Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Season Of Sick

Well, it’s that time of year, when the snow piles high and we are shivering in the cold. Our throats are dry for a hot chocolate and we get sick.

This post is about one such time when I got really sick back on Christmas 2011. I wrote about it in a newsletter 2 years ago and I decided to redo it here.

Back on December 22nd of 2011 the day was like any other day. I was fine and I had gone to do some Christmas shopping for myself. I had bought a new Uniden Scanning radio that I had my eye and ear on for 3 years. If I had bought it before August 31st 2011 I would have been able to listen to some TV channels on it.

That evening I had taken a nap and woke with a pain in my throat and it was hard to speak. Plus, I had to do something on a Ham Radio net I checked into at the time. I was up all night trying to send in a report to Environment Canada on an older Cel Phone and I was beginning to feel worse.

The next day, I had tried sleeping but I couldn’t because I started coughing and my ears started to hear low sounds out of tune. That was a sure sign that I was sick. Oh, and my voice was deepened by this ailment too. I couldn’t talk loud without my voice going horse.

To make a long story short I couldn’t sleep for 5 days and I finally went into ER and I either had strep throat or pneumonia, depending on what doctor gave me his opinion. Either way, I was put on antibiotics and Tylenol 3. There was one day when I was coughing so much that I thought I was going to die. Thankfully I had just fallen asleep and woke up sweating. The latter was the case untill I was rid of this ailment.

It eventually worked and what ever it was, was out of my system by mid January. I have never been as sick as that ever since and I hope it doesn’t happen again to me or anyone else.

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Weather Wednesday – Weather Radios And Scanners

Hello and welcome to another Weather Wednesday. In this post we will talk about the relationship between Weather Radios and scanners. It seems they have come together but most people either don’t care or don’t know how the weather alert works on most scanners, especially ones that have SAME weather alert as one of their features. This includes the more expensive base, mobile and handheld scanners from Uniden, and others. We will talk about scanners that happen to have weather alert as one of their features. 
The newsletter author writes: “I can only speak about the Uniden Bearccat scanners because I currently own 2 handhelds and they both have SAME WEATHER ALERT as a feature.” We will discuss the alert options that are available on the scanners that were referenced above.
First, there is the basic tone alert that allows your scanner to open up the Weather Radio to the 1050 Hz tone. Another option is SAME Weather Alert, and the scanner will open up the weather alert to a SAME message. The scanner will open up to a 1050 Hz tone if it is the first signal the radio hears, even though it is in the SAME alert option, then if it hears a SAME message it reacts normally to it. When a SAME message is heard by the unit it generates different sounds, depending on if the alert is a watch, warning or advisory. The warning tone is the same one the scanner generates when it hears the basic 1050 Hz tone.
Another thing that should be discussed is the Weather Alert Priority option. Your scanner will check the weather channels every few seconds or so, then go back to what you are listening to. The only thing it checks for is the tone alert! If you want to check this out for yourself, go ahead but take a look at your scanners manual before trying this.
All scanners with Weather Alert have a WX button that you can use by pressing FUNC- then WX. The WX button will be different, depending on the model of your scanner! With the BC246T, BC396T and SC230, you can either, press the MENU key and scroll to WX or press and hold FUNC and press WX to get to the WX operation. From there, you now can go through all the Weather Alert Options. After pressing FUNC and WX or scrolling to the WX operation, you must press the ENTER key to activate it.
With the BC346T scanner, BCD996XT, BCD396XT and BCT15X accessing the weather channels can be done by either doing it manually with the scroll nob (as mentioned before) or you can press FUNC and WX to activate the Weather Alert Priority or press FUNC then hold WX until you hear the weather channels. To go to the weather alert function, press FUNC then the 0 key. You are now asked by the scanner to select which weather alert option you want. Scroll to it then press the scroll nob to activate the weather alert option you would prefer. If you activate Weather Alert Priority, press FUNC 3 times or the SCAN key to get back to normal operation. If you are in WX alert mode and you choose one of the alert options by simply scrolling to it, your scanner will now become a Weather Radio until you press SCAN to go back to normal operations.
Note: to save battery power press the hold button on your scanner so it doesn’t continuously scan the WX channels. It will normally start at channel 1 and after pressing hold, use the scroll nob to tune the scanner to your local WX radio channel. The channel numbers and their frequencies are listed in the second issue of the newsletter.
Hopefully this has clarified how to use the Weather Alert option for scanners and you understand more how it works. Not everyone uses there scanner primarily as a scanner. There are those who like to use the other features to hear different things in different situations. For example: if you are a ham you can use it as a monitor for other frequencies during public service events that require you to monitor multiple frequencies at once, or you can use the weather alert option for CANWARN or SKYWARN if you want to cover all the bases to keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening with weather alerts issued in and around you. There are other examples we could use but that would take up space.

