Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Ham Radio - more mixed signals

Just noting a slight grammatical inconsistency.

In recent HAM radio dialog, the term "destinated" has come into common usage.  While the term is not grammatically correct, the meaning is unambiguous.  It means "I have arrived at my destination and will not be talking to you any more, so let's say farewell now."  This is a good deal of useful information to deliver in a compact and economical package.

In order to implement consistent habits, I propose that all such terms be treated with equal grammatical mangling.  One of the frequent terms I hear on the air is the awkward "mobile and monitoring".  It might as well be shortened to "mobilated", with the same "-ated" suffix as the previously noted term.

I was imagining this kind of grammatical foreshortening applying to all such phrases, but some come across as too arcane or obscure.  I occasionally employ the popular term "kerchunk" which is coined in aonomatopoeia, a word that phonetically imitates, resembles or suggests the sound that it describes.  In this case, the radio repeater makes a noise at the end of a PTT transmission, a "kerchunk" which lets listeners know that it is their turn next.  This is needed since FM dialog on radio repeaters is "simplex", only one speaker at a time.

Anyway, absent further esoterica, the term "kerchunkated" is far too awkward and cumbersome to be useful as a shorthand term.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Telling the Truth

It matters not that we manufacture endless categories of nuance.  Fifty shades of gray is still not white.  Darkness is the absence of light.  Wrong is never right.

Whatever you decide to call the dog's tail, it will never be a leg.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cultural Choices

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve...

If you have not chosen the kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Early Flooding 2017

The first major flooding incidents in Utah Valley are purely man-made.

The gates of the seldom-used spillway at Deer Creek Reservoir were opened.

KSL reports on warnings from the NWS about release of excess water from Deer Creek Reservoir into the Provo River.

In order to provide better control for spring runoff, the water management administrators decided to allow excess flow from Deer Creek Reservoir now.  The spillway and dam hydro facilities were opened to bleed off some of the totally full reserves.


Over the weekend, this resulted in flooding all along the Provo River down to Utah Lake.


Water roaring over the weir at the collection dam near Nunn's Park.

The popular riverside trail through Provo Canyon was later closed as parts of the pavement was undercut by the river current and fell into the rushing waters.

Deseret News article on the canyon trail closure.  SLTrib also mentions.

If this is the full extent of flood damage, residents of Utah County have dodged the bullet.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Utah Snowpack 2017 - 3 May Edition

Utah snow pack in our mountains has peaked and is beginning the season runoff.  As the snow melts down from the highest mountains, some of the snow totals indicated by Snotel monitoring are still quite deep.

Mammoth-Cottonwood, my reference point.  This graph plots Snow Water Equivalent and Precipitation Accumulation for 2017 and 2016. Although significant snow melt has already taken place this spring, the remaining accumulation is still about even with the total from last year. Within the past couple of weeks, the precipitation accumulation has continued a steep climb.

The most recent view of snow and water at Gardner Peak in the southwest corner of Utah shows snow melt tapering off, and precipitation totals comparable with last year at this time.

At Mammoth Pass in California, the melt of the immense snow pack from this season is just showing early signs.  It is likely to challenge local flood control resource beyond limit.

And again, for scale, Ben Lomond Peak in northern Utah has started early runoff, but still holds enormous potential.

Watch out, it's on the way!

More commentary from Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Being Different

What's wrong with being different?

Perhaps it depends on your reason for being different.  Or for being the same.

For many, lacking any rationale other than different for the sake of being rebellious, there is no real justification.  And if you are the one sticking your neck out, you risk having your head chopped off.

Following rules and conforming to norms is not a bad thing.  But being different as a way to show off may lead to adverse consequence.  As long as we have confidence that doing something different is the result of a wise decision, it will probably serve us well.

There are sometimes problematic circumstances when being different is not altogether a choice.

An example from an earlier post...

A few years ago, when I was more able, I was hiking cross-country from the east side of US 89, out across the pinnacles area, through the Buggy Wheel Springs access. See the Birdseye comment for more detail about that area. Anyway, as I approached the pinnacles from the west, I was watching the elk. I stayed far enough away that I did not think I would spook the herd, but they obviously spotted me moving in  the scrub, and started browsing away. Suddenly I noticed a WHITE animal, far on the outskirts of the herd. It was a very large herd at the time, several hundred animals, more than I could reliably count heads with my field glasses, because they were moving. But the one animal was so obviously WHITE from top to bottom that he stood out starkly in contrast to the others.

Apparently, he was albino. I watched until they browsed across the ridge and I could no longer see them.

One of the most remarkable things I noted while watching the herd was that they seemed to shun the albino member. He stayed on the outskirts of the grazing area, and the other animals shoved him or shouldered him away when he attempted to graze into the area where they were browsing. I didn't watch long enough to make any real conclusions or studies other than casual observation, but if I was making a guess, I would say that the other animals of the herd discriminated against this white colored animal because he was superficially different from them.

Draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Utah Snowpack 2017 - 1 April Edition

Utah Snowpack in our mountains continues to pile on as the season nears closing.  Some of the snow totals indicated by Snotel monitoring are quite prodigious.

