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Outland

Working on the next issue.  Probably have it done in a couple days.  Otherwise, the Wyoming Weapons Collectors Annual Gun Show is this weekend in Riverton.  Always find some odd cool useful item there.

Midnite In The High Desert

See you all later today. 

Parts

Acquired a few old TVs to strip down for parts:

Best of the bunch so far was a 1970s GE S-F Chassis B&W portable.

The two local Radio Shack stores are actually franchises.  With their current organizational woes, these may have been the last RS bulk parts packs in Wyoming:

We used to have an NTE distributor in Casper, but they closed up shop recently. There is always mail order, but that lacks something, and might be considered cheating by some. At least that’s what Abbey tells me.

Rocky Mountain Sunset

Recent sunset over the Wind River Range, Wyoming. 

The Outland #1

Issue #1 (one), started March 8th, 2017. Originally created on a Remington Rand Quiet-Riter manual typewriter before being transferred to digital format. Free where you can find it. Communications via email at <tfne.tom@gmail.com>, or preferably via snail mail to Tom F., POB 1351, Riverton, WY 82501. This is my mini newsletter on tekhnology, survivalism dystonautics, living in God’s country, aka the State of Wyoming, observations on life, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Feel free to copy this newsletter and pass it along to friends, acquaintances, et al. I am Tom F. from the Wind River Basin in Central Wyoming. Until two years ago I lived in the Northeast U.S. Wyoming is much better. You may have read some of my previous worls under the pen names of Ticom (Cybertek Zine: The Cyberpunk Technical Journal) & Sparks31. To quote Bob Dylan, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” You might also see some writing from my wife Carol Alisa, my old friend and Cybertek co-conspirator Wildflower (who uses a #2 pencil) and maybe some of the other old crew if they stumble across this polemic and decide to send something in. Of course if anyone reading this is so moved to contribute, your submissions are more than welcome, but my advice is to find your voice, pick up an old typewriter at a tag sale or flea market, and start creating your own mini newsletter like this one. Not all who wander, are lost.

After writing in the survivalist genre since the late 1980s, the more I think about it, the more I like the term “dystonaut,” and that approach, instead of survivalist, prepper, threeper, or whatever is popular this year. Dystonaut, from the Greek “dysto” (not), and “naut” (traveller). Voyagers through dystopian space. Poor travellers. You get the drift. Post-modern coyotes scratching out a living in the American remains. Home on the strange. I like it, especially out here in the desert.

I was at Windy City Books in Casper (WY) not too long ago, and came across a book I can recommend. It is titled The Wander Society, and is written by Keri Smith. The philosophical stance is well within that of dystonauts.

What’s in your library?

Putting together a good library of technical and non-techincal books is one of the best things anyone can do. You need to locate and frequent every used bookstore and independent bookstore within traveling distance of your home. When you visit the place, make sure you go through all the shelves. You never know what you might find, especially since some of the better stuff gets mis-sorted. If something calls out to you, take it off the shelf, and give it a look-through. If it looks good, take it home. Eventually you will have a good library put together. Here are the current titles on my desk;s shelf:

  • Wilderness Essays, by John Muir

  • Bushcraft 101 & Advanced Bushcraft, by Dave Centerbury

  • Nova Express & The Soft Machine, by William S. Burroughs

  • Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman

  • Tesla, by Margaret Cheney

  • Clockwork Lives, by Kevin Anderson & Neil Peart (Yes, the drummer from Rush.)

  • My Cool Shed, by Jane Field-Lewis

  • The Knowledge, by Lewis Dartnell

  • The Art of Tinkering, by Karen Wilkinson & Mike Petrich

  • The Typewriter Revolution, by Richard Polt

  • Mad Science & Mad Science 2, by Theodore Gray

  • Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs, by Patrica Allmer and John Sears

Since moving out here, I have noticed that the overall quality of finds at the local used bookstores is much better than it was back East. The nearest chain bookstore was Hastings that was 2 ½ hours away. They weren’t too bad as far as chain-stores went. My nearest used bookstore is about 30 minutes away, and both Jackson and Casper have pretty good independents. In comparison, back East there were six Barnes & Noble stores within driving distance, and I rarely found anything in them. That oversaturation managed to kill off all the good independents and used bookstores in the area, the places where you’d find the good stuff.

