Monday, October 29, 2018


One question we often hear from new hams (and maybe some not-so-new hams) is “why can’t I get into the repeater?” They get their hands on a new radio, set it up to use one of the local repeaters and it’s not working. Now what?
There can be a whole bunch of reasons why you can’t get into a repeater so it is difficult to come up with a quick fix for all situations. However, in this article we’ll talk about some basic troubleshooting steps to help diagnose the problem. For this article, I am assuming that your first rig is a handheld vhf/uhf transceiver but the general approach will work with mobile or base transceivers, too.
Many times the problem is due to not having the transceiver programmed correctly. The key things we have to pay attention to are: Frequency, Offset and Tone (FOT). To access a repeater you need to have its Frequency entered into your radio, have its transmit Offset set correctly and have the right CTCSS Tone turned on. You might not need to check all of these things in that exact order but it is a good way to approach the problem. Using the programming software (and suitable cable) for your radio can be a big help.
Frequency –First you need to program in the frequency of the repeater you want to access. The actual key strokes or knob turns will depend on the particular model of radio so consult your operating manual. The frequency you enter is the repeater transmit frequency which will be your receive frequency. Repeaters are always referred to by their transmit frequency, which can be found in an online or printed repeater directory.
Offset – Next, we need to make sure the proper transmit offset is programmed into the radio. This is the difference in frequency between the repeater transmit frequency and its receive frequency. Your transceiver will automatically shift your frequency when you transmit, if you have the right offset programmed. In most parts of the US, the standard offset is 600 kHz on the 2m band and 5 MHz on the 70cm band, and can be either in the positive (+) or negative (-) direction. Your repeater directory will list the offset and direction. Most radios will default to the standard offset but you may have to select + or – offset. Usually a + or – symbol will appear in the display to indicate the offset selected.
As an example, my repeater is on 447.725 MHz with a – 5 MHz offset. So you would enter 447.725 MHz into your radio, make sure the offset is set to 5 MHz and select – as the offset direction. You can verify that your radio is programmed correctly if you see 447.725 MHz displayed during receive, which should change to 442.725 MHz when you push the transmit button.
Tone – For most repeaters, you will need to transmit a CTCSS tone to access the repeater. (CTCSS is Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System.) Repeaters with carrier access do not require a tone, so you can skip this step. This is normally a two-step process: set the tone frequency and then enable the tone. Sometimes this is done with one selection (with “Off” being an option for the tone frequency). Some radios have separate settings for the transmit tone and receive tone. For now, just leave the receive tone off, since it can be a source of confusion. The tone that you need to set is your transmit tone. Most radios display a “T” somewhere on the display when the tone is enabled. Again, check your operating manual.
At this point, you should be ready to try accessing the repeater. After listening on frequency for a minute, transmit and identify using your callsign. On most repeaters, you will hear a short transmission coming back from the repeater along with a courtesy beep. A courtesy beep is just a short audio tone or tone sequence that occurs after someone finishes transmitting. If you hear the beep, then you accessed the repeater. Congratulations! Go ahead and make a call and see if someone will come back to you.