The Mammoth-Cottonwood monitoring site on the Sanpete Skyline has been my reference point since I lived near there, starting 15 years ago.  This graph plots Snow Water Equivalent and Precipitation Accumulation for 2017 and 1016.  Indication is that although significant snow melt has already started this spring, the accumulation amounts to about twice as much as last year at this time. A spring melting trend started about mid-March, but was then halted in the last week of March with an upward trend from new spring snow.  More than two feet of snow water equivalent remains to run off.  The steep rise of precipitation accumulation continues as it compares with last year's data.

This comparative graph from the South West corner of Utah shows tracking for Gardner Peak, which is still significantly ahead of last year's accumulations, but not by much.  There has always been a great deal of local variation across the State of Utah.

This awesome plot compares Snow Water Equivalent from the Mammoth Pass area of central California.  Every indication is that California with simply wash into the ocean with the spring runoff, which has not even commenced at this location.  The Snow Water Equivalent is more than twice the maximum from last year, and shows no sign of slacking off yet this year.  The current snow pack will yield more than six FEET of water when it melts.

We are not embarrassed by the huge snowfall accumulation in California.  In the Utah mountains north of Ogden, the station on Ben Lomond accumulated some of the highest totals.  An early meltdown reduced the total somewhat, but it still shows an enormous runoff potential, nearly as great as the California snow pack.

Get ready, 'cause here it comes!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ham Radio - mixed signals

Some time around 2004 I started to get involved in volunteer public service.  I joined the Indianola Volunteer Fire Department, and started training with the group to certify as a wildland fire fighter.  As things progressed, we expanded the scope of our training to include certification for structure fires.  Before that, any calls for such services were dispatched from Fairview, which was a long trip for a slow fire engine.  Most fire calls in the area, they arrived too late to do much but manage the bonfire.

As things developed, I encountered a need in our group for someone who could install and learn how to operate the radios used by our engines to communicate with the Sanpete County dispatch.  I started learning about radios.  Some of the experienced Ham Radio operators in Sanpete sponsored training class to qualify for Amateur Radio licenses, and I took the course, and passed the exam.  I got plenty of good help from guys like Barry Bradley, WB7REL.  And my friend Spencer, W7SUR.

I got more involved in installing radio equipment in our fire engines, and played with the Ham Radio.

Then in 2008, I experienced a debilitating stroke, and was challenged with difficulty talking.  I could no longer speak clearly or rapidly, and experienced some exasperating difficulty speaking many of the words I was accustomed to using.  In other words, with the chronic health condition known as "aphasia", I felt like I sounded like a total retard.

I soon realized that Ham Radio operators had a speech pattern on the radio that assumed everyone could communicate rapidly and clearly.  All the best conversations on the air are snappy and quick.  Some of the nature of speaking on the radio made this necessary and practical.  I could no longer comfortably communicate in that mode.  Sadly, I hung up my fire fighting gear and my radios, and resigned myself face remaining life as a cripple.

After almost ten years in this debilitated condition, and getting past many other daunting health challenges, I realized that I have no idea if my life is done, or when it will be.  Doctors are doing their best to keep me breathing and above ground.  I need things to keep myself busy.  I need another hobby to occupy myself.  One of my friends gave some information about starting a new Ham Radio club in Utah Valley, and I decided to shake the dust bunnies out of my old radios, and try them out again.


Well, I gave it a try.  After a brief trial, I realized that I face the same old challenges as when I abandoned the radios the first time.  I can still approach some level of technical proficiency, but not enough to compensate.  I will never be comfortable about trying to project a radio presence with such a self-conscious awareness of my chronic handicap.  

After some effort and expense, I have decided that my shelf of radios are good for listening to.  But I will never be happy about the way I talk.  And I can never hope to compete with the normal operators of FM Ham radio.

After somewhat abortive attempt to reenter the Ham Radio universe, I have discovered that I self-identify as a permanent self-absorbed reclusive hermit - which is conveniently packaged together with chronic debilitating disease.  I am just not a club personality, and it makes my attempts to break in look rather intrusive and ridiculous, and sometimes slightly unsettling to others.

I am not abandoning friends and neighbors in the community, and am still monitoring traffic on the 2m and 70cm bands with avid interest. Just don't feel much like talking, and not suitably mobile or healthy to attend face-to-face meetings.

From time to time I try to raise a conversation on the air, but mostly I will just be listening. Nothing personal against anyone. Just the way I roll, and too much old geezer in me to change at this point.

