Lightning again

Last year on July 31, my house was hit by lightning and we lost a surveillance camera. This year, the house was struck again, just a day short of last year. I was working in the garage, when there was the sound of hail striking the walls. There was a bright flash, instantaneously accompanied by LOUD thunder.

The storm was fierce, with 1200 lightning strikes within ten miles of my house in less than an hour. It was accompanied by pea sized hail, and winds reached 40 miles an hour. shows that there were 8 cloud to ground strikes within 250 meters of my house.

The damage this year was the loss of my personal weather station, the video driver for the surveillance camera DVR, and a wireless HDMI transmitter. The DVR is working and you can view the cameras online through the streaming feed.

The weather station is still locally reporting some data (wind speed and barometric pressure) but isn’t reporting on Wifi, nor is it reporting dew point or temperature. According to the factory tech support people, that means 2 of the three boards in it are no good, and replacements for those boards will cost more than a new sensor.

The HDMI transmitter broadcast the image from the DVR to the television in the bedroom

The only other issue was one of the cable TV boxes went out, but after a reset it came back. All of the electronics that broke were in the same room. All I had was electronic damage. My HAM radios are in that room, and they didn’t even blow an arc plug, even though they were connected to the antennas. My neighbor was not so lucky, his roof looks like this:


Life lesson

Kids plays Monopoly and cries because all of his money is lost to taxes. He says that taxes are the worst part of the game. Wait until he becomes an adult, and that horrible 10% Monopoly tax that you only have to pay if you land on that space becomes a 40% tax that you have to pay every year.


Facts are not a matter of opinion

It never fails. Whenever I get in a discussion about shootings or guns, the anti gunner presents uninformed opinion and emotion, and present actual facts. The discussion always ends with “We are going to have to agree to disagree.”

The most recent example was on a thread about how sad it was that parents were having to buy bullet resistant backpacks for their back to school shopping. It went like this:

antigun soccer mom: I have commented, deleted, commented, deleted. As a mom to a school employee, as a mother-in-law to a school employee, as a sister to a school employee, as a sis-in-law to a school employee, as an aunt to a teacher, as an aunt to students and soon as a grandmother to students, one school shooting is one school shooting too many. 8, 10, 20…1 is too many no matter where the stupid guns come from. Whether they are bought, stolen or stolen from an unlocked car, it’s still incredibly sad, terrifying and down right wrong that parents have to consider bullet proof backpacks. It’s time for guns to go.

Me: You are correct that one death is too many. However, the times we live in are actually safer than they ever have been before. The news makes money on selling fear. I am a teacher, and a retired firemedic. I will tell you that your child’s odds of being killed in an auto accident on the way to school or after being struck by lightning are exponentially higher than their odds of being killed in a school shooting.

Unintentional injuries—such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning and road traffic—are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States. Each year, among those 0 to 19 years of age, more than 12,000 people die from unintentional injuries. For children 5 to 19 years of age, the most injury deaths were due to being an occupant in a motor vehicle traffic crash.
The proportion of teens dying from firearms decreased substantially, from 27.8 per 100,000 in 1994 to 9.13.8 per 100,000 in 2017. Even among deaths by firearm, suicide was the twice as likely to be cause of death than homicide, with suicide rates for 15- to 19-year-olds reached an all-time high of 11.8 per 100,000 in 2017. School shootings are an even smaller subset, with only 12 students per year on average being killed in the past decade, meaning that school shootings are statistically invisible when compared to suicide and auto accidents.

anti gun soccer mom: and we are going to agree to disagree.

I am going to repeat a bit of a post I did on that subject:

I won’t “agree to disagree” in this conversation or in others, because “agree to disagree” is an incredibly lazy tactic. It ranks up there with “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” among the pantheon of dishonest and self-defeating statements made in lieu of actual argument. I cannot heap enough contempt on the idea of “agreeing to disagree.”

The argument could be useful, I suppose, if it meant no more than what it says – mutual recognition of a disagreement. Some arguments are intractable – issues of personal taste or the subjective importance of certain values cannot be resolved empirically. In an argument like that, once both sides have expressed themselves as clearly as possible, if there is still no agreement then there is nothing left to do but acknowledge there is a disagreement, and leave it at that.

That is not, however, the sense in which I most often hear the phrase “agree to disagree” used. What is usually meant is “we’re both equally right, both equally wrong.” Two positions, one demonstrably true and the other based on nothing more than feelings, do not share the same level of validity.


Not sexy, but important

My recent post about my new HAM radio just isn’t getting the hits that other posts get. I get that communications just doesn’t seem as fun as shooting guns, nor even as interesting as food storage. Communications is science-y, geeky, and seen as not needed in the age of Internet and smart phones.

