Got a map?

NOAA eastern composite

I often use NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts as propagation beacons.

I listen and note which weather stations are coming in from far away places.

From these observations, I can tell where my own signals might be heard

when operating my ham radios on 2 meters (144 to 148 MHz)

just above the FM broadcast band (88 to 108 MHZ  – and –

just below where weather radio broadcasts take place (162 MHz)

I began with a nationwide map of NOAA weather radio stations that you can find at:

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/resources/NWR_poster.pdf

and edited it into a handy 8 X 10 printable form

for use by DXers on the East Coast of The United States.

Feel free to distribute it and print it as you like!

Enjoy!

Kitchen Drawer Fix

composite

You’ve just installed a brand new kitchen unit.

Isn’t it great to have a brand new sink and counter top

along with new cabinets and shelves?

The new fork – knife – and spoon organizer is just too shallow

and slides back and forth in the drawer.

What to do?  It’s an easy fix!

Cut a painter’s mixing stick in half to create

two thin and low profile spacers.

Find where they need to be placed

and hold the positioning using a piece of masking tape.

Then drill a single hole on each side to screw them down.

Screw them into place to the back of the tray.

Now the tray doesn’t slide – and –

you can use the space behind the tray

because nothing is in the way!

Sweet.

In The Can!

grease can

Somehow I lost my can holder. You know, the wire widgy that holds a recycled tin can under the barbeque grill. Without that can, all the grease, goo and crumbs fall on the ground ready to delight any dog, raccoon or other critter along with making an unslightly mess or worse. You certainly don’t want to track grease all over your deck!

Replacement can holders just aren’t offered by local hardware stores. I could buy some monstrosities of over-design on-line, but paying a small ransom in money to hold a grease can didn’t seem logical. There was only one other option. I am an engineer. I should design one!

The hardest thing about making a can holder from scratch was finding material to work with. Dry cleaners don’t use all metal coat hangers anymore. The long horizontal piece of the hanger has been universally replaced by a much cheaper to provide cardboard tube. I was lucky enough to find an all wire hanger, so I was all set! Cut off the hook of the hanger and you are left with about 28 inches of stiff and springy enameled steel wire.

Look at the picture and follow along: Bend the triangle of the coat hanger straight and then mark the center of the wire. Using this center line as your starting point, form an even circle of wire to hold the can firmly. Cans with ribbed sides provide a nice ridge for your wire loop to grasp onto. It will take a few minutes of patient trial and error to get your circle nice and round. The circle of wire should overlap for best stability.

Here comes the tricky part: Bend the remaining wire up and then over the can to a place just past center. Bend slightly up and then away forming what looks like rabbit ears. Cut one of the rabbit ears about an inch shorter than the other. This will allow you a little bit of room to squeeze the wires into the grease hole beneath your grill. Having the fold up point off center will allow the can to hang upright from the grill’s grease hole.

It might take you a couple of tries to get this right, but when it does, it works very well. I felt proud of working out this design. It really did the trick. If I can figure it out from scratch, you should be able to create one too! You have the added advantage of seeing a picture of the finished product to get it right the first time! Easy to make. Very useful with instant gratification! Enjoy your grease can holder all summer long!