Internet Instructions

I was looking at building a fence so I looked up some ‘plans’ on the internet. And as with most things found many different designs and methods. I’ve built fences before so I was just looking for some tips. You know, how to attach stuff in maybe a better way than I’ve done in the past. Here is my conclusion: nobody else really knows how to attach stuff either!

For instance, whats the best way to attach the lower rail? Toenail? Brackets? Cut a slot? Just nail it on? Typically instructions go like this – “put top rail on and screw to tops of posts” (easy) then, “attach lower rail”. Really? How? And these instructions come from large organizations who should know better. Even the videos skip past the difficult stuff. Kind of like “instructions” for installing a repeater: “climb to top of CN Tower, hoist up antenna, attach antenna and coax”. Ya. It’s not quite that easy is it!

So, if I ever post instructions for making say, a 3 element yagi and go into great detail about how to cut the boom to the correct length (which is non-critical) and then say something like “make and install gamma match” for the feedpoint, please send me some feedback. Say something like, “hey Gord, you skipped over the hard part!”. In fact, I think I’ll send some of these fence building websites feedback saying just that.

It’s not like the fence building websites are alone in this either. I see many ham radio, car repair, home repair, etc. websites do the exact same thing. If your going to provide detailed plans, then provide them or don’t bother posting any instructions. People want to know how to overcome the difficult parts – not the simple parts.

 

Threshing Festival

CKARC had the emergency response trailer at the local festival in Thamesville, Ontario the weekend of June 20,21. It was fairly well attended by the public although the crowds were not exactly “thronging”. However, we did manage to drum up some interest in ham radio. Three or four people seemed highly interested in becoming a ham. One ham from NFLD stopped by several times and it seems we have inspired him to go on the air more often. Win!

We did make a list of “stuff to do” for next years event (as well as other events) and also mods to the trailer in general. In the end, it was more of a learning experience but, all good. We may eventually mount a camera somewhere and send periodic EZPal pics either over a local repeater or on HF. We did think about a live internet stream but the lack of internet access is generally a problem. We seriously need business cards and/or pamphlets as we really had nothing to hand out as far as contact information.

At any rate, it was a lot of preparation and work but those involved (all seven of us) had a great time. To be sure, we all slept very well after the event.

Workshop

A couple weeks ago I was out in my garage/workshop and started looking around. It was dingy, messy and generally unorganized. In fact I didn’t even want to be in there. The fact that I picked up a Rockwell bandsaw the week before and could barely fit it in, well, that could have been a catalyst I suppose. So, I got out the sledge hammer (and other deconstruction tools) and got busy. Old “benches” and cabinets – gone.

I thought I might have enough wood laying about to actually build a new workbench but as my plans (ahem) expanded, the realization set in that no, it’s not enough. So, a trip to Rona, our local lumber store ensued. There we bought 2×4’s and 2×6’s (VE3IBQ even made a separate trip for a bunch of 4×4’s where she used her feminine whiles to get them cut exactly in half) and many other items of interest. Out came the measuring sticks and chop saw and I was away. Since I had made similar workbenches before for the ham shack, I decided to go with the same plan – only a bit bigger.

IBQ suggested I replace the only window in the shop and also the entrance door which looked horrible and was half falling apart. Off we went to the ReStore for a new door. We found a solid core door for $60!! I ended up making a new window as we could not find one there and NO WAY was I paying over $100 for a simple window. I ended up making one for about $40 using a piece of plexiglass purchased at a reduced amount from Home Depot. Unfortunately my first cut didn’t exactly work out, but it was a big enough piece that there was plenty leftover to make another pane. We also purchased some new fluorescent lighting at fire sale prices.

I built two benches. One is ten feet long, the other is eight feet. I mounted my vice securely on one and placed my other tools (drill press, band sander, router table, etc) temporarily on the benches. I installed new lighting and eventually moved the light switch to a different location. After much help from IBQ moving tool cabinets and things around there was now plenty of room to work on other projects! Yay!

But something was still missing. Drat, NO TABLE SAW! I figured since I had gone this far, well, what’s a shop without a table saw? I had been eyeing one up at the local Sears store but always looking for a bargain, I ended up buying a sort of portable one (yet still robust) at Canadian Tire for half price. In the end I’m glad I got this one as now I can wheel it outside if required.

Now the difficult part – what to build next!

 

Trailer

After getting some groceries on her mobility scooter, my better half asked me if it was possible to make a trailer for the unit as the front basket just isn’t large enough. So, I did. We had a couple of wheels with pneumatic tires kicking around the shop that we felt would work perfect. After some head scratching, I came up with the current design. At first I was going to make a “real” hitch as the scooter has a small trailer hitch receiver just below the seat. But I just wasn’t happy with this arrangement. For one, it seemed a little flimsy and two, it is so high up that there would be a lot of pipe bending involved. Bending pipes just isn’t that easy as I’ve found out from some previous projects. Luckily there is a bumper bar on the unit that seemed well suited to this application.

So a piece of an old lawn chair for a frame, a chunk of 1″ square thick walled aluminum for the tongue, a couple wheels from Princess Auto and some other pieces of steel and aluminum – presto, trailer. By ‘presto’ I mean six hours later 🙂 Still, it was certainly worth the effort. It tracks very well, has an estimated capacity of 100 lbs and weighs very little. The insulated box was VE3IBQ’s idea and it fit perfectly on the unit.

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