Our Little Skating Party

I managed to clear the ice on one of the ponds on our property. Was nice to have some friends and family over for a bit of a skating party. It was a blast and the kids loved it. We’ve had some fantastic weather this fall and I’m glad we were able to take advantage of it. Here’s a short video:

Brysen wins a Silver at the Battle River Regional Cross-Country Run

A few weeks ago, we didn’t even know my son Brysen could run; he didn’t seem all that interested in sports. His phys ed teacher kept encouraging him to enter the New Norway Cross-country run, an annual event attended by hundreds. She saw his ability to run well before we did. He entered and ended up winning 3rd place, a bronze medal. We were so proud of him. He then set his sights on the Regional run in Hardisty on Oct. 7th. We’re not ones to hold him back. And again, he did very well at this run too. This time he came in 2nd. We matched his time with some of the older boy’s races; he would have come in 2nd for the grade 8 boys and 6th for the grade 9s. Great job Brysen! We’re very proud of you.

Here’s the video I shot:

National United States Air Force Museum

While in Dayton, OH earlier this month, we managed to tour the National United States Air Force Museum. This place is absolutely huge! When I was there last (16 years ago), we were able to take a bus from the museum to a hanger on the air base that held the older presidential planes and helis (the older Air Force one(s). Very cool. Construction of a new hanger is currently ongoing to house the Presidential transports to this new hanger so hopefully it will be ready next year when we’re back. The new hanger will also hold older air defense missiles.  The museum is really too large to tour in one day. You really need more like three days to tour a place this large. These are only some of the planes on exhibit at the museum.

Dayton 2015

On May 13ftrh, a bunch of us made the trip to Dayton, OH for the 2015 Dayton Hamvention. It’s been about 16 years since I last had the chance to go there. As always, it’s quite an event. Every year, thousands from around the world come to this hamfest. This time around as a vender, I was helping to man our booth ‘Alfaspid Rotors’. There was lots of interest in our new ring rotor. People love things big and shiny. Here’s a few pics:



Halloween Ghost Quad

This fall, I decided to have a little fun with a Halloween project. I built a quadcopter especially for this project; one that could take up a little extra weight. It’s a wooden frame quad with a Naza V1 flight control. The LLEDs can be remotely controlled from my RC transmitter.

I flew it around on Halloween night both in the city and near our acreage and managed to catch a few people off guard…lol.

I ran short of time to put an FPV package on it but that may be in the works for next year as I already have a super low light lens for the FPV camera. I built the copter so that in the off season, I can remove the ghost and install a brushless gimbal with anti-vibration tray that all attaches below the quad. Below is a short video as it flies:

Pumpkin Carving

A few days before Halloween, we had some friends and family over for for a little fun of pumpkin carving. I cleaned out the garage and set some some tables. We had grown 39 pumpkins in our garden this summer and it was a way to use them up. It seemed to be a big hit so it now sounds like this will be a an annual event around here.


CAARC Red Deer Picnic

Took the family to the annual Red Deer picnic hosted by the CAARC. I’ve been meaning to attend this event for the past 20 years but it just didn’t happen. in the past it’s interfered with the VHF contest or other things I may have going on.

Brought a few of my multirotors and managed a few FPV flights over the course of the weekend. Hopefully my schedule will enable me to attend next year too. It was a lot of fun.

Below is a video i shot with my multirotors:

Back to Work…

Well my surgeon cleared me for work so back I go. It’s been almost six months to the day since my shoulder surgery. During this time, I got used to the goatee but facial hair is not allowed where I work (because of SCBA use) so off it comes…
DSC01689 copy

2nd FPV Flight Test

Here’s a quick video I shot last night. I’ve been testing some of my multi-rotors. I got the vibration dampeners set up for warmer temperatures on the brushless gimbal but it seems to giving me ‘jello’ free video even at cooler temperatures too. Normally vibration dampeners are stiffer in cooler weather which results in extra vibration. So far so good. Was also testing out the FPV system. Basically, I see what the multi-rotor sees, in real time. There’s another camera on the copter that transmits it’s video back to my video goggles. I also normally use another 10.1 inch LCD monitor but I’ve been having problems with the monitor. Most LCD monitors give a ‘blue screen’ on weak or no video signal. This is bad news when flying FPV (first person view). This monitor was not supposed to give any ‘blue screen’. Have to experiment with that some more.

