19 January 2013

Gun Appreciation Day

Today is Gun Appreciation Day. The biggest gun show in the area is in town today but we're not going.  Long lines are not my idea of fun.

There is a 2A rally downtown but we're not going there either.  We probably would go but we have prior plans to celebrate with friends by hunting clay pigeons!  So look for us on the shotgun range!

See Ya!

Update:  What a phenom day!  Weather was as good as it gets - bright sunshine with temps in the low 70s with low humidity.  Just warm enough to not require a jacket.  It just doesn't get any better than this.

We met up with our good friends from Great Satan Inc. and our newest bestest friends met just last week at the club dinner.  We were glad to see them again.
The SCSon has his write up with a pic. (I had my camera set to video and filled the card before taking any stills :-(

I will have more later.. [stand by]

16 January 2013

Yet another "bank" to avoid

I've been a long time customer of Buds Gun Shop*.  They advertise "cash prices" which are 3% lower than "retail" and the posted price typically includes ground shipping to my friendly local FFL.  There are lots of ways to get the cash price, one of which was to apply for instant credit through GE Capital.

I tried to buy another tonight and the GE Capital option was conspicuously missing.  I emailed a question:
What happened to the GE Capital payment option?
They answered:
We are currently not offering GE financing as a payment option per GE's request to stop doing financing for us at this time.
I will contact GE Capital and get their side but right now it seems they are have no stomach to support the business of lawful business owners have any contact with icky tools.  Which of course means I want none of theirs and I will cancel my account.  It pains me because I'm also a share holder but I will divest as well.  Then again, maybe I'll reinvest the proceeds in precious metals** ;-)

Stay tuned for updates with GEC's response!

Update:  GECapital denied it.  "Erica" said Buds is an approved creditor.

24Jan UpdateBuds confirms it.  I cancelled my GE Capital account.

* warning - site may be hazardous to your wallet.
** brass and lead come to mind along with precision machined blued steel, stainless steel, aluminium. And likely some NRA life memberships too!

13 January 2013

Slant Alpha-Echo

Woo Hoo!  I passed the Extra exam!

I upgraded to General back in Oct 2011 and would have started studying immediately but the question pool changed part way through 2012.  So studying was put off until the new books with new questions were out.

Study started back in July.  It was a couple more months before issues with the test software were worked out.  Serious study started in November and I passed yesterday.

Most of what I know about electronics came from a second semester college physics class.  We experimented with capacitors and inductors and worked through the equations.  But that was back in Reagan's first term.  And I don't think we ever got into Smith Charts.

Some questions were easy, particularly the digital logic questions.  I learned a lot of that in HS and college classes and it hasn't changed much.

One question might have been difficult but instead was a "gimme":
E7C10 - Which of the following filters would be the best choice for use in a 2 meter repeater duplexer?
A.  A Crystal Filter
B.  A Cavity Filter
C.  A DSP filter
D.  An L-C filter
The reason this was easy question is because of first hand experience.  I have seen and touched a cavity filter, used for exactly the reasons asked in the question.  The SCSon's electronics group has one.  One meeting we talked about how and why it works.  A member brought in the RightToolForTheJob(tm).  We saw how it is tuned to the new frequencies.  Easy peasy.

I passed the test easily with a 90% score.  74% is passing and yes, that is also a test question [E1E05].  But there is still a lot I don't know.  I understand deciBels are units of power and that it's a logrithmic scale doubling every 3dB.  But I don't understand how they relate to the more usual Watts measurement and why deciBels are more useful in some cases.  Also I got the Smith Chart questions right, but I don't understand exactly how to get my measurements into it.

Some might say that means I'm not qualified to hold the license with such gaping holes.  I would argue I passed the test thus they say I'm good to go.  It's like so many government tests, the license is really a license to learn.  And I know some areas I need to study further.

10 January 2013

"If it saves only one child's life....

Shouldn't we do X anyway?"  Whatever X is.  So goes an argument for gun control.

Well that depends, what does X cost?  What if it costs 10 other children their lives?  I say an emphatic no!  Guns are used by good people to stop bad people far more often than guns are used to kill innocents.

Just the other day a woman used a .38 to protect herself and her children from someone that had broken into their home.  They had retreated into a crawlspace, far further than they should ever have to.

But one anecdote does not data make.  However Gary Kleck did actual research and found that guns are used defensively far more several million times a year, mostly without firing a shot.  Criminals know that when guns are legal and plentiful, that ups their risk that any given assault, any given break in, any given robbery, the victim will be armed and present a serious risk to their breathing rights. 

Ban guns and home invasions will increase.  Rapes will increase.  Robberies and car jackings will increase.  Violence will increase.  Mark my words.  The threat of violence from good people presents a risk to bad guys that keeps bad violence at bay.

Guns in the hands of good people make people safer.  If that were not true, would so called VIPs in Government and entertainment worlds be guarded by people with guns?  Why should our children be any less safe?

They should not.  NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre was right in saying the "only thing that stops a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun."  Part of the reason the NewTown shooter (I refuse to post the S#'!heads name anywhere else than on my TP) killed so many was the 20 minute response time.  I want someone there to present an immediate response.

The SCSon's school has an onsite "resource officer".  Though he spends most of this time educating about online risks (careful what you post on line) and drug and physical abuse issues, his physical presence on site means he can probably be on scene in under 2 minutes.  Because he is onsite and armed.  And that is what counts when a bad guy shows up.

I'm all for addressing the problem.  Guns are not the problem.  bad people with guns are the problem!

01 January 2013

Darwin Award nominee

Woman shoots her brother while posing for facebook pics with weapons after drinking all night.  Oh and for bonus points, she's underaged.  Link here

It probably doesn't actually qualify for the Darwin Award because the death wasn't actually self inflicted.  Close enough for me.  He's still dead as a result of a stupid act.   Story notes she may face manslaughter charges it turns out she was drunk.

The story doesn't mention many details (as usual).  What kind of gun was involved?  What steps were taken (if any) to ensure the gun was unloaded.  What poses involved pointing a gun at her brother's head and pulling the trigger?


Cooper's four rules of gun handling:
1.  All guns are always loaded
2.  Never point a gun at anything you do not want to destroy.
3.  Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target.
4.  Be sure of your target and what is beyond.

All four rules have to be broken before someone may be hurt by an accidental discharge.  Any one rule will break the chain.