July Update

Consolidating all of my notes this month into a single post. Been away from home for work a lot as usual and also been busy at home doing work with what little spare time I have.

Radio Update. Another setback has occurred that I could not have foreseen when I bought my home here in the Cincinnati area. Our local electric utility installed some new Smart Meters in the area including my own home and the end result is a tremendous amount of noise on most of the AM broadcast band. I've found that the two frequencies that I favored to use for my Part 15 AM station here are exhibiting the most noise. 1630 and 1640 are unusable now. While the noise extends into the power lines at the street and going into homes I have found that when walking around my house with my portable radios there are some spots that are pretty quiet with some of the available frequencies and that should make it possible to listen to my own station. But what is really shocking is that even some of the full power licensed AM stations in the area that usually have moderate signals inside my home are even impacted to some degree until I move the radios into a better spot.

I have five portable radios that I will be using over the next few weeks to periodically check the upper end of the AM dial to see if I can still find a frequency that will be usable for my Part 15 AM station here. Based upon what I've heard on my own property it may still be possible to broadcast here and possibly get some indoor reception of my signal in most area homes within a mile of the station provided the people can move their radio to a better spot inside their own home if noise is present on the frequency. I suspect the Smart Meters are being used in most of the homes and businesses in the area and this is going to be a widespread problem.

The other potential problem is not going to be determined until after I purchase a new transmitter. If I find the noise actually finds its way into the audio chain of my station then I will have a major problem to try to resolve. Aside from solar power I can't think of a way around this unless there is some kind of filtering devices that I can purchase to clean up the noise. Will research this issue and hope I don't have to deal with this at the outset, if I can get on the air here. With all the other problems that already exist here (taller buildings all around my property, puny yard and limited space and poor siting choices for the transmitter, trees and no access with a lift to tune the transmitter correctly while it is in a stationery position in the air) I am at my wits end. No chance now that I can purchase a second property here either thanks to quickly rising home prices and brisk sales. Without that second property to expand the reach of the station and also offer a better signal from a better location, I really have one hand already tied behind my back even before getting on the air! Not giving up the ship just yet and I am going to try to get the noise problem resolved by next Spring. If I can get around that I should be able to get the station on the air and then at least find out if it has a chance at succeeding. One possibility that may help is to change the proposed format to News/Talk from the Smooth Jazz I had planned. Some noise on the signal for Talk will be much less of a problem than with Music.

Work Update. Work in Indianapolis is still generally slow and only occasional busy weeks have kept me afloat. Fortunately I have the green light to transfer again. Provided that I can come up with the money I need to transfer in a few weeks (fairly close now) I will be heading to our St. Louis office where we have a lot more work. I will plan to be there for a few months and then see if an opening becomes available in our new Cincinnati office. We have a lot of new offices around the country thanks to our new owner but so many of them are essentially just starting up that there are not any openings at this time outside of New England (can't go back to Hartford due to fiscal issues with the city and state) and Nashville. I won't be able to handle the heat and humidity of summer in Nashville. Kansas City is about the most extreme summer climate that I can handle.

At this point if the money is there, I will move to St. Louis in September. I WILL NOT BE SELLING MY HOUSE here in the Cincinnati area. That is a very last resort and will only happen if I can't get the radio station to work here. In St. Louis I can get the money I need to use towards getting the radio station on the air and also hope that I can resolve the noise problem. And I will cross my fingers that we have a opening in our Cincinnati office by next spring and Ithen stick with my current employer of more than eleven years with many more years to come. A job change is also a very last resort.

Personal notes. Sinus problems? Have mentioned some things in the past to help alleviate suffering in the upper respiratory area. Have found that taking Zinc, Golden Seal, Echinacea, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil extract, and Turmeric also help a great deal. Head to your local vitamin and herb aisle at your store of choice and give these a try. They really work.

I've been on the Kentucky side of the Cincinnati metro area now for about seven months. So far aside from the major problems with the location and other issues with my proposed Part 15 AM radio station, life here is not that bad. Service in the local stores and restaurants has been good and most of the meals I've purchased in the local restaurants have been fine. And I am definitely having very few problems with the people here compared to a few other places I've lived over the last fifteen years in the lower Midwest. Not all of course but nearly half have been pretty bad or downright awful. So far, so good here probably due to the southern influences despite this being the very far northern part of Kentucky.

Spell check is abysmal on my Mac. If you ever see a spelling error or the wrong word in place of a correct word in any of my posts please be assured I do know how to spell but the way the Spell Check function works on this software, it fills in a word it "thinks" is correct and not necessarily the one you type or want. Example: Their becomes There. Or To becomes Too. Ugh.
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Home Stereo

I would like to pass along some tips for people that are looking for ways to improve the quality of the home audio listening experience. Just basic things and modest priced upgrades can really improve the quality of your music through your stereo.