So my ground station is nearly complete as well. I do still have to play with the back-up DVR that records the ‘live’ video feed and it’s OSD (on screen display) info. If the copter goes down unexpectedly, I can review the OSD info  and video to help recover it. Some would call these things “drones”, I prefer not to use that word : )

Here’s the video. Not bad for a second attempt. It can only get better.




Christmas 2013

Down But Not Out

Well it’ been a week now since I had my shoulder surgery. Not moving too quickly around the house these days. It sucked waking up the next day in the hospital and realizing it’s your 50th B-day. Not how I envisioned turning the big Five-O. It was a fairly tough surgery the surgeon tells me. It was four hours long. Guess I really damaged things on  my little accident a few years ago. Well, hopefully it will heal properly and things will slowly get back to normal. When powered paragliding this past summer, I was always in the position of not being able to let go of my left toggle in fear of not being able to grab it again. That would have made for some terrible landings (not being able to ‘flare’ with both toggles).

On the bright side, I won’t be going back to work until the spring. Bit of a holiday you can say. For another 7 weeks yet, I can’t do much of anything; not allowed to even drive! Guess it gives me a chance to work on my electronics projects I have on the bench. I’d like to have those complete by spring as well. In mid January, I’ll then have four and a half months of physio coming my way. Yeah, look forward to that. NOT!


Monster Mash

Took the kids to the Monster Mash for Halloween. It’s a family event in Camrose that’s become very popular in the last few years. Tickets usually sell out within hours of availability. Always good fun, dance, and food at this event.  


Pigeon Lake Fly-in


Pilots at the fly-in

This past weekend we were at the Pigeon Lake PPG fly-in. It was a great turnout. We had pilots from all over Alberta and one from Regina too. The biggest problem this weekend was the limited flying time. Windy Southeast winds gave us limited flyingtime but nevertheless, it was nice to meet many of the pilots I’ve only ever met on the Alberta PPG forum. Looking forward to future fly-ins; especially if we get a lot more air time…lol.

Here’s a quick video I took of the weekend’s event. Fly Safe!


Lost Kiteboard

A friend of mine lost his kiteboard at Gull Lake this summer. He’s been going back and forth from the city to look for it. Unfortunately, he’s had no luck in finding it. It’s been over a month since he’s lost it and he believes it’s in the weeds. He asked me to either using my RC FPV copters to scan the beach for it or fly over it with my PPC or PPG and see if I can find it. The timing was bad at the time since I was taking the family to Jasper and Lake Louise area for a few weeks. When I got back, I took the PPG over to see if I can find it. Like him, I had no luck either. Here’s a short video:

Yellowstone 2013

June 28th, we left for Montana early in the morning (as soon as I got home fromGlacier National Park working a night shift). We didn’t push it too hard; made to Cardston by early evening and camped at an RV site within the town. That gave us a good start in getting into the U.S. the following morning. Another stop at St. Mary’s in east Glacier.I had been to Glacier National Park a few times before but this was the first time with the kids. Davyn had heard a lot about “Going to the Sun Road” and has always wanted to experience it. I set up the GoPro on the top of the truck as we drove the road and made our way to Logan Pass and on towards West Glacier. Here’s part one of a two part video of the trip through the pass (in HD). Part 2 can be found on my youtube channel.

From Glacier National Park, we headed to Lewis and Clark caverns Southeast of Helena. I’d not been here in 40 years but I do remember it well. My folks told Lewis & Clark cavernsme that when we were there, I had quite a bad cough. It was bad enough that they were tempted to take me to a hospital. A few hours in the caves completely cured me of my bad cough. Likely due to the high humidity inside. The kids also seem to enjoy it. The guided tour took about 2 hours. It was a hot day that day, about 35 degrees. But in the depths of the caverns it got as low as 13 degrees. We didn’t mind the cool clean air, it was awesome! Sure would hate to lose the lights down there; it can’t get any blacker than that. They say that if you’d ever gotten lost inside without any light, you’dLewis & Clark caverns go blind within three or four days. These caves have some amazing history to them and I’d recommend anyone to see them. 

