Just How is America Being Made Great Again?

Performing a quick noise test during the [SAD] PG&E induced power outage

Our power was out this week for about a day and a half. We were prepared and went about our lives quite well. In fact, there were two standout good things about this man made “emergency” – we made sure we were very well prepared, and I was able to test the bands on my KX-3 while there was ZERO power on in my neighborhood. Lets talk about the noise test first, then the preparedness aspect and finally, why I ended up being really angry at PG&E – (when at first I wasn’t).

It turns out that the most “fair” time to do a noise test is in the wee hours of the morning. With ZERO power on in my town, the noise level on 40M was S6, and that was low enough to hear pretty much everything. In fact, the KX-3 sounded less noisy than S6. I was running from a couple 6V lantern batteries. Once the power came back on, the noise level at the same time in the middle of the night – was S7 – and that is with my switching power supplies. Its close enough to the battery that I’m satisfied with my stations as is. I did find at various times during the day, people do switch on “something” that causes S9 or S9 +20 noise. I’m guessing its some kind of plasma TV next door – because its mainly during the night hours when someone would be watching TV. I have only checked 40M – it seems that 80M is not ffected – I can check into the Mission Trail Net on 75M without the same noise level.

My wife Kat ordered these excellent water jugs from our local CERT team

After the recent earthquake in Southern California, I purchased an ICOM ID-91, and like it – I have been using it each Wednesday evening to check into our local CERT Net. I also am signed up for a Winter CERT preparedness class, and I will join the local team. It just so happens that last Saturday, we picked up these new blue water jugs – and we filled them up when we heard PG&E were going to turn off the power. As it turned out, we had water, gas and cell service during this blackout, so all we had to worry about was night lights and keeping the fridge doors closed.

The wonderful “Luci Light”

My wife and I went to REI and picked up a couple of these Luci inflatable lights. They are solar chargeable and they will provide excellent light for many hours and even charge your cell phone.

So, the great news – we were very well prepared. I even put up halloween lights outside that are solar charged – so we had outdoor lights that provided a nightlight effect when going to the bathroom at night. The moon was almost full – so even though having a completely dark suburban town is a bit eerie, we did just fine.

Now the bad part. When I first heard about this idea to shut off power, I was hoping it would have been a more “surgical” operation, like some of the other power companies do – companies who have invested in their infrastructure and have the ability to automatically fail over, shut off power, and do it only where the problems are. We had ZERO breeze here in Orinda, at least down in the flats. Apparently, there was 70+ mph winds on Mt. Diablo and Mt. St. Helena. OK – well, sure, turn off the power. But then I read that PG&E had $100 million in a fund that they charged customers for – to modernize their power grid – and they spent it on CEO and others bonuses and raises. All of a sudden, I wasn’t the “good citizen” willing to take it on the chin as I first was.

I live in Silicon Valley – and there is absolutely NO good reason why our power grid should be so antiquated and unsafe that the power company has to shut power off in such wide swaths. We did just fine – but felt terrible for the local businesses – for God’s sake – if Amazon hasn’t killed small retail business already, PG&E will help finish them off. Soon – we will only be able to buy stuff from Amazon – but I digress. There are people on medical devices, hourly workers who won’t get paid for a couple of days, and others who did not do as well. It cost the area $2.5 billion, so this is really serious stuff.

Jim Carrey’s Trumpian Halloween Painting

When I did check the internet, this “Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” horror that is the Trump and Giuliani Clown Show sure made for some interesting “entertainment”. I love how these buffoons screw up and remind me of the movie “Dog Day Afternoon”.. What schmucks!

I was wondering if the fucking world has gone out of its collective mind . . .

So – this week did get me down a bit – broken government, crumbling infrastructure – and I am wondering How Has America Been Made Great Again?

One Comment on “Just How is America Being Made Great Again?

  1. This country has long allowed utilities an unusually long leash, and also legally protected monopolies, generally justified by the high expense involved in infrastructure. But when you come down to it, there is something a bit morally questionable about the arrangement, because you really have zero choice about who your utility provider is. Don’t like that rate hike? Well, you can always sell your house and move. See: Hobson’s Choice.

    I just got back from England and I saw subway ads implying that you could choose your utilities provider, and these companies seemed to be in competition with each other. Utility companies having to compete just like anyone else? What a concept! I live in Palo Alto which has long owned its own utilities. And guess what? Our rates are lower than surrounding communities who have to buy directly from PG&E.

    I was about to write a proposal on how to fix it, but instead I think I’ll just say, get the profiteering bums out. Either devise a way for utility companies to compete directly (the best option IMO), or convert them into customer-owned cooperatives, or else just take them into public ownership. Enough with opening your wallet and saying “help yourself” to these utility monopolies who can’t even be bothered to do their most basic jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

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