Simpsons Sunday : References And Parities

Hi all. Well, it’s another Simpsons Sunday. There was no new episode last week but I think there will be one this week.
We all know how much the show has touched our lives, whether we know it or not. But, how much has it touched your parents lives, unknowingly or not? What I am really getting at is the references in many episodes to pop culture and many: names, words and phrases dropped to add, well, something.
Here are 10 references I can think of that have been a part of my life. Most of these are also musical references and out right parodies.
10. Amos And Andy, which was referenced in a 1950’s commercial for Duff Beer in the episode Duffless in Season 4. My Dad brought home some tapes of Amos And Andy when I was about 7 or 8 and I liked what I heard in both the humour and the writing.
9. Death Metal, which was mentioned in the episode Steel This Episode. This was when Rob Halford of Jutas Priest guest starred, among others. The band was mistakingly refered to as a Death Metal band but not mentioned by name. It doesn’t really bother me because some people at a certain age refer to any music that has loud guitars as Heavy Metal, whether it is or not. For the record, The Simpsons producers apologized to Jutas Priest for this. I hope they forgave them. I have read that the fans were not so forgiving. My response to all my fellow Judas Priest fans is, just chill. It’s a cartoon folks. Besides, when you get to a certain age, your musical distinction starts to blur, somewhat. I’m lucky I haven’t reached it yet, but at 40 I am close.
8. The Flintstones were referenced in the show a few times. The most notable one for me was when Homer sang a parody of Meet The Flintstones in the episode Marge VS The Monorail.
7. The theme song of All In The Family was parodied in the episode Lisa’s Sax when Homer and Marge were singing a song about the old day’s back in the 70’s to the tune of it’s theme song.
6. Miami Vice was given the Simpsons treatment in the Simpsons Spinoff episode, with Chief Wiggum and Principal Skinner in their own TV series. The theme is similar to the Miami Vice theme song.
5. No 1 is referenced in the episode Homer The Great, when Homer is chosen by the leader of the Stone Cutters to be the new No 1 because of the birth-mark he sports. The No 1 is voiced by Patrick Stewart, who was Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Track: The Next Generation. “Make it so, No 1” was one of his most notable catch phrases in the show, besides his opening dialog as the theme plays. He also used it when he appeared on Sesame Street with The Count.
In the episode, The Stone Cutters is a reference to Freemasonry and could be a satirical poke at the Illuminati. If you know the song sung in the show and you listen to conspiracy radio shows such as, Alex Jones and A View From Space, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
4. The media in general is satirized on the show, with character’s such as Kent Brockman and KBBL Broadcastings own Bill And Marty in the morning. This is obviously a satirical reference and poke, at how the media is in all aspects, from the 6:00 news to morning radio. That is one of the reasons why I love the show. I have friends who work in radio and I know what they are like both on the air and off air. They are only doing their jobs, folks. That’s all I can tell you, besides that they are just like you and me, but with a cooler job. However, it isn’t as easy as it looks. I will get into that another day.
3. Krusty The Clown himself is kind of a reference to the old time comedians who want everything just right and are completely different people out of character. This is show’n in the key episodes he appear’s in.
2. The Beatles are referenced a few times and all 3 surviving members have appeared on the show. Ringo Starr on Brush With Greatness, George Harison on Homer’s Barbershop Quartette and Paul McCartney on Lisa The Vegetarian. Even Apu tried singing Sgt Pepper on the show.
1. The episode Lisa’s First Word is full of references to the 1984 Summer Olympics. Even Dan Castellaneta does a very good impression of legendary American sports caster Howard Cosell, when Homer is watching boxing on TV.
That is of course, just touching the tip of the iceberg and if you want to know more, use the internet. There are so many references and parities I could have mentioned but it would take up a lot of space and time consumption.

