Still Polishing Up Shack

Ham Shack Connections

This year we completed a two year tower project and now we are trying to finish polishing up the connections inside. The picture above shows a Microsoft PowerPoint illustration of the current setup.  The TS-2000 is old and needs to be replaced so that will be one of our future projects.  This just shows how the cabling is setup at this moment.  If you can think of a better way of doing it, we’d love to hear from you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This has always been one of my favorite holidays.  It is a rare opportunity for the family to be together since many are living in remote locations.  The weather is going to be perfect for a family get together.  One of our sons will not be able to be here as he has a prior commitment. I wish him and his family well on this Thanksgiving.

In the next couple of hours we should have a big crowd with plenty of family showing up at our place. I am so thankful to have such a great family and good health.  We have so much to be thankful for.

Just this week a coworker lost his life and left his family without him. I would like to pray in Jesus’ name that his family can experience the peace that comes with knowing him.  Their family really needs some prayers.  I should cut this short so that I can go help my wife prepare for the family’s arrival.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

First Freeze of 2017 – 2018 Season

First Freeze of 2017-2018 season

This was a screenshot of our weather station at 7:47 this morning.  It is October 28, 2017 and the last time it was this cold was last December.  I am glad to see the cooler weather. It has been so hot for so long that it is refreshing not running the air conditioner. For the record, two days ago, we were running the air conditioner.

I would like to see some snow this winter as well. The last two winters were not good for getting any snow. We are due for a good deep snowstorm this Winter.  Maybe this cooler weather will stop the need for mowing our lawn.  Maybe some of the wasp nests will be killed off. We must be the wasp capital of the world. They are everywhere you go around here.  A couple days ago, I looked up to the top of the tower and saw eight wasps flying around it near the top.  I just thought I would share the cool weather with the rest of you.

Flying Webs

Untitled

This morning, we walked out into the backyard to enjoy the coolest morning we’ve had in a long time.  I looked up to the top of the tower to see these long webs blowing in the wind from top to bottom.  This is a zoomed up picture from the ground.  Of course it was a creepy sight so I had to grab the camera and take a few shots.  To give you an idea of the length of these things, look at the beam antenna. It is 15 feet long and these webs are much longer than it.

I did some research and found this is a normal thing called ballooning, each year where spiders build webs and migrate through the winds.  Some will get caught up in the jet stream and fly for thousands of miles.  I’ve seen a lot of spider webs all over the place lately but never really paid much attention until I saw these in such great numbers and lengths on our ham radio tower.  I put myself in great danger taking this picture directly under those birds. I did it for you, the reader. No thanks necessary.

Warren Theater in Midwest City

Warren Theater in Midwest City

Today was an exciting day as the official ground breaking for the new Warren Movie Theater in Midwest City, OK.  This new theater is about three quarters of a mile from our house. I am very excited about this as we’ve been having to drive many miles for nearly a decade to go see a movie.  This is exactly what we need in this area and is long over due.  This announcement came back in February of this year and the long silence made me a little concerned that it may not happen.  This feeling was made even stronger when Warren announced this summer they had sold all of their theaters to Regal Cinemas.  I just knew that it wasn’t going to happen at that point.

Warren Theater in Midwest City

As you can see in the second photo, there was a ceremonial ground breaking with a tent set up to protect the delicate media from getting a sun burn.

More recently we’ve heard even more exciting news on developments coming in Del City.  I will save that information for another post.  I just wanted to get the word out about this development.  I am very excited about all the development in the area. It looks like my wife and I chose the right place to move back into the city.  It seems that most of the development on the East side is happening right here.  Good times if you live in this area.  Check back later for the other news.

Completed Tower

Completed Tower 9/30/2017

My wife and I started construction of this tower, two years ago, October 11, 2015. We finally got it completed today, October 5, 2017.  At the time, I was looking on Craigslist for some tower sections to put our ham shack back up in our new house.  I stumbled on a guy that was selling some Rohn 55G tower sections so I bought five of them.  Over the next two years, we had a tower mount installed into 5.5 yards of concrete.  bought hardware, antennas, antenna rotator, cables, PVC among other things.

We finally got everything installed on September 30, 2017 except for running then cables through the PVC.  I finally finished that up today at 12:30 PM.  What an expensive, tough job this has been.  It is time to stop spending money on this for a while and prepare for Christmas now that it is October.  God has really blessed me with a wonderful wife that has been very patient and giving. My neighbors are the best as well. We want to be good neighbors but since we’ve moved into this house, we’ve torn the lawn up four times.  As you can see in this picture, it has grown back nicely.  It is time to get some rest.

New Web Site

This week, I changed my web site because of an event that happened earlier this week.  On Sunday, I received an email from Godaddy.com telling me that my page had some malware in it and that I needed to clean up the files that it listed.  Monday I was at work during my lunch, I received an email from Godaddy.com telling me that I should have received an email about some malware on my site.

I told the man that if my site was resulting in putting their company at risk, then lock it down and I would call them back when I got home from work and I would deal with it.  The man then told me they have a protection program that could help search and remove any malware or hacks that had happened to my site and that it only cost $240.00 a year.  He said that since I had been renewing my domain name in two year increments that it would only cost me $480.00 for this added protection.

That call was certainly what I needed to jar myself to make a change. I’ve had my site at http://paulmccord.net on Godaddy.com for 11 years.  Each renewal, I debated with myself if I should move to another hosting provider since Godaddy.com seemed to go up in price every time that I renewed.  I always decided to stay with them simply because my service had been very dependable prior to this phone call.

My page was paid up through 2018 but I decided to go with another provider since all I used this site for was my WordPress blog.  Even then it was only occasional.  I decided to move to WordPress.com Premium for $99.00 per year.  So far I like MOST of it but I should have done some reading before moving.