From Lewis and Clark, we drove down to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Again, it had been 40 years since I was last here. Our campsite was near West Yellowstone, We hung around to help our American friends celebrate the 4th of July. They really know how to throw a party too. The fireworks were going yellowstone geyser and wildlifeoff throughout most of the night. Touring Yellowstone was another highlight of the trip. This is one of the largest super volcanos in the world and it’s amazing to see all the geothermic sites within the park. The boys really got a kick out of Old Faithful and the inkpots and other geysers in the area. There was some long days of touring but we didn’t get a chance to see the entire park (but we did most of it).

About a week before our planned day to come home, I got a call from myYellowstone doctor to come home for an MRI. I had been waiting for an MRI for quite a while (in prep for a upcoming shoulder surgery) and go figure, it had t be now when on our family vacation. I tried my best to reschedule it but the next available opening was in late November. We had no choice but to pack up and head for home. It was a little disappointing but we’re glad we got to see what we did. On the trip home, as we passed through the Calgary area, we got hammered by hail (video shown on the below post). There was over $11,000 damage done to our travel trailer. Other than the hail, it was an awesome trip. But I’ll have to make it up to the family later this summer, perhaps in mid-August. Hope to head to Banff or Jasper, or possibly BC.

near Logan Pass (Glacier)

Old Faithful Going to the Sun Road near Logan Pass (Glacier) East Glacier National Park Lewis & Clark Caverns Lewis & Clark Caverns Camposite near West Yellowstone one of the many Yellowstone geysers

Hail storm near Calgary

July 6th, 2013:  We were on our way home from Wyoming (Yellowstone National Park). As we past through Calgary, there was all kinds of weather warnings of severe thunder storms and damaging winds as heard on the local radio stations. As we started to get to Airdrie, the rain started to come down hard. I had been pulling off to fuel up the truck with Diesel when down came the hail. The noise in the cab was so loud that we couldn’t hear each other even when yelling.  The kids were pretty scared as they’ve never experienced something like that before. It started about 4pm and lasted about 10 minutes.

My truck’s wipers actually stopped working because of the weight of all the hail on the windshield. I have some side window guards on each of the 4 side windows and 2 of them were completely destroyed. My hood is damaged and my wind shield was badly cracked. When I checked the travel trailer, the front and one side was riddled with dents. Even the sky-light panels were broken among other damage.


Tower 3 Project Has Begun

Tower three is finally on its way. Tower one (HF and microwave) was completed in 1999, tower two was put up two years ago (but not yet complete, more sections to add on to yet), and now I’ve finally gotten around to start on this long delayed project. It’s a 120 foot heavy duty self-supporting tower that will go up close to the house. This is the VHF/UHF tower so feedlines need to be kept short to avoid large line losses. This is why it will be situated close to the house where my ham shack is located. This is also part of a long range FPV project in which I’ll make a future post with details.

The pile holes are 12” in diameter and 14 feet deep. Stay tuned for more on this as the summer progresses. Will be taking a break as I take the family and holiday trailer down to Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming in the coming days.

digging the piles piles dug out and hole cleaned up preparing rebar for piles laying forms and rebarstarting one one hole

Big Valley

Last weekend, took the boys to the Stettler swimming pool for a birthday party. After the birthday party, we took a trip further south to Big Valley where an old friend of mine from NAIT now resides.  We toured his home, then made it down to the train station where the train was about to come in from the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions. The kids got real kick out of that. I’d like to some day take them on this train; they’d love the train robbery thing. We toured the station, the nearby train museum, and then walked over to the site of where the old Roundhouse and locomotive turntable used to be in Big Valley. Brysen, being the train fanatic that he is, took a special interest in this.




Garage Upgrades

 For the last five years, my garage has been pretty basic. I finally got around to working on it this fall. It’s never been insulated so I finished that plus a few other upgrades. I built a mezzanine to take advantage of the 12 foot ceiling. Also wanted a wood cook stove in case we ever lose power for some reason. The Amish in Ontario built one that interested me so I ordered on from them in September and installed it, also in the garage (no room for it in the house).  On the mezzanine I also built a room full of shelving for extra storage and the rest of the mezzanine will hold the firewood (when I transfer it over from one of the sea-cans). Below the mezzanine is the new work bench. My tools and Mig welder will soon join the work bench on that side of the garage. Also took advantage of the large steps I built entering the house. There’s a trap door where the garbage bags will go until I have a chance to burn them (or take them to the dump). Installed a radiant tube heater for primary heat, the stove will be secondary heat. Also motion sensing lighting in various areas of the garage. I still have a bit of ‘finishing’ work to do but the majority of it is finally finished. Now back to finishing the basement. I always have something on the go…

