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Category: Process

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 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.”




Javascript rapid word input tool

I went off on pretty much a tear earlier investigating the possibility of coming up with some kind of rapid communication board which would allow you to input words, not letters.

I went once or twice around the bend, and found the closest match in an app called DocsPlus which gives you the ability to create customizable word-bars. There’s a 28 day free trial. It’s interesting, but my use case is to be able to rapidly paste in the results of these sentence creation actions into Firefox in a spreadsheet. It was too combersome with switching back and forth between tabs to access other word bars.

So I cooked up some Javascript I’m still tinkering with which looks at the moment like this:

Keyboard that inputs words not letters

Is there a way on Mac OS X Sierra to enter whole words rapidly, instead of letter-by-letter, as per normal typing?

I’ve experimented a lot with Dragon Dictate for text entry and it can work well under specific circumstances – one of which is having an allowance for vocalizations in the workplace (not always convenient).

What I’m after is to basically be able to set up word banks, and then rapidly plop in values from each group to form descriptive sentences  for SEO on a high volume of images. Since many of the subjects of the images repeat again and again, I’m wanting to split them up into re-usable chunks.

So it could be a little like this, genericized:


Where each item is a bank of related words, which I can quickly flip through to find the correct combination, something like:

Man walking on a beach

I have aText, which is a decent basic text expander app, and I see people talking about some autocomplete options in Mac OS, but so far nothing quite fits the bill.

I guess the closest I’ve come so far has been finding (more on iOS) some applications for augmentative/assistive communications boards, like so:

If I were able to customize this kind of thing with my own word banks, and make it into like an app that can be called up system-wide (or at least in Firefox), and which will output strings of text into Google Sheets + allow for easy switching to regular text/letter-by-letter entry style, I would be pretty much golden…

Maybe I’ll just have to cobble it together myself though, it looks like.

Understanding the Oath

I think I’m addicted to getting certifications. I recently got my Canadian amateur radio Basic Qualification. I also finished an EU GDPR F course online which has no real bearing on anything, but which is interesting nonetheless.

Anyway, now that I’ve racked up enough eligible days as a Permanent Resident in Canada, I’m beginning the application process for citizenship which includes this fun free Discover Canada book they send you in the mail to study for the test.

Because I’m a dork and I like over-studying stupid things, I thought I’d go through it in excrutiating detail…

Section 1: The Oath of Citizenship

Understanding the Oath
In Canada, we profess our loyalty to a person who represents all Canadians and not to a document such as a constitution, a banner such as a flag, or a geopolitical entity such as a country. In our constitutional monarchy, these elements are encompassed by the Sovereign (Queen or King). It is a remarkably simple yet powerful principle: Canada is personified by the Sovereign just as the Sovereign is personified by Canada.

I love that last line: that the “Sovereign is personified by Canada” and that this pretty much near-mystical idea at the root of citizenship is oh, actually, if you think about it “remarkably simple.”

Right, Canada, right.

Look, as someone who has probably subconsciously carried around the dream of “Running Away to Canada” maybe my whole life, I’m willing to buy pretty much whatever at this point if it means I can stick around. Just don’t try to tell me it’s remarkably simple. Permanent Residency, that’s simple. Straightforward. No oaths before Sovereigns.

But like I said, it’s all about the certifications for me right now. Pass the test. Get those papers. Get a stamp. Get a bunch of stamps. Start stamp collecting. Get into rock climbing. Get into paddling. After all, I’m about to become a Canadian, right?

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