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About to build a J-Pole antenna

After yet another effort at attempting to check in to a 2m net, I’ve pretty decisively concluded that my antenna is not powerful enough. I’m using a Baofeng UV-5R with some Nagoya whip. I can hear things okay, but that’s the extent of it. Never made any contacts at all from multiple test locations.

So I’m assembling parts to follow this basic j-pole build concept:

I bought the copper, solder, pipe cutter, flux, etc. And just ordered the coax cable, along with the UHF female jack and an SMA female to UHF female to attach to the HT.

I wrote to the author of the above video about what to use for the connector bit at the feedpoint and he said I could just use plumbing solder. I already have this on hand, so why not.

I’m basically foregoing any attempt at tuning, since an SWR meter will set me back at least $60 Canadian. I’ll just follow the measurements given and hope for the best.

I found a few other j-pole videos I’ll include below, though the one above is really the clearest. It’s interesting when doing a project like this to get a few different viewpoints because different people will say or show different elements that may end up being important for your tinkering.

Lotsa close-ups of the soldering action:

I’m not too crazy about how they connect to the feedpoint here but including anyway:

This is worth reading and if I were in the US I would probably just have bought one of his – but it’s a good learning experiment to do my own as well:

Using an external antenna with your handheld radio

Starting out in amateur radio, our first rig usually is the venerable handheld radio. Compact and all-in-one design, these HT’s or handi-talkies are an inexpensive choice. In fact, now with the Chinese handhelds flooding the market, a ham can get on the air for as little as $30.

And this one is worth watching just to understand what’s really happening:

“I am the FBI”

Return of Cooper: Twin Peaks S03e16 video clip.

Bagpipe Video: Beginner Left Hand / Right Hand Technique

This is, so far, one of the best first first bagpipe video lessons I’ve found for somebody starting out.

I’ve learned the scales from other videos, but this one has a critical step others are missing. To do your left hand only, fingers all on, fingers all off. And practice that. And then do left hand all on, right hand all on, right hand all off (keep left hand on). Repeat that.

Especially the right hand, on a ‘long’ practice chanter it can be hard to hit all those holes. And I don’t have small hands either. So this whole thing of cutting away from the scale and just focusing on closing all the holes accurately and consistently seems like a significant reference point towards developing coherence.

It seems more fundamental even than going note by note before you’ve had a chance to fully solve the problem of closing all the holes…

This video also uses bagpipe tabs which is really cool. Sadly, the website this video links out to in descriptions, tryscotland.com, fails to load. I was hoping for dozens more videos like these…

Coherence

I’ve been learning to swim. It’s a rare strange pleasure to learn at 37 something most people seem to learn by 7. It gives you back those feelings of being a kid – but with the fear removed, in my case.

I’ve noticed something. That before you’ve learned, it seems like nothing you do with your body seems to have any impact in the water; no propulsion.

But once you’ve learned, it’s completely the opposite. The slightest motion propels you through the water. It’s a complete inversion. The sudden leap forward into coherence…

Wonderlands

I didn’t stumble into the land of Husk intentionally. It appeared of its own volition over the course of several hypnagogic visions.

It was only afterwards that I realized the parallels to the “Wonderlands” of so-called tulpamancy. Have to admit there are some interesting things in the modern tulpa fad, but a lot of it really turns me off. Here’s an example:

A good wonderland consists of a lot of things to do for your tulpa. What is your poor tulpa to do while being locked up in your head whilst you sleep, or when you’re in a boring-ass lecture.

I guess, off the bat, I don’t like the idea of other people telling me a bunch of rules for how my imagination should work. That seems totally bogus. Second it seems weird to me people are so intent on ‘locking up’ their imaginary friends like this… feels kinda cruel?

This description is a bit more interesting to me because it links wonderlands to Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci. I guess I ought to try now using that ‘journey method’ as it’s also called to store objects or blocks of information in Husk and “see what happens.”

 

 

Denizens of inner worlds

With regards to exploring inner worlds, I’ve gotten to wondering if what to me is just harmless “imaginary” visits is perhaps experienced by the denizens of those worlds. Something like this:

Via.

Do they see my “essence” floating like some kind of orb, unknown and unidentifiable? What am I to them?

Welcome to Husk

I’ve been engaging in a series of hypnagogic meditations/visualizations, which over the course of a couple of weeks, I’ve been able to map out into a quasi-coherent imaginal realm, called Husk (pictured above).