Weather Wednesday – Watchdog

Welcome to another Weather Wednesday. This week I will be discussing something very important about how Weatheradio Canada reacts when it goes down.
Usually when a radio station goes off the air, you just hear nothing but static and at the studio they would hear dead air. Weatheradio Canada is different in that when there is no new data after 3 hours it goes into watchdog mode.
Generally, what is supposed to happen is that after 3 hours of no new data an alert is sent out to all Weather Radio’s listening to the affected transmitter and a voice message in english and french says the following.
“We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with our broadcast. We will return to normal as soon as possible. We are sorry for the interuption.”
This was started because, in the past a stale forecast would play and this could potentially confuse people who aren’t paying full attention to what is being heard. This is why the new watchdog feature was started.
I first heard it in June 2010 late one night and it woke me up out of a great dream. I didn’t understand what it was until it was explained to me what had happened.
I have been keeping a close ear on Weatheradio Canada since then and I have tried to stop outages but it didn’t always happen.
Another way in which watchdog kicks in is when a data corruption problem arises and it lasts for about 12 or 13 hours. This has happened a few times and it is one of the more unusual reasons for an outage.
Well, that is all I have for this Weather Wednesday.

Simpsons Sunday – Discovering The Musical Side Of Dan Castellaneta

Well, it’s another Simpsons Sunday and another episode is upon us. Last week we saw Comic Book Guy get married and this week we will see what happens from there, if anything does.
This weeks post is about me again. Actually, it’s about my discovery of Dan Castellaneta’s 2 solo albums on iTunes. The one that stands out for me is his second outing entitled I Am Not Homer, which ironically has a song sung by Homer called So Dumb. The rest of it is taken up with comedy sketches by him and his wife.
If you ask me, they really are good together and they are both funny on their own as well. The other thing I like is that you get to hear Dan’s real speaking voice on some of the sketches. We all know him as the voice of: Homer, Krusty The Clown and others on The Simpsons, but we don’t get to hear his normal speaking voice that often. Unless, you go on Youtube and look for an interview with him and he sounds like a great guy too.
His other album Two Lips is actually a rock album, in the style of The Beatles. I liked them as a kid and I still do, even though they are not putting anything out new anymore.
Dan has also sang on The Simpsons and he has written a few episodes with his wife too. One of them is Gump Roast, which is actually a clip show and he sings a song called They’ll Never Stop The Simpsons. It is in the style of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire and appears on The Simpsons Testify album.
Well, that is all for now. I hope this weeks episode is just as interesting.

It’s Another Saturday

My friends, I should be honest in saying that I like to laze around on Saturday’s and do nothing. I guess you could call me another Homer Simpson or another Fred Flintstone but I don’t look anything like them. Anyway, today’s post is about Saturday and why we either go play or stay inside and sleep.

I guess for me, it depends on how much I have to bum around with and the weather plays a factor in this too. In the summer, I like to get out and travel on the bus. I have even gone on a few boat cruises and did a Ham Radio Net on Saturday evenings at one time.

The other thing is that the Hockey game is on in the evenings and I try to listen to it on the radio when I can.

Well, it’s not much but that is all I have for today’s post. Talk to you tomorrow on another Simpsons Sunday.

Continuation Of Discovery

Hi all. Well it’s Friday and it is just past the halfway point of the first month of 2014. I hope the rest of this month is good.

Todays post is a continuation of my discovery of iTunes. I will be talking about it again on Sunday, when I do my regular Simpsons Sunday feature. But I will tell you that I have found some interesting discontinued music that used to be available on CD but isn’t anymore. Even stuff that is hard to get is here and that is a real playground for a kid in the candy store, who is looking for long lost music or interesting gems by their favourite artists.

The other thing is the ease of use and how quick you can download it, providing that you have iTunes credit. The App Store is also a field of almost endless possibilities. Just use Google and you may find something. I have downloaded a few app’s that way and well, I am enjoying it immensely. I never thought I would be doing this in my lifetime but I am.