October 19, 2020
I added another locomotive to the roster today, an 0-6-0 tank engine with DCC and Sound. I also made note of the fact that , as of the 4th of October, my layout is now 1 year old. I am humbly proud of the fact that with my son's and son in laws help with the benchwork, the layout is fully scenicked and operational.
Looking at the length of this page I am quite sure that it is time to creat a new page for this blog so look for a Page 14 of "Updates From The Radio Room" coming soon.
October 11, 2020
My daughter and son-in-law Rose and Gabe came over tonight bearing an early Birthday Present for your humble servant. An absolutely marvelous display case that Gabe had constructed from scratch. It even has the slots cut in the shelves so the wheels of the trains sit as though they were on actual rails. You can see a photo of the case on Page 20 of My Model Railroad elsewhere on this site. I am eternally grateful for such talented and giving children and their mates.
September 18, 2020
MY tester for RJ-9 4p4c cables is now done . tested and ready for use. While I was at it, I also built a proper tester for the RJ-12 6p6c cables and it is now also done, tested and ready for use. That leaves my RJ-45 tester as purely a RJ-45 8p8c tester. In testing it I discovered that the 8th position did not light up, but it turned out that my jumper cable for that tester was at fault, not the tester itself. A new jumper cable fixed everything. I am now ready to build cables in all three styles to whatever length anyone with a Fusion radio from Yaesu might need. I also received a shipment of 4 conductor cable and RJ-9 plugs so we are completely up to date.
September 16, 2020
The RJ-9 jacks from China are going to take a long time to get here, so I looked on the Mouser web site, found what I was looking for and ordered a few to tide me over until the other jacks get here. Everything else for my tester is already assembled. The box, the rotary switch, the LEDs and the battery box are all in place along with a toggle switch to turn the unit on or off. I plan on securing the jacks to the box either by building them in, or by glueing them to the outside of the box and running the wires in through the holes I pre-drilled in the case. Then I will be able to test RJ-45 cable, RJ-12 cables and RJ-9 cables easily.
September 13, 2020
I have just realized that I have not mada an entry on this page since late August. The model railroad has been keeping my very busy and so I must appologize for not keeping this page up to date. I recently built two short cables for a fellow club member for his Yaesu FTM-350 (I think that is the model number). Building the cables was easy, testing them not so much. I have a test device that can handle RJ-12 6p6c and RJ-45 8p8c but I do not have anything that can test RJ-9 4p4c mosular connectors. That will soon change. I have ordered some RJ-9 female jacks, a suitable 4pole rotary switch and some battery holders. Together with the LEDs I already have on hand I will soon be able to test such cables with ease. So if anyone needs a different cable length than the ones that come with the latest Yaesu Fusion radios or anything else for that matter, I will be able to construct and TEST any and all sizes of modular cables.
August 27, 2020
I have made a change to the Title of this web site and added a few comments on the Home page. I decided to add a note about my model railroad hobby so that anyuone coming upon the site would not be surprised to see some pages about Model Railroading. I have two hobbies, both give me pleasure, both require an expenditure of time. Read on and enjoy.
August 23, 2020
My son in law Gabe and I installed the addition to the front of Phase 1 of my model railroad layout today and it looks great. 8" wide and just shy of 8' long, it will provide space for a 3 track museum yard and a restoration shop as well. The fascia is already painted and all of the electronics are back in service. The addition allowed me to move the switches that control tracks 1 and 2 around the turntable much closer to their location. The switches for the soon to be yard are also in place. The velcro to hang the curtains under the layout seems to have disappeared but otherwise all is well. I managed to fill Page 18 to full so I have begun a Model Railroad Page 19 as well. Pictures will follow.
August 15, 2020
I woke up this morning to a phone call from Jim who asked me if I could help out with a VE session that morning. I said "of course" and got dressed and headed over to the testing facility. After we certified 3 or 4 new hams I headed down to the Real Rail model railroad club to get one of my locomotives repaired. After lunch at my second home, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Landside I came home and finally began to relax.
