880

You can still use traditional shortwave radios to listen to the bands or you can use software defined radios. SDR’s are basically black boxes with circuitry that are connected to a computer. The software on the computer is what demodulates the RF signals into audio. The graphical user interface simulates a radio. Pretty cool technology!

Airspy Dual and the RTL-SDR dongle.
Airspy HF+ Discovery and the RSPduo.
Nooelec SDR SMArt dongle.

The RTL-SDR dongle and the Nooelec SDR SMArt dongle each cost $30.00 USD and are 8-bit ADC processors. Frequency coverage is 24MHz-1.8GHz. The Airspy HF+ Discovery is an 18bit ADC processor and run $169.00 USD. Frequency range is 0.5kHz-31Mhz and 60MHz-260Mhz. The SDRplay RSPduo ($249.00 USD) is a 14-bit ADC dual tuner SDR with a frequency range of 1kHz-2GHz.

Connecting these SDR’s to a laptop or desktop and running the software creates a much different radio listening experience. With this method, listening to radio signals is on a different level since it is visual as well as aural.

Chuwi HI10X Tablet running Airspy SDR# software to decode signals. SDR used is the Airspy HF+ Discovery.
Lenovo Yoga 730 running SDRuno software connected to the SDRplay RSPduo dual tuner.

In amateur radio parlance, I can cover all frequencies from DC to daylight. An exaggeration to be sure, but frequency coverage is impressive. Much wider coverage than a standard amateur radio. Each of these SDR’s are useful for different purposes. Some are primarily focused on HF frequencies (0.5kHz-30MHz) where others are wideband and are useful for scanning VHF or UHF frequencies as well as the FM band.

Antennas are the most important part of this system. Currently I am using passive loop antennas (Airspy Youloop $35.00 USD) active antennas (mini whip and Bonito Meg Aktiv MA-305) a long wire antenna and a Loop on Ground antenna.

I built the Loop on Ground antenna as an experiment but have been very impressed with its performance. I wound a FairRite #2873000202 binocular core transformer with 28AWG Kinar wire to create a 9:1 transformer.

9:1 transformer wound with 6 turns and 2 turns.
Box houses the 9:1 transformer, connectors for wire and an F-connector for feedline.

Since these are receive ONLY antennas, it is acceptable to use CATV RG-6 coax cable. My Loop on Ground antenna has 60 feet of wire to form a loop. Total cost for this antenna was $12.39 USD. Results were spectacular. My signal-to-noise ratio was greatly improved. Background noise was drastically reduced which makes listening much easier on the ears without a bunch of static.

SNR was averaging 50dB’s which is really good for my location.

When it is cold outside and I can’t go fishing, I tend to sit at my desk and surf the airwaves just to see what’s out there. There are still a lot of programs on the shortwave bands believe it or not. You can decode weather faxes as a way to get weather information without any network connections. Listen to AM and FM, NOAA weather radio etc etc.

All of the software I use is FREE. Zero cost. And there is software for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. In the main picture you can see my mini-Windows 10 desktop and 34″ monitor running both SDRuno software and the Airspy SDR# software at the same time. You have lots of options!

Anyway, I thought I would share a different hobby that I have besides fishing. Stay warm out there…

The Search Begins…

Some of you may remember that I broke the tip section on this rod (Abu Garcia Troutin Marquis Nano TMNS-575L MB) at the joint when we were fishing over in Arkansas back in July 2021.

Broken tip dangling from the line.

Needless to say, ordering replacement parts for JDM fishing tackle isn’t always easy.
I will fire off a bunch of emails and see what happens. I really like this rod and hope things work out in getting the two replacement sections. I will update the blog IF I am successful.

Very light and very compact! Perfect for throwing in a backpack.

The Surgery Went Well…

We were up at 0430 so we could be at the hospital by 0600. I was in the operating room by 0715 and the surgery took about 2 hours. So far everything seems to have been a success, but I will know for sure by tomorrow when the anesthetic fully wears off.

I have to wear this wrap for 14 days and am not looking forward to that at all.

For the procedure, it consisted of an A1 pulley release at the left index finger. An Endoscopic carpal tunnel release and a cubital tunnel release and transposition of the ulnar nerve. And thanks to the “Opioid Crisis” I was given a whopping 10 painkiller tablets. Yeehaw!!!

I’m just hoping for a successful and speedy recovery. Granted, typing with one hand takes me a lot longer lol.

Readers…Meet Zip!

This morning we drove out to our daughter and son-in-laws ranch to pick up the puppy. We decided to name him Zip after the Heeler in the movie “Last of the Dogmen” starring Tom Berenger.

The morning started off chilly and 32F but had warmed up to 37F when we arrived. I’m not going to lie…we were excited to pick Zip up. That is literally all we talked about the entire week prior.

Somebody is attached to him already!
Poor little guy got a little car sick on the ride to his new home.
Checking out his new surroundings.
ZZZzzz! Trying out his new bed. He was OUT!

We plan on socializing him for a few months, potty training and basic commands as well. Introducing him to all of the other animals will be fun and interesting. He will be a good fit to our homelife and property. We look forward to many, many years with him.

Putting up Birdhouses…

I have wanted to put up birdhouses around our property for a few years now. I bought two of the Audubon birdhouses and covered them with several coats of polyurethane over the weekend. I even used silicone to seal the top seam to prevent water from seeping inside.