Here are some things I've done that have really helped. I changed my amplifier. For years I used a Cambridge Audio amp which I found to be too sterile sounding. Bass replication was not that great and it almost sounded cold. Changed to a inexpensive Qinpu A3 for a few years and that was an improvement. It is a integrated amp which combines a tube stage that leads to the solid state output stage. Only problem is that it has only two audio inputs and I need three right now and ultimately four when I add a turntable. It also only has two speaker outputs but I have four speakers. To add insult to injury the Qinpu amp broke during my move to the Cincinnati area. Have been using a Dayton T120 which is a D Class integrated amp Very nice sound but again, only two audio inputs and only capable of handling two speakers, not four. I decided to purchase a 15 year old Yamaha RX 596 Receiver which runs at 80 watts per channel into 8 ohm speakers. This unit has several audio inputs and can handle all of my gear now. What I thought might be a temporary fix may actually be a permanent solution after the results I am seeing with my current gear.

The first upgrade that I did after buying the Qinpu and Dayton amps was adding Audio Quest Type 4 Speaker cables. After the speaker cables included buying Audio Art Interconnect cable (IC-3) for my CD Player (Yamaha S300). Also added a Pangea AC-9 MKII power cable to the Yamaha CD player. These two upgrades yield immediate improvement in the sound stage which became wider and gave better separation to the instruments in virtually all recordings. And it also results in less noise in the audio. And another noticeable difference was to be heard in some of the instruments in some songs actually becoming more layered. Sustains in guitars and piano licks were now more discernible than before. Keyboards sounded a bit "fatter" and bass in some songs became a bit more prevalent than previously.

Fast forward to today. I decided to Bi Wire my Castle Conway 3 Tower speakers (also 15 years old) with some Audio Quest Type 4 Speaker cables to the Yamaha RX 596 Receiver. Still using the Yamaha S300 CD player and all the aforementioned cables. I can't believe the sound I am hearing. As good as the Dayton sounded the Yamaha along with Bi Wiring has brought up the sound quality another full notch. Bass is now much tighter in the Castles than when they were wired with a single pair of cables. And I am definitely hearing more details in the music than before and the separation of the instruments has improved a bit more!

I also have a pair of Mirage OM 10 Tower speakers that are about 17 years old. They still sound great. I am ordering some Blue Jeans Cable Speaker Cables to hook up to this pair of speakers with the hope that it will help improve the sound in these from the regular 12 gauge speaker wire I have been using. Had used Type 4 speaker wire with these at one time but the Spade connectors did not fit the speakers properly. They need pins or a larger spade connector or bare wire. Having learned that Blue Jeans Cable can custom build cables I am going to purchase cables with Bananas on one side and either Pins or bare wire on the speaker side with the hope that they can sound the way they were intended. Also have just ordered a pair of the Blue Jeans Cable LC-i Interconnects to use with my cassette deck with the hope that it will improve the sound of my old cassette recordings.

Hope some of these suggestions will help some other people out there improve their home stereo listening experience. You don't have to spend thousands to see an improvement in you home audio system if you put your mind to it.



May Update

Happy Memorial Day to one and all and this holds especially true for our Veterans!

Work seems to be picking up a bit now that Summer is nearly here. The employer I've been with for the last 11 years was bought by another company in December and the transitional phase has been a bit chaotic. We've lost work but I am told we will be seeing more work in the months ahead. Right now I am still commuting to Indianapolis from the Cincinnati area but this may change in the near future especially if my income level does not remain steady at a acceptable level. A transfer to St. Louis where we do have more work is a possibility, provided that the volume of work is still there, or I will look for employment in the Cincinnati area. I will know how this is going to play out by some point in July. My decision for now is to wait to see what happens over the next few weeks before making any decision about any change in employment either with my current employer or potentially a new employer.

A side note. I've been working a lot of hours lately and it has resulted in my getting run down again. I've been dealing with a sinus infection that has been stubborn to eliminate. However since this is a chronic problem for me and has been for many years (comes and goes all the time) I know what I am dealing with and how to combat it. But as a result, I do spend a fair amount of what little spare time I have in bed or taking easy until I get over the problem. And then usually it returns after a few weeks or months and I have to deal with it again. Thus, updates to the Low Power AM Radio Network website are infrequent due to the fact that I need to spend a ton of hours trying to dig up news when it is not submitted. And work on the Part 15 AM Radio Station has been stalled for now until I can get some CC debt paid off (not a lot) and some more money freed up to buy the last pieces of equipment needed to get the station on the air.

