Global Skywatch

popular class

Turnout for the Spring 2019 ham radio class first day was outstanding. Icing on the cake is that a highly-knowledgable, skilled, professional teacher is bringing his young son to every class. I could not ask for a better co-teacher. Sixteen students and two instructors filled the Darby Library meeting room. They came from all over Ravalli County most planning to earn their FCC Technician license, but a few will be testing for the next level, the General class. I’m studying double: their book to insure good mentoring every Saturday plus the Amateur Extra manual so I can take the third and final step up the amateur radio licensing ladder when we all test in May. My drafted co-teacher came from […]

Bitterroot Ham class starts Saturday

I am reposting this to catch any stragglers. Response has been good enough to assure the class will take place. I will know in a few days how many new FCC license holders will be testing mid-May. One thing that holds many potential licensed hams back is their lack of electronics, radio, electrical or related background. I absolutely promise that electro-mechanical incompetents can and do pass this test. Another question I get is the expense. Paperback Technician Manuals are $30. Spiral-bound are $33. The testing session costs $17. Passing your first test earns you the FCC Technician license with no further costs between now and renewal ten years from now. Radios can be purchased for $25. It goes up…up…up from […]

ham class begins in March

I am bringing another amateur radio operator licensing class to Darby, Montana. I have not keept track, but think I have personally assisted 15 or 20 people to earning their FCC licenses through my study groups in the Darby, Montana library. My track record garnered me the assignment as the local ham club (BARC) education coordinator. The club has many people who know radio A LOT better than I do, but none who can teach as well. The snide saying goes, “Those who CAN, DO. Those who cannot, TEACH”. I’m okay wearing that. Good instructors are as rare as good anything else. I did not choose this calling, blessing or curse. It chose me. Run with your talents. If you […]

Darby Dog Derby 2019 review

The 12th annual Darby Dog Derby sled dog and skijour races at Lost Trail and Chief Joseph Pass ski areas are now history. You can go see the official race results at the BITTERROOT MUSHERS website. My part in these events is to arrange and manage communications across the course over the weekend. This was my fifth year in that role. We learn from our mistakes and failures each year and improve the next. Along with getting better and better at comms comes being more appreciated every year. We received this nice letter of gratitude from the mushers for our help this year (jpg to the right; pdf here: 2019 Bitterroot Mushers thank you letter) call sign JOE This […]

Darby Dog Derby – January 19, 20

Sled dog racing is on the agenda this weekend at the Lost Trail Pass cross-country ski area at the Montana/Idaho border right off Highway 93. The Bitterroot Mushers are running their 12th annual sled dog races with the first skijor race starting 9:00 Saturday morning and wrapping up with the 4-dog teams finishing around 3:00. Sunday will be a repeat of that schedule with the addition of the Awards Ceremony after racing is complete. This all takes place adjacent to Montana mile marker ZERO. It is as close to you as whatever your nearest Highway 93 mile marker indicates. That is to say, in my neighborhood sled dog racing has practically come to you so you don’t have to go […]

just walk away

. . . Either you purchase the product or you are the product On top of selling, mis-using and abusing your personal information, Faceplant has added extreme censorship of information that runs counter to their globalist, new-world-order agenda. Walk Away GAB.com VOAT.co are great alternatives as news sources and social media. They do everything good that facebook and twitter do without the tremendous amount of ungood integral to those platforms. Look me up while you are there. I operate as the Bitterroot Bugler. I will introduce you around.

shot placement

I have spent significant time with shooters and instructors thereof. There is much to know and always more to learn. Then of course there is practice, practice, practice. Having the right equipment is agreed by all to be a critical foundation. But there is a major factor they all leave out that is far more important than everything they teach. Communication. The world’s best shooting team is useless in the wrong place. A gaggle of tolerable shooters, acceptably equipped, in the right place is far more valuable. Surprisingly, almost none of the tacti-cool shooters and trainers I have met are radio guys. They strive and drive to get themselves and their shooters to put bullets on target in a wide […]

