Monday, October 30, 2006

Hello on Monday. No blogging over the weekend, as Dove Avenue is disconnected from the internet. We had to move out of the den last week, as the renovation moves on (even a snail's pace has forward movement, given a hundred years more or less). In pulling the computer out of the den, I dropped the modem. So when trying the hook up from elsewhere in the house, we could not get the modem to work.

However, last week did see the kitchen progress to the point where the kitchen people could actually come in and make their final measurements. And then, with the measurements in hand, yesterday we spent most of the afternoon with the kitchen specialist at Home Depot with whom we first worked well over a year ago, finalizing those plans. It will be at least four weeks before the cabinets are ready to ship. In the meanwhile, we need to get back with the tile company and see just when we can get them over to do their work.

Last week the plumber finished his outside work, connecting the bathroom in the new bedroom to the sewer line. (Sewer line entry point on NE corner of lot. New bathroom on SW corner of lot. House in between. Of course.)

We understand that the rarely seen bird in Miami Springs, the building inspector, came by last week and approved the drywall installation. Now we wait again for the plasterers to come and do their work.

Friends of ours have a publishing company which publishes, among other things, the River Cities Gazette. Their building burned to the ground last week with everything in it. Two of their staff, fortunately, had a lot of data on their laptops and the laptops were not there at the time. But they have no place to office, no computers, and a lot of their management data went up in smoke. Carol thinks a lot about what a disaster would do to our office, and we fully back up everything each day, taking a tape home with us. We will probably do more. Many large firms have duplicate computer systems at a branch office out of Miami. One can spend a lot of money on disaster planning, but what has happened to our friends make us think that a reasonable amount of money on such contingencies is well spent. But what is "reasonable"?

I was able to spend some time with the Elecraft. I have by now populated two of the three major printed-circit ("PC") boards with their respective components and am at the point where one is to pre-assemble the PC boards for some test and alignment steps, preceded by the "smoke-test", as I reported earlier. So this weekend I did the pre-assembly, and I plugged in the unit - no smoke! Instead, I heard the relays do their preliminary boot, I saw the proper read-out appear on the front panel, and my subsequent button pushing and knob twisting, as required, yielded the appropriate results. (There are many buttons and knobs on the front panel - oh the joy of it!)

The next part of this particular stage is to assemble some test probes, and I completed one of them, an RF probe. This is a device that one connects to his DMM (digital multi-meter). (A DMM is a store-bought unit.) When one touches the probe to a particular point in the circuit, where RF (radio frequency energy) is supposed to be present, the probe detects the RF and converts it into DC voltage. The voltage runs along the leads to the DMM, and the DMM measures what has been detected.

One of the very interesting thing about this kit is that it supplies such probes. The creators of the kits think enough of their product and of the people who build them to provide a means for us amateurs to be so deliberately involved in the construction. Once I complete building these probes, I will use them to test various parts of the circuits I have built to date, to see whether the appropriate voltages and currents appear in the right places.

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