Now you can take that list, and have them all ordered and delivered from Amazon within a few days if you’d like, but what you should really do is go visit a good used or independent bookstore in your area and see what you can find. You’ll be much better for the experience if you do it that way.

 I’ve been doing a lot more reading since moving out here. That is, reading of the printed book variety. There is only one high-speed, or really any-speed Internet service in this part of rural Wyoming, and it’s very spendy at around $200/month. For low-bandwidth stuff like checking e-mail, we just just prepaid mobile phones with 3G/4G data. You can tether them to your laptop through USB or WiFi. Reasonably-priced and works OK. The cities have more choices when it comes to Internet service, for those who don’t mind living in a city. I don’t find the lack of regular connectivity to be a handicap. In fact, the lack of distraction from being constantly connected allows you to get more work done. There is a reason terms like “web” and “net” are used to describe it.

Shortly after moving out here, I found this 1960s(?) vintage Arvin multiband radio for all of $30 at an antique mall in Laramie. It has AM broadcast, shortwave (to 7 MHz.), and longwave coverage, and runs off a few AA batteries. You can find units like this all the time at antique shops, tag sales, and auctions, and use it to pick up news broadcasts from around the world. It’ll give you a different perspective on things from the junk you’ll get on the Net and off broadcast TV. It won’t spy on you like your TV or phone. If the power goes out, or cell service, or Internet, it’ll still work. I can even keep some AA NiMh batteries ready for it with a solar-powered charger. As a bonus, it uses discrete electronic components so if it ever breaks I can fix it.

The best time to listen is at night. You’ll be able to listen to different AM stations many states away, especially during the winter, and worldwide shortwave broadcast stations. Nightime is also when the more “interesting” radio shows are on.

That’s all I got for this issue. If you liked what you read, or have a question or comment, please send me an anonymous postcard of an interesting nature from your region. If you found a physical copy of this newsletter somewhere in meatspace, I’d appreciate knowing where it has roamed. Until next time…

Issue #1 (one) finished March 15th, 2017. Copies encouraged. Free where you can find it. Communications via email at <tfne.tom@gmail.com>, or preferably via snail mail to Tom F., POB 1351, Riverton, WY 82501.

New Book

http://tw-lee.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-reports-of-agent-tw-lee-have-been.html

Contact and GPG Key Update

Figured it was about time to update my info, especially since ticom.new.england@gmail.com doesn’t seem quite right anymore. (It’ll still work though for the moment.)

Updated Email: ticom@unseen.is

GPG Key:

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Tuning the Airwaves

“For the words of the profits
Were written on the studio wall
Concert hall
And echoes with the sounds, of salesmen”

-Rush, Spirit of Radio

receivers

Fired up the R-75 on the 120′ longwire last night and spun the dial for a bit.  The frequency shown is that of Radio Havana, Cuba.  Arnie Coro’s show DXers Unlimited was on, and that’s one I really enjoy listening to. The 75/80 and 160 meter ham bands were also open, and I tuned around there for a bit.  There are some fucktards on 75m SSB who need to be hunted down.  Their language and behavior has no place on the amateur radio bands. In contrast, 75m AM and 160m are still gentlemans’ bands, probably because it requires a level of skill to operate successfully there.

Went down below 160m and heard at least one station on every AM BCB frequency.  Mostly talk radio at night, but 1420 & 1330 KHz. were playing decent selections of oldies and country music respectively.  Going down even lower, I logged a whole list of distant longwave NDBs that I will share with you:

Freq. (KHZ.)     ID         City, State/Province
———————————–
406                    YLJ        Meadow Lake, SK (Canada)
404                    MOG     Montague, CA
385                     WL        Williams Lake, BC (Canada)
383                     CNP      Chappel, NE
368                     SX         Cranbrook, BC (Canada)
371                     ITU        Great Falls, MT
350                     RG        Oklahoma City, OK
326                     DC        Princeton, BC (Canada)
317                      VC        La Ronge, SK (Canada)
290                    YYF       Penticton, BC (Canada)
284                    QD         The Pas, MB (Canada)
257                    HCY       Cowley, WY
242                   XC           Cranbrook, BC (Canada)
200                   UAB       Anahim Lake, BC (Canada)

That’s about 40 minutes worth of tuning through the LW band.  Not listed were relatively local (within 300 miles) NDBs that I usually pick up on any given evening.  Since the FCC will soon be opening up bands below AM BCB for amateur radio use, this frequency range has been of increased interest.  If you are interested in radio’s basement, you’ll want to join the LWCA.