GMRS radio hardware

Tytera MD-390 $160I recommend GMRS radios as a backbone community communications system. I published a recommendation for handheld radios back in April this year… see http://www.bitterrootbugle.com/2018/04/08/handheld-radio-recommendation/. I will not repeat all of that detail or links here. I have not changed my suggestion, but am documenting more hardware in this post to make for a complete home and mobile set for the family. Your first move into GMRS radio is, according to me, getting a TYT MD-390 for $160. Everything built in. One tidy package. One modest price. For $25 and up you can get various BAOFENG models that can do two-way GMRS communications. Those are quite different in operation and have a learning curve that frustrates many new owners […]

assassination attempt on GAB failed

The tech giants are about to experience The Streisand Effect. You might remember the big star suing someone for posting coastal California pictures that included her mansion. In 2003, Streisand sued photographer Kenneth Adelman for distributing aerial pictures of her mansion in Malibu. But Adelman was no paparazzo—he operated the California Coastal Records Project, a resource providing more than 12,000 pictures of the California coast for scientists and researchers to use to study coastal erosion. At the time Streisand sued Adelman for $50 million, the picture in question had been accessed a whopping total of six times—twice by Streisand’s lawyers. Nonetheless, her lawsuit stated that the photos explicitly showed people how to gain access to her private residence. Of course, […]

Hobo Stew

A couple generations ago jobless, homeless individuals roamed around, mostly hitching rides on railroad trains to seek better opportunities somewhere else. World-wide, nation-wide it was lean times, but that didn’t stop their optimism that it might be better somewhere else. The men who hitchhiked around the nation scrounged for survival and in their hobo jungle encampments often shared their own edible tidbits into a communal pot to create hobo stew. It is that sort of eclectic, varied collection of news stories I share with you today. While coming down home stretch, I am still mentally and physically focused on getting the last few pre-frost, pre-winter outdoor projects completed. I can’t take the time to turn these clips into full-blown, linked […]

Bitterroot Community Band

Thursday was our final Hamilton Band Shell performance of the 2018 season. We play together once more this year at the Ravalli County Fair Saturday September 1st at 3:00pm. We don’t know the composition of the band until the director strikes the downbeat. Last week was a record for the low brass section … not quite 76 trombones, but closer than I have ever seen us to it. Missy shot some videos of our tunes until the battery in my camera insisted she quit… part-way through the fourth song. My Canon point-n-shoot does not bill itself as a movie camera, and certainly has a low-end microphone, but you can get the gist of what we were up to last Thursday. […]

practical, tactical communications training

We have a unique opportunity coming to the Bitterroot. It is a big deal to have this particular North Carolina based trainer offering these classes here. For me, traveling there will never happen no matter how high-value the training is. The timing of next month’s classes does not suit my personal needs, but I am adjusting to fit the offering. Opportunity doesn’t always knock at the moment you are prepared to open the door. Take it on its terms and schedule … or miss it. The local sponsoring organization looks credible, possibly excellent. You can do your own research on The Order of the White Rose. The Hamilton, Montana classes may well include a number of people I will prize […]

When you need work done, ask the old guys

An even dozen mailboxes are clustered where the gravel road meets the paved one. A large, very old, rotten timber holds up 8 of them while the other four perch atop various posts that are as individual as the homeowners who added their mailbox to the row. In all, a very random collection with only one at the US Postal Service mandated 40″ height. Last Monday we all received notices from the post office that our mailboxes needed to meet the 40″ minimum. I responded with printed notes in each mailbox inviting all to a work party at 0900 Saturday to raise them all together. One man telephoned me to say he couldn’t make next Saturday, but wanted to help. […]

Radio Field Day at Hamilton Airport

Amateur radio’s biggest event of the year is this weekend all across the USofA. The main event is to encourage individuals, groups, clubs and teams to deploy their radios into “field locations” – that is, to set up and practice the use of mobile, temporary radio communication centers. Part of the game is to contest and see how many contacts each unit can make across the nation. That particular aspect of the program runs from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) typically will share contact information with other temporary field stations in 20 or more states during the 24-hour contest period. This also happens to be the weekend of Hamilton’s annual Fly In, which this […]