Finishing the TV antenna

While I was at my parents, and making my cat annoyer, I also made the backplane to my Home made Digital TV antenna. This is just a reflector for the antenna to give it better gain.

homemade digital TV antenna It’s actually a little short, but I didn’t want to pay the $6 difference for the taller wire mesh.

straight view of the DIY digital TV antenna It needs to all turn white or something, as it’s visually kinda dominating the room.

Looking up at my homebrew digital TV antenna  It needs to be tipped away from the wall a little bit to get the right angle to point towards Chicago to get the towers. It does reject Rockford and DeKalb stations quite strongly though, but alas, that is it’s design.

My new knife: Buck Knives – Vantage™ – Select Small

While on vacation in Florida, my “souvenir” of the trip was a new pocket knife. I had broke my old one months ago – this spring actually.

I picked a ~$30 Buck Knife even though the place had some really nice Benchmade knifes. I can stand loosing a $30 knife a lot more then a $130 knife.

I picked this one for several reasons even though it’s really 1 finger short for my hand.

It can be opened with one hand. This one is cool because it can be done either with the notch cut in the back of the blade as well as the little knob that can be used to flick the knife open very fast.

The belt clip can be removed on this one as it’s bolted on instead of riveted on.

I intentionally picked a shorter blade, only 2.5 inches long. I live in a Chicago Suburb. Chicago is a bit touched in the head.

I did make one small modification to the knife. I added a very small magent to the back of the knife. I put it on the belt clip with enough room to be able to remove the clip still if I needed to. I used a touch of JB weld to hold it on even though the magnet will hold itself on.

The magnet is strong enough to hold the knife up if placed on metal. The real reason I put it on though is to check to see if metals are magnetic or not. Dad and I where wanting to check to see if a painted metal was steel or not. I didn’t have a magnet with at the time. I do now.

Keychain box

The contents of my pocket I carry a lot of stuff in my pockets. This is the contents of my left front pocket. I am tired of sounding like a coffee can full of nuts and bolts rattling around every time I take a step. My keys rattle against each other, the little Altoids tin, the pill canister, my knife, etc. I took to carrying the Altoids Smalls tin as a catch-all box due to it’s small size. I’ve had in my pocket for probably 4 months now, so it’s getting pretty tired looking.


Keys and an Altoids Tin I drilled a couple of holes in each corner of the lid of the tin. I picked the lid as the keys will cover the embossed Altoids name. Space the holes as near as you can to the outside but leaving a space for the base to fit inside of the lid and not hit the nuts. I used a couple of 1/2″ #6-32 machine screws and nuts to bolt the keys to the lid. I would probably use some of those Chicago Screws as they are called if I had them. I faced the teeth of the keys in, so they didn’t snag in my packet. I use the keys in a specific order, so they are ordered outside in in the order of use. I thought about using thin plastic spacers, but it doesn’t seem to be needed for now. I just rotate the keys out that I need. There is enough clearance around the keys that they are easily usable.


Keys bolted to an Altoids tin as a keychain You can see that the small tin, with 8 keys bolted to the top isn’t any thicker then my Victornox Cybertool pocket knife. Granted, that’s a rather large knife to carry every day.


My keychain can now hold stuff I didn’t want the keys falling off my tin. I super glued the nuts to the bolts and to the tin as I don’t have any lock-tight. A Dremel will take the head of the bolt off if I can’t break the glue with a screwdriver & a wrench.
I put my headphones adapter for my cell phone in the tin. I also carry a 1 gig USB memory stick in it that I made a custom, waterproof housing using some casting resin.
I am going to put a small bit of cloth in the bottom and lid to quite the rattle down. I will also put in a cotton ball to fill the space and help silence the contents of the tin as well.

I am going to see how long this tin key-chain lasts.

Walk in the park

Sunday, I went to a primitive skills meetup in Peterson Park north of Chicago. The meetup was quite interesting, we explored some excersizes that focused on increasing our awareness. It was a wet, rainy day, so most people didn’t want to go outside.

After the meetup, I took a little walk in the fenced in ‘park’ they have there.

I took some photos and video of the quite tame wildlife they have there.

Deer in Peterson Park outside of Chicago 
Deer in Peterson Park outside of Chicago 
Deer in Peterson Park outside of Chicago 
Canadian Goose in Peterson Park outside of Chicago 

Restless Feet.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Well, in-case you haven’t heard, I am moving.

I took a new job with a company called Hexagon Metrology. The quick description of what they do is “make robots that measure things”. My job is going to be webmaster for http://www.hexagonmetrology.us/ and related websites.

My last day with iMapp was on Friday, the 7th. It was very tough to leave them. They where such wonderful people.

I am moving back north. Not quite to Wisconsin, but close. I will be moving to Elgin Illinois. If you look at the satellite map, going out from Chicago, Elgin is the last town before you get to cornfields. I am hoping to get myself a bit of cornfield by the end of the year. Elgin is also on I90 which means it’s a basically a straight shot to my folks place. 370 miles, I would need to get 25 miles per gallon to make it there on 1 tank of gas. I think this is doable, as I am getting 23 miles per gallon in mixed driving on my 1 hour commute to work for iMapp.


View Larger Map

The last month I have been busy starting to pack, figuring out HOW I am going to move 2 cats and 2 fish tanks 1200 miles in the winter. I am thinking of doing separate blog posts on that.

My current schedule is fly to Elgin for next week. Finish packing, load a UHaul, and move over the Easter Weekend.

Wish me luck!