August 14, 2020
There have been several other changes on my model railroad since the 3rd. The museum portion of the layout aquired a John Bull Locomotive and train. For those who say Wha! The John Bull was a locomotive built in England and imported into America in 1831. It provided the first regularly scheduled rail service between New York and Philadelphia. It also is the most senior locomotive capable of being operated, as the Smithsonian proved when they fired it up and ran it for several miles in 1981 on the occasion of it's 150th anniversary. On a less cheerful note my layout is back to being a point to point layout as I had to remove the tilt up bridge that created a full loop of track. The bridge created problems that I could not solve, mainly having to do with the fact that the track had to cross onto the bridge in the middle of a curve which almost guaranteed derailments. The track was replaced several times without a solution so the best answer was to just eliminate the bridge.
I checked into the Technical Net on Thursday and was sorry to hear that Bert K4SRQ had to give up the position of Net Manager due to work and family commitments. AF2W, Jim Peterson has been appointed to the position and I am sure he will do a fantastic job. I have not given up Ham Radio, IU am just taking a bit of a vacation from being so completely involved as I was for over 15 years. I needed a break and added a new hobby, model railroading.
August 3, 2020
I finally got a lighthouse to complete the harbor scene on my model railroad. You can see pictures of the installation on Page 18 of the pages about the railroad. The lighthouse looks good even without painting, but that will come in due time. The kit was an open box kit and the only things missing were the window glazing for the windows in the lighthouse proper. A suitable substitute was found in my spares box and the job was done. A real milestone has been completed.
July 30, 2020
The 17th page about my model railroad has been filled to capacity, so I have added Page 18. Nothing on page 18 yet but it is there awaiting new developments. THose developments are coming. A new locomotive, an operating lighthouse and some new track to replace a section that has been causing derailments every time I run a locomotive over it. It turned out to be a part of the track was too narrow in gauge and rather than try to fix the problem on site I have ordered new track and will simply replace the bad section. I have also purchased a hand held scanner so I can do a little railfanning on occasion.
July 26, 2020
I received an Email from a ham who was looking for the cable from the CI-V port on the back of the IC-706MKIIG to the USB port on his compuiter. I thought I had a couple of spares but I must have given them away sometime in the past. Liuckily for him they are still available on E-Bay and for aprice less than $10. I sent him the info and it was nice to know that someone is still reading my web site. I just went completely through the drawer where I thought the cables might be with no luck at all. Oh well, it will probably be the cheapest cable out there anyway.
JUly 17, 2020
I appologise for not having written any updates for almost a month. I have been busy with the model railroad and other things but that is not really an excuse. The story about the model railroad is now up to 17 pages and counting and a number of things have been done and also some repairs of poor trackwork and other errors on my part have been made. See page 16 and 17 of the "My Model Railroad" to see photos and text about the changes and other happenings around the layout. I have not abandoned ham radio, I am just taking a bit of a "vacation" from my fairly heavy involvement with that aspect of my life. I will get back to radio in the future, never fear.
June 20, 2020
The curtains or drapes if you will, around the layout to hide all the ugly stuff have been installed by my daughters and the drapes look fantastic. meanwhile Gabe, Rose's husband came over as well and reinstalled one of my ham radio antennas that had blown down a while ago during a wind storm. Plus my granddaughters removed all of the weeds in my now dormant planting beds. I cannot garden any more, I just don't have the strength or in fact the interest. All of the planting beds were surfaced with weed stop garden "cloth" and had marble chips over the top of that. And still the weeds find a way to get through. My next task will be to paint all of the legs of the layout that are still visible the same color as the fascia. Look on page 16 of My Model Railroad to see the latest appearance of the layout.
June 19, 2020
I have not added to this blog in a while, but I have been busy. THe model railroad layout now goes completely around the room courtesy of a tilt-up bridge from Phase 4 to Phase 1. I guess even a pie in the sky idea comes to fruition once in a while. My Thanks to my son-in-law Gabe who assisted monumentally with the carpentry involved. My family is coming over this weekend, I hope, to sew the curtains which will hide most of the stuff stored under the layout. From now on it will be details, details and more details as well as getting the trains to run as smoothly as they can. One of my long time dreams has been to have a Shay geared locomotive. Well that dream came true in June as well. I just have to add a DCC decoder and it will be fully operational.
I have also made a major change in the scenario of the layout as well. Initially it was going to be a short line set in the late 50s. However, certain locomotive purchases I have made in the last couple of months have convinced me to change part of thast idea. First, a significant portion of the layout is given over to a railroasd museum where I can display locomotives from multiple eras. Secondly, the time fram has been moved to the present day so that ceertain modern locomotives can be displayed and if need be used to operate the layout.