What if you don’t hear the repeater coming back to you? Then we need to go into troubleshooting mode. If the radio is new, you might wonder if it is even working properly. The quality level of today’s equipment is quite good, so most likely your radio is just fine. Still, you may want to check it out.
First, you can check to make sure your radio is receiving properly. In the US, a good way to do this is to tune into your local NOAA weather transmitter.These transmitters are on the air continuously, operating on 162.400, 162.425, 162.450, 162.475, 162.500, 162.525 or 162.550 MHz. These frequencies are outside of the 2m ham band but most ham transceivers are able to listen to these frequencies. You’ll want to set this frequency as simply as possible…use the keypad or VFO mode to enter it directly. In most cases, you can just try the short list of frequencies until you hear the transmitter in your area.
Next, you might want to know that your radio is able to transmit a signal. The best way to do this is find a local ham nearby that can run a simplex check with you. By nearby, I mean within 5 miles or so, because we want someone so close that there is no question about whether they should be able to contact us. Program your radio to a 2m simplex frequency such as 146.52 MHz (the National 2m FM Simplex Frequency). For this test, we do NOT want the transmit offset turned on…the radio needs to be set to simplex. You can double check this by looking at the display when transmitting—it should show 146.52 MHz (transmit frequency is the same as the receive frequency). For this test, we don’t care about the transmit tone…it can be on or off. Have the other ham give you a call and see if you can contact him. If you happen to have a second transceiver, you can try this test yourself – just see if each radio can hear the other one. One warning: do this on a simplex frequency. Trying to go through a repeater can really confused things because you may not have the offset and tone set properly. Even more confusing is that one radio can “desense” the other radio, which means that the other radio’s receiver will be overloaded and not able to receive the repeater’s signal. Using simplex keeps things simple.
The final thing to check is whether your signal is able to reach the repeater. Well, that is a bit of a challenge! For starters, are you sure you are within range of the repeater? Have you ever heard a signal from this repeater, and was it full scale on your S meter? You may want to ask local hams about whether you should be able to hit the repeater from your location with the radio you are using. For that matter, you might want to check if the repeater is actually on the air – they do go down from time to time.
This brings us to an important point about the use of handheld transceivers. They are really, really handy. How else can you carry a complete ham radio station in your hand? Well, the tradeoff is that an HT operates with relatively low power (5 watts or less) and has a compromised antenna. (The standard rubber duck antenna on an HT is a very convenient crummy antenna.) You may need to add some extra umph to your signal by improving the antenna. Some good dualband choices are a longer whip such as the Diamond RH77CA, SRH77CA, or SRJ77CA  or a magnetic-mount mobile antenna placed on a vehicle or on other metal object.
In this article, I’ve tried to provide some assistance in figuring out why you aren’t hitting the repeater. The most common problem for newly acquired radios is getting them programmed (remember FOT: Frequency Offset and Tone). Once you have that right, it is usually just making sure that you have enough signal to make it to the repeater.
73, Bob K0NR