I will still maintain my radio gear in a state of readiness.  In that rare event where communication needs outweigh my personal challenges, I will try to be ready.  In the mean time, I will mostly remain a silent key.  Where I belong.  KE7GWJ.  -.- . --... --. .-- .---  ... -.-... -.-... -.-.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Leaving the Thundering Herd

Several times during my life, enticed by a hint of color high on the mountain, I ventured into interesting space other nearby people overlooked or ignored. When I was a student at UCR, the solitude of the Box Springs Mountains loomed only a couple of miles away from the bustling campus. I hardly ever even saw the mountains, because the Riverside smog was always so heavy. One exceptional clear day, I noticed a patch of color high on the side of the near peak. Local people told me it was just summer weeds. But I had to look for myself. Because that's the way I roll. So I hiked up the mountainside. And as I approached the highest highs, I found myself wading through a riotous blaze of golden California Poppies blooming across the high meadows. Acres and acres of them, and I felt like I had them all to myself.
Then I realized I was not quite alone. As I wandered among the boulder-strewn slopes, I was challenged by some of the local residents. Big ugly black lizards objected to my encroachment. Later I found out their common name is Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater), related to Iguanas. There were dozens of them sunning themselves in the rocks, like dinosaurs taking a nap, and as I approached they made hissing noises and acted like they would love to bite me for disturbing the peace.

(To be continued...)

Revisiting: A Standard of Our Own

The classic Book of Mormon icon, Captain Moroni raises the Title of Liberty to rally his followers.

In the October 2015 General Conference, President Monson delivered two messages.  Unless we read in context, at least superficially some of his counsel seems contradictory.  At the Priesthood Session, President Monson counselled in his address "Keep the Commandments"...
The Apostle Paul lists six attributes of a believer, attributes that will allow our lights to shine. Let us look at each one...
I mention the first two attributes together—being an example in word and in conversation. The words we use can lift and inspire, or they can harm and demean.
But then a stern warning...
We read in 1 Corinthians: “There are … so many kinds of voices in the world.”  We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are LOUD voices.
I admonish you to turn the volume down and to be influenced instead by that still, small voice which will guide you to safety.
Disregard for the commandments has opened the way for what I consider to be the plagues of our day. They include the plague of permissiveness, the plague of pornography, the plague of drugs, the plague of immorality, and the plague of abortion, to name just a few. The scriptures tell us that the adversary is “the founder of all these things.”  We know that he is “the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men.”

The emphasis in his comments was that instead of heeding the noise of many different loud voices, we must heed the still small voice, promptings of the Holy Spirit. 

Then in his opening address on Sunday, his counsel...
Let us speak to others with love and respect, ever keeping our language clean and avoiding words or comments that would wound or offend. May we follow the example of the Savior, who spoke with tolerance and kindness throughout His ministry.
The apparent contradiction comes with the worldly definition for "comments that would wound or offend".  Many of the sources of the LOUD voices take occasion to be "offended" by almost every word we might say.  They claim to be "wounded" by any mention of the doctrines of Christ.

President Monson cites Jesus Christ as the example of the example of tolerance and kindness, but even Jesus spoke harsh criticisms of those who merited strong criticism.

He did not shrink from harsh condemnation of those who deserved it.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?  (Matthew 23:14-17)
President Monson certainly understands the intent and message of these scriptures, so his counsel is fully intended to be interpreted from that context. 

We need to continue to promote standards of our own, not compromise our values to speak kindly to soften our words in behalf of those who merit more severe criticism.  It is not a kindness to withhold appropriate sternness from those who try to advocate compromising the commandments of God.  It is not loving to fail to warn those who sin and embrace evil, bringing sorrow and ruin along with them, into the lives of everyone who is touched by their influence.

President Monson's example sets the standard for this.  He does not tone down his rhetoric out of concern that it might possibly offend the LOUD voices.  The guilty will always use the "he offends me" complaint.  They would likely feign offense and bleeding hearts even if he said nothing at all.

Instead, while condemning the sources of evil and ill will with no equivocation, he refrains from employing extra derogatory or hyperbolic characterizations.  Right is right, wrong is wrong, good is good, and evil is evil - it requires no further elaboration or nuance.

An example of making our own voices understood against the competing background was expressed in the April 2015 General Conference by Elder L. Tom Perry...
We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established.
On the following Wednesday, the Salt Lake Tribune published a reaction from a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, advocating to promote homosexual behavior, expressing "deep disappointment" in Perry's comments, which it believes "disparage LGBT families and children as 'counterfeit.' "

HRC asserts families which promote homosexual lifestyles "are not counterfeit — they are real and beautiful.  We encourage Mr. Perry and his fellow apostles to embrace the diversity that already exists within their own church, and reject the language and practice of intolerance."

This is exactly what President Monson refers to as "the plague of permissiveness" and "the plague of immorality."

Then there was a more recent incident of an group of atheists demanding that teaching of LDS Institute Classes at the University of Utah must be stopped, claiming that it is a violation of the Constitutional Establishment Clause.  More belittling and confusing voices.

In the words of the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah,
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.  (Isaiah 5:20)
The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.  (Isaiah 29:19-21)
When dissidents and detractors insist that Prophets who speak for God must restrain themselves from speaking offensive words which contradict their own LOUD voices, they are living by the popular standard Isaiah described so long ago.

Our Prophet of today, President Monson, in his two General Conference addresses, sets the example for us all.  Keep the commandments, and be an example and a light.  Not that any softening of God's commandments or any less condemnation of sin is warranted.