Husk, for me, is entered via the door at the bottom, which is on a ridge in a tree in a forest on top of the ridge.

There is a left hand path which leads to a stone bridge, and a castle. The right path winds down along a cliff face to a plain and a village, with fields and a river beyond. A waterfall drops over the ridge down the area below, and winds off in the distance into a kind of vortex.

The village is called Tranquilos, the smaller River Langula, the vortex Exilis. The settlers of Tranquilos came from away over the sea and river at top right from a land called Sourcia.

I was curious what would be the effect if I brought into Husk the tulpa that I had been working on, Princeps, whose form is a blue diamond. 💎 While exploring such inward-facing worlds, I try to do a combination of directed visualization, plus a “wait and see” attitude after introducing elements. That is, I wait for spontaneous changes to the environment. In this case, I got the impression that Princeps as “money” was enriching the elements to which I introduced it.

I started with the big river at top: and when I added “money to water” the water became full of fish and living things. Then the shoreline. When I added “money” to earth, plants grew and evolved and eventually animals came to eat and live among them. Not long after, settlers from Sourcia arrived and built their round-houses, and lived off the fish in the river.

Eventually, I added “money to rock” via Princeps, and out of the mountain arose the castle across the stone bridge. Princeps set four watchers, pillars of fire, to guard over the realm.

Don’t start with scales

So my Dunbar poly long practice chanter came in the mail on Monday, shortly after the Eclipse. They say the long is good because its the same length as the pipe chanter on the Great Highland Pipes. The right hand fingering feels pretty stretched for me as a newbie though, but I’m giving it a go regardless.

I have to admit that I forgot how frustrating learning a new instrument can be in the early stages especially.

I bought the first installment of the Bagpipe Solutions tutor book. It’s a PDF with embedded links to online sound files, and it seems fine. One thing I’ve discovered though, between that and my Youtube experiments is that learning the scale is NOT the first thing you should do.

Well, I mean it is, but not ‘as a scale’, but as individual notes. Trying to link them all together into a run is much too hard to get started. So instead, I’m focusing on just notes. Getting the low G to sound properly. Then going up through the next highest note, getting that to sound right, and so on. But for now, I’m only focusing on right-hand notes.

I don’t have a teacher, like they all say you should. But so far this is feeling better than the sad attempts I’ve been doing at getting through the scale all in one shot. Little by little. This isn’t going to happen overnight.

Bagpipe Solutions by John Cairns – Ebooks PDF

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that you can buy John Cairns’ renowned “Bagpipe Solutionspiping tutor books at a discounted price direct from the author in the form of ebooks.

Retail pipe seller sites like Dunbar in Canada charge $40 CAD for a hardcopy book and CD. There are seven volumes, so throw in shipping and that starts to add up. Cairns sells them for $25 CAD each instead. Since there is no shipping charge, that works out to a lot less.

I was a little confused by his site, so I confirmed with the author of the series that the ebooks are in PDF format and have maybe either audio embedded directly (? never seen that in a PDF) or else links to download the audio files for free, via his site. I’ll add more details once I buy them.

I first read about Cairns’ books from the excellent pipe supplier and information site, Hotpipes.com. They claim that for persons attempting to potentially learn the pipes without a teacher – such as myself – this series would lead you toward doing that. Though everyone seems to recommend having a teacher – but this may not always be possible, depending where you live. I’ve learned a lot of things through careful experimentation, study, and, frankly, Youtube — so why not this.

Excited to buy the first three volumes of Cairns’ books at a reduced price to find out. (I hear the first three books completely cover the practice chanter, which I’ll be receiving in the mail from Dunbar before week’s end – and in time for the Celtic Festival in town this weekend!)

Jensen JENSCR70 Cassette Recorder Unboxing

JENSEN JENSCR70, Cassette Player/Recorder with AM/FM Radi

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(Click through to the gallery above for full photo set)

Pictures I took of the unboxing of my Jensen Cassette Recorder, purchased from Amazon in Canada for $32.99 CAD.

I would characterize the quality as “cheap” to the touch. An old cassette I bought worked in it, played through the speaker but sounded “weird and slow and bad”, so I “took it out” so as “not to ruin it.”

Cassette recorder functionality so far seems pretty serviceable. Built in mic, no line input. Headphone out, which I plan to connect to my car as an audio source. Hopefully it will not eat all the tapes we’ve been buying at the flea market.

I honestly haven’t driven my car for any distance since buying it though, so I have yet to test it out.

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