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Why Thomas Merton Renounced Communism: 6 Lessons We Can Learn Today By Barry Brownstein

Why Thomas Merton Renounced Communism: 6 Lessons We Can Learn Today
Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk and one of the most important Catholic writers of the 20th century. He was the author of over 60 books; the best known being The Seven Storey Mountain which is an autobiographical account of his search for faith.
Published in 1948, The Seven Storey Mountain is a modern classic, finding a place on The Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s 50 Best Books of the 20th Century list, as well as The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century list published by National Review.
The Seven Storey Mountain documents Merton’s spiritual conversion, but with a bonus: Merton explains why he turned away from his communist youth. In an age where individuals are increasingly falling for socialist nostrums, Merton provides timeless lessons about why people choose bankrupt ideologies such as communism.   
Lesson 1: When people do not understand the conditions under which human beings flourish, there is a smorgasbord of bankrupt ideologies ready to exploit their ignorance.  
Why was Merton susceptible to bankrupt ideologies? In The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton points to ignorance:  
“I had begun to get the idea that I was a Communist, although I wasn’t quite sure what Communism was. There are a lot of people like that. They do no little harm by virtue of their sheer, stupid inertia, lost in between all camps, in the no-man’s-land of their own confusion. They are fair game for anybody. They can be turned into fascists just as quickly as they can be pulled into line with those who are really Reds.”
Lesson 2: True believers can stay blind to reality for a long time. No one is exempt from psychological biases that screw up our cognitive abilities and decision-making. Today, how many wannabe socialists ignore the daily horrors occurring in Venezuela?               
Merton encountered many people in the 1930s in New York City who were communists: “I found the New Masses [an American Marxist magazine] lying around the studios of my friends and, as a matter of fact, a lot of the people I met were either party members or close to being so.” Like others he met, he believed many myths about the Soviet Union:
“I had in my mind the myth that Soviet Russia was the friend of all the arts, and the only place where true art could find a refuge in a world of bourgeois ugliness. Where I ever got that idea is hard to find out, and how I managed to cling to it for so long is harder still, when you consider all the photographs there were, for everyone to see, showing the Red Square with gigantic pictures of Stalin hanging on the walls of the world’s ugliest buildings—not to mention the views of the projected monster monument to Lenin, like a huge mountain of soap-sculpture, and the Little Father of Communism standing on top of it, and sticking out one of his hands.”
Lesson 3: There is all the difference between seeing a problem and recognizing a solution. Merton came to see a fallacy in his own thinking about problems and solutions. The same fallacy is widespread today. For example, there are issues with healthcare and education in America today, but it doesn’t logically follow that a bigger role for government is the solution. Merton learned that it is not enough to see a problem:
“The thing that made Communism seem so plausible to me was my own lack of logic which failed to distinguish between the reality of the evils which Communism was trying to overcome and the validity of its diagnosis and the chosen cure.”
Lesson 4: Just because someone professes to be passionate about solving a problem is not evidence they are more caring than others. Good intentions mean nothing if solutions are destructive policies. Merton wrote:
“I would become one of the hundreds of thousands of people living in America who are willing to buy an occasional Communist pamphlet and listen without rancor to a Communist orator, and to express open dislike of those who attack Communism, just because they are aware that there is a lot of injustice and suffering in the world, and somewhere got the idea that the Communists were the ones who were most sincerely trying to do something about it.”
Lesson 5: There is morality; there are timeless principles of right and wrong. Merton learned the bankruptcy of communists: “They wanted to make everything right, and they denied all the criteria given us for distinguishing between right and wrong.”
Merton learned bitter lessons about those with loud, passionate voices professing solutions with no foundation other than their own “strange, stubborn prejudices”:
“I had formed a kind of an ideal picture of Communism in my mind, and now I found that the reality was a disappointment. I suppose my daydreams were theirs also. But neither dream is true. I had thought that Communists were calm, strong, definite people, with very clear ideas as to what was wrong with everything. Men who knew the solution, and were ready to pay any price to apply the remedy. And their remedy was simple and just and clean, and it would definitely solve all the problems of society, and make men happy, and bring the world peace… But the trouble with their convictions was that they were mostly strange, stubborn prejudices, hammered into their minds by the incantation of statistics, and without any solid intellectual foundation.”
Merton continued, explaining that he came to understand communists had no moral center:
“And having decided that God is an invention of the ruling classes, and having excluded Him, and all moral order with Him, they were trying to establish some kind of a moral system by abolishing all morality in its very source. Indeed, the very word morality was something repugnant to them.”
Lesson 6: Merton’s experience provides a cautionary tale about the dangers of tribalism. Tribalism, in the form of identity politics, is ripping America apart today. Merton experienced tribal hatreds, even among communist factions:
“And so it is an indication of the intellectual instability of Communism, and the weakness of its philosophical foundations, that most Communists are, in actual fact, noisy and shallow and violent people, torn to pieces by petty jealousies and factional hatreds and envies and strife. They shout and show off and generally give the impression that they cordially detest one another even when they are supposed to belong to the same sect. And as for the inter-sectional hatred prevailing between all the different branches of radicalism, it is far bitterer and more virulent than the more or less sweeping and abstract hatred of the big general enemy, capitalism. All this is something of a clue to such things as the wholesale executions of Communists who have moved their chairs to too prominent a position in the ante-chamber of Utopia which the Soviet Union is supposed to be.”
The Seven Storey Mountain is a timeless classic. Those with an open mind and heart can learn from Merton’s mistakes and stop themselves from falling into a socialist mindset.

The American Republic Is Dead

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The American Republic Is Dead

LED lighting can disrupt radio communications | Southgate Amateur Radio News

LED lighting can disrupt radio communications | Southgate Amateur Radio News

Amateur Extra Lesson 2.1, General Operating: Updated for v11

My friend Mike McKee sent me this.

Thought a few of you would get a kick out of these pics of the "jeep"!

Pretty cool...

