Big Weather Weekend Here in Northern California

Wow – we received a torrential downpour here in Orinda, and the Sierra is no doubt having near blizzard conditions. My neighbor and I fixed his drainage situation – but the water over powered our drainage system. It would have been much worse if we hadn’t done what we did – but I think he needs to have some professionals take what we did to the next level.

Our road was repaved this past October, and it has changed all of the drainage. One area that was a serious problem was fixed – but now we have this new issue to deal with. And we will.



DXing and Electrovoice in 1955 (and more)

1955 QST Advertisement for Electro-Voice

You can see how Ten Tec came up with their “Regal” microphone. One of the fellows who was a principle at Electro-Voice was one of two fellows who started Ten Tec.

What I love about this advertisement is that it shows that after WWII, hams who got back on the air and with the restarted DXCC Program – were hungry and very serious about DXing. This ad – with DX QSL’s in the back is one that would have gotten me excited about getting into DX in 1955 – 4 years before I was born, and the best DXing sunspot year ever – 1959 . .

The 1930’s saw regenerative receivers give way to the superhet, and many new tubes were introduced. This led to more advanced circuits.

The 1950’s truly was “space age” in comparison, but was also a kind of gateway decade technologically. When you read 1930’s QST – there were few advertisements and they were quite understated in comparison to the 1950’s. DXing didn’t seem to be the “rabid” thing it became in the 50’s – and which never looked back after that. Of course, in the 1930’s, we were coming off the Great Depression – and technology wasn’t quite there to start getting “OCD” about DXing (it seemed more casual and traffic handling was the big OCD passion) – so that’s part of it. With the 1950’s – there was so many new things going on – all much more advanced technologically – rigs, antennas, mobile, VHF/UHF, and many different operating sub genres took off big time – like DXing and emergency communications and traffic handling. I can see that WWII left many with a serious pent up demand. Combine that with a good economy and companies like Hughes Aircraft in LA looking for Hams to come work for them as electronic techs (and Burroughs in PA), and life was great – and so was ham radio.

I have a D-104 microphone, but will be on the lookout for “period” mics that are cooler for my KWS-1. I might go for a new “retro” mic – there are a few and at decent prices. I first will try the D-104 and see what I think.


KWS-1 in Progress

Excellent 1955 QST advertisement – this is the year the Gold Dust Twins were introduced

My KWS-1 has arrived at Howard, W3HM’s shop, and so he will be starting on the restore very soon. I predict that I will get the rig back by February, if all goes well.

I will be replacing the capacitors and a diode in the Power supply – there are 5 electrolytic capacitors – all common values, and an old germanium diode that I will replace with a new diode.

The King, Deposed

Ah yes, the 2018 Midterms have moved into a Blue Wave of Oversight and Accountability, and The King – sitting on his Golden Throne is having a literal and figurative Schitt Fitt.

Karma is a bitch!

1955 QST Collins and Eimac Advertisements

Left side page for a Collins 1955 QST Introduction advertisement

Right side of the ad

Eimac was right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I worked in San Bruno once – so its cool that such a legendary company was here in my back yard. Luckily – I have 2 NOS 4X250B tubes

Preventing Runaway Data Trains

You’ve no doubt heard about data breaches and data security, but in my long and illustrious career, the biggest problem has been data management – which does encompass data security, data quality, data “efficacy” and basically everything that has to do with data.

Before (inexpensive and easy to use) big data engines came along – in the years following 2010 and the introduction of Hadoop, HBase and Cassandra (which were the forerunners to today’s Redshift, Big Query, etc), data was “small data” and even if you made a mistake managing data – or you forgot to manage it from the start and had to retroactively manage that data – no big deal – we were talking Terabytes. In fact, with SQL RDBMS’s, you had their Systems Tables, a very basic form of a data Dictionary.

Today we have Petabytes of data – and if its not managed from the start – companies can get into very serious trouble. In fact, Big Data Cloud providers AWS and Google have no problem if you park your companies multiple Petabytes of data in their cloud – guess why? Try migrating that data elsewhere – you won’t! Worse yet, some of these Big Data engines have no Systems Tables, which means you have no real idea who is doing what with data.

I’ve spent the last 2 years taming this beast and becoming an expert in managing such data. Turns out – if you do few simple things right from the start – you can prevent many problems that could be irreparable train wrecks later.

Build a Data Dictionary, like what I did at Credit Karma:

That is the equivalent to exercising to prevent a heart attack. To really prevent a heart attack, add in an Enterprise Data Management program, commonly known as Data Governance.

The only issue is whether or not a business is at the level of “maturity” to do so. Most businesses are so busy being busy and trying to make money and get on the map that this data management is not even on the radar. Lucky me – I’ve made good money helping business sort this out.

But I dream of being at a company where they take this so seriously and that they catch this right from the git-go. Its a strategic way of thinking about data, and like I said – with some very simple things which do not cost much time or money – you can set the right course for your data train.

Damn – I really would be a GREAT Chief Data Officer (CDO). I just wished more companies had such a position. In time – they will – you can take that to the bank.

It Was a Very Nice Holiday Season

For me, the entire 4th quarter of the year is the Holiday Season. From Fall Harvest, to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

It was all very nice – except the smoke from the fires, but I’m thankful we didn’t have fires here – and we are in a danger zone as Napa and Sonoma and Paradise were.

I start back at work tomorrow, and had such a nice time over the Christmas and New Year’s week off, I wish it could continue. But I also know to be thankful that I feel this way.

I am thankful for my friends, family, my son Graham and his girlfriend Megan, my son Trevor who has become my right hand man, and of course, Kat, the most wonderful partner I could ever have hoped to find in this life.

Gee – Thanksgiving is a holiday I will celebrate every day!