10 April, 2009

I Owe It All To Joe Electron

Years ago, when I was a young lad in the Navy, I attended Radarman "A" School at Treasure Island Naval Station, San Francisco, California. One of my instructors was a first class petty officer by the name of Fogbound (which was appropriate, BTW).

Petty Officer Fogbound used to keep us awake in class by periodically slamming his palm against the blackboard with a thunderous clap, and yelling something like: "Then Joe Electron jumps across the gap and makes contact!"

Well, let me tell you, when you're jolted out of an afternoon's reverie with that, it sort of imprints on your mind. Consequently, I did learn and retain some bits about electronic theory, radar, navigation, and noisy steam heat (- our barracks were old, old, temporary WWII barracks buildings heated by a central steam plant. The pipes supplying the heat to our barracks never ceased creaking, groaning, poppling, and gurgling).

So, that brings us to today's topic regarding electricity. On our walk this morning, Doug and I took a bit of a detour on the way back. We managed to wake up no less than three hundred dogs on our way through town - at least that's what it sounded like. I know the residents of those areas had been counting on a nice slow, quiet transition into the Easter Holiday long weekend. Not bloody likely, with us around!

On our way past the Miracle Hotel and Night Club we happened to see this fine example of Belize Electricity, Ltd. (BEL), use of the most modern equipment to support their operations.
Electrical Power Pole
Coincidentally, yesterday I had been working on the antenna pole with the idea of extending our WIFI network, so that it at least reaches our guest house (and hopefully, a couple of other houses in the area).

I got the antenna attached to the pole, the pole base flange bolted to the retaining wall, eye hooks installed on our concrete house wall, and with Dianna's and Cody's help, we got the pole itself upright in the flange. I used nylon line temporarily as guy wires, as I'm still trying to find the following:
Egg-Type Ceramic Insulators
3/16th" Wire Rope Thimbles
Actually, I've found them. And thanks to Dennis, a friend of ours through Elsie, when he comes down this next month, he'll be bringing them down for me.

At that time, I'll pull the antenna pole down and replace the nylon line with wire rope, the insulators and thimbles, and add in turnbuckles on each guy wire run, so I can regulate the guy wire tension on each run.

Today I plan to hook up the antenna to the router and see just what we're dealing with for a signal. Keep your fingers crossed. I don't want to have to buy any more stuff to float this venture.

On an unrelated note, during yesterday's walk, we stopped and watched some guys launching a rather large boat along the waterfront. Their trailer was a 3-axle unit, built for a boat much larger than this one. But, I thought you'd enjoy seeing it just as relief from the technical stuff.
In order to properly prepare for the morning's activities, let's keep in mind Petty Officer Fogbound and Joe Electron as Joe jumps the gap after the thunderclap at the blackboard. Be safe and remember Ohm's Law.

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