Do you want a model kit of this? No problem! Go to and submit a Commission form! You will get 25% off your commission for picking a subject from our Pinterest boards. #modeltrainstuff

1529761_713432555446890_2139081397470406846_o.jpg (JPEG Image, 907 × 640 pixels) - Scaled (95%)


SPECIALLY-EQUIPPED rail Jeep strings signal wire along the railroad from Pinwe to Naba Junction in Burma. Operators are men of the 96th Signal Bn., Co. A. U.S. Army photo taken Dec. 15, 1944.

he Willys MB rail fitting above (called a “Short Cutâ€) was created because although many 3rd world countries had established rail systems, working roads were in short supply. This innovation was a success.

willys jeep transmission - חיפוש ב-GoogleThe Transmission

#willys #jeep

#willys #jeep

Schema moteur jeep willys

フリフリ(@furifuri66)ã•ã‚“ | Twitter

Two high-ranking German Wehrmacht officers being transported under the watchful eye of soldiers from the 4th Armored Division in a Ford GPW jeep, pass by a camouflaged M5 Stuart light-tank belonging to the 37th Armored Regiment during the surrender in Hersfeld, Germany, 31st of March, 1945.

4th-Armoured-jeep-lathe.jpg (850×1140)

No gym, no problem.

BRC-60 prototype jeep, during US Army testing, circa early 1941.

Early Willys MB with mud flotation adaptors Early
Willys MB with mud flotation adaptors

Old time off road tracks on a JeepOld
time off road tracks on a Jeep

m38 jeep recoiless rifle - Google Search

for fun

Great piece of equipment to tow behind your Willys MB. Great
piece of equipment to tow behind your Willys MB

Jeep.. awesome

Sweet CJ-3A

Don't agree with it but funny

oldschoolgarage: “ Jeep warehouse,location unknown â€Jeep
warehouse,location unknown

Cajita feliz
Did you order a jeep?

WW2 Jeep in shipping containerNow that’s a kit I would like to have.

wwii jeep |

First aid Jeep Pommiès Franc in the Thur valley, on the Alsace front.

Armored Jeep

Armored reconnaissance jeep of US 82nd Airborne Division, Ardennes Forest, Belgium, Dec 1944I
think the Roy Rogers show bought this version as Nelly Bell.


Bullet holes in the windshield of this Jeep are a testament to the faithful service of the Medics of the 84th Division as they evacuate wounded soldiers in their makeshift Jeep ambulance. The Medics are carrying two soldiers wrapped up in blankets to keep them warm in the frigid cold. The litters are strapped to a makeshift frame attached to the flat-hooded Jeep 4x4. This Jeep caravan was part of the 1st Battalion, 334th Infantry Regiment. Image was taken on January 9th, 1945. Thanks to... Bullet
holes in the windshield of this Jeep are a testament to the faithful service of the Medics of the 84th Division as they evacuate wounded soldiers in their makeshift Jeep ambulance.

Last GPW jeep produced by Ford at one of its plants during World War II, 1945…

Fourth of July in Normandy, 1944 The pictures in this album came from two 4th of July albums, one credited to LIFE Photographer Joe Scherschel, the other to “Scherschelâ€, but I believe the pictures were really taken by brother Frank Scherschel Also these pictures were inexplicably dated August 1944 From the LIFE Magazine Archives - Frank or Joe Scherschel Photographer

Already within German territory, GI ' s on your jeep, observe a mannequin with the German flag thrown on the floor, the end is near, 1945

Donna ReedDonna

Even then they needed armed guards to protect their Jeeps.Even
then they needed armed guards to protect their Jeeps.

Jeep in gliderJeep
in Glider


Experimental rocket firing jeep, US Navy Naval Air Facility, Inyokern, CA, 26 January 1945.Experimental
rocket firing jeep, US Navy Naval Air Facility, Inyokern, CA, 26 January    1945.

Jeep Towing on an aircraft carrier - WWIIJeep
Towing on an aircraft carrier – WWII

WWII JeepsThat’s
a lot of Jeeps

A Special Air Service jeep patrol is greeted by its commander, Colonel David Stirling, on its return from the desert. 18 January 1943.A
Special Air Service jeep patrol is greeted by its commander, Colonel David Stirling, on its return from the desert. 18 January 1943.

LRDG - the Long Range Desert Group which carried out raids & recons deep behind enemy lines in North Africa between 1940 - 1943.Long
Range Desert Group which carried out raids & recons deep behind enemy lines in North Africa between 1940 - 1943.

Military Vehicle Photos