My experience has been a bit different. When I deployed to Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, communications was the single biggest problem we faced. At one point, we were reduced to using runners to carry information to and from headquarters. When I returned from that deployment, I took my technician test and got my first HAM radio.

There is also the issue of COMSEC. We know that the NSA monitors Internet and telephone communications. The conspirators involved with the attempted coup through the FISA court knew this, and coordinated their illegal efforts through the use of short range FM HAM radios. You should read that link, it’s pretty enlightening. Of course I blogged about the HAM radio use by Fusion GPS in the past.

VHF and UHF communications in the 2 meter and 70 cm bands are important, because they are short range and difficult for others to monitor beyond 15 miles or so, unless you are on a repeater.

With that in mind, I am pretty set on communications. For short range, I have a few cheap handheld radios in the 2 meter and 70cm bands that I can loan to others, which is easy to afford at less than $30 each. I also have a more expensive handheld, as well as my vehicle set.

I have a longer range HF set that is capable of communicating from the 40 meter band on up. With a better antenna, the radio is capable of 160 meter band on up, but I don’t have enough room for an antenna that would work that.

My vehicle install looks good. The radio itself is behind the back seat, the control head on the overhead console, and the antenna on the rear of the truck. I can reach the local repeater from up to 40 miles away. The digital modes let me send pictures, voice, or digital data from my house or vehicle.


Not former

The headline reads “Former FHP trooper arrested after having sex with 15 year old, officials say”

If you read the article, he was not terminated until AFTER the relationship had been ongoing for almost a year. To the press: Do your job.


New Radio

I recently went fishing in northern Maine. We were just a few miles away from the Canadian border on I-95 when we saw an SUV slide off the road and into a swampy area. As I went to check on the occupants, my wife attempted to use her car phone to contact 911. No signal.

Fortunately, we had backup communications available. We used a 2 meter band HAM radio to contact help. Once we got home, I reviewed our communications equipment. I noticed that several of the repeaters in my area have transitioned to digital only, so I made the decision to upgrade my mobile radio.

After some thought, I got a new Yaesu FTM-400 XDR. The manufacturer has a promotion available until the end of the month, where you get $100 off the radio, if purchased from an approved retailer. I bought mine from Ham City for $410, plus shipping.

Installation was easy. One of the things I like about this radio is that the control head can be separated from the radio, which allows the radio to be mounted behind the back seat of my F150. The control head is pretty small and easy to place.

With this new radio, I now have digital radio capabilities. I received no compensation of any kind as a result of this review. I just like Yaesu radios and HamCity had the best price on this radio.


Court failure

So that burglar from last summer that was caught on my security cameras? He pled guilty to something, but the last I saw was a motion from his attorney to make the court record confidential. Now there is no visible record of what he pled to, or what his punishment was.

We have broad public records laws here in Florida so citizens are aware of what their government is doing. Apparently our courts don’t want us knowing that someone can be caught breaking into 4 and attempting to break into 6 more automobiles, stealing a firearm, stealing a car, and setting the community mail boxes on fire and not get any punishment, so they seal the records.


The acts of one madman

The Pulse nightclub shooting has been getting mentioned a lot during the gun control debate that has been reintroduced into American politics as of late. I want to revisit a post I had thought about publishing at the time, because I want to illustrate the hypocrisy that is evident here.

Less than 2 months prior to the shooting, there was a Muslim cleric from Iran who gave a speech at Sanford’s Husseini Islamic Center. This cleric was reported by WFTV’s channel 9 news as saying that homosexuality’s only cure is death. Look at the video of the report:

After the shooting, this became news and the Islamic center’s staff went to the press and vehemently denied the allegations that they had anything to do with the shooting or the shooter himself.

The connection between the speaker, the Islamic faith, the Husseini Islamic center, and the shooting were promptly sent to the memory hole. After all, we can’t blame an entire religion for the acts of one deranged madman, can we? The speaker for the Islamic center was taken at his word.

Yet, the religious connection to this shooting having been forgotten has no bearing on how gun owners are being vilified and derided based on the actions of one person. In the furtherance of gun control, it appears that you CAN blame a large group of people for the acts of one person.


Math nerd

Here is a funny math meme:
What is 230-220 x 0.5?

You won’t believe this, but the answer is 5!


4 legged money generator

‘It’s easy! All I gotta do is walk my dog around, and look for him to change his behavior slightly, and then we can go inside and sometimes we’ll find a million dollars and then we can seize it!’

Read the whole thing