When I had my domain hosted at Godaddy.com, I used the Blogolife theme that I loved and had worked great for me.  I didn’t realize when I moved over to WordPress.com that it only had it’s own themes and you could not bring your own theme unless you subscribed to the Business account.  Unfortunately the Business account is more than twice the price of the Premium account.  Since I had purchased the Blogolife theme, and have a copy of it, I may move to another self hosted site when this year is over. We will see when the time comes.

I do not mean to bad mouth Godaddy.com because in all honesty, I’ve had great service with them for 11 years.  This call that I received was a little suspicious to me and did not give me a comfortable feeling.  As a knee jerk reaction, I decided to find another home for my site before I was kicked off Godaddy.com for having a malware site that did not come from me. Any malware that my site had, must have come from a hack, or either it was untrue to begin with.  I just didn’t feel that I was going to get a fair shake on this so I decided to move on.  That is why I registered this new domain of paulmccord.me.

While my current theme is not quite what I had before, it will get me through the next year until I can find away to get my old theme back without paying a fortune to build a business account for my personal page.

Happy Birthday to My Dad

Birthday

Yesterday we had a family get together to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday.  His birthday isn’t for a couple more weeks but we had to settle on a date where family members could get together from out of town. We had 19 people people there to visit and it was really fun.  We had others that were not in this picture but they opted not to be posted online.  Our day was very loud.  If you’ve ever been in a room with 19 people talking loudly at the same time, you can get a sense of how it was.  We had fun and hope everyone there enjoyed it as much as I did.  It was a warm 96 degrees when taking this picture so everyone was anxious to get back inside where the air conditioner was running.  We had family that came from as far as 100 miles away to visit.

I’ve always been close to my family and wanted to say happy birthday to the best dad in the world. I just wish my mom could have been there as well.

Lawn Improvement

We moved into this house in July 2015 and the lawn looked pretty good despite being pretty much all crab grass.  One of the reasons that it looked so good at the time was because it was the wettest year on record. In fact we received 18 inches of rain in the month of May alone.  In this first picture you can see the way the backyard looked before we moved in.  It didn’t look too bad at the time but was pretty much all weeds at the time.

The second picture was taken in August 2015 when our storm shelter was being installed. The lawn was torn up pretty bad with the use of a large back hoe digging the hole.  They piled this dirt and then left the  pile when they left so we had to decide how to move the dirt in a way that would  not be such a mess.

In the third picture  you can see how they left it. A huge dirt pile in the middle of the yard.  They didn’t even offer to take it away.  I was a little overwhelmed with how to deal with this pile of dirt.  It is much larger than the picture makes it look.  In fact it was about three feet tall and about 12 feet wide.

In the fourth picture you can see that I initially did a pretty bad job of dealing with the dirt pile. I got a dirt rake and I left the pile where they laid it and just spread it out.  It doesn’t look that bad in this picture but believe me, it was an absolute mess. Notice the concrete barrier around the fence is actually covered with dirt. This dirt is slimy clay when it is wet and hard as concrete when it is dry. Once it rained a few times this mound was a mess. I had no experience dealing with this sort of thing so it was  learning experience over many months.

This picture shows the next episode of destroying the lawn.  In April 2016 we had a concrete pad installed that took 5 1/2 yards of concrete. It was 6′ x 6′ and 4′ deep. This was the pad that would hold our ham radio tower.  I initially got a quote for the concrete to have it pumped to the site from the street. A couple days before showing up, they called and said they forgot to and the pump truck into the quote but said if we let them fill the bucket of a Bobcat dozer, carrying the load to the backyard, they could do it without extra cost. I soon found out what a mistake this was.  The night before they showed up, we had three inches of rain. It took them 15 trips from the street to the backyard to fill that hole.  In the picture below you can see what the lawn looked like when they were done.
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In the picture below you can see a partial repair of the lawn after the concrete pad was installed. My wife and I bought a roto-tiller and tried our best to level the ruts in the lawn. It was such a mess that I never thought it would be back to normal.  This picture shows that we did get it semi level but the grass was all gone.

In the picture below you can see in February 2016 we had a new fence installed.  This was just one more episode of destroying the lawn.  I can only imagine what the neighbors were thinking by this point.  We were in Tucson, Arizona on a work related trip while this installation was being done so we missed out on some of the work. My son took some pictures for us to show us how it looked.

Still later in April of 2016 we had the lawn torn up again!  We had a sprinkler system installed in the yard so that required some extensive trenching of the lawn.  I am sure by this point the neighbors were convince that we were credentialed lawn terrorists.  Despite the constant destruction of the lawn over and over again, there was an end game.  The overall goal was to have a nice lawn as some point.

The last picture was taken yesterday, July 15, 2017.  I just realized that yesterday we have lived in this house for two years.  While the lawn is not perfect, it has vastly improved on what it was.  It is our hope at some point that our neighbors realize that we are not intent on destroying the neighborhood.  We would like to be a good neighbor and keep the lawn looking presentable at some point.

I know this is not a comprehensive photo album, though we have taken several hundred pictures over the last couple of years.  Hopefully the lawn will continue to improve and then at some point we can start working on that flower garden in the front yard. 🙂

No Rain Again!!!

 

Somehow we missed getting any rain once again.  My phone was going off left and right over severe thunderstorm warnings, flood advisories and we didn’t even get a sprinkle.  We were going West on I-240 when I took this picture with my iPhone 7+.  We had family over and so we were taking the opportunity to go out as a family and have a good meal.  I just thought it was a great picture not to share.  Also this was a test to see how hard it would be to post pictures from my Google Photos account.