Taking after Dad


Brysen is watching all the Q's scroll by on the PC as they come in fast and furious as he's calling "CQ contest, VE6JY contest"

I spent some time recently at the JY contest site for the RAC winter contest (for amateur radio). Davyn and Brysen went with me the year before and seemed to have a pretty good time so they expressed interesting in participating this year  too.  We took first over all in the ‘multi multi’ catagory last year and it looks like a repeat for this year too. Here’s a few pics of the boys operating the 144 and 50 MHz stations. We had more Q’s on VHF this year than we’ve had in the past few so they certainly helped contribute to our score. Something tells me I now have them hooked.

Merry Christmas!

Well another year has soon past. I’m sitting here at work on the night shift on Christmas Eve wishing I was somewhere else. But it’s my turn to work through Christmas and New Year’s this year.

It’s been a busy year with lots of projects on the go and with no shortage of continuing and new projects for the coming year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone who reads this. Cheers and God bless!

Well Water

So I was going through some back up scenarios recently and decided my water well needs to be a bit of a priority. If my well pump fails or we get a power failure, how will I get water? Water is key. I have a 330 foot deep well and my static level is about 80 feet. I decided I should look into adding a hand pump to my existing facilities. After lots of research, I decided the best hand pump I can install was a ‘Simple Pump’. http://www.simplepump.com/OUR-PUMPS/Hand-Operated.html . In order to install this hand pump, I needed to know I could get past my pitless adapter which isdown 10 feet from the surface. Here’s a video of my inspection I did to determine whether or not I have enough clearance.

It was found I do not have enough clearance so I’ll have to come up with another solution to the problem. Back to the drawing board…

Carrot thief caught

Last week, we were cleaning out what was left in the garden as I needed to rototil it up before snow comes. Didn’t have much left; just potatoes and a few rows of carrots. I noticed about 10 feet of carrots was missing. Missing was not just the green carrot tops but all the carrots that were in the ground too. Dropping around the area indicated the feeding frenzy had been going on for some time; it was obvious there was carrots in the droppings. Looked like dog droppings but there’s only one way to be sure. I set up a wildlife camera to try and catch a picture of what was feasting on our carrots.

digging for carrots after we pulled them out earlier that day

The thief was caught! It was a coyote. Got many pics of him over the  past

He continued to come back every night and look for our carrots.

week digging through what was left. I’m sure he was disappointed to find we’d cleaned out the rest of the garden. Nevertheless, he continued to keep coming back in hopes that more food would magically appear for the taking.  Even some of the local deer would occasionally stop by and pose for a picture.

say 'cheese'...

Banff and Crescent Falls 2012

The week before school was back in, we took the truck and trailer and all headed off to Banff. The original plan was to do Jasper but the weather forecast was not favorable and the wx seemed to be better south. Stayed most of the week at Johnson’s Canyon campground. Even though Davyn wanted me to take him up to some mountain peaks, there was really no hiking involved this year. Brysen had caught caught a blister on his foot from some new shoes and because he didn’t say anything about it, it wasn’t treated properly. The blister turned into an infection so he had to go easy on the walking. Thought that hikes would not be a good idea this time around.

Managed to take in some of the great sites in the area and have a great time even if we didn’t go on any hikes. Weather was ok, not as good as forecasted but definitely better than it could have been.

Last few days in the mountains we went to Crescent Falls and stayed in that campground. I was always worried about going into that area with the trailer. Since the trailer is so long, there’s a small stream I had to cross where the rear of the trailer would rub badly on the rocks; every easy to get into trouble and it’s certainly not advisable for any low riding trailer or RV. Managed to get through it fine and at least now I know I do it, I’ll be going there a lot more in the future. It’s one of the nicest falls you’ll see in Alberta and it’s highly recommended for anyone that has not yet seen it. It’s one of my favorite areas to visit. Back in our 2010 quading trip, this is the area we went to and always love coming back to it. Even saw a wedding party hike down to the lower part of the falls to take wedding pictures. Considering the way down is not easy, I’m, amazed their clothes managed to stay clean.

Also managed to teach Davyn how to chop wood and build a fire on his own. He’s 11 years old and thought it was time for him to learn how to make a fire in case he ever needs to do so to help survive.

This was Davyn's first campfire that he built on his own. Way to go buddy!