We all scream for big screan.



The manual says that you should tighten the oil filter sealing cap to 25 Nm.

But of course the previous fellow who worked on the car was some type of gorilla.


So find an appropriately sized pipe clamp, tighten it around the cap…


And whack the shit (technical term) out of it.

This will hopefully be easier next time, because I’ve taken over servicing Tanya’s Golf.


… or we shall be forced to put up a bigger sign?


So it came to pass that Tanya and I decided to go to the Kruger National Park. Over December, which is not the best of ideas, but that’s how it worked out. It might turn out to be somewhat hot.

Accommodation up there is rather expensive, with camping being by far the cheapest option. And since we have a teardrop, we are set.

Except that the teardrop needs a bit of work.


The lexan expands a lot more than wood, so when it gets hot the entire roof pulls up. This breaks the seal, of course, and when it rains I get wet. I don’t like getting wet.

Also, I never completed the galley and inside cupboards*.


I decided to shorten the see-through part of the roof, taking it from the front to the top, not over towards the back. I’ll have to drill bigger holes through the lexan to allow it to float, and use weatherstripping rather than trying to glue it down.


Here I am using my l33t template skilz so that I can cut two pieces of ply to the right shape.


Puzzling about the layout. No, three drawers won’t fit.


(And a lot of cutting and screwing later) — Looking good.

(Updates to follow)




** The Atma Travelear is somewhat above my competence level.

Lindgren liked to sit on the small second-floor balcony with a view of the sea. There is a bench in a corner of the balcony. Karin Nyman, Lindgren’s daughter, who is now over 80 and closely resembles her mother, says: “Take a look under the bench.”

It’s easier said than done. Dates, a few words and many stenographic symbols are written in pencil on the underside of the bench: “July 3, 1963. Summer. Radiant. Like in the good old days. The early summer was magical. I was here all of June and wrote “Michel from Lönneberga.” The book is now finished. We bought a sailboat, the ‘Saltkrokan.'” Lindgren must have laid flat on her back to write these words, with her feet sticking out from underneath the bench. Perhaps she even wiggled her toes, just like Pippi.

Read the whole article here.


Congratulations Sandra and Philip!




A sosatie is a kebab. Meat onna stick.


Start with a gemsbok loin (rugstring), nicely matured, cubed. Bacon is good. Some dried apricots, soaked in water for a few hours (also soak the skewers so they don’t burn). Some blanched onion, and some cherry tomatoes (it helps to work things out ahead of time, I had 8 skewers, 24 cubes of meat, 16 apricot halves, 16 tomatoes and 10 rashers of bacon cut into thirds. Some sosaties got more bacon, some got less onion).


Drizzled with olive oil & rosemary sauce.


There was a bit of loin left, that got sauced up and braaied separately. Also braaied a kilo of gemsbok wors.

Add a green salad and half a butternut wrapped in foil and put on the coals much earlier, and call it Sunday night supper.




Oooh look! Someone threw out this perfectly good Spectrum SPL-603 power supply!

Well, mostly perfectly good…

She who was once the beautiful 723

The 723 had given up all its magic smoke, to the point where the socket is also buggered. Fortunately this is a stock part in my junkbox, as are 2N3055s (the one output transistor was shorted emittor-to-collector, but I can’t explain why this would break the 723). I also replaced the H1061 with a BDW93B because I could.

Truth be told, this is a terrible PSU.

  1. The non-regulated DC is 52V, which means that at 30V output the transistors are dropping 22V and at 2.5V out they are dropping just about 50V. No wonder two 2N3055s are needed for a measly 3A output (A 2N3055 is good for 15A and 115W, so when dropping 50V you can only get a smidge more than 2A out of it, and that with a good heatsink).
  2. The 723 Vcc is connected to the non-regulated DC, but the 723 is rated for 40V max Vcc. This is probably what broke it.
  3. When I set the PSU to about 6V and turn it off, there’s a ~20V spike on the output. WTF?

So why the high non-regulated DC? I thought maybe it drops under load because cheap transformer, but this is not the case. The transformer gives out 38VAC which drops to 35VAC with a 1A load.

The general schematic is similar to http://www.circuit-projects.com/cimg/2V_to_7V_8A_power_supply_by_723_and_7812.gif but with a difference — the base of the current limiting transistor is connected to a voltage divider (R4/R5) to ground. This causes the current limiting point to be higher for a higher output voltage. Again, counter-intuitive.

So I changed things around to how it should be. Fitted a different transformer, from an old UPS — it’s only good for about 18V out but that’s enough for me. Not going to try to make a purse out of this sow’s ear.






My new brewing setup. A nice large stainless steel urn with a dual element, and a cooler box with a filter that used to be a braided hose and a tap.

The box under the urn is a PID controller so that I can (in theory*) dial the temperature, have a homebrew, and have water at the right temperature on tap.

It’s not going to win a panel wiring contest, but it works. The PID doesn’t have the switching capacity, so there’s a solid state relay. I also wired diodes to send the positive part of the AC to the one element and the negative part of the AC to the other element to spread the heat.

The switch controlling whether the diodes are in-circuit or not comes from the junkbox. Been a while since one could buy something useful for R3.45.

Grain in the cooler (this is 6 kilos of pilsner, on Saturday), add the water, let it be for about an hour…

..and drain the good stuff (this is Sunday’s brew, an IPA).

The pilsner is all-grain, which means that you end up with quite a lot of liquid to boil.

That’s the next step. The urn, on low, should be able to boil the wort as well. If not, I need to get a 30 liter+ pot, I have quite a few gas burners.

Good news is that both brews started bubbling easily (I added Servomyces to both and DAP to the IPA). The pilsner is my first all-grain and my first lager — I’m using ice to keep it cool.

* The water coming out the tap seems about 5C too cold. Some calibration required, looks like.



Thank you for asking.

Background: I think I found a way to fix a broken display on my Yeasu FT-290R 2m all-mode radio. A broken display on these things is common, and displays are very much NLA. The FT-290 (2m), FT-690 (6m) and FT-790 (70cm) are all pretty much identical except for the RF bits, so a fix for one is a fix for all.

So I advertised on swop shop, looking for an “FT-290R / FT-690R / FT-790R”.

Hello   Wouter ,

Thanks for the mail. I have the requested FT-290R / FT-690R / FT-790R
in an excellent condition  I will be shipping via FedEx courier on a 3
working days delivery and will accept payment via Western Union or
Money Gram

Location: USA

What’s your complete shipping address?

First and foremost before proceeding with transaction we can only
accept payment via western union if you are satisfied with that kindly
get back to me.

Maybe I should ask for a photograph of this “FT-290R / FT-690R / FT-790R”.



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