The next phase of detailing will be the addition of people around the layout. Workers at the roundhouse, passengers waiting for the excursion train, people shopping down town etc. I have picnic tables and benches coming in to detail out certain spots around the layout and people to sit on them and populate the area. They say a model railroad is never really finished and they are right. There is always something to improve or change or add details to. That is one of the reasons I added model railroading to my list of hobbies. The prospect of always having something to build.
May 21, 2020
Over the last two days I have taken delivery of 15 new to me freight cars. While two are still awaiting KaDee couplers, the rest are already on the layout as you can see on Page 14 of My Model Railroad. I discovered that progress and the documentation of that progress has been so rapid that I overshot my self imposed limit for page length. So we are now on Page 14. I told my son that this was as far as the railroad would grow, but even with no more linear space available I was up late last night thinking of ways to put a peninsula onto Phase one. At least for now that is pie in the sky but who knows what will happen in a year or so.
May 18, 2020
Phase 4 is now complete. THis is as far as the layout will grow. Phase 4 is an unscenicked shelf above my day bed and serves two main functions. It is both a staging yard where a train can be stored until the next operating session and a display shelf on which to place my more unusual pieces of rolling stock and locomotives. The pictures are on Page 13 of My Model Railroad which is elsewhere on this site.
May 8, 2020
There have been some strides made on the model railroad. Page 13 has now begun and the fascia has been painted and reinstalled. It looks much better than the white color it used to be. I have also added some more storage for things like tools and the cardboard boxes that most of my rolling stock came in. One saves things like that because you never know when you are going to have to pack some of the cars up to take them somewhere or sell them off to someone who just started in the hobby.
April 29, 2020
I have an old diesel locomotive that I have owned for more than 40 years. An EMD SW-1, It is going to get an upgrade and be converted to DCC with sound. My pal David is going to pick up the loco tomorrow and he will order the appropriate sound decoder and install it and a small speaker in the model. THis will bring my roster to six locomotives, three diesel and three steamers. I only have storage space on the layout for eight in all so my roster is pretty well fixed.
April 24, 2020
Today, I took delivery of two new locomotives for the railroad, a 2-6-0 steam engine and a NW-2 diesel. These are most likely the last locos I will buy in the foreseeable future. They are both DCC and sound equipped and have already been programmed into the layout. The pictures are on My Model Railroad Page 11. They both sound and operate in fine fashion. I plan on doing a bit of operating the layout before I get busy with the fine details which will come in time.
April 23, 2020
I must appologise for the messed up web pages you may have seen today. Apparently I hit the wrong key and posted This page to all pages instead of just this one. That error has now been corrected and all is back to normal. Other than a bit of painting the new section is now as complete as any model railroad ever is, which is to say there is no such thing as "done" when referring to a model railroad.
April 22, 2020
I did quite a bit of work on the layout today. THe photo backdrop buildings were mounted on foam core panels and then cut around them like paper dolls. I have temporarily put them in place behind the new portion of the layout and they look great. I also kitbashed a Plasticville Post Office into my podiatrist's office, mainly because she asked me if she could be represented on the layout. The installation of the doctor's office allowed me to complete scenery installation on that unfinished end of the new portion of the railroad. The lates pictures are on Page 11 of My Model Railroad.
April 21, 2020
The photo backdrop has arrived and I have done some more detail work on the lift out and the area adjoining it on the new portion of the layout. My plan will be to glue the backdrop to a length of 1/8" Masonite which has a vinyl layer on it like the backdrop on the original portion of the layout. Then I will carefully cut around the photobackdrop pictures and install the backdrop behind the new portion of the layout. There are a few more buildings to be added to the layout and a little more scenery to add. Then I can get busy with the details which always take more time that the initial construction.
April 20, 2020
Yesterday I did a few minor "repairs" on the layout. Minor painting over spots where alcohol or glue mix had spilled on structures or machinery. the repaints turned out well. I should be receiving a structure kit today which will pretty much complete the structures on the layout. I have also ordered a photo backdrop of sorts to complete the newest section of the layout. The work continues.
April 16, 2020
Work on the model railroad continues albeit at a slow pace. I have added trees and shrubbery to the newest portion and decided what to do with the rest in terms of scenery. Once I have the latest structures in place I will add some photos of the work. Stay safe and keep well.