I will start with two and see how it goes. I decided to hang them early so they will be ready for spring so that they are available for any “new arrivals.” It doesn’t show up in the picture but they are both within line of sight of the bird feeders and suet blocks. And unlike my neighbors, we tend to leave the dead standing trees in place to provide more habitat opportunities, so the birds have plenty to choose from.

Currently, the temperatures have varied wildly from 24F all the way up to 78F so I’m trying to get as much done before winter fully arrives. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Is a puppy in my future?

Our daughter got married yesterday so the wife and I arrived early to help out with anything that needed to be done. As we went around to the back of the house we heard a cacophony of noise coming from a dog run. As we peeked inside there was my daughters dog named Maisie with her litter of 7 puppies.

I have never “picked” a dog, quite the opposite. To date, every dog I have had has picked me. And this little guy walked right up to the fence and started pawing my fingers. I reached in and picked him up to give him a good look. I put him down and he followed me all over the yard. His temperament seemed pretty even and we seemed to get along well. The litter will be fully weaned around Christmas time so I may pop back over and take him home.

Obviously, the wife has some input into whether I can get the puppy so I will keep my fingers crossed. I have always wanted a Heeler pup, so we will see how things play out.

Leather Sheaths…

For a long time I have wanted a leather belt sheath for my Swiss Army Alox Farmer knife. I was perusing the Etsy site when I ran across a vendor by the name of WideRiverChe and decided to order sheaths for my Farmer as well as my Leatherman Wave. This particular seller is based in the Ukraine so it takes awhile to receive via regular mail. I can promise you that it is worth the wait. These 2 sheaths are well made and fit like a glove as well as looking nice.

I am not selling anything but if anyone is interested in these sheaths or various others that WideRiverChe makes, check his site out on Etsy.

Is This a Fishing Blog or Not?…

I know my blog is primarily about fishing, but unfortunately I cannot fish 24/7 and provide my intended content. I work full-time and have a family so I create other content for this blog.

Sometimes the additional content will be somewhat political, philosophical, nature oriented, contain life stories or whatnot. I do this NOT to be controversial or to get views…it’s simply me sharing ideas, concepts, thoughts or various and sundry other things.

I do appreciate EVERY view or comment or like, but my overarching goal is to just share things. I learn something from each blog post and continually strive to improve in all aspects. I hope you bear with me during the coming winter months as fishing will be difficult to say the least. But I try hard to keep this blog active and will continue to do so. I have several ideas for future blog posts and will share them when they come to fruition.

THANK YOU ALL!

Our Elders…the Missing Link?

I was speaking to a friend the other day and he was lamenting the fact that he feels abandoned by his parents. For reference, this guy has a family, has his own home and is doing well. His parents sold everything and moved to Florida unannounced. Personally, I don’t have a problem with their decision per se, but what baffled me is that his folks just disconnected from the family. They want to just enjoy their remaining days and cannot be bothered with anything else.

My point to this blog post is that traditionally we have looked to our elders for wisdom and guidance. If they just disconnect, we lose that. We know they have had rough times in their lives and can give us perspective on said occurrences. Especially now, in these seemingly tumultuous times…we NEED them.

Personally, I have heard the excuses. “I’m too old” or “I’m tired” or “nobody wants to hear what we have to say.” Yet, I think we need to hear their perspective and the wisdom they can share. I know it seems like the current culture wants the adults to sit down and shut up, but we know better. We were taught to respect our elders and should continue to do so. 80 years of life experience is valuable and should be shared to any and all who are struggling. Seriously…would you take marriage advice from someone married twice in 10 years or someone who has been married for 60 years?

The buzzwords of discrimination ( OK Boomer ), inclusivity ( they created the problem ) and diversity ( they’re too old to be relevant ) seem farcical when compared to the actual dialogue going on in todays society. The fact is that we are ALL guilty to some extent and we ALL need some guidance and wisdom.

So the message to our Elders is that we need you and value your experience and to please share what you can. You are still valuable, have purpose and are appreciated.

Happy Holidays and remember your Elders…

Making the Change…

For a long time I have been hoping for a better option to replace the lead bullets I have been using for hunting. Recently, CCI released their Meateater .22 Copper polymer bullets which are lead free. I finally managed to purchase two boxes and plan on using them exclusively from this point forward. I plan to see whether they manufacture similar rounds for other calibers as well.

21 grain Copper projectile

Currently I am using a CZ 457 .22LR for small game hunting. I absolutely love everything about this rifle, especially the accuracy. You definitely get what you pay for here.

10 Random Quotes…

This is definitely a weird time to be alive. I speak with many people each day and the common denominator seems to be fear and uncertainty. Encompassing the Left, Right and Center. I avoid “echo chambers” at all costs and believe that healthy, rational and logical debate is a means forward. I refuse to be afraid and I refuse to accept things at face value. That being said, I would like to share 10 quotes that I have been pondering over and over as of late…

I generally abhor politics. I blame politicians for most of the ills of the world. I am not a blank check or perpetual ATM where you can spend our money at will, but that’s how it seems these days. It is NOT about facts, it is about CONTROL. I remain steadfast in using logic, deductive reasoning, rational thought and scientific facts that have been thoroughly reviewed and tested and sourced. I question everything. And I refuse to be afraid.

I hope you find these quotes interesting or thought provoking. Continue to be a decent human being and stay safe out there…