Will try to provide another update in June.

Update

A general news update of sorts. A little of this and a little of that.

First, it has been a bad week for electronics here. My four month old electric razor stopped working. Back to using a razor blade. Can't go wrong with the old reliable Gillette Track Two! A new TV antenna that I purchased a week ago suddenly stopped working a day and a half after it was installed. It has a built in pre amp. It's a Televes DAT 790 MIX. Great antenna really. I unplugged the pre amp and took down the antenna for a week. On a whim I reinstalled it for a test today and found it was working again. A word of advice with electronics. More than once I've had a piece of electronic equipment fail and then a few days later it works again. Not sure why but in some cases, if you unplug the device and let it sit for a couple of days or longer and then plug it back in it will work. Before you throw out a piece of gear that does not work, at least give this a try first. Lastly, the replacement antenna I put up stopped working too. After spending most of Saturday troubleshooting the problem I was able to find out the coax cable was bad. Replaced it and now at least the older antenna works again.

Other news. The volume of work is picking up and my checks are improving. But I am several months behind where I had hoped to be at this point with getting repairs done to the plumbing at my house and also getting the Part 15 AM radio station on the air here. If I don't run into any more major money draining issues and the paychecks remain at the current level or improve, I think by the end of this year WIMP AM Radio will hit the air. And if I get lucky I hope to stream the station on the internet as well. But that will likely take some additional time and cost.

Lastly, how many of you are frustrated when using a automated check out machine in a retail outlet? Today for example, I spent ten minutes trying to get a dozen items scanned on a machine at a local store. During the checkout process each time I took a bag off the machine I was prompted to put it back. And then when I would put it back I was yet again prompted to remove the item from the bagging area. This cycle continued for five times at which point a clerk in the store came over and proceeded to have the very same problem. LOL After a few more minutes she was able to get the machine out of the loop it was stuck in and I was on my way. Countless times in recent months when using these machines in Indianapolis or Cincinnati a simple transaction that should take just a minute or two ends up taking several minutes longer to complete. I'm beginning to think the machines are not only far from perfect but need to be improved to alleviate most of the hassles associated with using them at checkout. Clearly a Cashier is the best option but it is not always practical to sit in line for a long time to wait to checkout. So much for progress…

Health Care Act

I thought i would give my two cents worth on this subject now that it has become obvious that we won't see any voting on the legislation that was being proposed to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act aka Obamacare in the near future.

A message for Congress. Please give us a health care system that is run by a free market via the insurance companies, and other health care providers and services such as HMO's. I remember when I was first getting out into the world after high school (1981)and a brief year stint in college. I could easily find affordable health care insurance. I worked in a warehouse and received health care insurance through my employer that was fully paid. It had a low deductible and I had coverage that was tailored to the needs of someone at my age and single status. I did not have a wife and kids and did not have to worry about paying for such coverage or coverage for other care that only women would need. Four years later I bought my own insurance through the Kaiser HMO while I was working as a courier. Again, I could pick the kind of coverage I wanted and did not have to pay for coverage of health matters that did not concern me especially at that age. I paid a mere $75.00 a month with a $500 Deductible.

We need to turn back the clock to when it was possible to buy health care insurance freely through any carrier and then tailor the policy to suit the needs of the individual. If the present system is not fixed we will end up with a completely government run Single Payer system that resembles the health care system in countries like Cuba or England. Neither country is known for providing superior, cutting edge health care or for developing new technologies that improves the care of those insured and needing health care. And equally as disturbing is the fact that millions of jobs will be eliminated in a Single Payer system. Already we are seeing jobs being eliminated and continued closures of hospitals and other health care offices due to the fact that they can no longer turn even a small profit. This will be enhanced under a Single Payer system and lead to rationing of health care, long waits in line and a economy that is going to be in serious trouble due to a large number of people being out of work over a few years.

And to the "All or Nothing" crowd that will not settle for anything but exactly what they want when it comes to replacing the current health care system. Try to meet the other side halfway this time around. Getting some of what we want such as the Penalties and Mandates eliminated and a more free market system circa 1985 would be a good start and a foundation to build upon. If you don't vote in favor to replace what we have right now, your Constituents will know that you voted to keep Obamacare intact and that it led to the Single Payer, government run system that will replace the Affordable Health Care Act if it is not at least partially dismantled. Think about that when you are prepared to run for office the next time around.

PLEASE DO WHAT THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT ON THIS ISSUE. REPLACE IT. IN PART TO START IS BETTER THAN NOTHING AND A FOUNDATION THAT CAN BE BUILT UPON AFTERWARD.