Hay Bales, Telephone Update, and Scrounge-Tek

How I spent this morning:

1103160933~2.jpg

That was the first of four truckloads of hay I hauled this morning. Each truckload was 12 2-strand bales at about 75 pounds each.  The wire you see going diagonally across the top left of the picture is a 120′ longwire antenna for LF-HF reception.

The Western Electric 2012C transformer for my Trimline phone arrived a day early.

1103161602

Plugged it into the outlet near the phone jack, wired to the Yellow and Black wires. Quick voltage check with a multimeter showed it was working properly.  Go pick up the phone and…

1103161603a

It works.

Now I need to find another old-school Western Electric phone for the living room.  With  local loop P.O.T.S. service, I can purportedly have up to 5 of them on the line.  I’ll have to find out if that is indeed the case.

I have come across a lot of different technology to scrounge out here (scrounge-tek).  More than you think, and the selection is as interesting as it was back East.  A fellow desert rat who is a friend of mine just gave me a 33cm band (902-928 MHz.) vertical antenna.  33cm sees a lot of use out here, so it’ll be a monitoring antenna until I come across the makings for a propagation beacon.  Probably hook it up to the Icom R-100.

Another friend (also a fellow desert rat) and I once came across this this rack mounted piece of gear that must have weighed about 80 pounds.  The price was right, so we lugged into in the back of his truck and then into his storage shed where it stayed for the better part of a year before he got sick of looking at it and dropped it off next to the workshop along with a stack of wooden pallets.  Since I was in the mood to do something less physically demanding after hauling a few tons of hay, I grabbed a screwdriver and took the top cover off the thing.

1103161709

I originally thought it was a UPS system, but instead discovered it was a big honking isolation/stepdown transformer system.  At some future time I’ll have to put some test equipment on the coil/transformer assembly and see where in the RF spectrum I might be able to get it to resonate.  I bet it would add a pretty decent amount of inductance to my 120 foot longwire.  The two cooling fans on the left are marked 24V DC, so the box is also providing that voltage. Plenty of stuff to scrounge out of this one.

Going to P.O.T.S.

Out where I’m living is considered “extreme rural.”  There is no CATV service, and Internet service with a VoIP line is available via a microwave link if you’re willing to spend $200 a month, which I can’t at the moment.  For all the Internet I do these days I can plug my cheap Verizon prepaid phone into my computer and use that.  If I need more data in a particular month, I simply throw some more money at the phone. The issue with that, is that while it works perfectly fine for data, Verizon’s overall voice quality in this specific neighborhood sucks.

There is one phone service solution available, and that is P.O.T.S. – Plain Old Telephone Service.  I called the LEC, and three days after the promised date got dial tone at the house.  Dug out the cheap cordless phone I was using when I had VoIP, and discover the P.O.S. was not working.  Getting power from the wall wart, battery has voltage, but no functionality.  Let it charge for a few hours to see if the battery just needed charging, and still no joy.

Wal-Mart provided a temporary solution for the time being, but it was time to get a real phone.

A couple weeks later I’m down at this antique place  in the southern part of the state, and come across this gem for $10:

1030161700.jpg

That’s a genuine Western Electric ex-Bell System property K500 rotary desk phone.  Knowing these things never die, it went home with me. Sure enough, I plug it in, get a dial tone, and successfully make a phone call. After putting up with shitty cheaply-made cordless phones, using this instrument was pure pleasure.

It gets better though.

A week later I went in the opposite direction to one of my favorite antique stores, and found one of these for a dollar:

1030161659

Although not obvious from the picture, this Western Electric Trimline phone is a Touch Tone model, and it currently on my nightstand in the bedroom.  Upon installation, my wife mentioned how she recalled her old Trimline phone had an illuminated dial, whereas this one did not appear to.  After doing some quick research, a quick look on Ebay found me the proper Western Electric 2012C transformer for the dial light.  The K500 will wind up in the lab once I get around to wiring phone service there.

After putting up with cell phones and VoIP services for the past 13 years, I forgot what having a POTS line with a real old-school telephone was like.  Yea, there’s a little hum on the line, but the audio is still voice communications-grade Bell System quality.  I like it. First number I dialed: 1-700-555-4141.

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

~Framboise Manor~

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