April 15, 2020
Microsoft in all their infinite "wisdom"decided my computer needed one of their "updates". Of course it practically bricked the computer. I had to get my son, an IT specialist, to save old dad from this miserable situation. In fact the problem turned out to be a fairly simple one. When Microbrain, i mean soft was finished "updating my PC, they had left it in a management mode instead of a user mode. Once my son discovered this it was apparently sort of easy to put all my stuff back on the desktop. It had never really left but in effect the computer was set for admin (Me) instead of user (Me). I do wish that Microsoft would stop screwing around with everyone's PC and let us get on with what we want it for. Well, that is my venting rant for this week, stay safe and keep well.
April 13, 2020
Just a quick update. I am fine, no trace of covid - 19. Sheltering in place as usual. I have apparently run out of materials so I cannot even finish the level crossings I was working on. I have ordered more scale wood but it will take almost a month to arrive. A big difference from Amazon's usual 1 day service, butI guess that is to be expected in these trying times. I check on the family several times a week, so far all are well. I just try to keep busy around the house, doing the dishes after every meal etc. If there is one thing I can say about this situation, it is that we will get through this and survive. Stay well
April 3, 2020
just a brief update, I am sheltering at home, and I am fine. Work on the railroad continues albeit slowly. I have started adding bushes and other scenic elements to the newest portion of the layout. Because my back is in it's current state, I cannot stand for too long so the work proceeds slowly as I said before. I did get a very nice email from a reader a few days ago wherein he thanked me for the info he was able to glean from the site, which brightened my day. I appear to have binge watched just about all the British Crime Drama that I can handle for the moment so I am back on the computer for a while. Mostly playiing online games like Hearts and Cribbage, among others. We will overcome this latest pandemic I am sure.
March 24, 2020
The question about the Xiegu X5105 transceiver has been answered by the representative for Europe who also stated that they have just such an nadapter in place and for sale. I recommended to the ham that she purchase the adapter which I understand she did. I did send her two PTT switches adapted for that device, a foot switch and a push button switch. The page 10 about my model railroad has been added to as well and work on that project continues slowly but it continues.
March 8, 2020
I have added a Page 10 to the pages about my model railroad layout. As yet there is nothing on the page but I will be adding both pictures and text as the layout progresses. When I added the last picture to Page 9 I realised that that page had reached it's terminal point so it was time to add another page. My supply of ground cover has been restored at least in one shade of green but i will need other shades and types of ground cover as the project moves forward. On another note, I had an interesting email from a ham who has purchased a Xiegu X5105 transceiver and wants a headset adapter to go with it. I have contacted Xiegu about the mic pinouts (which I have) to explain some anomalies in the circuitry and if I get an answer from them I should be able to proceed with constructing the adaptor.
March 1, 2020
I am working slowly on the new portion of the layout right now. I had Carpal Tunnel Surgery last Wednesday and my left hand and wrist are still wrapped up in the dressings my surgeon installed at the time. My fingers feel much better and I have had little to no pain since. That is unless I forget and place some stress on the wrist, in which case I am quickly reminded "NOT TO DO THAT"!. Otherwise, all is fine.
February 25, 2020
I was asked by my Model Railroad club, RealRail, here in Bradenton, to give a short talk on my DIY Resistance Soldering Unit. By all accounts it was well received and I am very grateful to the club for even asking me, a complete newby to the club. The talk went very easily, the club has a big screen TV which I connected my laptop to via HDMI so I could use my web site as the visual graphics for the talk.
February 20, 2020
I have added a Page 9 to the series on my model railroad. This has been a absolutely marvelous time for me as I was looking for a hobby (in addition to amateur radio) that would let me continue to build stuff. This is different than building the electronic gadgets that I was building before, but just as satisfying. There is carpentry although I do need help with that because of my age and dare I say it some infirmities. There is the construction of buildings, rolling stock and railroad facilities as well as scenery and there is the ever ongoing addition of the little details that make any model railroad come to life. People, automobiles, vignettes or little scenes within scenes which by themselves may not always be noticed by the casual observer, but when they are, bring a sense of action and life to the layout and all the things on it.
February 18, 2020
It was time to add a new page to the Updates pages as the previous page had slightly exceeded it's allotted space. Nothing to report yet but There will be in about a week.
UPDATES From The Radio Room, Page 13
N1GY- The simple Approach to Ham Radio
and My Model Railroad Hobby